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#1 Elly_Bells

Posted 01 November 2018 - 02:44 PM

I have a nearly 4 week old DD. She has been nearly fully breastfed so far (except for a 24 hour break in the early days to allow my nipples to heal) and has been gaining weight. I am so surprised and happy that breastfeeding has been seeming to work so far after not being able to get it to work for my previous child.

The last couple of days she has been unfillable, which I assume is a growth spurt. I know that I need to demand feed to allow my milk supply to meet her needs. The problem is, she wants to feed for 1.5hours + at a time. My nipples are still somewhat sensitive and I just can't cope with this length of feeding and the pain. She is absolutely ropeable when I take her off and I can't calm her to sleep without feeding her. With an older DS, this isn't sustainable. After feeding for 2 hours the other night I tried some formula and she gulped down 100ml.

I did make a promise to myself before my DD was born that if things weren't working I wouldn't push myself as hard as I did with my first child as emotionally that was very difficult. So my question is - can mix feeding work long-term or will my supply dry up i.e. is it the beginning of the end? Does her taking 100ml of formula suggest that she's not getting enough? Any (gentle) support would be appreciated.

#2 HolierThanCow

Posted 01 November 2018 - 02:57 PM

I was told by lactation consultants with my 1st that my supply would dwindle and dry up if I supplemented. So, I didn't (and exclusively BF was awful for at least the first 6 weeks). I don't think it is true, however. My SIL combi-fed and it seemed to work fine. She breastfed for as long as I did, but not as much (if that makes sense!) I think she gave one bottle in the late afternoon, and another during the day on childcare days. She pumped milk on those days.

#3 born.a.girl

Posted 01 November 2018 - 03:14 PM

I could have written that. Unfortunately I also got terrible advice from the MCHN.


After doing what I was told for several miserable weeks, I did my own thing.


It may not work for you, as I didn't have a distressed baby on my hands - what would happen with us is the feeds would get closer and closer together until 3pm - 11pm was truly awful.

In the end, once the feeds got to less than two hours, next time was a bottle, which allowed me to build up enough for the last feed of the day.

Different for us was also that she was sleeping from 11 - 5, and we put the alarm on for two am for several months, which after a while ended the need for supplements because she slept an hour later, and i wasn't engorged (part of our problem).


Good luck, difficult decision, I baulked at it too for a while.  I did end up feeding until 13 months, fully breastfeeding after about four months.

If I was in your shoes I'd do the top up after each feed (if you can face the double work) but make sure it doesn't last her more than four hours, so you're breastfeeding at least that often.

ETA: I meant to add, too, that mine would have sucked for that long if I had let her, because she wasn't full.  when I first started supplementing after each feed I would just give 'standard' time each breast then bottle.

Edited by born.a.girl, 01 November 2018 - 03:16 PM.


#4 Renovators delight

Posted 01 November 2018 - 04:03 PM

I can only give my own anecdotes, but I have three stories in which different things happened each time.

Baby 1 - mixed fed from about 3-4 days old. He was a sleepy baby and not gaining weight, so it was recommended I top him up after each feed with EBM and formula. After about 3 weeks I gave up on EBM as I pretty much get nothing (10ml for 30 minutes sort of thing), and just mix fed. That continued for around 4 months at which point his demand outstripped my supply, and he went to just formula.

Baby 2 - breastfed from birth. Supply wasn't an issue, but baby was/is a stubborn little thing who lost interest in feeding from 2-3 months, and point blank refused a bottle. Despite the best attempts of us and many varied health professionals, he refused to be topped up with anything and by 6 months needed a feeding tube. He is a total outlier and I have not really heard of any other babies so determined to starve themselves for absolutely no reason. He is fine now, albeit still stubborn. He never took a bottle and gave up breastfeeding at about 11.5 months.

Baby 3 - breastfed for first 5 days in hospital, and then I added one bottle per day. I gave this bottle as the last feed of the night, so around when we were going to bed. After the experience with Baby 2, there was no way on earth I was not introducing a bottle from very early. We kept that up - full breastfed with one formula bottle each night - until he was about 15 months when I had returned to work, at which point he stopped breastfeeding and my supply tanked.

Were I to do it again, I would do exactly what I did with Baby 3.

#5 Caribou

Posted 01 November 2018 - 04:15 PM

I just want to say you're doing an amazing job, what matters most is what you're comfortable with.

Growth spurts are often short and don't usually go for too long. they do settle. Hopefully hers does soon.

Another thing that might help speed up milk supply is those boobie biscuits and Fenugreek tablets. I didn't really think they worked, but it really helped me and I was surprised at the different in my supply if I stopped the tablets.

have you tried nipple shields? I found them helpful in the pain during the earlier stages.

Anyway, moving on to mix feeding. you can do it. I did it, and I'm still doing it 18 months later! I didn't even bother pumping after 3 months. I have a 7yo so I sympathise with trying to manage two kids!

At first I went with BFing, topping up with EBM and Formula. in the end, I couldn't pump enough out to do the EBM, plus OMG you think 10-20mins isn't long to pump, but man it is like a lifetime. which is why I stopped pumping after 3 months and stuck to BFing and topping up with formula.

at 4 weeks, I topping DS 60mls of formula every 4 hours, it did gradually increase, but we never went past 120mls of formula with BFing by the time he was 9 months. by then he was getting decent solids, formula and BF so he was happy with that.

Now he's 18 months he's getting 120mls x 2 times a day of cow's milk plus BFing.

It is possible, and totally doable. I didn't find it settled until about 4-5 months, thats when suddenly everything just fell into a groove and it wasn't hard anymore to BFing and top up with formula.

Is it worth seeing a LC? I found them really helpful for the early days.

#6 Lou-bags

Posted 01 November 2018 - 11:18 PM

I think I'd book with a lactation consultant if I were you (IBCLC). I can recommend one in Perth if you're over here.

Feeding for 1.5hrs straight seems very long to me, so I think expert advice to check for latch and good milk emptying etc would be worthwhile.

If you can't afford an LC, your local ABA group will have support groups where you can get one on one advice from a trained breastfeeding counselor.

You're doing wonderful!

#7 petit_manchot

Posted 02 November 2018 - 01:41 AM

Mix feeding absolutely can work. My baby had issues in the beginning with jaundice and poor latch, resulting in massive weight loss, and our early weeks were just a fog of awfulness.
I only made it through because we used a combination of pumping, formula, and feeding, in spite of my stupid mother-in-law (a midwife) going on non-stop about how terrible formula is, and nipple confusion, and all that jazz.

For the first few weeks my baby was only able to latch using a shield, and while I found that it didn't help a huge amount with the pain, it made it bearable. We weaned off the shield around 6-8 weeks I think, not long after I had fallen into a pit of despair that he was never going to be able to latch etc.
I tried to pump to make up for formula feeds and maintain my supply, even if it meant just a small amount of milk going in the fridge. I also tried to remember on the days when he just seemed to be feeding non stop that it's just a stage, and will pass quite quickly. He was a spewer anyway, so if we ever tried formula top ups with the goal being a full tummy they usually ended up on the carpet. Hah (I wasn't laughing at the time....)

You are doing such a great job. This isn't the beginning of the end, if you want to keep breastfeeding. A few bottles here and there are not going to diminish your supply really significantly. I've just stopped feeding, a week or two short of my baby's first birthday, and for the last few months (I guess since we introduced solids), he's not really needed any tup ups, so the bottles in the first few months obviously didn't have a huge impact on my supply.

Whatever you choose to do is going to be the right decision for you, so please be kind to yourself!

#8 Sancti-claws

Posted 02 November 2018 - 06:36 AM

My only mix feeding experience was with DD2 - I returned to work at 7 months and she was with Dad with EBM and formula during the days, and boob at night and on weekends.

She didn't wean from the boob until nearly 3, so I think it worked.

Whatever keeps you sane is a very good yardstick.

#9 AllyK81

Posted 02 November 2018 - 07:22 AM

I mix fed with my first. He weaned at 13 months and it worked well for us.

I bf during the day but his last bottle before bed was formula. I just couldn't get my supply up.

With my second my supply was amazing. I was back at work when she was 9 days old and she was ebf. BUT with her I took motillium, ate boobie bikkies and took fenugreek. Just because I knew I wouldn't be on hand for marathon feed sessions.

She fed a bit more overnight I think to make up for it, but I did find I could boost my supply with some of those tricks.

The other thing is your baby might be comfort sucking - have you tried a dummy?

#10 Riotproof

Posted 02 November 2018 - 09:51 AM

I wonder whether something is wrong with the latch. 1.5 hours seems a very long time. Is feeding comfortable or causing pain?

I’d also consider warming your breasts prior to feeding either with a massage or even wheatbag/hot water bottle.

#11 EmmDasher

Posted 02 November 2018 - 10:06 AM

My first baby would feed for hours like that. In hindsight and now having had baby 2, she wasn’t really ‘feeding’ but a lot of comfort sucking in between let downs. She would feed and then just keep sucking and dozing until there was another letdown etc etc Listen and see if they’re actually swallowing.

My second would feed for 5-10mins and was done. The speediness was a shock after DD1.

I used to have a bottle of Powerade in the late afternoon - it seemed to really boost my supply.

#12 Elly_Bells

Posted 02 November 2018 - 12:35 PM

View PostRiotproof, on 02 November 2018 - 09:51 AM, said:

I wonder whether something is wrong with the latch. 1.5 hours seems a very long time. Is feeding comfortable or causing pain?


I wondered this too and have seen an LC at the hospital who absolutely rammed DD onto my breast and showed me how to hold her. I wasn't comfortable like that and haven't been able to maintain it at home. Feeds are definitely not comfortable for me, it hurts to latch on then hurts again after about 5 mins. I might seek support from a different LC.

Thanks for the support and suggestions everyone. I'm not opposed to formula top-ups and it's good to know it has worked for some people.

View PostEmmDasher, on 02 November 2018 - 10:06 AM, said:

My first baby would feed for hours like that. In hindsight and now having had baby 2, she wasn’t really ‘feeding’ but a lot of comfort sucking in between let downs. She would feed and then just keep sucking and dozing until there was another letdown etc etc Listen and see if they’re actually swallowing.


Yup, the swallowing definitely stops after a few minutes but she doesn't want to come off.

#13 petit_manchot

Posted 02 November 2018 - 01:34 PM

View PostElly_Bells, on 02 November 2018 - 12:35 PM, said:


Yup, the swallowing definitely stops after a few minutes but she doesn't want to come off.

Will she take a dummy? Doing a little bait and switch worked for us when my baby was comfort sucking (and I was reasonably sure he’d had enough to eat).

#14 Lallalla

Posted 02 November 2018 - 02:41 PM

I second lactation cookies and fenugreek!! You do have to take more than is on the label a day though to make the fenugreek work. I forget how much I took but about the time it started making me smell weird it worked, and you don’t have to take it on an ongoing basis. I used to make the first ones that come up (not inc adverts) when you do a google search. I reckon I ate a minimum of 2-3 of them the whole time I fed my twins and on the odd day we had none my supply would drop by the next day.

The other thing with supplementing and getting supply to go up with my first and my twins in the early weeks was to breast feed, then give anything I’d expressed the feed before, then give formula then express each boob for 10 minutes. Helped 2nd time around by a double breast pump and a hands free thing (warning it looks utterly ridulous)

#15 Elly_Bells

Posted 02 November 2018 - 06:52 PM

View Postpetit_manchot, on 02 November 2018 - 01:34 PM, said:

Will she take a dummy? Doing a little bait and switch worked for us when my baby was comfort sucking (and I was reasonably sure he’d had enough to eat).

We're trying but so far no luck...

#16 Riotproof

Posted 02 November 2018 - 10:21 PM

I've been thinking more about you, elly bells.
And I wonder whether there might be a tricky tongue tie. Some of them seem to be really hard to diagnose. I've heard of it, but not experienced it in my kids at all.

Is there a local mum's group you could ask about lactation consultants? I feel like you need one to watch you feed her, and possibly if she'll take a bottle watch that too? It may be a simple fix.

It might just be that you've a slow let down, but I would assume (and not a professional) that if all else was well the baby would be cranky at the beginning of the feed and then get the milk in a better flow later. It sounds like the connection between you and baby is somehow blocked. I would not assume low supply since she is gaining as expected, just taking a long time to get there.

Best of luck, please let us know how you go.

#17 lucky 2

Posted 02 November 2018 - 10:30 PM

If your nipples are sore and feeding isn't comfortable, combined with long and sleepy feeds, it's likely your baby isn't latching as well as she might.
Things could be easier at this stage so I'd also suggest a different LC asap.
Re your question about baby taking 100mls in a bottle and ? a sign that you didn't have enough milk- sometimes it's not that clear, you probably have the potential to make oodles of milk but babies tend to feed frequently in the evenings and your breasts get a lot softer than in the mornin.
This is a normal pattern and it helps build milk production because milk is made at a faster rate when your breasts are softest.
Many babies would drink milk if offered especially during the evening banquet feeding period, even if their mothers have just the right amount of milk.
If bf can be improved then you may not need to supplement which might be easier in the long run, gets some specialist bf help.
But, as pp's have said, yes, mix feeding can certainly work because your breast will continue to make milk if milk keeps being removed.
Sometimes babies can get fussy on the breast if milk volumes drop significantly, each baby behaves differently so it's impossible to know in advance exactly what the future will be.
All the best.

#18 Sancti-claws

Posted 02 November 2018 - 11:49 PM

BTW - these are the best - I make them with dried apricot pieces too, and always make a batch and put a copy of the recipe in whenever any work colleagues have new babies - https://www.geniuski...trujillo-192346 (oh, and you don't need to be breastfeeding to enjoy them...  They work on several levels, yumminess being one)

#19 Caribou

Posted 03 November 2018 - 05:48 AM

I just wanted to agree with the top up of formula, babies will drink it if offered, it’s not necessarily a sign of hunger. I private LC will be a lot more kinder than the hospital one! You can preface the meeting by asking they don’t grab your boob, and guide you to attaching. If you tell them your hospital expirence was awful (and I have had horrible hospital LC expirence) they will be much gentler for you.

#20 Apageintime

Posted 03 November 2018 - 06:16 PM

Has baby been checked for tongue and lip ties? These c are classic signs.

I'd get into an IBCLC ASAP. Not just a regular LC either,  anyone can call themselves that.

#21 Future-self

Posted 03 November 2018 - 06:33 PM

Definitely see an IBCLC
I have known mixed feeding to be incredibly successful - but only short term under the guidance of an Lc to get the baby fed while what  was actually wrong was figured out.
Supply issue that expressing and medication helped solve was one reason for a couple of people, and it was tongue tie and/or lip tie was in a couple of cases.
All managed to get back to  full time breastfeeding after a few weeks. But the LC was integral to that.



#22 Mose

Posted 03 November 2018 - 06:57 PM

Mix fed both of mine, due to supply issues.

One until he self weaned just prior to 12 months.

The other dropped the bottles once she was well established on solids and BF until 17 months.

It is certainly doable, and I have heard far more stories of it working out IRL than I have of it leading to full bottle feeding.

Good luck.

#23 lucky 2

Posted 03 November 2018 - 09:25 PM

Definitely check that the LC is a IBCLC but you'd be pretty safe in Australia. If you want to find a IBCLC you can look at the LCANZ website.

Just a quick comment about a private LC being "gentler",  I get what you are saying, you should always be treated with respect, but private or public they hold the same qualification and they are individual health professionals. Some will do better than others like in any job.
Most LC's work in public health organisations because that's where the services are and it is unfair to generalise.


#24 Elly_Bells

Posted 09 November 2018 - 05:46 PM

I just wanted to say thank you for all the responses. It is such a relief to hear that so many have been able to continue breastfeeding and supplementing from time to time. I have been trying to avoid seeing an expensive LC although I may have to in the end. Next week I am seeing a GP who deals with lactation issues and the council also has a breastfeeding clinic I can access for now.
I have done a lot of reading and am wondering whether we have a clampdown bite reflex going on, and/or possible vasospasm as the symptoms all fit. I will follow this up next week. Thanks again.

#25 petit_manchot

Posted 09 November 2018 - 11:55 PM

View PostElly_Bells, on 09 November 2018 - 05:46 PM, said:

I just wanted to say thank you for all the responses. It is such a relief to hear that so many have been able to continue breastfeeding and supplementing from time to time. I have been trying to avoid seeing an expensive LC although I may have to in the end. Next week I am seeing a GP who deals with lactation issues and the council also has a breastfeeding clinic I can access for now.
I have done a lot of reading and am wondering whether we have a clampdown bite reflex going on, and/or possible vasospasm as the symptoms all fit. I will follow this up next week. Thanks again.

Good luck, I hope you get the help you need :)




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