formula without guilt - help !

Discussion in 'Baby Club' started by grace10209, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. grace10209

    grace10209 Well-Known Member

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    Hi All
    My daughter was born at 34.2 on Sept 1st, and spent 10 days in the nicu. I have been exclusively breastfeeding and she is S L O W L Y gaining weight.
    The pediatrician seems pleased with her progress but I am not........

    Today, which happens to be her due date, she was 5lbs 10oz. per the visiting nurse. So she is almost 6 weeks old and still only 5lb 10oz.
    this seems low to me.

    Plus, i really don't like breastfeeding and i hate pumping! i have to pump 4x per day and i just hate it. I am struggling and want to switch to formula 100%. My DH does two feedings per day - he gives her pumped breastmilk at 730p with her vitamin and then the 12midnight feeding. Now the pediatrician suggested at our last visit that DH add serving of formula to the two breastmilk bottles she is getting each day, so we started that a few weeks ago and its going well.

    But lately, after most feedings, she acts like she is hungry again within 10 minutes. I bf for about 30 minutes total and she usually is asleep by the end, but then when i go to put her down - she starts crying and fussing and acting hungry, doing all the hunger cues.

    part of me really wants to just stop breastfeeding and give her formula 100% of the time, i think she will gain more weight faster AND she will be more satisfied after eating.......

    BUT i feel a huge amount of guilt even thinking this way. 1) she was a preemie and 2) they push breastfeeding and say how its soooooooo much better for babies then formula.

    Can someone tell me that if we switch to all or mostly formula that its ok? can someone share their experience with their baby that they gave formula to and the baby was just fine?

    I need to feel better about this. I want to stop pumping, i want my little girl to gain weight and thrive, formula just seems like a good solution but im so afraid.
     
  2. Smudge101

    Smudge101 Well-Known Member

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    I planned on BF'ing but for the first 24 hours my LO wouldn't latch, I tried hand expressing with no luck, I even let the midwife have a go and she only managed to get 0.1ml out if me in 45 minutes. I was so sore and I was at the end of my tether. At this point Holly hadn't fed at alll, she was also having trouble maintaining her temperature so she had to be in a hot cot.

    That evening a lady came round the ward and asked if I wanted a bottle or if I was BF'ing. I instinctively said BF and she went. It was only then that I realised that actually I wasn't and I practically chased her down the hall for a bottle. Holly drank 20ml and went to sleep content. The next morning was the first time she maintained her temp.

    She's now 12 weeks old and we haven't looked back. She was 8lb 2oz when she was born and she is now 14lb 9oz, she is gaining well and is a happy, contented baby.

    I can't tell you what to do, but I don't regret for a second putting her on formula.
     
  3. grace10209

    grace10209 Well-Known Member

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    THANK YOU!! This helps me a lot. really appreciate you sharing -
     
  4. fieryphoenix

    fieryphoenix new mama

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    They have a big growth spurt at six weeks, personally I'd stop pumping, cause that does suck, and just concentrate on nursing. But formula is a valid choice as well if that's what you'd rather do, she'll be fine
     
  5. flamingpanda

    flamingpanda Well-Known Member

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    Hello! My little one is 11 months today and like you I desperately wanted to breastfeed. She was 2 weeks overdue and I was induced. It was a fast induction and she latched pretty much perfectly in the delivery room. However once we moved to the ward we discovered she had swallowed a lot of mucus and was coughing it up all the time. She just wouldn't feed reliably. I had midwives coming every two hours to try and help get a her latched on. I was hand expressing (which was SO hard and I felt utterly useless at it).

    Because we were breastfeeding they wouldn't let me home until I proved she was feeding well. On day 3 I pretty much broke down in tears, I was home sick and worried about my little girl who wouldn't feed, midwives were too busy to notice us. Any time I asked about formula it was shot down. I was told it would stretch her stomach and there would be no going back.

    After crying a senior midwife finally decided to send me home as it would be better for me. She brought some formula and I sobbed when we fed her it for the first time.

    When we got home we persevered with the breastfeeding. First midwife check and she had lost 9% of her birth weight. Feedings were agony for me too. Next check and she hadn't lost but not gained and I was told if she didn't gain the next check we would be sent back to hospital.

    That was it for me. It had been a week of pure hell where I dreaded her cries and had spent every waking hour worrying I was starving her. On the way home from the health centre we bought some formula and switched. It was instant relief for all of us. She drank, her mucus cleared, I didn't feel depressed anymore - I was enjoying being her mum! Dad got to feed her too (and still does).

    But the guilt, ugh it was unreal for months. I felt like a failure and like I'd done damage. It was awful. I read so much negativity online, it was like I was torturing myself.

    However now at 11 months looking back on it all, I was being so silly. I think it was a mix of being hormonal and just worrying too much. She's growing well (91st for height and weight - takes after her daddy, I'm a shorty!), she's smart and hitting all her milestones. She's so funny and creative. She's perfect.

    During all of this I actually found out my siblings and myself were all formula fed. It was the done thing apparently! We're all fine, in good jobs and healthy. I personally believe that whilst breast milk is a great start what really matters is being consistent after weaning. Good nutrition and a balanced diet will go much further. So much pressure is put on those early weeks but the most important thing (at least in my opinion) is to enjoy it. A happy mum is a good mum. I wish now I could go back and do it all over again without the worry, stress and guilt. It was a little prison I made for myself and second time around I know I'd have the confidence to make the decision.

    Don't know if that helps but I hope so. :hugs:
     
  6. Miss Vintage

    Miss Vintage Well-Known Member

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    I had similar problems with latching and couldn't produce much milk through expressing, we switched to formula exclusively after 3 weeks of combi feeding. I felt horribly guilty at first, but got over that pretty quickly as everyone was so much happier this way. Turned out my son had reflux and cows milk protein intolerance, which made feeding a nightmare and might have been even harder had I been breastfeeding. Like Smudge, I can't tell you what to do, but I don't regret formula feeding and a year on my son is happy and thriving.
     
  7. grace10209

    grace10209 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks soo much ladies!!!
     
  8. MummyMana

    MummyMana Well-Known Member

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    My baby was born at 36 Weeks weighing 6lb 3oz. She couldn't latch and suck at the same time and had difficulties feeding. I struggled for 2 days in which all she got was a couple of drops I hand expressed and have her in a syringe (I didn't even want to do that). After a particularly difficult 5 hour session of purely trying to get her to latch, she was becoming distressed, I was told her blood sugar was dropping, I finally made a difficult decision to ask for some formula. I thought it would give her energy to feed. The midwife told me not to be lazy. Later that day we were transferred to nicu and started expressing and giving her formula, but she still struggled to feed and when her feeding suddenly picked up (a few days after her jaundice treatment) I couldn't no longer express enough for her so we switched purely to formula.

    She's now 7 months and 22lb, 2'5". she's healthy and thriving, but only recently have I begun to get over the fact I couldn't breastfeed. I used to cry about it every day and feel awful every time people asked how she was fed. I got so angry about the "disclaimer" on formula websites (the one that says "if you choose to use formula" because some people don't exact y get a choice in the matter), I thought it was my body's fault (I couldn't carry her to term, I couldn't produce enough expressed milk, I wasn't easy enough for her to latch on), I was angry that I hadn't known about things that may have helped, I was angry that I didn't try again, or again, or again (I kept trying to no avail but my milk dried up completely after a couple of Weeks of her being born).

    But things are getting easier now :) it was a hard road but now giving her,a bottle just seems the norm. Plus I don't feel like strangers can judge me now because for all they know I could've exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. But for some reason I found myself having to tell that entire story to old ladies at bus stops to explain why I wasn't breastfeeding .
     
  9. AshLMT

    AshLMT Well-Known Member

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    Like everybody has already said, I can't tell you what to do but honestly, go with what feels best for you. At about 4 weeks Hailey started having a bit of nipple confusion and feelings on the breast became an absolute nightmare. She would start nibbling on my nipple rather than sucking and would sometimes take over an hour to feed. I was starting to feel less enjoyment over my daughter and emotionally it was killing me inside when all I wanted to do was just get her off me. I felt like an awful mother for feeling this way! The plan I had in my head was to breast feed and I felt like I was doing such a disservice to her by not continuing. It was such an emotional internal battle with myself. Luckily I had a really good friend to remind me that my daughter got the best part of breast feeding, the colostrum and the chance to bond deeply within that first month of life. She helped to talk me off the ledge and helped me to feel that I wasn't letting my daughter down at all. Hailey is now 100% formula fed and in the 80th percentile across the board and proving to me daily that she's growing and learning by leaps and bounds! I wouldn't change my decision to switch for the world!
     
  10. Here_we_go

    Here_we_go Mother of 2

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    I just wanted to say that the first couple of days (and the growth spurts) are the hardest for a first time breastfeeding mother. I had one person telling me one thing, another saying something different. I was lucky with my son because he latched on perfectly but all these nurses kept taking him away from me instead of leaving him with me. When I'd call for them to bring him round, they'd be fussy about it and only leave him for 10-15 min. I'd struggle to feed him because he'd be soooo sleepy. When I'd walk up to get him, he'd be wide awake and with a pacifer in his mouth instead of me!! Then they had the nerve to fuss at me for his weight loss! When I WOULD get him to eat, they'd come in about 15 minutes later to snatch him back and see he was still eating, they made snotty comments like :Oooh, you're gonna be hurting if he's been nursing all this time! or :Here's the Lansinoh!! You're gonna need it! and several other comments but I ignored them all. I was breastfeeding my baby, it felt right, to heck with them!

    It was better once we got home and I was able to nurse on demand. I enjoyed it. When I had to go to work and was forced to switch to formula at 4months , I HATED getting up in the middle of the night mixing and warming those darn bottles :grr: I could not pump, my body just wouldn't respond to it and after AGES of time, I struggled to hand express 2oz :cry: After he adjusted to formula bottles during the day, he became a lazy nurser and refused to nurse from me at all. I loved breastfeeding him and I HATED the bottles. I hated mixing, warming and then washing the darn things.

    My daughter was born by c-section (unlike son) and was several pounds smaller than he was. I wasn't able to even hold her until about 4-5 hours after her birth and she was NOT interested in nursing at all. It was a struggle to get her to latch. She was just a little over 6 pounds even when we left the hospital. It would take forever to get her to latch on, then she'd eat for MAYBE one minute, and start getting fussy and pop right off.
    She had such a shallow latch I had awful blistered, cracked nipples (which I NEVER got with son).

    I had something that I didn't have the first time breastfeeding my son: complete confidence in myself. Before I worried was my son getting enough? How much IS he eating? I secretly wondered at times if those nurses may be right with their snotty words. But after changing numerous dirty diapers, I knew something was going in :winkwink:

    Growth spurts are really hard on the baby and the mom. They make both of us fussy and unhappy. That's what it sounds like you're going through right now. Fussy clusterfeeding is normal. The more time they spend on your boob, the more milk your boobs will produce. Sometimes your boobs doesn't know right away that baby needs more milk but with baby's stimulation your milk supply will increase. Feeding for 5 min, popping off the nipple to scream at it is normal. I always chose that time to attempt to burp them. It calmed the baby down and it calmed ME down and then I'd offer the other side. Sometimes I'd do this back and forth several times before DD finally got her belly full and passed out. Sometimes I'd have to go a nice dark bedroom, turn a fan on for background noise and to get her to calm down, feed and go to sleep.

    Some babies are just slow gainers. Like another poster said, I wouldn't worry about pumping right now, just let baby nurse on demand. Pumping is stressful. Baby gets WAAAY more out than any pump can. I was only able to pump successfully with my daughter after she started sleeping through the night. I'd wake up with rock hard boobs, grab my Lansinoh manual pump and start building up my freezer stash before she awakened. Then I'd feed her on the side I had not pumped (which was her fav side anyways). I had to build a stash up for an upcoming surgery. I grew to hate my pump but it's just something I had to do so I did it first thing in the morning to get it over with. My body became conditioned to it and I was able to get large amounts out after a few months of learning my manual pump, learning technique, compression, readjusting how my nipple/boob fit in the "cone" (?).

    Which ever you decide, good luck. :flower:

    BTW: My son didn't sleep through the night until he was about 7-8 months old. He'd been on formula for a while and was eating solids. DD slept 5-7 hr blocks at 6 weeks EBF. What they eat/drink doesn't matter as far as sleeping is concerned. My son was an awful sleeper, daughter has been complete opposite and has only started eating solids routinely at 7months. :shrug:
     
  11. FAB mama

    FAB mama Well-Known Member

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    Maybe this is the wrong thing to say, but I don't think you should be so concerned with her weight. Breastfeeding would help her immune system much more than a large weight gain, especially for a small preemie. However I didn't have a preemie, I had a very overdue baby so I didn't have to deal with the nicu or other problems. Breastfeeding was still HARD at first, but it's sooooooo much easier now. It's comforting and nothing to clean up, no bottles to make. So that's my opinion, but she will be just fine and healthy and wonderful if you choose to use formula. I tried it myself for a few feedings because other people insisted and LO wouldn't take it after a while. I'm glad he didn't though. You shouldn't feel guilty with any decision. You love her and you will do what's best for her and you.
     
  12. clever_blond

    clever_blond Well-Known Member

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    I formula fed my dd1 after her refusing the breast for 3 days despite having help and loosing over 10% of her body weight. The stress was immense and I felt so much better once I was ff. She is now 2 and perfectly healthy and developmentally is advanced according to her nursery.

    This time I decided not to even try breastfeeding and its been the best decision I ever made, I am enjoying my baby with no stress.

    As others have said, you should do what you feel is best for you, a happy healthy mum equals a happy healthy baby and formula is a valid choice and as long as you are feeding your baby one you shouldn't feel guilty about making.
     
  13. Cariad_x

    Cariad_x Well-Known Member

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    It is entirely up to you of course but please don't worry about weight gain - she'll make up for it!

    Ollie wouldn't latch despite numerous attempts and help from the breast feeding consultant. He wasn't having wet nappies and was becoming badly jaundiced (which resulted in him being under double phototherapy for 3/4 days). We discovered after an exhausting and tearful 48 hours that he was tongue tied and couldn't latch. I wasn't producing anything after the initial colostrum and the bf consultant couldn't get a drop out of me.

    Because of this we switched to formula - I broke my heart seeing ohm gulp the bottle because he was clearly starving. As it happens my LO is healthy and has only had a minor cold (although he suffers for reflux) in over 4months. It was the best decision for him.

    HOWEVER there is not a day that goes by that I don't desperately wish that I could bf. I loved the first few days of doing it as knackered as I was and although ff is better for Ollie due to his tongue tie I really wish I didn't have to. Think carefully about that.
     
  14. Pielette

    Pielette Mum to little men

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    At the end of the day you have to do whatever suits you and your family best, whether that be bfing or ffing. However, having done both I can hand on heart say that I have much preferred breastfeeding.

    It's really really tough in the early weeks. Baby cluster feeds, feeds take ages, they're not satisfied and they want to go back on constantly and so on. Your nipples are sore and all you want is some time with a baby not on your breast. I understand completely because I've been there. But that's the thing, you really are in the early weeks.

    My son is 3 months old now and breastfeeding is so so easy. He feeds for about 5 minutes and then he's done. I never have to faff around with bottles or sterilising, worry about where I'm going to be and how I'm going to warm a bottle up.

    First time around I FF. I switched because I didn't understand what was normal for a BF baby and because I was struggling with a lot of emotional 'crap' in my life and couldn't cope with breastfeeding on top. I do not regret it. I never beat myself up over it. I did what was right for me at the time and my eldest is a happy, healthy boy.

    Bottom line - do what is right for both of you and if that is formula that's absolutely fine.

    But I just want to re-iterate something that someone on here said once (can't remember for sure who it was!). Never quit breastfeeding on a bad day. Because the next day might have been better. Take time to think about it logically and without too much emotion. Then switch when you're sure. It's a decision you most likely won't be able to change once you've done it, so make sure you're certain.
     
  15. FAB mama

    FAB mama Well-Known Member

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    Also wanted to say I think it took my son at least two weeks to get back to his birth weight. It's normal!
     
  16. AP

    AP Well-Known Member
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    I always go on this - if it's upsetting you to the point and you are not enjoying your baby and feeding, then its time to stop and go easy on yourself.

    You've given your baby a fantastic start. Don't be so harsh on yourself xxx
     
  17. amjon

    amjon Guest

    I made almost no milk so my boys are 100% formula now. I hated not making enough but there's not really anything else I could do.
     
  18. petite ping

    petite ping Well-Known Member

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    Don't feel guilty. It doesn't change very much in the long run whether you BF or FF. They won't be less healthy or less intelligent or less happy. I don't think that your LO will turn to you one day and say "I don't believe you didn't BF me! You've ruined my life"

    The only thing that matters is LO is happy and healthy.
     
  19. cupcaker

    cupcaker Well-Known Member

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    I fully UNDERSTAND all the benefits of breastfeeding, but it absolutely didn't work out for me this time.

    When pregnant, I didn't even consider the possibility of formula feeding, I was going to breastfeed, what's the big deal, why does everyone keep asking me and saying 'well done' etc?! Well I obviously didn't realize how hard it could be.

    I lasted six weeks at it (and that was literally hanging on by a thread, I was crying at each feed, dreading every feed, and various other problems including tongue tie and mastitsis didn't help. oh man I hated it I found it to be agony consistently for 6 weeks with no improvements. I didn't cry over anything through pregnancy, labour, birth...a breeze in comparison to breastfeeding for me.

    I hung on at that thread with pumping milk, swearing I could manage to give him breastmilk this way but I would be sat pumping all the time on the sofa whilst he had to be rocked by my foot in a bouncy chair given 'second best' attention. Horrid .

    I really beat myself up over introducing formula. I had visions of my child suddenly being poorly, he would reject the feeds, having horrible nappies, being irritable, upset, he would be ill all the time, people would just deem me lazy or uncaring...NONE of it happened. It was like nothing had changed except we were all happier.

    He's now over 6 months old, thrives , and bottles have really suited our particuar situation.

    Once I actually DID the swap, feelings and worry soon dissappeared. Yes breast is best, but consider your circumstances and sanity and decide what the best decision for all of you is.
     
  20. TTC1983

    TTC1983 Well-Known Member

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    Breast feeding does not always work. I almost feel like I was bullied into trying it by all the hype about it being so much better for the baby. I lasted 2 1/2 weeks, I hated it and baby clearly did not get what he needed as he did not put his weight on. It took 3 1/2 weeks to put his birth weight back and when he finally did both the midwife and the health visitor told me I had done what he needed by putting him on formula feed.
    I am so much happier and therefore he is, he is a bright happy and very advanced little boy. I sometimes wonder how they can give you all these supposed facts about breast feeding meaning the baby will be more intelligent and not over weight etc, they have no proof that the baby in question would not have turned out exactly the same had they been fed the other way.
    You are the mum, you know best. Do not feel guilty, you are making the best decision for you and your baby.
     

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