Posted by: rob | 2005/11/25


My son, born prem at 35 weeks with respiratory problems has returned home after 6 weeks in ICU. He had feeding difficulties at first but is now feeding well off the bottle. He doesn't suck well off the breast and my wife is finding it difficult to find time to express milk. She feels guilty to put him on to formula which in turn causes undue stress and her milk not to flow. My son is now 8 weeks old, healthy gaining weight as expected- any comments on changing to formula to give my wife some relief?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Rob
Breast feeding is best, but sometimes parents choose to give formula. First a few questions. How do your wife feel about breast feeding? Does she WANT to breast feed? If yes: Contact a lactation consultant that specializes in breast feeding. She will be able to assist you in teaching the baby to suck on the breast. Prem babies sometimes struggle to learn this skill and need some assistance. A lactation consultant will also be able to assist you in increasing the milk production. Breast feeding should be a wonderful experience, so please find help if this is the route you want to go.

If she does not want to breast feed rather change to formula and do not feel guilty about it, since this will relieve the stress for mom, but only do this change if she does not want to breast feed and not because she is struggling at the moment. Good luck!

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Our users say:
Posted by: zain | 2006/01/20

I have a daughter born at 35 weeks- i express milk and then add a little bit of formula as per the doctors advice and bottle feed her. However, she doesnt take a whole lot and goes to sleep within minutes even if she was wide awake. She has gained 1pd 11oz in the last 4 weeks- her weight gain is not of concern but the amount she is feeding. What can I do?

Reply to zain
Posted by: Lene | 2005/11/28


I hope this will make your wife feel better. Having twins, I did everything to improve my milk production without success The one digested formula better than the other one and therefore he didn't get much breast milk. He is also the healthier one of the two. The other one was on CPAP for 12 hours but was fine after that. I found that he catches deseases easier than the one who was on formula.

Giving formula does not make you a bad mom. I did express every drop and combined it with their feeds. In my heart I know I did the best I could and i've got healthy little boys.

Reply to Lene
Posted by: Terry | 2005/11/25

Hi Rob,

My daughter was born at 30 wks and I was able to express for about 6 weeks - we then put her onto formula and the difference was amazing!!! She began putting on weight better, was less colicky, and far more 'relaxed'. I believe she felt the difference in that mom was now relaxed and focussed on baby not on feeding! My advice would be to praise your wife for expressing as long as she has and that putting baby on formula now is not a failure! But it will give her the time and energy to enjoy your baby!

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