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Thread: Exhausted, do I need to supplement with formula?

  1. #1

    Default Exhausted, do I need to supplement with formula?

    Hi all,

    My son is six and a half months old now and I returned to work about a month ago.

    Every work day, I nurse before I get off to work at about 8 am in the morning, pump at 9:30 am, I go home to nurse him at 11:40. I nurse again before I leave for work at 12:40 and pump again at 2 pm and I arrive home at about 5 pm and nurse two times before he goes to bed at around 7:30 pm.

    I use a Medela double side pump and pump for 15 minutes a session, during which I usually get 2 to 3 letdowns and got 3-4 ozs of milk.

    When I'm at work my Mum watches him and feeds him expressed milk with a spoon( He doesn't take bottle) and he drinks all of it.
    We were introducing solids very slowly, one time a day mostly a few bites of pumpkin or sweet potato.

    My son still wakes up at least three times at night and sometimes it could go up to 7 times a night (Before I returned to work he woke up 2-3 times a night). Each time he takes one side and doesn't just suck for a few seconds instead he eats two full letdowns(I can clearly feel it) before he lets go.

    I'm exhausted from frequent night waking and began to wonder if I had a supply problem because he always took all I have and wakes up so many times at night. He gains well but all my friends tell me that he should sleep through night now, and he wakes up because he is not fed enough. We co-sleep but seriously, 7 times a night and I have to work in the daytime.

    Am I having supply problem ? Do I need to supplement with formula? Any words of advice would be so helpful, thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015

    Default Re: Exhausted, do I need to supplement with formula?

    Morning! On the face of it from what you are writing, it doesn't sound like a supply problem to me. It sounds like baby might be reverse cycling, but before anyone says for certain, a few questions if you don't mind.

    How is baby's weight gain? Poopy and wet diapers? Is baby meeting all milestones and length and head circumference increasing along with the weight? Any other concerns?

    And some anecdotal thoughts for you: My baby is 9 months and I've been back at work since she's been 3 months. I can tell you that she sleeps through the night, but I'm still feeding her at least 3-4x in that time frame, sometimes more, sometimes less. It's important to remember that sleeping through the night really means about 5 hours. And babies go through stages. Some nights she is constantly waking me up wanting to eat, others I'm coaxing her to eat in her sleep because I'm worried she's not getting enough and I'm full. Just because your friends say baby should be sleeping through the night doesn't mean your baby is going to. Sometimes I think it's a growth spurt, sometimes she's had a cold, sometimes she's just missing me. It all depends, and formula won't necessarily help you or baby sleep better but will affect your supply, so you need to know that going in if you do decide to supplement.
    & working mom of one sweet baby girl

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Exhausted, do I need to supplement with formula?

    with the PP. this does sound like reverse cycling, which is so common when mom goes back to work. Babies miss mom all day and boy, do they ever make up for it at night!!!

    There's no "should" when it comes to sleeping through the night. Some babies sleep through early on and then return to frequent waking. Some babies wake frequently throughout infancy and into their childhood years. Some people NEVER stop waking up at night- I am sure you know adults who wake up at midnight for a snack, or read for an hour or two, before returning to sleep. There is no one right way for human beings to sleep.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    California, USA

    Default Re: Exhausted, do I need to supplement with formula?

    My 9 month old has recently been waking up more at night. We bed share, so it's not awful but boy is it hard to get things realigned for what seems like the 10th time.

    I hear you on the exhaustion, but bottles won't make it easier. You have to get up out of bed, mix the bottles properly, feed him and then try to get yourself back to sleep. This will also impact your supply and cause you to supplement with formula during the day and it becomes a viscous cycle. Your baby is an individual and just because his peers do something doesn't mean he's behind or breast feeding or Co sleeping is to blame. Those two things have been a part of human history since we began!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!

    Default Re: Exhausted, do I need to supplement with formula?

    It sounds like you are making enough milk. It could be reverse cycling. At 6.5 months with 7 nursing sessions over night it could ALSO be teeth. When night wakings increase to the point of resentment it's often teeth. Try dosing with motrin before the go to bed session. If you get back at least one 3 hour session overy night? It's likely pain related due to teeth breaking.

    Way too lazy for formula

  6. #6

    Default Re: Exhausted, do I need to supplement with formula?

    I understand exactly what you are going through! I agree with everyone else that it sounds like reverse cycling. My son is 4 months, and I have been back to work for two months now. He was taking the bottle great for about a month, but here in the last few weeks, he has been nursing at least every 2 hours through the night. We bedshare, and I think that is the only thing that keeps me sane. That and 2 cups of coffee in the morning. All of my formula-feeding family and friends would be appalled that he eats so frequently throughout the night, but I look at it as a way to keep my supply up for at least the next 8 months.

    You're doing great though! It's great that you are able to go home to nurse during lunch (I'm slightly jealous). I know that pumping takes up a lot of time, and sometimes you just want to work, but it's totally worth it. Good luck!

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