View Full Version : Feeling like the only one :(
I have a 3mth old little boy. I am trying to breastfeed him but am having some problems. When he was first born I was engorged and had heaps of milk and he did not have to work for it and he put on heaps of weight. By about week 3/4 it had started to settle down and the problems began. He started getting really fussy if the flow started to slow at all. From 6wks his weight started to get really bad and between 8/10wks he lost weight. Since then he has only put on very small amounts. Last wednesday he had only put on 75gr in 2wks and is now right on the bottom line for weight to age. He screams once the flow slows down and I give him the other side until the same thing happens, then wait awhile and try again but sometimes he just won't work to get the letdown again and consequently my supply is suffering. I am feeding every 2hrs min at the moment and am finding it very draining. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one who has experienced this! I have a friend who complains her son takes ages to feed and she only feeds him 4times a day, I wish I had that problem! I would rather that than having a baby scream when you feed him. To make it worse he has colic and reflux and is at the age of associating pain with feeding so won't fill up. Also if he gets bad wind then that means even less time at the breast. Sorry I guess I just needed to vent a little. Very stressed out these days and I don't drive and we have just moved here so I have no support network. My closest family is my sister an hour and a half away and she has her own family to look after. The rest of my family are in Qld. The lactation consultant I spoke with says to give him formula and some maternal health nurses think the same but I fear he will reject the breast altogether if he knows he can get it faster. Any advice would be welcome. I guess I should not complain, he is farely settled between most feeds. I am sure some people have had worse.
A struggling first time mum
Have you rung the Australian Breastfeeding Assoc helpline at all?
The number should be in the phone book, and I have found them to be very good.
I also had/have a baby who feeds very frequently, and it is really draining, but it actually is best for a baby who is suffering reflux etc to feed small amounts, and often.
Are you in NSW?
You really are at the stage where a lot of babies begin to be more settled and easier, hopefully this wil be your experience.
The lack of weight gain would be something which worried me, I am probably the last person to say just use formula, as I am a huge bf advocate, but perhaps you need to talk with the ABA about your worries with weight gain as well, and see what they reccommend.
Do you have the baby sleeping with you at night?
That can be a great way to help cement the bf relationship, and baby can snack without necessarily disturbing you too much.
I hope things improve for you. :D
Big hugs to you - you must be feeling so stressed!
When we brought our new baby home a friend gave us an manual expressing machine. I didn't think I'd need it as I was going to be SAHM. But it's been a great thing to have. It helped me feel more confident that I was producing enough milk. And it also allowed me to have a rest some evenings as I'd have expressed enough during the day so that my husband could give an evening feed while I got some rest - it's amazing how good an hour's sleep can make you feel! It might be helpful because you can get teats that are good for colic, and that way bub won't get confused about the difference in taste.
Unfortunately expressing machines aren't cheap - about $100 and it's good to get a microwave sterilizer too (not sure how much they cost - we got given that also) - only takes 4 mins to steam sterilize bottles etc.
If this isn't an option, you may have to bite the bullet and get the formula. It's no good if bub isn't gaining the weight he should. You might be be stressing about something that may not happen, my bub at 2 months was on formula for a couple of days after I had an operation, and she came back to breast feeding with no problems and there are a few mums here that top up with formula - see how you go.
Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up if bub needs to go to formula.
I am for the whole breastfeeding is the best for bubs too but I have a 2 and a half week old who is being breast and bottle feed.
She takes the breast most of the day but sometimes when she wants to feed 2 hourly I just don't feel i have enough milk so we either formula feed her or I will breast feed her and top her up with a bit of formula if she is still looking for more.
We have also found that a full formula feed of a night helps her to sleep through longer. We sometimes get 7-8 hours out of her in one go. !!
All babies are different I guess and i was told not to mix and match and that even a dummy was bad as they get confused with the sucking. Our baby is fine though. She took to a dummy on day 3 and goes easily from breast to bottle.
i do try and express into a bottle also so she can also have breastmilk from a bottle too.
Don;t let the pressure of breastfeeding advocates get to you. I know the pressure is there even when it is unspoken and it really gets you down. It still gets me down. I guess we are still working things out being first bub and all but I am slowly realising that I am looking out for bub number one and the most important thing at the moment is that she is feed and full and if that means she gets it from formula as well as me then so be it.
I can understand how you must be feeling. I thought my first baby was a frequent feeder, until number 2 came along!! OMG! She did test me indeed! - and I too was living away from most of my family. 'Tough' is probably not even anadequate description, eh?
I think the suggestions about contacting the ABA, expressing, co-sleeping and the 'small feeds often' for reflux are all just what I would have suggested. I couldn't have survived #2, if I didn't co-sleep, carry her in a sling and breastfeed her off to sleep ...VERY often!! I would also not be soooo concerned about small weight gains - some babies are just slow wt gainers. So many mum's have told the same story, of worrying about slow wt gain, only to find that subsequent children are just the same, despite pulling out all stops. I would of course be worried about wt loss or no wt gain.
Some other suggestions may be to increase your protein intake, to improve the quality of your milk, and also, for the reflux, is to remove all dairy from your diet [easier said than done - but if I can, anyone can :D !] this has been shown [in research situations and anecdotally] to reduce the symptoms for almost half who try it ... maybe might help part of the problem??
I too would be reluctant to suggest formula, as I have all that research in my head about the risks involved! BUT, having said that, if your baby is not gaining wt at all and you are at the end of your tether, then there should be no shame in using it. You have to do what is best for your baby, whatever that my be in any given situation!
Best of luck! Let us know how you are going! :)
You can hire breast pumps, you need to buy the actual milk collection kit (about $50), but then the pump can be hired from around $15/week from chemists or $10/week if you're an ABA memeber from the ABA. Expressing will help build up your supply, express about 20 minutes after a feed. It sounds like your baby may not be getting the hind milk, which is the great, fatty stuff for putting on weight and also makes them feel full (fore milk is a thirst quencher and contains more sugar and less fat than hind milk). The lactation consultant I was seeing recommended only feeding from one side to ensure DD1 (who was also failing to thrive) had adequate weight gain and to control tummy upset (though my DD1 was not colicky and did not have reflux).
My lactation consultant told me that I didn't need to sterilise if I was using EBM in bottles exclusively, if you've got a dishwaher, the very hot water there will do the job.
I would see another lactation consultant before resorting to formula (I found CHN no help with bf), but in the end, a healthy baby is your objective and you've gotta do what you've gotta do to keep him well.
Hugs and positive thoughts
Also, forgot to mention [though you probably already know this!] that it only takes about 20 minutes for breasts to 'refil' ...I know they are never really 'empty'! ... enough to give the next feed - and I see you mentioned that he doesn't like to work for the let down - have you tried to start the let down yourself, by expressing a little, before he goes on? ... just a thought! :)
you poor thing, my heart goes out to you! there is nothing worse than a crying baby that doesnt know if it wants a feed, or its in pain, or tired and your boobs feel like they are about to drop off! my 2 youngest both didnt like to work for their milk when they were littler, they would get all cranky when it slowed down, but they soon got used to it. try not to feel disheartened, as long as your bubs isnt losing weight or not gaining any, trust in your ability to feed your baby, alot of people these days seem to think that a healthy baby is one that is so fat it can barely move or make a sound because its to stuffed! that is not the case at all. i think you need to talk to your gp or lactation expert or naturopath etc (whoever does it for you :p ) about solutions to ease his reflux, i would say that once this settles he would start feeding a whole lot better, like you said, the poor little guy is associating pain with feeding. good luck and i hope things get better soon xxx
It's so hard what you're going through. But you are not the only one, please don't feel alone in not knowing what to do or wondering if you're doing the right thing. I think nearly every first time mum must have a moment in the first few months when they're at a loss of what to do.
There is no shame in giving formula - My dd lost a lot of weight around the 2 month mark, she actually dropped below her birth weight. I resorted to formula and, as you were worried about, she did almost immediately refuse the breast after formula was introduced. Since then, having learnt a lot more, I think I could have stuck with breastfeeding and made it work if I'd gotten help from a lactation consultant and the ABA, and improved my diet. But knowing she was being filled up and gaining weight on formula was a huge relief.
Everyone here has given great advice. Your bub is still gaining weight, albeit slowly, and if you want to stick with breastfeeding then go for it and surround yourself with people who will help you and encourage you in it. I know that's hard with no family around but the ABA is a great help as are people on here. And either find a different lactation consultant or tell the one you saw you want to keep breastfeeding for another two to three weeks at least to see if there can be some improvement, and insist that she help you to make a success of it. That's her job after all!
If you can get hold of a breast pump you can reassure yourself of how much you're actually producing. This might sound gross, but check the local classified ads. A lot of mums buy pumps, use them once and then sell them and they're easily sterilised. The lactation consultant should also have one available that you could at least use at your consultation.
I'd just like to make a quick comment about breast pumps.
A lot of women - myself included, find that expressing is quite difficult, there just isn't the right conditions for letdown - ie there is no lovely cuddly baby looking at you causing a swirl of hormones which help initiate a good letdown.
Expressing IS NOT a good way to asses your milk supply!!!
I exclusively bf my son for 8 months, and he is still feeding at 16 months, but if I had assessed my supply by what I could pump, I would have been convinced my supply was dismal.
I think a breast pump is useful only for relieving engorgement in the early days, helping to stimulate supply if you think it needs it, and of course building a stockpile if needed.
I have to agree with Angie that expressing is not always a good way to assess your supply - although it works well for some!
Usually baby can remove milk from the breast FAR easier than we can with a pump, or by hand expressing .... so can sometimes give a worried mother the wrong impression ... Always worth a try though - and very good for increasing supply ... just don't worry too much if you can't pump much at first! :)
On the subject of Reflux / Wind, have you tried "Marina Infant Mixture" (it is a natural product) . Most chemists don't stock it but you can order it over the internet from Morzone Pharmacuticals. I used this with my daughter who had terrible wind problems, and it seemed to help her bring the wind up and feeding time became alot more pleasent.
Also my sister in law used in for her son who had very bad reflux and she found that this improved things greatly and after a while he wouldn't be as frightened to feed as it wouldn't hurt him as much.
Good luck with everything and go with what you feel is best as you know whats best for your baby.
Mother to Briana Sage (12 months)
Your story sounds so much like mine that I could have written that post myself! I truly feel for you - My Daniel went through the same thing at around the same age - refused the breast or only going for short times till let down and then I would swap breasts which would only exacerbate the problem by giving him wind because he wasn't sucking for long enough to get the rich hindmilk. ( I was told my a lactation consultant it was a foremilk imbalance)
He also had reflux - and feeding became a crying match - by the time we resorted to medication it was too late as he had associated the pain with the breast and would only take a boob when sleepy. He is now completely bottlefed at 5 months(not by my choice) with a mixture of formula and breastmilk.... but a much happier baby :) Also regarding the breastpump hire - I found "twin pumping" increased my supply and decreased the time in which I had to spend expressing
Have you thought of attending Tresillian Day Stay?? They look at breastfeeding and any other things you wish.. I went to Daystay and also residential and found it the best thing I ever did... depending on the area of where you live you might consider it http://www.tresillian.net
If I learnt anything from the whole experience - it was to trust my instincts and listen to my baby...
Good luck and hang in there - :) ......Lucy
I agree with lucyp, check out tressilian, although i have heard some people did not like it, for others it has been a godsend. Angie was also right, expressing does not give any indication as to how much milk you are producing. I have never been able to express much, yet all my babies have always been able to get more than enough when i feed them, although i know of some mums who can express a whole feed off one side in under 10 mins! i hope you and bubs get some rest soon :) xxx
Thank you to everyone for all your advice. I have contacted the ABA ALOT!! Without actually seeing what he was doing while feeding it was difficult for them to suggest anything. I have tried expressing (both manually and with an electric breast pump) and just can't do it. At the moment I am feeding 2 hourly through the day with maybe one at 2 1/2hrs so he gets a decent sleep and 3-4hourly at night. I had him weighed yesterday and he had put on 100gr in 1wk (better than 75 in 2wks). So at this stage I am sticking to breastfeeding only no matter what the lactation consultant says. He is happy and farely settled between most feeds. He is on losec for the reflux and we go back to the specialist next Tuesday. Mimi I would love to talk to you about coming off dairy because I have been thinking about trying that. It is nice to know other people out there can understand what you are going through (my husband finds it hard). Thanks heaps all.
So glad you are feeling a bit better about things! :D
Just another suggestion that might help. I went to a breastfeeding consultant, she reccomended going off dairy for a month. I saw a huge change in 2 days. I am no doctor but I believe it helped with the colic as well as her hapiness. I really miss my dairy but am slowly introducing it again. It didnt really effect the 2 hour feed times but we had happier feeds, rather than squirming screaming fits.
Also, a lot of people suggest a dummy. I have been using a dummy for 2 months on my nearly three month old. Even though it did help her with her wind issues, I reccomend only give it as a the last resort. I am trying to keep the dummy out today for the first time, it is only 10am and have had three screaming matches so far. I wish I had never used it.
Good luck, I hope things improve.
PS isnt the ABA a godsend!
Had him weighed again today and he put on 180gr in 1 week! So it obviously was a slight problem with my supply. His feeding is not really any better but I can deal with it if I know he is still gaining enough weight. Went to specialist and at this stage we are keeping him on the reflux medicine until 6mths old and I just have to keep feeding him 2 - 2 1/2 hourly. Thanks all again.
I'm so glad to hear you and bub are ok, I've been wondering how you were going. You must be a very strong and determined person.
Wishing you and your bub all the best :)
Great to hear that things are OK! Yay for the wt gain, eh? to make you realise you ARE doing great!
Hope all continues well for you and hope the frequency of feeding slows down soon :) ... but don't get your hopes up too soon LOL as our DD didn't stop feeding like that for a long time!! [sorry to say :( ]
Keep up the great work!
Hi again! channy, you might want to read this ... http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detsleepthrough.html ... I think it will make you feel a little better - especially where she says
[Quote]"Human children are designed ... to nurse *very* frequently, ... By very frequently, I mean 3-4 times per hour, for a few minutes each time. The way in which some young infants are fed in our culture -- trying to get them to shift to a 3-4 hour schedule, with feedings of 15-20 minutes at a time, goes against our basic physiology. But humans are very adaptable, and some mothers will be able to make sufficient milk with this very infrequent stimulation and draining of the breasts, and some children will be able to adapt to large meals spaced far apart. Unfortunately, some mothers don't make enough milk with this little nursing, and some babies can't adjust, and so are fussy, cry a lot, seem to want to nurse "before it is time" and fail to grow and thrive. Of course, usually the mother's body is blamed -- "You can't make enough milk" -- rather than the culturally-imposed expectation that feeding every 3-4 hours should be sufficient ..." [end quote]
Nice to know you and DS are perfectly normal, isn't it?!
My son wouldn't stop feeding for the first month or more so I was forever feeding him. It was getting so frustrating as I couldn't get anything done...I could barely go to the washroom! So I finally started to suppliment him with formula. It kept him satisfied and I was able to actually get up and get something done. I know formula isn't as good as breastmilk but as long as your baby is getting some breastmilk and getting filled up and his nutritional needs met I don't think there is any reason why you can't feed your baby a bit of formula. I would rather my baby be healthy and both breastfed and formula fed than just sticking to breastfeeding and risking his health. Good luck!
Don't mean to be rude but I'd smack the lactation consultant for suggesting that you supplement with formula, glad you chose otherwise. Jus keep in mind that your supply is regulated or determined by your baby's demand/frequency of suckling. A good guide would be Dr. Sears Baby Book- it saved my sanity. My little gal had reflux initially but things tend to get better. I tend to couple nursing sessions with little touches and massages- jus felt that it's relaxing and soothing for her. Try to cast aside the worries and enjoy the babe, they are only little for so long.
GillieBean I know what you are saying, I felt like it! What she was saying was conflicting because she said it could be a supply problem but give him formula! Cause that would help my supply. I am so glad i did not listen. Persistance and blessed thistle have paid off, last Tues he had put on 180gr in 1week! Lately though he has been really unsettled and feeding 2-4hourly at night (4hrs is rare and I am lucky to get it). Maybe a growth spurt? The specialist did say the reflux can be worse aroung 4mths and he is 4mths next week. Any other reasons he could be like this??
mattias'mom - the reason I did not want to supplement is because it would not have helped my supply. Also formula is based on milk and my nephew has allergies and being that he reacted to zantac this could have created problems. Having the reflux means he only wants small amounts at a time so I have too feed him 2hourly during the day even though I get nothing done. Thankfully I have a supportive husband and I get done what I can. Obviously when it comes down to it I would do what I had to for him to be healthy and I did what I thought was best.
Thanks all again.
...I'd smack the lactation consultant for suggesting that you supplement with formula, glad you chose otherwise...
I agree!! Good on you Channy! Not only have you saved your milk supply, but you have saved you bubba from the many risks associated with interrupting that exclusive breastfeeding in the crucial first 6 months.
The research is pretty clear on the fact that though any breastfeeding is good, exclusive BF in the first 6 months is much better! On average, partially BF kids are much closer, on the health scale, to the non-BF kids that to the exclusively BF.
Just a FEW of the presently known facts [that I am sure your LC should have made you aware of before she suggested supp'ing!!] are ...
Interrupting the exclusive breastfeeding with any alternative milks has been shown to cause and increase in the incidence of asthma
Early introduction of infant formula, solids and cow's milk are factors shown to increase the incidence of Type I diabetes later in life
Breastfeeding is be protective against obesity. The protective effect is greater if exclusively breastfed.
Incidence of episodes of acute ear infections increase significantly with decreased duration of and exclusivity of breastfeeding.
Sorry didn't mean to get all heated, but I do get annoyed when mums are not given all the facts before they have to make decisions like this!
So glad you followed the path you have, Channy!! :)
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