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Give Formula overnight for a break?


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#1 happygoluckyinoz

Posted 29 March 2016 - 03:48 PM

I've been EBF'ing for just over 8 months now, I've been lucky that I've never had to supplement with formula and he will happily take a bottle.

I went back to work 6 weeks ago - he still wakes 2-3x a night and will not settle unless he is fed. I don't think he's hungry, but this is how we calm him down and get him back to sleep. We've tried not to, but it's just too distressing hearing him cry.

I'm knackered. DH wants to help but gets frustrated by having to sort out EBM for him to drink in the middle of the night (get it out and warm it up whilst DS is screaming the house down) and by the time he's faffed about doing that I'm obviously wide-awake and may as well have just got up in the first place.

I'm wondering whether we should buy some formula for him to have in the night to make it easier for DH to feed him. I assume I could have a bottle by the bed (boiled cooled water) and he could just add the formula and shake it up and go straight into him.... he'll drink it at room temperature, just not cold from the fridge.

It also stresses me out using EBM in the night as I'm not replacing it by pumping and I'm having a hard time keeping up with what he needs at daycare anyway.

But then I was really pleased with myself for getting this far with breastfeeding (didn't think I'd last 5 minutes) and not needing formula.

Argh, don't know what to do!

#2 theboys2

Posted 29 March 2016 - 03:52 PM

with the EBM - could you start leaving out on the bench overnight as well? now its getting cooler in the evenings? or get one of those bottle warmers so that it keeps it at a certain temp for x amount of time?

with the supply  - you could try doing an extra pump in the morning (i was always the "fullest" in the mornings and did an extra pump just after the first mornign feed to stock pile!)

but otherwise with formula. sure you could do that. you would need to try it during the day tho to make sure you found on he was happy to take as they do taste a bit different to BM.

I know you have tried to settle with out feeding, but was that you or your husband? i would think it would be best for Hubby to try and do it as i think you little on would be able to smell this milk on you and would make it harder for you to settle him with your boobies right there! lol

#3 happygoluckyinoz

Posted 29 March 2016 - 04:09 PM

I've been reluctant to leave the ebm out as he wakes at different times each night & I wouldn't want it to spoil if he decided to sleep from 6.30-3.30 (has happened on rare occasions!)

I wish I had the time to do a pump after his morning feed, but because of his sporadic waking I'm pushing my alarm later & later to the point where I don't have much time at all in the morning. I left the house today with no make up, no breakfast, hadn't brushed my teeth or been near a toilet & he vomited on me just as I was handing him over to mum! I'm beginning to wonder whether I should bother going back to bed if he wakes at 4.30/5 because when my alarm goes off at 6.30am it feels like torture!

Both DH & mum (living with us at the moment) have tried settling him over night but he just gets hysterical & I can't bare it - DH also gets frustrated as he knows boob will settle him & everyone can get back to sleep.

#4 (feral)epg

Posted 29 March 2016 - 04:15 PM

It's ok to give the EBM straight out of the fridge at this age.  Try that before formula.

#5 jem_cat

Posted 29 March 2016 - 04:16 PM

At that age you could try a little bit water - not too much but perhaps a few sips might work? Or a piece of food if he is hungry and likes something easy like banana?

#6 littleboysmum

Posted 29 March 2016 - 04:54 PM

Please do what you need to do to ensure your sanity and the health of your entire family, if that means giving a bottle of formula overnight then you go for it. You absolutely do not need anyone on EB's permission or I opinion.

#7 lucky 2

Posted 29 March 2016 - 04:59 PM

Tricky, it will depend on what he'll accept. If he'll take the bottle then formula is easy (ish), ebm is fine as well. But too many bottles might risk bottle preference.
Offering water in a cup or ebm/formula is a safer alternative but I bet he'll scream blue murder being offered a cup if he's used to breastfeeding overnight (which is normal).
At that age you can experiment but who knows what will work.
Is he crying in pain? Could he be waking with pain?


#8 happygoluckyinoz

Posted 29 March 2016 - 05:19 PM

 lucky 2, on 29 March 2016 - 04:59 PM, said:

Is he crying in pain? Could he be waking with pain?

I just don't know why he wakes up, we've tried to eliminate everything we can think of. He sort of grizzles like he's still asleep, thrashes around a lot and eventually gets more and more annoyed until he's wide awake and crying. I've tried dashing in whilst he's still in the grizzle phase and patting/rocking him to keep him asleep, but the moment he realises you are there and not picking him up he launches in to full scale meltdown.

Between 3-4 months he was doing whole night stretches, down at 6.30/7pm and waking up after 5am which we thought was fantastic. 4 months hit and it all went downhill from there and we've not managed to get it back. He's slept from 6.30-5am twice in 4 months, so I know he can do it, but doesn't for some reason!

#9 Fossy

Posted 29 March 2016 - 05:20 PM

We have just gone through this with our almost 9 month old who was waking multiple times a night, feeding for about 2 minutes then falling soundly back asleep.  He was feeding for comfort not hunger.
We chose a weekend and DH was on settling duty, he woke, he cried, DH settled, no breastfeeding.  I couldn't do it as the sight of me would make him want milk.  By Monday night he was no longer waking.
Worth a shot!! If your DH is unsure find some YouTube videos or find a friend who's been to sleep school. We had lots of patting of the mattress and bum and lots shushing.

#10 McG2013

Posted 29 March 2016 - 06:48 PM

Hi OP, it sounds like a tough time for you guys atm. You should read up on reverse cycling nursing, as you're only just back at work I would think this may be a part of the reason your lo is waking more frequently now. Babies waking for a feed during the night is completely normal until 12 months unfortunately. Waking for comfort is understandable too. Have you tried co-sleeping or cot against your bed? I know it's now for everyone but if it means more sleep then it might be worth considering.

In regards to the formula, please look up how formula is to be made up correctly. It is both the water AND the formula that is to be sterilised. Not many people realise but the formula is supposed to be added to the water at 70 degrees and then left to cool and can only be left out for a few hours before needing to be thrown out so your DH would probably have a worse time preparing formula than the EBM.

You've done a great job so far. Hopefully you can find a solution that works for you all soon.

#11 WaitForMe

Posted 29 March 2016 - 07:42 PM

Will he actually go back to sleep with a bottle, whatever its contents? At that age, for my DD1 it was about the boob not the calories.

I found co-sleeping to be my saviour. I would barely wake for the seconds it took to latch her on.

I also tried a day stay at a sleep school, which temporarily helped... until the next tooth or sickness came along and then I'd have to start again. But, it worked well for some of my friends.

#12 Quay11

Posted 29 March 2016 - 10:36 PM

Formula's fine and EBM is not worth it when you're exhausted. Your mental health and your partner's health is far more important than a couple of bottles of formula over EBM in a thriving 8 month old baby.

#13 laceflower

Posted 29 March 2016 - 10:53 PM

Yep try the formula. Its bloody exhausting trying to work with a non sleeping baby and work!

#14 lazycritter

Posted 29 March 2016 - 10:55 PM

Sorry if I'm staying the obvious... Have you tried a dummy?

#15 Ellie bean

Posted 30 March 2016 - 03:37 AM

 Quay11, on 29 March 2016 - 10:36 PM, said:

Formula's fine and EBM is not worth it when you're exhausted. Your mental health and your partner's health is far more important than a couple of bottles of formula over EBM in a thriving 8 month old baby.
This especially when he already takes a bottle. I can't see any downside personally, except that he may not like the taste-  if he's already bottle fed ebm I can't even see how this could be risking bottle preference

#16 happygoluckyinoz

Posted 30 March 2016 - 12:21 PM

 McG2013, on 29 March 2016 - 06:48 PM, said:

Have you tried co-sleeping or cot against your bed? I know it's now for everyone but if it means more sleep then it might be worth considering.


We haven't, whenever I've brought him into our bed he just thrashes around so I haven't tried to get him to sleep that way. I'm also not wanting to introduce any new bad habits!

 WaitForIt, on 29 March 2016 - 07:42 PM, said:

Will he actually go back to sleep with a bottle, whatever its contents?

We've only tried milk consistently. We had a go with some water in a bottle last night & he started to gulp it down like he was starving (felt very guilty) and then he started coughing and spluttering and got even more upset.

 lazycritterisferal, on 29 March 2016 - 10:55 PM, said:

Sorry if I'm staying the obvious... Have you tried a dummy?

Yep, we keep trying a dummy, he won't take it unfortunately. Just spits it out and screams.


Last night he went down at 7pm and woke up at 9.45pm. DH tried to settle him as we'd only just gone to bed, he just screamed, and screamed, tears rolling down his face, going purple and stopping breathing type of cry. We tried water in a bottle which he readily gulped down before coughing and spitting it out. After an hour we couldn't take it anymore so I nursed him and he calmed down. Although I had expressed an hour earlier so I didn't have much milk and he didn't seem satisfied so we ended up giving him EBM at which point he finally went back to sleep.

He woke again at 4.30am, I tried to resettle in his cot, patting, rocking, talking to him. He calmed down and I thought he was going to settle.... he then rolled over and got more and more upset. Picked him up and he latched onto my face, sucking and biting like no tomorrow. So again I nursed him back to sleep (he had a big feed - both sides). I didn't wake him before I left for work at 7am as I figured he needed his sleep.

We are going to have to do something though, it's taking it's toll on us all.

#17 lazycritter

Posted 30 March 2016 - 10:49 PM

Has he got into eating solids well?  

From what you describe,  he's simply ravenous.

Do the formula. It should give you some reprieve.

You won't have to worry about sterilising bottles as he's 8mths. Try it out as the last feed for the evening before he goes to bed and then have a couple of bottles ready to go during the night.

#18 triangle

Posted 30 March 2016 - 11:16 PM

It's really not up to any of us how you should feed baby.

Whichever option you Choose is ok and you shouldn't feel bad or guilty.

Personally, in my experience, I exclusively breastfed. Mine never had good stretches of sleep. I distinctly remember my second, at around 7-9 months was just inconsolable at night. Nothing would help. Some of it I think is an age thing. They are sitting up, crawling, developing. And getting more of the sense of attachment.

Returning to work was exhausting. Both times. The things that got me through (though at the time it didn't feel like I was coping or surviving) was to co sleep. They had easy access to breastfeeding (I was/am way too lazy for bottles and they wouldn't have taken them anyway) and hubby didn't help with night time stuff.

I get the sense you're feeling like this is a problem you have caused? Just by your comment that co sleeping would be another problem to fix? Honestly, some babies just don't sleep! They are hungry. They want that comfort. It's very normal and not anything you have caused.

So that's what has worked for me. And now neither of them are breastfeeding and both asleep in their own bed.

I firmly believed in taking the path of least resistance. Mainly because I was just so tired! All the time. But I also had babies who got very distressed like yours and to me it wasn't worth the fight. We tried. It wasn't worth the upset it caused.

#19 Paddlepop

Posted 30 March 2016 - 11:32 PM

 McG2013, on 29 March 2016 - 06:48 PM, said:

In regards to the formula, please look up how formula is to be made up correctly. It is both the water AND the formula that is to be sterilised. Not many people realise but the formula is supposed to be added to the water at 70 degrees and then left to cool and can only be left out for a few hours before needing to be thrown out so your DH would probably have a worse time preparing formula than the EBM.
Wow, way to scare an exhausted mother who needs help. Sure, technically that's how formula is supposed to be prepared but realistically that's not how most parents in Australia prepare it and guess what? our children are healthy and alive. Most will boil the water at some stage, let it cool then *gasp* microwave it to warm it, add the powder, shake (that's going to eliminate hotspots), check the temperature and then feed the hungry baby. Takes all of about 2 minutes or less per bottle. BTW, formula should be refrigerated immediately if not being used. After one hour at room temp it should be thrown out. Trust me, preparing formula is easy. Very easy. I did it from the time DD was 2 days old.

OP: Feed your baby formula if you want to. It's okay. It really is. You don't need a reason or have to justify it.  You're exhausted, your DH is frustrated, and your baby is having a hard time sleeping. A bottle or two of formula per night won't undo any benefits he's had from breastfeeding. He's probably busy stuffing all sorts of foods and things from the floor in his mouth, so it's not like formula is the first non breast milk thing he's had in his mouth. He sounds hungry. Feed him, whether it be breast milk, formula, solids, purees, whatever. Many parents seem to find that breast milk fed babies prefer Bellamy's Organic formula because it tastes the most like breast milk compared to other formulas. It might be hard to find in the shops because it is one of the formulas preferred in China and is regularly bought out and mailed to China.

Good luck, and let go of the guilt that you seem to feel.

#20 Lou-bags

Posted 31 March 2016 - 12:03 AM

He sounds hungry to me too, which can be so very normal for a baby of his age. Some (a lot?) of babies just aren't ready to go 10+ hours without food at that age.

8 months was a troublesome time sleep wise for our DS too, and like a PP our solution was co-sleeping for part of the night. Usually the early morning when he was most restless.
It's can become a habit, sure, but it's only a bad one if it's a problem for you.

Have you tried a dream feed before you go to bed yourself, to see if that will stretch out the first waking until later. It might bring it down to just the one night waking which might be more manageable for you? Especially if you can alternate nights with that with your DH with a bottle?

A dream feed doesn't work for every baby (sadly never did with my DS) but plenty of people have had great success with it. Might be a worth a shot if you haven't tried already.

Like most PPs have said, whether you should give formula a crack or not is entirely your decision and not one you should feel guilty about one scrap.

You're in front already in that he'll take a bottle in the first place, so if he does accept the taste of the formula it might work a treat for you.

I don't think I'd be overly concerned about bottle preference at this age, with a one or so bottle a night thing. Your supply should readily adjust too. I know by that stage of established lactation, it took my body only a few days to adjust to increases or decreases in feeds and back again.

Best of luck with whatever you decide. I know it probably feels like every other person's baby sleeps through but you aren't alone, there are countless numbers of us with wakeful hungry babies (cold comfort perhaps) and we feel your pain. I promise that this will pass, but in the meantime you do what you need to to get by! xx

#21 McG2013

Posted 31 March 2016 - 05:35 AM

 maus84, on 30 March 2016 - 11:39 PM, said:



This is not even true. My black mores formula specifically states you add the formula to COOLED boiled water.

Just passing on scientific information based on recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

Edited by McG2013, 31 March 2016 - 05:49 AM.


#22 Nobodyelse

Posted 31 March 2016 - 07:05 AM

By eight months, my two were putting all kinds of crap in their mouths (including dog poo... Yay ds! And possum poo... Yay dd!!) and drinking straight tap water so being super sterile with their formula wasn't hugely important any more. Just boiled the water en mass and stored it ready to mix when needed.

#23 balancing.act

Posted 31 March 2016 - 07:14 AM

 McG2013, on 31 March 2016 - 05:35 AM, said:

Just passing on scientific information based on recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

WHO recommendations are also based on worst case scenario and formula feeding guidelines in particular are based on what would be best in a developing country.

As PP said, most people in Australia use cooled boiled water and then add formula. I probably wouldn't do that in an IDP or refugee camp, but it's ok in Sydney.

#24 Natttmumm

Posted 31 March 2016 - 07:44 AM

I used to have the formula measured out in a dispenser (airtight) next to the bed and the room temp water in a bottle next to the bed ready to go. Mix and shake was quite easy.

At 8 months I don't think bub would want to drink 3 bottles of formula at night though but definitely worth a try. You may find he stops waking.

Good luck OP - put your mental health first. I went back to work when my kids were around 11 months - it was a very tough year but after we got through that its been manageable.

#25 AnnaSchmanna

Posted 31 March 2016 - 07:48 AM

I think your plan sounds fine. He does sound genuinely hungry, so resettling without a feed is a lost cause. And at his age, I just look at formula as another "other food" - you've achieved the exclusive 6 months breastfeeding, so have got any benefit to the gut from that already. You will still be breastfeeding at other times, so he will still get the benefits of breastmilk on an ongoing basis. But a few feeds of formula isn't going to do any harm. And will benefit him if his mum is better rested and happier.

When I returned to work when DS was a similar age, he refused to take a bottle so did the reverse cycle feeding thing to make up for lower intake during the day. It was tiring. I didn't want to co sleep, because he'd sleep perfectly happily in his cot outside of needing a feed, so it was a habit I didn't want to mess with. But the last early morning feed, the one around 4.30 - 5 am, I would bring him back to bed with me and feed him lying down while I dozed. Sometimes we would both fall back to sleep for a little bit. I found this made a big difference to how rested I felt, and it didn't create a problem with how well he slept in the cot the rest of the night. Gradually that feed got later so it was more like breakfast and a time I was ready to be up, so didn't have any trouble phasing it out.

So if your DS is having a feed with similar timing, maybe this is an option you can try. Though do try the overnight formula feed/s by your DH. I didn't have that option thanks to bottle refusal.  (My DS did get formula at daycare from about 10 months, as he'd only drink small amounts at a time from a sippy cup which had my ebm out of the fridge too long. So I gave up pumping at work when it was comfortable for me and let them give him formula in his cup. Far less annoying for it to be tipped down the sink when it had been out too long!)

Good luck! By the time he was 1 he'd dropped at least one of those overnight feeds and I felt heaps better.




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