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Ainu to be a bit upset by this comment and to think maybe I gave up attempting to breast feed too easily?

(136 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Sun 26-May-13 21:47:57

I wanted to breast feed. I planned to breast feed. I tried to breast feed. DD (11w old now) wasn't a fan, screamed blue murder every time we tried, never once latched on. I paid three separate lactation consultants and tried to take all their advice. My nipples are flat and that didn't help. DD gnawed as them and cracked them every time she tried to latch and they were in danger of getting infected. I expressed colostrum into a tiny syringe for hours after my c section and then I pumped for three weeks as often as I could. I never got supply up properly because I couldn't pump as advised ten times a day, I didn't know how to do that and be with DD at the same time IYSWIM, I couldn't hold her/comfort her while pumping and DH couldn't take more paternity leave than allowed so he could be home to take care of her while I pumped.

Today a fellow new mother asked me if I had not breastfed because it 'didn't fit in with your lifestyle'.

She probably meant no harm and I know she herself went to impressive lengths to establish breastfeding. She is a bit on the smug side in general but I don't actually think she was trying to make me feel small.

But I have been down all day ever since.

I am wondering if I did give up too easily.

I chose to prioritise my mental health (have suffered depression in the past) as the whole thing was getting me very stressed plus I was skipping sleep to try to pump and therefore not having the energy to bond with DD the way I wanted.

I thought at the time it was the right decision but today that question made me feel shit.

I dd feel guilty when I stopped but I told myself (which is true!!) that important though bfing is, to me it was not a be all and end all, I feel I have other things to offer DD even if my breasts were useless to her sad

I am generally very hard on myself though and so now I can't shake the thought that I stopped too soon and too easily just because it wasn't working out as easily as I wanted.

It wasn't remotely because I wanted to drink coffee and booze etc which is what that comment made me feel.

Ugh. Why am I doubting myself now?!?

Oh and what should I have said to her? I just kind of mumbled something about it not working out.

AIBU to feel rubbish and slightly ashamed for not finding more ways to try to make it work?

MrsRickyMartin Fri 31-May-13 17:31:30

I am still BF and I find that comment idiotic. You did the best you could and you really don't owe any explanations to anyone.

Just agree to whatever they say and they won't be able to comment more. For example I had a EMCS and someone said to me: oh, you didn't have the strength to push? I said: no, I am too posh to push.

The most important thing is that you and baby are healthy.

thefuturesnotourstosee Thu 30-May-13 21:59:23

OP I breast fed DD for 2 years and am still feeding DS at 10 months. I'm obviously a perfect mother....... you're obviously rubbish wink

However I can afford to be smug. I was damned lucky. Breastfeeding came easily with DS and after a little bit of help from a friendly midwife I established it within a few days with DD. To be blunt if I hadn't I'd have given up very early on. It hurt, my nipples cracked and bled, I cried, couldn't sleep for pain, couldn't get her latched on and was on my way to buy a tub of formula when I met my midwife in the road. She asked me how it was going and I sobbed on her and she said to give it one last try. She came round that evening and spent an hour with me checking my latch, holding my hand and showing me how and it worked if not it would have been cow and gate by 8pm.

I hadn't even tried a 10th as hard as you did before I nearly gave up. You've clearly done everything you can. You need to feed your baby and there is no rule to say you have to be miserable and in pain to achieve it .

Enjoy every minute. Breast or bottle it does not matter. The main thing is that they're fed.

RooBow Thu 30-May-13 21:44:42

I had exactly the same problem with bf-ing my dd when born last year (5 weeks early by cs under general) - I thought it would just happen but neither of us could get the hang of it! Tried for about 3 weeks before giving up & carrying on with bottle (scbu had started bottle feeding while I was still being operated on). I was devastated, felt guilty, like I was a failure & was letting her down but there was no way I could have carried on trying to express, nothing was coming out in the end.
I worried that we missed out on bonding but she's now 14 months and we're so incredibly close!
I felt totally judged by other bf-ing mums in the first few months, luckily no one said anything so cruel to me as they did to u. I would have reacted the same if they did, wouldn't have known what to say. Just think that she doesn't know what ur experience has been like, we're not all lucky enough to have the 'perfect' birth experience but I don't believe that exists anyway!
I'm happy to report that my dd hasn't had anything worse than a cold whereas the bf babies in my group of mum friends all keep getting virus' etc. She's a very happy, content little girl and u can't tell she was ff or premature now. It gets easier & ur bond will grow over time.
A councillor I saw after my section said something I still have to remind myself of sometimes now, that I have done the best I could do for my child - & we really can't do anymore than that so we shouldn't keep beating ourselves up!

RunnerHasbeen Thu 30-May-13 15:07:02

It sounds like I had a similar experience to you, but in some ways I was lucky to have been ill after the birth and that gave an explanation to people that they could understand. At 11 weeks it was still such a sore point that I would be liable to cry if I was asked about BFing.

However, at 17 months, I can look back thinking I tried and realise that things improved immeasurably after I stopped trying. I don't have any doubt about the decision to stop, I can see it wasn't going to happen. I now judge myself as nicely and sympathetically as I would someone else who had had such a hard time and really tried. Just so you know it is unlikely to stay such a sore point and to congratulate you on everything you managed to do - your daughter is a lucky girl.

itsaruddygame Mon 27-May-13 20:49:36

Ignore her! Only the most insensitive mother could make such a comment. I seriously don't understand how anyone that initially struggled could even go there. It says a lot about the type of person she is that she made such a comment.

VikingLady Mon 27-May-13 20:26:56

Another peer supporter here - a depressed mother is not going to help any baby!

A response for future comments: "Does it make you feel better about yourself to put me down, when you don't know about my medical history?"

What a cowbag.

itsblackoveryonderhill Mon 27-May-13 20:04:08

Don't beat yourself up. You'll realise in a few years that there are a few smug parents around, but they'll get knocked down a peg or two when they realise that there child is well, a normal child, nothing special or outstanding. Just an ordinary child that is just special to them.

FWIW, think of it this way.... If you suffered from epilepsy, you would probably be taking medication that is not compatible with breastfeeding and I bet you wouldn't have beat yourself up under that situation, but you have flat nipples and you tried and you tried really hard, you have no control over it.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both FF and BF and so neither one is any 'better' than the other. Formula is not poison, and I can bet the majority of us ladies with younger children were FF because that was the advise in the 70's and 80's and we are all perfectly fine and since then formula is much better nutritionally.

My DD was breastfed until 16mths old (she's now 4yrs and 5mths), but when we talk about it, she of course can't remember it and she laughs in nervous way when she see's the photo's I got DH to take of me feeding her because I knew I wouldn't particularly 'remember' it as it were.

Chin up, and if anybody else makes such a comment, just say, 'and why is it a concern of yours?' That will shut them up.

MeerkatMerkin Mon 27-May-13 19:42:21

Congratulations on your beautiful DD! smile

I am a breastfeeding peer supporter. I also suffered PND. It was partially related to the struggle I had establishing BFing with DS, but there were other factors too. It sounds to me like you did exactly the right things and chose to feed your baby in another way because she needed to be fed. As a peer supporter I would never advocate a mother borderline starving her child because she could not establish BFing for whatever reason. Yes, there is a lot to be said for not "giving up" at the first hurdle and some women are able to break through the hurdle/s and feed for longer but for the ones that aren't (particularly if they gave it their best shot!) it really doesn't matter. We are lucky to have an alternative and safe way to feed our babies - formula exists for exactly the reasons you were unable to feed!

Ignore anyone who tries to tell you your decision was wrong. You are doing the best thing for your baby - worse would be attempting to BF to the point your DD wasn't getting enough nutrition and possibly ending up with PND to boot, which (I can speak from experience) does not help with any aspect of parenting. You will feel enough guilt in parenting without worrying that you didn't breastfeed her for long enough - choose your battles (with yourself a lot of the time!) wink

Well done on trying so hard, and well done for standing by your choice to feed your baby in a way that satisfies both her and you.

VisualiseAHorse Mon 27-May-13 19:26:45

I chose to prioritise my mental health

THIS - you chose something that benefited you both. It's all very well and good breastfeeding, but if it is making you unhappy and depressed, why continue? Your baby needs more than your milk, she needs love, attention and a happy mother.

orangeone Mon 27-May-13 19:18:19

And as for comments from others..... I tell mums to say "thank you for your comment, but I hope you won't mind me ignoring it as I think you've been rather rude'! grin

Or smile, nod and find different friends.....

pointythings Mon 27-May-13 19:15:22

Ignore, ignore, ignore. You tried everything. It didn't work for you. End of.
And I say this as one of those lucky, lucky people who found bf easy and had buckets of the white stuff. Enjoy the lovely baby snuggles and ignore the smug cow.

orangeone Mon 27-May-13 19:14:45

Please don't be so hard on yourself. You tried. In fact from the sounds of it you tried bloody hard.

You gave colostrum and breastmilk in the first few days/weeks (when most of the benefit is TBH) but you couldn't continue. At least you tried. Please don't feel guilty, there will be plenty of other things that you will do for your DD in the future - breastfeeding is only one of many things a mother may or may not do. When your DD is a teenager, she won't be shouting 'I hate you mum because you don't breastfeed me for the Length of time recommended by WHO guidelines' - it will be far more likely that it'll be because you won't pick her up at some stupid hour from some boys house that you don't want her to see!! grin

Please just enjoy your beautiful baby and ignore others comments.

(and I say all the above as a breastfeeding peer supporter who EBF her DD but thinks that there are more important worries as a parent to tie your self up in knots about).

FloraPost Mon 27-May-13 19:04:30

If I'd persisted in trying to bf DS1 he would have died. He was feeding so little and had lost so much weight by 5 days old that he fell unconscious and was very lucky to avoid organ failure or brain damage. I felt hideously guilty when my attempts to re-establish bf failed. Two and a half years on I don't feel any less bonded to him than I do to ebf DS2. Your DD is very lucky to have such a caring mother.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 27-May-13 18:35:38

... and your reasons are your reasons. You don't need to prove you suffered enough to justify anyone else's perceptions of what is a "good enough" reason to give up

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 27-May-13 18:33:30

Please believe me when I say this won't matter -hopefully sooner rather than later.

Your friend was being sanctimonious

And you don't need to justify to her or anyone why you "gave up".

AmandaPayneNeedsANap Mon 27-May-13 18:29:47

loofet - Totally agree with the spirit of your post, but just to add that plenty of 'normal' babies don't drink their milk and go to sleep either. DD1 especially wasn't that way inclined. So if yours doesn't (OP or anyone else, whether bf of ff), it doesn't mean you are doing something wrong. grin

loofet Mon 27-May-13 18:22:24

Don't be so hard on yourself, honestly.

I've had three DC and I was exactly like you. I tried SO hard to bf to a point where I just couldn't stop crying/felt really low/like a failure. Nobody warned me before DC1 that it could be difficult, I just thought it was natural and something that just sort of happened. All my first two did was scream, latch, unlatch, scream, latch, unlatch, scream for hours... I felt horrible and like you had painful bleeding nipples so every time I fed it was like razorblades. As soon as I switched to formula they were like different babies entirely. They drank their milk and went to sleep like a normal baby... and DH could feed too!

DC3 just took to bfing right away, not sure what was different about her but she did and almost 10 months on still going strong! Given my past experiences I now would NEVER judge a mother who ff because I know how difficult it can be. I wish wish wish there was more info out there on how difficult it can be so mothers don't feel alone or like failures when it doesn't work out!

Your baby will thrive and honestly in the grand scheme of things this really won't matter smile Don't beat yourself up, you're doing a great job and clearly love your DD very much flowers

Iggi101 Mon 27-May-13 17:07:56

Watch this woman the next time you see her. She'll be asking someone else why they use that brand of nappy, or talking about the all-organic food her bubba will be weaned on. Or how returning to work/staying at home is absolutely the best option for baby's welfare. It's just a competition, I would doubt she meant any harm to you personally. And it may be covering up some massive insecurity she has herself, to be fair.

amandine07 Mon 27-May-13 15:43:19

Definitely ignore the other woman.

Based on the lifestyle comment she sounds like a total twat & probably not somebody you want as a close friend.

badguider Mon 27-May-13 15:39:23

I think you need to be more confident in your own decision and less touchy about the word 'lifestyle'.

You did choose to ff, because to feed ebm would have meant far less time bonding with and spending time with yoru beautiful daughter. There should be absolutely no shame or guilt in that. Be proud of your decision. It was yours to make and you made the one that is best for you and your DD.

I will be introducing a bottle to my ds early on because I need to leave him with his father a day a week from 3mo. I know that this might result in nipple confusion and that it might be hard to get enough ebm and he might end up ff, but it's very important to our longterm family plans and having much more time together as a family in the medium and longterm if I work one day a week from 3months (i run my own business). I will not let anybody make me feel guilt about that.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 27-May-13 15:25:54

Just come back on the thread and amazed by all the replies, but mostly how supportive they all are!
I thought many people would say I should have tried this thing or that thing...
Oh and now I am tearing up at the memory of her big eyes fixed on mine and it only last happened an hour ago!! I am missing the memory before she has even grown up, it is so amazing blush
Thank u so much everyone for posting.

JsOtherHalf Mon 27-May-13 13:31:56

Ds ended up on a drip because he was so dehydrated, my milk never came in to any useful extent. There was some research coming out then that some mothers who needed IVF would struggle to produce enough milk to feed - pcos, thyroid issues,etc. I did a lot of stuff like others here - hired a professional grade breastpump, took medication, etc etc etc. After 3 weeks I started using a supplemental feeding system for every
. Ds started to sleep occasionally...

DS is 6, I have no idea what way any of his classmates fed for the first 1/6th of their lives.

PeppermintCreamsSaga Mon 27-May-13 13:15:47

A mother's place is in the wrong is a great quote I read on here. Doesn't matter what you do, someone will always criticise you for it.

Xalla Mon 27-May-13 13:12:19

YANBU!!!! I was similar with my firstborn - couldn't do it, never seemed to produce much, never got that 'engorged' thing that's supposed to happen, nipples were bleeding (one even got infected - grim) and DS had bad reflux so every agonising hour I did spend trying to feed him, he puked it up anyway!

I gave up at 8 weeks. Felt terribly guilty. Promised myself I'd do better next time.

DD came along and exactly the same thing happened. Gave up at 6 weeks.

Pregnant again now and will give it a go but am vowing not to beat myself up about it if (when) it doesn't work again!

We're not living in the jungle and we're lucky enough to have a perfectly reasonable alternative to breast milk at our fingertips.

They're tiny for such a short time; don't waste it thinking about a thoughtless random brew

deste Mon 27-May-13 13:03:50

You are not guilty of not trying but you sure are meant to feel that way. Ask yourself, is your little one happy now and are you happier now? If the answers are yes then you have done the right thing. As I always say you can't tell a formula fed baby from a BF baby.

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