AIBU to avoid my breastfeeding friend?(38 Posts)
Just to clarify this is not a post about either way to feed but about my state of mind.
Went to uni with this friend and now live at opposite ends of the country. Not close friends, stay in touch via social media and mutual friends. Her family live in my town so we occasionally see each other and are due to meet Saturday.
We have babies of very similar ages (both number 2). I failed to breastfeed again and it broke my heart again. We’re due to meet on Saturday. My MH is fragile atm and I’m starting to feel anxious at the thought of feeding my baby in front of her. In fact I feel sick at the thought. She’s lovely and I know she wouldn’t judge. Or if she did a little she certainly wouldn't show it. This is all about my own fragile state and avoiding a situation that would make me feel shit. I also have a hard to manage toddler that makes me feel like a shit parent most days.
AIBU to make an excuse and not go as it could set me off. Or should I just brave it out and go see this lovely person?
It would be a shame to not see your friend. Can you talk to her about it?
This person is your friend and like you said she won’t judge you nor does she have any right to judge you. I understand you are upset about not being able to breastfeed but I can guarantee you are an amazing mummy. Babies are best fed, which you are doing. Don’t let this get you down, I promise you your friend will also have mummy struggles. See your friend it will probably do you good to catch up and enjoy her company. Xx
No you wouldn’t be unreasonable to make an excuse if you think your MH might be effected. But you shouldn’t feel that way just because feeding your child milk from a bottle is the best thing for your baby. You haven’t failed anything.
I don’t really feel like I could talk to her on that level. We’re not that close.
I know I should t feel shame or embarrassment, but I do. I live in a middle class area where all the mums I’ve met breastfed. They all found it so easy where as I was on the verge of full blown PND battling on with my first before I stopped. But then went on to get anxiety. Every time I see someone breast feeding I feel the guilt all over again. It’s ridiculous, I know. Especially as I have such a happy little baby boy. Always smiling. Like I said in my op it’s a reflection of my state of mind. I’m scared my anxiety is coming back and I feel low a lot. I just want to bury my head in the sand!
I have in this scenario but looking back I wish I had just opened up. I had lovely friends who would have made me feel better.
So, no judgment if you do cancel but maybe try telling her how you feel?
I know exactly how you feel. I was desperate to BF and I couldn't. I became very paranoid about being judged by other mums. For example, my DD and I attended baby yoga classes when she was a newborn and I was so worried that she would need feeding whilst we were there and I'd have to get a bottle out, that I stopped going after 6 weeks.
It's only now, nearly 2 years later that I can see it really didn't matter how my daughter was fed, just that she was fed.
Please don't see this as a failure on your part, it really isn't. X
YANBU. If it’s affecting you to the point you are feeling sick, it’s not worth it.
Just to reiterate- you might be feeling like rubbish about it right now, but she is NO BETTER than you, just because she’s breastfeeding.
She might look at you and think, ‘how is she looking so good with a new baby and a toddler, and I’m not?’ Or ‘how has she afforded that lovely changing bag, etc, and all I have is this free Boots one?’
Or maybe even, ‘I wish I had the flexibility that comes with bottle feeding right now. I haven’t slept in weeks, my nipples are bleeding and I just wish my partner could do a night feed. She’s so lucky.’
Hey- she might even turn up and be bottle feeding.
You are a lot better of a mum than you believe, op
I think you should meet her and try to relax and enjoy it.
Fwiw, I'm bfing twins and bloody wish they would accept a bottle!
My mum didn’t bf me. She did my two older siblings and really hated it, so when I came along she bottle fed me. I’m glad she did whatworked for her and love her very much.
Go. Meet your friend, feed your babies and be happy. Teach your children to be kind to themselves and others and how to be brave.
I’m sorry you are finding it hard.
If you feel like your mental health is taking a downturn i would be wary of any impulse to avoid things that you would normally enjoy eg meeting up with an old friend. Easier said than done i know but this may be depression or anxiety talking - don’t let it rule your life like this and stop you doing nice things. Or if you really really cannot face it, treat this as a symptom you need to go to the doctor’s about. Don’t isolate yourself from friends, don’t dwell on bad things you’re telling yourself they think about you - i guarantee you that they are not thinking those things. Be kind to yourself but be aware that this impulse hasn’t come from a good place.
@readysetcake can you get some counselling for your mental health issues. I have had stacks of counselling, some free on the NHS (only a but actually but it is possible). Is it a case you may be suffering from a bit of post natal depression?
I think the meeting with your friend is beside the by, cancel if you want to, and see her in a few months etc. But please get some long term help for any issues you are feeling now.
If I am ever lucky enough to have a number 2 then I intend to repeat the mantra “a fed baby is a happy baby”. Your baby is fed thats all the matters.
Women fail to breast feed and the world juges. Women choose to formula feed the world judges. Women breast feed and the world still judges. Your baby is fed thats all that matters.
Go meet your friend. Open up. Don’t open up. Be kind to yourself.
Send her a nice message explaining that you are very sorry but you have things going on that you'll explain later.
Enjoy her company and try to put it to the back of your mind - breastfeeding has to work for you otherwise you resent it. Keep reminding yourself that if you can say 'everyone fed; nobody dead' at the end of the day, the day has been OK. With a difficult toddler it's easy to pick fault with yourself for 101 things.
You won't see how hard breastfeeding is, because breastfeeders are holed up for the early weeks and for FTMs, crying (like me), telling myself I've failed or something's wrong and taking every feeding or slower growth to heart like it's all my fault. You won't see that, you will see someone doing what you had hoped for but I can tell you, the grass always looks greener... It's not easy, you just won't have seen how isolating it was before it got a tad easier.
Enjoy your time, maybe if you discussed breastfeeding, she'd tell you the truth because I don't think women are honest enough about these things without really asking them.
Perhaps you could speak to your GP about how you feel too.
Only you can make that decision. I think you're going to beat yourself up about not going if you cancel. You might as well go, if you can manage it, and open yourself up to the possibility of a lovely day with lovely friend that really raises your mood.
I remember very fondly the time I spent with a mum friend when we had our 2nd babies a week apart. She was my absolutely lifeline.
PPs are right, she'll probably be looking at you wondering how on earth you're managing so well with your two, or admiring how chilled/ happy /adorable your baby is.
@readysetcake I have had a very varied fertility journey. In that it took me a few years to get pregnant with number one and the second pregnancy never came (although my utterly adorable, adopted son is asleep upstairs).
During the attempting pregnancy times I found it very hard to be around pregnant women. I think sometime we do need to take ourselves out of situations we find very hard.
I even told one lovely pregnant friend how I felt and she was upset! My honestly was wasted. She could only see it from her side!
I dropped talk of it, didn't see her until I was also pregnant and we are still fab friends. But sometimes you need to put yourself first.
If you both have babies of the same age and she's a lovely person, I say you take the opportunity to become closer, 'fess up as to your insecurities and gratefully take the support she will give you. It sounds like you could do with a lovely friend IRL right now, and here's one waiting for you. You never know - there may be other aspects of motherhood that she is struggling with. You could help each other.
I'm changing the slogan. No longer is it allowed to be 'Breast is Best' - instead it should be 'Breast is Best, Unless...'.
The longer, less catchy version is Breast is Best Unless Babies are Hungry or Woman are in Agony.
Maybe then women will understand that breast feeding is optimum, but not feel so much awful pressure and sadness for circumstances preventing breast feeding, which they cannot help.
@MirriVan I quite like Breast is the Best Food Source for Babies and Probably a Good Option if Milk is in Plentiful Supply, Baby Latches on OK, Isn't Too Painful and the Mother's Mental Health Doesn't Suffer.
Bit wordy for a poster though.
You should meet your friend OP. You aren't doing anything wrong and I'm sure she will make you feel better by discussing how breastfed babies are just as demanding as formula fed babies.
I’m sorry you’re struggling. FWIW, I felt similar guilt for not bf my twins, and get the occasional guilt spell now, like I’ve failed them. Please do go see your friend, be brave - when I have the same anxieties about meeting friends for various reasons I generally feel better for going!
Fed is best. As a pp said, (I’m a particular fan of) everybody fed, nobody dead - this has got me through some truly awful days!
I don’t know if this will help, but just in case it does, I’ve got two big strapping teenagers and no one ever asks if they were breastfed. And even we had a conversation about it, I doubt if people would care one way or the other. The breastfeeding or childbirth debates rage on when your children are young and you’re surrounded by people going through the same stage as you. But really later on, no one really bothers about it.
It sounds like you’re being a great mum to your children. There are cons as well as pros to breastfeeding. It takes forever and you tend to sleep less as they need feeding more often. Although I did breastfeed, I’m not sure if I would again because my mental health suffered from not sleeping, not being able to leave my firstborn as he wouldn’t take a bottle once breastfeeding was established, and having so little time to do anything but feed them as it takes so long!
Whether or not you decide to see your friend, please try not to feel bad about something that’s not your fault and won’t harm your baby at all.
I think meeting with your friend will actually be VERY helpful in confronting your anxiety. Your friend is not going to judge you! Anxiety lets us build up imaginary scenarios in our mind that become monstrous and it prevents us from living a normal life. I firmly believe you'll be glad you went to meet your friend.
Thank you all for your lovely comments. I know you’re right and fed is best. I would be writing to say the same and that there is no need to feel guilt or shame, and to brave it out and go meet her if I was responding to someone else. But I just can’t seem to get myself into that frame of mind. My default is to hide away when I feel like this which makes it worse. Feel like I’m on the road to a dark place.
I tried to get councilling after my first was born @italiangreyhound but it’s a telephone service where I live and they messed me around and seemed disingenuous and six months down the line I still hadn’t had any councillcing. It made me feel worse. So I’m hesitant to try that again. I guess the other option is medication. I’d feel like a massive failure (again!).
Im just so worried My low mood is going to fuck my kids up. I’m petrified that I’m going to damage them for life and they will turn out like me. I’m struggling to be a calm happy parent at the moment when I need to be the most for my beautiful but difficult eldest. She needs calm consistency and I’m all over the place. I’m sure I make her tantrum behaviour worse.
anyway I’m rambling. I don’t really have anyone in RL I feel I can talk openly about this with. We only moved here three years ago when pregnant with my first so friendships aren’t that deep yet. Plus, everyone with young kids has their own shit to deal with, without being a crutch for me as well. So your support here is really very much appreciated.
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