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Overfeeding and the In Laws...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 


I had supply issues early on so I am always sort of on the edge of having enough.  When we nurse things are absolutely fine but I am a part time worker.


My caretaker, a pro sitter who ran her own daycare, feeds my LO somewhere between 9-10 oz on a normal day, sometimes he eats more (like 12-13 oz) in 6 hours.  She knows what to do though to make sure he's really hungry for it.


My in-laws... they're so sweet.  They volunteer and care for LO one day a week, 8 hours.  On these days, they feed him beyond what I can keep up with - 20 oz in 8 hours!  And he's "still hungry" according to them.  


I guess I'm just venting.  I've given them access to my freezer stash.  Once they defrosted three ounces and it didn't get used and I was bfing for the next day so it was not usable.  I had to put it down the drain (liquid gold, there it goes....)


Because of my work schedule and supply issues, lo has had formula supplementation.  A lot at the beginning, then we made it to EBF.  We're still EBF on weekends, and my days off, etc. but on occasion I don't pump enough and we either hit the freezer stash or hit the formula for a two ounce snack.


I guess I just want to vent and commiserate.  I am not up for a big confrontation on "how to give the baby a bottle" because they're very touchy and I think we have a good thing going on.  I am choosing my battles extremely wisely.  I'd rather take a strong stand over keeping him well covered when out in direct sunlight than fussing over the number of ounces he takes in.  They are enjoying caring for him and I need the time and can't make things a hassle.


It's only once a week, he's not puking (more than usual, a little dribble here and there), he's happy...

It stresses me out to think I'm being eaten out of house and home.  If my other caretaker had him this day instead of my inlaws I'd be fine on my supply and pumping.


But it's important that he bond with his grandparents who live near by.  I'm uptight about having to pump so much and always feeling a little under the gun - they're taking everything in the fridge today and are taking all my pumping today so I'm not going to have anything left over freshly pumped for my caretaker on Monday.


My therapist says I need to chill out on needing to give him EBF.  I am doing as much as humanly possible for me but the stress isn't good for me.  I think I just have to say I'm doing my best.  I'm not going to stop bfing or anything I plan to go strong through the first year at least, but I guess I just have to let go of perfectionist thinking and use the freezer stash and then go to formula.  The freezer stash should get me through this one day a week through the six month mark.


I could just use an online hug I guess and say thanks for reading my tirade.

post #2 of 10
They are probably using food as a way of soothing him when/if he fusses. Talk to them about hunger cues. Perpetually overfeeding a child can lead to bigger health issues down the road.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Yes, I mean, they must be.


My other sitter, when he fusses, tries to distract him once or twice, checks diaper, makes sure he's comfortable... and then gives him the bottle.  I think they're doing this too, but they are also slightly old school and don't believe in changing a diaper till it's soaked!!  (Waste of resources)  I am normally an assertive person when I need to be, but I am not feeling this is a fight worth having.  I don't want to undercut them.  We need their help!


I know they're overfeeding him some, but they are mostly giving him what he needs, you know?  I think it's a difference of an ounce or two here an ounce or two there and it's only during one 8 hour stretch each week.  I'm unsure of whether it's right to make a big battle of it.


And the other thing is, I have no way of saying for certain that he gets xxx many ounces in 8 hours when he's breastfeeding.  I mean there's no way to really measure short of getting a pre/post at the lactation consultant, and really, I don't want to go to war over it.


They're the in-laws and they're giving us free childcare once a week...  I think in this case the positives outweigh the negatives?

post #4 of 10
Being that they are so old school.. maybe a doctor's note with how many ounces per such and such time would be convincing enough for them?
post #5 of 10

I dealt with this with my mom. I dropped off my son to spend a half-day with her while I was at work and my husband was busy in the morning. I left her what I thought was enough milk, plus an extra bottle "just in case." She fed him the entire day's milk in the space of 3-4 hours. Grr. I totally understand where you're coming from.


The next time she kept him for the morning, he was old enough that I left baby food for him too, hoping she wouldn't use up all the milk again. I explained to only feed him milk if he seemed hungry, and then try to stop feeding him when he's done eating- he doesn't need to eat the whole bottle. She scheduled & formula fed my sister & I rather than watched for hunger cues, so she has no idea what to look for. When I drop him off, she still asks when he should have his next bottle, and I always answer "when he's hungry". Hopefully she'll catch on one of these days eyesroll.gif


Kellymom's article How to bottle feed the breast fed baby is really good at explaining some of this. The "1-1.5 oz per hour you're away" has been a useful rule of thumb for me to follow, too- but you don't want to underestimate and end up with a hungry baby and frustrated caregiver, KWIM?

post #6 of 10

I second the kellymom article!


I don't think your therapist understands the recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding. It's not "perfection" - it's normal, and important, which is why it is recommended. Would your in-laws change their feeding behaviour if they knew they were overfeeding, and that it was decreasing your stash to the point of having to use formula? Would they be receptive to change for a health reason?

post #7 of 10
Hugs! I've battled low supply so I know how stressful it can be.
I get that you don't want to micromanage your inlaws - I tolerate pop and videos for my three-year-old (totally verboten at home) at granny's house! - but the average BF baby eats 25 ounces in a DAY so 20 ounces in eight hours is a lot.
Are you using newborn-flow bottles? I second the suggestion to check out the kellymom.com fact sheet on bottle feeding the BF baby and the milk calculator for how much expressed BM your baby will need when you're apart.
You're coming from a place of wanting their help and it shows. I think you could have a gentle conversation with them about not overfeeding without offending them. Could your husband help?
post #8 of 10
I had that issue with my husband's aunt when she was watching DD. When she was only 9-10 weeks old, she'd feed her 10 ounces and I was only gone 4-5 hours. DD ended up vomiting any extra out. I ended up putting only one bottles worth into each bag, and told her to not feed her any more unless she was showing hunger cues. I also explained that her stomach is the size of her fist, and can not hold that extra milk. DD loved to comfort nurse, she should have just given her the pacifier instead of stuffing her full. Eventually it got better and she stopped with the big bottles.
post #9 of 10

I am a grandmother that has cared for my grandson while my dil works. Your in-laws are out of line. You are right to want to EBF. It is important for you and your baby. That is not a health decision they get to make. That decision can impact how long you breastfeed and that has lifelong consequences for you and your baby.   


He should take the same amount with them as he does with the regular sitter. If they can't do that and support you breastfeeding then he needs to go to the regular sitter of someone else. He does not need to "bond" with the grandparents at the expense of being EBF and/o at the expense of your wellbeing. I think the amount you are leaving is ok and you may be able to leave less if you are able to nurse him right before you leave him with the sitter of his grandparents.


People expect babies to go 6-8 hours at night without feeding. If your baby is nursing at night explain to your in-laws that because you are working your baby is reverse cycle feeding. He is nursing more at night to make up for getting a little less than they think he should have during the day.


We didn't think my dil would make it breastfeeding much beyond 6 months. It was so important to my son and I that she EBF that all we expected from her was that she worked and breastfed. She did nothing else. We even took the baby to doctor appointments. She brestfed 2.5 years. I'm disabled. If I could have I would have worked and gave them all the money I made so she wouldn't have had to work. Its too bad grandparents don't understand how important EBF and extended breastfeeding is.


Grandparents play an important role in the lives of children. Babies do not need to be left with grandparents for them to bond. Mothers that practice attachment parenting don't leave their babies or toddlers with anyone. Grandparents can get to know babies and toddlers as part of family activities with mom there. When children get older then they may want to do things with grandparents and stay with them.


If you do leave your baby with them then they should follow your rules even if they don't agree with them. You might discuss rules you disagree about and see if you can come to a happy medium. For example you say you think your baby should be covered when out in sunlight. I think that is unnecessary. Babies need some sunlight to get Vitamin D. Brief amounts of exposure to sunlight aren't a big deal. We live in Tucson and my grandson is has blond hair with blue eyes, we used common sense about the sun (sunscreen necessary) and he never got sunburned. We never put blankets over the car seat or things like that. After the AAP made the recommendations to cover kids and use sunscreen parents stopped letting kids play outside. Adults also stopped playing outside. There started being problems with low vitamin D in adults and children and obesity in kids. However, if my dil had wanted me to cover my grandson I would have done it.


If you have an issue you aren't sure of ask on the forums. The women are a good source of information, sometimes on both sides of an issue. It sounds like you are a great mom trying to do your very best for your baby.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all the perspectives.


I am going to print the article on bottlefeeding the breastfed baby and leave it around then begin a discussion on it.


It takes two to make something a confrontation... so I'm going to be open and honest and have a discussion... hopefully it will be well received.

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