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I think it's too late to exclusively breastfeed?(22 Posts)
I had my beautiful DD just over three weeks ago. I planned to exclusively breastfeed. I had a pretty tough time during labour and lost a lot of blood (I'm anaemic), so was very week. Her first feed was the breast, but her next one was bottle, as I physically couldn't hold her as I was too weak. During the next two days in hospital, I mainly breastfed but she had a few bottles. Fast forward, first three days I mainly breastfed, DP did some bottles during the evening because I was so tired and weak from the blood loss and my low iron levels (I was meant to have a transfusion but I stupidly said no). Anyway, after a few days I couldn't cope very well, my nipples were really sore and cracked and bleeding. A few days later I got nipple shields and that helped a lot, but I was still too tired to mainly breastfeed. As time went on, she got more and more bottles and less breast. Now, she maybe has the breast once every two/three days. I have a hand pump (Medela, I think is the name) but it doesn't seem to work? Anyway, I want to give her more breastmilk but I don't think I produce enough to feed her a lot. She was on it for an hour and a half the other day and had to have 4oz of formula milk afterwards because she was still hungry. I'm so sad. When we do breastfeed I love it because I find it great for bonding but I don't seem to have enough to fill her up on one feed, let alone most feeds. I don't know what to do. She's definitely getting milk when she feeds but it doesn't seem to do anything. Does she still get the nutrients that breastfeeding gives even if she's not getting full? Ideally, I'd like to feed her mainly on the breast during the day and bottle feed her at night so DP could help. Is it too late to do this? I feel like I've let her down, I know that sounds stupid and she's getting food but I just really wanted to do this and I think it's too late
You haven't let her down. You've done your best in the circumstances.
There will be some lovely ladies along soon with tips on how to increase your supply. I believe it can be done, even now. For now have these
I think that if you can find the energy you should persevere with the BF. You will get there slowly as your health improves. You are obviously highly motivated and your we DD is a lucky lass. It is certainly not too late.
The best way to increase your supply is to feed feed herd. With the best will in the world if you're only feeding once every 2/3 days your supply won't be great.
Try breast every feed and then top up and hopefully you will be able to reduce the topnup amount. Lots of skin on skin. Get into bed, settle there for the day and feed feed feed.
No it probably it isn't too late. I had loads of problems feeding DS1 before we eventually settled into a pattern of him having one bottle before bed with me doing the rest of the time. I did feed during the night though as I'm just to lazy to get out of bed to make a bottle as opposed to getting my boob out.
Others with more expert advice than me will be along but to increase your supply you need to increase the amount you feed, so just keep offering the breast instead of a bottle and your milk supply will increase.
I'm not an expert but the best way to increase your supply is to rest and eat/drink as much as you need, and to keep putting your daughter to your breast and let her feed feed feed.
Do skin to skin as much as poss, snuggle up in bed for a couple of days, try to resist giving her formula and let her send supply signals to your boobs.
So long as you're healthy and looking after yourself I think your body should catch up. 3 weeks is prime cluster feeding time so your body would be getting these increase supply signals regardless of what had happened in the previous 3 weeks.
However if your body can't increase supply enough in the next few days then she's had the most important bits of milk from you and she'll be fine on formula.
Also, have you tried feeding in the bath? Lovely warm water can help both of you relaxing.
Search for Kellymom - it's a really useful site about breastfeeding. They have a chapter about relactating after stopping breastfeeding which might help you. And please don't beat yourself up - formula is perfectly ok and your baby will do fine, regardless of what you choose to feed her.
There are some great breastfeeding consultants out there. You could also try La Leche League - their website is excellent. Have you spoken to your HV?
But above all are i agree with other posters, try not to beat yourself up about it. You are doing your best given difficult circumstances.
Poor you, how are your iron levels now?
Drizzle hair's advice is fab. You might also consider getting your family or friends to bake you a ton of these lactation cookies!
You're doing a great job
Never too late. My advice would be to snuggle down with her for a couple of days and just let her feed and feed. If she is too distressed/hungry then let DH give her a bottle while you pump. Pump as often and for as long as you can to get your supply going. Hand pumps are rubbish but you should be able to hire a good electric one (Medela is excellent) relatively cheaply.
I had a preemie who was predominantly bottle fed (admittedly with bottles of my pumped efforts) for 14 weeks before switching to just BF. Perseverance is key but it's also important not to start doubting your supply when they spend hours cluster feeding. Hope it works out for you. Good luck.
You definitely haven't let your daughter down!
As others have said, the best way to increase your supply is to put your DD to the breast as often as you can. Then top her up with formula if she needs it, and at the same time (assuming that DH or someone else is there to help) pump your boobs to stimulate them more. Pump for at least 3 minutes (I think, maybe 2?) after the last drop has come out, to signal to your boobs to make more milk.
Boobs do work that way: the more sucking/pumping, the more milk they make. Do get lots of rest, and please don't worry if you don't manage to bf more. Also don't worry if not much comes out when you pump.
You could still do some breastfeeding. If that's what you want to do and it suits you both, that's great isn't it?
I would not get hung up on whether it's exclusive or not, and just focus on doing more of it since that's what you prefer. If it turns out you can manage exclusive as you would like, that's fantastic, and if a feed a day is all you can manage, well, you'll get to feed her once a day in the way you want to.
Don't be too hard in yourself, you've been through a tough time and you're doing really well!
One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the important of night breastfeeds. It's important to feed through the night to establish your supply, as this is the time when the body guages how much milk the baby needs the next day- essentially the baby is ordering the next day's food! So even if eventually you would prefer to formula feed at night, I would BF now until you get your supply established.
I think you can absolutely exclusively breastfeed. Getting enough rest and proper nutrition is critical! You need a very nutritious diet with protein, healthy fats, and loads of veg and some fruit. You can do it!
You have NOT let your DD down - you have worked very hard to get to where you are
Just to repeat, increasing supply relies on frequent feeding: every time she squawkes, offer her the breast.
Spends lots of time in bed together, skin to skin contact, gaze at her adoringly, touch her, speak to her and feed her on demand.
Make feeding her your priority for a while - actively seek ALL help you can get, lower your standards wrt housework etc, have others provide food and drink for you.
Eat and drink regularly and plenty.
Yy to seeking advice from RL BFing Advisor/LLL, I also like Kellymom's evidence based advice.
My BFing guru was Dr Jack Newman - look up his website.
If adoptive mothers can (at least partially) breastfeed, you too can increase your supply if that is what you want.
If you cannot, FF are a very good alternative and there is nothing wrong with feeding your DD that. Bonding etc is just as good with FF babies and relies much more on holding and looking and chatting to baby than what is in the milk exactly.
BFing is the most natural thing in the world, but that does not automatically mean that it is easy. And IMO and IME we have less experience of RL BFing problems so underestimate quite how exhausting and time consuming it can be.
V best of luck x.
I had a lot of issues early on and had to use formula but expressed to keep my supply going. I managed to get back to ebf by following the advice. I sat on the sofa for two or three days, had lots of skin to skin and got him feeding loads. By the end of the week I was back to just breastfeeding.
No deffo not too late. I ff with ds2 up until he was 4 weeks. Hadnt even given bf a 2nd though. However ds2 struggled with ff and reflux, tried every formula going to no avail. This was obviously affecting his sleeping and he crying all the time. Anyway it came to a head one night when he'd not slept not eat and had been crying for about 6 hours straight. Was cradling him in my bed and put him to my breast to see if it would shut him up (sounds harsh but at that point i think i was about to lose my mind). Anyway I dont think he got much out of it milk wise (he was 4.5 weeks old by then and id pretty much dried up) but he was instantly quiet and eventually fell asleep. And it began from there. Within a couple of weeks ds was exclusively bf. I put him to my breast as much as possible and expressed as much as possible too .Also started taking fenugreek (herbal stuff to help with milk production) but as I had to increase the dosage it worked out quite expensive so I switched to prescribed medication from gp (which was free). Ds was bf till he was 8 months old.
To add to my prior response... As well as proper nutrition, you must make sure that you drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluid. Dehydration is very common in breastfeeding moms and it really affects your milk production.
Hi, not RTFT, but can see you've had lots of lovely advice - not sure if anyone has also said this but just wanted to say if you are going to pump at all, get a proper electric one, the hand pumps are rubbish!
Its definatley not too late. You need to feed, feed, feed at every opportunity.
Letting her sleep on you with your breast out by her face will help, she should wake up and root/mooch and hopefully latch on. Sleep with her like this as much as you can.
Loads of skin to skin.
Feeding at night really helps with milk production so do this as much you can, she might feed better too if she's sleepy.
Your DD being on for and hour and a half will be her signaling to your body to make more milk so that's a really good sign.
Don't worry about not having enough milk-it doesn't run out-picture it like a tap, the flow may slow down but it won't stop.
Make sure you do 'paced feeding' with any bottles you give her.
Have a look on kellymom-there's loads on there.
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