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To want to breastfeed again?

(28 Posts)
TwosaCrowd Thu 01-May-14 22:28:24

Warning - long post coming up

When my son was born at 37 weeks (though we think he was more like 36weeks) he struggled to latch, suck and swallow. I had to press a buzzer for every feed and a midwife/HCA would come and help me express into a syringe to feed to DS. I was kept in for a week whilst we were doing this as they said they couldn't let me go home syringe/cup feeding.

The bad latch led to my nipples shredding, and I was unable to BF, so I pumped round the clock, including through the night and bottle fed expressed milk.

After 2 weeks I was going doolally, and was admitted to a mother and baby unit for help with the feeding. DS still struggling to latch, one night the nurses checked on me at 2 am and again at 5am, and commented on how often he was feeding. Until I told them that it was still the same feed from 2am, I hadn't been to sleep, just trying to get DS to latch for 3 hours.

But, after about 6/7 weeks, it all worked out, and we were merrily bf away quite happily. Until my mental health took a rapid decline (diagnosed bipolar, off meds due to breast feeding) and I was readmitted to the mother and baby unit. I stayed in for 3 1/2 months, and was given no option but to be forcibly stopped from BF so I could go back onto medication - I became very unwell and I was told they would take the baby off me, section me and inject me that day if I didn't stop straightaway. The reason I had carried on so long was because since we had such a long, rough start, now that I had cracked BF, I didn't want to stop! I also thought it helped with bonding, kept me close to DS when I was ill etc.

I'm now 21 weeks pg. I've been told that I am not allowed to go through what happened again, and everyone, especially DH is expecting me to formula feed after the first week.

But despite everything, I still want to breast-feed. It upsets me when I hear friends and other mums who are perfectly able to bf, but choose not to, because I am desperate to be allowed to do it. (Not in a judgemental way, just seeing them take something for granted that means so much to me). When I struggle with my baby, when everything feels shit and awful and the world is exploding around me, those quiet few moments of skin to skin cuddles give me an inner peace. The oxytocin produced relieves me and calms me down and really make me feel close to my baby. Plus I'm so scatty brained that I can't picture myself coping with bottles and sterilising and remembering to take powders and hot water and spare bottles out.

So I know IABU, and DH will hate me for it, but I feel so sad that this world has been lost to me. It's something that I can do, that I have achieved, but other people are forbidding me from doing it.

WorraLiberty Thu 01-May-14 22:32:02

Well people shouldn't be forbidding you from doing it because who knows, it might work out differently this time?

All you can do is try, but perhaps give up earlier if it's not working out.

I FF all 3 of mine through choice and we had tons of skin to skin contact and wonderful alone moments.

Also, sterilising and packing bottles will become second nature believe me!

Good luck flowers

TheScience Thu 01-May-14 22:35:56

So is it an issue of your medication being incompatible with breastfeeding? Is there any other medication you could try that is safe to bf on? I think the Breastfeeding Network have a pharmacist who is able to advise.

GimmeDaBoobehz Thu 01-May-14 22:38:59

Yanbu to want to breast feed at all but there are loads of reasons why a mother can't breast feed.

Have they categorically said you can't breast feed? Is there a reason your bi polar flaired up last time?

I think you have to think what is best for you and for your baby. What is best for your baby is not to have an erratic Mum or one who has to be sectioned- this won't make your baby happy.

Formula will make him/her just as happy. If you want baby to have breast milk is there a milk bank you could contact? Perhaps that is another option.

Also perhaps breast feed for the first few days in hospital with your colostrum - this is the most important milk to give.

As far as bonding is concerned still have plenty of skin to skin - this will induce all those feel good hormones and make bonding so pleasant.

I wish you the best of luck in your pregnancy and beyond smile

daughteritsmeagain Thu 01-May-14 22:40:11

talk to your consultant about changing the meds so you can breastfeed, then give it a go. you can't 'fail'. you might stop breastfeeding if it doesn't work out for you and the baby, but you will have given it a go. deciding to stop if it doesn't work is a positive choice. and of course, it might go really well.

GimmeDaBoobehz Thu 01-May-14 22:40:53

Oh yes and echo TheScience re breast feeding network - perhaps a different medication?

Nocomet Thu 01-May-14 22:41:52

All babies are different, DD1 was really difficult to BF and I mixfed her from a week or two old.

DD2 was a dream, she knew exactly what to do from day one.

I'd just see what happens (also do your research and lean very hard on medics about BF friendly meds.)

Psycobabble Thu 01-May-14 22:51:50

Are you currently on bi polar meds still ? If so and coming off them to breastfeed could make you ill I would personally formula feed surely your mental health and yourself been in a good ace can only be a positive thing in terms of binding and enjoying the time with your newborn ?

Psycobabble Thu 01-May-14 22:53:46

I meant good place and bonding not binding ! Dam auto correct

sharonthewaspandthewineywall Thu 01-May-14 23:11:14

Is it lithium you are on?

MagicMojito Fri 02-May-14 06:29:42

To be honest, I'd do as advised by your medical team (providing you trust they have your best interest at heart) and give the colostrum feed. Maybe do a full week of bfeeding if possible then switch to formula. It's really not the end of the world. Obviously its not as nutritious as bm, but its perfectly acceptable and will still keep baby fed/nourished/happy.

Breastfeeding is such a small part of bonding I wouldn't even have that as part of your thinking. I'm still bfeeding Dd 2.5 yet I didn't manage to properly bond with her til she was well over 6 months. It's just milk at the end of the day! You can lie in the bath with him/her on your tummy, have lots of skin on skin cuddles, baby massage etc...

Seriously, your mental health will have a much bigger impact on you and your baby's relationship.

CrohnicallyHungry Fri 02-May-14 06:47:23

If your meds aren't listed then email them and they should get back to you with a few studies. If the studies indicate that you really shouldn't breastfeed on those meds, they might be able to suggest alternatives that are safer. (I say if you really shouldn't because despite the manufacturers always putting a warning on the packet, a lot of drugs show no adverse effects)

Booboostoo Fri 02-May-14 06:52:04

What Magic said. I am breastfeeding 3yo DD but bf is not the be all and end all of the mother/child relationship. You can do skin to skin and as many cuddles as you want regardless of the way you want to feed.

Do talk to your doctors about alternative medications, I have no idea what the options are here, but at the end of the day your mental health is going to be a very big component in your ability to cope with and enjoy your new baby.

HeartStarCircleSquare Fri 02-May-14 06:57:29

Op you can use a supplemental nursing system if you want to "breastfeed" for the comfort and bonding of BF with out the risk of passing on certain drugs to your baby.

You can also get donor milk and there are facebook pages for people to find breatsmilk in their local area if you are unable to use your own milk.

Breast feeding is brilliant if you can do it because it is healthy....but if it is going to be more unhealthy for your child than formula there really is no reason to do it. There are other ways of bonding with your child (dads do it all time!)

Your baby (and your first dc) need you healthy and strong and there for their needs...don't get hung op on this one tiny aspect of parenting.

Good luck with the pregnancy!

HeartStarCircleSquare Fri 02-May-14 07:00:09

Also if you are going to take a few weeks off your meds to feed baby colostrum.. would it be possible to do this in conjunction with pumping quite frequently so as to fill the freezer with a some spare feeds for after you finish BF?

noblegiraffe Fri 02-May-14 07:06:07

You have to consider the needs of your first child too this time around. If you are spending all your time feeding, or check into a mother and baby unit, or end up sectioned, then your first child will be missing out on you. That will be far more distressing to them than you might think.

Nocomet Fri 02-May-14 07:35:15

Nobel DD1 liked me BFing, having DM tied to the sofa was great - she could be chattered to, have Duplo creations waved at her, be got to read or operate the TV remote.

Far better than DM cooking and ignoring her.

noblegiraffe Fri 02-May-14 08:30:19

That's fine but if you're up all night bfing (like the OP says she was) and feeding for hours at a time, then you are going to be exhausted and grumpy and not only tied to the sofa, but tied to the house. Your DD might have been happy stuck in the house all day, but my DC (and most, I suspect, from the 'rainy day' threads on here) prefer a bit more action.

Of course feeding the second baby might be very different to the first, but the OP has to also consider her medication.

TwosaCrowd Fri 02-May-14 08:52:45

Thanks all, just a quick message as about to start work. The medication I'll be going on is lithium which is a big no with pregnancy and breast feeding. I'm under the care of a perinatal psychiatrist who specialises in bipolar, we tried alternative meds last time but it didn't work, until I went back on lithium which sorted me instantly.

I know I need to formula feed this time, I'm just grieving for bf I think.

Cheepypeepy Fri 02-May-14 09:27:54

It´s very sad not to be able to do what you think is best for you and your baby, I could breast feed but couldn´t have a natural birth and still feel that I should have tried harder (even though EMCS)

as time goes by and I look at the babies grow up I realise that the big thing to them are being loved by happy parents and the details that are so important to us don´t matter to them as long as they are loved, cuddled and clean(ish)

OwlCapone Fri 02-May-14 09:35:19

Firstly, you he a bad start last time as your DS was early. This may not happen this time.
Secondly, everyone is going to be watching out for you and for signs things aren't going well.
Thirdly, if you can't breastfeed, it really isn't the end of the world.

Is it an absolute certainty you will need the lithium when you have had your baby?
Is the breastfeeding something you can take one week at a time, agreeing that you will stop immediately if others can see any warning signs that you are becoming ill again?

If it were a straight choice, which would you choose : breastfeeding and losing the first few months of your baby's life or formula feeding and enjoying those first months?

BerniesBurneze Fri 02-May-14 09:45:05

OP I have total sympathy for you, it is horrible to have to lose something you want for your sake and your baby's. But try and think of what you'll gain by remaining stable and lucid.

You can still do responsive feeding (feeding on demand) , lots of skin to skin and comforting.

Your baby is lucky to have you - a rresponsible, caring parent regardless of the method used to feed her

Hazchem Fri 02-May-14 09:48:23

heartstar SNS enable babies to get breastmilk in order to increase mums supply while still having extra milk. If the OP is taking medication that is contraindicated to breastfeeding it is very unlikely that an SNS would be suitable as baby would be stimulating milk production.

Twosa what a hard place to be in. Can you look into I think it's called biological/demand formula feeding? You nurse the baby in the same position as breastfeeding, having only you feed it. I understand it helps create that loving bond which would help release the oxytocin.

yellowsnownoteatwillyou Fri 02-May-14 10:06:13

I never had it in my head I would ff, I got extreme ligament damage when pregnant and had been told bf could make it carry it on but I did it anyway. Ds had a bad latch (which I've now found out at 8 months is due to tongue tie) I got mastitis and I expressed I had to get dh to help me express as I couldn't move my arms without crying in pain and I could barely even pick the baby up even if I wanted to feed him. So I switched to ff and have now been diagnosed with fibromyalgia so who knows if I could have carried on bf him. Dh and i are thinking about what will happen if we get dc2 regards to feeding. And I feel the same way as you, that i would love to bf, best for baby, easier when dealing with 2, cheaper and less stuff to carry.
but even with the amount of pressure and people making me feel bad for feeding my baby "poison" if I ff them, (yes I had this) I think I will try and do the same feed for 6 weeks see how it goes.
I feel with dc2, I will need to take myself, ds1 and my dh in to account. And going for happy mum happy family. It will be hard enough with a new arrival to add other things that can be made to make all your lives easier.
That's just my thoughts thou.

RainbowSpiral Fri 02-May-14 11:05:12

I breastfed ds1 for 8 months. With ds2 I had to stop and go on to meds for bipolar at 6 weeks (hospitalised). Sadly I then had 2 miscarriages and no more kids. But if I had had a third baby I would have formula fed from birth. It would have been hard but for me it would be the right thing as on lithium I'm totally well.

One thing that upset me the most is I went to a clinic about this (between miscarriages) which was a pre-natal mental health psychiatrist (in a maternity hospital). Most of the women coming to this clinic will be serious enough to be asked to stay on meds and not breastfeed for the sake of their and the babies health. Yet someone had slapped a breast is best poster up in the small waiting area. Breast is best for some, but what a place to put that poster when we were all struggling with being told breast was not best for us.

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