Any other bf mums had these feelings?(33 Posts)
Before DS was born 6 months ago I was adamant that I was going to ff but then decided to give bf a go for a few days to see how it went and even though I went through 4 weeks of pain induced hell, I stuck at it and he's been ebf ever since.
I love bf him and am so glad I managed to tackle the issues in the early days but the last week, I've been feeling a bit like 'maybe it would have been easier to ff' and have got a bit down about it. It's really got to me today and have had a bit of a cry of over it tonight.
The main reasons for this are that so many ff mums I hear of saying that their DC sleep 7-7 and when my DS is waking up to 10x a night and I'm so tired, it doesn't seem fair. Also, when people say that it doesn't matter whether you ff or bf, that it doesn't matter when the DCs are older how they were fed when they were babies - I wonder why I put myself though what I did in the early days and now, with the night wakings.
I know this next bit will sound incredibly selfish but we had a festival in our area today, so DH, DS and I went for a wander and stopped by our local pub (where DH has been a regular for the past 15 years). There were a few women there who I know have DCs younger than mine and were out having a day/night out drinking with their friends and I felt so envious. I have been out on a night out once (for 4 hours) since DS was born and even then it was a bit of a nightmare, trying to organise DS, his feeds, pumping and dumping etc so I haven't bothered since.
Don't know what I hope to gain from this post, maybe someone has been through the same and can give me some encouraging words...
The grass isn't always greener! My DD is formula fed and I've had a few wobbles wishing I had breast fed. It just seems like everyone else's babies are so easy- she also wakes up on the hour it seems. So FF doesn't mean sleeping!
Hope this helps a little. It will pass!
I think what you are feeling is completely normal, I used to long for a night off or a couple of drinks. When my DS was younger I couldn't leave him for longer than a few hours, I always had to do bedtime and be ready to get up in the night so I never really got a night out.
But it got better...and if you feel that continuing to bf is right for you it will get better for you too. My DS started to feed less when he took more solids and around 12 months I night weaned him. This made a big difference.
You don't sound selfish at all; you sound like a mum! A tired one too, 10x a night is hard, but that's a whole different thread I suspect
And don't believe everything you hear from other mums about how well their babies sleep, I have friends who ff and have done from birth and their DC are awful sleepers. Other friends who bf and their DC are great sleepers.
I know people say it doesn't matter how you fed your baby, and really that is true as long as they are healthy, but when I look at my little boy and I think back to breastfeeding him I feel really proud that I helped him grow, all me! You should feel proud too.
Hope it all works out for you as you wish it to, whether you continue to bf or switch to ff, whatever your decision will be the correct one for you and your DS.
I think you are doing brilliantly bf your baby, it's not an easy thing to do and it can really take it out of you. Plus being a new mum can easily make you feel knackered, super-unattractive and not like 'you'.
I don't know if you have had any thoughts on how long you will be bf for, but however long you choose to do it for, just remember it won't be like this forever and ever, and you will be able to go out and drink lots soon!
Presumably you'll start to wean your DS quite soon and I found this helped my non-sleepers to sleep for longer each night. Also, when I was absolutely knackered, my midwife suggested I give my DC a bottle feed at night as sometimes they wake up as they get a lovely cuddle and warm milk so it's just nice for them rather than they are hungry. I didn't want to do this at first, as felt v precious about bf, but actually I got so tired that I got my DH to do it in the middle of the night and it really helped as I got a decent stretch of sleep. That's not to discourage your bf at all, which I think is fab and a beautiful thing to do for your DS.
I felt exactly like you at around the same time, when DD was 6 months old.
I think it was because in my head I'd always said I'd bf for 6 months, so the 6 month mark had become a sort of 'goal post' for me. Despite the fact that I was enjoying it and didn't really want to stop, once I got past 6 months I did find myself becoming a lot more aware of what I saw as the limitations it put on my life (does that sound awful?). For me, I think it was a signal that I was ready to start thinking about stopping. I spent about a month getting used to the idea, then another couple of months slowly introducing formula, and then another month or so before I finally stopped the last bedtime feed. In a lot of ways, life was then harder as I had to always remember bottles, sterilising, powder etc. before leaving the house whereas before I could just up and go knowing that I had everything I needed inside my jumper!
And, if it helps, I didn't notice any difference in DD's sleeping when she switched over to formula (at the time I remember I was actually quite offended that she didn't seem to even notice that I'd stopped bf-ing her!). And I know people who have ff their children since birth and their children have been bad sleepers and I know ebf children who have (apparently!) slept like angels practically from day one, and vice versa. So I'm not convinced that the method of feeding has any real bearing on sleeping patterns....
Hey MB34. A kind Mumsnetter sent me this book when I was struggling with the same feelings as you and not sure if it was all worth it. It made a massive difference to my way of thinking as it brought home to me how incredibly important and precious breastfeeding is, if you can possibly do it. It's solidly evidence based but very readable - I really recommend it. Plus it's cheaper than even one tin of formula
MB34 I remember feeling exactly the same around 6m. DS was going through a looooonnnnggg period of crap sleeping, and I tearfully said to her that maybe I ought to switch to ff because I just couldn't see how it was going to get better otherwise. She said to me, you've got this far, why stop now? She ff me by the way, but she meant why switch when you've got the hang of it and it is going well?
We stuck at it, and soon afterwards, once DS was established on solids and drinking water, it was easier to leave him for an evening (he is a bottle refuser - and milk in a cup refuser!). We are still going at 13m.
MB, I know how you feel. I am proud of my bf relationship with DS, (14 months) but he is a bad sleeper. Never slept through once. All of my mummy friends FF or mix feed and when inevitably comparing notes, I feel like the way I parent is hard on me. I went out this week for the first time in 6 months. DS wouldn't go to sleep until 10PM and would only sleep on DH's chest.
However, you are responding to your baby's needs. You can't pull open the buds of a flower, it has to open its own time.
I will say, there is no need to pump and dump though. Beer (brewers yeast) is good for increasing milk supply.
My baby is EBF and approaching 6 months. I occasionally long to be able to go out etc. but I don't miss the hassle that comes with bottles. All that sterilising.
Just think you will start weaning soon and he will become much less dependent on you over the next few months.
Will he take a bottle. 6 months is a long time, you could wean him onto follow on milk.
My baby can sleep for at least 6 hours at a stretch so I don't think the sleep thing is about breast feeding. Is he really hungry or is he just waking out of habit and looking for comfort?
up 10 times a night? That seems a lot. That may be nothing to do with breast feeding. One of mine slept for 8 hours at 14 weeks and he was breast fed.
if baby is having expressed milk whats the big deal with not leaving him so you can go out?
I am breastfeeding my dc2 now six months and was adamant I would have a better sleeper this time. Hasn't worked out this way - he is currently waking 4-5 times and I often get frustrated. I hate expressing and he won't take a bottle, so for the second time I feel a bit resentful that DH can completely take a back seat. However this time I am just expecting that it will be a long time till he can be left with anyone else or I can really have a drink. I has allowed me to relax a bit and just go with it. And, really, it won't be that long till he is a grown up preschooler like DC1. I guess I just wanted to say you are not alone in this - it is normal - but you are doing a beautiful, wonderful thing for your baby.
Morning MB34, yes, I had very similar feelings! When I had DS1 I remember feeling very 'trapped' at times because he was bf. I loved being a mum and loved him but sometimes I just wanted to escape even for only a couple of hours and have 'time off' I suppose. I remember DH coming home after a posh business lunch thing and wanting to slap him because he'd had normal adult time. Like your DS, mine was also a poor sleeper which I put down to being bf. I can't tell you the amount of times I considered jacking it on and switching to formula. We muddled on until he was 8 months then he self-weaned. DS2 was also bf and was a brilliant sleeper! DS3 (currently bf) is also a pretty good sleeper. I think it is an individual thing. My DH is a crap sleeper so I reckon DS1 takes after him
I could sleep through an earthquake. I think that what you're feeling is entirely normal, especially with your first and especially as you must be exhausted. You sound like you're doing a fabulous job. . One bit of advice that helped us with DS1 was when he was on solids was loading him up with carbs and protein at tea time eg. pasta with cheese sauce / fish and rice as that seemed to fill him up for longer and help him to sleep. Best of luck OP for you and an unmumsnet xx as I remember how I felt
i do not like ebf. I had planned to feed both expressed milk and by breast from the start but never got around to setting up and using the machine. Now at 9 weeks he won't take a bottle. He has reflux and I have to hold him upright for half an hour after feeds. This means at night I'm awake for an hour every time he wakes which makes it hard to get back to sleep. As his sleep cycles are often as short as an hour I often haven't got back to sleep before he wakes again. I feel like he feeds constantly and because he won't take the bottle my husband can't give me any respite. I get a bonding buzz from cuddling my little son after feeds and holding him upright or comforting him when he has reflux pain but I get no emotional bonding buzz from bf at and I don't see how I am doing a 'wonderful' or 'beautiful' thing thing for my son by being a constantly tired and stressed mum. I can't even get out of the house by myself for half an hour in case he wants a feed, as he is on no pattern whatsoever and so completely unpredictable. I've never been an ideologue about bf and the fact that loads of children, including me, are raised healthily on ff is evidence enough for me. Desperately wish I'd got him on the bottle.
Ipp I am sorry you are struggling with a refluxy baby. Have you been to the GP about it? There is a reflux support thread here and maybe some of the mums there can offer support. Have you eliminated dairy from your diet? That may help with your DS's reflux. What about cranial osteopathy?
If you weren't BF, I'm sure the reflux would be worse as formulated cows milk is harder on an infants digestive track than human milk. The first 3 months are the hardest as infants are totally unpredictable and your DS needs extra TLC with his reflux.
The thing about ff is that everyone says i was fine/my children were fine, but it is the long term impact of ff that we don't understand, how does it relate to adult health problems?
I hope you get some help to manage your DS's reflux.
The thing about ff is that everyone says i was fine/my children were fine, but it is the long term impact of ff that we don't understand, how does it relate to adult health problems?
In addition to this, bf is about more than just food - it's about your baby feeling safe and secure, and the body releases hormones accordingly. Yes, ff babies are fed and cuddled just as much, but that hormone release isn't present. We know nothing about the impact or not this has long term. Ff babies are forced artificially early into self soothing, and i say this as Ewan plays his harp in the background and a clean dummy lies in the cot but they're my back up plan for when feeding doesn't work.
I'm up every 2-3 hours with my 6mo. I will reread this thread at 3am to remind me why I'm still breastfeeding!
PS do your ff 7-7 friends mention how long it takes them to ssh-pat, rock, pace etc or how many times they have to get up to shove a dummy back in?
I've not read all the comments in detail but just wanted to add very quickly that I think most people feel like this at some point. My older DD is 2.5 and still has one feed each night before sleep - I would love to have dropped it about a year ago but she woudn't have it. Fortunately, if I'm not there she doesn't bat an eyelid now. So I'm a big fan of BF and I do consider it to be better than FF (in my case, for my kids).
But... New DD is 7 months old and was EBF too. She's not a dreadful sleeper, but seems to have got worse recently, and I am getting near the end of my tether with it. I don't like co-sleeping but it's the only way I get any sleep. I'm back at work and pumping is a pain in the arse, and she does take a bottle but not well - and I am just totally knackered and keep picking up infections (both eyes with conjunctivitis at the mo). Also no chance whatever of time with DP or any nookie whatsoever is leaving us both a little bit lost.
But, but, but. I have done this before, and been at this point before and DD1 was pretty much the same, if not worse. And at 9 months she was sleeping 7 to 7 in her own room. And this one will be too
or she will be living with someone else. Until DD2 came along I didnt realise how much easier my life had got, because DD1 had been sleeping through for more than a year without me particularly apprecaiating it. This time I will really appreciate it!!
Hang on in there OP. You're doing good things for your baby, and in two years time you will barely remember the way you feel now. When i get really down I think of my parents. They had the two of us too and mum EBF. And for at least 36 years now they have slept through pretty much every night, and for about the past 20 they've been able to go out and do exactly what they want - like we used to before the DDs arrived. It is the blink of an eye...
Thank you everyone for your kind messages and for taking the time to reply, I'd been thinking I was the devil to be feeling like this! I was trying to tell myself last night that it will pass but somehow, other people telling you this from their experience is more believable!
Aunt that's exactly how I feel at the moment - I can see the limitations bf is putting on my life (if it is awful, at least that makes two of us ) but I don't think I'll be giving up bf anytime soon. I agree with Tea's mum - I would feel that all the hard work at the beginning would have been for nothing and as it's so easy now, it'd be a shame to have to go through the rigmarole of sterilising, making up bottles etc.
Thanks Twitchy for the book recommendation, I think I'll be buying that to have a read.
LAF You can't pull open the buds of a flower, it has to open its own time. I like that analogy and I suppose it does get there in the end.
Terror and Xigris - that's what gets to me too - DH can get "time off" and I get a bit resentful of it. Although, he always says that I can go and do what I want and he'll look after DS (shopping/night out etc), but I think he forgets that DS won't take a bottle anymore. I'll remember the carbs/protein advice too!
Ipp3 sorry to hear you are struggling with this - I can't give you any advice about the reflux so as Purple said I hope you get some help. But I can say that I remember some days in the beginning feeling like I was chained to the sofa/locked in the house as DS wanted to feed all the time. What helped me was to have a (quick) shower, put on a clean pair of pjs, get the duvet and accept that I would be on the sofa for a few hours/days and just watch what I wanted on TV! I felt so much better as I felt I was the one deciding to do it!
Purple that's exactly what I need to hear too - that bf is different to ff. Knowing that, makes it easier to keep going.
To answer some of the questions
DS used to take a bottle but the last few times that DH has taken him out for a few hours (when he would have needed a feed), he refused the bottle. We have started to wean him (BLW) over the last week and have been trying him with a sippy cup of cooled boiled water every day with the hope of him getting used to it. I think he is slowly getting to know what it's for so fingers crossed he'll take milk from it too
otherwise my freezer full of ebm will be a waste!
Although he was waking 10x a night, I wasn't feeding every time - maybe 4 or 5. Over the last month we've tried some gentle sleep training (sleep associations, not feeding to complete sleep etc) and have ramped this up the last 2 nights with the start of gradual retreat. He's woken up 5/6 times and I've fed him twice - I'm hoping this isn't some kind of fluke and the sleep training is working. Don't know if the feeding is comfort/habit/genuine hunger though!
Again, thank you all. all round! I think my hormones have been playing up this weekend - I heard our first dance song on the radio today and sobbed my heart out which is silly as I didn't even shed one tear at any point on my wedding day !!
Totally relate to the op. bf is often made our to be this amazing ethereal experience that's as easy as breathing. I can report it is fecking well not. Bf is v hard work and stressful and irritating and as you say, limiting. However....it's something that lasts such a short time in the scheme of things. Have a massive moan and get it off you chest (arf), and then get on with it
i know this isn't quite what you asked, but in response to frequent night waking i would highly recommend reading the no cry sleep solution, ds was similar to your dc at the same age and with some fairly easy ideas from this book and as others have said a bit of getting onto solids and generally settling down in terms of age, starting to be able to sit up etc he was a much happier baby and we were finally getting some decent sleep!
I went through feeling like you do. I just wanted to add though that getting my children to nap was much easier when I was bf, this made travelling with them easier, seemed to mean that I didn't need strict routines, we were better able to go with the flow.
I have a reflux baby too. It's been five months of pure and utter hell. Breastfeeding was the biggest disaster ever and definitely no great binding experience. its not always like that is it. Where is the reflux thread?
Hey OP, just wanted to add my voice to everyone else saying I've been there and it does get better.
It's not that I hated bf, but I resented it, and blamed it on DD being a bad sleeper. I felt that breastfeeding was the biggest con ever. I saw other parents who ff and felt that the mothers had it totally easy and could both resume their own lives and enjoy parenthood, because their DC slept and, as you know, that makes all the difference. ( Ipp3, I swear I could have written your post word for word at nine weeks in.)
If I could only tell you now how silly that line of thought makes me feel. I've since learned that NO-ONE has it easy. Few babies sleep actually sleep well, and most parents feel under pressure to play down night wakings. Many women struggle with PND even if their babies do sleep. Parenting is insanely fucking hard and nobody ever really comes clean about this before your first. But figuring this out helped me no end in time.
From about 7 months, I actively started to enjoy breastfeeding. Solids are such a huge liberation, you won't believe it, and it's not a big deal if baby won't take a bottle. He can have a water and a little meal when away from you, and catch up on milk feeds when you're reunited. FWIW, and I might get flamed for this, but I'm a big believer in a mixed approach to weaning. Plenty of finger food so that baby does all the learning and having fun with food stuff, but also one spoonfed meal per day, to get all the calories in. A baby just won't sleep on an empty tummy.
Anyway, sounds like you're seeing some small successes with your DS's wakings. Hope it continues to go well for you. Really sorry for the essay, but I was so unconvinced by the benefits of breastfeeding right up until 6/7 months, but I'm so glad I stuck it out. Anyway, I just hope it gets easier for everyone struggling with feelings of being trapped . Absolutely agree that a long hot shower can help restore sanity, if only for an hour or two...
MB34, please have a look at this link:
and click on the facts about breastfeeding. It is by the World Health Organisation so is as trustworthy and unbiased as you are going to get. All the original research the facts are based on is online too so you can judge the validity of the claims for yourself if you have a scientific background. I'm a medical doctor with research experience (not in this area, in fact about as far away as you can get) and after looking into the original evidence closely
when breastfeeding was going badly and I was trying to find justification for stopping I am happy to accept it is valid.
It is hard on this board, and in real life sometimes, to be honest about how much better breastfeeding is than substitutes, because many women for one reason or another have not been able to establish bf though they would have liked to. It can feel insensitive and so I don't raise it unless explicitly asked.
And please don't believe anyone who tells you that breastfeeding promotion is a "lobby" or "propaganda" and the benefits above are made up. Breastfeeding is supported by voluntary organisations and no-one profits financially from it (well, apart from mothers who do it ) Formula is a multi million pound business with generous budgets to advertise and fund research. I know who research findings are more likely to be biased in favour of, if anyone.
Re your comment about people who are ff growing up fine. I don't doubt it - formula is not poison, it is a decent substitute when breastmilk is not available and keeps babies (including my baby in the first days of his life) alive. But studies with large groups of people have consistently shown health benefits in breastfeeding. This doesn't mean that if you compare two individuals, one bf and one ff, the bf will automatically be healthier. The bf one may have all sorts of health problems, but it is also possible that if they weren't bf they may be even worse. Does that make sense?
I hope I haven't offended anyone with this. Breastfeeding can be really hard and is not always the right choice for everyone IMO, but I want you to make your decision with full knowledge of the facts as I feel you're less likely to have regrets later.
MB34 - the pay off on all your hard work will come when your ds starts school or childcare & he'll have a stronger immunity than ff kids. This will mean a lot because he wont be as sick so often & it will pass quicker. Also I find my kids to be calmer and also more independent in that they had the contact they needed when little. They still have lots of my attention now of course. My youngest is 3 and they have all been through sickness and all sorts (but not as much as ff friends) and I put it down to bf that these illnesses have passed without the use of antibiotics that other parents have had to use.
Thanks for that link Twitchy, it was just what I needed to hear. I'm all for science based evidence.
A lot of people talk of how 'breast is best', but they don't tell you the limitations it puts on your life. I suppose I had lost sight of the benefits that it is giving to DS and looking at the bigger picture - it's such a tiny time frame in my life, I now know I've done the right thing for me and him and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Thank you