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Offering formula to breastfed baby as last feed before bedtime? Rss

Having trouble deciding what to do in terms of what is best for bubs...

Background info: Mish is 4.5 months old. Was exclusively breastfed until I went back to work last month. Finding that she drinks more breastmilk (from bottle) when being babysat than I can replace by expressing at work so I am always 1 feed short. She has that extra feed as forumla. ie 3 feeds while away from me (but I can only express enough breastmilk to replace 2 feeds) so last feed is a formula one.

Mish feeds every 2.5-3 hours during the day (5-6 feeds). At night she sleeps from 7:30/8pm with feeds at 3am, 5am (which she falls back asleep straight away from) then awake for the day at 9am...which I realise is quite good for 4 months old but it takes me a long time to go back to sleep so I am not getting the best sleep.

Through doing this I have noticed that if her last feed of a nighttime before bed has been formula feed she sleeps through from 8pm to 5am . If breastfed she wakes up at 3am then normal wakeup of 5am then 9am. I am getting tired!!

Now everything I have read says formula interferes with breastfeeding and I want to breastfeed until at least 6 months...

So...do I :

(a) continue breastfeeding exclusively and still wake up in the middle of the night! lol, and persevere until I can start solids at 6 months.

(b) wean her off the last feed from breastmilk to formula and still breastfeed for all other feeds

(c) Give a small amount of formula on last feed (ie 50mL?) then breastfeed as normal until she's had enough

(d) Start Farex (the 4+ months one) before 6 months and see if the solids make a difference? However she is not 'hungry' and rarely cries so I know at this stage she is getting enough to eat but I think the breastmilk isn't enough to get her through that long stretch at night without an in-between feed.

I know feeding/expressing more often stimulates the milk supply but I am finding I just don't have the time to express between feeds as its not enough time for the milk to build up and the pump just isn't as effecient as baby is!. The best time would be about 3 hours after Mish has gone to bed but I don't want to stay up that late!

Will also add that I will be seeing my Early Childhood nurse once she is back from Xmas hols.

Any advice would be appreciated. I know it sounds selfish but as I am back at work 2-3 days I am just bloody exhausted getting up in the middle of the night twice and working all day...
I won't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what *I* did... which was let the sleep deprivation get to me, and it almost literally send me around the bend. I wasn't enjoying nor bonding well with my daughter while bf, because I was just too bl**dy tired !! So we gradually started to give her a formula feed as the last one at night, which then meant I only had to get up once, if that. So then I started introducing formula half of the time, and did the other half of her feeds (three out of six) on the breast. Erin was so much more settled when we did this that I said to myself (well, and hubby)... if it's going to get me more sleep, and peace of mind, to h*ll with it... we'll go full time to formula ! So it was a gradual process, but as I began to get better sleep and feel better, I began to enjoy being at home and taking care of my munchkin.

So, different people will tell you different things, but it really comes down to what makes you the happiest - I know it's a cliche (but SO true) that happy mum = happy baby !! And that's what's most important I feel.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

Jacquie, Erin's Mummy - Born 13th July 2006

Hi
I agree with Jax - happy mum = happy baby! I top up DD with formula at her bedtime feed where she takes approx 80ml. She sleeps on average 6hrs then feeds again 4hrs. I started this early on as with a toddler son as well, I was finding by the end of the day my milk supply suffered due to tiredness. All other feeds are breastfed and she seems quite content without the need to top up at other times. I also find she settles to bed quickly as well. Personally, having a son with food allergies (DS was formula fed & started solids early) I would hold off on your option (d).
Good luck - I am sure whatever you decide will be the right decision for you and your baby!

Kylie, WA, Max 21/01/05, Libby 06/09/06

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