If you didn't breastfeed all of your children......

(32 Posts)
needtobediscreet Wed 13-Aug-14 11:23:21

....how do you feel about formula feeding the others? I ask, because I so often read on here about mums 'succeeding' in BF subsequent children, after 'failing' with their first, or not even trying. (Sometimes the birth order and feeding outcome is different but it's usually that way.) Often these mums feel very happy to have BF their child(ren) successfully and seem to be extra pleased because they didn't BF their other child(ren) and were disappointed by that.

I find the psychology of these situations interesting, I mean, when you know that one or more of your children has been given something which apparently will make them much healthier, more intelligent and more bonded to you, which their siblings were not. Do you feel guilty? Do you notice differences in your children's health and relationship with you? Does it make a difference whether you chose not to breastfeed or were not able to? Does it make a difference if you breastfed them for different amounts of time? Does it matter whether you EBF or mix fed?

insanityscratching Wed 13-Aug-14 11:30:54

I breast fed my first for six months , I hated it and so my others were formula fed. I don't feel guilty at all. The breast fed one was poorly with viruses every week more or less until he was five the subsequent ones were much healthier. The most intelligent child was bottle fed as was the one with whom I have the closest bond. My first was the best sleeper and is taller than all the others, he's also the most chilled out.
Four out of five of them are adults I'd say how they were fed initially has had no bearing on the people they have become.

loudarts Wed 13-Aug-14 11:41:16

I didn't try bf with dc1, dc2-5 I tried and failed to bf so were ff after a few weeks. Dc6 is 8 months and has been exclusively bf, I don't feel guilty about it. I tried my best with the others and the only reason I succeeded this time is ds is a bottle refuser so had no choice but to keep trying. I am very proud of bf him tho,he is a big chunky boy and I love knowing I've made him that way. There is obviously differences in intelligence between children but not bf related. Only thing I have noticed is dc6 is a worse sleeper than my ff babies.

MMcanny Wed 13-Aug-14 11:48:00

After ten years I can honestly say it really doesn't matter. I don't feel less bonded or anything. It's a way of feeding, end of. I did BF both technically, first for just six weeks, second for six months. Was disappointed about first time ending so early but in retrospect it was what was right for us at the time and delighted was able to do it 'properly' second time round. There are so many other things to get one's knickers in a twist about though really, I think once you're out of the baby stage it doesn't really matter unless you're very traumatised or self riteous. If my first had been like my second I'd wonder why some people made such a big ordeal of BFing too.

5madthings Wed 13-Aug-14 11:51:12

Marking place to come back and answer this properly.

But no I don't feel guilty, not any more. Sad maybe but I did what worked/was necessary in the circumstances and was right for our family at the time.

Ds1 bfed 18mths

Ds2 bfed 3 yrs 9mths

Ds3 bfed 3yrs 6mths

Ds4 bfed 4mths

Dd bfed 3mths

Nodney Wed 13-Aug-14 11:52:55

I have 3 DS. I FF DS 1 and 2 and exclusively BF (and still am doing) DS 3. I really wanted to BF my first two boys but couldn't get it right. I was offered support by a breastfeeding peer but was too shy to accept it as I didn't want anyone to be messing with my breasts! I was determined by DS3 and swallowed my shyness and got help. DS1 is asthmatic but DS2 is v healthy. DS3 is BF and showing signs of being like DS1 so I can honestly say I can't see a difference in my boys. But I wish I had stuck at BF DS1 and 2 because I've enjoyed the BF relationship.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 13-Aug-14 11:55:41

I didn't feed any of mine for more than about 6 weeks, they are all fine except ds2 who had asthma as a child, but as I had severe asthma as a child I'm not surprised and thought the others may have it too.
They weren't the type of dc who came down with every illness going and are on the whole very healthy.
I don't think the benefits are what they are cracked up to be and many women who can't do it feel so guilty, this isn't right.
Fine if you want to or are able to, but not the be all and end all.

beccajoh Wed 13-Aug-14 12:02:26

I bf DD for seven months, DS had some breastmilk for two weeks.i did feel guilty initially but I had PND with DD, which miraculously cleared up within two weeks of me stopping bf. When I was bf DS I could feel the gloom descending again so made the decision to stop. I would have had to stop soon after anyway as I was diagnosed with cancer when he was three months old.

I don't love my breastfed baby more than my formula fed baby, and the notion that breastfeeding mothers love their babies more than formula feeding mothers is ridiculous and insulting (IMO - other people might disagree).

ff ds1 for 6 weeks, bf ds2 for 3.5years and am bfing ds3.

No guilt here with ff/bfing or any of the other stuff that 'makes a difference'. I've done the best I can for all of them with the resources I had available at the time.

bf ds1 for 6 weeks and then ff.

thetoysarealiveitellthee Wed 13-Aug-14 12:40:31

I FF my first and BF my second because I could (in the end!) and it was cheaper.

Don't feel guilty at all. They both got fed, loved, cared for. If anything I enjoyed the first months with DS1 more because BFing was so difficult - thrush that just kept coming back for both of us, bleeding nipples for the first 2 months, LOTS of cluster feeding, I cried every time I fed, blocked milk ducts - you name it. It got much better after about 4 months and I carried on bfing until he was nearly 2 and really enjoyed just being able to lop a boob out to feed grin

But definitely no guilty feelings, have no reason for them.

differentnameforthis Wed 13-Aug-14 12:44:39

Do you feel guilty? no
Do you notice differences in your children's health and relationship with you? no

hubbahubster Wed 13-Aug-14 16:41:54

For me, my feeling has been that our boobs are designed to bf and I felt disappointed that mine didn't seem to be able to with DC1. As I was later told, my huge blood loss was likely to blame, which seems to have been bourne out as I'm having no trouble bf DC2.

I love them both the same and DC1 is brilliantly healthy, so I don't feel guilty. It's been interesting to have had both experiences, although at the time (when I had to ff DC1 from the word go) I felt torn and upset.

I do thinkl the word 'fail' is used by health professionals in relation to not bf, which is negative and therefore can make mums who end up ff for any reason feel crap. IMO it shouldn't be uttered by midwives or HVs.

mummytime Wed 13-Aug-14 19:16:47

I don't feel guilty that DC1 was bottle fed. I tried, we still have photos which show how horrendously underweight he was. I feel sau I didn't get more support. But we investigated the best milk to give him, and he's come out fine. I don't believe it makes that much difference, and I was definitely closely bonded to him. (Actually I wonder if I'd had him more recently if he'd have been diagnosed with reflux.)
The other two I succeeded with, and I'm pleased that I did.

Why did you post though? Was it to make those who bottle fed feel guilty? Is that nice?

All parents feel guilty well pretty much all.

westcountrywoman Wed 13-Aug-14 19:29:47

A relative had twins and struggled to BF them both so decided to just BF one of them and FF the other. They are young adults now. The BF one did much better at school and the FF one teases his Mum that it was "her choice to make him thick"!

troyandabedintheafternoon Wed 13-Aug-14 19:38:18

I didn't breastfeed dc3 past 1 month for health reasons and I felt guilty before he was born, but, even though I loved breastfeeding my elder children, life was so much easier and my health so much better that now I feel guilty for breastfeeding dc2 til a year!

needtobediscreet Wed 13-Aug-14 20:07:08

mummytime - absolutely not. I 'failed' to EBF past a month myself due to my son having awful weight gain issues. Big post birth blood loss here too btw and major latch problems. Still felt (feel?) v guilty that I couldn't give him what is independently judged to be 'best' I'm just curious about how some mums are v pro-breastfeeding and bang on about all the advantages and how it's best yet readily admit not having BF all their children and wonder how that makes them feel.

The post about the twins - 1FF and 1BF shocked me though. Why not mix feed them both? Just my opinion of course.

mindalina Wed 13-Aug-14 20:17:27

i failed to bf my first. he has mild asthma and eczema and is a vaguely sickly sort of child - on the whole healthy enough but easily wiped out by a bad cold. i am still bf no. 2 and she is so far ridiculously healthy, never so much as vomited in all her eighteen months. i did feel guilty that bf might have staved off the boys health problems but i was young and unsupported, what can you do? i do think bf has helped fend off pnd the second time around, and enabled a faster, deeper bond with the baby than i managed first time around, but how much of thst si really due to bf rather than environmental factors, i couldn't say for sure. <shrug>

mummytime Wed 13-Aug-14 20:52:55

I think there is a different between those who:
Think BF is best - but understand we are all human, and sometimes it doesn't work/isn't best - and thank Science etc. that we have a good alternative.
Those who think BF is wrong/dirty/yuck.
Those who don't want to BF having considered it, but wouldn't comment on others or undermine others.
And those who think BF is the only way, and if you don't you have; damaged your child, neglected them, any problems they have is your fault etc. etc.

DalmationStripe Wed 13-Aug-14 21:14:52

This is a really interesting thread.

I know this isn't exactly what you asked op, but I bf DD until she was 2.6yo and she never had any formula. DS is 12mo. I'm still bfing him but has 2 bottles of formula a week. (While I work)

I already feel really guilty that he has been given formula whereas DD didn't ever have any.

I really would love to stop bfing DS but I feel guilty that DD got 2 and a half years and he wouldn't get the same.

I know it's ridiculous but I can't help it.

Canshopwillshop Wed 13-Aug-14 21:32:42

I bf DD for about 2 weeks but her rapid weight loss was making me so anxious that I felt it was actually leading to PND. Once I started formula feeding it was as if a weight had been lifted and I started to really enjoy her.

When I was pregnant with DS I was determine to persevere for longer with bf and read up as much as I could. My midwife was doing a special study and was all geared up to support me. However, again despite feeding 24/7, my DS's weight plummeted. Every weigh in made me filled with anxiety and I felt so guilty that I was starving my child. I lasted 3 weeks before caving in and giving him a bottle.

Rather than being the unique bonding experience I had envisaged, breast feeding actually had the opposite effect. That said, I am glad that I gave both DC an equal shot at it!

Yama Wed 13-Aug-14 21:39:13

My Mum bf my big brother for a few days.

I got nothing, not even colostrum.

My wee brother got colostrum but nothing more.

My wee sister got months of breastfeeding.

Health wise - I suppose thus far I am the healthiest. One of my siblings has died (cancer).

Bond wise - only my sister didn't/doesn't have an amazing bond with my Mum.

I breastfed my two. I'm not sure it it makes much difference.

DefiniteMaybe Wed 13-Aug-14 21:48:47

I bf ds for 4 months and dd for 28 months.
I don't feel guilty for feeding ds for a shorter time, the blame for that lies directly with the health professionals who failed him.
I don't know about a different bond but ds had his first overnight stay with grandparents at 5 months, and we both welcomed the break. Dd was 2 and a half before she had an overnight stay and I didn't enjoy it and didn't feel I needed the break. But that could be down to me having a different perspective and being older and more settled.
Health wise ds was never ill, until he started preschool and school, dd on the other hand caught everything the germy monster brought home. Again, I don't think this has much to do with bf/ff just the fact that she had an older brother bringing home illness and us socialising with other children which I never really did with ds.

HaroldLloyd Wed 13-Aug-14 21:52:20

I was unable to establish bfing the first time and was subsequent times.

I don't feel guilty nor feel one has been advantaged over the other, as after doing a fair bit of reading I am not entirely convinced about some of the longer term benefits, in particular intelligence.

As far as I'm concerned dc1 got fed in the only way I was able at the time and there it ends.

BlanketSky Wed 13-Aug-14 22:36:10

I ff my first child as I had a traumatic birth with him and I was clueless about how to make bf work. DS would not latch, just screamed (I realise now probably uncomfortable after his delivery) and due to pain, the drugs I was on, the experience I'd just had I just couldn't do it, though I tried for his first night with crap hospital 'support'. When my milk came in, I didn't really want to try again as by then DH was doing a lot of feeds, including at night so I could rest and recover.

DD was an elcs and this time I wanted bf to work so read up on it, she's now 15 weeks and bar a couple of oz of formula in the first week or so when I was at my limit, she is ebf with few problems. I did feel bad about not feeding ds for a while when he was very small (back when all you do is feed so it seems very important), but now having established bf with dd, I know there is no way I could have gone through the endless cluster feeding etc with him in the state I was in.

Now I don't feel guilty about how DS was fed, nor that we couldn't get bf to work at the time, maybe a little that I didn't bother to find out beforehand how to make it work and that I'd assumed it would just happen. I do wonder what his babyhood would have been like if I'd managed it, as bf is so much easier and maybe my pnd wouldn't have been as bad, we'd have bonded quicker... ultimately though their births and my subsequent mental and physical state have been the difference so far I think, that and the fact dd sleeps (for now anyway!).

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