The Loss of Breastfeeding - Guilt, Grief & Support Thread
So Ive been hanging out on the BF forums tonight after the stuff in the news today about BF babies being less happy and all that tosh and came across a thread where they were talking about when our babies are older what our attitudes will be about our DDs BFing and I ended up speaking out quite openly about how I feel over the fact I failed at BF.
I believe the ladies like me who wanted to BF so badly but ended up having to FF for whatever reason are in a funny limbo on BnB. There is a forum for BFers and a forum for FFers but there is little support for those who cannot get over the emotional torture that is failing at BF.
Ive spent so long being miserable about it. Ive felt like a sham mother. I used to avoid BnB in the early days because I felt worthless for not being able to BF and whenever I did come on I would cry at all the BF vs FF threads with thoughtless comments about how people believed that those of us who said they couldnt do it were using it as an excuse or that latch issues were a myth. I would then get jealous as hell and still do when I see all the BF blinkies. In 'real life' I have no local groups I can go to because they are either for younger mums or for BF mums and I am neither, so Im isolated. I went to baby massage and got sneered at because I fed my daughter from a bottle...when I would have given anything to be BFing alongside those ladies.
So Ive decided from tonight to be as open about it as I can. I know Im not the only one who hurts still over it and I know how hard it is to try and get over it. Heck, I have PND because I cannot live with the guilt.
But I want to get over it and this thread is for those ladies out there to post their stories and realise they are not alone. Of course noone may reply and fair enough. But this is part of my personal therapy to try and get over it.
My Brief Story:
I developed pre-eclampsia and was induced. 36 hrs later I went to EMCS. Postnatal Care in my hospital was shit and the MWs didnt have a clue. All they did was show me poor latching techniques and rushed off to feed the FF babies so their mothers could get some sleep. We struggled and struggled to latch. I got more and more stressed the drowsier Alice got, the more jaundiced she got and the more the bitchy mums in my room tutted everytime she cried for a feed.
The day we got home she refused to feed for 10 hours. I was frantic. Honestly felt like I was having a breakdown with the worry. Called BF helpline twice, did everything Kellymom suggested and nothing. DH and mum suggested giving a small amount of formula which she guzzled down immediately. I felt like shit but relieved that at least she got something in her. I stayed up that night trying to get her to latch and hand expressing 7mls of colostrum which she took from a bottle.
The day after, she still refused to latch. MW came out and weighed her. She'd lost 11% of her body weight, was still passing meconium and was really jaundiced. She'd gone from 8lbs14oz to 7lbs 13oz!
So we were readmitted to the childrens hospital. The SHO saw her and said she didnt need treatment for the jaundice, she was just under the treatment line. She was abit dehydrated but he thought if Alice managed a good feed off me in A&E the Registrar would be happy to send me home.
So a nurse came in to try and help me. It was the worst hour of my life. Alice was so distressed everytime we tried to latch her. She screamed the entire A&E down and we could hear other parents asking staff what the hell was going on in our cubicle. She would frantically thrash about and shake her head, I was crying, my boobs were on fire and the nurse kept trying and trying to faceplant her on my boob. DH said it was worse than anything he saw in labour.
So we were admitted for 'BF support' and she was topped up whilst I was stuck on a pump. Noone tried to help me with her latch, noone even looked at her mouth and I think she has a lip tie. We were sent home after 2 days and I carried on expressing and trying to latch. We were sent home at the weekend so no BF drop in clinics available (nearest one was 12 miles away and I couldnt have driven there anyway because of the section and Im the only driver in the house), no BF peer supporter visits.
I kept on pumping, my supply was pretty minimal because I was so tired and stressed out and eventually Alice refused my EBM. I 'gave up' then, because I think I would have ended up throwing myself out of the window.
I continued trying to get her to latch until she was about 14 weeks old, or maybe more I forget. But to this day she has never latched on my breast.
I do feel a bit better now about it. Formula was a Godsend for me. But there are times, when she cries for a feed and my right breast leaks still and I feel like utter shit because my body wants to feed her, but she didnt/couldnt feed from me.
You are a wonderful mother and clearly love your lo...she is happy and healthy and that is all that matters. You tried your best, that's all you can do...try not to let it get you down, enjoy your lo! Thanks for sharing, xx
Thank you for sharing. I don't think anyone in their right mind would call you a failure, you have obviously tried so hard which shows what an amazing mother you are. I'll be the first person to admit I've been really lucky when if comes to breastfeeding - I had almost no problems whatsoever, so I can't really imagine the struggle you must have had. I think it takes a lot of strength to change to formula feeding after such a long battle to breastfeed, and you should be really really proud of yourself
Although I am breastfeeding this LO, my first two were mainly ff after only a few weeks of bfing due to low supply after returning to work. I did not feel less of a bond when giving them formula, and they are both smart, healthy, happy children. I never felt guilty about it.
I hate to say it, but you never would have felt so much guilt were it not for the time spent on online forums... and that is NOT me 'bashing' BnB... I love BnB and am an active member... but I myself need to recognize when an issue is exacerbated due to what I read online, or what I am drawn to reading.
Your baby wants to be loved. Not breastfed, or babyworn, or pushed in a stroller, or coslept, or put in a special bassinet... none of that makes nearly as much difference to our LO as it does to us. If you are loving her, tending to her, talking to her, snuggling her, holding her, etc... she feels loved.
see this is what I hate...that mothers like you are made to feel bad for formula feeding!
Please dont look at yourself as a failure, you are a bloody amazing mother to have gone through all that and then continued to try and latch her for all that time. At the end of the day, look at your daughter and ask yourself is she happy, healthy???Of course she is!
of course breast milk is best for a baby but I do think it is drummed into us so much about the benefits and special properties in breast milk, that people forget that formula isnt poison! its a perfectly fine substitute.
If you look at all the succesful people in the world, scientists (sp), olympic athletes, politicians...are you telling me that every single one of those people was breast fed?
I breast feed my son now but am in the process of weaning him onto formula and I do feel pangs of guilt but i just look at him and he is so happy! he guzzled down a bottle tonight happily.
please dont feel bad, you are obviously an amazing mum to care this much about it. she is very lucky to have you as her mumma!xxx
Gosh that sounds horrendous
LO is now 11 months and I still have to try hard not to stare longingly at bf mothers in coffee shops and baby groups.
My did get a lot of support but LO just never latched. In some ways I think that makes it feel worse than if there was a reason like mastitis, poor supply etc that I could pin point as a reason but nope there is no clear reason why she wouldn't.
Tbh the thing that has helped me now is that as mine and friends LOs get older less if them are bf and as the weeks go in we are all becoming more similar and People don't discuss feeding options as much.
More than the pregnancy, labour and those first difficult few weeks I think about bf a second child most days. It's not even something I can talk to anyone about without the 'oh every child is different' comments. Even that is stressful as there is nothing I can do until that moment when baby is born and I try to latch them for the first time
My story is pretty much eeeexactly the same as yours hun! But do you know what, the moment Leo had his first taste of formula and he guzzled it all down instead of screaming and thrashing about.. I felt such a huuuge sense of happiness and relief that now I have no regret for making the decision that I did. It was so very right for my little man who dropped from (6lbs 10oz to 5lbs 14oz and looked so fragile and ill) that how can I regret it? I hope by seeing mine and other peoples opinions it can help you to feel the same. You did what was right and best for your LO so you should hold NO regret for that whatsoever! xxxx
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