Breastfeeding session followed by bottle feed - would like to breastfeed only

Discussion in 'The First Year' started by jdorourk, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. jdorourk

    jdorourk Well-Known Member

    Hi all, I have 12 day old twins- b/g. I am so glad I found this forum. I have been reading a lot of posts and this is my first post.

    I feel like I've been doing very well with BFing, but I'd like to get input from others on some questions I have.

    My supply has been very good and I'm able to supply all their needs plus some. I had to freeze my first breast milk today. Both have been latching very well with the help of a nipple shield.

    Our daytime routine is:
    Tandem BF both when one is hungry, then follow immediately with bottle of EBM, then pump. They eat around every 2.5-3 hours but occasionally need a little 'snack' about an hour after feeding. My girl will feed for 15 -20 minutes then stop... she acts like she is asleep and won't BF anymore as much as I try, but will take the bottle once given to her. The boy will breast feed usually around 20-25 minutes and I sometimes have to stop him, then he takes a bottle.

    Nighttime routine: fed BM only with bottles. I pump in the night.

    1) Will the babies ever be able to get enough milk from BF only and no bottle followup is needed? It'd be great if they could get what they need in say 20 minutes and be full for 2.5 to 3 hours until next feeding. I know I could try exclusively BF to see if they get can get out of the bottle need, but I'd be feeding them all the time and I just can't with twins, and I"m not sure how long it would take to do this.
    2) Anyone able to BF but decide to exclusively bottle feed with EBM only? I can definitely see the appeal of pumping only.... it would provide so much flexibility as anyone can bottle feed the babies and the feedings would be much faster and I can pump whenever I need.

    Any input/pointers are greatly appreciated!
  2. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    The answer to your first questions is YES, your babies can be satisfied with what you are producing. I would take a couple days and perhaps do a nursing marathon. Nurse every time they need to, even if it is an hour past the last feeding. Your supply will be jumpstarted and your babies will know that you are the source of food. The babies can get more milk out of you than a pump can. You would have to be tied to that pump every 2-3 hours around the clock to probably have enough milk to feed them. Breastfeeding, as long as the babies are good at it, is easy. Right now your body is trying to figure out how much milk it needs. Imagine your babies needing milk and you have to pump to give it to them. Not saying it cannot be done.. it can and people do do it. Once your babies really get the hang out of breastfeeding, they become more efficient. They might soon learn that the 'easy' feeding (bottle) is coming and they won't nurse. Just imagine no warming bottles up, or cleaning bottles, or sitting with the pump for 20 minutes every 3 hours. It's really nice to be able to feed on the fly. Obviously it is a personal decision but I have never heard of anyone looking back and regretting breastfeeding vs pumping. I know there are a lot of people who have a love/hate relationship with their pump.


    I exclusively breastfed my twins until 26 months. I breastfed my singleton until he 'weaned' at 13 months and I pumped for him until he was 19 months. I am happy I could provide milk for him but I did not like my pump.
  3. Meximeli

    Meximeli Well-Known Member

    Congratulations on your twins! :babyflips: :babyflips:
    I actually don't see any evidence in your description that would suggest that they are not getting enough only Bfing now. Especially you're daughter--it almost sounds as if you are force feeding her to me. Why not try putting her down when she "acts like she's asleep"?
    It's not abnormal for a 12 day old baby to feed every hour or every 90 minutes and sleep in between.
    25 minutes is also a normal newborn feed length--that will begin to drop soon. Some babys only feed 5 to 10 minutes once they are about 3 months old.
    I would suggest giving it a try of just not following up with the bottle. Feed them as soon as you need to afterwords--as the days go by that will stretch out. I know it seems like an eternity right now, but it will really only be a few more weeks until they are going longer between feeds. The first 6 weeks are the hardest.
    I wonder why you are only bottle feeding at night? Isn't it a lot harder to get up and warm the bottle than to just get up and breastfeed? And then you've got all those bottles and pump parts to wash the next day.
    I never had a pump, but did supplement with my twins, my singlton was exclusively breastfeed and it was such a relief not have the hassel of bottles!

    But the most important thing is that they get the breastmilk--how they get it is secondary.

    1 person likes this.
  4. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Congrats on your twins! It sounds like things are going really well. :good:

    I had the same questions as Meximeli regarding why you feel they need a bottle following a nursing session. The best thing for building your supply right now (and over the next few weeks), is to nurse the babes as often as they want, for as long (or as short) as they want. If you can, try not watching the clock & just watching your babes - follow their cues. Plan to just veg out in your house, nurse them, rest, sleep, and let others take care of everything else. If you start to feel touched out or overwhelmed, then absolutely hand them off to someone else for a while. But if you can think of this time as your "babymoon", the time you just hunker down with your beautiful babes getting to know them, that will be the best thing for them and for you (you need time to recover & heal too from your pregnancy & birth too!).

    Also, while I can understand the allure of exclusively pumping (especially in these early days when it seems like those babies need SO much from just you), the reality is that exclusive pumping is really the most time intensive feeding choice of all the options. And while there may be lots of people around right now to help feed the babes, at some point (I'm assuming) you'll be home alone with them. At that point, you'll need to feed the babies by bottle (let's say 20 minutes depending on how they bottle), then you'll need to sit & pump (usually you'll want to pump 20 min or so), then you'll need to wash and sterilize all your pump & bottle parts (another 10 - 15 minutes). You'll also probably need to pump more frequently than they actually nurse if you want to provide 100% breast milk. However, while exclusive breastfeeding is a big investment of time & energy right now, as Meximeli pointed out, babies do become much more efficient at the breast, usually around 3 - 4 months, when you'll be looking at 20 minutes being a long nursing session.

    As for your question about just trying exclusive breastfeeding to see what they can get from you & how long it would take for your supply to catch up - if you could do a nursing marathon, you'll usually see a huge jump in your supply within about 48 hours. A nursing marathon is where you would find somewhere comfy to lay down with your babes, spending lots & lots of time skin to skin, and giving them unrestricted access to your breasts. If they nurse for 30 minutes, then seem hungry again 30 minutes later, pop 'em back on a boob. Plan to do this for at least 24 hours or so. Have some books/movies/magazines, healthy snacks, water, etc handy & don't get out of bed except to go to the washroom. You'll need someone else around to take care of everything else & to bring you meals & replacement snacks, but it works really well.

    All that being said, there's no right or wrong way to breastfeed - find what combo of breastfeeding, pumping & bottling works well for you & your family & do that! :good:
    2 people like this.
  5. slugrad1998

    slugrad1998 Well-Known Member

    Great advice so far! I definitely agree with what Melissa said about it not seeming like they need to be supplemented. The fact that your daughter takes more when given a bottle does not necessarily mean she is hungry. Babies have a natural need to suck so when you put a bottle nipple in their mouth they are going to suck. Because they cannot control the flow coming out of the bottle, they will drink what is there, even if they do not need it. You mentioned that you could not breastfeed on demand because you would be feeding them all the time, but I can't see how you have much extra time if you are nursing, then bottle feeding, then pumping. Plus, it sounds like you are doing well with supply right now, but the body will regulate to what it thinks the babies need. If you are supplementing after a feeding, your supply may start to drop even though you are pumping because the pump cannot remove as much as the baby can.

    Breastfeeding newborns is hard work. They eat all.the.time for the first few weeks. Nature designed them this way so that our bodies will know to produce for them. As a mama who breastfed my twins and then a singleton, I will tell you that I did not have much more time between feedings with one than with two. My advice is to try to ditch the bottles ASAP. If you are willing to, you could go cold turkey during the day and then when you're comfortable with it, you could tackle the night. If not, try one feeding at a time. As for the night, I cannot imagine staying up to pump that many times! More power to you if it works for you, but I agree with the pp's that it seems like more work. Once I got the hang of feeding my babies at night I loved the fact that I could latch the baby on, close my eyes, and doze until he/she was done feeding. You definitely can't do that holding a bottle! What worked for me was feeding the first baby who woke up, passing them off to DH to burp, swaddle and rock back to sleep, and then woke the second baby and fed them. Once I was done I passed that baby off to DH and went back to sleep while he got the second to fall asleep. I never tandemed until they were about 3 months old because I felt that they got a better feeding if I focused on one baby at a time (my boy had latching issues and used a nipple shield for about a month). Even once I started tandem feeding them during the day, I still fed individually at night because they fell deeper to sleep and were easier to transfer to the bassinet that way.

    As for exclusive pumping. It is definitely possible. Rachel is correct in that it is a lot more work. Also, you think it lends you flexibility in that anyone can feed the baby, but it also means that you cannot go anywhere (including friends and other family members' homes) without taking the pump and all the equipment with you. It is much easier to find a place to nurse discreetly when you are out with your babies than to find a place to plug in and pump every 2-3 hours.

    Honestly, I would just set yourself up on the couch with magazines, tv, laptop, etc and don't plan on getting things done. For any mama with a newborn, it is an accomplishment if you get in a shower. If it helps, use paper plates, order takeout, have lots of snacks scattered around the house. They are only this small for a short time and soon they will get more efficient with their feeding. My 6 month old used to take 20 min per side and now she can feed in 10-15 minutes total. As for always getting 2.5-3 hours between feedings, its not going to happen right away and that has nothing to do with you. Their stomach is the size of their fist. Breastmilk is designed to be easily digested. They eat enough to fill up and are hungry again in anywhere from 60 min-2 hours because they have digested what they ate.

    You can do this! Try to stop focusing on the clock and focus on the babies' cues. They will fall asleep or turn away when they are finished. You will be able to watch their sucking change from active feeding to what we call non-nutritive sucking (using you as a pacifier) Being more in tune with your babies will give you confidence. As long as they are pooping and peeing well, they are getting enough.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Shohenadel

    Shohenadel Well-Known Member

    Hi there!

    I have a couple of questions: Are they gaining well? Did the doctor tell you to pump and feed them more? How's it going with the nipple shield? The only reason I ask about that is that my friend had a baby recently and was using a nipple shield and the baby was having trouble gaining weight..possibly related to that??

    Other than that, I'll just share my experience with you. My twins are 3 now but I was in a fairly similar situation when they were born. Mine were born at 35 weeks and were having a little bit of a hard time gaining weight back in the first week in the NUCU so they wanted me to pump and give them bottles of breast milk with a supplement of h high calorie formula in it. I wasn't crazy about it, but eventually said, "let's do what we gotta do to get out of here and get home!" So when I went home, I was nursing and then pumping and then doing bottles too....and after a couple weeks of this I thought I was going to lose my mind. I had nursed 2 children previous to my twins so I knew in general what to expect but of course with twins it was a whole different ball game. When we went to their first check up at the doctors...they were about 3 weeks old by then, he asked me what has been the hardest part for me so far. I said, "NURSING, PUMPING AND BOTTLE FEEDING THESE BABIES!!" And he asked, "What would you really like to do?" and I said, "Just nurse them, because then I can just focus on one thing and I won't have to do all three." And he was so, so supportive and said, "Well, why don't you just do that?" and I said, "Are you sure that's ok?" and he said, "Absolutely." And I think I may have just instantly fell in love with that man! I felt so relieved. So I went home, I did just that. It was a lot better for me because before that I was trying to keep up with something that was humanly impossible for me to do. It was easy for them to tell me to do that at the hospital, but it was not realistic for me to keep up with that for a long time at home. There were literally not enough hours in a day (especially when I had a 5 year old and 3 year old at the time.)

    So, I nursed them one at a time, one right after another and that worked out well for us. I never really loved tandem nursing, but I could do it if I had to, like if they were both starving or we were in a hurry and had to go somewhere. Other than that I did one at a time because I knew that I knew how to do that! I had done it I just had to do it twice! I nursed them for 15 months and it was both the hardest and most rewarding thing I've done in my life. I definitely had enough milk for them. I still used my pump and they had bottles here and there when I needed to which was fine, especially when they got older and didn't need to eat as often. Actually we kinda got into a routine where my husband would give them bottles for their bedtime feeding and I would pump every night at that time. That way they didn't necessarily only need to nurse at if I had to go out somewhere, I would have that freedom...but I was pumping in a way that was convenient for me and my family. And that was when they were a little older.

    My girls did very well gaining weight once they got over that little hump of being preemies (they were pretty good weights at birth though 5,3 and 5, 8). I seriously think they weren't gaining as well as they could have in the hospital because they had them on a feeding schedule, every 3 hours. So that's only 8 times a day. I think my older ones nursed more like 10-13 times a day during that first week or two.

    Anyway, that's what worked for us. If you feel comfortable, I would definitely drop the bottles and just go for it! They can definitely get enough milk from you without doing the bottles. Good luck and hang in there. Do what works for you. It will get easier. :)

  7. Meximeli

    Meximeli Well-Known Member

    Hi Textgirl,

    I know how crazy life is in that first month, but I keep thinking about you and wondering how it's going. Check in if you have a chance.
  8. jdorourk

    jdorourk Well-Known Member

    Hey guys. Thanks for the replies. The day after i posted i stopped bottlefeeding and pumping after breastfeeding based on your encouragement. I guess it was just what i was used to and was scared to make any changes. It was also a good time to stop bottles because i did it the same day DH went back to work. I have been tandem feeding almost exclusively as i have my mom here to help me get both babies during a session. The girl feeds for around 10-15 min and my boy around 20 min. They have been needing to be fed every 2 hrs mostly. It is pretty rare for them to go longer as one is always hungry around 2 hrs. Does this sound normal for 3 week olds? I wish they'd go longer between feedings.
    2 people like this.
  9. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Yay! I'm glad to hear thigs are going well. As for nursing every 2 hours, it sounds very very normal for 3 weeks old (good even ;) ). What is it specifically about the every 2 hours that you're finding difficult right now? Maybe we can offer some suggestions for that.
  10. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Super normal. I like every 2 hours during the day as I feel like ive got a better shot at sleeping at night more than 2 hours. My tiny Orion really wanted to nurse every 1.5 h
  11. Meximeli

    Meximeli Well-Known Member

    :clapping: Bravo for giving it a go!
    Like the others said, every two hours sounds normal, around 6 to 8 weeks they will be ready to strecht that out, then again after 3 months and by 6 months you won't remember what all the fuss was about.
    Remember the days are long but the years are short.
  12. 3under2!

    3under2! Well-Known Member

    Awesome!!! I agree with Meximelli, the first six weeks are the hardest for sure, but you are already halfway there!! :youcandoit:
  13. Shohenadel

    Shohenadel Well-Known Member

    Great job! I'm so glad it worked out well for you!
  14. j-squared

    j-squared Well-Known Member

    Every 2 hours is very normal. Longer would be abnormal. Great job!

    That said, mine are 6.5 weeks and never go more than an hour between feeds unless they happen to nap longer than that or it's night (they do 3-5 hour stretches at night). I'd love to only be nursing every 2 hours! I feel as though I'm trapped on my sofa all day feeding one or both of them.
  15. jdorourk

    jdorourk Well-Known Member

    how do you get them to sleep longer at night? Did you do some sleep training?
  16. j-squared

    j-squared Well-Known Member

    No sleep training. They are doing it on their own which is a huge change from my first son who never slept more than 2 hours until he was almost a year. I do tandem nurse them for 30-45 minutes right before bed. They eat a lot in the evening.
  17. jdorourk

    jdorourk Well-Known Member

    Thats awesome j-squared
  18. j-squared

    j-squared Well-Known Member

    I jinxed myself. Last night the slept 3.5 hrs first stretch but then woke up after 2 hrs and then after 1 hr. 1 step forward, 2 steps back. I have no expectations after my son who didn't sleep through the night until he was almost two but it would be nice if these two were better sleepers. I'm already annoyed at having to go to bed at 8:30 with them just to get enough sleep since it takes over an hour to feed and get them back to sleep at each wake-up. If I go to bed later, in too exhausted. Our 2.5 year old gets up 6 am no matter what.
  19. aussiemom

    aussiemom Administrator Staff Member TS Moderator

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