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Giving bottle in evening to 6 wk old
Will it interfere with breastfeeding?


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#1 Mummy-2-1boy

Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:19 PM

I am currently bf my 2nd bub - she is a great feeder but the last feed before bed at 6pm has become a nightmare. I bf my first bub for only 3 months & it was a terrible experience for both of us with every feed ending in a screaming baby & me in tears. But this time round it has so far been lovely so I don't want to do anything that might jeopardise it.
Our 6pm feed obviously coincides with her fussy time of day & she just wants to feed constantly but seems to get frustrated within a few mins of being on. She ends up so upset. I have a feeling my supply is lacking by the afternoon & not coming out fast enough for her. So I am considering expressing a bottle for her throughout the day & giving that to her instead... But my worry is that she will prefer the bottle & thus we will just have issues the rest of the time.
What do u guys think?

#2 Red Cabbage

Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:24 PM

My almost 8week old fusses around 7:00pm, until about 8:30pm.

During this time, I allow him to feed as he wishes. So basically, give him both sides, and then 30 mins later might give him both sides again, and so on, until he settles.

He then sleeps a minimum of 7 hours.

#3 Ella'n'alex

Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:26 PM

Kellymom has a page about it, with suggestions if you don't want to give a bottle.

Having said that, I quite often did. It didn't interfere with BF in our case, other than he got to expect a top up at that time of day, and you probably wont be able to stop doing it for that one feed (which didn't bother me, but it might bother you?). I'm not the type who can sit endlessly feeding, so it worked for us.

ETA link: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/fussy-evening.html

We've used a medela calma teat since he's been at creche and having more bottles, and it seems to be quite good, if that might help. He's been at creche since 4 months, and still BF at nearly 12 months (so there's been a whole lotta bottles in there!) if that gives you some confidence if you decide to try it.

Edited by Ella'n'alex, 10 March 2012 - 06:30 PM.


#4 Guest_Hoggle_*

Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:32 PM

I did it with my first and it made the world of difference to our evenings. It didn't effect our breastfeeding at all or my supply. I did exactly what you were thinking and expressed through the day and had 1 bottle for him that I would give him after his bath and then I would BF him after as well (he always BF to sleep). I went from having a screaming cranky baby that was impatient waiting for a letdown to a content easily settled baby as he wasn't starving when I BF him and was happy to just suck away and wait for it to come after he had the bottle.

I only did it for about 4 weeks and then he didn't need it anymore.

#5 Jo-Anna

Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:40 PM

From my memory, and the advice of my MCHN was that at 6 weeks they go through a growth spurt. The constant feeding is designed as a trigger to stimulate more milk production as your baby grows. A formula top up may interfere with the messages your body is getting from baby. Sitting and feeding throughout the evening fussy time is frustrating, but its necessary for you and your bub. I found by 8 weeks it got much easier and my milk supply 'caught up' to demand. Hang in there.

Good luck.

#6 lucky 2

Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:52 PM

From a behavioural point of view I'd encourage you to hang in there with the evening cluster feeding/switch feeding because this unsettledness in newborns peaks at 6-8 weeks, so it may be at its worst. This is a normal pattern of behaviour and it does change as baby matures.
Can you get some more help until until bub settles down a bit, to help you get through the evenings?

#7 Guest_Hoggle_*

Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:52 PM

QUOTE (Jo-Anna @ 10/03/2012, 07:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
From my memory, and the advice of my MCHN was that at 6 weeks they go through a growth spurt. The constant feeding is designed as a trigger to stimulate more milk production as your baby grows. A formula top up may interfere with the messages your body is getting from baby. Sitting and feeding throughout the evening fussy time is frustrating, but its necessary for you and your bub. I found by 8 weeks it got much easier and my milk supply 'caught up' to demand. Hang in there.

Good luck.


She was talking about giving her baby expressed milk at that time. And it is all good and well to say just keep feeding but when you have a baby fussy and screaming at you because they are too impatient and hungry to wait for the milk then it doesn't help anyone. A little bit of extra EBM to satisfy their hunger so you can then BF them peacefully is ok I think. Better than the baby just screaming at her and not feeding at all.

#8 lucky 2

Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:19 PM

QUOTE (Hoggle @ 10/03/2012, 07:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
She was talking about giving her baby expressed milk at that time. And it is all good and well to say just keep feeding but when you have a baby fussy and screaming at you because they are too impatient and hungry to wait for the milk then it doesn't help anyone. A little bit of extra EBM to satisfy their hunger so you can then BF them peacefully is ok I think. Better than the baby just screaming at her and not feeding at all.

Putting the formula issue aside, I suppose I'd encourage women (and men) to see this unsettledness and cluster feeding as normal and not an indication that baby is suffering or that something is wrong with baby or breast feeding.
It's true a baby may take an extra bit of ebm if offered but that doesn't mean the baby "needs" that extra bit of milk.
There is always milk being produced in the breasts, even as baby cries or is on the breast.
This is the design and function of the breasts.
The periods of unsettledness do pass and during this time the breasts are getting lots of stimulation and the baby is rewarded with lots of milk early the next morning.
It is very tiring and stressful, I remember having up to 8 hours of unsettledness at one stage, most babies peak at around 5 hours at this age.
There are other things that can be tried in addition to sucking on the breast, just to let a bit of milk build up, ie cuddling, warm bath, wrapping, walking, someone elses arms etc.
The "purple crying" website has lots of research based information of ways to soothe unsettled babies.
It really is ok to keep feeding or stopping if bub is upset and do something else and return to the breast later, this is what can naturally occur when exclusively bfing a young infant.

An unsettled babies can be quite a shock for a new mum who is not expecting it or who may be a little unsure about breast feeding. Partners and families can also question breast feeding when they are faced with not only an unsettled baby but also an upset mum.

OP another great resource for you could be calling the ABA 24 hour help line to discuss how you are feeling about the unsettled times and how to manage yourself and baby.
All the best.

#9 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:20 PM

DD spent every night 7-10pm in the sling, on my boob, until 12 weeks old, and we went with it. The first bottle we did introduce was in the evenings, when we started to mix feed

#10 Guest_Hoggle_*

Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:50 PM

QUOTE (lucky 2 @ 10/03/2012, 08:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Putting the formula issue aside, I suppose I'd encourage women (and men) to see this unsettledness and cluster feeding as normal and not an indication that baby is suffering or that something is wrong with baby or breast feeding.
It's true a baby may take an extra bit of ebm if offered but that doesn't mean the baby "needs" that extra bit of milk.
There is always milk being produced in the breasts, even as baby cries or is on the breast.
This is the design and function of the breasts.
The periods of unsettledness do pass and during this time the breasts are getting lots of stimulation and the baby is rewarded with lots of milk early the next morning.
It is very tiring and stressful, I remember having up to 8 hours of unsettledness at one stage, most babies peak at around 5 hours at this age.
There are other things that can be tried in addition to sucking on the breast, just to let a bit of milk build up, ie cuddling, warm bath, wrapping, walking, someone elses arms etc.
The "purple crying" website has lots of research based information of ways to soothe unsettled babies.
It really is ok to keep feeding or stopping if bub is upset and do something else and return to the breast later, this is what can naturally occur when exclusively bfing a young infant.

An unsettled babies can be quite a shock for a new mum who is not expecting it or who may be a little unsure about breast feeding. Partners and families can also question breast feeding when they are faced with not only an unsettled baby but also an upset mum.

OP another great resource for you could be calling the ABA 24 hour help line to discuss how you are feeling about the unsettled times and how to manage yourself and baby.
All the best.


I have quite an understanding of how breastfeeding works, thanks. In my situation it really didn't matter how much milk was in my breasts, my letdown took too long at the end of the day when I was exhausted and my baby just would not wait and would scream at me after every suck. Giving him that little bit in a bottle first prevented this. Giving him the little bit in the bottle first meant he was then patient enough to keep sucking and wait for the letdown because he wasn't so hungry and he would just keep going for as long as he pleased then. I didn't replace a feed, just calmed him down a bit before his feed.

I breastfed him well past his first birthday and have never used a drop of formula with any of my babies, so it certainly wasn't the end of the world that I gave him some EBM and kept us all sane in the evening. It went from hours of stress, to instant pleasant bedtimes and a relaxed baby.

What the OP described sounded similar, so I gave her my experience.

#11 Tilly007

Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:58 PM

I personally wouldn't do it.  

Lucky2 is spot on with her advice.

Once you introduce a bottle there is a good chance you will need to keep bottle feeding at that feed.

My DS cluster fed each evening until 12 weeks or so.  It was very tiring but one day he just stopped doing it and we are still BFing at 11 months.

I know a lot of people who started giving a bottle at the evening feed and this was the beginning of the end of the BFing relationship.

#12 katevin

Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:00 PM

My little girl has had the occasional bottle of EBM (sometimes daily in the very early days) and I'm still breastfeeding her successfully now. And I plan to continue until she is at least 12 months old.
I needed DH to give her that 1 bottle a day for my sanity, I suffered from PND and sleep deprivation makes everything so much worse for me.

I haven't found it to effect my breastfeeding relationship at all, and I'm not sure I would've been able to continue breastfeeding without giving that bottle of EBM. So I agree with Hoggle, it definitely can work OP. It may not be the ideal situation but it doesn't mean that your breastfeeding days are definitely numbered.

#13 QueenElsa

Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:12 PM

I didn't have a great supply with DD1 and would give her a bottle of EBM in the evenings after a feed, and she would take it all. It was only for a few weeks and then we dropped it. It would allow her to rest for an hour before needing more BF.  I BF until 15 months so it wasn't the beginning of the end. I did however have an ulterior motive - I was going back to work early and wanted her to take bottles.  

The other DDs were unsettled in the evenings but extra milk wasn't / isn't the answer for them. I think lucky2 is right in most cases.

Edited by doctorseuss, 10 March 2012 - 09:13 PM.


#14 lucky 2

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:03 PM

I know that giving bottles to a bfed baby can be valuable in some situations and that it doesn't necessarily lead to early weaning as many members will attest to here.
All situations are different but I doubt I will ever feel the desire or need to promote this approach in general to new mothers, especially if it is a situation of a healthy and thriving baby who is displaying normal newborn behaviour which includes cluster feeding and general fussiness (this may or may not be your situation OP).  
I would, in general, prefer to see if that particular woman/family could be supported in the challenges of early parenting to allow the baby to remain exclusively breast fed, if this is the expressed desire of the mother.



#15 B.feral3

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:11 PM

QUOTE (Tilly007 @ 10/03/2012, 07:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I personally wouldn't do it.  

Lucky2 is spot on with her advice.


Yep.

6 weeks is the classic growth spurt and it's this time pretty much bang on so many mums stop breastfeeding because people either think they have no milk and quit, or try and twig certain aspects to get through it which sets things spiraling into a series of knock on effects.

Personally, I'd just try my best to ride it out.  original.gif


#16 JapNFeral

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:11 PM

Op - I did this with number 2. I would cluster feed until I could stand the crying and fussing no more and would give her a bottle.

Normal baby behaviour can be pretty hard to deal with especially when you have another child.

I tried a lot to help my supply by the arvo but it does tend to drop.

It helped with our overall plan of BFing her.


#17 steffijade81

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:35 PM

Hi OP

Congratulations on BF and persisting, its a hard road at times.

Something I found helpful was to have some expressed milk and using a syringe (if I felt I wasnt letting down quick enough) just squirting it in the side of bubs mouth slowly while your breastfeeding. Your pharmacy should have the big syringes. This was just needed at the beginning of the feed when bub was starving and then allowed a comfortable feed. It is a bit of a hassle but did help us and was recommended to me by a LC...

Otherwise try as a PP suggested and wear your baby in a sling... that way when bub is having an unsettled moment you can rock and pat them.

Hang in there, you wont regret it, your at the hardest part and it truly gets easier. I BF my daughter till 17mths and hated it in the beginning and in the end it was her that totally rejected my boob, Id gotten so used to feeding it was like second nature lol. Congrats to you for persisting as I said earlier original.gif

#18 Mummy-2-1boy

Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:57 AM

Thanks everyone for your replies. For those who were confused, I am thinking about giving a bottle of expressed breast milk, not formula.

I am thinking about actually expressing whilst my husband gives that bottle so my supply doesn't drop, & offering breast first until she is too upset. I have no problem with fussing & unlimited feeding, but I just feel so bad for her cuz she gets so upset & end up a screaming mess but only because she wants to feed but seems to get frustrated. I am really loving bf her & don't want to stop anytime soon which is why I asked the question...


Has anyone introduced a bottle at this age & found it to compromise breastfeeding?

#19 CharliMarley

Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:34 AM

Babies like to have "flow" and get agitated when it is not there. DON'T GIVE BOTTLES, but a syringe would be better or a little open cup and you could also try breast compressions, which is holding your breast with the thumb on the top and your hand underneath, fairly close to the areola and just squeeze gently and the baby will get the milk a little quicker and then when she starts to get cranky again, swap to the other side and do the same thing. There is always milk being made and there is always milk in your breasts. The jaw development of the baby is enhanced by breastfeeding and not bottle feeding, as it is a different technique and I am sure you will have seen my posts recently about Dr Jack Newman saying - "Even one bottle can hurt" and it is true. Some babies may take a bottle in the early days, but some babies take a liking to the bottle because they can get it much quicker and they like that. The breast needs to be suckled and stimulated to get to the milk, but please keep perservering, it will get better.  At 6 weeks, you are still establishing your supply, so don't muck it up with bottles.

#20 katrina24

Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:59 AM

OP, this is an area where you are going to get a range of different advice based on different peoples experiences and passions.  Personally, I think that a bottle of EBM once a day will be fine.  My first DD had a 'top up' of EBM at her bedtime feed for quite some time and it had no long term detriment to her BF.  I also have many friends who did this.  I am aware of how BF works and see the point of people who advise against it but in my personal experience it was a huge help.  I BF from one side only so really need a bit of help with supply building in the early days - I expressed after each feed during the day and then gave as a top up in the evening.  When DD went to bed I expressed for a while to help keep up supply.  It worked for me.  I can totally see that you could also solve the problem with continuous cluster feeding etc but I had another little toddler to play with and read stories to and my way worked better for me as it gave me some control.  I am also dead against syringes - I know some people advocate them as an alternative to bottles for reasons of 'nipple confusion' but I don't think they are necessary in typical, healthy babies and if anything I believe they could cause harm if used incorrectly.  Many thousands of babies have had a dummy, sucked their thumb or comp fed (with EBM or formula) and gone on to have a long and healthy BF relationship.  Personally, I think it is more damaging to BF relationships to have wildly stressed mothers cluster feeding for hours on end then to have a bottle of EBM occassionally.

#21 Guest_Hoggle_*

Posted 11 March 2012 - 09:14 AM

QUOTE (katrina24 @ 11/03/2012, 09:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Personally, I think it is more damaging to BF relationships to have wildly stressed mothers cluster feeding for hours on end then to have a bottle of EBM occassionally.


I agree. That one bottle a day (which was just a little extra before a feed so my baby wasn't so impatient waiting for the letdown when I did feed him, so I didn't even replace a feed, my breasts were still being stimulated as much as they would have if I hadn't done it) saved out sanity totally! It made my continuing to breastfeed EASY, rather than stressful.

None of the advice given here would have helped in my situation. I couldn't even 'just keep cluster feeding, it's normal', because my baby would not actually feed, he would just scream at my breast.

I get that it isn't always ideal, but allowing something less than ideal and saving the sanity of the parents which then allows them to continue breastfeeding (in my case, over 12 months with all my children, still BF one of them), is a better option than pushing them into staying with a stressful situation and then giving up completely.

This idea that it is 'all or nothing' when it comes to breastfeeding is really dangerous I think. How many end up giving up because they have been told by everyone that even one bottle will ruin it for them, so then they give one out of desperation and already have it in their head that it is over?

ETA: All of my babies have had a bottle of EBM here and there. So DH can have a go at feeding and so I could get a little break sometimes in the evening. If it is any help we used the Tommee Tippee closer to nature bottles and teats with the first two and then medela with the last one. We always used the lowest flow teats so they still did need to work a little to get the milk.

Edited by Hoggle, 11 March 2012 - 09:17 AM.


#22 lucky 2

Posted 11 March 2012 - 09:43 AM

QUOTE
I get that it isn't always ideal, but allowing something less than ideal and saving the sanity of the parents which then allows them to continue breastfeeding (in my case, over 12 months with all my children, still BF one of them), is a better option than pushing them into staying with a stressful situation and then giving up completely.


I agree in essence that anything that allows a mother/baby couple to get through that often difficult early newborn period is desirable.
But when we read something on a forum such as this, we don't know if the situation the OP is describing will or will not lead to them staying in a stressful situation. only the OP would know. We cant know the future.
WIth the OP's situation, perhaps the challenging cluster feeding my pass in a few weeks or tommorrow, perhaps the OP will cope and baby will thrive beautifully but on the other hand the situation may continue and a change of feeding is tried and the situation may or may not improve as a result. Trial and error.
So discussing/suggesting ways to manage without using a bottle IMO is sensible (because breast feeding is more than just breast milk delivery) whilst the choice to use a bottle remains if the mother wishes to.
That said, none of us should be "pushing' anyone to do anything.
Nothing much in life is absolutely black and white, perhaps except death and taxes (but you can still get out of those if you have the money, can't you? original.gif )

eta, this link may help OP
http://www.leron-line.com/updates/Bottle_Feeding.pdf
I think someone may have mentioned this earlier, the article above is from 2009, since then Medela has brought out a new teat, the Calma, which only lets milk from when bub actually sucks. It was designed based on research on infant suckling but has not been researched in terms of whether it is actually better than other teats on the market, that is information that we don't have at this point in time.
All the best.

#23 Guest_Hoggle_*

Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:07 AM

I just think it is also important in this forum situation to offer a different perspective as well. A person may well be in a situation that will stay stressful but if the only advice she gets is 'don't do it, it's all normal, giving a bottle is bad' then she may feel even more pressure not to do it, like she's failing if she does.

She also may not, and all the other advice may be enough to find a solution.


#24 meggs10

Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:19 AM

My DS2 is now four months old and we started giving him one bottle of formula. with feed thickener added, every night at about 7-8pm from when he was about four weeks old onward because my supply wasn't very good by that time of day.

We found it had a huge improvement on his night sleep. He went from waking up constantly during the night to sleeping almost all the way through from 9pm till 4am onward. Now that he's four months old he sleeps till 7.30am so I have plenty of sleep. He seems to look forward to his bottle every night and it has been a great routine for us. My BF supply as been fine during the all the other feeds of the day.

For my DS1 I only BF till he was 6 weeks old because he had terrible reflux and also seemed to be constantly hungry and waking up all through the night so I eventually got so stressed out that I just changed to bottles full time. All the people who gave me advice never even suggested trying one bottle a day, it was just all or nothing and now that I know better, I wish I had tried it before giving up BF all together.

I think that it is worth a trying different things until you find something that works for you.

#25 Soontobegran

Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:34 AM

QUOTE (Mummy-2-1boy @ 11/03/2012, 07:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Has anyone introduced a bottle at this age & found it to compromise breastfeeding?


Truth is probably not OP.
By 6 weeks most babies can flip from bottle to breast, in fact there are some mums returning to work who actually combine the two really well.
If you had no other child the concept of cluster feeding usually sees you through this growth spurt period because as lucky 2 said this is normal behaviour but it does require someone to be there for you to give you a hand to get through it.
Good luck with this.


QUOTE (mollysheepdog @ 11/03/2012, 09:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Babies like to have "flow" and get agitated when it is not there. DON'T GIVE BOTTLES, but a syringe would be better or a little open cup and you could also try breast compressions, which is holding your breast with the thumb on the top and your hand underneath, fairly close to the areola and just squeeze gently and the baby will get the milk a little quicker and then when she starts to get cranky again, swap to the other side and do the same thing. There is always milk being made and there is always milk in your breasts. The jaw development of the baby is enhanced by breastfeeding and not bottle feeding, as it is a different technique and I am sure you will have seen my posts recently about Dr Jack Newman saying - "Even one bottle can hurt" and it is true. Some babies may take a bottle in the early days, but some babies take a liking to the bottle because they can get it much quicker and they like that. The breast needs to be suckled and stimulated to get to the milk, but please keep perservering, it will get better.  At 6 weeks, you are still establishing your supply, so don't muck it up with bottles.


original.gif MSD, I do love your commitment to the breastfeeding cause but just sometimes your advice borders on hysterical.

"Even one bottle can effect jaw development"-----Just because Jack Newman says so doesn't make it true because it really isn't!




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