Thursday, 16 April 2020

PARENTHOOD: Struggling with Combination Feeding when baby has a High Palette

Struggling with Combination Feeding when baby has a High Palette
*Advertorial Content with Mumsnet and MAMUK
Combination feeding was always the aim, but the journey there wasn't the simplest. In October of 2019 we welcomed our third baby and first son Rory into the family. As with each of our children I was nervous about being able to breastfeed him, but within 20 minutes of being born he had successfully latched on and our breastfeeding journey began. I was extremely lucky that he latched well, I only had the usual pains you experience when you initially start breastfeeding and it all seemed relatively smooth sailing. That was until we had our six week check-up and Rory had dropped from the 75th centile to the 50th; although he was gaining weight it wasn't at the rate he should be. I had also noticed that he was making a clicking sound every time he fed, then getting upset due to trapped wind. It all became a vicious cycle of struggling to feed without taking in a lot of air, then getting uncomfortable, and then needing feeding to calm down etc. I began to become concerned that he might have a posterior tongue tie, so mentioned this to my health visitor who recommended that we attended one of the county's breastfeeding clinics.
It soon became evident that finding a clinic which worked with the school run, whilst looking after Poppy and Rory - and all this during Christmas time - was almost impossible, so we decided to book a private breastfeeding and tongue tie consultation. Rory didn't have tongue tie, but he did in fact have a high palette. Essentially the roof of his mouth is higher and very sensitive, so getting a full latch is tricky for him (hence the clicking sound) and he had been struggling to take a bottle too. As we had combination fed both Isabella and Poppy, we has been planning on doing the same with Rory, however these issues were making that difficult.
If you're unsure as to what combination feeding is, it is when you combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding (either formula or expressed). This can be done for a number of different reasons, from difficulties breastfeeding to needing to leave your baby for periods of time and has always been our personal preferred method of feeding. We introduced one bottle a day to Isabella when she was 3 weeks old and did the same with Poppy when she was 6 weeks old. However, since Rory was 4 weeks old we had been trying to give Rory one bottle a day with little success. But it became more of an issue when it was evident he wasn't gaining weight quickly enough, so we were advised to try and up his milk intake.
We tried a whole range of bottles, over weeks and weeks, but due to his high palette and intake of air we were struggling to find a bottle that he could feed from and that wouldn't leave him feeling uncomfortable. When we had Rory weighed at around 12 weeks he had dropped again to the 25th centile and the need for him to take more milk had to become even more of a focus. We tried giving him milk through a cup, which had limited success as he would often spit it back out again and I found it hard to get the pouring at the correct speed/flow.
We then tried the MAM Easy Start Anti Colic Bottles and things started to change. I am so happy and relieved to say that our combination feeding journey truly began. The SkinSoft teat for easy acceptance, anti-colic features and flat teat shape have worked together to enable Rory to take milk from a bottle without getting any of the uncomfortableness related to wind. It has also been incredibly helpful that the MAM Easy Start Anti Colic Bottles are self-sterilising, which means when we've visited friends/family or been away we haven't had to take any additional sterilisers with us. All you have to do is, fill the base with 20ml of water, pop the teat and collar on, then place the core of the bottle on top, then the lid so it just rests and heat for 3 minutes in the microwave. I can't express how convenient this is and was why we chose to use MAM bottles a lot when combination feeding Isabella and Poppy too.
The teat is perfect for both breast and formula milk, as it gets as close to the familiar feeling of breastfeeding as possible enabling a smooth switch between the two when combination feeding. The unique flat shape simulates the mother's nipple during breastfeeding and we found this shape has worked best with Rory's high palette. He manages to get the best suction on this teat and along with the innovative vented base has not had issues with trapped wind/colic. The MAM Easy Start Anti Colic Bottles were also named Mumsnet Best Baby Bottle 2020, which just shows why they are loved by so many.
It has honestly been such a relief to know that Rory is getting that extra bottle a day and we will hopefully see a bigger weight gain at his next weigh-in (all health visitor clinics have currently been cancelled due to coronavirus). Combination feeding is what a lot of parents choose to do due to its flexibility, but as always fed is best. A happy mummy is a happy baby after all.
Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x 


*This blog post was an advertorial in collaboration with Mumsnet and MAM UK.
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14 comments

  1. I combination fed mine after a few weeks of breast feeding until my own milk stopped coming through. It was so much less stressful as I couldn't make enough milk. That must have been worrying but it's good you found the source of the clicking and that it was causing trapped wind. It's more worrying when you know something is wrong but don't know what x

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  2. it sounds as if you had a really tough time finding the right option for rory. It's so stressful. It sounds like this bottle is perfect for you both. I hope he has put on loads of weight by his next appointment.

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  3. This sounds like a great bottle solution for you and Rory and hope that his feeding gets better and he puts on more weight x Really useful information for others going through the same with combination feeding x

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  4. I combination fed Jack and it really worked for us but Olivia hated formula/bottles so I breastfed her exclusively. It seems like you've found the perfect solution to the issues you were having.

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  5. This sounds like such a frustrating experience for you both. So glad you were able to find a solution

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  6. My daughter has been using these bottles with Lilah and they have been fantastic at helping her to combination feed

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  7. I haven't heard of combination feeding before. Those bottles you have sound very good

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  8. I struggled to feed my first child as well and had to do a combination feed for her as I did not produce enough milk. I remember going through so many bottles until I found MAM through recommendation. It is one of the best bottles as she never had any colic problems after

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  9. This sounds like it is really going to help so many mums. I am sure when you are struggling you can feel very alone.

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  10. Bet this will help so many mums out there. Must be so hard especially times like this. Your baby is super cute

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  11. I love that, fed is best, completely puts no pressure on a mum just doing her best! I struggled with breastfeeding as my eldest had tongue tie and wish someone had said that to me

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  12. I am glad that you found a good solution on the problem, I can imagine it was difficult for you both! I dont have kids so dont know how it must have felt like, but I have heard that combination is sometimes the best option! Rory is beautiful :-) Cecilia xx

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  13. It is great that you have found a bottle that works for you. It takes the pressure off you and you can both have a settled routine

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  14. you write very well this article, there are a lot of good resource here. i am sure i will visit this place again soon.

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