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Feeling sad about being a breastfeeding failure. Update post #30

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#1 Lorem ipsum

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:29 PM

Hoping writing this out will help me to feel a bit better.

DS is almost 6 weeks old, and has been on formula top ups his whole life (low blood sugar, then losing too much weight)

I haven't been able to produce enough milk for him. I have tried pretty much everything I could; expressing, lactation cookies, motilium, using a supply line. None of it has really seemed to help. I have decided to quit expressing, because, it doesn;t seem to be helping abd the 5-10 ml I am getting is depressing, and I am basically just pinching his milk for the next feed, as he is cluster feeding.

When he does go on the breast he fights, pulls and comes off all the time because he is not getting enough. He is only happy after his formula top up. I guess I am just grieving the breastfeeding experience. The beautiful mother and child bonding and special link. I want him to grow strong because of what I give him, not what comes out of a tin. Selfish I guess.

Anyway thanks for reading. I will get over it, eventually. But I am sad at the moment sad.gif

Edited by Lorem ipsum, 21 November 2012 - 05:08 PM.

#2 twilightangel

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:35 PM

Not sure what to say but bbighug.gif and please be gentle on yourself.

Edited by twilightangel, 14 November 2012 - 03:36 PM.

#3 More than a Mother

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:35 PM

I had these same feelings and experience with my bf journey.

I wish so much that I'd stopped trying sooner. I managed 6 months and with hindsight, I have to be honest and say that all the attempts to bf interfered with the enjoyment I should have had with my son during this time.

It was just too stressful, and feeling like a failure didn't help.

You've done everything you can - don't beat yourself up.

#4 Another one

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:36 PM

I'm so sorry for you.  It's understandable that you are sad but please don't feel like a failure.  You have clearly done everything you can to try and increase your supply.

Let go of the feeling of failure and enjoy feeding your bub calmly - he sounds happier with the bottle so the feeding will be a much better experience for both of you.

#5 Wacky Wobbler

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:36 PM

I hear you on this. Something that is so natural is so bloody hard to get right.

I have decided today to just express for my baby while I can as BF is causing me so much heartache and I want to enjoy my baby not resent him everytime he is due for a feed.

I know you are an amazing mother, and whether you are BF or not it doesn't define you as a mother. As long as your baby is getting fed I don't think it should matter how that comes about.

I don't know why we torture ourselves with trying to be the perfect parent.

I know its sad, but I believe for both your own emotional wellbeing and baby's health you are doing the right thing.

#6 MissM86

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:36 PM

hugs to you. I could have written your post when my DD was your son's age. I think I really grieved the loss of the whole idealized experience of breastfeeding that I had in my head. I wanted to have another baby immediately so I could try breastfeeding again (craziest idea ever, thank goodness I didn't do that)!

14 months on and I am at peace with it (mostly). It takes time to get over not breastfeeding if that is what you had planned to do.

Looking back, its true what everyone around me was saying but I refused to notice- DD was/is happier on formula because she was getting enough milk. She has thrived and became a happier, calmer baby when her tummy was full. Breastfeeding may be wonderful for some but for my baby it was formula that really helped.

Good luck OP. Hang in there.

#7 jac-ts

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:47 PM

I breastfeed for 3 months and then my milk turned greeny grey - most horrible thing I had seen, especially since it had come out of me! After crying and thinking I was the worst mother in the world i rang my mum who told me that breastfeeding your baby didn't mean you loved your child more than bottle feed babies and to 'just get her feed'. It was what I needed to hear, and for all those comments to come about 'bonding', DD still looked at me when I gave her the bottle and I held her close and sang to her. P

#8 PurpleNess

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:50 PM

OH OP I was you once & feel your pain. But I also want to say my son iwas pretty well fully FF from birth - i expressed for 3 months but topped up most of the time - and we have a fantastic bond.

A few things I did & occasionally still do ( DS is 11 months old) which I found helped with that bonding was:
Feed baby skin on skin - breast or bottle
Have a bath with baby & feed in the bath
Have lots of skin on skin cuddles outside of feeding time
Wear baby in a sling/ergo frequently.

Don't worry about where his nutrition comes from - what matters is that he is getting it. Once I threw in the expressing/BF towel both DS & I thrived. He was sooo much more settled and I felt like a whole new world had opened up to me. Bonding was actually better as I was clear to focus on him, not the bloody pump, nipple shields, attachment issues etc.

I did struggle with the loss , it's a grieving process of sorts, so be gentle on yourself and give yourself time to move on - you are not a failure & neither am I!

#9 Lorem ipsum

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:54 PM

Thanks everyone.

It is hard to get used to. When I was pregnant, I was asked by the midwife if I was planning to breastfeed. Of course I replied, why wouldn't you. I wonder if there was more info available that bfing doesn't always work, would make people feel less guilty about it.

Having said that DS is an IVF baby, so I should know about when your body lets you down....

#10 --binda--

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:58 PM

I feel for you.

I have had trouble feeding all three of my girls, but the last one was the one that just wouldn't put on weight if I tried.

Even now that she's 18 months old, I'm sad that I don't get to feed her.

#11 handsfull

Posted 14 November 2012 - 04:13 PM

OP - don't beat yourself up over it.  It is not worth it.  You have a new baby and have tried your best.  BB is not going to make you a better mother.  You love your child and the bond you have is the most amazing thing.

I couldn't breastfeed my girls as they were terrible BF feeders.  I did express my milk and gave it to them in bottles BUT because my milk came through well and truly early I had a decent supply.  I did have to give it up though and they were swapped onto formula which they took to fine.  No detriment to them at all.  Because of it I was actually able to spend more time with them and know more accurately how much they were getting etc etc.  Their smiles were just the same and so where the burps!!

You are a great mum and I agree with PP that they don't give enough credit to mums who cannot/able to BF and not make it seem just as wonderful.

hugs and here's to a happy baby!

ETA: My two were also IVF and I know my body gave its all to have them.  Sometimes you just have to seek help from an outside source.  xxx

Edited by handsfull, 14 November 2012 - 04:15 PM.

#12 lucky 2

Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:16 PM

I want him to grow strong because of what I give him, not what comes out of a tin. Selfish I guess.

I don't think it is at all selfish to want bfing to be successful.
But, wouldn't it be selfish and negligent to only breast feed if you did not have enough milk for him to survive and he suffered as a result?
You didn't do that, you were proactive and worked through these issues with knowledgeable health professionals and tried the tricks of the trade.
And despite all that you continued to have an undersupply and also experience breast refusal, a double whammy!
Feelings of sadness, frustration or regret would be a normal reaction given your experiences.
I hope you feel more at peace as time goes on.
As time passes the feelings will fade although I continue to carry the memory of my feelings about things that didn't go well with my dd, some were related to bfing but not all.
All the best hheart.gif .

#13 Feral Nelly

Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:39 PM

I'm another who could have written your post! Motillium, supply lines, fenugreek, lactation smoothies/cookies - I tried them all.
Could only ever express about 10-20 ml.
I comp fed until 6 months and then decided that the angst and screaming/crying/pulling off after every breastfeed wasn't worth it. I cried and still feel guilty about it today (she's nearly 2!) but I honestly enjoyed her a lot more when feeding wasn't such a struggle.
Enjoy whatever feeds you can and if you need to switch to full time formula, then that's ok. as a pp mentioned, there are other ways to promote bonding.

#14 Queen Bey

Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:49 PM

Please don't be hard on yourself op. So many of us have tried everything and for whatever reason sometimes it just does not work out.

I remember being attached to a breast pump for half hour and getting just 15mls, only for it to mostly end up on dd's bib. Oh the tears and the mummy guilt.

Main thing is that bub is happy and thriving. Best of luck.

#15 Kay1

Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:53 PM

I'm so sorry. Let yourself grieve it and I hope that these feelings will pass soon and you will enjoy watching him thrive regardless of how he is fed.

I have also had to deal with low supply (three times now) and had to do the express, EBM, formula routine. It is exhausting and for you to have stuck with it for 6 weeks is huge and no wonder you are feeling upset that it didn't pay off longterm. But, you have given it your all and the 6 weeks of milk you gave him is a great start.

I have watched a close friend (who also had IVF) go through this same thing. It was very hard for her but easier with subsequent babies because she could see how happy and healthy her older kids are and how undiminished the bond between them. Take care and remember you are a wonderful mother.

#16 Water_lily

Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:12 PM

Hi Op

My baby was through IVF. I had a hard time getting him on the breast. It took me about 6 weeks. I tried 20 min on each breast then gave him a expressed breast milk. He also had one bottle of formula for the day. Eventually he did come to love the breast milk. I know this is a stupid question but do you try to take lot of liquid? That helps.

Couple of mothers from my mother's group who had naturally conceived babies never got on to breast and ended up on formula. Don't think it is a IVF baby issue.

So don't beat yourself up. I know it is hard. You are doing the best you can and it is very hard with a newborn. If you have to switch to formula that is OK. You have given him the best start.  Time will sort things out.
. bbighug.gif

#17 Mum2TwoDSs

Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:55 AM

QUOTE (MissM86 @ 14/11/2012, 04:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
hugs to you. I could have written your post when my DD was your son's age. I think I really grieved the loss of the whole idealized experience of breastfeeding that I had in my head. I wanted to have another baby immediately so I could try breastfeeding again (craziest idea ever, thank goodness I didn't do

Well exactly my thoughts! I wanted to have another baby and looked so forward so much to bfg cos it didn't work with ds1...boy was I even more crushed this time.

Ds2is 4 weeks 6 days now and I haven't given up completely. It's my last baby I am still trying out anything I could. But not to compromise enjoying him. Too precious to miss this early infant stage.

#18 Mum2TwoDSs

Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:00 AM

QUOTE (Halle @ 14/11/2012, 07:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Please don't be hard on yourself op. So many of us have tried everything and for whatever reason sometimes it just does not work out.

I remember being attached to a breast pump for half hour and getting just 15mls, only for it to mostly end up on dd's bib.

Ds2 just vomited after I gave him 60ml EBM which I painstakingly pumped out over 3 sessions.  blink.gif

#19 Psyduck

Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:13 PM

I'm feeling the same way OP. I had my DS on Monday and after a very traumatic birth he ended up in the NICU.

I went down to BF him every 4 hours and he would latch on suck then fall asleep. I got him home after 4 days and he was so unsettled. I would feed him and he would be hungry after BF for 45 mins.
So I am currently pumping and topping up with formula. Whilst we are both happier and FAR more rested I still feel like a failure as I am unable to feed him from the breast.

ETS: how wonderful is it to be stuck to a pump!!

Edited by Drakk, 18 November 2012 - 06:14 PM.

#20 -river-

Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:39 PM

I have tried and failed at breastfeeding 4 times and I can tell you that I still bonded beautifully with my children.

It's depressing when you find something that's supposed to be natural so damn difficult. There's plenty of ways to bond with your baby, breastfeeding is just one of them. Try not to focus to much on it and enjoy your little baby.

#21 SpunkyMonkey88

Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:47 PM

I understand completely, I was in the exact same position.

All I can say is that I was formula fed and am best friends with my mum. My DS and DD 4 and 18 months are smart, thriving, gentle loving children who did fine without BF.

I just made sure I sang, read danced etc with my kids and spent lots of time bonding.

#22 Diana_Barry

Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:54 PM

QUOTE (Plappermaul @ 14/11/2012, 07:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm another who could have written your post! Motillium, supply lines, fenugreek, lactation smoothies/cookies - I tried them all.
Could only ever express about 10-20 ml.

Yep, me too. It was hideous. Failed at natural birth, failed at breast feeding, failed cloth nappies. But I did PND spectacularly. It's so not worth it.

hugs to you.

#23 belindarama

Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:58 PM

I had something similar with DS1. We are very close.

If you planning on having more I'd like to give you some hope; number 2 fed perfectly from the first feed and we had a year of perfect feeding. I had not one moment of trouble with him.

So don't assume it will always be the case, you may have a very different experience if you do it all again!

Go easy on yourself, sometimes it's just too hard. I really struggled the first time and giving up was actually the best thing for us both. I relaxed, got more sleep as I wasn't expressing all the time and we actually had better bonding after I stopped as I didn't feel resentment and stress anymore.

#24 Lightning_bug

Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:02 PM

op, allow yourself time to grieve.  I was heat broken about my inability to BF.  Allow yourself to feel insulted when people question your 'decision' :original.gif.  Let it out and don't swallow it down.

With my first born I made myself sick with disappointment.  With my daughter I made a vow I wouldn't let that happen again.  I tried and tried and tried and then, when it failed, I chose to embrace the bonding and love which can be found FF.

We would lie, both topless, cuddling as we bottle fed.  And she was happy and her happiness made me happy.

You haven't 'failed' your baby in any way.  There are far more important things than what they eat.

#25 harryhoo

Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:16 PM

I feel your heartache OP. I actually express fulltime and know that I'm lucky to be able to express enough for DS. When I did try breastfeeding early on it was such a stressful time for both of us. In hindsight I wish I had made the decision to stop the BF battle earlier (and would definitely have FF if I hadn't been able to express enough). It was only after choosing to stop at 3 months that I actually felt like I could bond properly with him and enjoy him. I went through a stage of feeling so guilty that not only could I not BF but he was probably starving for the first six or so weeks of his life... but he's a very happy, healthy bub now.

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