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To feel so awful that my newborn is going to have to have formula

(323 Posts)

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Givinguph0pe Tue 12-Jan-16 17:24:09

Dd was born by c section six weeks early and I wanted to breast feed. However a stay in hospital and the fact I was so stressed about how much milk she was having meant that I swapped to expressing and bottle feeding fairly quickly.
However because I've been so stressed and hardly eating anything (now weigh a stone and a half less than I did pre pregnancy) means that although I'm expressing every three hours I'm not making enough milk for her and she's eating more.

The thought of putting her on formula breaks my heart. I know a lot of babies are ill with you first switch them over and I can't stand the thought of her being ill again. Also I wanted her to have the antibodies from my milk as her immune system must still be vulnerable. She's not quite three weeks old. I have some milk frozen to last maybe another week and then that's it. She will have to have some formula and it will be something else I've let her down on.

The formula smells disgusting too. I keep imagining her little face when she tastes it and realises it isn't breast milk. How do any of them drink it?

Aibu to be so upset about this?

SweetieDrops Tue 12-Jan-16 17:30:55

She will be fine on formula, millions of babies are formula fed and just fine, she's had the most important part which is the colostrum.

I do agree with you on the smell of formula, it smells vile but my DD never seemed to mind.

Don't be so hard on yourself, as long as your baby is clean, warm and loved you aren't letting her down. She will get all the nutrients she needs from formula, breast milk is not the be all and end all and hopefully if you are less stressed from giving up expressing your baby will benefit from having a more relaxed mum.

confusedandemployed Tue 12-Jan-16 17:32:41

In the kindest possible way, yes YABU. You've already given her an amazing start and your baby needs what she needs - not just food, however it comes, but also her mum to be healthy and happy.
I switched to FF when DD was 3 weeks and she didn't bat an eyelid. Not a runny poo or a vomit. They're not always ill.
And when she's 10 you won't be able to tell which of her friends was bf or ff.
flowers congratulations on your baby

PennyHasNoSurname Tue 12-Jan-16 17:33:41

You havent let her down at all.

I do think your post is quite scathing of formula, which is a bit shit. We are lucky to live in a place where formula is a safe, nutritious alternative to BM regardless of its reasons for use.

FF parents arent letting their babies down.

manamanah Tue 12-Jan-16 17:34:06

My son had a tongue tie and never latched properly. His weight dropped across centiles in the first couple of months. I cried for hours the first time I gave my baby formula, and the second, and the 52nd. It felt like such a failure. It took me a long time to get over it too. I found HIPP formula helped-it never seemed as offensive as the others. Looking back with hindsight and no fog of what I now realise to be pnd, I was feeding my child, the only way I could. I'm due again any day and I won't be putting us through that again. If breastfeeding works out great. If not then how lucky I am to be able to feed my child a nutritionally complete substitute.

Pyjamaramadrama Tue 12-Jan-16 17:34:14

Hi giving.

Firstly you don't need to feel guilty. But, it's not too late if you want to carry on bf. I stopped with both mine after a couple of weeks and in a lot of ways I really regret it.

You can get the baby to latch back on and build your milk supply back up. I'm no expert but I've read lots about it and you'll find lots of helpful advice on the infant feeding board or sites like kellymom.

If you do need to give formula try not to feel guilty, both my boys are perfectly healthy and there are lots of other more important things that you will do feeding method is just one aspect of parenting.

GiddyOnZackHunt Tue 12-Jan-16 17:35:18

Yabu but I was exactly the same. smile
First of all formula isn't the end of the world. Secondly expressing is horrible imo and special care are so interested in ml that you go a bit mad over it all.
Thirdly don't assume you can't bf. Try it. I can't express for some reason but I have bf successfully. You'll need to feed and eat a fair bit to get your supply going but you can supplement until it is enough to fill her up. I had to do this and went on to bf past 12 months both times.

EverySecondCounts Tue 12-Jan-16 17:35:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dementedpixie Tue 12-Jan-16 17:36:20

Neither of mine were ill when switching to formula. Have you considered trying her back on the breast as they are much better at getting milk out than by you expressing?

Azaeli Tue 12-Jan-16 17:36:24

YANBU to feel upset.

I lost a lot of weight after birth and had low milk supply. I was prescribed metoclopramide to boost supply and expressed every 4hours with a hospital-grade double-pump (hired from ward). After 6weeks I was making enough milk to EBF.

I also tried hard to eat more, lived on ready meals and high-calorie snacks. Still underweight but eating enough to feed my baby. If you want to BF you have to make an effort to eat a good diet.

If you want baby to have breastmilk don't give up yet. Hire a good medical-grade pump, try meds and maybe use a milk bank while your supply improves?

Boredofthinkingofnewnames Tue 12-Jan-16 17:36:35

I'm being kind but yes YABU. You're baby is being fed and will be fine.

I thought I would BF, twins at 31 weeks and no milk meant I couldn't. Now 4 years down the line I couldn't care less how they were fed!

CorBlimeyTrousers Tue 12-Jan-16 17:38:41

Ah GivingUpHope - I understand your feelings. I felt a lot of guilt when I gave up (trying to) breastfeed my eldest when he was 8 days. In that time he had already had formula, I expressed up to 4 weeks and then moved over to formula completely. I felt guilty and blamed myself. I was determined to bf Ds2 and did so exclusively to 4 weeks then mixed to 8 weeks and stopped. I don't feel guilty this time. I did my best and I am taking care of both my boys in the best way I can. I am not perfect in many ways and formula is probably the least of it but I love them and I am their mum.

With ds2 because he hadn't had formula at all until 4 weeks I thought he wouldn't like it. But in fact he was fine. We did have trouble with the NUK bottles we had us with ds1 and ds2 preferred Tommee Tippee (it wasn't the formula he didn't like as we started out with expressed milk). If you're not sure perhaps try mixing expressed breast milk and formula. But honestly ds2 was happy to drink it.

Congratulations on your baby and good luck.

goodnessgraciousgoudaoriginal Tue 12-Jan-16 17:40:00

Totally understandable that you're feeling emotional with your hormones all over the place, and probably still physically recovering from the birth.

However, yes you are being totally unreasonable.

It's much easier said than done, but honestly, try to take a deep breath, a step back, and put it into perspective. It's just food. As long as you are feeding your baby, it's fine. Formula has been around for donkey's years, and is probably one of the most heavily regulated/thoroughly tested foods in the world!!

Also, in the nicest possible way, she is a baby. She isn't going to know it isn't breast milk. She doesn't even know what breast milk is. She probably hasn't even discovered the fact that she has hands yet!

There is an insane amount of pressure on women to breast feed in the UK, which inevitably leads to many women feeling like you do when it doesn't work out for whatever reason. It makes me really angry.

SauvignonPlonker Tue 12-Jan-16 17:40:26

I was in your shoes OP. I was absolutely determined to BF but DD arrived 5 weeks early, I had no milk, she couldn't latch on & ended up in scbu being tube fed formula while I tried in vain to express.

I stuck it for a month, but had not left the house at all, my right boob would only produce 20mls. DS (4) was being neglected as I was constantly expressing or feeding.

So I gave myself permission to stop (eventually, after lots of tears). I would have mixed-fed if she could have latched on, so at least she would have had some breast milk.

Pixilicious Tue 12-Jan-16 17:40:32

I was in a very similar position to you, my daughter was born 7 weeks early
By c section and I pumped away like a demon and it still wasn't enough (I was a control freak and needed to know what quantity she was getting so didn't just breast feed her). She had a combination of breast and formula from the world go and she is a totally fine 3 year old, in the 90+ percentile for height and weight and developmentally absolutely perfect. Don't beat yourself up. Maybe try and transition one or two bottles a day onto formula.

CwtchMeQuick Tue 12-Jan-16 17:40:46

When DS was born he spent time in nicu and I expressed for him. I managed a month before my milk dried up. At the time I felt so guilty about it. But expressing is hard. Its exhausting. You're essentially breast feeding and bottle feeding at the same time and you have done so amazingly well to last as long as you have!
I'm sat having dinner with my 3.5yo who is now thriving and you would never know what a difficult start he's had.
You've given your daughter a wonderful start to life under very difficult circumstances and you should be nothing but proud flowers

Strokethefurrywall Tue 12-Jan-16 17:41:47

What Penny said.

You're probably severely stressed, exhausted and hormonal which isn't helping but seriously, formula milk is a fucking godsend. It's an amazing invention and thank Christ it's there! You won't be letting her down by giving it to her in the slightest, but feeding her formula will probably save your sanity as well once you lose the added worry of expressing and producing enough milk.

I bf both of mine but started supplementing around 6 months when I was winding up expressing. Neither one of my babies even noticed the difference.

x2boys Tue 12-Jan-16 17:42:06

at the end of the day formula isnt poison its a good alternative to breast milk many babies are fed happily on it including my two its not the end of the world ff babies as long as they are fed and looked after who cares how they are fed.

JacquelineChan Tue 12-Jan-16 17:42:19

Hi OP
I was in a similar situation , birth ok but had to go back into hospital due to ds jaundice, I found it really stressful and it totally upset my breastfeeding plans ( especially as random elderly woman roamed the wards lecturing us about breastfeeding but no real practical advice when most of us were very low )
I switched to formula at 4 weeks and felt guilty for months afterwards!
Looking back I don't know why ...my ds absolutely thrived , loved formula . It did not make him ill at all (even when DP bought another brand by mistake he guzzled that too )
As I understand you've given your baby all the important stuff within the first few days.
Don't do what I did and waste time feeling guilty, it's best if your baby has a healthy non stressed mummy .
Congratulations on your lovely new baby ( Broody now ! )

BackforGood Tue 12-Jan-16 17:43:06

I think it is a mistake to put this in AIBU.

It really is quite a provocative post

Of course YABU.
I could say a lot more but won't as you are clearly not very well at the moment and I don't want to have a go when you are in the place you are, but it is very offensive to suggest that formula isn't good enough for all the babies who have thrived on it and all the parents who have fed their babies formula milk over decades and decades.

muddymary Tue 12-Jan-16 17:43:22

Another gentle yabu from me. I'm its very important that you feed your baby and you will be letting her down if you don't.
Whether that food comes from a boob, a bottle or a bit of both - who cares.

turquoisetoad Tue 12-Jan-16 17:44:21

Please don't feel bad. I had twins at 29 weeks, pumped breastmilk which was fed down a tube into their stomach in hospital, milk dried up after a couple of weeks so then they had formula. They're now 13 and doing absolutely fine (roller coaster ride in baby years but that's another story). Guilt goes with being a mum but don't stress too much over this - you're doing the best you can. Don't let any other parent make you feel bad - there's some very 'worthy' people out there who think they know best but often don't know (or take the trouble) to understand different scenarios. Take care. x

wonkylegs Tue 12-Jan-16 17:46:29

Don't feel bad, your baby will be fine. It's easy to beat yourself up about stuff when you have a new baby especially as you've been through the wringer already but there is no single right way, there is only the right way for you & your baby.
I mix fed (breast, expressed & formula) our son due to my health issues after he was born. He had no problems and is now rather a robust and healthy 7yo and I'm expecting no 2 and will probably do something similar with this one (still have my health problems).
its easier this time round because I've been through it once so the guilt is less as I have a good outcome already bouncing round the house.

HPsauciness Tue 12-Jan-16 17:51:19

I know the emotion you are feeling, but that's an emotion. The scientific fact is that formula is safe for babies and as the first poster said, millions, if not 10's of millions of babies have had it and are not just fine, are blooming on it. I am one of those babies.

My mum gave herself such a hard time not being able to breastfeed, cried buckets, worried about it- and all for nothing, I have no allergies, I've grown normally, very successful career-wise. I'm just a normal person and normal people have formula.

I wish I could go back in time and hug my mum and tell her that it doesn't matter a jot and I wish you could feel the same about yourself.

Don't beat yourself up a moment longer, you've given your baby 3/4 weeks of breastfeeding and am now going to give them more (differently sourced) milk for their growth. No need to feel bad.

Heartsanddiamonds01 Tue 12-Jan-16 18:03:28

I'm so sorry for your situation. Of course YNBU. As others have said formula will give her adequate nutrition so please don't beat yourself up about it. Just remember too, those first few weeks of breastfeeding have given her a wonderful start. You will have passed on vital antibodies already. Also, you can still have a loving feeding bond with your baby by making bottle feeding as similar to bf as possible ie skin to skin whilst feeding, lots of eye contact and making it a quiet special time for you both. Good luck

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