Still Feel Guilty as Couldn't Breastfeed(14 Posts)
I know this probably sounds ridiculous, but my son is now 18 months old and I still feel guilty as I wasn't able to breastfeed. It was something I desperately wanted to do, but felt I didn't get the support I needed from the hospital and community midwives after he was born as the staff were all too busy. They go on with their promotion of it before you give birth and the reality is that they don't have the time to spend with you making sure it's working afterwards. My son was having trouble latching on and as a first-time mum I panicked that he would become dehydrated and starve, so gave in and fed him formula. I'm sure a lot of mums have had a great experience and plenty of help so maybe it was just the area I live in. We are ttc#2 and its something I want to make sure I get support with if we are lucky enough to have another baby. Has anyone had a similar experience and been able to come to terms with the feelings of failure?
No real advice, but I feel the same about DS (13 months old). I guess the best thing is to read up on MN about breastfeeding and I often see recommendations on here for La Leche League and Kellymom website for help and advice. It does help me feel better by talking to other mums, including those who are now grandmas, as breastfeeding didn't seem to be such a big deal then and they can help you look at it from a different perspective.
No advice here, but I think it's quite common to feel guilty for not breastfeeding, or not doing it for longer.
Have you read any of the posts (they have a guest post on Fridays) on fearlessformulafeeder.com? It's a great site for reading what other women have gone through when it comes to BF, there are such a huge amount of posts that you're bound to find someone who was in a similar situation to you.
Tiny - no reason to feel guilty. We feel guilty when we do something wrong, and we knowingly chose the 'wrong' thing over the 'right' thing. Nothing you have said indicates anything but love and concern for your baby, and maybe a lack of confidence in breastfeeding. Everything else - the lack of support and the lack of follow-through after the promotion of bf - is utterly outside your control.
Would it be more accurate to say you are sad and disappointed in what happened, rather than guilty? And you were let down by others and maybe feel angry about that?
Feelings of personal failure are not deserved at all.
Next time, it will be different
As well as reading up all the usual suspect websites, once you're pg I'd find my local breastfeeding group or parents group with BF support and pop along. You'll no doubt meet some new people and also know where you can get real life support once baby arrives.
There is always an NCT BF advisor at the parents group at my children's centre plus other specific BF drop in clinics so do your research up front.
Good luck on TTC and hopefully BF
I felt the same about DD1. It definitely contributed to my PND & all I really have of her babyhood are feelings of guilt & bad memories.
I'm sitting here now with week old DD2, who has spent the day crying or trying to feed. I've been to BF groups etc & I'm determind not to have a repeat of DD1's early months.
She is fine, healthy, intelligent & an absolute joy to be around. I'm pretty sure that if I'd EBF her she wouldn't have turned out any more perfect than she has.
Tonight, for the 4th night in a row my 8 day old DD2 will have a bottle of formula, I will not feel guilt, only pride that I'm doing the best that I can.
Good luck with TTC & please don't ever feel guilty about feeding your baby. .
I felt the same after dc1, was really determined to bf but had little support. I thought bf was just the normal, natural thing to do so when it all went wrong I felt a complete failure. I bf'd for one week.
With dc2 I was determined to get it right. I got books, looked at videos and looked at websites giving advice before the birth and then when dc2 was born I pestered in hospital for advice and hands on help which I got. I also got one to one help from LLL at home and from the HV's who came regularly. I had family support and DH was on board. I got some great help here on MN from sympathetic, experienced and nonjudgmental people who gave their time freely. I lasted 2 weeks ebf before giving up.
I was upset that it hadn't worked out again and blamed myself again, but now I have come to terms with it and believe that actually, for some people, it is incredibly hard or not possible to bf. it can also get in the way of enjoying your baby when it becomes an obsession, and I know it made me a complete mess physically and mentally for that short time.
Don't lose sleep over it, move on. It really doesn't matter to your dc one little bit and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
I felt exactly the same! I eventually came to terms with it because I realised that my DS is so happy, healthy, and so bonded emotionally with me, that I clearly did something right for him!
I also realised that there's more important things than how he was fed - I wasn't willing to let my son go hungry while I continued trying and failing to feed him! In my mind that makes me a good mother, I shouldn't have worried so much about how he was fed, just that he was fed
Priority 1 is feed your baby. In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter whether that's by breast milk from boob, formula, expressed milk or some combination.
Do your research. Try to take steps to remedy the stuff that went wrong last time. But remember that you aren't "doing it better" or purging yourself of some kind of wickedness by successful bf. You're setting yourself up for massive angst if you make this about proving something.
Read Bottled Up by the woman who writes the Fearless Formula Feeder blog. This helped me come to terms massively with my feelings of failure. All I think now is, fuck, why do women let ourselves get hit with guilt by this? Babies need to get fed properly and safely. Period. Do it the way that works for you. Babies need sane mothers who are coping more than they need to be breastfed at all costs.
Now I don't give a toss that DS is FF. He is happy, healthy as an ox and adores me. And I don't care whether the next is BF or FF. I will try my damn best to BF, and try to eliminate some of the problems to getting it started that I experienced this time. But if it's not working, I am not going to spend days and weeks bawling my eyes out and ruining my time with my new baby. Life's too short to do that again. I will try my best to bf, but if it doesn't work I'll move on without regret.
Whatever happens you are going to do your best for your baby. And truly that is all that matters.
And remember, newborn babies do get dehydrated and jaundiced. So don't feel bad for giving your baby formula for this reason. Excessive caution where the health of young infants is concerned is never a bad thing.
Boobs and bottles unite I say.
Boobs and bottles unite
This should be MN's new mantra!
Thanks so much everyone, that has really helped. I too felt like I lost those first few precious weeks with my new baby due to being such a wreck over the whole thing, however he has turned out to be the happiest, healthiest smiley little boy and I am treasuring every moment with him now. Who knows whether there will be a next time, but if there is, I will try to be stronger and persist in asking for help.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Same thing happened to me OP. I wanted to breastfeed but just couldn't get my babies to latch on. They cried and wouldn't settle, I was worried about them, in fact my first baby did become dehydrated, so I gave up and bottle fed. There wasn't any support available so I just muddled through.
They are now 15 and 12 and they are healthy intelligent happy kids, so don't feel guilty, your baby will be fine.
I had issues with bf both of mine. With dd 1 I went through the guilt, failure etc. The issues I had both times was supply - baby feeding constantly, coming off screaming, losing weight and never gaining . First time round it led to pnd as I felt guilty for not persevering with mixed feeding and a total failure.
Second time same experience (which hopefully won't happen to you), dd 2 got admitted for weight loss, horrible. Once again ended up entirely on formula. Me a mess ended up getting sent for counselling by the midwives. Other than sitting here a bit teary remembering the hospital admission I now have no guilt about it. I accept that it was how it was, that it was ok to be upset and that I couldn't stand mixed feeding. Formula was best in my situation (dd2 is now 12 months).
Good luck if you have another
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.