Supplementing success? — The Bump

Supplementing success?

els831els831 member
edited October 2015 in Breastfeeding
I am so upset. My baby girl is 3 weeks old today and, after 3 visits to lactation consultant, she recommended supplementing today. She was born at 8lb6oz, lost down to 7lb14oz, gained up to her birth weight at 2 weeks, but has only gained 2 oz in the last week, putting her at 8lb8oz at 3 weeks old. We did a weighted feed and she only gained 1.2 oz. She hasn't pooped in nearly 4 days and even has decreased pee. On top of that, I've never felt full breasts, empty breasts, or let down, so I have no cues from my own body that things are going well. LC recommended feeding her, then pumping, feeding whatever I've pumped, then feeding with formula to get to a total of 3 oz per feed, 8 times per day, plus whatever other feeds she wants on demand from the breast. I'm so sad to be giving my baby formula and I'm scared we won't ever recover from this...that this is just rhe beginning of the end of our BF relationship. I'm so worried about my crappy supply. Any supplementing success stories out there? I could use some encouragement!

Re: Supplementing success?

  • I began supplementing at 6 weeks and LO is now 8.5 weeks. I didn't have any issue other than just how much he wanted to nurse. I'm talking 3hr nursing marathons starting at 3am. He was gaining well but I was exhausted and just sucked raw and knew that I could not continue like this when I go back to work because I would be walking around engorged. So I cracked and started pumping and formula supplementing just to give myself a break. He guzzle down a bottle in 5-10min but I just couldn't pump enough for him. I felt really bad about it and I had really wanted to EBF for 6 months and continue for a full year but bottles were so easy I decided to just wean. Then I got sad about it ending so soon and I was going to miss the after bath feedings in the evening. So I've been continuing both and now I feel like it's the best of both worlds.

    It doesn't have to be the end for you until you decide you're ready to stop. The important thing is that you are keeping your baby fed. I know it's not the way you wanted but the most important thing is baby thriving. Remember the 3 keeps:
    1. Keep baby fed. Use as much formula as you need to get her the 3oz
    2. Keep baby close. You can still do skin to skin time and encourage baby to comfort nurse after she's been fed, which could help boost supply.
    3. Keep milk flowing. Keep pumping and I would ask LC about the lactation teas, cookies, oatmeal if it's something that can boost your supply.
    I hope it all works out the way you want it to. Good luck!
  • Oh honey! I started supplementing at 6 days! My little guy lost 13% of his weight. At his first appointment we were told offer the breast, then while I pump hubby gave 1 oz of formula every two hours around the clock. He was also jaundice so we were leaving every day still to get his heel pricked. We did every two hours for 3 days. Then he said we still had to do it every two hours during the day, but every four hours at night. Soon hubby was back at work so I was giving bottles while I pumped. Pumping just made me upset because I got next to nothing. I hadn't done much research at that time so I didn't realize how little he should be taking and that I wouldn't be pumping much. Even with supplementing he didn't reach birth weight until almost 3 weeks! Then we got to feed on demand. He would eat every 1-1.5 hours. For weeks he did this. I researched a lot because I basically just sat on the couch all day with my baby on my boob.

    Finally at 6 weeks I called the lactation consultant. I truly don't think she thought anything was wrong, but offered to let me come in for a weighted feeding. I said yes and went in a few days later. He got 15 ml from one side and 13 from the other. Not even a full ounce! No wonder he ate every hour. She seemed to think it was some kind of fluke so said continue feeding him as normal and come back in a week. I was trying not to supplement, but some days my boobs needed a break and I'd give him formula anyway. So I went back the next week. He transferred 18 ml on one side and 20 on the other. Still not even 1.5 ounces! He should have been taking in 2-3 ounces at that point. Back to all that research I'd been doing-I asked her to check him for lip/tongue tie. She said he definitely had a lip tie, but wasn't sure about tongue tie. Follow up with his doctor. We had an appointment in a week or so and he was on vacation.

    Now at about 8.5 weeks the doctor says he doesn't really believe the lip/tongue tie hype. It's all pretty new and he's not convinced it is affecting his breastfeeding because he's gaining weight. I said he's gaining weight because I'm feeding and pumping and supplementing and I'm exhausted. He's a great doctor, but not much help. I asked for a referral to a pediatric ENT and he suggested I use a nipple shield. I tried it, it was horrible and didn't help at all. That was Friday.

    After talking with my husband he sid get the referral anyway. It's not going to hurt to have someone else look at it. Monday I called for the referral. I called again Wednesday and finally got it. Saw the pediatric ENT Tuesday the following week-1day before my little guy turned 11 weeks old. He clipped his tongue tie right in the office. My little guy cried less than when he got his shots. I went to the lobby and nursed him. For the first time in almost 11 weeks I didn't curl my toes from the pain. Within days I wasn't feeding him every hour anymore but every 3! I wasn't supplementing anymore! He's not 15 weeks old and we're going strong!

    I know that was really long, but I wanted you to see that I've been there. I supplemented for weeks! I'm not sure why, but I kept pushing through. I kept pumping and feeding because I didn't want my supply to drop while we figured it out. I was determined to breastfeed my little man. I would certainly have your baby checked and double and maybe even triple checked for a tongue tie. It's made a world of difference for us! We didn't clip the lip tie, but it hasn't caused any problems! I wish you lots of luck!
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  • It is possible to have success. I started supplementing at 3 days and was able to stop around 1.5-2 months old. She's 5 month old now. She gets a bottle of formula every once in awhile, mainly on days where I'm a bottle short to send to daycare.

    I had low supply in the beginning and now I make exactly how much she eats (unless she decides she's extra hungry that day). I have so much to tell you from my experience.

    First, you are an excellent mother. All that matters is that baby is fed and you are happy. How baby is fed doesn't matter. It's so hard at first, but I finally came around to formula's purpose in our breastfeeding relationship. I never wanted formula. I never wanted to pump (until I went to work), but I've slowly learned we don't have control over feeding. So, try to not feel guilty or beat yourself up over supplementing. Formula is not evil and you're baby will be healthy.

    Second, kudos to you for sticking with breastfeeding no matter how difficult it is right now. (if you decide to stop, kudos for you for making the best decision for your family). What you're doing is called triple or quadruple feeding. I did it for 3 weeks. It sucked, but I was committed. After 3 weeks I went to exclusively pumping and am silk going strong at 5.5 months. I tell you this so you know that it's going to be hard. There will be times you get only 5-10 minutes between feeding cycles before its time to start again. What you need to decide in those moments is if it's still worth it. Never quit on a bad day, but have set small goals and have a contingency plan. If you can't keep up with triple/quadruple feeding, are you okay exclusively pumping? Are you okay to go completely to formula? Think about your answer for a few days before you make a decision so it's not a decision you will regret.

    Lastly, there are a ton of options out there to increase supply. Coming from a low supply mom, they are primarily crap solutions. I tried it all and would not recommend wasting your time and money. They only thing that worked for me was power pumping and acupuncture.

    Please know we are here to support you.
  • I just wanted to thank you ladies for your stories. I am also a ftm of a 12day old and have been supplementing due to slow weight gain, low blood sugars and just plain not knowing if my baby is getting enough. I've been beating myself up about it and reading all your stories makes me feel amazing. I'm happy my lo is thriving and am excited to see her 2 week weigh in Monday. I have a goal to get her back to ebf but we need to get their together. She isn't able to extract all my milk but even after pumping I'm only getting 1/2 ounce. Our lc also has us using a shield which will be another challenge to get rid of but we will continue to grow together as a team.
  • I'm not an LC but I don't think 1/2 ounce is that bad at 12 days. For a lot of women the milk has only just started to come in at 7-10 days. Keep nursing and pumping and you will get more.
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