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Formula issues/"success" problems

718 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  CathMac
I encounter women occasionally who are convinced they have little to no supply left because immediately after nursing their baby goes on to suck down a huge bottle of formula. Is there a physiological reason for this?

Usually I try to convince them that since they had NO problems before this that it's a growth spurt, especially since they have issues around 6 weeks and 3 months but I was wondering about the physiological reason. Is formula like food that you can eat a lot of and expands to fill you a short time after you eat it?

I'd love to have a link handy so when someone again mentions they had no supply because their child drank so much formula right after nursing, I can explain the reason and encourage them to stop! Right now, I'm pretty sure people think I'm stupid and reckless because I suggest that they probably don't need formula through a growth spurt.
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Maybe they gulp down so much, because they're drinking it from a bottle and using the strong suction they would use when they're drinking from a breast. Since it comes out of a bottle easier, they drink it faster and therefore can drink more?

I remember when mine were exactly at that age, 6 weeks. I was very uninformed and new to this and felt like no milk was coming out of the breast, so I would feed them with expressed breastmilk from a bottle and they would gulp down the whole thing, so I don't think it's necessarily the formula that's causing them to do that.

This article, specifically the section title Fussiness, has a great article explaining why a baby will guzzle a bottle of formula even after nursing:

Parents who don't know this is "normal" frequently respond as you did by giving a bottle because they think the baby isn't "happy or satisfied" with the breast. When the bottle goes in the baby's mouth the mouth fills with milk, the baby is obligated to swallow and the action of swallowing initiates another suck. The suck again fills the mouth and the cycle repeats, giving an appearance of the baby "gulping the bottle down hungrily".

This of course only contributes to mom and dad's fear that the baby wasn't getting enough at the breast and they keep offering more and more bottles (understandably). Which then causes a true low milk supply. Often the baby falls asleep peacefully after this episode which also reinforces to the parents that the bottle was just what the baby needed. What has really happened is the baby has by coincidence come to the natural conclusion of the fussy spell (most parents give the bottle as a last resort which means the fussiness has been going on for awhile) and/or the baby has withdrawn because "gulping" down the bottle was actually stressful and NOT what the baby wanted but she could not stop the flow, so exhausted, she falls asleep. So don't offer bottles during any fussy time.
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Both of you are fantastic

Thanks a lot for the link, Chinadoll.
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Of course for babies that don't mind the tidal wave of milk there is the danger of developing a "fast flow / fast food" preference (better known as nipple confusion or nipple preference).

Here is a great Kellymom article that includes tips on how to prevent that for parents that have to give a bottle. (E.g.: when mom Works and Pumps).

The primary tips are: slow flow nipples, removing the bottle every other swallow,

How to bottle-feed the breastfed baby for a breastfeeding supportive style of bottle feeding

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