Loathing bf but no excuse really...

(55 Posts)
stowsettler Wed 13-Mar-13 11:26:06

DD is 2 wks 2 days today. BF going technically well - plenty of milk, latching on ok, piling on the weight, reasonably good sleep patterns...all in all a situation many on this forum would kill for.
But I HATE it. I have very big boobs but am quite short, so I can't get her comfortable on my lap because there's not enough room between boob and lap for her to fit! Tried rugby ball hold, feeding lying down, everything, the only way to feed her is across my lap with me bending slightly over her - I can't even lean back because my nipples face outwards and slip out of her mouth. This is killing my back and I do not experience any of that fabled closeness that bf is supposed to promote.
She feeds for 20mins then has a 20min break, then is back for more. Night feeds last about 2 hours - thankfully she doesn't need too many of them, but they are making me miserable. I'm a real control freak, and the total lack of control over things, either to benefit me or her, is making me totally miserable. She will hardly ever settle for me, but does so fine for DP and this is making me feel totally useless and a real failure. It feels like she doesn't want me at all, except for milk and this has me sobbing every time.
I'm sat here crying because I know I should be grateful that we don't have any REAL problems, and the fact that I still loathe the whole process makes me feel even more of a failure. Some of the issues people on here have to cope with are so, so much worse.
Will it honestly get better? Because I just can't see it.

SoulTrain Wed 13-Mar-13 11:33:39

I didn't like breast feeding, I felt incredibly self conscious and didn't like the unpredictable pattern and not knowing how much he'd had. I'm short with big boobs and flat nipples, it was uncomfortable and incredibly time consuming, so I get where you're coming from. If you don't want to continue breast feeding, then stop. Not wanting to breast feed is a perfectly valuable reason for not doing it and don't let anyone convince you it's not. However, FF is expensive and you'll need bottles, steriliser etc.

On the other hand, I'm sure others will be along in a minute to cheer you up and give you some tips for making it more comfortable for you both if you do want to keep going.

Chin up, you're doing great. grin

chocoluvva Wed 13-Mar-13 11:39:11

It will get better. It's still very early days for both of you - you're exhausted and your life has been turned upside down.

Tiny babies are thankless creatures indeed, but soon she'll be smiling and becoming more interesting. Have you been in touch with a BF counsellor? The 'La Leche League' women are fabulous - they'd be delighted to hear from you. Sorry I don't have a link. They will talk to you on the phone or visit you.

Take any offers of help with the housework, shopping etc. It's so easy for other people to say things like, 'Don't worry about the housework' but so difficult not to feel irritated when you're sitting in amongst it all.

Have you tried feeding while you're wearing a sling?

I'm sorry if a lot of this is irrelevant. Having a baby is just such a SHOCK. Tell all the relevant people how you feel and be kind to yourself. You have no reason to feel guilty that you aren't happy at the moment - it's very very common.

stowsettler Wed 13-Mar-13 12:06:56

Thanks. I will try the sling, chocoluvva, and maybe give LLL a buzz when I'm calm enough not to sob down the line at them.
SoulTrain, I suspect I'm headed down the same path as you. I just don't enjoy it!
But I'll give all options a try before admitting defeat, it's the least I can do for DD. At the end of the day, however, I do realise that a happy mother is most important for her - I saw my sister going through the same thing and the transformation in her and her DS when she switched to FF was nothing short of miraculous.

SoulTrain Wed 13-Mar-13 12:50:39

I think you've just answered your own question wink.

chocoluvva Wed 13-Mar-13 12:54:47

If you stop then change your mind it's very hard to restart and you might not feel better.

Lots of mums do go on to enjoy BF , but it sometimes takes a disappointingly long time to get to that stage...

cornflakegirl Wed 13-Mar-13 13:01:25

I can't really picture how you're holding your DD to feed, but the fact that you're having to lean forward suggests to me she needs to be higher up? Have you tried using a feeding cushion (one of the U-shaped ones that fit round you)?

I have big boobs too, and feeding was an ungainly affair until about 3 months when they get a bit less floppy and easier to position. I always had to support the baby's head with one arm and hold my breast up with the other hand - no one-handed reading for me while feeding. Could never get the hand of feeding in a sling either, although I loved the sling in general. And actually, with DS2 I never really enjoyed the sensation of feeding either (although it was fine with DS1). But I still fed both of them to about 3.5 years, because it really does become second nature very quickly. (Disclaimer - given the way that time can drag in the early weeks, it might not feel quick!)

With the night feeds, I really would recommend practicing feeding lying down. It is a bit tricky to start with, but the great thing about big boobs is that it's really easy to switch sides without moving the baby - just adjust your position slightly and the other boob flops down in their face wink.

I wouldn't about DD not settling for you and always wanting milk. That's normal, even though it feels crap. You're cuddling her, and she's right next to a tasty snack - yum! No such distraction with daddy. But then daddy also doesn't have a really easy way to calm her down / get her to sleep / fix any bumps, so swings and roundabouts.

ValentineWiggins Wed 13-Mar-13 13:03:52

If it's really too uncomfortable why not express? Then she's getting the breast milk and you get to be comfortable. It is more hassle but at least you don't have to beat yourself up...it's the breast milk that makes the difference (if any) not where it comes from.

Pootles2010 Wed 13-Mar-13 13:07:22

TBH two thoughts spring to mind - either a really good feeding cushion, or ff. If you're hating it this much, and expressing doesn't work for you either, you're making what should be a lovely time bloody miserable.

I bf my ds for 9 months, and tbh wish i hadn't - i didn't enjoy it, think maybe hormonal thing didn't happen for some reason because it certainly didn't make us closer.

Obviously its wonderful if it works, and its the best thing for them, but if you're hating it this much? I'd ff.

stowsettler Wed 13-Mar-13 13:17:44

I have a U-shaped cushion, but I find it too high (I'm not very tall).

Valentine, I think this may be the way to go now - at least part of the time. I've just tried expressing for the first time and got 2oz, which I'm quite pleased with for a first effort. I'm hoping to collect another 2oz during this afternoon and maybe see how she goes with this tonight. I will stick with BF - either via boob or expressing, but I'm under no illusions about this suddenly becoming a marvellous experience.

Pootles, I hear you. I'm beyond impressed you stuck it out for 9months. I'm just not strong enough.

Still can't shake the intense feeling of failure that I'm thinking like this after just 2 weeks though. sad sad

Pootles2010 Wed 13-Mar-13 13:22:15

I had post-natal depression and was convinced I was a terrible mother, and bfing was about the only thing I could do for him. Course now I can see that it was making it far, far worse - isn't hind-sight wonderful?

Also my mil said I should stop, and I wanted to spite here grin

Please don't feel like a failure. My midwife said that even if you can just feed at the start gives them a brilliant head-start, kick-starts their digestive system & all that. Good for you if you want to continue, but only continue because you want to, not because you think you should.

Pootles2010 Wed 13-Mar-13 13:22:47

her not here.

AThingInYourLife Wed 13-Mar-13 13:30:27

I came on to say that if you really hate it, you should stop.

But gosh, two weeks in?

I hadn't even established breastfeeding at 2 weeks with DD1.

It's such early days and things will really settle down in a few weeks.

For one thing as your baby gets bigger and better able to hold herself you won't find it so uncomfortable or irksome.

Breastfeeding can be so, so convenient and easy once you get the hang of it.

I guess my advice is not to give up on something you might be very glad of at such an early stage.

Beamur Wed 13-Mar-13 13:51:32

I think at 2 weeks in I was in tears at every feed - it was awful, painful, boring - but then at about 6 weeks it suddenly got much easier. My baby was easier to manage, she knew what she was doing and latched better and fed better, it was easy (cheap) and convenient.
See if a bit more RL support makes a difference, but in the end you have to do what is right for you and your baby - and that might be FF, or it might be BF.

MsElisaDay Wed 13-Mar-13 15:23:44

Of course it's up to you, but I'd give it a bit longer before making up your mind. It'll be just as easy to switch to ff in a few weeks, but not so easy to switch back to bf if you start with the formula now.

I'm also short with massive boobs and really struggled at first for a whole myriad of reasons. My shoulders and neck were agony all the time - not just while bfing - as I was so hunched over when feeding. To add to that, my DS wouldn't feed properly and lost 11 per cent body weight despite my having him latched on almost all day. We did a six-hour feed once, in my absolute desperation. It seemed that he was feeding all day and all night, but it still wasn't working.

I hated it so much I'd dread each feed and often ended up in tears as it just wasn't working for us. Anyway, after 10 weeks of feeding hell (formula top ups, three bouts of mastitis, expressing every three hours, nipple shields, suction to pull out inverted nipples, all sorts) it just clicked. And now he's EBF, gaining weight well, and it's brilliant.

I know this sounds a bit bonkers to say the least, but I genuinely love bfing now. After all that pain and misery, my DS and I are both very happy. I've found ways to prop him up with cushions so my neck doesn't hurt, and he's also become so efficient that he can feed for 5 minutes on each side and be full, rather than closer to 5 hours.
I love being able to feed him wherever and whenever I want, and being able to nip out for the day at a moment's notice without worrying about bottles/ sterilising/ pumping - something that I found a complete pain when I was exclusively expressing for six weeks or so.

As AThing says, bfing is really easy and convenient now. After it being such utter hell, feeding is honestly so quick and stress-free that I can do it anywhere - yesterday, for example, he fed happily in Pizza Express. I never, ever, thought we'd get to this stage.
It DOES get easier, it really does. Three months ago, I wouldn't have believed how good bfing could be, as it was just a source of misery for us. Even though it took 10 weeks to come right, I'm so glad I persevered.

If you stop now then you should still be very proud of yourself for keeping it up for two weeks when you're feeling the way you do. But be assured that it does get easier, it really does. And if you think you'd like to carry on then maybe tell yourself you'll do it for another week/ fortnight/ whatever and then reassess?
Good luck with whatever you decide.

Can you try with a smaller/thinner pillow? I had a nightmare with breastfeeding and still do...but had all the problems you can think of and am now nearly 9 months down the line and wanted to say that although I still hate it I am glad I stuck with it because I would have hated that 'what if' feeling even more. I guess you need to imagine yourself in the situation of switching to formula and think about how you would feel about that. It has it's downfalls for some babies who can't tolerate dairy well but may be a great switch if it makes you feel better so just weigh up how you would feel.

Also, I know it doesn't feel like it but 2 weeks is only the start, they get so much better at feeding and positioning when they grow so if you can hold on then you will reap the benefits later down the line. At the early stage I found I was just about getting through each feed, maybe treat yourself everytime you feed her to make you feel better with chocolate or something you like?

I went through loads of pillows and found the best when he was little was a bed pillow 2 on top of each other as they squash down so you can change the shape to what you want.

SquidgersMummy Wed 13-Mar-13 15:52:53

I have teeny boobies but have you tried positioning baby between your knees - was a tip in my bf book for bigger ladies. I found it painful and difficult for 6 weeks - then 'ping' so easy. It gets so much easier and quicker each week as the baby grows. So glad I stuck with it. If you can give it a bit longer before you decide....I went to a local breastfeeding group (your HV will know of them all in your area). Obviously I love bfing but I do think it is so good for them, cheaper and easier when out and about. If you are self conscious in public you could try one of those scarfs. (On the shallow side, its also very good for regaining your figure whilst eating a million cream cakes wink)

PirateHat Wed 13-Mar-13 16:05:22

I used a normal bed pillow as I found feeding ones put him at the wrong level. It does get easier when they have more neck control as ds kept slipping off too.

Don't torture yourself about not enjoying it, plenty of people don't to begin with, bf pays off in the long run in terms of convenience though.

Did you try laid back breastfeeding?

SteepApproach Wed 13-Mar-13 17:29:44

I'm not surprised you loathe it. All that effort and none of the happy feelings that go with it. But honestly, don't be too hard on yourself, it's early days yet. Further, I can only speak for myself, but it certainly got a lot easier once lo was bigger.

Is there a breastfeeding group that you could go to where someone can help you be creative with positions? I'd read about the lying down position and even watched videos, but couldn't quite crack it until a midwife from my local group showed me how and gave me tips on some other positions as well.

stowsettler Wed 13-Mar-13 21:03:02

Thanks everyone for all the advice and ideas. I'm feeling a little more positive after a good bedtime - a reasonably good feed followed by DD settling really well after just crying once.
I have just started at the BF group and am going tomorrow. I'll discuss it there and hopefully get some more ideas. Perhaps I should persevere with the lying down position.
I'm aware that 2 weeks is no time at all really, so I will keep trying for a little longer. Expressed 4oz today so will do more of this for the odd feed when I'm on my knees and DP can take over.
MsElisaDay, that's quite a catalogue of problems you had there. I know for a fact that if I'd had issues like this I'd have already given up, so more power to your elbow for persevering!! Your post has given me some heart too that it may get better.
I guess I need to take it one day at a time, and reassess regularly. Thanks again everyone.

thedicewoman Wed 13-Mar-13 21:14:27

have you tried holding her sort of upright, straddled across your knee and latched onto opposite breast? not sure what that "hold" iscalled but it worked for me. I hated breastfeeding with my second until about 6 weeks when it suddenly got easier,I was literally taking it one day at a time and amazed myself by continuing until 4 months. I found combination feeding really helped me.

I would also just like to say please stop gradually if you do decide to stop ad I stopped . quite suddenly and it really made me very depressed, a horrible, horrible time.

stowsettler Mon 18-Mar-13 09:48:25

Update: DD is 3 weeks old today and things are worse, if anything. My nipples are red raw, I know she's a lazy latcher and am trying to improve this but it's not easy. I still hate every feed, despite trying all of the kind advice above. I am a very organised person and the unpredictability is doing my mental health no favours, and neither is the crushing guilt I feel that I'm already considering giving up. I also have 2 dogs to see to and I feel terribly guilty that these, my babies for over 10 years, are not getting the exercise they need because I'm feeding every sodding 5 minutes. Oh God I hate it all so much.I just want a bit of pattern to my life again. Not even sure why I'm posting this, I have no idea what I want to achieve sad

megandraper Mon 18-Mar-13 10:01:41

Poor you, stow. I think organised people do find the unpredictability (of babies in general, not just bf) very hard. I used to be an organised person myself, though 3DC later, am less so in some ways.

I found bf very hard with DC1 for the first 6 weeks, and then it suddenly got massively better. For that first 6 weeks, I didn't even take it one day at a time, more one feed at a time. Took paracetamol to help with the pain, and slathered on Lansinoh to help with the rawness. It took a month or so before I could get the lying down position to work.

However, now I have bf for nearly 4 years in total (across 3DC) and though I am keen to give up soon, I am pleased with having done it. After that initial difficult period with DC1, it really was unbelievably easy. I understand what you mean about the dogs - I find it a bit frustrating when DD wants a feed and I need to be getting other things done. But I realise now that the few months/years when this disruption occurs is actually very short in the whole scheme of things. You get the time back, though it doesn't feel like it now.

Anyway, whatever you decide to do, good luck.

BertieBotts Mon 18-Mar-13 10:05:19

The positioning definitely will get better/easier as she gets bigger.

If she's a "lazy" latcher has she been checked for tongue and lip tie - by someone who really knows what they're looking for (a good rule of thumb is if they look blank when you mention "lip tie", they probably don't know about different types of tongue tie) - this is fairly common and can cause big problems with latching and pain on feeding.

Have you tried feeding lying down with both of you lying on your sides? Not practical for out and about but a godsend at home.

Sorry to hear you're having a hard time sad

SteepApproach Mon 18-Mar-13 10:10:44

It sounds very wearing. How was the BF group?

I'm not sure how to say this, but if I might gently suggest that you try to let go of the idea of predictability for the next little while. Some kind of a pattern will emerge, but your dd is so little yet.

Is there anyone who can help with giving the dogs a good run?

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