Did you quit BFing sooner than planned? And how did you feel about it?

(29 Posts)
Angelico Sat 17-Nov-12 23:53:21

Have been BFing DD for nearly 8 weeks now and for the last 4 weeks have been struggling with recurrent blocked ducts. They are so painful. Have tried everything including 2 lots of ABs for borderline mastitis. Had no bother for 2 weeks and tonight they are back. Have combed and massaged, fed and expressed, had hot bath, taken lecithin and Ibuprofen.

I'm getting really fed up - keep thinking "I will give it one more week..." Have really mixed feelings about quitting BFing - when it goes well I love it but I am tired of the pain when the ducts block. Always the same place (1 o'clock to 5 o'clock on right breast, bar one random blocked duct on Thurs on left which cleared within 8 hours) and they take a couple of days to clear. The pain is horrible and makes me miserable but when it goes away everything is fine again.

I feel really conflicted about it all sad Think I would feel really sad if I gave it up as there is a real bond with DD when feeding her but life would be so stress free if I gave up and didn't have to worry about blocked ducts / pain / intermittent engorgement. Could also have a full night of sleep some nights as DH would give her bottles ON.

Anyway just wondered how people felt about giving up - if you felt more guilty or relieved when you quit. Or did you have problems which magically settled at a certain point?

cece Sat 17-Nov-12 23:57:12

I BF DC 1 and 2 much longer than I had planned.....

DC3 I had to give up earlier than I planned as he kept biting me. I had hoped to do 2 years but had to stop at 20 months; felt sad.

I would recommend getting some help from either one of the helplines or seeing a BF counsellor. Keep up the attitude of next week it will be better and suddenly it will be.

stargirl1701 Sun 18-Nov-12 00:03:37

I gave up at 3 weeks. I had been hospitalised for a week with infective mastitis and sepsis. I had been given 3 different IV antibiotics - one of which I had an serious allergic reaction followed by 10 days of 3 more oral antibiotics - one of which I had a minor allergic reaction to. Baby star had lost more than 10% of her body weight and her potassium and sodium levels were dangerously low. I started with mixed feeding in hospital.

Once I got home I had been instructed to feed her on the left for 30 min, give a bottle of expressed milk, give a bottle of formula then express for 30 min of the left. That took an hour and a half. She feed every 2 hours. I lasted 12 hours on this regime before realising it meant I had to go without sleep. Impossible.

I feel it was the correct decision. I had reached the end of what I could cope with. She is now ff. I have looked into relactation but I am so emotionally and physically terrified of a reoccurrence that I'm paralysed in my decision making.

BlueyDragon Sun 18-Nov-12 00:10:52

Before I answer, can I ask if you've tried different bras? Not personal experience, but a friend of mine kept getting blocked ducts and it was because her nursing bras didn't fit properly.

Yes I did give up early with DD. Horrible latch problems, difficulties accessing BF help, expressed every feed for 6 weeks before deciding I'd done enough. The guilt was, at the time, indescribable and I felt like a complete failure. Then I realised I had done the best I could and was still doing it. It's a bit more complicated than that and was a bit more of a drawn out process of acceptance rather than a magic moment, but that's it in a nutshell. She's now nearly 6 and as healthy as her younger brother who was BF for 8 months.

Good luck OP. It gets better.

Pancakeflipper Sun 18-Nov-12 00:19:49

I stopped just after 8 weeks as my DS1 lost a lot of weight (went from 50th centime to not even on the chart).i wasn't producing enought milk and he wasn't thriving.

I tried so hard. Breast feeding NCT help etc. But he ended up on formula.

I still struggle with it but I tried to focus on the positives - DS1 began
to put on weight and wasn't hospitalised ( he was that ill) and my DP did the midnight feed sobI got some sleep ( and I had a lovely hot curry and wine)

Figgygal Sun 18-Nov-12 07:38:08

8 weeks after he lost 12% at day 5 had to start top ups which just got bigger and bigger until he refused to feed from me. I kept giving it another week and another week until the only reason I continued the stress for me and DS was so I could say at 8 wk post natal check I was still bf and they wouldn't judge me blush the guilt is irrational and overwhelming and I still have flashes of it now he's almost 1.

I think those who want to bf and don't manage to for whatever reason are in such a difficult position as u chose to bf for a reason (all of the health benefits) and can never quite reconcile selves with FFing but it's really not so bad

dottt Sun 18-Nov-12 07:46:52

I stopped feeding ds at around 20 weeks I fed dd for much longer. Personally, afterwards I regretted and was sad that I didn't persevere with ds, but he was my first and I was exhausted and I was encouraged to stop feeding him by family.

What helped with dd was expressing and dh fed her a bottle at night. I was a new mum with ds and I was told it was all or nothing, and so I didn't consider mixed feeding or anything like that as I didn't think it would work. I wish I had kept feeding him though and perhaps supplemented with the odd bottle.

the most important thing in all of this is you and what is right for you, happy mummy happy baby,

FirstTimeForEverything Sun 18-Nov-12 07:48:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rhubarb78 Sun 18-Nov-12 07:57:37

I stopped feeding DS when he was 8 weeks old. he would latch on and take foremilk lovely but then would fall asleep and not take the hind milk therefore was never full and was either feeding or crying. He didnt gain enough weight and the final straw for me was feeding him for 7 hours with maybe one 20 min break in that whole time and he was still unsettled, i was exhausted so dh gave him a ff top up and he wolfed the lot, i cried for about 2 hours. i knew then i couldnt keep it up, i was miserable and so was the baby, it affected our bonding in a negative way as i felt he was just unhappy with me all the time and i couldnt face another marathon feeding session. on the advice of a feeding counsellor i decided to be more relaxed about top ups and the result was a different baby. he was so settled and content after a feed with a top up so things just kind of progressed from there and he ended up on full ff. i felt horribly guilty and i am still sad that i couldnt bf for longer. DS however, couldnt give a damn, he is a happy, content, gorgeous little 9 month old. Stopping bfing is such a hard decision but i think ultimately you will know if it is the right one for you. Good luck op and well done for keeping at it through all that pain

heidipi Sun 18-Nov-12 08:16:25

I wanted to ebf for 6 months, but ended up starting to stop at 20 wks and finished for good about 3 wks later.

Despite best efforts it never really fell into place for me - feeds were long (90 mins every time) and at best uncomfortable - I got advice from 2 v experienced bf counsellors but to no avail. Had mastitis twice too - i tried hard but don't think i was v good at it!

At 10 weeks I was a broken woman but wasn't ready to stop, so made a deal with myself that I would stop at 20 wks so was halfway there. This helped psychologically as I felt I was on the home stretch and the end was in sight (that and giving 2 bottles a day which helped the soreness and freed up a couple of hours too). I'm expecting DC2 in may and if it's as hard again
I'd do the same - hopefully much more calmly but I know that the hormones might put paid to that!

It is really hard when it's hard, the emotions don't help, and people who've bf'd with minimal problems can't possibly understand. Don't worry about anyone else, try to focus on how well you've done to give your baby this much bm in difficult circumstances. Whatever you do next won't change that.

Really well done, good luck and congrats on your baby.smile

RaisinBoys Sun 18-Nov-12 08:27:35

Yes, and I feel fine about it.

Bottle fed from 4 weeks. DS was happier and no longer hungry!

Scroll forward 9 years. My DS is happy, healthy and has strong attachments to me and his dad.

You can only do your best in this life. Don't waste time feeling guilty about how you feed you DC. The only people who should feel guilt are those negligent parents who don't feed, love or nurture theirs.

I'm think actually stopping today. LO is exactly 7 months.

BF was very hard for us in the beginning - he'd fight the breast, he lost weight in the first 3 days, I'd give him a bottle and he'd drink it like it was the first thing he'd ever eaten etc etc. I think our struggle to BF led to my PND and my psychotic episodes, plus I had that D-MER thing, so every time I fed him I didn't get the 'bond, just feelings of hollowness. I kept going 'just one more week, just one more week'. I'd said when I was pregnant that if it wasn't working by week 6, I'd stop.

However, I couldn't stop trying (here come the psychotic episodes!)...I thought that LO wasn't my son, and I was looking after him for someone else and she would be really mad with me if I didn't BF him. So I had to feed him or else I'd feel I was failing his 'real' mum. I'm nuts I know!!

So I kept going and going. By the 4th month, it was actually going quite well, he was EBF for about two weeks I think. Then I started to bring bottles back in because he was going through a growth spurt and I couldn't keep up.

So, he's been mixed fed for about 2 months now, and I've been slowly bringing his BF time down. I wanted to go to a year, but I think it's time to stop. I obsess about BF, read about it all the time, think about it all the time (and I think everyone is getting a bit bored of me talking about it too!). Now I better mentally, I want to concentrate on and enjoy MY baby.

MyGoldenNotebook Sun 18-Nov-12 10:27:50

I stopped BF at 2 weeks, mainly for emotional reasons although the physical pain didn't help. I felt very guilty for a while and became quite obsessed / depressed about the whole thing (lots of crying in public places and masochistic googling) but now DD is almost five months I'm doing much better, being a lot more sensible, and the guilt has really eased.

By posting the 'guilt' question in the BF/FF topic you will get very intense responses smile In RL a huge proportion of those who give up by six weeks (over 80%) don't feel this way. They're probably the sensible ones smile Looking back at my behaviour now I feel like this hmm ... but it was something I felt unable to control at the time.

If you want to keep BF you will get lots of fantastic support here. There are some truly knowledgeable women on this board. BF is a lovely thing to do if it is working for you and / or if you want to do it.

However, if you do really want to stop it is important that you are supported with this too. Like I said, BF is a lovel thing to do but it's not the end of the world if you can't. It really isn't. I have wasted so much silly time on this. My DD is so beautiful, and there I am weeping over BF instead of playing and cuddling with her (Not now! Over it thank God).

You have done very well to get to 8 weeks. Better than most and your little one will have all the immunological benefits of colostrum.

Whatever you do you will get support on MN (and in RL I imagine). But ... the most important thing is that you enjoy your baby. Whatever milk he has he will be just fine you know. With lots of love he'll be happy as a clam either way.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sun 18-Nov-12 12:47:31

I had mastitis and then kept getting blocked ducts, so feel for you. It did settled down once BFing got established & I've not had a problem since. Was around 10 weeks ish it stopped happening smile

AntiqueMuppet Sun 18-Nov-12 13:13:44

Oh OP I feel your pain! I struggled for 12 weeks with the same problems, and by the end I was bleeding, sore, lumpy and just couldn't take it anymore.
DS fed for about 20 hours out of every 24, I had hot flannels on my breasts before feeds, frozen peas down my bra after feeds, a midwife telling me it was thrush, a doctor telling me it wasn't thrush, I tried every feeding position under the sun and felt like I was going slowly insane. I barely left the house for 12 weeks. I felt really guilty at the thought of giving up - like you I had to feed through the blocked ducts to clear them, then when things went well for a few days it was the nicest thing in the world and stopping seemed silly, until it all started again. The last straw for me was having to take DS to A&E one Sunday afternoon when he started sicking up my blood. He was fine, of course but that just really made me think it wasn't worth the pain and the tears.

When I finally gave up it was like a dark cloud had been lifted and I was (almost) back to my old self again and could go for more than a few hours without bursting into tears. Luckily DS took a bottle without complaint though, which made a big difference. He's a big, rampaging 14 month old now!

All my friends BF without any problems, which makes me think I was probably the exception, but I just wanted to let you know you're not the only one going through it!

AntiqueMuppet Sun 18-Nov-12 13:16:05

Sorry - got a bit carried away there.
What I meant to say was that I did feel guilty for stopping, but so, so relieved.
On the other hand, I've heard from others that things really settled after about 12 weeks, so who knows, if I had perservered things might have got a lot better.

Angelico Sun 18-Nov-12 14:15:14

Thank you so much for your honesty - it really helps thanks

I actually feel more guilty in a way now as my problems seem minor compared to what many of you went through blush and you kept going or if you stopped it was after horrendous difficulties. DD is gaining loads of weight and thriving so it's not a supply issue (unless oversupply but I don't get engorged when the ducts block, it's just them that are hard). Ducts have cleared a good bit ON - tackling them pretty fast and aggressively seems to have helped so really hoping they will clear more quickly than normal.

I tried the expressing thing weeks ago and it was working really well - DD took a bottle ON a few nights letting me sleep and it was brilliant but the blocked ducts started about a week later and that put me off in case they were connected. Good to know that things began to settle for people at the 10-12 week mark - will try and hang in there.

DD is starting creche properly in Jan and although they are very supportive of BFing mothers if I haven't got the expression thing cracked by then that will be the obvious time to begin weaning her onto FF.

Have you tried 'drop-feeding'? Basically, you lie the baby on a flat surface (I used the changing table), and lean right over them and 'drop' the nipple into their mouth. That can help blocked ducts.

Also, I've heard that baby's nose should be opposite wherever the blocked duct is. So if you feel like the duct is on the inside of the breast (closet to your ribcage), baby should be feeding in the rugby ball position.

Angelico Sun 18-Nov-12 22:59:29

Tried the drop feeding and rugby ball hold before but thanks for suggestions. Have tried everything as confirmed by LLL lady I spoke to a couple of weeks ago. They are still there but not too sore or hard at the minute - just need to keep taking the tablets and feeding / combing / expressing...

AntiqueMuppet Mon 19-Nov-12 11:01:07

OP don't feel guilty! There will always be someone worse off and someone better off - feeling guilty is the last thing it sounds like you need right now!
If you decide to carry on I really hope things settle and that it works out for you and if you don't then don't feel guilty about that either - sometimes these things don't work out and to have made it as far as you have with those problems really is an achievement in my book smile

Angelico Mon 19-Nov-12 21:24:59

Thanks Muppet smile Ducts are clear again today so again loving the whole thing, especially the sheer convenience of it (baby had jabs today and was able to whip boob out afterwards to console her). You had a totally horrendous time and am in awe of you carrying on as long as you did thanks - I would not have made it that long! x

AntiqueMuppet Wed 05-Dec-12 13:44:06

Hi Angelico!

How are things going? Any improvement?

Angelico Wed 05-Dec-12 19:06:13

Hey Muppet - thanks so much for the shout out smile thanks

No blocked ducts for the last 2.5 weeks so keeping fingers crossed that we are over the worst (have probably hexed myself writing that). I do wonder now if hormones were part of the problem - I had to have a D&C a couple of weeks ago for a blood clot and retained products in womb. Boobs were a bit confused for a couple of days after (milk coming in at odd times) but no more blocked ducts so far.

DD is now 10 weeks so we'll keep going and see how far we get...!

Angelico Wed 05-Dec-12 19:11:30

Oh and one thing which I think may have helped is that I stopped wearing a bra at night. It means I occasionally wake up in a milky patch and my boobs will probably end up round my knees somewhere when I finish BFing but I have massive norks and just couldn't find a bra that didn't press on the danger zone when I lay on my side.

AntiqueMuppet Wed 05-Dec-12 19:35:12

Yay! That's great news smile Fingers crossed you're through the worst and that it will all be plain sailing now.

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