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To myself? Such guilt about giving up breast feeding.

(173 Posts)
QueenAmongstMen Tue 12-Dec-17 10:24:49

I have a 16 week old baby boy who means the world to me.

On day 7 of life breast feeding was unbearable, I had cracked bleeding nipples and I was crying in pain during every feed. I had him assessed for tongue tie and he had a very severe one so I had it snipped at 9 days of age.

We continued to have feeding difficulties so I kept getting him reassessed and started going to cranial Osteopath sessions due to problems with his neck and positioning and it helped massively.

By this point he was also on ranitidine for silent reflux.

At a GP appointment to have him reviewed the doctor suggested my baby may have an allergy to dairy as he also suffered from eczema on his face and his weight gain was quite slow. He advised I remove all dairy from my diet and to see how things go.

I have been dairy free for 3 weeks now and things did improve but over the last week or so breast feeding him has become nothing but a source of worry, stress and tears. He screams all the time, he doesn't want to breast feed, he has diarrhoea every day, he doesn't enjoy it and he's still reacting to something in my milk but I don't know what. It kills me seeing him in so much pain. Last night he was screaming for over an hour and I just sat there in tears.

I know breast milk is best but this can't be best for him. It's not for me either, I worry every day, I cry every day, I practically starve myself because I'm too scared to eat anything in case he reacts to it and I'm just exhausted.

Last night, amongst the screaming and my tears I said to my husband that I just couldn't cope anymore and this situation isn't fair to anyone and I think we should put him on a specialised formula which a doctor had previously suggested.

I'm absolutely beside myself with it all. I cry when I see him in pain because I know it's my fault and I cry at the thought of putting him on formula because I feel like I'm letting him down.

I belong to an online support group for allergies and these women are dairy free, soy free, egg free, gluten free, wheat free, fish free, banana free, nut free and a whole host of other foods and I just couldn't cope with that but then I feel selfish because I'm putting my needs and feelings above giving my baby breast milk.

I'm just so worn down by it and I feel like such a failure.

I know I need to ring the GP today to sort out getting the formula but I know I'm just going to cry down the phone.

I'm part of another Facebook group who have been so, so supportive and are reassuring me I'm doing the right thing and I know they're right because I just can't take it anymore. The last 4 months of feeding him just haven't been enjoyable at all but I feel like I'm a bad mom because I'm stopping trying.

Has anyone else been in this situation? It's killing me sad

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 12-Dec-17 10:32:48

Goodness me, yes you are being unreasonable to yourself! Please don't give yourself a hard time for switching to the prescription formula, it sounds like you're at the end of your tether. flowers

Your baby has had 4 months of breastfeeding which is much longer than most babies, the majority of whom are on some or full formula by 4 months. Putting your baby onto formula isn't letting him down at all, it's providing a suitable food for him.

You might also find that once he's having formula it's easier to manage the exclusion diet and you could continue doing one or two breastfeeds alongside the formula, if you feel like that's manageable.

PetraDelphiki Tue 12-Dec-17 10:32:52

Until you got to the allergy you could have been describing me and dd. You lasted way longer than I did - I started formula at 7 days and it was a major transformation. You’ve done the most important part (First 6 weeks)...you need to give yourself a break from the pressure and stress and allow yourself to enjoy being his mother.

Formula is fine (especially at 16 weeks)...and probably a lot better got both your health than you giving up all allergens. My best friend had 7 months of what you describe before her dd was diagnosed with allergies - every bf session was a 2 hour nightmare of screaming baby...

It’s ok to look after yourself...

Scruffette Tue 12-Dec-17 10:33:29

Give yourself a break! Breast is only best when it works for mother and baby. And it's not working for you. Don't feel a failure (there'll be plenty more mothering opportunities for that grin). I had a perfect experience with baby #1 but had a friend who was militant and vociferous about breastfeeding which made me reluctant to ever talk about it with anyone. With baby #2 he was just not interested and was difficult to feed. I had no qualms about stopping. It wasn't working for us and I was damned if anyone else was going to tell me how to cope with something that was not working for us when there is so much else to be dealing with. Your needs are as important as your babys. Happy mum is more important than the baby being breastfed. Well done for doing your utmost, now do your best for yourself too and give up if that's what you need.

tautou Tue 12-Dec-17 10:33:59

Hi,
This is my first ever post on here but I felt so compelled to write to you. It sounds like you are really emotional at the moment and have been through a lot already so you should be really proud of yourself. I can't really give you any advice on he allergy side of things - other than once you have found the culprit it does get so much better and it totally worth it.
I cut out dairy and combination fed for a while...just to take the stress off and clear your head. It's not something that I really hear spoken about but it is an option - as long as you continue to regularly pump, I didn't have a problem - but I'm not an expert! There are loads of people on here that are really knowledgable and I'm sure you will find some support!

RosesInTheHospital Tue 12-Dec-17 10:36:02

Holy fuck.

You’re frigging amazing for getting so far and going though so so much.

You are so far away from unreasonable to want to switch to formula. Itsproviding a suitable source of food for your DS.

Fucking hell. I just wanna scoop you up and feed you chocolate x

Pengggwn Tue 12-Dec-17 10:36:12

It isn't worth beating yourself up AT ALL. You have breastfed for nearly 4 months! It is making you miserable and - it sounds like - it isn't helping your baby because he is in pain. Whatever marginal benefit is conferred by breast milk isn't worth you both suffering like this. Stop it and enjoy your baby.

yorkshapudding Tue 12-Dec-17 10:36:49

I spent the first few months of my daughter's life berating myself about breastfeeding not having worked out for us. It was all I could think about.

She's now 4 years old and I could kick myself for wasting those precious months because she's happy, very healthy, met all her milestones early or bang on time and we have a lovely bond.

You don't need to punish yourself. Enjoy your baby. They grow up so quick.

dontquotemeondailymail Tue 12-Dec-17 10:39:59

Gosh yes, you are being very hard on yourself.

Your mental health and well being is critical for your baby - so if such problematic breastfeeding is causing you such anxiety and stress, move to formula and you can relax into enjoying your baby.

You're not giving up, you're not failing, you're simply doing what's best for you and your family.

dontquotemeondailymail Tue 12-Dec-17 10:41:21

And a big yes yes to what Roses said -

*You’re frigging amazing for getting so far and going though so so mu*ch

MotherCupboard Tue 12-Dec-17 10:42:49

Your mental health is so much more important than any tiny, intangible benefit that your baby might get from breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a two-way relationship and it doesn't look like it's working for either of you at the moment. It's difficult because the NHS does nothing but push the breast is best message and if you're in a group with lots of other people cutting everything out of their diet then it's going to make you feel like you failed if you're not able to make those sacrifices yourself. Please please please do not put yourself through this anymore. Formula is absolutely fine and has saved many babies lives. you deserve to enjoy your baby's early days, not dreading every feed. Breastfeeding is such a tiny part of raising a child in the grand scheme of things. But it's easy to get fixated on because everyone talks about it so much.

It's perfectly possible to use bottle feeding as a bonding opportunity, for example I made sure that only I and my husband fed ours when they were tiny so that they would associate food with us. Once we felt comfortable then we let other people start feeding them as well. While you're in the midst of all the hormones and tiredness it will seem like a much bigger issue than it is but when you've come out of the other side you'll realise that by formula feeding your baby you have actually done what was best for him and for you because it means that you will be able to start enjoying him. If you want to try formula then do so without guilt as there is nothing to feel guilty about, its just another way of feeding your baby and meeting his needs. You haven't failed in any way. In fact you've given your baby 16 weeks of breast milk and that is great but there's really no reason on earth to keep putting yourself through this.

SleepyHeadThisTime Tue 12-Dec-17 10:43:25

Wow it sounds like it's been a long hard slog so far and you've done everything you can. Breast is only best when it's working for both of you, and at the moment it sounds like it's not.

If you're stopping breastfeeding it's best to do so gradually if you can anyway to avoid mastitis. ( i.e. Dropping a feed every few days so you don't become too engorged) If you get to the point where you've dropped enough feeds that he's happier and you're happier you could always combination feed. ( I combination fed my first and it's actually great - it's means you can share the load with someone else) However even if you don't, you've breastfed for four months which is a huge achievement in itself.

Please don't continue to beat yourself up about the choices you make. It sounds like you have your baby's best interests at heart flowers

Blahblahblahzeeblah Tue 12-Dec-17 10:44:32

A happy mum is much more beneficial to your baby. You've done amazingly. Your baby will be absolutely fine on formula. I felt bad for months for stopping breast feeding and I regret that self criticism now. It stopped me enjoying my baby. Don't do that to yourself.

MotherCupboard Tue 12-Dec-17 10:46:00

And yes I have been exactly where you are beating myself up about not feeling able to continue with breastfeeding but I was on my way to a breakdown with it all so formula was the best option.

Itsjustaphase84 Tue 12-Dec-17 10:47:21

Do not beat yourself up about it. i felt guilty for months after stopping bf but a healthy mum is just as important as a healthy baby. bf made me very ill but i was hugely relieved i stopped when i did despite the odd guilty feeling. well done.

mistermagpie Tue 12-Dec-17 10:50:03

Please don't be so hard on yourself, yes breastfeeding is important but it's not this important. You sound miserable and you have tried so hard, way harder than a lot of people (myself included), it's ok to stop.

SandSnakeofDorne Tue 12-Dec-17 10:50:52

You’re being really hard on yourself. Probably because you’re absolutely exhausted. It’s fine to give up, if your DS isn’t thriving it is may even be better to give up. I think I’d talk to the dr again and see how likely it is that the allergenic formula will help. If it was me I’d be tempted to express a few times a day to keep supply up, just in case he doesn’t improve with formula and you want to go back to feeding him.

This stage will pass, you’re really in the hard part here.

PersianCatLady Tue 12-Dec-17 10:51:10

Posts like this make me sad that people genuinely believe that BF is so important that it is worth all of this upset and suffering.

Formula milks today are so close to breast milk compared with the watered down condensed milk that babies like my Mum had.

mindutopia Tue 12-Dec-17 10:51:24

Be gentle with yourself. My experience with my dd was similar to yours, minus the allergies. We had none of those. But she did have a lot of latch issues (just couldn't latch and stay on easily and was on and off and had no sucking reflex, I think I saw every bf counselor in the county and they were all at a loss for what to suggest to make it better!). When she was about 6 weeks old, I developed allergic dermatitis on my breasts (possibly allergic to lansinoh, we were never sure?). All the skin on my nipples and areolas peeled off. I literally looked like a burn survivor and my dd is school age now and I still have scars from it. It became impossible to latch her as there was just no skin left and everything was a bleeding, weeping mess. I tried to exclusively express hoping it would heal and I could get her back on the breast, but I couldn't sustain my supply. I was pumping 6 hours a day, fenugreek, oats, etc. but it all just dried up by 10 weeks.

It was awful and it felt like a death and I'd tried so hard. I felt so guilty and I couldn't imagine anything feeling worse than that. But you heal in time. I realise looking back now that I did the absolute best that I could under circumstances that were outside of my control. Breastmilk may be best, but I don't think breastfeeding is always best for every baby. My dd struggled so much with her weight, nearly classifed as failure to thrive as she just wasn't able to latch well enough to get enough milk no matter how constantly I was feeding her. Just in her physically, the difference between when I was bf and when I started to ff is astounding. She has colour, her eyes are bright, she's filled out and healthy looking. For her alone, it was the best decision and actually I wish I'd made it sooner in retrospect.

But for all of us, it really was the right thing. It was painful to let it go, but she's 5 now and I'm really happy with the choices we made. It really is okay and the only regret I have now is that I was so hard on myself. I did the best I could and that's all I could do. It sounds like you are too. So be gentle on yourself. Trust your instincts. It's okay to let it go.

PricklyBall Tue 12-Dec-17 10:52:11

flowers OP. I have been there (you've done better than I did - I only managed 12 weeks).

It is not your fault. You have nothing to feel guilty about. You have done an amazing job.

And (although it feels like shit right now) it will pass. You have lovely fun milestones to look forward to - grabbing for toys, sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, the toddler years when they do something new every day, those wonky models brought home from pre-school, the first time they run over to comfort one of their friends who's fallen over, learning to read, forming friendships, writing stories, drawing pictures, climbing trees, playing football, painting a mug for you... One day you'll be able to look back on this and put it in proportion. When they are tiny, breast feeding feels like the biggest part of motherhood (I remember that phase so well), but it isn't, it's a tiny part of a huge picture, and you will do being a mother brilliantly.

dannydyerismydad Tue 12-Dec-17 10:56:31

It's absolutely fine to feel sad. You had plans and you're mourning the Breastfeeding relationship you wanted to have.

Part of being a Mum is accepting and supporting the choices that our children make, and sometimes those choices aren't the ones we would make for them.

It sounds like you've tried so, so hard. There is nothing wrong with your milk, but it sounds like your baby has some very specific needs. Only you can decide when you're ready to stop breastfeeding/introduce some formula, but be proud of all the efforts you've made so far. You're not giving up, you're changing path.

If you do decide to switch to a specialist formula, please also get support from a breastfeeding supporter or helpline to make a plan to gradually reduce your own milk production. It's important you don't get engorged or uncomfortable.

Huge hugs to you. You sound like a wonderful Mum having a very tough time.

RosyWelshcakes Tue 12-Dec-17 10:58:02

Op, you’re doing a fabulous job and you should definitely not feel guilty about giving up on breast feeding.

My little grand daughter was found to have a cows milk protein allergy. I believe it’s different to a dairy allergy. Perhaps you could have a read up on it and see what you think

flowers

trixymalixy Tue 12-Dec-17 10:59:04

My experience was identical to yours. I cut out dairy but replaced it with soya which DS turned out to be allergic to as well as nuts, eggs, chickpeas, sesame lentils.....

I was exhausted as he would feed then scream and stop but be hungry an hour later.

We tried hypoallergenic formula, but he wouldn't take it unfortunately as it's disgusting.

Please be kind to yourself, you have done so well to persevere for this long.

KalaLaka Tue 12-Dec-17 11:05:29

So sorry you're going through this. Are you ready to let it go? Have you had good, expert support so far to see what it could be? It would be great for you to have some good advice (not from Gp, they are not specialist enough) so you can enjoy a bit of bf after your massive struggle. Have you tried calling la leche league?

You should not feel bad about this at all. None of it would ever be your fault, purely a difficult situation you've been presented with!! If you do choose to switch to formula, do not feel bad!

MotherCupboard Tue 12-Dec-17 11:05:43

@PricklyBall

What a lovely post. That brought tears to my eyes. flowers

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