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Personal choices for Birth and afterwards

(37 Posts)
steakchipsandfriedeggs Thu 25-Apr-13 15:09:38

I have posted here before, explaining my fears and concerns regarding breastfeeding/birth etc. I'm having my next midwife appt next week and I'm 100% certain that she will want to discuss birth plan and whether I have attended any of the breastfeeding classes that she suggested to me earlier in my pregnancy.

Due to really difficult personal reasons, I have decided that it will be emotionally impossible for me to breastfeed. I have really tried to fight this, and have also done hours and hours of research into breast and formula feeding but I keep coming back to the same point, where I'm so distressed that I won't want to go anywhere near my baby in case he will want feeding. I know this may cause some raised eyebrows here, even people telling me that I'm selfish to not provide for my baby to save my own discomfort. This couldn't be further from the truth though. I know I have issues that need to be addressed, but I can't do this right now, I need more time.

Anyway, my question is to anyone who has ever had similar issues, how have you approached this with your midwife, and how have you managed to stand your ground if they disagree with you? I know that a midwife's responsibility is to ensure the safe arrival and welfare of the baby, but I'm hoping that there will be some understanding without me having to divulge history/issues. I see a new midwife most appointments so can't really gauge a possible reaction.

Please, if you have any advice, please be gentle. I'm so done with feeling like the worst mother in the world already, and he's not even here yet sad

Thank you x

You really don't have to explain yourself to her.

"I've considered all the options and I'm going to bottle feed" repeat repeat repeat.

Or if you feel you can't do that, just agree with everything she says with a smile and completely ignore her.

This is obviously a huge deal for you, you've made your decision. Don't let it affect the rest of your pregnancy or those first precious weeks with your beautiful new baby.

Good luck and be sure to post in Birth Announcements when he/she is born smile

Cookethenook Thu 25-Apr-13 15:14:26

I know that certainly with my BFing, i told my midwife straight off that i have no intention of BFing this time around expecting a huge talking too and she said 'fine'! She said if it made me that miserable last time, there was no point in doing it as mine and my babies emotional well-being is just as important as anything else and that formula, while not the absolute best, is a fantastic alternative that companies spend millions of pounds on research every year. I wanted to hug her smile

BabyHMummy Thu 25-Apr-13 15:14:42

As far as i am concerned you being happy and healthy is much better for your baby hat being stressed out and miserable.

Just tell your mw that you will be formula feeling and you are not prepared to discuss it further.

I am still undecided for both medical and personal reasons as well as fear of the stress it will put me under so completely understand your concerns. Am also worried about what reaction i will get from mw and hv but all the ladies on here have been very supportive.

Do what is best for you hun and don't let them pressure you into something you don't want to do

Hth

Xx

elQuintoConyo Thu 25-Apr-13 15:42:36

Ff/bf wasn't duscussed with my mw pre-birth, but they banged on about it in the prenatal classes, so I didn't feel the pressure you are feeling.
I failed miserably on day two of bf, there was screaming from DS and I and my DH was distressed too, seeing us like that and unable to help.
As soon as I got a bottle and started feeding my lovely baby - it was like the sun shining! A lovely mw in the hospital told me I wasn't failing and was very happy to give me the pill to stop the milk coming in.
I felt a complete failure for months - but it's all in my head! Not one mw, peadiatrician, nurse, friend, or family member has even commented on it!
DS and I bonded really well really quickly, once I wasn't stressed.
It's between you and your baby and lo will love you no matter how you get the milk in!
I wish there'd been more info about ff in prenatal class - how many bottles to buy, best way to sterilise, how it isn't poison, how a ff baby isn't on a one-way street to turkey twizzlers and crack!

Take a deep breath.
Know that you are making an important decision for you and your baby, not just a snap decision.
If your mw isn't supportive, another one will be.

Ff worked out very well for us, even though we got there through a different root to the one we took.

If anyone comes along and says, 'oh, but please try bf, you never know, you may love it', ignore, ignore, ignore.

thanks

TinkyPeet Thu 25-Apr-13 15:46:03

You definitely don't have to explain your choices or reasons for those choices to the midwife, she won't give a monkeys 3 seconds after you have walked out the door, if you have decided to bottle feed then that's your decision and nobody else's xxxx

LittleBearPad Thu 25-Apr-13 15:59:41

If she asks, and to be honest my midwife just handed me leaflets, then say you've decided to bottle feed. Just repeat as necessary. It'll be ok.

WipsGlitter Thu 25-Apr-13 16:08:22

Don't make it a big issue. They can't actually force you to do it you know!

DS1 me "I've decided to stop breast feeding" midwife "ok". DS2 straight after delivery "do you want to feed him?" Me "no thanks I'm going to bottle feed".

Your in danger of making more of this than there needs to be.

StuckOnARollercoaster Thu 25-Apr-13 16:21:44

Hopefully some advice on here will help you feel prepared for the session - but not all midwives are the same and you may not automatically need to be defensive or go into battle
I had my first NHS antenatal class this week and was surprised at how pragmatic the midwife was, and this echoes the 2 midwives that I see for my personal appointments. Although they will recommend breastfeeding, in the class there was a real nice approach which spent some time ensuring that for those mothers that were going to formula feed that they were aware of what they needed to do to ensure that their milk was prepared safely.

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Thu 25-Apr-13 16:28:31

Is this your first?

I think you are at risk of making this a bigger thing than it will be (at least from the midwifery position). I can understand that obviously you have some deep seated issues that make it a big thing for you, but it isn't for them. They want to encourage breastfeeding at a population level, and support those who want to do it. 99.9% have no desire to pressure women who have carefully considered breastfeeding and don't want to.

I was in post-natal ward with a woman who bottle fed from birth. They just said "do you want any help with breastfeeding" and she said "no thanks, I've decided not to. Can I organise a bottle please". They did. I became friends with her later and she said that was all that was ever said to her at the hospital. She said at ante natal classes they did talk about it a wee bit more, but not in a pressuring way, just making sure she was happy with her decision, wasn't basing her decision on inaccurate facts (you know, like the grandma who says bottle is much better because you have to eat a really careful diet to breastfeed and it's vital to measure in ounces what they get so you have to weigh the baby before and after). She didn't have any deep and meaningful reason for not breastfeeding, she just didn't fancy it. And that was totally accepted. It's not getting off PE at school - you don't have to come up with a reason which 'passes' the teacher (even if you have one).

Please stop feeling like the worst mum in the world. sad. If you start that now you will miss so much enjoyment. There was a thread on here recently about a mum who was beating herself up for letting her daughter nearly run in the road (or something similar). You should see the stories we all came up with of things we'd done or almost done to our kids. Yes, breastfeeding is good, that doesn't mean that it's best for every family. And there are a million and one decisions you will make for your child over the years. Making them with love and balancing everyone's best interests is what matters - not holding yourself to some false picture of an ideal mum.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Thu 25-Apr-13 16:37:47

I understand that to some it may seem like I'm running the risk of obsessing over this. However, my midwife recently said at last appointment "I'll be seeing you at the breastfeeding classes", plus pressure from my MIL to BF, which in turn has caused some friction at times between DH and me(he was BF'd, I wasn't) My mum is amazingly supportive, and has said it's my choice, but I'm still feeling pressure from others to do something that I will dread. To me it feels like the most alien thing in the world sad

badguider Thu 25-Apr-13 16:41:36

Unless it really disturbs you to be there, I would say go to the breastfeeding classes anyway. You don't need to have any intention of doing it.

Obviously if the class itself really upsets you then don't, but I think you're more likely to feel pressure if healthcare providers think you haven't 'got all the facts' than if you sit there, take it all in, and then say 'thanks but i'm going to bottle feed'.

Bejeena Thu 25-Apr-13 16:53:16

I was going to say go to the classes anyway. I know you say it will be emotionally impossible and if that is the way then that is also fine, plenty of babies are formula fed. However once you have your baby in your arms you really don't know if the might be a massive emotional change of heart, even though you don't think it possible.

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Thu 25-Apr-13 16:55:08

Aw gosh, I didn't mean to make you feel worse sad.

One thing at a time. Your midwife probably made it as a throwaway comment, in many areas most first time mums do want to attend that type of class. She shouldn't have assumed, that was wrong. But all you need to do is explain very simply that you've read up on it a lot but made the decision that it isn't right for you.

Your MIL. She is your husband's job. Make it very clear to him that dealing with her comments is his job, not yours and that it is not up for negotiation with her.

You've not really said why you feel it isn't for you. That is totally your right, but if I am about to totally put my foot in it with what I say next, please forgive me. I have a friend who had serious issues with her body and body image. Struggled all through pregnancy and felt repulsed by the idea of breastfeeding. In fact, when the moment came, she felt it was something she wanted to give a try. She did it for a few weeks and then happily moved on to bottles. Another friend had decided she didn't want to breastfeed but felt guilty about it all through her pregnancy. When the time came, she bottle fed exactly as planned and said that, having had her baby, it suddenly all felt in proportion and seemed such a small thing in the magnitude of being a parent. I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes becoming a parent surprises us with a strength we didn't know we had. You can come over all mother lioness "Grrr, this is my baby, the best baby that ever lived and anyone who dares tell me what is best for him will feel my roar and my bite". You might find it easier to be confident and happy with your decision when he's actually here.

emblosion Thu 25-Apr-13 16:55:10

Please don't beat yourself up about this - how you feed your baby is such a small part of parenthood. You are absolutely right to look after your own mental wellbeing. In my experience, midwives will talk to you about the benefits of breastfeeding, but just say something like "thanks, but I'm going to bottle feed" and if they question it " I've made my decision and I don't want to discuss it".

Don't feel you have to go to the classes, or make excuses. It's completely your decision. Best of luck with your lovely baby smile

emblosion Thu 25-Apr-13 16:57:39

And yy to what AmandaPayne said ^^ don't get stressed, just go with what you want when baby arrives.

rosiedays Thu 25-Apr-13 16:57:55

steak being a parent you'll have to make all sorts of decisions regarding your little one, and not everyone will agree with what YOU decide. but they are your's and you can bring them up as you like (within reason!!)
I like ican tucks approch.... smile, nod, and buy a bottle!!
when the time comes you can always say 'i tried but my milk didn't come through......'
try not to stress..... it's really not the be all and end all of being a mum thanks also think of the + side of FF.... DP can do night feeds grin

steakchipsandfriedeggs Thu 25-Apr-13 17:06:53

Attending the class won't help, the issue is with me, not breastfeeding on the whole. I have no issue with anyone else doing it, but certain circumstances in my life mean that I feel emotionally unable to. I'm 100% sure that attending a class will result in further distress and make me feel even more inferior than I already do.

Thank you to those who have offered support. I have been living with this fear for a lot longer than I've been pregnant so I hope I can find the strength to sound confident and well informed when I discuss with the midwife. My husband understands now how difficult it has been to come to this decision, so I'm hoping to take him as backup.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 25-Apr-13 17:17:44

Apologies if I am out of order.

I think you may need to consider speaking to someone about this. You have not said what the root of the issue is, but I am concerned that you may find other things distressing too - skin to skin, your milk coming in, your newborn rooting and trying to latch on to you.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Thu 25-Apr-13 17:24:19

Amanda, thank you for your advice, you didn't make me feel any worse honestly. I guess I've been stuck in my own head for so long that I'm perhaps preparing myself for worst case scenario so there'll be no nasty surprises. This way, if she accepts my decision I will just feel relief, then i can be left to deal with MIL! Wish DH could deal with her, but poor thing, he's a bit gutless in that dept sad

My situation is something I was hoping to work towards getting fixed (if this is possible) prior to becoming pregnant. It is definitely something I need counselling for, but I just don't know how to deal with it right now. sad

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Thu 25-Apr-13 18:19:48

Well, perhaps now is the time for your DH to step up? Honestly, if he doesn't defend you against your MIL now it will only get even more tiresome when she doesn't agree with your name choice/disciplinary approaches/ weaning choices/ school choices yada yada yada.

He needs to remember that the three of you are now the unit and you put on one unified front. If he has issues that mean he struggles to stand up to her, well he at least needs to manage to agree and nod along.

For you, please do think about talking to your midwife about counselling. There are lots of things about parenting that are hard on you physically. For example, my nearly two year old loves nothing more than to stuff her hand down my top and try and either twiddle my nipple or (her favourite) root down to my armpit. I hate it. Sometimes I want to slap her hand away like I would any adult who did this without permission. Sometimes DH has to physically remove her from the room when I'm losing it with the invasion of personal space after the 50th removal in five minutes. If you have issues about physical boundaries (and I think I can maybe imagine why) you might find some of this stuff really tough. God knows I do without background to make it harder.

Also, just to say that the mum I admired most at baby groups made different choices to me on almost everything - feeding, routines, weaning. The choices are just choices, but she was soooo confident in it all. No pretend excuses for anything. She just said, this is what was best for us and left it at that.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Thu 25-Apr-13 19:50:52

Thank you for your support, I'm very grateful. I am so lucky to even be able to say that I'm pregnant today due to the problems that I've had with physical boundaries. I just hate being in situations where I'm made to explain myself. So I don't, I just keep my head down and hope I get through unnoticed. You may also have realised that I'm also dreading the birth, but there's not much I can have in the way of control over this sad

And don't get me wrong, my DH is amazing, I love him so much and he is so supportive. We live far away from both our families so most communication with MIL is over the phone, and she never wants to speak to me, so she tends to get second hand information about me and the pregnancy. She is very set in her ways, very old fashioned and even thought I was crazy to want to find out the sex of our baby. Because we don't talk much, she tends to form her own ideas about me, and my husband knows this, but it's her first grandchild and he doesn't want to rock the boat by upsetting her by saying its none of her business, or have to deal with the onslaught of personal questions that she will undoubtedly have soon.

BabyHMummy Thu 25-Apr-13 20:00:33

You mil sounds like a nightmare!! I am.lucky as dh's parents are brilliant. Their attitude is this is our baby and to do what is best for us which is lovely. My parents haven't really commented either other than to say don't rule bf out completely until baby comes and see how this go. I am fully prepared for both but am definitely leaning towards ff.

Tell ur dh not to get drawn into any discussions with her over bf v ff...by the time she meet baby etc will be too late to comment! Am all for avoidance awkward conversations too!

BabyHMummy Thu 25-Apr-13 20:01:01

Ops dp not dh...bloody autocorrect on phone lol

LittleBearPad Thu 25-Apr-13 20:07:29

Really don't worry about your midwife. They will be fine, truly. Don't go to the classes if you don't want to. It's your choice. If you have concerns about the birth talk to your midwife about that of you can. Or ask here? Anonymity can be helpful for difficult questions.

As for MIL she is your husband's responsibility and issue. You have enough to deal with being pregnant.

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Thu 25-Apr-13 20:42:33

Please find a way to describe your situation to one of your midwives. There are lots of possible ways if you can't say it all out loud. You could send your DH or a friend into an appointment in front of you to explain, so that it is all 'known' when you go in. You could write a letter and ask them to read it.

There are all sorts of things that can be done in terms of birth plans and arrangements (including things like planned sections, or strongly planning a water birth if at all medically possible so that everyone is very hands off and you are cocooned) to help you cope with the birth itself. You just need people around you, including your DH, who can help you ensure that that plan follows through. But they need to know your issues to help you.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Sat 04-May-13 17:59:38

Well thank you to everyone who offered kind words and advice. I went to my midwife appointment last week with DH, and nothing was mentioned about breast feeding at all. I have the full support of DH to FF and he has even suggested us having a home birth so I would feel more comfortable in my own home. However I don't think this will be ideal as we have a little dog who would freak out plus its not really fair on the neighbours (walls are fairly thin) but the main reason is if anything went wrong, I would want to be in a hospital ASAP.

So I was wondering if anyone had any advice as to ways of giving birth that would perhaps not be quite so hands on/exposing to others? I would prefer to be as active as possible and really want to keep internals to a minimum. I really can't bear the thought of being on my back for all to see, plus I want to avoid tearing as much as possible to avoid any possible follow up exams after the birth. Am I going to be told to lie down and get on with it? I'm getting quite anxious now sad

Thank you

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Sat 04-May-13 21:01:21

If you want to talk more about homebirth I'm happy to, as I've had one. If you are close to a hospital (as I was in London) they can often have you into theatre basically as quickly in an emergency (though obviously not a crash) as they can from a ward. Basically, the time they spend prepping theatre, etc is also your travel time. Mine was just because of a nasty first birth though, not anything deeper.

Fair enough if homebirth isn't for you. Have you thought about an MLU if there is one close enough?

Please also bear in mind that you can refuse all internals. My birth plan with DD2 said that I did not consent to any routine internals and would only consent if it was believed that either mine or my baby's health was at risk. As it happened, things progressed is a slightly stop/start way and the issue never came up because the end was fast, but I was fully prepared to stand by my guns. An internal is one way to ascertain progress, not the only way. An experienced midwife can manage perfectly well without as long as everything seems normal.

In terms of privacy, water birth is the way to go. It is physically impossible to either get you on your back or touch you much! You are also sort of hidden, and can wear things like bikini tops, little swim skirts, big t-shirts etc if you want to cover up. However, bear in mind some hosiptals have a policy of checking you are 5cm or more dilated before letting you in the water. Which probably means an internal. I'd check your local policy beforehand as it would be horrid to have that sprung on you in labour. Also check out how many pools there are and how often they are full when someone wants them. Also if enough midwives are trained on them - MLUs tend to do better on all that stuff. One of the biggest reasons I had a homebirth was to get in the water when I wanted, not based on some number. Turns out I was right, my contractions were irregular and no one thought I was in established labour even though I was in intense pain, got in the water, every muscle relaxed and she was out in half an hour.

Tearing? Honestly, there is a very good chance you will tear. The majority of people have at least grazing and it needs looking at to see if it needs stitching. The best way to reduce it is assistance with crowning (assuming you aren't in the water) but that means them getting quite up close and personal. There are things like perineal massage you can do beforehand. And things like gas and air and local aneastethic to make it less horrid. For me, with gas and air I was high as a kite, so that worked for me.

Please think about talking to your midwife. A little note in your medical notes about why you feel strongly about some of this stuff makes it less likely some jobsworth tries to push internals on you or whatever. Otherwise, your DH is going to have to be super-ready to take on that burden.

Good luck. You sound like you have a great husband.

BlackholesAndRevelations Sun 05-May-13 07:20:23

Bless you. You absolutely do not have to attend any classes against your will, and I'm pleased to see in your latest update that it hasn't been mentioned again. Re: internals, you can also decline those as well. I also agree that if you can bear it at all, it's probably a good idea to let your midwives know something about your past and the issues that mean they have to tread a bit more carefully in some situations.

Sorry I can't be as aformstive as pp but I just wanted to show my support.

I was never under any pressure to bf. I chose to in the end but I was undecided beforehand and no one pushed me in either direction. I'm currently considering transitioning onto the bottle at about 3 months, and the health visitor has been very helpful and supportive.

One thing though, if you could bear it to give the baby the colostrum that would be wonderful. Your milk doesn't come in until approx day 3, prior to that you produce tiny quantities of colostrum which is full of antibodies and great for your baby's immunity. Again no pressure, just a thought.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Mon 06-May-13 16:59:02

Thank you Amanda for your insight into HB. I live in London so am never far away from a hospital, but i would be so conscious of the noise that my poor neighbours would have to endure. One of my (many) issues is I'm completely aware of myself at all times. I'm hoping that for some of the birth I will be able to relax this self awareness a bit and just get through it. I'm terrified that I'll be super conscious of feeling exposed, as well as other things such as male doctors/midwives being in the room and what might happen to me during labour that I won't have any control over but will be fully aware of sad

I'm so very sick of feeling this way, I know I have to go through labour and I so desperately want my little boy, but I wish I could just move past these massive fears of mine sad

Thank you everyone for your support xxx

Teaandflapjacks Mon 06-May-13 17:42:07

steak - just a thought, but you can certainly ask for an elective c section if you feel strongly enough about it, and have a good reason, as it is clear to me you do. I would not normally suggest it - but it is something i think you should explore in more detail. The water birth is also something to look into - but of course it often doesn't work out how you want, and as far as I can see, the most controlled way for you to manage that might be a c section. I have a friend who had two, for different personal reasons, and it was fine for her, exactly as she wanted.

As my mother said to a family member who stressed about this ff/bf thing once. 'ok tell me from all these people in the street who was ff or bf' - obviously you cant tell! it really doesn't matter a jot - what matters is you are happy and then baby will be too.

xx

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Mon 06-May-13 18:04:47

I totally agree with Tea. I mentioned planned section upthread. Is it something you have considered?

Also, I am not some mad homebirth zealot and feel free to tell me to shut up about it, but if the noise is what is putting you off please try and analyse it very rationally if you can. I was loud and my neighbours heard nothing. It was night, they were upstairs asleep, I was downstairs with a big wall between us and I wasn't loud enough to wake them. Likewise in the day people are often out. I know someone who planned a homebirth if she laboured in the daytime but a MLU at night, because she lived in a flat with thin walls. Also, not everyone is loud. Some are very quiet indeed.

You can request no male midwives. You can request no male doctors (although depending on who is on shift that might not be possible, especially if you need help fast). You can request that anyone who doesn't need to be in the room doesn't hang about, that they introduce themselves by name, that no one touches you without giving a running commentary throughout on exactly what they are doing. If you are an abuse survivor, for exmaple, many hospitals have a greater understanding than you might expect and could suggest other things to help you.

x

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Mon 06-May-13 18:09:30

One final thing, have you considered a doula? If finances are an issue, many have payment plans and there is a hardship fund too. Would it help to have one person with you throughout who you know, and whose whole job is to make sure you feel safe? It would free up your DH to support you emotionally rather than also being policeman?

Just a thought.

Pusspuss1 Mon 06-May-13 19:54:25

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is expressing - if you'd like the baby to have your milk but it's the process of him physically drinking from you that would be horribly uncomfortable, what about getting an expressing machine? That way you'd be in complete control of it and no one would need to come near you; it would just be you running the machine.

Hope it all goes really well for you and you find a way through.

TheYamiOfYawn Mon 06-May-13 20:11:15

Amanda has already said much of what I
was going to say, but it might well be worth making an appointment to talk your birth plan through with the supervisor of midwives. She will have experience of working with women with all sorts of problems including PTSD, survivors if abuse, women who gave had traumatic births, women with physical or mental health issues that make the standard hospital procedures inappropriate. I know several women who have done this and have ended up with very good care throughout, and the red one from the boss on your birth notes tends to be pretty powerful.

TheYamiOfYawn Mon 06-May-13 20:11:40

red pen, not one.

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