From my last post about breastfeeding we were 8 days in and still EBF. I was expressing a few times a day to get some stored in the freezer so Phil could do some feeds and I could get some rest. So where are we now…
Well that lasted till about Day 15 where I finally caved and had to give him some formula. I was exhausted, crying every day and stressing over every aspect of feeding him.
Is he getting enough?
Is he latching properly?
Should I take the shields off so he he gets the hind milk better?
Will he be able to latch properly without the shields?
Without the shields will my nipples be too sore afterward to feed the rest of the day?
Is he cluster feeding?
Is he comfort feeding?
Why is he so unsettled? He must not be getting enough.
Is he getting too much fore milk?
That feed was only 10 minutes…is that long enough?
Did he do the fluttery thing to show he’s having the hind milk?
Oh my god I was driving myself crazy. Hence the crying every day.
Before he was born and knowing it would be hard, I said to my husband that he needed to tell me when he thought I was at breaking point and, very gently, suggest an alternative to breastfeeding. I also pre-warned him that if he did this for me that I may still bite his head off and to just bare with me.
Of course I did bite his head off, accused him of telling me that I was obviously failing and that he was only bothered because he wanted to get some sleep. (None of which were true but ya know…hormones!)
Once I had calmed down and thought about it, I realised I was no good to him crying every day and that something had to give. I am very concerned this time about being at higher risk for post-natal having had it the first time and if I carried on like this then it would definitely send me into a pit of depression.
However it still wasn’t easy giving him that first bottle of formula. Phil and I discussed it at length and decided to maybe just try and give him one bottle a day when he woke at 6/7am and that way I could stay in bed after having just been up at 4am. Sleep! It all seemed like such a good plan until Phil went to get the formula and I snatched Lucas out of his moses and put him on the boob before Phil could get near him. The extreme guilt I was feeling about giving him formula was intense.
It didn’t help that the local breastfeeding support group had been round a few days earlier and had made me feel like crap. I thought they were supposed to just support you, check your latch, give you advice etc. Not express their disgust at the thought of combi-feeding, talking about formula as though it was Satans Juice, disgust at the hospital telling me express at 4 days post-partum, disgust at the midwives telling me to get Phil to do a feed so I can get a stretch of 4 hours sleep. I was furious with them and when they left I felt like everything I had done for the first 2 weeks was completely wrong…which actually led me to think that I had failed anyway so why not try formula.
Anyway, Phil tried a few times to give him formula over the next few days and each time I would snatch Lucas away as if Phil were trying to feed him rat poison. We had discussed again that I was obviously having a hard time with the first bottle so that maybe he should just do it when I wasn’t aware but obviously then I would watch him like a hawk! I feel bad for Phil in hindsight; I must have made him feel like he was trying to murder our son!
Eventually I got there; well I actually think tiredness got me at 6am when I had been up feeding him since 3am solid. I broke and Phil gave him formula while I went back to sleep till 10am. The latest lie in I’ve had since Sadie was born! It was magical. Still felt like a walking mombie when I got up but better than if I had had to feed him.
The next night, I fed him at 10pm and then went to bed and left Phil to give another bottle of formula at 12pm. (We were doing expressed milk but we had none left in our freezer). Lucas slept until 4:30am and I felt like a new woman the next day. So our new routine was Formula at 6am and 12pm and boob for the rest of the feeds.
After a week this also became a little much because he would still cluster feed from 4:30 onwards and I would be exhausted by the time Sadie woke up at 7am and no good to her. I needed to consider what I would be like when Phil went back to work.
He’s 4 weeks old tomorrow and our current schedule is:
8am – breastfeed
10am – breastfeed
12pm – 4oz formula
4pm – breastfeed
6pm – breastfeed
8pm – 4oz formula/expressed breastmilk
12am – 4oz formula
4am – 4oz formula
We started adding a formula in at 8pm because he was cluster feeding again constantly from 6pm and we think his witching hour is around 8pm were he just wont settle. I did 5 days of constant feeding from 6pm – 11pm and it was exhausting me again. I didn’t have time to eat dinner, shower or even go the loo and it was becoming too much again! Once we did a formula feed at 8pm, he was still fussy but a lot less so and I knew it wasn’t because he was hungry so I could leave him with Phil and go have a shower or eat!
We added in the 12pm bottle because I’ve decided that I want to move onto formula feeding full time in the next few weeks. I’m just trying to keep a few feeds in the day so I can make it to his tongue tie appointment and he can latch afterwards. (Plus if cutting the tie helps him latch better and it makes feeding a bit easier I may well start dropping formula and going back to the boob full time so I want to keep both options open). I am expressing at 10pm as well so its not like my boobs have skipped a feed completely. I’m also drinking milk and I’ve ordered some fenugreek capsules to try and keep my supply boosted seen as I’m not feeding him for a long period through the night.
It might not be your typical breastfeeding routine and I’m sure I’m doing things ‘wrong’ but its working for us at the moment. I’m keeping on top of my expressing and feeding to make sure I’m not getting engorged and I’m sleeping! He’s putting on weight and having plenty of wet and dirty nappies so it’s clearly working for him too 🙂
Feel free to message me any questions about our routine. 🙂 I’m happy to answer anything!