Babies: 0 - 3 Months

BFing to FFing at 34 weeks ?

Did anyone decide at 34 weeks to quit BFing? I'm at my wits end. DD isn't on any schedule whatsoever and has actually been eating or at least attached to my boob for the last 3 hours. This isn't the first night like this and she does it early in the morning and around noon as well. I don't know what to do. It feels as though she's drained both breasts but keeps trying to feed and fusses as though she's not getting anything.
Has anyone quit BFing simply to save their sanity? Am I wrong to think switching to formula will get us on a semi schedule of feeding every 2 or 3 hours rather than all day long? I feel so selfish but I'm not feeling a bonding with DD during BFing, I resent the fact that I'm the only one who can feed her. I haven't been able to pump because when she finally stops eating there doesn't feel like there's anything left in me to pump.
Sorry for any typos, mobile bumping.
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Re: BFing to FFing at 34 weeks ?

  • Should say 3 to 4 weeks. Mobile bumping doesn't allow dashes.
  • Sounds like she is cluster feeding (google it).  I don't think that switching to formula / bottles will necessarily help you get on a schedule.  But I definitely relate to how you're feeling about being attached all the time... I'm struggling wtih it too... but then when I think about switching to formula it sounds like a bigger hassle AND I have to pay for it, which sounds like spending money on an inconvenience that isn't necessary for me.  My supply is huge, so it isn't like I NEED to switch.

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  • I did wean and switch to formula at 5 weeks. Between poor latch, terrible gas from just about everything I ate, mastitis, plus my 2 1/2 year old really struggled with the new baby and bfing made it harder. I threw in the towel and havent looked back. I BF my daughter til she was 8 months but this experience has not been a good one. I slowly switched to formula and everyone is happier. 

    For us, it did put LO on a better schedule. Now at 8 weeks he eats every 3 hours and sleeps amazing!

    Dont feel guilty. Do whats best for you and your family. 

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  • I pumped for the first 4-5 weeks (LO was small and couldn't latch) and supplemented with formula because my supply sucked.  At 5 weeks I decided enough was enough and I switched to FFing full time and let my milk dry up.  I think you need to do what is best for your sanity and your family.  For me, the time I spent pumping instead of bonding wasn't worth it to me.  I felt like some breast milk in the first few weeks was better than nothing and I was done.  Since FFing, I feel like I have more time to spend playing or cuddling, which was worth it to me.
  • mnj05mnj05
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    I had a low supply and quit after two weeks. It was just stressful and not worth it in the end. We were already having to supplement with formula so we made the switch to EFF.

     ETA: I also feel like I got more time to play/cuddle and sleep! For us, the benefits of stopping outweighed any cons there might have been.

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  • I quit at 4 weeks, we never got a latch so I was an exclusive pumper. I had an over supply as well. My nipples hurt and one turned a deep dark purple. I just was so miserable and every time I had to think of it id either cry or just put it off as long as possible. I realized that I could be a much better mother if I just fed him formula. Breastfeeding isn't for everyone and does not physically work for everyone and if you have it a shot and it didn't work then give yourself a break.
  • I can relate to what you are going through. My LO does not really stop feeding on his own and could literally nurse for hours at a time. He likes to comfort nurse when he is clearly full and spitting up, etc. What I have to do to make things work is pull him off periodically and burp him. Sometimes he keeps rooting and sometimes he'll sleep. If the rooting is really aggressive and he's not spitting up, I'll usually give him a little longer and try again in 5 to 10 minutes. If he just seems to be fussing because he wants to nurse some more I'll try bouncing him or other tricks to calm him down, which usually works if he's not really hungry anymore and once he has forgotten about nursing I can usually put him in his swing or bouncer if I need to. At 7 weeks, his average feeding lasts between 3040 minutes now. He does also want to cluster feed sometimes, particularly in the evenings, but from what I read when I was in your situation, there are some babies who just love to comfort nurse. I don't mind letting him do it sometimes, but as long as your LO is having the appropriate number of dirty diapers and gaining weight, I personally feel it is ok to give yourself breaks during the day by finding other ways to distract the baby.

    My LO is also just a slow eater. I hear this often improves as they get older, but some of my son's feedings are actually lasting longer and I'm wondering if that's because he's going through his six week growth spurt and eating more at each feeding. At least as he is getting older I usually get longer breaks between the feedings.

    Good luck!
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  • If you want to switch then switch. I hated bfing too so I switched to exclusively pumping. I did that until 7 1/2 months. I got so sick of it i finally gave it up. If you want to keep giving your LO breast milk, just pump after you feed her. Your supply will go up if you pump for 10 to 15 minutes after each feed, even if you feel like there not enough to do so. I did that and had a huge oversupply so at 3 weeks is when i just went to straight pumping.
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  • Just because she's on the boob all the time doesn't mean she's hungry.  It's a huge source of comfort for them.  My DD will suck for awhile and then I'll let down again and she'll be surprised and pull off because she wasn't expecting (and didn't want!) the milk, but it is what it is.  

    However, you do need to do what makes you happy.  They don't stay on the boob forever, though.  Once they're a bit older and can see and do more, they'll be less likely to just hang out there all day, so don't think that what your DD does now is an example of what she'll be like in a few months. 

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  • Are you sure that your LO is getting enough to eat? If you haven't pumped at all then you wouldn't know what your supply is like, right? During my LI's first week he was constantly on me...feeding nonstop. Or so I thought. When I finally pumped, I realized that my supply was pretty low. My LO wasn't getting enough to eat so he was wanting to nurse all the time. And the worst part is that he would fall asleep on my boob even if he wasn't full so it was a constant cycle of him nursing, falling asleep, waking up and fussing, only to nurse some more and so on. I started to supplement with formula that first week and have increased the amount he gets ever since. I'm thinking there are various reasons why my supply has been dwindling despite my best intentions to up my supply...ex: I rented an electric pump but never ended up increasing the frequency of my pumping that much etc.So I'm not saying your supply IS low. Just saying that was my experience.

    My LO is now 4 weeks and I breastfed him for the last time a few days ago. I've pumped a few times since then and have been collecting the milk to give him from a bottle but I won't be pumping for much longer because I'm really not producing much. It hasn't been an easy thing to deal with but I don't have much choice but to accept that it is what it is. I'm just glad to have been able to give my son some breast milk for his first month.
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  • image sucrets4:

    Just because she's on the boob all the time doesn't mean she's hungry.  It's a huge source of comfort for them.  My DD will suck for awhile and then I'll let down again and she'll be surprised and pull off because she wasn't expecting (and didn't want!) the milk, but it is what it is.  

    However, you do need to do what makes you happy.  They don't stay on the boob forever, though.  Once they're a bit older and can see and do more, they'll be less likely to just hang out there all day, so don't think that what your DD does now is an example of what she'll be like in a few months. 

    All of this. Sometimes they just need the extra closeness and comfort when they're fresh babies.  

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  • image sucrets4:

    Just because she's on the boob all the time doesn't mean she's hungry.  It's a huge source of comfort for them.  My DD will suck for awhile and then I'll let down again and she'll be surprised and pull off because she wasn't expecting (and didn't want!) the milk, but it is what it is.  

    However, you do need to do what makes you happy.  They don't stay on the boob forever, though.  Once they're a bit older and can see and do more, they'll be less likely to just hang out there all day, so don't think that what your DD does now is an example of what she'll be like in a few months. 

    All of this. Sometimes they just need the extra closeness and comfort when they're fresh babies.  

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  • kitevkitev
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    I agree. If it's not the actual breastfeeding that you're having problems with, but the amount of time, then I would give it a few more days. The cluster feeding and comfort nursing only seem to last a few weeks and then LO should regulate feedings a little better and be able to last longer in between. It would be too bad if you threw in the towel now only to regret it in a week or two, but if formula is what works best for you then by all means, do it.

    ETA Meant to quote runaway.
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  • If you want to quit that's certainly okay, BUT your LO is 3 weeks and is most likely going through a 3 week growth spurt. If you hang in there, I bet it will pass in a day or two. She might be sucking b/c she's hungry or just for comfort. Have you tried a paci?

    This is all very normal newborn behavior - some babies cluster feed a lot, some babies just want to suck, some babies don't get on a 2-3 hour eating schedule for weeks/months. And formula won't necessarily help that (it might).

    If you want to work at increasing your supply, drink a lot of water, eat oatmeal every morning, take Fenugreek, look into brewer's yeast and flax seed and keep nursing as much as your baby wants. By not nursing, you're telling your body not to make that milk.


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  • image Runaway22:
    image sucrets4:

    Just because she's on the boob all the time doesn't mean she's hungry.  It's a huge source of comfort for them.  My DD will suck for awhile and then I'll let down again and she'll be surprised and pull off because she wasn't expecting (and didn't want!) the milk, but it is what it is.  

    However, you do need to do what makes you happy.  They don't stay on the boob forever, though.  Once they're a bit older and can see and do more, they'll be less likely to just hang out there all day, so don't think that what your DD does now is an example of what she'll be like in a few months. 

    All of this. Sometimes they just need the extra closeness and comfort when they're fresh babies.  



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  • Thanks everyone. DD finally fell into a deep sleep a little before 9pm and then slept til almost 2:30am so I slept too!  She then ate and slept another 2 hours. When she got up at 5 I actually felt rested so when she finally fell asleep again I took a shower and now I'm enjoying some quiet alone time.  I did order some Gerber Good Start formula so I can replace 1 feeding a day giving me a chance to pump and save up a stash for when I return to work.  I'm hoping to keep her at mostly bm with 1 bottle of formula a day until she's close to 3 months.

    It's amazing how a little sleep and a good shower can enhance my mood so quickly! 

  • image guilletskichuk:
    Are you sure that your LO is getting enough to eat? If you haven't pumped at all then you wouldn't know what your supply is like, right? During my LI's first week he was constantly on me...feeding nonstop. Or so I thought. When I finally pumped, I realized that my supply was pretty low. My LO wasn't getting enough to eat so he was wanting to nurse all the time. And the worst part is that he would fall asleep on my boob even if he wasn't full so it was a constant cycle of him nursing, falling asleep, waking up and fussing, only to nurse some more and so on. I started to supplement with formula that first week and have increased the amount he gets ever since. I'm thinking there are various reasons why my supply has been dwindling despite my best intentions to up my supply...ex: I rented an electric pump but never ended up increasing the frequency of my pumping that much etc.So I'm not saying your supply IS low. Just saying that was my experience. My LO is now 4 weeks and I breastfed him for the last time a few days ago. I've pumped a few times since then and have been collecting the milk to give him from a bottle but I won't be pumping for much longer because I'm really not producing much. It hasn't been an easy thing to deal with but I don't have much choice but to accept that it is what it is. I'm just glad to have been able to give my son some breast milk for his first month.

    This to a "T." My LO is 4 weeks tomorrow and the 1st few days seemed to be going great until we got home from the hospital and I realized she was latching wrong, refused to eat on the left breast and my right nipple was so raw and cracked from the bad latch that I was at my wits end so we started supplementing to give my nipple a chance to heal. After that her latch got better but she always, always seemed hungry and when she did eat it she always seemed frustrated like there wasn't enough there. During pumping sessions I never got more than an ounce total, all day and it just wasn't working. She is now FF but gets the breast at night and in the morning before work for what milk I do have. I was sad about it at first but it is what it is. She wakes every 3-4 hours, eats easily now and is content so that is what we go with.

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  • image guilletskichuk:
    Are you sure that your LO is getting enough to eat? If you haven't pumped at all then you wouldn't know what your supply is like, right? During my LI's first week he was constantly on me...feeding nonstop. Or so I thought. When I finally pumped, I realized that my supply was pretty low. My LO wasn't getting enough to eat so he was wanting to nurse all the time. And the worst part is that he would fall asleep on my boob even if he wasn't full so it was a constant cycle of him nursing, falling asleep, waking up and fussing, only to nurse some more and so on. I started to supplement with formula that first week and have increased the amount he gets ever since. I'm thinking there are various reasons why my supply has been dwindling despite my best intentions to up my supply...ex: I rented an electric pump but never ended up increasing the frequency of my pumping that much etc.So I'm not saying your supply IS low. Just saying that was my experience. My LO is now 4 weeks and I breastfed him for the last time a few days ago. I've pumped a few times since then and have been collecting the milk to give him from a bottle but I won't be pumping for much longer because I'm really not producing much. It hasn't been an easy thing to deal with but I don't have much choice but to accept that it is what it is. I'm just glad to have been able to give my son some breast milk for his first month.

     

    NO! This is incorrect.  What you pump is not a good indicator of how much LO is eating on the boob. If you want to know how much LO is eating the best way is to do a weighted feeding (I think thats what it is called).  My hospital lactation group does these for free on fridays, so you may want to check around.  Plus in the first week you babies belly is only the size of a marble so you shouldn't be pumping that much. At one week you milk hasn't fully come in as well. 


    What Sucrets4 has said is correct, my LO wanted to comfort suck a lot.  This is great for stimulating production, but it can be difficult for mommy.  I watch LO when she is done actually eating I may let her comfort suck some, but a lot of times that is when I give her a soothie and she is content.

     

    OP- you do what is right for you and your LO.  If FF is what you think is best go for it. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty.  If you are wanting to continue BF then stick with it, because it does get better and you and baby will learn to love it.  It doesn't have to be all or nothing thing.  You can supplement to give yourself a break.  Just remeber supplementing to often can also cause a drop in your supply.  If you think you have a supply issue and want to continue BF call a lactation consultant, they can be wonderful help. 

     

     

     

  • What you're going through is TOTALLY normal.  Totally.  And things will get better, and soon, really.  You need to do what you feel is best, however, I would encourage you to hang in there.  What you're going through now is really the most difficult part of a nursing relationship.  I would encourage you to push through now so that you can really see what it's going to be like.  If you quit now, you'll never know.  You might end up pushing through another couple of weeks and then go on to have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship for months of years, KWIM?  I would encourage you to meet with a LC or seek out a Le Leche League group to try to find some support.  They can help give you a better idea of what's normal, what's coming up for you around the corner, etc.  It could really help you navigate your way through this rough patch. 

    GL!

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    What you're going through is TOTALLY normal.nbsp; Totally.nbsp; And things will get better, and soon, really.nbsp; You need to do what you feel is best, however, I would encourage you to hang in there.nbsp; What you're going through now is really the most difficult part of a nursing relationship.nbsp; I would encourage you to push through now so that you can really see what it's going to be like.nbsp; If you quit now, you'll never know.nbsp; You might end up pushing through another couple of weeks and then go on to have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship for months of years, KWIM?nbsp; I would encourage you to meet with a LC or seek out a Le Leche League group to try to find some support.nbsp; They can help give you a better idea of what's normal, what's coming up for you around the corner, etc.nbsp; It could really help you navigate your way through this rough patch.nbsp; GL!


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  • Same here my lo eats so much and would stay on the boob all day if I let him...he also uses me as a paci bc it soothes them so I started pumping and mixing half formula and half breast milk and mostly giving him bottles. He's done well with it but it doesnt take as long to drink a bottle so sometimes he still needs soothing and we just try different things to calm him but at least I know hes getting enough to eat now. Good luck and dont feel bad you have to do what works for you and your lo
  • Heres a good article about normal newborn behaviour by the leaky boob page.

     http://theleakyboob.com/2011/08/baby-explains-normal-newborn-behavior/

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  • Do what is right for you, but if you want to stay with BF, consider visiting an LC. Obamacare covers a few visits, and I found it really useful.
  • I totally know how you feel.  With my first, I cried a lot and felt no one was there to help me (my family, nurses, all of the support who told me 'it gets better' were not much help at 4 am when you're frustrated and crying).  I resented DD1 so much.  I agree with the others and say do whatever you feel is best.  I switched to nursing/pumping/formula at 4 days w/ DD1.  Over time, FF was just easier and I even gave up pumping around 4 months or so.

    This time, it was a little easier, but I started pumping as soon as I got home from the hospital.   I took my pump everywhere with me and would pump right after nursing to build a supply (it was very time consuming and annoying).  But I will say we're at almost 5 months now and still pumping and nursing.

    Good luck! 

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  • aevanaevan
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    of course it's your call; but I highly recommend waiting until 6 weeks at least! generally breastfeeding gets better around 6 weeks and you will hopefully get on a better schedule at that point.
  • you should do what's best for you and your baby and if that means formula do not feel guilty about it!!! I am not nursing anymore because my baby would bite me at times and also I had to go back to work, I pump and also feed my baby formula!!! try pumping before feeding your baby and feed from the bottle, that might work!!!! Don't let other people make you feel bad because instead of giving you an answer to your question they feel like telling how successful they are at the whole nursing thing!!!
  • While breastfeeding is absolutely fantastic for your baby health-wise, I don't think anything that makes you resentful is going to be healthy for either of you in the long run. It's a personal decision, and whatever you choose to do stand by it as the right choice for yourself.

     If it's important to you to try everything you can to hang in there, which it probably is or you wouldn't be asking, I can offer some perspective from someone that still nurses a couple times a day at 20 months.

     DS was an expert eater early on, and he ate frequently (sometimes every hour and a half). He would often fall asleep nursing, and while he was detachable, he wouldn't necessarily stay awake if I moved him, and pretty much never napped in his crib. Since he's the first, I rolled with it. I figured if he was relaxing, I could too. I sat on my reclining couch with a computer nearby and streamed movies on Netflix or read books on my kindle. In those first few months I figured my job was to take care of him and recover, not wash dishes or other chores. While it wasn't always true, I found myself feeling less "trapped" and more like I was kicking back and cuddling (and this should be true regardless of whether you BF or FF, you need cuddle time). In retrospect I'm glad I took this approach, because the days when they sleep on your shoulder are really short.

     When going out, I just accepted he would need to eat while I was out, and after some practice just didn't find it a very big deal- I needed my nursing cover and somewhere to sit. With a good cover, it's very modest, and if it bothers someone it's probably their attitude and not mine that's a little off. I don't know that FF vs BF should really change the schedule. I did find it convenient that I always had "two warm bottles/clean pacifiers" ready whenever and wherever I was, but plenty of parents have figured out how to work around this problem with FF. 

    In terms of supply, if she's getting bigger at a healthy rate, you probably don't have a supply problem. Have you learned how to self express yet? You can "check" if anything is coming out, but chances are you're not completely empty, you're just not over-full. As DS weaned to food and I pumped less at work, I found I still had supply even when I wasn't "heavy". I often pumped (to work up a freezer stash) during a nap, maybe an hour after a nursing session. There's a learning curve to pumping too, some of which is dependent on your own anatomy, but practice makes perfect. My sister in law liked to pump one breast while feeding on the other- that totally didn't work for me at all.

     I can also say things definitely started to get easier in the 6-8 week mark for me. This is probably related to getting slightly longer stretches of sleep and slightly more normalized hormones. You may just need some more time to adjust and want to give it a couple more weeks. And if you don't, don't let anyone tell you that makes you a bad mom.

  • I bf for 10 weeks and strictly pumped after that (still going 8 months now). For me pumping and bottle feeding is a lot easier and she still gets the benefits of breast milk.
  • Sorry you are feeling so stressed! These kind of decisions are not the easiest to make...

    Here are a couple of things to consider before you make your final choice:
    weigh all suggestions.
    it is your decision, and only your decision! Don't let any one tell you exactly what to do!
    it sounds like DD is cluster feeding.
    pumping, even though you don't feel like there isn't anything left, should help to increase your milk supply. Just pump for 2 min after your milk stops coming out. I had to do this because my DS was in the NICU for a week.
    formula may or may not get a schedule going.
    don't feel guilty for whatever your decision you make. This is your life.
    many moms quit breastfeeding because they needed sanity!

    Good Luck! And I hope you make the best decision for you and your family!
  • It sounds like cluster feeding. It's perfectly normal at such a young age. It's LO working at getting your supply where it needs to be. I promise, it gets better. The first 6 weeks were the hardest for us. I doubt switching to formula will help much, if at all, and supplementing will on exacerbate the problem. Just hang in there mama.
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