Don't want to breastfeed but feel guilty

(47 Posts)
chloebruce93 Mon 11-Nov-13 10:35:44

Ds is nearly 8 weeks old and I've been bfing since birth. I'm 19 and a single parent and I have little support. I was set on bfing but ds seems to be feeding every hour and it's driving me mad. Sometimes it takes me hours to even get out if bed because everytime I move he wakes up and wants another feed. I'm really beginning to resent feeding. I hate the way it feels and I can't go out because I don't feel comfortable feeding in public. I've also tried expressing out can only get one bottles worth if milk a day. I know that ds is getting enough milk from the breast because I can hear him swallowing it! I tried him on 2oz of sma before bed a few nights ago and he projectile vomited the whole lot back up so I'm frightened to try it again! Any advice on weaning or some encouragement please!?

MiaowTheCat Tue 12-Nov-13 11:52:45

Best advice I can give - don't rely on the internet for this one - you'll know when you've made your decision and whichever one you make will be the right one for you at the time and place you're at now. From my own experience - if you're still dithering about the decision you're not ready to call it quits - if it IS the right thing to do for you then you'll just reach a point where you think "hang on this is utterly ridiculous" (you'll still feel guilty as shit whatever you do - that just comes with the childbirth bit)

Don't worry about doing the "right" thing 100% of the time - no one can achieve perfection where parenting is concerned (and even if you did manage 100% on doing it by the book - they'd bring out "the book volume 9000" and change it all again so you were doing it wrong anyway) - it's all about just muddling through it all and doing the best that you can without everyone concerned ending up some frazzled fraught wreck. The only pass or fail is if your kids turn up in adulthood as decent human beings (and I think realistically you have to try fairly hard to break them on that front).

Too many people on both sides pushing agendas and pointing insults.

Chloebruce - do you have a National Childbirth Trust or a La Leche League near you? If you do, they will probably have a breastfeeding counsellor, who will be more than happy to give you support and information. The NCT may well have Post-natal supporters, and Bumps and Babes groups, which are great sources of support and friendship.

I ended up formula feeding all three of my dses - I had problems with my supply. All three are now strapping, healthy lads, doing well at school or university, and having great fun in their lives.

Breast feeding is an amazing thing to do for your child, and just the fact that you have managed to keep going for so long is wonderful, and you should be proud of yourself, not guilty at all! But there are many other amazing things you can do for your child as he grows up - I decided that making my own purees when I was weaning the boys was one thing I could do, even though I couldn't bf, and I carried on cooking mostly from scratch. But that is only one thing - there are so many others - playing with your child, talking to them, listening to them, reading to them, cuddling them (even when they are great big teenage boys, they still want cuddles with their mum - though maybe not in public grin), supporting them at school, and in the other things they want to do - the list is endless.

What is very clear to me is how much you love your ds, and how committed you are to being the best mum you can be. Just remember, you don't have to be perfect - none of us are - and when you love your baby as much as you clearly do, the rest will flow from that.

CatL Tue 12-Nov-13 10:24:05

Hi OP. Firstly well done for BF for 8 weeks - the first few weeks are most important and you've done more than a lot of people do, so you have NOTHING to feel guilty about whichever way you decide to go. try not to get sucked in to the FF vs BF debate - most people I know in real life seem to manage to be a different points of the scale between the two without being so touchy about their way being right or judging others!!

I remember the exhaustion of BF, and how tied down I felt by it well, and I wasn't a single mum and I think DD lasted a bit longer between feeds than yours is (apart from in the evenings which I dreaded..) I lasted about 4 months in the end - stopping was partly to do woth going back to worfk at 5 1/2months (and DD would not take a bottle whilst I was still BF) but if I am honest I was glad to have that 'excuse' because I really struggled with it, so I probably wouldn't have lasted much longer anyway.

If you want to continue, I think there is lots of support you can get for BF, to help you with making sure baby is getting enough so they can last a bit longer, and with feedling in public. But, if you feel you would be happier and better able to cope if you FF or mix fed, then fine - the most important thing for any child, in my view, is that their parent is bonding with them and happy, especially if you don't have much support. One thing to remember though, FF comes with it's own challenges - making up bottles in the middle of the night being one, so I don't think it is an easy option either.
I like glen's suggestion of setting a time you will give it until and see how it goes, but do whatever feels right.

In a few years time no-one, especially your DS, will care less how they were fed! And speaking as someone who was FF, but whose sister was BF, I don't think as adults it really made much difference between us!!

callamia Tue 12-Nov-13 10:05:21

I think you've done a wonderful job so far - and whatever decision you make now will end up being the right one for you. When your child is much older, I think it won't matter so much.

For what it's worth, I HATED breastfeeding for the first few weeks. My baby is still a tiny bit younger than yours, but if it hadn't been for the support of the local breastfeeding cafes, then I doubt I would have been able to carry on because of the pain I was in. I'm now quite happy to feed in public - but I'm entirely sympathetic to how you feel.

There are definitely days where I'm doing nothing because he just wants to feed - every half hour, every hour; and I feel like little more than a vending machine, but I'm working on just accepting those days. Realising that the house will have nothing done with it that day, and that it won't last forever. We've watched a lot of old rubbish on the TV, and I've drank a lot of cups of tea (made hastily in the space of micronaps). It's not what I'm used to, but I'm working on shifting my expectations to fit in with him (and his growth spurts). I had lunch with a friend yesterday who told me that the first ten weeks were the worst, and that after that she felt so much more comfortable and confident. I'm holding out for that.

I'm not sure if any of this is really helpful, but I wanted to offer you some encouragement and 'i know how you feel' support. Whatever decision you make, your baby will be loved and well.

LittleSiouxieSue Tue 12-Nov-13 09:54:44

I hope you are all listening the the Nicky Campbell phone in on radio 5 right now! The BF Mafia are being widely discussed....

My dd fed pretty much constantly from birth to 4 months. A sling really helped, she was close to 'source' so could smell the milk and it comforted her, I learned to feed in the sling so it was even more discreet (a bit to well as dd soon figured out how to get to boob herself!) and dd was very happy just being close to me.

I gritted my teeth to get through the tough patch. I found 8 weeks the hardest as sleep deprivation had kicked in. I decided that if I got to 10 weeks and still hated it I'd stop. I realised when dd was 12 weeks that I'd missed my deadline and felt better.

I ended up feeding for 3 years and sobbed when dd self weaned because I missed it.

Try to get to a feeding group if you can, call feeding link workers (your health visitor should have the number). There is support out there. What area are you in, local mnetters may be able to point you in the right direction for groups etc.

cory Tue 12-Nov-13 09:28:04

There might be different reasons why a baby needs more frequent feeds than the majority of babies of the same age. Some of those would be helped by bottle-feeding, some would not.

In my case, I realised afterwards that dd's failure to feed effectively was due to hypotonia and inability to suckle effectively. So yes, in her case shoving it into her by any other means probably would have helped us both.

Trying to feed her less often otoh simply speeded up the process which landed her in hospital with malnutrition. Because the problem was she wasn't able to take in enough in the first place, cutting down on the number of opportunities for her to take in anything at all was (with hindsight) a very dangerous plan.

But if your baby simply has a small tummy/isn't able to digest more at any one time etc, then bottle feeding probably won't help: you will just be working harder scrubbing and sterilising and preparing bottles to feed with the same frequency.

rosiedays Tue 12-Nov-13 09:12:18

Op I'm sorry you're thread has turned intoa soap box.
Firstly congratulations on your baby, you sound like a wonderful mum who is very focused on meeting your babies needs. (I had my dd1at 18 as a single mum so I know how tough it is)
You asked for weaning advice or support and encouragement to continue. ..
I'm offering encouragement to continue.
My dd 3 is 4months ebf. I have really struggled at times (posted in feeding many times) with all the things that you mention. For me it's got much easier only very recently (past few weeks) i armed myself with lots of knowledge and when it got tough would think. .. This will pass, and at night after long cluster feeds I'd lay with dd feeding her to sleep and think of all the women the world over doing the same thing ,
8weeks of feeding with little support is a great achievement, just think how long you could continue if you got some help.
A breast feeding group could really really help you.
I totally understand your dislike for public feeding. I had to be a bit tough with myself, and told myself over and over that it was my dd legal right to receive breast milk whenever she needed/wanted it. Fuck what others thought.
When dd was 8weeks I hated public feeding. .... last week i fed her standing up in a packed police station (surround by the towns finest! !!! ) because she needed feeding. It was her right to be fed. I have become a bit militant, ,but that's what i need to help me mentally cope.
Please check out the breast and bottle thread, get some real life support and think how great you'll feel if you keep bf till 3 months, 4months, 6 months.
8 weeks is a growth spirt time (ever week seems like a growth spirt! !! Lol)
Oh i also look at dd chubby yummy legs and think. .. I did that smile
The other thing is are you looking after yourself and eating well, , taking some vitamins?
Hope you have a better day today op. Xx

Teaandflapjacks Tue 12-Nov-13 07:40:58

i mean 'their food' not 'there food' - gah!

Teaandflapjacks Tue 12-Nov-13 07:40:00

hmmm - BF is very hard and some babies really do latch round the clock for a variety of reasons - needing to suckle (so dummies replace this for some people), feed (obviously), needing to feel close etc.

Just in case other FF read this - I must respond to the mean spirited comment by Vichill I had planned to BF and tried for a week but no milk came in at all - i ended up desperately pumping with an electric pump every 3 hours on top of latching her (with nipple shields because my nipples were too flat) to try and stimulate milk production and eventually pumped out blood. So not everyone can BF, whatever our intentions are. I had acupuncture to help, saw a variety of lactation experts, and it turned out I was severely anaemic, have Hashimotos, and actually had a retained placenta, after a very traumatic birth - my milk never came in and she is on a bottle. I nearly died in post op complications with my retained placenta - it puts the BF vs FF into perspective.

OP - all you can do is your best - babies need to be fed and be loved -- if some of there food comes from a bottle because you need some sleep so be it - general consensus is the dream mixed feed has worked wonders for a lot of women struggling with this. You might try Cow and Gate (exactly the same as aptimil but in a diff packaging) - and not much at first to see if you wanted a dream feed option. Otherwise do go to HV for support.

SecretLimonadeDrinker Tue 12-Nov-13 04:43:31

I think you are doing an amazing job. BF was so much harder then I thought it would be and you have done so well to get to 8 weeks. Fwiw, I did find everything got easier at 12 weeks, I just took everything a day at a time.

At 3 months we had to mix feed as my health problems affected my milk supply. We gave a bottle of formula a day and over time gave him more and more formula. Started weaning at 6 months which coincided with my milk supply drying up. He is now FF plus food and is a happy little boy.

Please don't feel guilty whatever you decide, easier said then done, I know, you are found a brilliant job.

lilystem Tue 12-Nov-13 04:42:02

What a nasty and unnecessary post vichill. People have all sorts if valid reasons for moving to formula.

Op - I remember really struggling at 7 weeks due to
It being major growth spurt time. Things got so much easier straight after that growth spurt. I read some advice around then which I found helpful - never give up on a bad day.

I think you are amazing to have got so far.

vichill Tue 12-Nov-13 04:32:03

Ooops...if you managed to see it through. If it really gets too stressful though Bfing doesn't have to be all or nothing and a mixed diet will be better than switching to formula completely.

vichill Tue 12-Nov-13 04:28:43

I'm glad I'm amongst the bf'ing fraternity. The ffeeders sound like 14 year olds desperately trying to validate their decision with ideas stolen from netmums. Op, my dd fed as frequently at times it does get better almost overnight, you will feel so proud of yourself if you managed

ExBrightonBell Tue 12-Nov-13 00:37:35

I'm another person who would suggest that you get real life support with breastfeeding if you want to continue, and also if you decide to stop bf and change to formula, or if you decide to mix-feed. Try not to give yourself a hard time for whatever path you take - we all decide what is best for our babies/ourselves, and there is no need to feel guilty.

I would just say though to lifesobeautiful that breastfed babies only need vitamins from 6 months, not from birth. FF babies also need vitamins from 6 months if they drink less than 500ml of formula a day. Also, there is a good reason for hcps to be promoting breastfeeding - it has been shown to provide real benefits for babies and mothers. That seems like a reasonable agenda to have. However, that shouldn't mean that they ignore the wishes of individual women. They should also be responsive and sympathetic in all situations and never lecture or dismiss. It makes me sad how often on here we hear about HVs or similar being crap with how they interact with people.

OP - good luck, and congratulations on your baby.

ThenAgain Mon 11-Nov-13 23:45:13

6-8 weeks is commonly a growth spurt time. Babies feed more than they may have been (might feel non-stop for a bit). In effect they're upping your supply. It can feel a bit overwhelming but will pass if you can stick with it.

I have a couple of breastfeeding covers, pretty ones, that I'll pst to you for free if you PM me. But if you try feeding out and about you'll soon notice nobody is watching smile

Jiltedjohnsjulie Mon 11-Nov-13 23:38:15

OP can remember feeling completely overwhelmed at 8 weeks too, you have my sympathies.

If you aren't happy feeding in public, have you tried going along to a bfing support group. It helped me to get used to bfing in public as its a room of bfing women. Tbh though, I've never had anyone say a thing when I did bf in public, I'm sure most people think you are just cuddling your baby smile

If you do want to stop you shouldn't feel guilty. This is your baby and its your choice. If you do want to continue, whether its ebfing or mixed feeding, it might be worth talking to a BFC on one of the helplines smile. The BFC will also be able to talk to you about how to stop, if that's what you want to do smile

WestieMamma Mon 11-Nov-13 22:43:54

My little one is now 6 months old. I started off breastfeeding but hated every minute of it. I kept it up for weeks and was starting to dread feeds and feel resentful of my little chap. I agonised over stopping, really had to battle the guilt and questioning whether or not I was doing the right thing. In the end I made the decision in the middle of the night when I was at the end of my tether with exhaustion. Once I stopped I felt like such a weight had been removed and I could actually enjoy cuddling and feeding my baby. I felt like I could relax and bond with him. I have no doubt now that I made the right decision for both of us.

Nobody else can decide what is best for you and your little one. If you want to stop, then that is what is best for your family. If you want to continue, then that is what is best. If you want to do a mix of both, that can be best too. You've done really well so far and whatever you decide to do next will be right, so don't beat yourself up about it.

lifesobeautiful Mon 11-Nov-13 22:29:20

You poor thing. I'm not going to read through all the pro-breastfeeding posts above, but my advice is that if you're not enjoying breastfeeding, give your baby formula - and DON'T feel guilty at all. It's the current agenda to push breastfeeding, they used to push formula. Obviously it's lovely when it works, but it's hideous when it doesn't. So don't get depressed trying to push it.

Formula may not have the antibodies that breastmilk has (but you've already give your baby eight weeks' worth) but it's full of vitamins and is very safe. That's why formula fed babies don't need vitamin drops but breastfed babies do.

You have done a great job getting to eight weeks, but if it's making you feel down, and you're tired, and you're not able to enjoy your baby because of it, stop.

When I stopped (at 3 weeks for first baby and I didn't bf my second at all) I just stopped. It was sore for about two days, but then fine. You can put cold cabbage leaves on your breasts to ease the pain. Ask your health visitor for advice about easing engorgement to (and dont' let her bully you about continuing breastfeeding - they have been told to do that. Once you make it very clear you've made your mind up to formula feed, they stop pushing it and actually help.)

I almost got postnatal depression with my first trying to breastfeed. We were both so much happier when I stopped. And both my babies have been perfectly well. I've never seen any difference in sicknesses between those babies/toddlers I know who've breastfed, and those who formula fed. In fact, the sickest child I know was breastfed till 18 months.

Good luck! And you're' obviously such a good mum already taking such care to ask advice etc.

tiktok Mon 11-Nov-13 22:15:34

princess, sorry you think that sharing correct information is 'the breastfeeding police' - some people might be offended at this. It's a bit rude and dismissive. If we are talking 'police tactics', your own dogma that 'ALL babies' (your own caps) should be feeding ina certain way and the OP's baby 'shouldn;t be feeding every hour now' comes under that category sad sad

So, you are quite wrong when you say " I didn't tell the OP what her baby SHOULD be doing as a rule". You did!

"Pediatricians know a wee bit about digestion systems and not what!!" Maybe - but the ones talking to you don't seem to understand about normal infant behaviour and its variability. I don't really think the process of digestion is the whole story about feeding - what a limited view.

"Feeding constantly CAN cause discomfort, excessive wind and further need to sooth as breast milk is like a natural antacid. It can be a vicious cycle." Sometimes.....babies' digestive systems are immature and variable. All I did was to rail a bit against your dogma of what "ALL" babies should and shouldn't be doing.

"It is so easy for people to jump up and down about Breast is Best" - and you thought I was doing that? I hope not.

" but some babies have problems like my 3 with Reflux disease and some mothers have it tougher than others too so don't wave the breast feeding flag in everyone else's face because it worked out for you and your baby." Eh? Eh?

I have every sympathy for mothers of babies who are suffering and who have reflux or other conditions that make feeding - breast or bottle - a miserable experience. There was nothing in the OP's post to lead to any assumption this baby was ill or needed medication, yet in six lines you have managed to diagnose that her baby was feeding too often because 'ALL' babies should be feeding with gaps of at least 2 hours.

And you say people like me are waving flags and being the bf police...sad

Famzilla Mon 11-Nov-13 21:46:38

Oh you poor thing, I remember being on my knees with exhaustion until DD was about 12 weeks old.

I don't agree that babies should be going x amount of time with or without anything tbh. They are humans and humans are all different. You may be confusing tired signs with hunger signs (I did for about 6 months!). Or baby might have silent reflux, tongue tie or just be a frequent feeder. Have you seen a breastfeeding consultant?

DD is 7mo now and BF is incredibly easy. She has some bottles at the childminders or if I need to be somewhere without her. Have you consisted mixed feeding temporarily to give you a bit of respite?

girliefriend Mon 11-Nov-13 21:01:38

Is there a breast feeding support group near you?

I can 100% remember feeling exactly how you are feeling, it is such hard work and over whelming (I'm also a single parent).

However - and I know everyone says this but - it does soon a eaiser, and when all else fails think about how much money you save every time you bf!! grin

I agree that most babies don't need bfing every hour. I found much more able to cope when I started to notice a routine to dds feeding as I was able to plan my day around them slightly! Even if this meant 'o.kay she will have a feed roughly at 9am til 9.30 after that we could walk to the post office and be back by 11am in time for next feed' iyswim? Even just getting out for a walk made me feel slightly more sane grin

I went to a bf support group which was the first place I bf dd outside of our home and this gave me confidence to bf when out and about. Its funny but once you have done it a few times it quickly becomes normal.

Good luck and you sound like you are doing great smile

princesspants Mon 11-Nov-13 20:48:59

My god the breast feeding police are out tonight lol!

OK, I didn't tell the OP what her baby SHOULD be doing as a rule. I was pointing out that at 8 weeks their pattern has usually changed and spread out by now. USUALLY, not DEFINITELY.
Could just be another sign he might be uncomfortable.

Pediatricians know a wee bit about digestion systems and not what!!

They explained to me about the whole process starting from smell then saliva builds up, what the organs then do, almost like an engine firing up, then the digestion process etc and how long that would take to fully digest a feed.
Obviously I haven't got it written down word for word but it totally made sense and it worked.
I went from having babies who screamed and fed non stop to much calmer and happier.
Feeding constantly CAN cause discomfort, excessive wind and further need to sooth as breast milk is like a natural antacid. It can be a vicious cycle.

I have watched mum friends with their babies and seen it so many times. The baby is fed, both sides, winded and maybe ready for a sleep. We are maybe out in a cafe so the baby is over tired and grumpy. Mum feeds again a bit more. The baby still hasn't settled by the time we are ready to leave so she decides maybe a quick last feed will settle her.

It is so easy to use/confuse breast feeding for everything. They don't just need breast. They need naps, cuddles, stimulation, winded, too hot, too cold.

It is so easy for people to jump up and down about Breast is Best but some babies have problems like my 3 with Reflux disease and some mothers have it tougher than others too so don't wave the breast feeding flag in everyone else's face because it worked out for you and your baby.

FWIW I fed my first DC for 5 months. It was undiagnosed and I nearly lost my mind struggling to feed him as he pulled back in spasms constantly screaming with pain, throwing up and never sleeping.
Id hide in corners with tears running down my face.
I felt so useless when I met up with my ante natal class and their babies just latched on and fed calmly and looked content after it.

I came onto mumsnet looking for help and that was how I finally got him diagnosed. In amongst the lovely and helpful were the breast feeding police who had nothing helpful to say.

I fed my 2nd DC for a year. Once she was diagnosed and medicated early on I was able to feed her and she calmed down at 4 months.

I fed my third DC for 8 months of sheer hell. He had the worst case of reflux. Every feed was painful. Id have to stand up with him screaming and rigid maybe 8 times during each feed. It got worse and worse until I gave in at 8 months and he could sink a bottle of formula in 5 mins, burp then sit happy - why did I do it for so long?

It's definitely important and I wouldn't have gone through hell if i didn't think so but it doesn't always work for everyone. OP, your sanity is even more so. Your baby needs you happy too. Wish Id have been easier on myself.

Chloe you have done amazingly well, so if you do switch to formula you have nothing to feel guilty about. I felt exactly the same as you at around 8 weeks, to keep myself going I'd think 'ok I'll breastfeed until 9 weeks then switch to formula', then I'd get to that point and think 'I'll try and keep going for another few days', and suddenly it all got SO much easier. It was around the 12 week mark. She started going so much longer between feeds, and I'd got so much better at all the practical stuff like confidently feeding in public etc. A year later when I did stop breastfeeding I was in floods because I knew I'd miss it! If you'd told me that in the early days I'd've said no way, I can't wait to stop!

chloebruce93 Mon 11-Nov-13 15:18:41

Thank you everyone. All of your advice has been helpful in someway. I think I will look in the breastfeeding section and give the hv a call. Thank you thank you!!

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