To give up(36 Posts)
Breastfeeding.. Had my DD two weeks ago and I'm struggling really bad with breastfeeding. It's like no matter how long she feeds for or how often, she's never satisfied and it's got to the point where I'm feeding her for an hour, having a half an hour break whilst she naps and then she wakes and wants to be fed again for another hour and then in the end I give in and give her a bottle of formula which she will guzzle down and then fall straight to sleep for hours. Giving her a bottle of formula is the only thing that seems to work.. My nipples are so sore from feeding her constantly and I dread her waking up for another feed because it feels so pointless when I've just fed her already for ages! I feel like I'm not producing enough milk. I'm not having to use breast pads because I've not once leaked.. the breast pump only gets about half an oz out of each boob after pumping for nearly an hour.. is this normal? Should it really be this difficult? I just feel like I've not heard of anyone else struggling this hard after 2 weeks..
Not everyone can produce enough milk. Has she been gaining weight? Does she seem hungry and unsatisfied after feeds? It’s more important to ensure that she eats enough that to ensure that it’s only breast milk. You can combination feed or just switch to formula altogether. Do what works for you. There is nothing wrong with either or both.
You'd have gone further than some, myself included. The BF lifestyle isn't for me, and I did try.
Have you reached out to a HV or BF support?
I woruld seek support, Do you have any breastfeeding supportgroups/cafes in your area. (ask your HV, or childrens centre)
Is there any peersupporters or mother supporters, (ask HV or perhaps look up national child birth trust or association of bf mothers.) Set your self short term goals. I will do one more wk. then 2 more then a moth. It can take up to 6 wks to get things established. Be kind to your self, Drink lots. Cluster feed Kelly mum and assocition of breast feeding mothers are good online resources.
She lost a lot of weight when she had her first weight check after we left hospital and the midwife suggested giving formula if I felt she hadn't had enough milk from me and she slowly started to gain weight. The midwifes then came and checked her weight pretty much every day to check she was gaining weight and she's now over her original birth weight but it makes me wonder if that's down to the formula rather than me.. The whole reason I wanted to BF is because I didn't want to have to buy formula when I can just BF but I'm having to do both anyway. I've been offering her my breast every time I feel she's hungry and she will happily feed for ages but when I give her the bottle after she seems hungry still after hours of feeding it's like she's not been fed all day and can't drink the bottle quick enough..
Sounds like cluster feeding which is totally normal and how your milk supply is established. Although of course it is bloody exhausting.
How much you get by pumping and lack of leaking gives no indication of supply. Have you got any breastfeeding support groups local to you? There will be lots of women in a similar position to you, the early days can be awfully difficult for some.
If you don't wish to continue breastfeeding that is totally your choice, you also have the option of combi feeding too if you wished. Just do whatever you feel is best for you and your baby
if it is not working for you & your baby, there is nothing wrong with using formula. make sure you know how to make the formula properly and baby will be fine. don't feel guilty.
Who says you have to breast feed? Baby is wolfing down a bottle then sleeping for hours, why put yourself through the torture of non stop feeding. Give yourself permission to make the right decision for your physical and mental well being.
Whilst in the hospital I had every midwife help me with the BF because I wanted to ensure I was doing it right and because I felt she wasn't latching properly, I had a lot of support from the HV the other day aswell and she said I was doing really well and said to stop with the formula because she felt she didn't need it. I tried the whole day not giving DD formula and breast fed literally all day and my DD was grumpy all day and wouldn't sleep, it was exhausting!
Also milk flows a lot easier from a bottle, it's harder work to get it from the breast, so it's not unusual for a baby to guzzle from a bottle. Pace feeding can help prevent baby from guzzling milk from the bottle
Most people will find the early weeks 'this difficult', because most of us know very little about breastfeeding before we do it.
The baby wants 24 hour access to the breast and will suckle briefly every 20 minutes or so. Breastmilk isn't a meal like the meals you have, it's not designed to 'satisfy' her so that you can put her down for a while.
She is absolutely tiny and wants and needs constant contact with you. Getting your head around this is half the battle.
Put the pump away, put the baby to the breast, rest.
Soreness isn't from frequent feeds, it's from incorrect latch. Raise the baby higher, put cushions under her to support your arm, sit with your back straight. She should be able to reach the nipple without pulling. The soreness disappears like magic.
It took my first baby 8 weeks to get it, and even then she could only work the right side. It was another 2 weeks before she got the other side. I get your pain - I was trying to bf, then cup feeding, then expressing, then getting about 40 mins off before starting it all again.
I’d read that there are actually very few women that medically cannot breast feed. It is possible that you are one that cannot, but statistically I’d rule out other technique related factors IF you are keen to breast feed.
Get her latch checked and double check for tongue ties first of all. Can she latch - I have quite big boobs and it took me weeks to work out I needed to hold the baby in one arm and use my opposite hand to hold my breast in place, rather than trying to move the baby. There are loads of positions to try - lying down is also sometimes better.
Assuming all is well there, look at stimulating production.
Milk production is based on supply and demand. Your baby is sucking to get your supply up and running - if you give up and give a bottle then she will not be stimulating you enough so supply reduces, so you give another bottle and the cycle continues. You need to let her keep cluster feeding I’m afraid. It is painful at first, but not forever. Keep using the nipple cream to sooth. After a few weeks you won’t feel it at all.
There are foods to increase milk production - oats etc... Try google for these and other tips. Also, it’s so important to keep hydrated.
Being in the right frame of mind helps too. Milk release is affected by hormones do you need to try to relax, thing if your baby and / or listen to baby sounds, crying etc....
Sit on the sofa with a drink, hob nobs, the tv remote and a book - relax as much as possible, get comfy and just let her latch as and when she wants.
BF is a skill which can be hard, but to mention painful, to master. No one seems to tell you this, which is why I think so many get disheartened and give up. But, if you persevere and crack it, I personally found it so much easier for so many reasons (cost, convenience, lack of constant sterilising - brought of that with 8 weeks of cleaning pump bits). Both of you need to learn and you DD will get better as she works it out and with practice.
Pumping is strange IME. Oddly enough, with my second she “got it” immediately but I’ve been unable to pump much at all. She’s getting enough from source though (10 lbs plus at birth and gained weight fine). With my first I pumped gallons (same brand of pump and everything). Doesn’t make logical sense.
If you are keen to BF I hope the above helps. However, if it’s too stressful, painful or difficult, or you just don’t want to continue then don’t. It was the worst bit out of everything for me (including drug free birth and stitches) but I loved it once the initial learning period was over. But I never bottle fed so I have nothing to compare it to.
The best advice I ever got was that it’s not worth getting upset over. Try if you want to and if it doesn’t work out, just bottle feed. Baby’s react to their mummy’s stress do they’d rather you were happy, even if it means a bottle. There are millions of bottle fed babies out there and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
That was quite long, but I hope it helps. Good luck.
If any help, I used to breast fed during the day and then last feed before bed, was formula.
I don't know of many people who didn't struggle to breastfeed, certainly in the first few weeks so you're not alone! I struggled through the first 4 months, cracked nipples, not producing enough milk, baby up every hour, knackered, nothing else would comfort her etc etc. BUT (i felt) it was worth it. I then had the rest of the year I breastfed not having to faff with formula ever, saved money and saved having to get out of bed in cold night to prep bottles, being able to comfort baby instantly and feed her to sleep when she needed it, latch her on for comfort after vaccinations etc.
Everyone produces differently re: milk, took few weeks for my supply to come in properly and best way to increase it is to feed or pump as often as you can in first few weeks. If you sub in formula bottles your supply won't increase and may even drop as your body responds to demand. You can pump using nipple shields btw, and feed obviously if you're really struggling they help but make sure you get a good fit.
I will say no-one puts more pressure on you than you do yourself to keep up breastfeeding so whether you breastfeed, formula feed or combi-feed you're doing fab and do whatever works for you and bub. You're not giving up, you're adapting to what works for you. Little babies aren't supposed to sleep through, they're meant to wake frequently, and it is exhausting - remember it so well, sending hugs and naps xx
Ps - The la leche league book was helpful, even if the name makes me east to vom - the womanly art of breast feeding (indeed).
I e been there OP. It’s totally exhausting. I gave up at six weeks and switched to formula. My baby slept through the night from that point.
Looking back, the only explanation I can find is I don’t think I was eating enough. I had also had a really traumatic delivery. I tried everything but had to give up . Don’t feel a failure if you switch to formula. I would say try and eat really well, get plenty of rest and try to relax as much as you can.
You must do whatever you feel is best for your baby and for you.
If BF is not benefiting your baby and working for you both, look at alternatives.
Are you being looked after? Is your partner around or back to work?
Are you eating/drinking/resting enough?
Breastfeeding isn't for everyone, but two weeks is a very short time to get it established and formula will get in the way of that.
If you want to persevere then you need better support and advice. See if there is a bf counsellor near you.
And if you want to switch to formula then that's ok too.
Some great advice there from @PlasticPatty and @Stephminx
It does take time OP but when it clicks into place it's great.
I think what's making me think I should have got it by now is that up until this point all of my family/friends had been telling me that as long as I get to day 10 I'll be fine and that it takes around 10 days to get the hang of it and for it to stop hurting but I've felt like it's getting worse and that's made me feel as though it's not for me. I'm going to keep trying to persist with it and I'll only stop if it gets to the point where i physically can't do it anymore. Thank you everyone for your advice, it's really helped me realise I'm not alone and that this is completely normal. I think if I hadn't read your replies tonight I would 100% said to my DP tonight that I'm giving up with it..
I feel like I could've written this myself!
I had the same situation with my DS. At 3 weeks I switched full time to formula (he was mixed fed because I just kept running out and he was permanently hungry and unhappy).
It was the best thing I could've done for both of us; I wasn't exhausted, he was more content, he was putting on more weight but my gosh, the mum guilt for not persevering with it still doesn't go away!
Follow your mum instincts, try not to feel guilty regardless of what you opt for.
Have you had your baby checked for tongue tie
That can cause incorrect latch and a lot of pain
You are doing great btw and I agree with everything @PlasticPatty writes
Rugby ball, dlipple and lying down to feed
Also drink water water water
Eat well. Rest when you can
The first few weeks can be tough but it does improve and then so easy thereon in.
Pumping milk and feeding a bottle means you must overcompensate so a bottle feed means you have to pump again when they’ve had the bottle. Far easier just to feed if you can.
10 days? I was told it would stop being painful and horrible at 6 weeks. And it did.
I was SO tempted to give up before then, but I’m very glad I persevered. It’s not just healthiest, it’s also cheapest and most convenient, and I’m a bit of a lazy cheapskate
Many friends found a breast feeding support group (café round here) really useful.
Some friends had to supplement with formula early on but were later able to EBF.
I’d encourage you to get support and persevere... but if you choose not to, try not to beat yourself up. In the long-term, almost every other aspect of mothering is more important, and your baby will be fine either way.
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