supplementing :(

Jennifer - posted on 09/16/2011 ( 22 moms have responded )

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Well it looks like the time has come for me to start supplementing with formula. I have tried long and hard to keep up my supply up but it just isn't enough and my freezer stash is gone. My son will eat 3 5 oz bottles while with the sitter and I only pump about 10 so I am a bottle short. I know I should be proud that I was able to make it this far but it just pains me that I was not able to supply him with what he needs. My first goal was 6 months and I am just shy of that. Has anyone else had to supplement? How do I go about it? Should I give him all bm and then 1 bottle of formula or should I mix half and half. I will continue to bf when with him and pump at work but will my supply go lower cause I am using formula? Ugh I seriously want to cry and I know I should't feel like this but I just do (sorry for the pity party)

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Sarah - posted on 09/18/2011

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Oh Honey, no. Do NOT try to supplement and breastfeed. The more you supplement, the less milk you make. First off, there is a lot of BAD advice out there. How is your baby's weight? Is he losing weight? Is he within the range of normal for his age? Or are the doctors significantly worried about his growth? Secondly, there is WAY too much hype about the number of ounces a baby is getting in one feeding. First off, babies typically will get more milk from nursing than a lot of moms can pump. Secondly their bellies are tiny. They don't need much in one feeding. Thirdly, babies tend to get over-fed from bottle feeding. Well-meaning care providers often insist that a baby finish a bottle, when the baby is actually showing signs of being done. It sounds like this is an on-going concern for you. Are you nursing and pumping or just pumping and trying to bottle feed? If you are truly worried about how much he is getting from nursing, you could weigh him before and after he eats. Make sure you have consulted your local Le Leche League before giving up. http://www.llli.org/resources/assistance... There are a lot of tricks to use to increase milk supply, get baby to latch and so forth, depending on your particular issue. You can pump on one side while nursing on the other. (Increased milk supply) You can start baby on a bottle for a second and then switch him to the breast. (Latch issue or nipple preference) There are nipple shields...There are milk banks...There are so many options. Please consult a lactation specialist before listening to all the bad advice from well-meaning friends, relatives and even medical personnel. If you really need to supplement, fine. At least you will know that you have exhausted all other options.

[deleted account]

Kudos to you for doing your absolute best for your child!

If you're interested, you could look into milksharing instead of formula. Human Milk 4 Human Babies has an amazing network of moms and communities in every US state, Canadian province and countries all over the world. It's worth taking a look. https://www.facebook.com/hm4hb

Amy - posted on 09/17/2011

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I worked full time so I was out of the house 50 hours a week, I was usually able to pump enough for part of the day but when my daughter went to my inlaws she would be given formula, it was similar to you only one bottle a day. It didn't have any impact on my supply because I pumped 2-3 times a day while at work, a pump isn't as efficient so your supply will dwindle a little. I always made sure to bf when home and did not use formula while I was with her. I also offered a dream feed before I left fo work, to save me from having to pump an extra session. If your LO will just drink straight formula then don't mix it it. As your LO gets older you may be able to sub that formula feeding session with solids so you can skip formula.
I find a lot if moms on here don't work full time so they don't have to worry, but you shouldn't feel guilty because of one bottle of formula everyday. You can try taking Fenugeek it's an herbal supplement to increase your supply. Good luck, you're doing awesome! Ps I still work my daughter is 18 months old and still bf's 2-3 times a day if I'm home!

Dana - posted on 09/19/2011

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Have you talked to a lactation consultant about how to build up your supply? Your supply will go lower without pumping but I sense that you are sad about giving formula. check out www.ILCA.org for a lactation consultant near you or La Leche League. Don't give formula until you are ready!

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[deleted account]

I don't know how long your working hours are but you might be over-estimating how much your baby needs. A friend of mine went back to work part-time when her baby was 8 months old and she didn't even bother pumping. She was making sure that she'd get at least three nursing sessions a day in and otherwise gave solids and water. I went back to work when my daughter was six months old (about six hours a day) and while I did pump for her, she simply refused to take the milk in my absence - and didn't take to solids until 10 months old. She just nursed more when I came home. Co-sleeping also helped greatly with getting that milk into her. Either way, don't feel bad if you have to supplement. Working when they are that little is hard, you do your best, that's all anyone can ask for.

Karen - posted on 09/25/2011

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Ok Hi I'm Karen.. Mother of 4 and grandmother of 7.. Before you give up.. May I suggest you increase your food intake. Increase you Vitamins, the veggies and fruit you eat. and the milk you drink.. Your baby is craving more. But your milk is not giving him what he needs.. So you need to better your supply.... Allow me to explain it like this. If a farmer has a cow that has a calf.. And the calf is getting weaker.. The farmer will change up the food supply to the cow. The better food that goes in to the cow the better milk the cow will produce for the calf.. Sorry I'm blunt.. But I hope you get the picture.. Also mother sleep for you is very very important. Even if your eating the right stuff. ( that means cutting out the fast food places).. and your not getting the right about of sleep.. This also will tear down your supply.. And if your saying to your self.. things like this " Well I get sleep here and there and when I can.." Well maybe your body is telling you different. Keep in mind if your milk is full of the vitamins that baby needs.. Then baby will be good to go.. and baby will not be begging for more..

Ania - posted on 09/21/2011

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Hey you are a working mom if you have to supplement you have to supplement so don't beat yourself up. I'm a stayed home mom and I can BF and thats what I do, but if I had to go back to work I would end up supplementing too. I've heard that some babies don't drink too much milk when their moms are at work and they use reverse cycle, meaning they coosleep and eat at night a lot, but if that doesn't work for you I would keep pumping at work as much as possible and then supplement. You can mix breastmilk and formula or do it separately.

Samantha - posted on 09/19/2011

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I know it is difficult to go through this situation. A lot of moms do. If you want to continue breastfeeding... I would do EXACTLY what you are doing and then give him the one bottle of formula. That should not jeopardize your supply at all. I have had many moms that will give formula while at work and then nurse throughout the evening and night. If your son doesn't want to take the formula you can do half and half between two bottles during the day. The important thing is to continue to pump and nurse as often as you and your son can. You are doing a great job!

[deleted account]

So many moms don't consider donor milk. The WHO suggests giving the baby donor milk before formula. You can also make your own formula using goat's milk. It's generally easier to digest & you can make sure your child gets the right ingredients, like probiotics.

[deleted account]

How long are you away from baby? It is very easy to overfeed a breastfed baby with a bottle. Baby needs about 1-1.5 oz for every hour your gone. Maybe try offering smaller bottles more frequently. Babies like to suck and sometimes caregivers confuse the need to suck with hunger. Check out this link: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/milkc...

It has a milk calculator that can help you estimate how much milk baby needs. And also this link: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/

It has great info about working, pumping and bottle feeding including how to bottle feed the breastfed baby. And as others have said nurse frequently when your with baby and maybe squeeze one more pumping session in if you can.

Suzanne - posted on 09/18/2011

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Jennifer, I had the exact same problem, but mine started at 4 months for DD. I DO NOT LIKE formula, so I looked into alternatives. After discussing with my midwife and a nurse, I chose to put DD on raw goats milk instead of formula for the extra feeds that she needed.

She thrived and is still thriving at 1 yr now. We had no spiting problems and she went from breast to bottle with out any issue at all.

Good luck, I know it is hard, but you will make the best choice for you and your baby.

Anna - posted on 09/18/2011

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Supply and demand. Can you try pumping another time at work? I know pumping is the pits...but as your baby gets a bit older and starts eating some foods, you won't need as many ounces. Soon you will only need to pump a couple of times a day. Find out from your care provider what times your baby is eating...pump then if possible. If you must supplement sometimes, don't kill yourself over it. As a working teacher, there were times I just couldn't pump...sometimes reality as a working mother isn't what we would ideally like. Feed as much breast milk to your baby as possible. It is such a gift to your baby and their health. I worked, and pumped until my kids were one year. Then I fed them before and after school, as well as nights and weekends. Both breastfed until 16 months, and they quit/no longer expresses interest. Good luck.

Sarah - posted on 09/18/2011

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I just read your routine and the fact that you are pumping at work. So, let me update my answer to you. 1. Make sure you have a good pump that works for YOUR body. Pumps are very different. I personally had good luck with the Medela Pump In Style Advanced. Also, things like position and amount of suction make a big difference. Give the hand-express idea a try. 2. Nurse him as much as he is willing when you are home. The more you nurse, the more milk you will make. 3. Pump on one side while he is nursing on the other side. 4. Pump in between feedings. When in doubt, call your lactation consultant or Le Leche League. Question: Is your 4 am feeding leaving him enough milk for a 5 am feeding? If so, great. If not, can you feed him AT the sitters before you go?

LaLasha - posted on 09/17/2011

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I agree with the suggestion of hand expressing after pumping many women have been able to get 1-2 more oz by doing that.

Lisa - posted on 09/17/2011

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pump pump pump, i worked full time and pumped at work for a full year, you dont need to supplement with formula just keep pumping before a feed after a feed whenever you can your baby deserves it!

Jennifer - posted on 09/17/2011

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thanks everyone for your feedback and encouragment. This is my routine, I wake at 4 am and pump and will get about 4 oz then I feed him around 5 before I take him to the sitter. then I will pump 3 times during work which will give me about 6 oz and when I am with him (including weekends) I always nurse me. I have tried everything to make my supply more by taking fenugreek, drinking mothers tea and breastea and eating oatmeal every morning and drinking tons of water but nothing has helped so I guess this amount is just ment to be. I guess one bottle of formula a day is not bad. I just wish I didn't have to :(

Elizabeth - posted on 09/17/2011

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I don't have a tip on how to supplement, but i do have a pumping tip for you. Don't pump after nursing, you won't get much. Pump when you are full and can get a lot, then nurse. your son will be able to get more out of your breasts than your pump will. That will also increase your supply. then the next time you will have more milk available. you can even pump-nurse-pump, although that second one won't get much. You will never get as much from pumping as a baby can get, so let those strong baby jaws do the harder work (it's not difficult for them), and it will increase your supply a bit.

Another tip - and this one is weird. I went out of town for three days and forgot to bring my pump. I was painfully engorged and have never been good at hand expressing. I just needed to get the milk out, not save it. so I used my mouth - weird i know, but WOW did i get a lot out, much more than i got from pumping. The difference between a pumped-empty breast and a nursed-empty breast is huge! I got back to town with a larger supply than when i left. My thought is, If you are only bottle feeding and not nursing at all, or when you pump at work, after you pump all you think you can, see when you can get by mouth...again, not to save, but to increase your supply for the next time you pump.

If you are this upset about having to supplement, just try these few supply tips once or twice over the weekend and see if it helps. Maybe it can get those few extra ounces you need.

Many mother's have had to supplement and pumping can be very difficult. I applaud what you've been able to do. You have worked hard to give a wonderful gift to your child. :-)

Kathy - posted on 09/17/2011

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Same thing happened to me eventually, (he consumed more than I could pump). My son actually wouldn't take strait formula at first (to me it smelled like cat food, I really couldn't fault him), so I did mix the bm and formula.

As long as you are still nursing and pumping as much as you have been, your supply should hold steady. But eventually pumping just doesn't keep up. One thing to do is try not to supplement on the weekends. This should help keep things flowing.

You're doing great. I stopped pumping at one year but we managed to keep nursing until his second birthday.

[deleted account]

I know how you feel. My milk gave out after 2 months of breastfeeding so I didn't get to go long at all. But the great thing about it was that I was able to breastfeed her for awhile and I'm happy with that. Our bodies calls the shots and it's just not up to us I guess lol. But slowly make the change. I gave her breast milk one feeding and formula the next is what my doc told me to do and eventually just the formula but I would say do whatever makes you feel most comfortable about the change. Hope everything works out, take care!!

Jay - posted on 09/17/2011

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Dont mix formula with breastmilk as it depletes the goodness of the breastmilk. Just get someone else to offer him a bottle of formula.
Why don't you keep breastfeeding him morning and night ans whenever you can in between? Your supply will only be as much as baby demands, so if he gets a bottle of formula every day at 12pm, then your milk will be down at 12pm each day, your supply will be getting ready to give him the next feed he takes from the breast.
Is it possible to pump some anyway when you are at work? Because if it not enough to make a bottle, you can still mix it into his cereal and his mashed spuds so that he is getting some breastmilk that way when you are not around.
And congrats!! you have done really well to get this far anyway! xx

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