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William is nearly 7 wks old and up until now breast fed. The feeding has always been problematic and, it seems, set to stay that way unless I switch to formula feeds.

Over the last 2 weeks in particular W has been loosing weight which is down to a bit of a tummy bug and an inability to latch correctly. I have tried everything with the help and support of my HV and the NCT BF advisor. He was born 10lb 7oz and now weighs 8lb 6oz - to say I am devastated is an understatement.

He was weighed today and the HV & I decided enough is enough, my new instructions are to offer as much ebm as I can 4 hourly and top him up to 150mls with formula. In light of the weight loss I am fine with this but just so disappointed to be able to feed him myself in the long term .... but ...

The HV gave me another option - to spend 48hrs just cup feeding the breast milk and formula as mentioned above, then after 48 hrs try putting W to the breast for 20 mins, see how he does, then cup feed ebm and top up with formula until he seems full.

Then, in two weeks once he has put weight on try him back on breast feeds only and see if he can do it being that bit older and stronger.

So my questions - has anyone ever done anything like this before? I just wonder what the likelihood of him getting the hang of it in another two weeks is if he hasn't mastered it by now.

But also would you bother with 'the other option' or just go straight on to formula? I feel so upset today, I feel I am loosing my closeness and special time with William, I don't want to BF for any 'breast milk is best' reasons, just 'cos I love that bond I have with him but I wonder if it's just 'cos it's all raw today and in a week I'll be laughing and wondering what all the fuss was about, do you see what I mean?

Thanks for your input.

B xx :-*
 

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personally I think you should do what will make you and him happy. if you want to BF then do, get help and you'll get there, but it may be hard. There are a variety of mixed feeding option you can persue as a compromise.

if you want to move to formula then do, dont feel guilty, you still have close time when bottle fed so dont worry, and he'll put the weight on quick and you'll probably feel relieved.

I had twins, 1 BF beautifully, the other didn't and started to lose weight at 8 weeks. at 10 I switch to formula and expressed milk 50/50 and a month later was 100% formula. He was so much happier, fatter and I was less stressed. He's just as fit and healthy as his sis now at 20 months.

good luck, and most of all just do what feels right - dont feel guilty or care what others think, you know your baby best x

 

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I haven't done anything like that, but I don't want to read and run. I responded to your earlier post and understand how devastating it is at this stage. My only advice is to do what is best for your son and you. I felt like such a bad mother for topping Darcey up with formula to help her grow and then I thought "But I'd be a worse mother if I wasn't breast feeding her enough and she starved." One of the few good comments my HV did make was that the breast is best campaign is very important, but no-one mentions how many babies died in the old days when their mothers didn't have enough milk to feed them. I'm not saying this is the case for you and William, just do what is best for both of you.

Good luck and let us know how you and William get on.
 

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Hi.  Sorry to hear that you are feeling so rotten.  I think you will soon quickly learn that guilt is a totally inbuilt part of being a mum and you never ever ever feel that you make the totally right decision.  It's the best job in the world but it is so hard.  I actually never breast fed and for me that was a choice issue and I can honestly say that I did and still do feel so close to Phoebe and as her mum I do so many other things that bond us together that for me that part of it wasn't an issue.  I hope I'm not sounding clumsy but I guess what I'm trying to say is that if formula feeding for William will work for him then he will be a happier baby and you will be a happier and more relaxed Mummy.  I'm certain in a few weeks you will look back and wonder what the worry was about as I tend to look at the things I fretted about when she was tiny and now I think I must have been mad!!  Best of luck whatever you decide to do.  xx
 

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Just wanted to add my own bits of support. My son was a tricky feeder. For the first 6 weeks or so, he fed 1/2 hour each side and then slept for 1/2 hour. As well as this, he was not a natural latcher and I was using nipple shields. He had one formula feed a day (so that Daddy could supposedly share the experience, at which point he would take well over 15 oz!)

He lost a fair amount of weight in the first few weeks, and the guilt was like nothing I had ever felt before. Like you, I didn't want to lose that special time and the bond that I could feel growing.

I persevered through it all, and am so glad that I did. I fed through until 22 weeks when he went onto solids.

Stick with what makes you happy. You are a good mum, doing a great job. Don't let anyone make you feel any different.
 

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^hugme^  (me again! ;D )
I haven't tried the cup-feeding etc method myself so can't advise there, but we did have a very rocky start to b/feeding.  I had a visit from a lactation counsellor (from the Oxford breastfeeding clinic) which was absolutely brilliant.  I had assumed that if you didn't crack b/feeding in the first few weeks, you never would, and was surprised to hear that just wasn't the case.  The counsellor said that when she is 'teaching' mums and babies how to b/feed, sometimes she stops the b/feeds altogether and the babies are bottle-fed while they learn to b/feed.  She said they just work on one feed until mum and baby 'get it', then gradually move back to exclusive b/feeding, or mixed feeds - whatever the parents want.  

Anyway, my point is that it's obviously possible to 'save' the situation for as long as you are producing milk, and the help is out there.  It's a really hard decision to make, and a very emotional one.  It's not always about the baby, either; rightly or wrongly my own determination to b/feed was as a result of the residual guilt I feel over my first babies.  I think that these sorts of feelings are just as valid, so you need to do what feels right for YOU.   The impression I get from your post is that you want to do everything you can to carry on b/feeding, in which case you should do just that.  Are you getting support from DH now?  

Finally (and I've rambled enough) William is so lucky to have a mummy who loves him so much, that she is putting herself through this anguish for him.  In 16 years time, when he storms up to his room shouting "you never do ANYTHING for me!", you can slip a print out of this thread under his door; you're doing everything you possibly can, hun ;)

xx Clare
 

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Firstly big hugs coming your way. ^hugme^ ^hugme^

Secondly, that is a big weight loss BUT he has been ill and we all know how much we can lose after a day or two of sickness - babies and children just drop it so fast so whilst it is a big loss, I don't think it's an accurate indicator of how the feeding is going as you need to take into account the loss due to illness.

Personally I would try everything possible before giving up BF'ing if that is what you want to do so yes, try what the HV suggested. The other thing you could do is give him one bottle of formula per day, maybe in the evening, just until he has picked back up, then concentrate all your efforts on building up your supply and stopping the formula if that is what you want to do.

Finally, you will still have a closeness and bond with William no matter how he is fed although I do understand where you are coming from, but you are doing a fantastic job even if you may not feel like you are at the moment.

Chux xx
 

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Oh honey I'm sorry you've been having a rough time.  ^hugme^ ^hugme^

Everyone else has given you good advice.  All I would say is, I don't believe all is lost if you want to keep BF, you could still get the hang of it between you, it may take a little time.
Secondly I don't see any problem with topping up with a little formula.  There are many examples of babies successfully mix feeding bottle and breast.  Cup feeding is quite hard work, my SIL did it for a while and I do believe she could have just offered a bottle of EBM.....

Whatever you do please don't beat yourself up over this.  You are doing the best you can for your baby and there are many other ways and opportunities to bond with him too.

take care,
Claire x
 
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