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Break cycle of supplementing with formula
Kelly2 posted:
Before my daughter was born, I decided I would breastfeed exclusively. I couldnt have been happier when she latched on perfectly from day 1. It was easy for her - but I've been struggling. I stuck it out through cluster feelings lasting 3.5hrs long in the hospital, through cracked and bleeding nipples. Sometimes it would hurt so bad I would cry when she nursed. She was hungry ALL the time, spending 4.5-6hrs a day just nursing (between actually nursing and me trying to keep her awake at the breast). It was emotionally, mentally and physically draining but I tried to stick with it. Family kept trying to make me give her formula, which made me feel like I wasn't doing a good enough job and with all the raging hormones and fears of being a new mom, I eventually cracked under the constant pressure. I regret it every second of the day and it kills me when she eats a bottle.

I cant remember exactly when she was first given formula, but my daughter is 2 weeks old now. Since she's been eating about 50/50 breast and formula, she seems so miserable. She only poops once every few days, and she gets terrible gas pains that make her hysterical. I keep trying to switch back to breast only but it's been a challenge. She'll nurse for 45 minutes on each breast, and still root, suck hard on her hands and cry out. After 1.5 hrs of nursing, she'll still take 2 oz from a bottle. Sometimes 4 oz. When I pump, I'm only getting 1-2oz at a time. I'm sick of using formula, but I don't want to deny my baby food when she's hungry.

Does anyone know how much milk I should be able to pump? Is it normal to spend so much time nursing? Has anyone else been able to break the vicious cycle, or are we doomed to supplement with formula forever now?
adent13 responded:
My son is 17 days old and we are also having trouble nursing/supplementing. At first we supplemented with formula but now we have enough breastmilk pumped that we can use that.

It sometimes took an hour or more to keep him on each breast nursing for 15 minutes per breast-when you figure in all the times he breaks the latch and falls asleep. I've learned to tickle his chin, blow on his face, tickle his feet and belly all to try to keep him awake and now we can usually complete a feeding (10-15 minutes on one breast, 5-10 on the other) in 30-40 minutes.

We were initially supplementing with 10-12 oz. of formula or milk from the bottle every day and are now down to about 3-4. The lactation specialist we've been working with recommends pumping for 10-15 minutes after every feeding, or as often as possible, to encourage more milk. This has been working for me, I usually have about 5 ounces left at the end of the day that I can freeze.

I know my story is different from yours, but I hope it helps you to know that I was also doing marathon breastfeeds and my nipples still feel like they are on fire. But we were able to reduce our time- we still have bad days and good days-and to cut back on supplement. Hopefully we will both be able to ditch the bottles soon!
hgreenwood7058 responded:
When my son was that age I was only able to pump out about the 4oz as well. Every 2 hours. The problem with supplementing with formula is that it tends to expand the belly more. So they want to eat more and yes it is very common for cluster nursing. I literraly would nurse at times every 30-45 minutes. Also note that it can take abut 6 weeks before you really get breastfeeding down and baby gets used to it. Frequent nursing will help your milk come in more and the more milk you will make. As a reminder unless you are pumping during the times she is formula feeding your bm won't increase because baby is getting satisfied through something else and your body will assume baby does not need more bm.I have had the cracks and all that as well. Its very painful. Because my son wasn't a good latcher I decided to exclusively pump with a double pump. I know have a stand up freezer full of excess breast milk. I was pumping every 2hours. I now pump every 4 hours since he is now 7 months old.Its time consuming and painful at times but totally worth it.
laraste responded:
It's normal to spend that much time nursing when they are so young. Stop supplementing unless the baby is not gaining weight appropriately and try pacifiers. I nursed my girl for hours on end until she finally started getting satisfied easier around 7 weeks. You can do it! That pumping output is normal when you are mostly exclusively breastfeeding. Have confidence!

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