Breastfeeding and bottle feeding, how does this work?

(13 posts)(9 voices)
  1. Hi ladies,

    I'm needing some honest feedback, and I am really asking for no flames please.

    I am still ebf my 4.5 month old son. I also have 3 year old twins. I'm really glad I have made it this far bf'ing and am really enjoying it for the most part. What I don't enjoy is that B is a long feeder most sessions (anywhere from 30-45 minutes) and still feeds frequenty during the day (which I know is totally normal). He is for the most part a great night sleeper and napper. I'm struggling however still with not being able to do much while BF'ing him. I'm not opposed at all to bf'ing in public, I do this, we just generally end up being home when he needs to be fed.

    I think the hardest part of the day is that later morning/early afternoon time when we need to get out of the house (for everyone's sanity) and get lunches done and everyone in bed. Is it possible to introduce a bottle of formula for a feeding consistently (without pumping) and not have it effect your overall milk supply? I currently pump after the 7am feed for a 10am (very small) bottle to hold B over at the gym. But I would like to give him a bottle at 11:00/11:30ish b/c we will be starting solids in a few weeks and between bf'ing and solids, I will basically be feeding HIM that entire time. Will my body just adjust? I don't want to pump more.

    I am going to take the kids out today to find a wrap or sling that I can try and start feeding him while I tend to the kids more and see if that helps before I try this, but wanted to see what others thought?

    I'm just not getting a lot of help and am feeling like I need to find a better balance. At the same time I'm not ready to completely wean him and do enjoy the closeness between us.

    Brittany

  2. Any amount of formula introduced will affect your milk supply, unfortunately. It's a supply and demand relationship, so if you reduce demand, your supply decreases to match.

    I can understand the issue with the time it can take for a slow nurser. One of my twins is a slow nurser and it can be frustrating at times. A sling helps a LOT - I use the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder type, which is big enough that he can lay in it comfortably and nurse while I walk around to do stuff if I need to.

    Not sure why pumping is an issue, but if the pumping ties you down, you might try a hands-free pumping bra. They help a lot.

  3. Jill,

    I guess my concern is whether my body will adjust to just cut out THAT feeding, or will it reduce my milk supply all together (i.e. at other feeds also?).

    I would rather not pump more than once a day b/c the whole purpose of even considering a bottle is to free up some time to do things with the twins. (i.e. being able to walk around, make their lunch, play with them). B takes a bottle in less than 5 minutes!

    I'm hoping that the sling will make this more of a mute issue and make it easier to do things while feeding him. I'm also going to pick up some Mother's milk tea tonight and am trying to push the oatmeal + flaxseed to help keep my supply up ( in addition to tons of water and good food).

    Brittany

  4. Britt- Awesome job getting B to 4.5 m on ebf. I know how hard it is, esp for you with twins and DH gone so much.

    I totally understand where you're coming from with wanting to give B a bottle mid day to speed up the whole process. And yes your body will adjust to dropping that feeding. Just as it did when he dropped his night feedings. BF does not have to be an alll or nothing thing. There are many women who BF am/pm and weekends and formula feed when they are at work, or really any combination there of. I BF DD for a few months am/pm and DS for over 6 months am/pm and before naps on the days I didn't work, always had enough for them at feeding times.

    I think the thing to consider is that if you do drop the mid day feeding and go to formula that after a while you will most likely have lost your supply at that feeding for good. You could probably get it back with a bunch of work (only BF at that time, followed by pumping etc) which I'm guessing you won't want to do. (And I wouldn't blame you!). Then again your supply may be able to pick right back up if you started BF him mid day again. I know it's confusing. What I try to convey to my patients (and what I would encourage you to think about) is don't drop a feeding/pumping unless you are okay with never getting it back. I think once you figure the answer out to that you'll know what will work for you.

    I think the sling is a good idea to try too. What baby carrier do you have now? Could that one work so you don;t have to buy another?

    HTH! If I confused you let me know!
    R

  5. eslamocean,

    Thanks so much for talking me through this. I think you make a good point and you answered my question. I'm not 100% sure that I want to drop that for good, although with solids coming, I may find that th easiest long term. I did buy a sling today...I only have Bjorn-type carriers. I think this was a good investment anyway as I am struggling with what to do with B when he is tired/fussy and just needs to be held and I need to get everyone's shoes on, coats on, out the door, kitchen cleaned up etc.

    He's a pretty content baby overall and I think has become quite accustomed to spending a lot of time on his blanket (he's on his tummy a lot and starting to roll on both sides)...but there is only so much he will do this and it kills my back to try and just carry him...I need something to hold him there that I can slip on/off.

    I'm going to give this a try. Why do I feel like a bad mom for even considering this? I think I am also having a lot of guilt b/c the only consistent nap he gets is his long midday nap....I just can't stay home (for various reasons) for his other naps and he's not sleeping during that time. It sucks...but what can I do...

    Britt

  6. Hi, Britt- of course i agree with everything Robyn said below, but i had a couple of thoughts for you as well:

    first, even though B wants to nurse for a long time each session, you could probably look up (on kellymoms or somewhere) how much he is getting in say the first 5 minutes. i think it's the vast majority of the feed- something like 90%. so, for that feed, you could stop him at 5 or 10 minutes and see if he can't provide himself with something to suck on for comfort.

    re solids- do you have to start with midday? i'm gearing up to start Nate and usually do the first solids meal late afternoon around 4. (annny day now, Nate poor thing)

    and finally, IF you want another gizmo- i find that putting N on my back in the ergo is ideal for cooking, housework, and messing around with B. i can barely feel his weight back there, he loves it, and he's not distracted by smelling the boobs and agitating to nurse (he's another one who would nurse for hours on end). he will also sleep back there, and he's never fallen asleep in the ergo on the front or when dh has him in the dreaded bjorn.

    hth, pilma

  7. Brittany - I was told it's the first 10 minutes of nursing that gives your baby the most nutrition, pretty much what pilma said, so you could always unlatch him after that 10 minutes to free up some time. I am the opposite of you in that I have an almost 3 year old and then 10 1/2 mo twins so I get how time consuming the whole feeding thing can be. I agree with what Robyn said as in be sure you are ready to really cut out that one feeding as I was told the same thing, once you cut it out, your supply for that time may be gone for good.

    Good luck in whatever you decide.

  8. Нi ladies,
    I have 4 weeks old twins and am struggling to figure out if they have enough breast milk. They both live to stay at the breast forever and act hungry in half an hour after feeding.
    DS has medical issues and I have to give him EBM.
    With all of that in mind - we got a scale and measure them before and after BFing.
    Turns out DD got only 1 oz after about 20 min of feeding!
    We burped her and put her back to the breast - she got 2 oz after 15 min.
    So, I am not sure if it is correct that they get the most milk in the beginning of the feeding.

  9. ettore - There is a huge difference between 4 week olds and a 4 month old. You are right, with a 4 week old, it may take longer to nurse, but by 4 months, most babies can get quite a bit in 10 minutes. We had a scale and I weighed before and after all the time. For the first 6 weeks to 2 months, my kids took 30-40 minutes to eat.
    Jennifer

  10. Hi Brittany, first of all, great job for sticking it out this long! I know how hard it must be for you since I was in the same boat last year. And I know it was/is important to you since you were not able to BF the twins.

    Regarding your question, I agree with eslamocean, you can certainly drop a feed without it affecting your overall supply, it will just affect that one feed. But it will jeopardize that one feed so do decide first if you want to permanently cut it out. I experienced this with my twins when I switched from just BF to a combo of BF and formula bottles.

    Regarding the guilt, is it because you feel so strongly about BF him since you were not able to with the twins? If so, I encourage you to allow yourself to be less black and white about it and be okay with a formula feeding if necessary. Do everything you can do make it work with just BF, but if you need to drop a feed for your sanity, then do it!

    I would try the suggestions of the PP's about shortening the feed, and then if it reaches a point where you really want/need to drop one feed, go for it without guilt. And I am a big BF proponent! But he has been EBF for almost 5 months, that is huge. It's longer than most people BF, and it's been extremely valuable for him. Then, if you drop a feed, he will still continue to benefit from the breast milk for as long as you decide to breast feed. With my twins, I did a combo of BF and formula bottles until 11 months when they weaned themselves. It was a great solution for me in that situation.

    So be happy that B takes a bottle, be happy and proud of yourself that you have EBF this long, and do whatever you need to do to make the BF work for you and your family, even if that means cutting one feeding. And then continue the other BF feeds as long as possible.

    You are doing great!

    Karin
    J&H, 3 years
    E, 18 months

  11. Hi ladies,

    I just wanted to update. I did get the sling and am trying to use that when I can...although to be honest, I still find it very difficult to truly prepare a meal or get anything done while BF'ing!! I did however start him on solids, which i think has helped in that he is not always taking both sides (most of the time though) and he does seem to feed faster. I have also been doing a lot to increase my supply and that seems to help (when there is more milk, he is good with just one side).

    I have not dropped the feed yet. But interestingly, I have found that the majority of ladies I know have stopped breastfeeding, or didn't even make it past the first 12 weeks. Hearing that does make me feel better knowing I got this far.

    Karin, I think my guilt has more to go with what other people say/think than the twins. I know in my heart with what little resources we had, breastfeeding the twins would have been almost impossible given how not-easy it was in the beginning. They thrived and we had a great first year despite them being on formula. People just make some insensitive comments at times, something Ijust need to ignore

    Thanks for all the feedback!!!

    Brittany

  12. Brittany...don't be so hard on yourself. I think only on threads do most people ask if you are ebf. Any bm that your 4.5m old gets is beneficial. If asked "are you breastfeeding?" answer YES! You have done a tremendous job ebf. I have 9m twins and one toddler and I know how hard it can be to ebf and keep one toddler entertained yet two! I am still bf my twins (who started sttn by the way...thanks again for the advice) but I am still on mat leave, have a PT nanny to help, and a husband who comes home early every day to cook dinner (5pm!). With what you have to do alone, you deserve a medal! What I try to keep in mind is what is most beneficial for everyone in the family. Now that it is starting to be winter and snow here I cannot bf in the park anymore My DD still takes afternoon naps so that helps. Just know you are not alone and admired for the great job you are doing raising your kids!

    MJ

  13. Oh MJ that is incredibly sweet and comes at the tail end of a more challenging week. Thank you so much!

    Boobies are calling me upstairs

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