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Expressing - do I move to formula?

13 replies

Moseywoes · 10/04/2016 12:29

Sorry if this is self indulgent thread but keen to hear advice!

My bub is nearly 4 months old and due to a tongue tie which was diagnosed at 4 weeks (by which time he'd done a lot of damage to my nipples) and my own illnesses post delivery (infections and the like) I had to stop exclusive BF and supplement with formula. I subsequently used domperidone to re lactate once my boobs healed and although I didn't get back to a full milk supply I did manage to get to about 50% breastmilk and 50% formula for the last 2.5 months by regular pumping. He never managed to latch back on to the boob and so we stuck with bottles as at least we knew how much he was getting.

My domperidone has now run out and without it my supply has decreased to 100ml a day. At the same time he has become a gorgeously interactive 4 month old baby and because of this my ability (and desire!) to sit attached to an electric pump for regular and long periods of time per day has seriously dropped!!

I am therefore minded to stop pumping altogether and move him to formula 100% but I can't shake the feeling of guilt and that I am letting him down. I just wanted to see if anyone has any advice as to whether this small amount of breastmilk would have a positive benefit at this stage and whether I am better off continuing to pump to give him some (if only a little) breast milk up to the hallowed 6 month milestone?

Any advice gratefully received. Thanks. Xx

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JiltedJohnsJulie · 10/04/2016 17:43

Have you tried one of the bfing helplines? A BFC will be able to talk you through your feelings and tell you whether carrying on is beneficial Smile

Moseywoes · 10/04/2016 18:44

Thanks for replying! Yes I have been using the helplines a lot actually, they seem to be suggesting it's down to me but that any amount of breast milk is a positive.... I guess my issue is that my time seems better spent reading and playing with bub rather than pumping. Will give them another call.

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Kr1stina · 10/04/2016 18:48

I have no good advice for you but just wanted to say well done for persevering with the dreaded pumping . It must have been a lot of work so Flowers

Moseywoes · 10/04/2016 19:08

Thank you Kr1stina I have to admit it was!! Those machines are weapons of torture!!! X

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Eustace2016 · 10/04/2016 19:36

You might be able to get him to learn to latch on even at this stage. Have you tried hiring a breastfeeding expert? Feeding direct is a lot easier than expressing (and I expressed at work for a year so I know all about expressing).

daluze · 10/04/2016 21:40

Just want ti say really well done for persevering so long with expressing! It is such a hard work. Whatever decision you make, you already gave your baby the best start.

Moseywoes · 10/04/2016 21:47

Thank you Daluze! Really appreciate it!

Thanks also Eustace2016. Yes I've been using a lactation consultant who has been great. I think not only is there the latch issue, I've really struggled with supply so to get him to BF now would require more domperidone and also going back to pumping or nursing 7/8 times a day. I guess at the heart of all this my dilemma is whether it's in his best interests to have the breast milk but with an exhausted mum or whether now is the time to focus more on playing, reading and all the other fun interactive stuff. I know no one can make the decision on but me but I've been surprised at the emotional side of BF - always thought of myself as a very logical pragmatic person but this feeding lark has really sent me to the edge!!! Thanks all for the replies. Xx

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mumchkin · 11/04/2016 08:24

This is so similar to my situation - but I only made it to 12 weeks . My supply also dropped to 100mls (even on domperidone) and I was physically ruined from pumping - my whole body felt broken. I too went through a mourning period that I was leaving breastmilk behind and I still feel the odd pang, but physically and emotionally I have been so much happier since making the switch. I'm enjoying being a mum so much more now I don't have to go off to pump every 2 hours.
One thing I did in the last month was I froze half of whatever I had and just gave him a small amount of BM each day - more like a supplement. A midwife told me that to get many of the benefits of breastmilk, babies only need a small amount each day. I'm saving the frozen milk for if he gets ill. Hope some of this helps! I know exactly how you feel.

Kr1stina · 11/04/2016 09:28

Just to say that while pumping 7/8 Times a day is a major hassle, nursing 8 times a day is no trouble at all . I'm guessing you are not back at work yet and she is your only child .

So your choice shouldn't have to be between and exhausted mum and no BF. So if you coudo get baby to start feeding properly, that woudo be ideal for you both .

Really it's so easy, remember there is no prep at all. You don't have to sterilise stuff and clean up afterwards. You just pop baby on, sit down with magazine or get a tablet and Mumsnet ! Take baby off , pull down your top and that's it, you don't even have to wind baby . It's fab .

Babies are much more efficient than pumps and your body will respond better . It will up your supply in response to demand .

Can I give you an example ? One summer we were on holiday in turkey and my toddler got a bad cold and ran a temperature . He went off food completely and went from nursing just at bedtime / nap time to BF about 10 times a day . I was worried that he would get dehydrated in the heat as he wouldnt even drink water .

But he was absolutely fine . My body obviously adapted to providing all the nutrition a 2.5 year old needed . When I got home I tried to express , just out of curiosity. I'd never had much success with it before,but now I thought I must have LOADS of milk .

I coudnt get enough to cover the bottom of the bottle Shock

Of course LO recovered and went back to his normal pattern and my body adjusted . It's a miracle system , when it works .

Now if only your DS would just get his act together, you would be fine Grin

Moseywoes · 11/04/2016 09:29

Thank you mumchkin. Sorry to hear you've had the same problems - it's tough. As I say I never thought I would feel this emotions about it bu I really do! I love the idea of freezing some - what a great suggestion. I think I'll carry on a couple of weeks but freeze what I do produce or at least some of it. Thank you!! Xx

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daluze · 11/04/2016 19:49

It is absolutely normal to feel these emotions. I had to do formula top ups for both of my boys at the beginning, and I cried a lot... To be honest, I cannot imagine pumping 8 times per day past the newborn stage, as the baby doesn't sleep so much and has more needs than just sleep and feed. You are doing the best for him, but you also need to take care of yourself. And have fun with your baby!

SweetElizaRose · 11/04/2016 20:04

This is me too - dd is nearly 17 weeks but due to various issues - prem, in NICU, didn't see her for 48 hours after I had her, c section, - I failed at feeding her.
She is currently Exclusively breast milk fed and I express about 7 times a day. I get about 30oz a day which just about meets her. I also have an older child and I am finding it very difficult because we can't go out for very long as I need to get back to express.
However I don't want to ff so no other choice really. I'd like to get her to six months exclusively breast milk fed. Whether that will be possible I don't know.

Moseywoes · 11/04/2016 20:15

Wow SweetElizaRose what an amazing job you are doing! You didn't fail at all you're doing a brilliant job. Well done for persevering! I think I would carry on if I was managing to exclusively feed with breast milk. It's the fact that the amount has dropped so much that I'm wondering whether the time it requires is worth the benefit.
But really well done, that must be v tough with another little one to look after xxx

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