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Thread: Coping with a growth spurt

  1. #1
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    Default Coping with a growth spurt

    Eleanor is 3 months and I was told that this is the time for another growth spurt. Well I think we are experiencing one now. Problem is that when you are supplementing with formula, it's hard to know what to do during a growth spurt. I had been slowly reducing the amount of formula and had halved the amount she was getting down to 8oz per day. Now she's back up to 12oz. I know that usually the advice is just nurse, nurse, nurse but Eleanor won't do that if she's really hungry and my milk flow is v slow so it ends in tears (hers and mine). I'm trying extra pumping sessions but I don't want to end up pumping and feeding her the pumped milk. I know that she won't nurse when milk flow is slow because she gets the milk a lot faster from a bottle or SNS but I can't not supplement when she is so hungry. We are advised to feed on early hunger cues and not to let them get to the crying stage but by trying to breastfeed, she is often getting to tears because I just can't keep up but I want her to try to breastfeed as much as possible before offering formula. I don't think my production is going down as I seem to get just as much with pumping as I did before.

    I guess my question is, when a growth spurt happens does the demand for milk peak and then go back down or does the body just adjust to the new level and so it seems that the demand becomes not so overwhelming? That is, if I supplement a little extra over a short period will things even out or do I need to work even harder to get the supply even higher. I was feeling so pleased that I was dropping the formula and now it seems like that is slipping away again.

    I don't know what I can do extra if the demand keeps increasing like this, it seems like trying to breastfeed is exhausting me and maybe taking away some of the enjoyment I have of my little girl. While people are generally supportive of my desire to breastfeed, I have had a few comments that it is wearing me out and that I ought to go with the flow and give more supplement rather than trying to reduce it - and then I get that look when I say that I want to continue to work at it, like I've offended them by not taking their advice and daring to think that I know better. It's hard to know whether I'm just being pig-headed so that I don't feel like a failure or to prove a point to those people, or because I enjoy those BF moments when I have a full breast of milk to give (usually first thing in the morning).... or am I really doing the best thing for my DD?

    Finally, and sorry for the long post....has anyone had any success with 'finishing at the breast' method of supplementation. It seems to make sense but I'm a little worried that I'll end up giving even more formula that way.
    Cloth diaper using mummy to Eleanor Louise (born 4th Aug 2008)
    Expecting #2 on my birthday 15th March 2011.



  2. #2
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    Default Re: Coping with a growth spurt

    I'm sorry I don't have much advice about reducing supplementation, but I did want to chime in and give you some encouragement to continue working hard to breastfeed. Please try not to worry about what other people are saying because you are the mother and you are following your best instincts to work hard and make sacrifices to give the VERY BEST to your child. How could that possibly be selfish!?! Don't give up, mama. You can do this and it will get easier, I promise!!!

    One thing that I can say is that during a growth spurt, if you can nurse her more often, anytime she will take the breast, that would be best. That will encourage your body to make more milk to keep up with your daughter's needs. Like you said, the best thing to try to do is nurse her when she's not overly hungry so she doesn't get frustrated. Try doing some skin to skin contact to get her in a cuddly mood. Offer the breast when she is drowsy. Take a bath together (I remember my baby always wanted to nurse in the bath- so relaxing!).

    Can you give us a little background info about why you started supplementing, about how much you supplement. Maybe give us an idea of your feeding schedule? That might help to give you more specific advice to help with getting away from the supplementation.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Coping with a growth spurt

    You have already gotten some really good advice.

    Another thing you could try is an SNS. That way she is getting whatever supplement (EBM of formula) but she is stimulating your breasts to make more as well. Good luck mama.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Coping with a growth spurt

    Thank you for your encouragement.

    Our background is that having lost 20oz from her birth weight and not gaining any back in 2 weeks I reluctantly gave Eleanor about 6oz of formula per day. Her nappy output was very poor too. To get good weight recovery, she was on 16oz a day by 4 weeks.She has a good latch and my health visitor could see no physical reason why she was not getting enough milk. At 6 weeks I decided to start reducing the formula as I was confident I could work up my supply. Dropping 1oz a week and doing all the things suggested on the forum (SNS, expressing, oatmeal and herbs) I got down to 8oz supplementation . Now her demand has increased again and I had to go back to 12oz. However, yesterday we got back to 10oz so maybe my supply is catching up again. I have added an extra pumping session in ...I hope that's just for the short term!
    Cloth diaper using mummy to Eleanor Louise (born 4th Aug 2008)
    Expecting #2 on my birthday 15th March 2011.



  5. #5
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    Default Re: Coping with a growth spurt

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*elelou View Post
    I don't know what I can do extra if the demand keeps increasing like this, it seems like trying to breastfeed is exhausting me and maybe taking away some of the enjoyment I have of my little girl. While people are generally supportive of my desire to breastfeed, I have had a few comments that it is wearing me out and that I ought to go with the flow and give more supplement rather than trying to reduce it - and then I get that look when I say that I want to continue to work at it, like I've offended them by not taking their advice and daring to think that I know better. It's hard to know whether I'm just being pig-headed so that I don't feel like a failure or to prove a point to those people, or because I enjoy those BF moments when I have a full breast of milk to give (usually first thing in the morning).... or am I really doing the best thing for my DD?
    Hi!
    I want to comment on a couple of things here but let me 1st address the part that is bolded because that ignorant statement and the supposed logic behind it is the beginning of the end for nursing dyads all the time and I would speak firmly and confidently about it whenever anyone, even people who think they are trying to help bring it up. "Going with the flow" and giving more supplements means less breastmik and ultimately the end of the relationship in most cases. If your goal is to continue to breastfeed, then don't ever take this advice. Formula is detrimental to supply. It affects supply negatively in more ways than one. And please, don't worry about offending people by standing firm on the issue of giving your baby normal baby food. They should be worried about offending YOU and they don't seem to be!
    And as far as the demand going up, it sounds like you have worked hard and done well to get the supplements down. Congratulations on that. But don't rest. Keep working at it. I'm not sure what growth spurt you are at, but I do know that you probably have 6 weeks until the next one. Based on the formula you have been using you really could be done supplementing altogether by the next spurt!
    There is nothing pigheaded about breastfeeding. It the way babies are supposed to eat. New mothers are allowed to be filled with self doubt when they don't all grow the same way instead of shown the way to success. I don't know how much your child weighed when born but it's normal for babies to lose up to 10% of their birth weight in the 1st few days after birth. My son was born at 8.2 and got down to 7.9.
    And it sounds like your child is probably dealing with some nipple preference. Which of course leads to impatience at the breast when your breast doesn't behave the way a bottle nipple does. But you can get past this. You can get to a point where your child doesn't remember what the bottle is like at all.
    Can I ask why you would rather supplement with the formula than your own breastmilk? You said you didn't want to feed her your pumped milk? How come?
    Last edited by @llli*djs.mom; November 15th, 2008 at 10:33 AM.

    Way too lazy for formula

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Coping with a growth spurt

    Hi djs.mom, thanks for your advice and encouragement. I will keep working at this and would love to be supplement free...you've given me even more hope and determination!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*djs.mom View Post
    "Going with the flow" and giving more supplements means less breastmik and ultimately the end of the relationship in most cases.
    I agree and keep repeating it...so many people just don't get it.


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*djs.mom View Post
    I don't know how much your child weighed when born but it's normal for babies to lose up to 10% of their birth weight in the 1st few days after birth.
    Eleanor lost 14% of her birth weight and had not put any back on by 2 weeks. She was having very few wet nappies. The health visitor was very supportive and gave lots of good advice, checked latch etc but in the end I had to give formula due to dehydration.


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*djs.mom View Post
    Can I ask why you would rather supplement with the formula than your own breastmilk? You said you didn't want to feed her your pumped milk? How come?
    Sorry, wasn't clear. I do give any breast milk that I express but I'd rather her nurse than express and give that in a bottle -so I dont want to end up that I can only give her expressed breastmilk and she won't nurse. I'd definitely give her expressed milk rather than formula!
    Cloth diaper using mummy to Eleanor Louise (born 4th Aug 2008)
    Expecting #2 on my birthday 15th March 2011.



  7. #7
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    Default Re: Coping with a growth spurt

    First . BTDT and it sucks. I felt like I would drown DS with my tears about this. You sound like you started out just like I did.

    for getting your supply up and the supplement down. You should be proud of yourself. That is hard work physically and mentally. You go girl! I have never managed that. I still BF as much as possible (we made 6 months and still going) but he gets far more formula than BM. Keep doing what you are doing (watching nappies and weight, pumping SNSing and reducing as much as you can) and you guys will be fine.

    I found that it really helped my BF relationship to both start at the beast and finish at the breast.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Coping with a growth spurt

    I also want to offer . I've been through the same thing. I found it so difficult to get my supply up b/c LO preferred the bottle. Once I switched to the SNS she started getting used to a slower flow and I have recently gotten her off of supplements. Just so you know that you can do this, I want you to know that my LO was 5 1/2 months when I got her off the supplements. i had given up hope.
    If you want to use the SNS, nurse first. If you LO gets frustrated then offer her some supplement with the SNS (I used the slowest tube). I would then pump after each feeding where I supplemented and twice at night after she went to sleep. Slowly my LO was taking less from the SNS at each feeding and was satisfied.
    The best thing for my supply was coming to terms with my situation. The pressure I put on myself to increase my supply was killing it. I know how disappointing and sad it is when your LO is frustrated at your breast and you have to supplement. Especially when you are trying to decrease the amount. Try to be ok with what is happening and focus on what an amazing thing you are doing for you child.
    Also, I found that my supply went up and down quite a bit. I would decrease the supplement and then it would go back up again. It was very frustrating. Try not to be too upset if this happens. I found that once I was consistently down to a certain amount of supplement for about 4-5 days then it stayed that low.
    Keep us posted and pat yoursekf on the back for working so hard

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Coping with a growth spurt

    Good advice.
    I'm there too, only DS is sbout a month older. It is so stressful to see the number go up when you have worked so hard to decrease it. You are doing awesome mama and you know what your LO needs. Giving a little more supplement for a few days is OK if that is what is needed. Keep doing what you are doing to increase your supply and keep working to decrease supplement as you can. My understanding is that while breastmilk changes as baby gets older, formula doesn't. A LO who is formula-fed will need more and more. When combo feeding and trying to wean off supplements as you and I are it is not so cut and dry. Maybe this is just the point where she would have needed to increase if she was just on formula and so needs a little more. She may still be taking the same amount or a little more from you, but the formula portion is not making up the difference as it used to. Hope that makes sense. I am exhausted and sick right now.

    Long story short. You are very aware of your LO and her needs and you are working hard. Keep it up. You are doing the right thing and are having success as well. Give yourself a for perservering!
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Coping with a growth spurt

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*elelou View Post
    Hi djs.mom, thanks for your advice and encouragement. I will keep working at this and would love to be supplement free...you've given me even more hope and determination!

    Eleanor lost 14% of her birth weight and had not put any back on by 2 weeks. She was having very few wet nappies. The health visitor was very supportive and gave lots of good advice, checked latch etc but in the end I had to give formula due to dehydration.

    Sorry, wasn't clear. I do give any breast milk that I express but I'd rather her nurse than express and give that in a bottle -so I dont want to end up that I can only give her expressed breastmilk and she won't nurse. I'd definitely give her expressed milk rather than formula!
    You absolutely CAN DO THIS. And soon! I completely understand your concerns around weight gain. I just wish there wasn't soooo much emphasis on it ya know? When you say you were having dehydration issue? Was she not having the correct number of wet diapers in a day?

    And I see, I think your concerns about nipple preference based on your 1st post are legitimate. I 2nd or 3rd the suggestion of trying the SNS so that your child doesn't get frustrated at the breast because she knows there is a way to get the food with less work. The SNS makes the baby work just as hard for formula as she does for breastmilk. And I'll bet that much of what you assume is not satisfied may actually be frustration at the work involved in breastfeeding once the breast flow slows after initial letdown.
    Continue to work at at! I truly believe you are on the right track! MOST of it is confidence. And you seem to have found yours. Just remember if you have no supplements by the next growth spurt, there will be no confusion, it'll be ALL YOU!! Stay focused and keep up the great work!

    Way too lazy for formula

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