Before DD was born I thought I would breastfeed exclusively for 6mos-1yr. Here we are nearly two weeks in and I've already given her formula!
She had jaundice in the hospital and they suggested giving her formula to flush out all the bilirubin.
Now at home She wants to eat more then I can give her. She only cries when she's hungry, so I have relented and given her formula after she's sucked me dry. But I worry about my supply keeping up if I supplement. What should I do? If you supplement does your supply keep up?
grapefruit / 4291 posts
Supplementation can definitely be a slippery slope down to diminishing supply but careful and well thought out supplementation can also allow some mothers to continue bf'ing.
The issue with supplementation is that bf'ing is about supply and demand and if baby gets formula then they're not feeding at the breast and providing the demand side of the equation to stimulate good supply. It's a good rule of thumb that babies generally only need 24-36 oz of breastmilk in 24 hours (newborn babies can require even less) so if baby is taking 2-3 oz of formula then that's effectively a full feeding. Now this is of course only generalised advice and won't be the case for every baby!
Have you thought about getting in touch with an IBCLC or your local LLL? Some expert advice might allow you to get back to EBF (if that's your goal) or help you work out a good plan for supplementing going forward! Good luck!
grapefruit / 4455 posts
I'm not bfing (health reasons not lack of interest in it) so take this with a grain of salt, but I'd want to find an LC and maybe ask about SNS for a little bit. And also make sure that's really why she's crying. She may just be "waking up" at two weeks. Good luck! (Eta and the only reason I'm commenting is because that sort of thing, although I ended up pumping too so it was a little different, is why it didn't work out with lo1. It started as a legitamate need but with no guidance I didn't know how to go back.)
honeydew / 7235 posts
I'm planning on supplementing with my 3 month old at some point! of course, i can't get him to take a bottle (UGH), but when he does I will use formula for a backup when I'm back to work & pumping.
I supplemented with my first when he was 4 months old, but only for a bit as my supply picked up and i was able to keep up with him, then i started supplementing again when he was around 7 months old, and we supplemented/nursed until he was 10 months... my supply diminished because i went to only pumping 1x a day, and i was away and it made my supply tank.
with this baby at 2 weeks i felt like i wasn't making enough but just nursed constantly and it seemed to pickup to meet his demand. I know it's tough when they're cranky and you think theyr'e hungry but if you keep nursing it should work. OR, when the baby has the formula you could pump to build up a stash.
hostess / wonderful persimmon / 25556 posts
Yep. Sure did. It really helped with my stress level!!
cantaloupe / 6885 posts
I supplemented quite a bit with my older daughter (probably 75%BM, 25% formula). She had jaundice also and was in the nicu for dehydration. With my 2 month old I haven't had to supplement nearly as much. My supply is able to keep up with her , but I do still give her formula now and then for convenience.
I EP though so it's a bit of a different story than BFing and supplementing, I don't have much advice there.
wonderful kiwi / 23653 posts
I did around 6-7 months b/c my pumping output was just not keeping up. Def be very aware of supply/demand; since your supply isn't regulated yet you'd want it to hit full potential! If you're going to supplement after feeding then maybe pump too while she's drinking the formula!
honeydew / 7230 posts
My LOs (twins) started supplementation at 3 (4? I can barely remember now) days old. We continued using formula until they were 13 months, then switched to whole milk. They nursed that entire time, and are still nursing a lot at 19 months.
The biggest advice I can give you is always put LO to the breast as often as possible (I had twins so I had one baby on each side, but you may need to make an effort to put her to both sides). As tempting as it is to skip a feeding here or there and just give a bottle, try to put her to breast every time (to send the signal to your body to keep making milk). In my case, I supplemented after every feeding, but it may not be necessary for you depending on how much you make. I did weighted feeds at the LC to determine how much they were getting. They were also vey vocal from the beginning when they were Unsatisfied and not getting enough. I also pumped after every feeding while DH or a grandma gave the supplemental bottle. I used an extremely slow paced nipple (Enfamil preemie nipples) which always kept my kids working for the formula. They always preferred nursing, which I think is pretty lucky because they've kept it up despite the supply issues. I stay home with them so I have always nursed on demand, as frequently or as long as they want. (Even at night, up until 1 week ago when we finally started night weaning!) Its hard to say if that really helped my supply, but I do think it helped with their boob over bottle preference.
Good luck! I am a huge fan of supplementing and really believe it's possible to have a great nursing relationship despite supplementing. I think it took so much pressure off of me and allowed all three of us to enjoy breastfeeding and see it primarily as a comfort/bonding thing since they got so much nutrition from formula.
GOLD / wonderful pomegranate / 28905 posts
I supplemented pretty regularly with my first. I just couldn't pump enough to keep up with her intake while at daycare. And she was legit starving the first few days. Colostrum is not enough for all babies!!
With my second, she screamed in the hospital and we didn't hesitate to give her formula until my milk came in. With her I have been able to EBF after that till we introduced milk about one. I was just pumping enough to meet her needs when I went back to work.
Good luck! Just remember, breastfeeding isn't all or nothing. Anything they get is great. And if not, formula is great too.
cantaloupe / 6131 posts
We did formula supplementation in NICU for jaundice too and my milk took a full week to come in. I don't think I even made colostrum! I had him at the breast 24/7 and he was losing weight fast so we introduced formula while I breastfed on demand and pumped 8-10 times a day. My supply didn't fully establish until 12 weeks and my max production was 24oz a day. Let me tell you without formula I wouldn't have made it that long. We weaned to formula at 10 months and I credit supplementation for allowing me to give my son 80-90 percent breastmilk that long. I will not hesitate to do so with my second and save myself the month of stressing I had with DS.
coconut / 8854 posts
I gave DD formula the first few days at home because of jaundice too! But we continued to breast feed. I only gave her formula in the first few weeks, only once a day. Now I'm still EBF my 6.5 month old! Keep at it, and keep offering your breast!
persimmon / 1281 posts
I had to use a bit of formula in the first few weeks due to weight loss and jaundice. (Probably 30oz total) We did a weighted feed and he did not transfer much at all so I thought my supply was low. Turns out LO was tongue tied so he physically couldn't get the milk out. Luckily we caught it before it damaged my supply and I am currently EBF at 5 months. I think a little formula here and there won't hurt but if you can pump while LO is getting the bottle that will help (even if you're not getting anything it should help stimulate production!)
cantaloupe / 6669 posts
@Kemma: Pretty much what I would have said!
I did supplement and I also nursed for 19 months but I worked hard to protect my supply and our BFing relationship. Definitely see a LC!
pomegranate / 3401 posts
My first I supplemented all the way through to one year. She was in NICU for a long time and I feel like my supply never got established. My second I supplemented sparingly for the first two months and now I EBF. I did go see a LC and do weighted feeds to reassure myself she was getting enough. And she was! It was hard though, I felt like she was on the boob constantly for the first three months.
hostess / wonderful watermelon / 39513 posts
I supplemented all 3 of my kids for about 2-3 weeks and had good nursing experiences. My milk comes in late and FF was great until my supply was established.
persimmon / 1461 posts
We started supplementing with formula in the hospital as my LO was jaundiced as well. Once we got home, my milk came in more and I kept putting her to the breast to get my supply up. Currently at 4 weeks I will give her a formula top up (about 50ml) maybe once a day if she is very very fussy after feeding from both breasts first.
kiwi / 735 posts
Thank you for the words of advice and encouragement!
I am feeling very overwhelmed with breast feeding, but I will keep trying, we'll get there.
grapefruit / 4291 posts
@Keybee: is there anything in particular we might be able to help you with? Can you get in contact with an IBCLC or your local LLL for some hands on help?
nectarine / 2243 posts
I know it's super overwhelming in the beginning (and if I'm honest even a tiny bit now at 9 months)! I remember that 2-4 week period well. I remember thinking there was no way I was keeping up with her needs. She would cry and cry, especially between 3 and 7 pm. Sometimes 8 or 9. But I also realized that around that time that they are coming out of the newborn stupor. A tiny bit more awake and cluster feeding like crazy. My LC had to talk me off the ledge several times. Is your little one gaining and having enough wet and dirty diapers? You might be producing more than you think. I certainly didn't think I was producing enough and I actually was.
There isn't anything wrong with supplementing but you just have to be careful if you want to protect your breastfeeding relationship. Maybe keep her on the breast and switch to the other breast and as soon as she acts like she's not getting more milk offer an oz in a bottle (paced feeding, preemie nipple so she has to work for it a bit). You want to continue to send the message to your body "make more milk"!!
If you skip a feeding at the breast you body won't know to make more.
And don't worry you're not "giving in". Whatever you choose to do is what you think is best for your baby and that is *the* correct choice. I expected breast feeding to be roses and butterflies. It isn't. Mastitis, nipple trauma, and now I'm exclusively pumping. It's different for everyone and that's ok.
kiwi / 735 posts
Thank you @littlebit7 I needed to hear that.
I had no idea how demanding breastfeeding would be! I worry that I'm not making enough, she is always hungry for more.
@kemma I'm just totally overwhelmed with feeding baby. I didn't think my day would revolve around her feeding a, but it totally does. I wasn't at all mentally prepared for this.
Right now I'm just taking it one feeding at a time and trying to keep her full.
grapefruit / 4291 posts
@Keybee: having a baby is just huge and absolutely changes everything but that's ok! And FWIW, if you're not thinking about bf'ing you're thinking about sleeping, or tummy time, or changing a diaper - babies are needy wee creatures!
I remember being completely shell-shocked when my first baby arrived but it does get better! My advice to you is to just go with the flow and like you said, take it one feeding at a time. Forget about trying to be Wonder Woman and just concentrate on your new family. And if people offer to help, let them!
Hang in there, @Keybee: you're doing awesome!!
grapefruit / 4455 posts
I just glanced through this thread for an update and realized I wrote "legitamate." Why, oh why... Why didn't autocorrect pick that up?
coffee bean / 39 posts
I didn't plan to, but have had to supplement due to low milk supply. Really, at this point we are basically supplementing with breast milk, my supply is so poor.
pear / 1697 posts
@Keybee: It is super time consuming. My baby forgot to read the books that said he'd be feeding for ~20 minutes once every 2 hours. Nope, he wanted to eat for ~50 minutes once every 90 minutes.