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decision about breastfeeding

(58 Posts)
juju283 Tue 14-Jan-14 14:47:27

Okay so I have decided I do not want to breastfeed. I am obviously well aware of the benefits to thebaby and myself but my reason for choosing not to is because I had an eating disorder when I was younger. It was resolve but being pregnant has brought some of it back and I am constantly worrying about whether or not I am eating enough for my baby. I try really hard but I struggle to get the 300 calories extra in a day. I know when you breast feed you should have 500 calories extra and for me I would constantly worry that I wasn't doing this and would fear that my baby was not getting enough milk. I feel that although breast feeding is best ,in my case it is better that I know that my baby is eating and I haven't got to worry about what I eat reducing my chances of pnd too. Does this make me selfish or a terrible person for making this decision?

GiraffesAndButterflies Thu 16-Jan-14 04:57:07

Well said Chunderella, couldn't agree more.

Chunderella Wed 15-Jan-14 22:19:33

The number of posters who are saying they can't understand why someone with MH and body issues wouldn't want to bf or that it's a selfish decision is both baffling and disappointing.

Op no, it doesn't make you a bad person not to bf if you feel it's the best decision for you and baby to go with formula. The only thing I would say is that the calorie stuff is complex, and it doesn't mean you can't bf if you don't manage to eat x amount down you every day. It doesn't quite work like that, though I totally see why you think in terms of calories needed. So if you'd ideally prefer to bf but are just worried about being able to eat enough, why not get some expert advice? There are organisations who could help. You might even be able to get some high calorie supplements or something of that nature, if it was felt you really needed them. Or you could look at increasing your intake of high calorie but not particularly filling food. But if it's not that, you've every right to just leave it. You don't even have to do any colostrum if you don't feel it's right for you. And honestly, foetuses are resilient little things. Sure, it's good to eat 2000 calories a day when you're pregnant (and you don't need any more than that til the 3rd trimester anyway). But there are women who don't keep anything down for the whole 9 months, yet still have perfectly healthy babies. If it helps, I didn't manage to eat that much during my pregnancy either. No eating disorders but just really low appetite. And DD has always enjoyed very good health. She was just under 7lbs at birth, but then so were me and DH.

Congratulations on your pregnancy, and good luck.

Hubbythecatandme Wed 15-Jan-14 20:57:55

Juju, my friends with children have had a lot of trouble with the "breastapo". By all means do what is best for you. Your baby will be happy with a mum who is following her intuitions, feelings and listening to her own needs in terms of well being xx

I think there may be evidence that bfing reduces the chances of suffering from PND? I know your situation is pretty specific but I just wanted to mention that, good luck with whatever you decide to do smile

Kelly1814 Wed 15-Jan-14 20:14:46

The thought of breast feeding repulsed me.

I was forced into it by nurses when in hospital and spent the first few weeks of DDs life sobbing and feeling so guilty as I loathed it.

Then I switched to FF and my whole life changed for the better.

Don't do anything you don't want to.

MrsRV Wed 15-Jan-14 20:13:03

I'm not breastfeeding this time. not even going to try. happy mum = happy baby in my opinion!

SweetPea86 Wed 15-Jan-14 20:08:52

I don't think you selfish at all. I'm pregnant with my first and I'm going to give breast feeding a go BUT I'm not putting my self under pressure if I can't I can't.

Most people I know decieded not to breast feed. Each to their own smile

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 15-Jan-14 19:37:03

this has made me beat myself up and panic that I'm not eating enough and that I have convinced myself I have hurt the baby. So much so that I have actually been signed off work now with depression.

sad much sympathy, sorry you are struggling. Please please do consider getting yourself some support & a medical opinion on this now though- obviously we can't see you and can't say this for certain, but it sounds extremely unlikely that you have harmed your baby, as has been said, they are pretty good at looking after themselves at your expense! I'm sure a midwife would be able to reassure you on this point.

And fwiw I can offer my own anecdotal evidence that I had ketones in my urine despite having a perfectly normal pregnancy diet. For someone with a history of EDs I totally understand that that would have very different associations, but do consider the fact that the dr may be right and you were simply dehydrated.

soundevenfruity Wed 15-Jan-14 13:06:17

If your pregnancy has brought back those feelings then I would ask for a referral to a counsellor as the first 3 years is mostly about feeding your child and educating them about food.

livingzuid Wed 15-Jan-14 12:55:21

I'm not going to breast feed. I would have liked to but am on medication that is for my mh and would be far worse to come off that then let my newborn suffer the throes of me in an attack. You have to do what is best for you psychologically as we need to be there for our babies. It's hard to function when having an anxiety attack.

Perhaps talk it through with your gp or health professional who knows your history though before making a final decision? I wouldn't solely rely on Google or mn for this smile

It is entirely your decision and your own business at the end of the day. Don't be made to feel a bad person, or even needing to justify yourself because you chose the bottle.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 15-Jan-14 12:47:01

Yanbu. Bf can be sooooo hard and bless you, if you don't mentally feel you can deal with it on top of what you are feeling already then you use that formula and do so without a second thought!!

I'm sorry to hear your feeling so anxious and worried I really hope you get the help you need to help you feel better.

You DO NOT need to explain your reasons to anyone. In fact doing so will most likely result in people posting a billion different reasons how to get around it, and they aren't the ones dealing with it. Do what feels right for you op

thanks xx

Hermione123 Wed 15-Jan-14 12:44:25

Doh! Sorry - phone. Good luck and hope your family is also aware you'll need support with your own eating and recovery to normal post birth - good that your gp is involved if you are signed off. I had all sorts of crazy anxieties pre and post birth but it was fine in the end. Mh mn boards have lots of nice mums with anxiety issues on them if you need help with that.

Hermione123 Wed 15-Jan-14 12:39:16

Hi juju, g

juju283 Wed 15-Jan-14 12:36:48

Sorry just posted without finishing message. I don't want to focus on diet when baby is here but get myself feeling normal so I can enjoy being a mum. I plan to do the first couple of feeds yes, and I also wanted to make a decision to avoid midwives etc trying to bully me into it as someone has previously.mentioned. thank you for all the comments, a lot of them make me feel like I am making the right decison.

Hermione123 Wed 15-Jan-14 12:34:00

Whereas pregnancy and looking after a small dc/tiredness made my eating issues oh so much worse. Worse than since I was a teenager after years of being well. Op's already saying that she's not finding the pregnancy an easy experience or feeling great about her body.

juju283 Wed 15-Jan-14 12:31:34

My main concern is that all throughout my pregnancy my anxiety has been really high. At my last hospital appointment they found some ketones in my urine which they said was through dehydration but I understand its the byproduct of body burning.fat.ie I had not eaten enough. So typically I googled this and scared myself. I wasn't focusing on food until this point and thought I was doing really well however this has made me beat myself up and panic that I'm not eating enough and that I have convinced myself I have hurt the baby. So much so that I have actually been signed off work now with depression. I feel so.awful at the moment and don't want this to continue after the baby here. I feel if I can eliminate the worry about whether I'm eating enough, whether baby's getting enough etc by not breastfeeding. Then I will be in the best mental state possible to care for my baby. I understand peoplep wholive in famine still have healthy babies and manage to breastfeed but because of the fact I'm panicking so much about harming my baby and feel so low at the moment I feel like I don't want to be caught up worrying about my diet when baby is

LadyGoneGaga Wed 15-Jan-14 12:17:16

I suffered from disordered eating in my teens/early 20's and would say that pregnancy AND breastfeeding helped me to shake off some of my demons around food and body. For the first time I saw my body as something positive, amazing even that could nurture another human being. I don't feel I ate particularly differently, just ate to appetite. But if you are worried you could always mix-feed. Breastmilk has so many useful qualities, whatever you can do will help. If you really feel you don't want to though that is obviously your own business. Just don't necessarily rule anything out based on your current concerns, because you could feel differently once your baby is here.

littleducks Wed 15-Jan-14 11:47:21

I think that tiktok posted recently that the extra calories are only in the early breastfeeding days then your metabolism shifts. I was never advised to eat more just to keep hydrated and to take a vitamin supplement.

you should make a decision based on your circumstances, but with all decision made in pregnancy about birth and beyond I would strongly suggest you remain flexible. it's impossible to know how you will fell and things will progress.

mrscog Wed 15-Jan-14 11:46:50

Not terrible or selfish at all. If you'd like your baby to have the initial 'shot' of protective colostrum you can offer some bf for the first 72 hours or even hand express (the amount is tiny) and then you'll see the goodness going in too.

weebigmamma Wed 15-Jan-14 11:40:03

You're not terrible or selfish at all. I am contemplating formula feeding myself and I have no medical issues at all. Your body is your body and formula is fine for babies. It's good to have an idea of your decision now so you can practice being firm with people who try to bully you about it. x

Hermione123 Wed 15-Jan-14 11:32:45

That's lucky, Michaelcaine. If we're talking anecdotal evidence, my mum and 2 friends lost many teeth while bf. various of their kids no idea of their diets at that point. There must be a good reason dieting isn't recommended while breast feeding.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 15-Jan-14 11:14:59

I've bf three babies in total and have never eaten 500 extra cals a day. All have been enormo-babies, and there was no impact on my health.

Obv you have to do what works for you, but women bf in famine situations and the babies thrive. I think that breast milk from a mother not eating extra cals is still far preferable to formula.

Hermione123 Wed 15-Jan-14 11:05:23

Ps guys are we really suggesting op should bf and not look after herself/not eat extra calories? Doesn't seem like a good plan to me. Colostrum maybe if op can handle that.

Hermione123 Wed 15-Jan-14 11:04:05

I think a lot of the later comments are from people who haven't suffered an eating disorder op. I completely understand you wanting it settled and to go into the birth having peace of mind. I've a dear friend who had her baby and just stopped eating completely, take care of yourself, no one else knows how you are thinking.

SoftSheen Wed 15-Jan-14 08:49:26

The amount of calories you eat won't affect the quality of your milk- if you don't eat well, you may lose weight but the baby will still get everything she/he needs. Women have successfully breastfed even under famine conditions, and in concentration camps.

That said, if formula feeding is the right decision for you, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that and you definitely shouldn't feel guilty. After all, the majority of adults walking around today were fed on formula.

You might like to think about feeding/expressing colostrum for the first couple of days, so that your baby gets a good dose of antibodies to get him/her off to a good start.

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