Not sure I'm cut out for this

(21 Posts)
Cinnamon84 Wed 21-Sep-16 10:37:26

I have a 5 week old ds who I obviously love so dearly.
I'm just fining it all very difficult, had lots of problems bfing, which I am still persisting with combined with bottle feeding ebm and formula (though I'm starting to think it's quite selfish of me as he seems more satisfied after a bottle and maybe I'm doing it for myself more than for him)
The birth was straightforward, felt physically recovered in about 3 weeks which I'm very grateful for.
At the beginning when dp was on pat leave we were going to a bf clinic, since it's been just us to we've been for 1 30 min walk and back to the bf clinic once. I feel too anxious to go to mum and baby groups, or out into town, out to the shops in case he has a big meltdown and I don't know what to do. I would assume the crying is due to hunger but I'm very awkwardly feeding using nipple shields and every feed starts with a battle of me trying to move his hands out of the way and him crying more/getting agitated, the feed lasts at least an hour with lots of crying, me in pain and squeezing each boob as it makes it feel less bad somehow, and ends with more crying like he isn't satisfied. I'm anxious to have visitors as I have to leave them an hour while we feed in the bedroom.

We bottle feed at night and I feel like I reLy on my dp too much as most times I can't even put ds down to sleep for longer than an hour which means he wakes up crying, waking up dp.

Not sure why I'm writing but this is all a lot harder than I had anticipated- we spend pretty much all day everyday in the bedroom and I feel like at this stage we should be able to leave the house.

MyBreadIsEggy Wed 21-Sep-16 10:44:11

I know it's what everyone says and probably not what you want to hear right now, but I promise you, it does get easier flowers
My DH was deployed to Afghanistan when my Dd was only a few weeks old, and I felt totally overwhelmed just like you. Your Ds is still so little, you're both still learning the ropes, and before you know it, you'll wake up one day and it will have clicked into place flowers

Cinnamon84 Wed 21-Sep-16 10:48:43

Thanks my bread... I am hoping it gets easier like you say.
I also feel that I have nothing to complain about and feel guilty about everything.
Dp is here and we have lots of support and I'm still struggling- I think part of the problem is that I feel that I shouldn't be.
Looking forward to 6 months when I'm not the main source of food!

crayfish Wed 21-Sep-16 10:50:34

Please let yourself off the hook immediately. Your baby is just five weeks ol and absolutely has no need for baby groups and the like. Its very very tough this stage but ofetn at six weeks things really turn a corne so hang in there.

As to the feeding, I was in exactly your position. DS was a boob refuser and would only feed (badly and rarely at that) with nipple shields. i found them a pain in both senses of the word and were fiddly and inconvenient to use. For the most part I expressed and topped up with a bit of formula because my suppy was low (due to lack of stimulation from the boob refuser I expect!). I'll be honest and say that while all this was going on I was utterly miserable, felt I couldn't even get myself together to get dressed and was exhausted. At six weeks I decided that I was doing it all out of stubborness really, quit the hell that was expressing and went onto forumla. I'm not advocating this as you must do what is right for you, but literally that day I felt like a new woman. DS didn't care what was in his bottle (EBM or formula) but it made such a difference to my mental health, I can't tell you. I had spent six weeks expressing 8 times a day and felt trapped and tied to the stupid pump and really want enjoying my baby. I was desperate to breastfeed but it wasn't worth sacrificing my sanity for. Please know that if you want to stop, you can. Honestly, it's allowed. If you don't then great but I felt like I needed somebody to give me permission to stop. My lovely NCT feeding advisor told me that I had gone above and beyon to try and make the feeding relationship work and I couldn't have done more, but if I would be happier to FF then it was really ok. I really needed to hear that.

As to the baby groups etc - my DH did shared parental leave with me until DS was three months old (so I felt the way I did above and that was with help!) and we went to no groups or anything before he went back to work. I only went out by myself with DS a few times as well. After three months I was detrmined to get out every day even just for a walk and we ended up doing lots of groups and things in the end but it was very gradual. Don't put pressure on yourself, there is bags of time for all that and it is very very early days.

Sorry for the ramble!

crayfish Wed 21-Sep-16 10:51:00

terrible spelling sorry.

It is really hard looking after a baby so cut yourself some slack. It took me 2 months to get my baby to breastfeed (was born premature and could not latch), I didn't give up but I ended up doing combination feeding (breastfeeding everyday until he was 14 months) and there is no way I feel even the slightest bit guilty. If you want to breastfeed exclusively then you will, just give yourself time and do not put a date on it as you can ween them off bottles - not scientifically proven but I gave my baby cool formula so he had a preference for breast as warmer, that helped me. I fed my baby which was my priority. I plan to combination feed my next baby too or breastfeed exclusively, whatever works out, and I could not care less what anyone else thinks as it is only me I need to appease for guilt! Some days I sat in bed eating chocolate and other days I went to meet friends, walks, shopping. Just wait until you are ready to go out and do not rush it. Some weeks are easier than others so start focusing on keeping mummy happy, which will help you keep baby happy!

2016Hopeful Wed 21-Sep-16 11:00:15

I was very similar at the start too. I found breastfeeding very difficult and draining. After a while it does become less painful (that is until the first teeth come in!!!). Once it is less painful it is easier to do an company doesn't take as long! But at first I wanted to be alone in my room too!!!!

As you are doing a mix of breast feeding and formula I would give a formula feed at a stage in the day when you would like to get out and about or have a visitor. You could even let your visitor give the baby the bottle to give you a break. Also a formula at some stage in the evening/night may help with sleep as I think it fills them up for longer. If you have set times for formula your body will produce the right amount of milk for the other times.

Also, go back to the breastfeeding clinic, they may have some useful tips for you and you may also meet other people with similar issues so you don't feel so alone.

Andromache77 Wed 21-Sep-16 11:35:22

Take a deep breath, count to three, then let it out. Hold your baby in your arms and look him in the eye. And repeat after me: I've never been a mother before, you've never been a baby before, so let's cut each other some slack.

Now seriously, relax. Breastfeeding is hard work. Caring for a baby is hard work. Recovering from childbirth takes time, not the least because you don't get to sleep and relax like you normally would; you may feel ok, and so did I, but you're still not 100%. People who make it out as if this was a piece of cake are either lying or very peculiar. It will get better, I promise, but not for a little while, I won't lie to you, so brace yourself and lower your expectations.

My first three months were awful. My baby sometimes cried, sometimes didn't, but mostly didn't sleep. AT ALL. She just didn't, at least not for more than half an hour, or maybe an hour here and there. And breastfeeding was a problem because I had low supply (if you saw the size of my breasts you would fully appreciate the irony of this, they were large before, now they're massive, and still...).

So I had to start giving her formula top-ups. And I had to accept that she would only sleep on me, at the boob and as long as I didn't move. So I accepted it, I really did, and ignored everyone who said that I should keep trying with the cot; this is my baby, I cannot change her, let's work with what we have. Therefore, I would get myself some water, or a cup of tea (or both), and maybe a snack, a box of tissues, the remote, a blanket for her, you name it, and most importantly, I would go to the loo, all in preparation for sitting down for a feed and a nap (for her), while I watched TV. Oh, and I would also get my mobile and the land line close at hand (and on vibration or mute) just in case someone called, because I was not going to get up and interrupt her nap even if the house was on fire.

Then, little by little, things improved. She still would not sleep much during the day, but she started sleeping for two, even three hours at a time at night; we co-slept so she could feed and not wake up if I tried to move her to her cot. She started burping herself (actually, farting) and as a result stopped crying right away. And we also started going out a bit more, not a lot, but some, and I would feed her in a cafe with a slice of cake and a proper cup of tea for me.

Forget what people say, find your own system and keep at it. If your baby only sleeps for short spells in his cot then maybe try co-sleeping and if it works better then do it, safely, of course, but do it. Mixed feeding is not the end of the world either, whatever it takes to fill their bellies is quite fine in my opinion and you're still BF him so that's great (if you stopped it would be ok as well, there are no medals in this game, you just do what works and drop what doesn't, be glad that you at least have options).

If your hair is unkempt, and mine was for months, then so be it; if you look and feel ragged, that's ok too, this is not a fashion show, it's real life and you've just pushed a human being out of your body and are currently feeding said human being round the clock (with your very own boobs, such an odd feeling, isn't it?).

What I mean to say by all this is that I'm sure that you are doing a fab job and you will get better with practice. Just keep at it and don't feel bad about feeling bad, it's ok, really.

Orsono Wed 21-Sep-16 13:44:50

Sorry you're having a tough time. As others have said, it will get better as time goes on.

Just a couple of practical ideas, as I recognise some of your issues with breastfeeding very well! With the struggling to keep his hands out of the way, you could try putting his arms inside a babygro before a feed and touch his face to your breast to orientate him. Some people advise against doing this as the baby can't use his hands to feel things, and it's a bit like a baby straitjacket, but I found it did work and made my DS calmer at the start of a feed. I only needed to do it for a few weeks before he calmed down with the waving hands anyway.

The other thing is having to hold your breast to make it hurt less - I've always had to do this for the first couple of months of breastfeeding, I think until the baby's mouth got a bit bigger and the latch improved, so it may be that you won't always need to. One thing a breastfeeding consultant suggested was using a kind of stretchy sling - she made one out of a strip of tubular bandage - to support my breast during a feed, because it changed the shape of the breast in the same way that holding it did. It goes round the shoulder and under the breast. It didn't actually work for me because my breasts were too small and it kept slipping off, but I could see the principal and can imagine it helping others.

beginnersewer Wed 21-Sep-16 13:56:41

I think you're doing the hardest feeding method by combining struggling with breastfeeding, expressing and formula as all three are time consuming in different ways, so I'm not surprised you feel overwhelmed. If there's anything that will make your life easier eg using readymade formula then do it. I didn't find our local breastfeeding clinic very helpful - if you are in any doubt about their expertise, try calling one of the specialist helplines. Pps are right that it makes no difference whatsoever to baby whether they go to groups etc at this age. However it sounds like you might benefit from some outings for your sanity. Maybe try aiming for something really small like 15 minutes walk around the block every day? If you're lucky baby might go to sleep in pram and if not at least you would have got out? Wait until you know baby is not hungry and then you know you can ignore a bit of crying on the walk. I found anything bumpy eg cobblestones was useful for getting mine to sleep, also a really busy road with lots of traffic noise. I listened to a lot of audiobooks on my mp3 player, especially when feeding at night - it kept me calmer, didn't require any brainpower, and didn't disturb baby in the night. Also I found a cordless phone with speaker phone was really useful - I could catch up with family/friends for a bit of adult conversation while having both hands free for baby?

Andromache77 Wed 21-Sep-16 14:56:40

If you want to continue breastfeeding, have you tried a BF cushion? I had two, at first one of the very long, bulky ones that you can wrap around yourself or use to support your bump at night during the pregnancy, but it took a little while to position as I liked it. Later I tried a smaller one with a half-moon shape that hugs your hips just so and if you're sitting down (preferably with your bum slightly lower than your knees) then your baby fits sideways between the cushion and your belly and comes to rest right before your boobs. You just need to lay your baby on top and because of the position they will come to rest horizontally against you. Then you only need to point a nipple in the general direction of their mouth and presto! Good latch and very little movement. My DD seemed to like it quite as much as I did.

I guess that by that time she was already half trained and in fact latching on was never a big problem for us, but it was comfortable and convenient, I kept the zipped cover and took it everywhere. I called it my hands-free baby feeding (and napping) device.

Expressing, on the other hand, only made me feel miserable and a fraud. I never got much milk out of it anyway, so eventually I dropped it. But even with mixed feeding she kept wanting her boob. Now she's 2, I just picked her up from nursery and fed her one and she has fallen asleep as I write.

lucy1997 Wed 21-Sep-16 18:16:37

I know exactly where you are coming from. I too felt the same, especially in the first few weeks but like others have said it does get easier and it will. Especially when the baby gets into a routine and you know when they will want a bottle. Mine is now 4 months and it's much better and he sleeps through the night, I still can't pluck up the courage to go to baby groups even though I would love to. Just keep persevering and it will get better.

1sttimemama1986 Wed 21-Sep-16 18:36:37

I read this and felt like I was looking back at my life 10 weeks ago. We really struggled with breastfeeding and only able to get him to latch with nipple shields. The fussing to get baby on the boob I also had, the more fractious my boy became the harder to get him on boob. Which then came the meltdowns (normally me too as in flap).

Can I ask why you feed only in bedroom? I assume as you are doing the laying down position?

I just want you to know your not alone! I spent the first 6-8 weeks feeling horribly inadequate and not good enough. Breastfeeding was so much tougher than I imagined but I promise it gets easier. I struggled emotionally with how dependent on my partner I became needing his help so much even once he returned to work.

I found hearing others fairy tale experiences made me feel even worse as just contributed to how crap a mother I felt.

Your hormones will still be playing havoc and contributing to your feeling anxious and you've just had w baby so be kind to yourself.

I hope you can get back to BF groups been a godsend to me. I am now at 15 weeks and trying to take nipple shields out during feeds till we eventually don't need them, mainly because just a faff when I'm out and about.

MoreGilmoreGirls Wed 21-Sep-16 18:42:52

It is hard, can I just ask if you've had him checked for a tongue tie? I had similar probs with my DS now 9 weeks and he had a tongue tie which was snipped at 7 weeks and things are getting easier. Do go to a local BF group as they are brilliant at supporting and can check for tongue tie. Good luck you are doing great flowers

WombOfOnesOwn Wed 21-Sep-16 20:23:50

My baby was like that at the breast. I cried and cried about it -- one day I realized I needed to stop for my own mental health. From that day, our relationship has been so much better and more bonded! I worried there'd be nothing I could do as his mother that would be "special" like BFing, but it turns out we have many, many special mama-son things we do that no one else can do with him -- the special "evil laugh" I make that sends him squealing into peals of loud laughs, or the way he settles when he cuddles up to me after hurting himself while learning how to get around.

Being a mom is about so much more than how you feed your child. Consider seeing whether stopping breastfeeding might make you BOTH feel better. I also felt psychologically much more myself after stopping feeding -- sex drive returned, baby-related things no longer seemed colossally outsize in importance, and so on. I firmly believe stopping BFing when I did prevented me from becoming depressed.

Cinnamon84 Thu 22-Sep-16 09:01:35

Thank you all so much for these responses and support, I really do appreciate hearing your experiences.

I don't know why I'm so obsessed with 'cracking' breastfeeding as I didn't really think about it much before giving birth and I was FF which I've never even had an opinion about.

We are just taking it one day at a time, I know a lot of you are right when you say that I've never done this before, he's never done this before so I need to stop feeling so guilty- I guess that has come with the hormones! It's also true that he won't even notice going to baby group/will sleep through them, I'm not ready to go to them yet so I don't know why I feel like I need to be pushing myself.

On the plus side we had him weighed yesterday and he's almost in the next percentile so although our feeding methods are a bit of a faff and painful at least they are working! smile

Cinnamon84 Thu 22-Sep-16 09:14:48

1sttimemama- sounds like I'm having a very similar experience. I guess the bedroom is a comfort/laziness thing. In the morning I set myself up with a jug of water and snacks and do the feeds during the day here- it's easy to put him down on the bed if he wants to nap afterwards, or if I need to change sides- I haven't worked out the lying down position yet, the only one I can do it cradle/cross cradle.

Moregilmoregirls- yes he had a posterior tt which was snipped at 2 weeks. I have seen him use his tongue a bit more.

HV yesterday watched me try to feed without the nipple shield and she noticed that he just doesn't open his mouth wide enough to latch one, I think I've been a bit lazy and almost sliding him onto the nipple shield, which in comparison to my nipple is absolutely massive. I think some of the pain is now due to him compressing the nipple in the shield- also he sucks so hard some of my skin keeps being pulled into the tiny holes 😫

MrsJayy Thu 22-Sep-16 09:51:14

Your baby is so little just past a month old your mind is racing at a million miles an hour slow down calm down you will get there you dont have to do everything at once babygroups/going out/ etc etc its just all to much at once, babies cry you are doing nothing wrong take a bottle of breast milk out with you and concentrate on the bf at home so you are not anxious. You are articulating what every new mum feels a baby is a shock to the system you will get there we all muddled through the first few weeks.

1sttimemama1986 Thu 22-Sep-16 11:17:04

Hi Cinnamon84, I just wonder if you going to the bedroom whilst partly for convenience is also maybe because your not quite comfortable breast feeding? I am pro breast feeding but would say unless you push yourself, in time, to feed more freely I worry you'll become increasingly isolated. And if you can't get to a place where you feed in front of people, starting with close friends, then the BF groups are good-then maybe BF isn't a good long term plan for you. You'll find yourself alone a lot and this could compromise your mental health.

Not sure the area you live but I have scouted out various places that are comfy and supportive to feed in like children centres, cafes, shops with feeding rooms etc.

Keep going and make choices that suit you, baby will not mind which feeding route you go down!!

I started using Phillips avent shields and later moved to Medela ones as the teat is a bit smaller making the transition to nipple bit easier xxxx

fruityb Thu 22-Sep-16 11:56:32

My DS is four weeks old and when he was a week old I had a meltdown in the night when he wouldn't feed at all. He was just head banging off my boob and wouldn't go on. I ended up in tears and OH took him downstairs, made him a bottle and brought me a cup of tea and told me to go to sleep. BFing is all consuming and I felt like a failure as if I couldn't give him the most basic thing he needed.

I switched to FF and was told by MW if I wanted to top him up with breast or bottle then that was what I should do. He has gained weight steadily, particularly week one when he was 90% breastfed. Now it's probably the other way round. I can't keep up with him and was stuck feeding for three hours and he still took a bottle at the end!

I agree with a previous poster. Do what you need to for your sanity. Don't think you've failed because you go off BF. Baby needs a full tummy and doesn't care where it comes from as long as they're loved while they get it. And you wind them enough lol.

I spend a lot of time at home at the mo, mainly because I haven't driven since c section but am going to give that a try this weekend with OH. You spend a lot of time with each other and over think things. I've taken him for a walk for the last three days which has been good for us both. Blow the cobwebs out!

This is hard. Really hard. But as he gets more alert and awake a little more in the day we're having some fun. Plus I'm almost certain we had a smile this morning that wasn't wind. Makes it all worthwhile!

I'm sure you're doing great. If the boob isn't working then do what you need to do. Sending you hugs. I've cried lots since having him, wasn't very hormonal while carrying him. He's had a growth spurt this week and I just felt I couldn't give him what he needed after a day of crying and bawling from him. We seem to be over the worst now, but I've made a conscious effort to not see this as my fault! Because it really isn't.

Lilybugbrain Thu 22-Sep-16 14:56:23

It won't be for long. I promise. At some point in the next few weeks your baby will feed much less during the night and you'll get more sleep and feel more energised for life outside the house. Don't push yourself like I did, relax.

In terms of feeding. Giving up on BF after 4 days of utter hell was the best decision I made. Happy mummies are as good for babies as nutrition. It's your call, but do what makes you feel better.

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