Supplementing troubles — The Bump
December 2014 Moms

Supplementing troubles

Hi everyone. I normally don't post on here. I'm more of a lurker but I've reached my wit's end. Please bear with me. I'm writing this on my phone and it's going to be long. I apologize for typos, misspellings, and grammar oopsies.

I am going to have to begin supplementing my 8 month old daughter, Claire. I have no choice. She isn't gaining weight, she isn't getting enough ounces when I nurse her. Yes, I've had this all evaluated by a doctor and 2 separate IBCLCs. She doesn't get enough to eat from breastfeeding alone. Yes, I've done all the stuff I can to try to increase my supply. I've been trying to do so for 2 months. I can't keep trying. My child's health is at risk and my own mental health is starting to take a hit at this point. I really would rather not get suggestions for boosting supply. I've done everything there is out there to do so please, I don't need anymore lectures on how "breast is best". I need help with figuring this supplementing thing out. 

Claire used to use the breastflow bottles anytime we left her with a babysitter so we could have a night out. It would take a week to pump enough milk to do this. But the person who watches her always said she took the bottles with absolutely no issue. She even used to take a bottle from me if my boobs just needed a break. She took one from me about a month ago, in fact, when I needed to give the boobies a break from her biting (she may have only had gums at the time but damn that shit still hurts). She was happy to take the breastmilk from me. She would smile up at me when she'd pause and go back to drinking. Now, my brother in law, who is a doctor and has a daughter 6 weeks older than mine told me with my niece they had to start with pumped milk and gradually add formula and decrease the breast milk and increase formula over time. So I figured I'd pump 2-3 hours after she went to bed to get an ounce or two to give her via bottle every day for a few days to get her used to a daily bottle. Then begin the formula/breast combo and stuff. 

We started off just letting my husband offer a bottle since he was getting home early for a change last week and he had a rare 3 day weekend (he's in the Army). Since he doesn't get to spend much time with her (he's gone when she gets up and gets home after she's in bed for the night) I figured a daily bottle would be perfect for him to reconnect with his baby. Except she suddenly refuses to take the bottle she's always taken! I thought maybe the milk was off, maybe a high lipase issue or something. It didn't have a metallic or soapy smell or taste. The milk was fine. I thought maybe it might be the nipple so I got the Tommee Tippee bottles we'd been given but never used. Same reaction. She screamed like he was hurting her and then fell asleep because apparently 15 minutes of crying every time a bottle touches your mouth is exhausting. We've tried the breastflow bottles, the tommee tippee (as mentioned), Dr. Brown's, Mam, Avent, some cheap dollar store brand with a latex nipple (someone said the latex nipple may do the trick but all the stores were out of stock of the playtex kind), a soft spout sippy cup, hard spout sippy, straw sippy, a cup with no lid. This is all just breast milk. And I'm not even in the house when he tries to give the bottle. We don't know what else to do. 

I would look into using the SNS (supplemental nursing system) from Medela but I have another issue: on top of all of this I have to have surgery to remove my gallbladder soon or I'll be going to the ER for emergency surgery. One way or another, I'm having surgery and there's NO way I can hold and nurse a wiggling, kicking, punching 8 month old to nurse with 4 laproscopic incisions or possibly an open surgery incision. We have to get her to take the bottle because someone is going to have to care for her while I'm in surgery and for at least a few days after the surgery. I don't know if we should keep trying bottles or what since she won't take a sippy either. And yesterday was the last day my husband will be available to help for a bit. He is about to be gone for training for 10 days. 

Yes, she's been checked for lip and tongue tie. She had the lip tie clipped and 3 people qualified to assess ties said she had no tongue tie, posterior or anterior. She will eat a few spoonfuls of solids from me but that's it, even though she'll eat several ounces if daddy is the one offering it (and I do the exact same stuff he does). We're lost. We're worried for our princess and feel like we've exhausted every option. I know these boards are quite well known to contain very snarky and some rather rude people (it is the internet afterall) but could you spare the snark? I've gotten enough. I'm just hoping I'll get some sort of suggestion we haven't thought of or heard or tried already. 

Re: Supplementing troubles

  • 1- don't stress about needing to supplement, baby's health comes first! Don't beat yourself up
    2- we had a thread a while back about bottle troubles, check it out. 
    3- it is very worrying, but your baby is not going to starve. when i was headed back to work, my doctor told me that the longest she had seen a baby go without eating was 2 days. she will learn to take the bottle, she is refusing now because she knows she has other options


    my main tips: try a bunch of different bottle brands, try bottle feeding when she's not hungry, never force the bottle in her mouth if she's crying, good luck!!!
    TTC since June 2011
    DH: perfect SA
    Me: 30, moderate endo, unexplained infertility
    IUI or IVF in December



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  • Thanks for the response. I appreciate it. I don't feel as bad about having to supplement as I did in the beginning when it made me realize my baby hasn't been getting enough. 

    I will see if I can find the thread about the bottles. I've tried so many at this point I'm going back to the ones we've tried and giving them a shot again. Next up is getting her to try a sippy cup again. Maybe now that her first two teeth have come out she may not be so objectionable to it. I don't care HOW she takes her breast milk or formula just so long as she takes it. If I can get her regularly taking a cup or bottle I am at the point I'll probably just wean to formula for everything but when she wakes up in the night. 
  • I am sorry you are going through all of this. Sounds so stressful. You are really determined to do what's best for her which is amazing. If I was in your spot I would have given up long ago. But that's just me. Why not focus more on solids? Maybe she really just wants solids? I'm a FTM so I am just guessing here. I know breast is best and all that stuff, but so is your sanity. Try to find a solid she likes and work your way up with that. It provides her with calories too and supplement with breastmilk. I know up until 1 yr old you are supposed to breastfeed first and supplement with solids, but I'm doing the opposite and it's working for me. Maybe your princess just needs the calories from solids. Try more solids and stress less about breastmilk and breastfeed in between. I do breastmilk 4 times a day max and 3-4 major solid meals. My princess is loving it and loves solids more than milk. I know it's not what is suggested or recommended but it's working and if it's working I just continue and hope I can at least give her healthy solids since I am already not following the "recommended". I am not sure if I even helped here because I'm not sure how your LO is responding to solids. But at 8 or so months I would try something different. Again, I know you should give dairy this early, but my LO loves her yogurt. I give her 3.5% whole yogurt. Plain. It's smooth just thicker than milk and tastes good. Find something she likes and see. Maybe you will find yourself feeding solids and enjoying a breastfeeding here and there. Just get her to gain those pounds and forget this breast is best for a bit and just see.
  • I'm sorry that you had to ask not to be lectured on your choice to supplement!  I remember feeling so bad about not breastfeeding as long as I wanted to. Keep taking care of your LO as best you can.  I don't really have much advice, I just wanted to encourage you.  We all dream about the perfect breastfeeding situation, but that's not always the case!  People who don't have experience with these difficulties don't understand.  Try to block the negative comments out. Praying for you and your LO. *Hugs*
  • Hi fellow mommy!!! It's been awhile since I had bottle issues but I didn't go through them for awhile there!! No judgement, you're doing what's best for the princess!! Lansinoh bottles are what worked for us. Also, try the bottles when she's in a relatively good mood, don't wait until she's super hungry, she'll just get frustrated that the food isn't quite the way she wanted it. Also check the temperature of the bottle. My son prefers it warm and won't take it otherwise. One other tip for solids, I made fresh baby food. He likes that better than the cans of baby food! Hope that helps!! Best of luck to you!! :)

  • I am sorry you are going through all of this. Sounds so stressful. You are really determined to do what's best for her which is amazing. If I was in your spot I would have given up long ago. But that's just me. Why not focus more on solids? Maybe she really just wants solids? I'm a FTM so I am just guessing here. I know breast is best and all that stuff, but so is your sanity. Try to find a solid she likes and work your way up with that. It provides her with calories too and supplement with breastmilk. I know up until 1 yr old you are supposed to breastfeed first and supplement with solids, but I'm doing the opposite and it's working for me. Maybe your princess just needs the calories from solids. Try more solids and stress less about breastmilk and breastfeed in between. I do breastmilk 4 times a day max and 3-4 major solid meals. My princess is loving it and loves solids more than milk. I know it's not what is suggested or recommended but it's working and if it's working I just continue and hope I can at least give her healthy solids since I am already not following the "recommended". I am not sure if I even helped here because I'm not sure how your LO is responding to solids. But at 8 or so months I would try something different. Again, I know you should give dairy this early, but my LO loves her yogurt. I give her 3.5% whole yogurt. Plain. It's smooth just thicker than milk and tastes good. Find something she likes and see. Maybe you will find yourself feeding solids and enjoying a breastfeeding here and there. Just get her to gain those pounds and forget this breast is best for a bit and just see.

    I've been trying to increase solids but it seems lately the only one she'll really eat them well for, homemade, store bought, or BLW style is her daddy. And as I mentioned in my original post, he's not home enough to be able to give her enough solids to make a difference. She normally LOVES her solids no matter who gives them....I had a friend tell me it just may be a "strike".Then again, maybe if I start offering solids in place of breast....she couldn't possibly be weaning herself to solids on her own at 8 months can she?! I mean....I know my mother CLAIMS I did the same thing at 7 months but she likes to tell tall tales. Is it possible? 


    Hi fellow mommy!!! It's been awhile since I had bottle issues but I didn't go through them for awhile there!! No judgement, you're doing what's best for the princess!! Lansinoh bottles are what worked for us. Also, try the bottles when she's in a relatively good mood, don't wait until she's super hungry, she'll just get frustrated that the food isn't quite the way she wanted it. Also check the temperature of the bottle. My son prefers it warm and won't take it otherwise. One other tip for solids, I made fresh baby food. He likes that better than the cans of baby food! Hope that helps!! Best of luck to you!! :)

    I had amazing luck, she took the first bottle I ever tried. Until last week. Suddenly, even with the faster flow nipple she won't touch it. Warm, cold, room temp and everything in between. And I've tried in various moods. I tried feeding a few solids so she wasn't that hungry (okay, let's be real, daddy had to feed those) and then offered the bottle more as a "drink" to wash them down sort of thing. Still she will either scream immediately or take 1/4-1/2 ounce and then start screaming like she's being hurt. Even when she is hungry and I'm not at home and hubby tries feeding her. Basically when she has no other option but the bottle or cup. Whether the food is homemade or store bought doesn't seem to matter for her. 

    I'm just fresh out of ideas. She went from taking a bottle and smiling when she paused to either screaming immediately or taking a few sips and then screaming. Since it is such a sudden refusal I am just taking her to see her primary care manager (nurse practitioner) to see if she has any sort of ear infection of something else that may be making her not want to eat. Maybe they can offer some kind of tip I haven't tried, other than "let someone else give the bottle" because that doesn't do any good either since my hubby is in and out of the field training. 
  • Have you tried the Comotomo bottles? We use them for my son occasionally. They are a little expensive, but they have the wide nipple so it's more like the breast and the bottle is soft and flexable, my son loves to hold it while he is eating.
  • almichel said:
    Have you tried the Comotomo bottles? We use them for my son occasionally. They are a little expensive, but they have the wide nipple so it's more like the breast and the bottle is soft and flexable, my son loves to hold it while he is eating.
    I've thought about getting one but with it being a bit more expensive I'm just scared to try it and end up with another useless bottle that she won't accept. But, if she won't take any of the ones we've tried and she won't take the soothie bottles I got off eBay (designed with a nipple the same as the pacifier which she LOVES) then the Comotomo is the first one I'm trying. I'm also trying the Lansinoh ones per recommendation from someone. I just feel like we're running out of options pretty fast. I'm gonna try as many bottles as I can but eventually we'll exhaust all of them. That she won't even take a drink from a sippy of any kind makes me think that if I had been able to nurse as long as I wanted she would be HELL to wean when it was time. 
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