to not tell my friend that it's okay to stop breastfeeding?(75 Posts)
My friend has ten week old twins and is on her knees. She is so exhausted that she has stopped driving in case she crashes the car.
She is giving very loud hints that she would like to give up breast feeding so that her DP and other friends and family can share the load. Getting up six times a night to feed is beyond a joke.
Everyone is saying she shouldn't give up and that she's been a 'marvel' etc but as I have been there and worn this tee shirt she is really looking to me for advice.
As a mother of twins myself I totally feel for her and I gave up breast feeding for precisely the same reason but I'm really nervous to say so as giving up is so final. Also my twins have allergies and I often wonder if I'd just gone on longer...aaahhh.
I don't want to project my own regrets onto her but nor do I want to make her feel 'forced' to carry on.
What does anyone else think?
I don't think YABU. Why don't you explain to her how you feel about it and so you can't really tell her to stop but at the same time (and other people will probably be able to help much more here) it is likely to get easier pretty soon as they feed quicker etc and getting someone else to give the occasional bottle of either EBM or formula overnight will give her a bit of a break.
Maybe a middle ground is to let her talk without giving her any advice?
ie 'I'm so tired I'd like to give up breastfeeding'
'gosh yes, you sound really exhausted'
I am but I like breastfeeding' or 'I am and I hate breastfeeding'
'That's really tough'
or 'Poor you. What do you want to do?'
Like most of us, I can be guilty of 'giving advice' when maybe I just like the sound of my own voice! (not saying that's what you are doing all all, honestly, but I think advising can be seductive, which is probably why I'm doing it here rather than getting on with my work! )
she has to make her own decision doesnt she though?
i think you're doing the right thign in staying schtum, does she know when/why you gave up?
All you can do is support her with her decision, whatever that is. There is sooo much pressure to bfeed/not to bfeed, I think Mums can lose their way and worry about being judged whatever they choose. She's got to be happy.
Just tell her you will support her whatever she decides and not to feel bad about any decision she makes. Try to remain impartial and supportive and be there 100% if she wants to give up.
Could she mix feed? to help the load. Yes i know that ultimately it will have a knock on effect on her milk supply but i always think a happy mum = happy babies, also i wouldn't be surprised if her being so tired isn't already affecting her milk supply.
To breast feed for ANY length of time, be it one feed or feeding for one year plus has benefits for baby and mum.
Any i wouldn't say you 'gave up' Litchick, the fact is you made a decision to stop. Breastfeeding is not easy, regardless what they say. IMVHO
Maybe you could just support her to think it through herself. You would be able to advise her about what you see as the pros and cons of carrying on or stopping, and if you do that in a nuetral way, then that will allow her to make her own choice.
Your experience might mean that you have some advice that would make breastfeeding twins easier for her.
Is she getting enough support? I would think that if she was breastfeeding twins then that should be all she is doing, with husband doing everything else, feeding isnt the only way of sharing the load.
i would tell her that she doesnt need any ones permission to give up.
she sounds shattered.
ultimately it is and should be her choice i dont think you shpuld advise just be there to listen and let her talk it through and make her own decision. im sure that she is aware its final but it does sound like she is putting in a lot of thought and is really struggling at the moment.
I had a lot of problems bf ds1 and after a couple of weeks I gave up for a week. I then continued bf but my milk supply was never good so I had to mix feed. I put myself on a big huge guilt trip (as I am very pro bf) which did not help my pnd. I wasnt in a good place which resulted in me not enjoying or bonding with him till he was over 1. The guilt can do so much damage ime. I think you should let her know that no one will judge her whatever she decides, she has given it a good shot. If she carries on longer that good but if she gives it up thats ok. Although I am pro bf and agree breast is best, happiness of mum and babies is also important. I wouldnt give your opinion as she needs to make the decision herself. Just support and help her not to feel guilty if she does
cheesesarnie - you're right of course but I think you feel such a lot of pressure to bf that stopping is a huge decision for any Mum no?
I remember being so grateful when my DH gave me 'permission' by just saying 'for god's sake, woman, you don't have to be superhuman.' I new that, it was just so nice to hear it from someone else.
And I think my friend would like to hear it from me as someone who's been there.
I would tell her that you gave up for exactly her reasons, but tell her like you've told us, why you sometimes later on wonder if its the right decision.
I say WELL DONE to anyone who bf's twins for any length of time at all, she is doing brilliantly and should be told that as well.
She doesn't have to 'give up'. When it gets to where a mum is debating whether to 'give up' or not, then surely mix feeding is a much better alternative?
ven just one tiny ff feed a day or her partner to give the babies one ff in the night, and that enables her to continue mostly bfing then the twins will still get the benefits of bf. If she starts to hate doing it, is shattered etc, she may well stop completely.
Orangehead you're right.
I felt very guilty - still do when they wheeze and scratch.
Everyone else is being very supportive of her continuing which is making her feel more guilty I'm sure - though they'd probably be devestated if they knew that.
what cheesesarnie said
or, how about complete honesty?
She has my total admiration for what she has managed so far. I gave up bf ds2 when he was 6 weeks old as I had ds1 aged 20 months to care for too and just found that I couldn't do both. I would have lost it if I had to continue which wouldn't have done anyone any favours. WHile I have moments of feeling wistful as I loved bf ds1 I also know that for me it was the only decision and I don't regret it.
Guilt is so much less the second time roudn though and from your post I'm presuming the twins are her first?
I agree with whoever said that you should be totally honest as to why you gave up and also why you now wonder if it was right. And to tell her that she has your support no matter what she chooses to do and that the twins are very lucky to have such a dedicated caring mummy. FWIW when I was trying to decide if I should stop bf ds2 I actually found it really stressful to be told that I could give up. What I wanted was to be supported to carry on bf and my mum (who was sincerely doing what she thought was best) really upset me by telling me I could stop if I needed as it wasn't the end of the world. I know she was right but irrationally it stressed me out. So maybe if you are just open and honest with her about your experience without trying to advise that would be best.
support her to arrive at her decision.your support as a twin mum will be invaluable.
whatever she decides do support her
fact that you can offer experiential insight will be a support
you are very considerate to be worried for her
Could she co-sleep with the twins, to make it easier than getting up 6+ times in the night to feed, which sounds extremely draining (to say the least! )
I think she's done an amazing job, but she doesn't need anyone's permission to stop bf-ing, or to continue.
it sounds like she is just carrying on BFing because of everyone else's expectations of her to just carry on with it. which i think is not right. she should really have a good few days to mull it over as to whether she wants to carry on doing this. have no experience of twins, but know that BFing one baby during the night is exhausting enough so I can't even begin to imagine what feeding two must be like!!
I have great admiration of your friend to have coped this far BFing her twins, and if she wishes to bottle feed then she shouldn't feel guilty about it. Family can sometimes put so much pressure on new mums, it's so unfair.
Help her do whatever it is she wants to do.
If she wants to give up, tell her it's ok to do so. She shouldn't need permission, but she might, particularly if 'everyone' is telling her not to. That's an awful lot of pressure and guilt piling on and someone else saying it's ok might be what she needs.
If she wants to continue, support and encourage her to do that as well.
I bet she is exhausted, but she has done fabulously.
Apparantly I was helpful when I told my friend (who honestly could not have tried harder, or anything else to bf) that she was offering her dd formula and not poison.
It is a fine line to tread though - I do feel most mums want 'permission' or a good reason to stop bf.
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