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  1. #1
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    Default Struggling with breastfeeding. Time to move on?

    DD is 8 weeks old tomorrow. I have been doing everything I can to breastfeed her, but she has had formula comps on and off (when I don't have enough expressed) since birth. My supply was low and I'm on Motilium which has made a difference. I've also been expressing, taking fenugreek capsules and drinking heaps of water.

    The problem is that she's underweight. It kills me that I haven't been able to produce the food she needs. Things seemed to be picking up during a recent stay at tresillian, she appeared to be feeding well and sleeping well so I assumed she was getting enough. Then she got weighed and she'd lost 15g. She should be gaining! I was devastated and lost all the confidence in breastfeeding that I'd built up.

    I really wanted to get to at least 12 weeks but it is just killing me. I'm so worked up about it, feeds are becoming an ordeal as I am so concerned about her weight. I don't know how to process these feelings of guilt and disappointment.

    I guess I'm just looking for anyone else who has a similar story - how did you get through it? Did you find a manageable way to go forward or move on to formula?

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    Our stories are very similar! My DD was losing weight at around 9-12 weeks. Not small amounts either, like 80-100grams a week. I was very set on BFing though so I did the same as you, motillium,fenugreek,oats, increased my food & water intake, expressed and also wore DD in a carrier alot so she could be pretty much always attached. It was hard work but now at 15 months old she is still BF and all that hard work was so so worth it! Do you have much support? Are you able to have a few days to just lay in bed and feed to help build up your supply? I would also completely get rid of the formula, not good for your supply at all! I also posted so many similar threads to yours, and always got so much help and encouragement which helped heaps!

  3. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Just*Ace For This Useful Post:

    Izy  (24-10-2011),MuminMind  (28-09-2011),SPC  (28-10-2011)

  4. #3
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    MuminMind is offline Bubhub Award Winner - 2011- Most Helpful Member, Member I'd Most Like To Meet, Most Community Minded Thread, Best Potential Moderator and Newbie of the Year Awards
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    First of all, I want to say that I think you sound like an incredible mother for persisting with BF for those 8 weeks, and it sounds like you are doing all the right things. By the sounds of it, you have probably already talked to ABA. If not, I can highly recommend their phone counselling, and even more so- their community meetings. I don't know where you live, but hopefully they have meetings nearby.

    My story is slightly different to yours, but I can certainly relate to your challenges with BF, to the point where the whole experience became more anxiety inducing than I could cope with at the time. I had severe PND and was hospitalised in a psychiatric unit when my DD was only four weeks old. Up until then she had been BF exclusively, but it felt like a constant fight. My supply was quite good, but she did not want to latch on, and would "fight" me on the breast for the total of 3-4 minutes she was on the breast. My DD was not allowed to stay at the psych facility with me, so for the first two weeks of my stay I would express milk which my DP would pick up every other day and give her in a bottle. He had to start giving her formula as well, as he couldn't always pick up the milk soon enough. Two weeks later when I was finally allowed to see my DD for an hour daily, I would put her on the breast. By this stage my supply was reduced and she was so used to the bottle that breastfeeding become more challenging. Five weeks after I was first hospitalised I was discharged and actually continued to BF until DD was four months old. At this point she completely refused the breast at this stage and mainly had formula. We moved and I got in contact with ABA, and started to go to their weekly mothers group. They were nothing short of amazing, and helped me in every possible way. They also made me come to terms with the fact that my daughter only wanted the bottle. I continued to go to the ABA meetings although my DD was now only formula-fed.

    I think it is important to weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of BF. In my situation, BF contributed to the deterioration of my mental state and was not logistically possible due to my hospitalisation. I must admit, though; I wish I would have contacted ABA before I became so unwell with PND, and my situation might have turned out differently.

    When I had my DS 3 months ago, I was determined to give BF another go, and my experience this time could not have been more different. My son is exclusively breastfed and I couldn't be happier. When I was struggling with BF with my DD I could never imagine that BF could come naturally and be easy to anyone. I had read so much BB literature that I thought it was "supposed" to be somewhat difficult but improve with time and determination. With my DS, I finally experienced the beauty and ease of it. From the second he was born. If anything, it taught me that every child is different, and someone who BB with complete ease is not likely to truly understand women who experience BB as a constant fight. I can now appreciate both sides, and have less resentment towards my own "failure".

    I suppose my point is that every child is different, and every situation is different. Some babies have great appetite, some don't; some latch on perfectly; others don't get the hang of it. Some women struggle with continuous supply, others don't. If you find that the feeding ritual takes away from your ability to really enjoy early parenthood, and cause you great anxiety, then perhaps looking at other options will lift the burden. There are so many other ways in which you can share intimacy with your child. Your love and devotion for your child will shine through in other areas, for years to come!

    I hope that things improve for you, and that you come to a decision that is right for your baby and you! You are doing so well!

    Whatever you choose

  5. #4
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    MuminMind is offline Bubhub Award Winner - 2011- Most Helpful Member, Member I'd Most Like To Meet, Most Community Minded Thread, Best Potential Moderator and Newbie of the Year Awards
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just*Ace View Post
    I would also completely get rid of the formula, not good for your supply at all!
    Yes, I agree. I cannot imagine how frustrating that must be to hear when you have low supply and your child looses weight. But as I am sure you know, BB works on the principle of supply & demand, so unless you have great supply, a lot of women will not successfully be able to do both. When my supply decreased due to only being able to express at the hospital every four hours, I would get well-meaning advice about "topping up" with formula. Knowing what I know now, I wish I would have rather put my daughter back on the breast more often. But saying this; when BB becomes stressful that is the last thing you want to do.

    Have you heard of and used a supply line? It is basically a tube that goes into a bottle of formula that is hanging around your neck. The end of the tube is taped onto your nipple, so that when the baby is sucking on your nipple, she is stimulating your supply while also getting sufficient food (from the bottle). It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of, but can be very helpful.
    Last edited by MuminMind; 28-09-2011 at 23:31.

  6. #5
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    Thanks for sharing your stories - muminmind I'm so sorry to hear about your PND experience. That must have been so difficult.

    I haven't contacted the ABA, I spent 5 days at tresillian and my clinic nurse is a lactation consultant (also ex tresillian nurse) so I have had so much advice and help. While I was in tresillian DD didn't get any formula at all, but her weight loss really shook me up. DH is very supportive of BF but is obviously also very concerned about her weight so he is pretty insistent on the formula top ups. He's also worried about the pressure I put on myself to BF. I can't keep up with expressing and she gets too tired to keep feeding. So I don't really see how we can get rid of it entirely. She doesn't get it all the time, maybe just once every other day, depending on circumstances.

    I'm seeing the clinic nurse today and we'll discuss a plan to move forward. Ultimately she needs to be fed so if we need to, we'll switch to a combination of formula and whatever I can express. I can't believe how guilty and emotional I feel about all this, I'm usually a practical person!

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    You have to do what is right for you and your mental health, I am very much for breast feeding, but totally understand it doesn't work for everyone and you sound like you have really given it a good try.

    I can recommend spending a couple of days at home, doing very little but laying in bed or on the couch with your baby, skin to skin and feeding as often as possible. With DD3 she was a large baby and very slow to regain her birth weight, my supply was ok, but certainly not as strong as it been with the other 2. I spent 2 days doing very little, lots of skin to skin contact and feeding as much as possible. After 2 days of this I woke up the following morning with HUGE boobs, they were leaking and felt like they were going to burst!

    If you are not prepared to give up the formula then maybe spend a full day skin to skin etc and then snuggling and feeding then give her a FF last thing at night.

    Goodluck with it all. Sounds like you have done a great job so far and really tried hard so don't feel guilty about whatever you decide to do.

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    MissieMack - its good to hear about others in a similar position and to hear you've got a plan that works. DD has reflux too, but hers is more silent reflux. She's on Zantac for that. The paed thinks the reflux was made worse by her being hungry as the stomach acids then irritate the oesophagus. Poor thing was in pain

    Do you find your plan to be manageable? How long do you allow her to BF for before you give her the formula? DD often falls asleep while feeding and takes a lot of breaks. It can all take ages but I'm limiting it to 20min on each side on advice from the LCs.

    I'll google that site, thanks!

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    Thanks spotty - I'm trying to spend as much time at home with her this week as possible as we're also working hard on getting her to have sleeps during the day. Before going to tresillian we'd be lucky if she had one or 2 sleeps of an hour during the day. She would cry so much and have a few short naps.

    As you can see it's been such a huge struggle with sleeping, reflux, weight issues... I'm sure we'll get there and the sleeping has improved so much.

    I just want her to be happy and healthy.

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    The time limit was because she gets so tired. When I was having her on the breast all the time, she fed really poorly, slept badly and was very unsettled. Her tummy never got full so we got into a nightmare cycle of snacking/napping and lots of crying from both us.

    Gah, this is all so hard and there's so much conflicting advice.

    The LCs did say that if she's still looking hungry after a feed to pop her back on and see what she does but she'll often just go to sleep when I do that.

    At the 2am feed this morning I was really full and leaking so sometimes I think the motillium is working and the supply is there, particulalry at night/morning. I just don't understand why it's not filling her up. Sometimes I'll think she fed really well, lots of good sucks and she'll take herself off, then she'll take 50 or 60ml of expressed or formula! So she must still be hungry and just not getting it out of me for some reason.

    Sorry if my posts are jumbled, my brain is foggy and this yucky sinus congestion I woke up with today isn't helping.

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    Have you tried doing breast compressions (gently 'milking' the breast) while bub feeds? This can help bub get the milk out. Sometimes bubs are a bit little, or not quite strong enough at the start and need a bit of help initially.

    There is some info on breast compressions and other tips in this blog http://www.koraorganics.com/blog/liv...super-sleeper/

    take care

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