Should I stop breast feeding my baby?

Should I stop breast feeding my baby?

photoI need to start this post by saying that I am not in any way, a medical expert, nor am I writing this to bestow advice. I’m writing this post because I am a Mum with a problem, and I want to find the solution. I actually know the answer, but I feel that writing about my fears, concerns and hopes will help me to come to a better resolution. I find that the advice of my readers often helps me to put problems in perspective, and this is what I’m hoping to get out of this post.

My husband and I were talking last night about whether or not I should continue to breast feed Hudson. Medical experts and most Mums would agree, that if you can breast feed, it is best for your baby. Each Mum is different however and should feel supported with what ever means of feeding they choose for the health of their baby. I have been lucky with both of my children, that I have found breast feeding relatively smooth and easy. Sure, I’ve suffered from sore, cracked nipples, engorgement and painful lumps and blocked ducts, but I have never suffered through Mastitis, or the pain that comes from not being able to breast feed. The problem here, does not lie with me. It lies with my son.

Hudson has, in his short life so far, suffered from shocking colic. In the day he is currently coping ok, but at night never seems to settle after 2am. Nearly three months in, we are almost at our whits end, and are desperate for an answer. We have tried everything….Reflux medication, Dairy free, raising the crib, Infacol, Infants Friend, Gripe water..the list goes on. What does seem to help him is the one bottle of breast milk we give him before ‘bed time’. He sleeps from approx 9pm – 2am fairly soundly. This bottle contains a thickener in it, however I believe in my heart that it is the bottle, not the thickened that is helping him.

The reason I believe this, is Hudson has become increasingly fussy whilst breast feeding. He is on and off, thrashing around and I’m constantly confused as to how much milk he has taken in.  I guess I am feeling confused as to what is best for him right now, Is he taking in too much air whilst feeding, and thus suffers shocking gas pain? He certainly takes the milk from the bottle very well, and is settled afterwards.

However in my heart, I do not want to give up breast feeding yet. I feel he is still too little. I would express after each bottle feed, however given the fact that I have a toddler this is not practical. I don’t want to dry up. I breast fed Ella until 8 months, when I went back to work and naturally dried up. It would break my heart if this happened at such an early stage. Bottle feeding also has its draw backs. Night feeding with bottles is time consuming. He also hates the car, and if he ends up screaming, it’s not like I can easily get a bottle ready.

I want to do what is best for him, and I know that breast milk is best if I can. The problem is, he is getting such little sleep in the night, and so are we, that it is starting to take it’s toll. I feel for my Husband who has to get up and go to work every day. We are all doing ok, and have moments where his beautiful smile makes it all worthwhile. I just want him to be a little more comfortable, so that both he and we can all sleep a bit better.



23 thoughts on “Should I stop breast feeding my baby?

  1. I think a mother knows best and if your gut is telling you already to stop, stop!

    We know these days that formula is just (nearly) as good as breast and if it’s the bottle, thickener or formula that’s going to help the little man to feel better, I say – GO FOR IT.

    You have done an awesome job thus far and deserve a pat on the pack, or a glass of strong red wine.

    I breastfed my son (now 19 months) for 2 months then expressed for another month, after this I made the hard call to put him on formula and never looked back.

  2. Such a tough one Kate. Breast feeding is so hard. I guess you have to decide what decision you will regret the least- stopping now and seeing how Hudson goes on formula or persisting even if he is having a tough time feeding. I am sure you will do what is the best for you and your whole family!

    p.s. Hudson is a dream boat! So cute!!!!!

  3. I’m not sure if you open to the idea of a chiropractor that specialises in paediatrics? So many friends of mine with colic/reflux babies swear that a few gentle adjustments make a huge difference. My boy is 17wks and breastfed (2nd baby) who also guzzles an EBM bottle and fusses at the breast, I have given myself a goal of bf’ing until the 6mth mark. With my first baby I told myself to never stop breastfeeding on a bad day, stop on a goo day.

    1. I’ve seen an Osteo, but not a Chrio. Yeah, I’m a little hesitant as the research is not conclusive, but I agree that many have found that it helped! xx

  4. Hi Kate! A good compromise might be exclusively pumping? I have been exclusively pumping for almost eight months now (my daughter is almost one – eek!) and while it is a huge time suck and hard work, it is what works best for us. While we didn’t have problems with colic my daughter did become more difficult to breast feed – not staying latched on and losing focus. That itself was frustrating paired with my lessoning supply from trying to pump while at work and nurse at home. Only pumping has helped keep my supply up and also allows me to know how much she is getting each day – which also really helped when sleep training. Good luck and I hope you find a solution that works for all of you!
    Best, Megan

    1. Thanks Megan. The thing is I don’t know if I have the time (and the patience) to bottle feed and then pump afterwards. I know that if I miss a couple of feeds (pumps), then I will dry up. xx

  5. Sleep school!! I’ve got several friends who had similar issues and sleep school helped to sort them out and more so their babies!!

  6. oh Kate. It’s such a hard one, I feed one until 7 months, back to work and the other gave up on me at 12months, feed him while working, no daytime pumping though, he just had formula during the days I’d work.
    It’s very easy for people to just say “oh for god sake put him on the bottle”, but it’s you and your baby and there isn’t anything like a boob for comfort (well imagine because I was bottle fed, according to your mum), and the bottle just does give that, to you or him. In fact I screamed the house down for quite some weeks and the answer for mum, back then, was the bottle.
    i do know that second time around i was much more relaxed and if i went out, I left formula and just dealt with the consequences as they arose (relief squeezing at parties, whoo hoo). Those times i missed a feed meant absolutely nothing to my ability to feed him at the next feed or the same time the next day. I know of a lot of people who fed a mixture of bottles (formula) and breast without any issues. I think it probably led to an earlier exit of breast but not probably much earlier than they would’ve liked to have stopped anyway.
    If I was you I would give the full on pumping a go as it sounds like he might become more settled and hence give you more time to pump anyway.
    The only other thing I will say is that I am a huge advocate for strict routine to help unsettled babies. It’s tough to implement and a bit lonely in the beginning but both times the results we remarkable. It is especially important when you have a bub who isn’t a great feeder, josh was a shocker, fussy,on and off, poor endurance and finished in a minute, because if you are sure it’s sleep time you know they are fussy due to tiredness not hungry.
    Good luck darling, I really hope it settle soon for you.

    1. Thanks love. I’m not adverse at all to formula. Ella had it heaps of times when a baby. I guess I just want him to get breast milk as well, for as long as possible, and the thing is that right now, the night issues are taking their toll. I will always do what ever is best for him, but I guess the ‘breast is best’ motto is not so straight forward when you have a colicy baby. I also know that if I go down the road of exclusively pumping, then I will inevitably miss a couple and will probably dry up. I know that I will feel ok about it eventually, if I do go with the bottle…but I just know that ‘bottles’ means formula really, and I’m just a little sad that its earlier than I had wanted. I also feel a little guilty 🙂

  7. Have you given thought to combination feeding? Maybe for the night feed at 2am try a formula feed? So through the day and even evening you get to breasfeed and hopefully keep him settled at night, the best of luck xx

  8. Do what it is your heart! Don’t give up yet as it will hurt no matter how much it make sense sometimes. He is too little and needs your amazing milk. Get bub onto medication, it made a huge difference to my bub. Introduce him to solids early, I did at 6 months and it helped heaps. My baby girls just were not milk fans but solids they loved, so it can assist if he’s not taking as much as you think he should be having. It will settle down I promise, it is very hard but you will get there.
    Have you seen a lactation consultant, it surprising what tips they have for colic babies too?

  9. Hi! I’m a bit of a lurker but just wanted to put my two cents in.

    Remember that anytime you spend breastfeeding is great but if ultimately it’s not working for you or Hudson then it’s ok to go down another path. But it takes a bit of time to get your head around it when it’s not the plan you wanted.

    I’m not sure if you’ve ever come across Caitlin Healthy Tipping Point but she has lots of info on her blog about exclusively pumping although that would prove pretty hard with two kids.

    She also wrote this great post that really helped me come to terms with my decision to end breastfeeding. It’s not just 3 months…it’s 3 “awesome ass months”.

    Finally, remember you are a great mum no matter what and in the end it doesn’t really matter if they got breastfed or not. They all end up the same.

  10. My son cried for hours in the evening and wouldnt settle to feed and during day would pull on and off, he’d wake frequently at night too and hardly nap. i tried dairy free, raising crib, infacol, eliminating lotsa other foods from my diet and dont think it made much difference. what did help was burping him more often so each feed would take an hour then he was happy and i knew if he got grumpy he was tired. a routine helped and not feeding too often but i think the biggest help was time. he,s 8months now and though he’s still not a good sleeper, breastfeeds are quick and easy. i think he improved alot around 4-5months old. i feel for you! Good luck

  11. Your feeling are completely normal. Luella suffered colic and amongst supply issues, mastitis and her being little I breasted/expressed, then did combo expressing/formula. You are right, it’s time consuming and for me I felt that it was difficult to leave the house as having a pump attached isn’t as accepting whilst you consume a coffee at your local cafe haha I made the decision to formula feed.

    Best decision I made. It assisted her colic and I found tip and tricks to make it an easy process. Night feeds I’d leave half full bottles in the fridge and just add the remaining boiled water so it was the right temp. I’d use premeasured formula so I wasn’t having to scoop measure with one eye open in those wee hours. Feeding on the go, easy peasy, I used a thermal bag to keep water hot and premeasured formula.

    He will thrive and you will feel happy when you see the happiness in him. 🙂 Good Luck xx

  12. I see there’s lots of support and suggestions here. Just in case you haven’t already tried…. Is there something your eating each day for breakfast that may be upsetting his tummy?

    My second born is very sensitive to foods and went through a stage of being particularly unsettled between 2-4am. I looked at my diet and eliminated my breakfast (muesli including bran) and she seemed to respond well.

    She’s now 7 months and eating 3 meals and sleeping better (not through the night) , but does have some discomfort when eating legumes, wheat and the culprit vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.

    I feel for you… Sleep deprivation is tough. Hope he improves and you feel confident in your decision, what ever they may be. Good luck.

  13. I’m not sure where you are up to with this but the first think I thought of was tongue tie. Have you had Hudson checked for this? It can be very difficult to spot so you should try and see someone trained in it like an IBCLC. Even if you have changed to bottles I would still get him assessed – tongue tie may interfere eating solids/talking later on in life as well. Up to 10% of babie have tongue tie and it can be one if the main causes of breast feeding difficulties.

  14. Hi Kate – this is a great blog post. I’m sure that so many mums can relate! I had a read through the comments and obviously everyone has their own views and experiences, leading to a range of conflicting advice

    1. Thanks heaps Jess! I’m so thankful for everything everyone has said. I just have to take what I can from the advice and see what works. xxx

  15. Hi Kate,
    I feel for you as my little boy had colic from about the age of 6 weeks old to roughly 13 weeks. It is a trying time but I was lucky he was most upset during the day and I was able to get some sleep at night. The thing I found worked for my little boy was and so against the SIDS regulations but to lie him on his stomach, this seemed to make him a lot happier. I remember one day I was at my mums and we even tried a heat pack obviously not to hot to burn him but warm enough that it soothed his belly.
    In regards to what you decide to do, only you know what is best and you need to do what’s best for not only your bub but you as well. I know this blog was a while ago now so hopefully things have changed for you since the post but I just wanted to comment and let you know your never alone there is always another mother going through the same thing 🙂 x

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