Losing confidence in breastfeeding(13 Posts)
Hi everyone, my first post here. I desperately need some advice about breastfeeding. My baby is 9 days old and was 4 weeks premature at 5lb 5oz. Some issues after birth with latching and not rousing to feed meant that I had to express and bottle feed in the hospital and was discharged on a feeding plan - 27ml every 3 hours and I must express if I want to bf so I can be sure he's getting the minimum amount. I've had to top this up with formula as I don't always pump as much as he needs as his appetite grows now up to 60ml+ per feed and he does look for the breast between feeds so I don't always have time to pump. He's gaining weight well though and his latch is now great so the midwife gave me the all clear to demand feed and drop the pumping, but she also said "whatever you're doing is great - keep doing it!" the only thing is I'm worries that so much topping up and formula feeds will affect my supply! At the minute now I demand feed through the day and my mum takes over feeds at night so I can sleep. But I can't get ahead enough to express enough to fill him through the night so this means formula. I'm happy to just wake up to demand feed but he cluster feeds and comfort feeds and my mum seems to think this means he isn't getting what he needs from me. With all the emphasis on the beginning from measuring his intake this is making me in confident in my ability to fill him. Plus I'm scared of losing my supply during those nighttime bottle hours. Please help! I'm at a loss on how to feed, if I should continue demand bf or top up / bottle ocassionally.
You're doing great!! It's really up to you to decide what you want to do in terms of top ups. Cluster feeding doesn't necessarily mean he's not getting enough milk from you but he may be doing it to up your supply or comfort. The main thing is he's gaining weight.
It's work seeing if there are any breastfeeding advisors in your area and maybe a bit of a tweak to how you're holding him might make things easier for him and you?
Please also trust your instincts, hard I know with new baby and being so tired.
It sounds like you've done brilliantly! I think everyone doubts BF at some point and whether their baby is "getting enough", it's just so hard to trust BF sometimes when you can't see what they're getting, and I imagine this is doubly hard for you with all the previous focus on amounts.
However your mum is wrong that he isn't getting enough. Remember that cluster feeding is NORMAL newborn behaviour. It's tough, but normal. So it's fine to continue the top ups but also fine to drop them- your supply will adjust to what baby needs. I second the suggestion to see a lactation consultant for a one off consultation if possible. A good one is worth their weight in good!
Cluster feeding overnight is normal. It should in theory increase your milk supply.
Cluster feeding overnight isn't a sign of low supply. I assume your DM didn't breastfeed? (anecdotally friends I have whose dms/mil have said baby isn't getting enough milk because they constantly feed didn't breastfeed. Formula takes longer to digest than breast milk so a baby will feed less frequently when having formula - this is one reason why many parents prefer formula).
I echo pps posted that cluster feeding is normal. It happens frequently over the next few months, especially when they are having a growth spurt. It should help your supply grow with your LO.
Well done! You’ve done really well. What your baby is doing is completely normal and not a sign of low supply. If you want to stop the formula top ups the best thing you could do is put the baby on the breast as much as you can. Also your prolactin (milk producing) hormones are highest at night so if at all possible it would be better for you to breastfeed then (I think 2-6am is the window but check). Then maybe your mum could take the baby in the day and you could nap then? The baby is putting in its order in the early weeks for the amount of milk it will need until it’s 6
months old so needs to do a lot of sucking to stimulate that - doesn’t mean anything is wrong. The womanly art of breastfeeding (bit of cringe title) is seriously worth reading.
When I was in hospital after giving birth to my boy, a midwife told my husband: "Two weeks old is when most mums find Breastfeeding the hardest. 2 weeks in is when many mothers decide to quit." I forgot the midwife had said this, but at the 2 week mark I had a very teary day and was frustrated at how painful and demanding breastfeeding was, my husband reminded me of this, and encouraged me to hang in there, because it will get better.
And it has got better, even just 2 weeks later.
Definitely see a lactation consultant, they can advise you on latching, also ask them to check baby for a tongue tie. My 4 week old had his anterior tongue tie cut this week and there has been a massive improvement to his latch and our breastfeeding relationship because my toes aren't curling every time he eats now.
I'm also using nipple shields to help heal my damaged nipples.
I've been advised by midwives and nurses that you can't overfeed an exclusively breastfed baby. The baby knows what he needs, and the body responds with the right type of milk ie on hot days you will make more thirst satisfying milk, at night, your milk has higher sleep-inducing components.
I've found this website to be an amazing and informative resource for all my questions about breastfeeding. www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-categories
As for cluster feeding, that's also completely normal. Babies do it whenever they're going through a growth spurt or developmental leap (ever heard of wonder weeks?), whenever they are in pain, or when they just need some extra food or comfort.
My little one cluster fed on day 1-5, then again at 2 weeks, and now at 4 weeks he cluster feeds most evenings from 5pm-9pm, feeding every 30-60 minutes, before falling asleep for a long sleep stretch of at least 5 hours. Every baby is different, but cluster feeding in the evenings is quite common, there's nothing wrong with your milk or your supply. And I'm all for cluster feeding in the evening if it means we all get a bit more sleep!
All the advise I would give has been mentioned above.. But I just want to say that you're doing an AMAZING job and you're little boy is very lucky to have you as his Mum 😊❤️
If you want to continue breastfeeding please ignore your mum and feed overnight.
When babies are small you are their whole world, look up 4th trimester and they get more than nutrients from feeding.
Each time baby is put to breast they are putting in an order for future feeds, conversely each missed feed tells your body that the baby doesn't need that milk and so you produce less (look up top up trap)
The best advice I got was to look up safe co sleeping/bed sharing. As soon as I stopped expecting my little one to sleep away from me we all got more sleep!
Please read this!
Thank you everyone for the suggestions and encouragement!! I persevered through the exhausting cluster feeds and nursed through the nights and he's been amazing!! He's now sleeping for longer between feeds and has not needed a top up! We have a weigh in today so we'll see how his progress has been.
Amazing, well done! There will still be difficult days but if you persevere I can't imagine an easier way to feed your baby! Especially when you're out and about, no need to faff with formula, and cheaper too!
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