Feeling trapped & down by breastfeeding(35 Posts)
Sorry for the long post...
My DD is almost 5 weeks old and generally until now BF has been going well. She is fed on demand. Until today I thought I only needed to BF until DD was 6 months, but just read article saying even when weaning starts you need keep BF until 1 year (or bottle feed... which seems pointless after 6months BF).
I know DD is v young still but it feels like all I do is BF. She doesn't sleep that much in the day and when not asleep the only thing that stops her crying is feeding her - even tho sometimes she's only just fed. The lack of time/personal space to do anything other than sit feeding DD is starting to get to me. Now knowing I've 11 months left isn't helping. I assumed the gaps in feed would soon get longer, but there seem to be lots posts here where 12 week olds+ still want BF really frequently.
How on earth do you get through this?
Somehow the regular waking at night, whilst tiring, doesn't bother me as much as at least there are gaps in between the feeds. It's the frustration of every time I try to do anything in the daytime that it seems DD starts crying and has to be fed that is getting me down - especially when I'm exhausted and really want a nap. Starting to feel trapped...
5 weeks is really young - will she nap with you if you take her to bed and feed lying down? Have you tried a dummy, maybe she really likes to suck?
The gaps do get bigger, especially after 6 months when they're having food. At 5 months ds fed 8 times a day, by 8 months it was 5, now at 10 months its only 3-4.
Get a sling - she will love the closeness and you can feed on the go
The first few weeks can seem utterly relentless and that all you do is feed
It does pass, but not right away. In a matter of weeks your DD will be going longer - right now she needs and wants to be close to you.
It can feel very hard, but it doenst last forever
In the interim, you have to mackinaw any chance to rest or sleep that you can - housework and cooking to a bare minimum etc
I was very much like you in the early days - you literally take it feed by feed and day by day. Before you know it, you've done another week
I would highly recommend hanging on in there - the first few weeks are hard, but soom your supply will be well established and you may see a pet tern emerging and leave her with someone else
Breatsfeding is a state of mind IMO and IME a - accept for the short term your job is to feed your baby
And breastfeeding isn't compulsory - you don't have to feed past 6 months, or even 6 weeks. I am still going and my DD is 19 months. If you would have told me this at 5 weeks I would have laughed out loud as the idea was so ridiculous!
It does get better, honest. My dd was exactly like this at 5 weeks, and for a few more weeks after that, but about 10 weeks was a real turning point for us (13 weeks now). She still feeds quite a lot, about every 2 hours during the day, but has got loads quicker at each feed and is normally done and dusted in 10 or 15 mins, so there are decent gaps between feeds now. She is happy playing under her baby gym for chunks of time now as well. Hang in there - it will only get better from here.
You're doing really well. And it does get easier, it really does.
Yes, some babies like to feed frequently for longer than others, but they're all different. Easier said than done, but try if you can not to think too far a head. It really is pointless and will mess with your head. In another month your dd will have lived her entire life over again - she'll have changed in ways you just can't imagine now. So much of what she does will be completely different. Honest.
I bf ds for 14 months and I honestly say, hand on heart, that after 4 months (for me, we had complex and unusual feeding problems) it was an absolute breeze. After 6 months when solids were introduced? A walk in the park compared to those early days. At 10 months? Didn't even think about it, it was so easy.
I ebf to 6 months and luckily found expressing pretty easy so would express bottles for someone else to give from time to time, but after 6 months I just left formula mostly if I was going out.
Newborns are so gorgeous and lovely, but they are Hard Work. The feeding really does get less of a grind as they get older and well, do more. Also, there are No Rules about how long you need to bf, if it makes it easier then one day at a time, hell I was one feed at a time for a good while.
Really wouldn't give a dummy to a child that young (or ever, personally, that's what the breast is for!), she is still establishing your supply. Plus if you start, you have to be consistent, as if they usually fall sleep with one and then you take it away the risk of SIDS increases.
It does get easier. There will still be periods later when she is ill/teething/growing faster etc when she will feed often or for longer, but in general it will spread out.
You could try feeding her in a sling (depending which one, she may not be able to stay latched this young, but as her head control improves she will get better). Then you would have at least one hand free to do stuff. Most people prefer a stretchy wrap for feeding, but you can also try a SSC or mei tai.
She isn't only feeding for nutrition, she wants comfort from you as well - she's just spent the last 9 months inside you, so of course she wants to be close! Look up the concepts of the 'fourth trimester' or 'exterogestation'.
Plenty of people also feed for a lot longer than a year (the WHO recommends as least 2 years) - read about 'natural term breastfeeding' - you may eventually find you enjoy it enough to continue till she's 3 or 4.
It does get easier as everyone said. Plus I think once you are established it feels like more hassle to get bottles, make up formula, sterilise everything etc. Even feeding more frequently I'm sure bf is more convenient. The stage of constant feeding really doesn't last forever.
I told myself I would keep going for at least three months and then, if it was still hard, stop. However once I got there I was happy to carry on.
DS is 7 months now and feeds about 5 times in 24 hours so it's very easy.
Sc2987 would you mind referencing the bit about an increase in SIDS in babies who once had a dummy? Cheers.
I don't know the reference either but have heard the same re dummies and SIDS.
Oh and op, I promise you it does get easier and is so worth it if you persevere. It's so hard when the baby is reliant on you but it's such a short time and in a few months you'll be grateful you can just whip a boob out rather than having to make up bottles.
Oh, I remember feeling like this at 5/6 weeks (it might be worse for you at the moment as she may be starting her 6 week growth spurt). It does get better, really, it does. They start feeding more efficiently and less frequently AND as you get used to having a baby, you feel better yourself and start getting out and about more.
Remember your body has just been through a MAJOR physical endurance test. It is extremely tiring being in labour and giving birth and it takes weeks to recover from that alone, never mind getting used to the new little, utterly dependent person you have with you. Having a newborn baby is relentless no matter how you feed, and at least with bf you don't need anything other than a couple of nappies in your handbag to get out. You won't ever be caught short in terms of food for your baby.
Thanks hugely for all your replies. I think i'm feeling particularly tired today which isn't helping me to stay calm & patient when DD starts crying to be fed again. I don't know if this is a factor, but I'm generally someone who is quite happy with just their own company - and am finding the intensity/lack of personal space of motherhood a bit of a shock. I love my DD but having her attached to me so much of the time (and I DO want to keep BF as long as poss) is really hard.
I'm not hugely keen on dummies but a friend suggested I try one - DD wasn't keen and to be honest the one time she did suck on it enthusiastically I felt so guilty I removed it as I knew what she really wanted was to be fed.
The sling idea is good - what type would allow me to breastfeed? I have tried using one to take DD out of the house but found as soon as I came inside and stopped moving she would wake up and cry/want fed. Will have to look at how to use it to BF - that would help so much... altho I'm guessing it'd be harder to avoid being covered in milky sick?!
Thanks for the support - I know you're all right - need to focus on each day at a time. I'm sure a week ago there was a better day when she did sleep a fair bit, must try and remember that this could happen again... hopefully soon.
The travelling light thing is a big plus - I once went out to meet my mum for lunch at the last minute with ds in a sling, a nappy and a nappy sack in my jeans pocket and my house keys.
Now, that was a bit reckless (bf poos right up the back anyone?) but it was great just being able to pick him up and go.
Do you have a dp or a good friend who can take dd for a bit straight after a feed so that you can have a good long bath/nap/walk in the park?
I know what you mean about just wanting to be by yourself sometimes. It was a lifesaver when dh or my mum would take ds for a bit an just let me be by myself.
Oh yes, do get daddy to help get you some alone time. My DH would take (and still does) DS every morning from 6am until he needed his next feed or DH was going to work (whichever came first) to let me have a little bit of extra sleep on my own. He was also great at taking DS as soon as he got home from work and taking him for a stroll around the block.
Wrap slings are good for bfing while they're little, I had a kari-me and loved it but I wish I'd known it was just a long piece of material and some instructions before I paid £40 for it - instructions to make your own here.
DH does help when he can, and will try to distract DD for as long as possible to give me a break, unfortunately in the evenings this doesn't last long as DD cluster feeds pretty much from the moment DH gets in from work. I did go out briefly one weekend whilst DH looked after DD, having just fed her, but she started screaming for more food apparently almost as soon as I'd left the house and was pretty inconsolable. Felt really mean afterwards, and DH was pretty frazzled as he just doesn't have the means to calm her - which frustrates him, and makes me feel more pressured. God if only moobs were functional...
TherealMBJ wonder if you might be right about the growth spurt - it does feel like her feeding in the daytime has become more constant recently than it used to be. Am liking the idea of this being a phase <clutches at straws>
I find my mei tai easiest to feed in, and re the milky sick, they are less likely to suffer reflux if upright.
And moobs, in theory at least, can function as ours do! He might need a pituitary tumour or hormone tablets (or maybe even just lots of suckling) to get him going though.
Oh it is a phase anyway OP. Meaning, you're likely to be hitting a growth spurt now but either way it's going to pass pretty soon. New babies just need to be close to their mums, however they're fed, and what you're describing is new baby behaviour, not BF baby behaviour. I totally understand the feeling of it all being down to you and being tied to the baby, but I promise that this absolute need does die down, and in the meantime you do have a wonderful way to keep her happy! Once things do settle, you will have an amazing parenting tool. BFing is so much more than just milk. It's a wonderful way to calm and soothe a baby, to get them to sleep, keep them quiet and settled, and you never have to worry about them being without food even if you're stuck somewhere.
FF does mean that you get a break (although if you can express some milk this will give you a bit of space as well, if she'll accept it from a cup or bottle) but it opens a whole load of new problems as well - most of which only become apparent when you get through the next 2 or 3 weeks and things start to improve.
You need to work out what is best for you, but bear in mind that while this time is so terribly hard, it really lasts for a very short time (I know, it's forever while you're in it!) and really, it's just a newborn thing, not a BF thing, and losing the BFing benefits that you will really appreciate as she gets a little bit older would be a real shame if you can manage to hang in there
Regarding BFing a child over 6 months, you are right, it would be a shame to move to FF - but you always have this option so just don't think about that right now. In the meantime, every day you are BFing you're giving her milk designed just for her, protecting her tummy, supporting her immune system and giving her the comfort she clearly needs. She's so used to being tightly hugged in your tummy, and being cuddled close to you now is so important to her. But it's so hard, isn't it, having someone so dependent and "touchy" all the time. I mean, it's mostly wonderful, but sometimes it's just more than it's easy to cope with. It is a lot of pressure but it does get better, and faster than you'd think.
I have heard of dads suckling their babies for comfort and it working well. In fact our DS2 was suckled by his dad for well over an hour after birth as I was too unwell to take him, and he was very calm and happy (and his Dad felt really happy to be able to support his little boy). But it's not uncommon for dads (or other non-lactating women (or lactating women but that's a different matter with potential health risks to consider)) to suckle a baby for comfort while mum is away. Why not? It's not all about the milk.
DS did try latch onto DH last night in the bath but pulled a very funny face when he got a shrivelled, hairy nipple instead of mummy's juicy one. (18 months)
LOL MBJ. My DS2 tried for many months at his father's booby area, but never managed to latch after that first time. He's nothing if not persistent (and very optimistic .
OP, we're all here right with you. We've been through it and come out the other side. It looks good from here
This too will pass.
You're doing fabulously!
Sometimes getting a bit pissed off, having a good rant about feeling tied to your baby, and having a walk round the block, will get you back on track. I did it this afternoon in fact (DD teething plus 4 month growth spurt. I'm going slightly mad!).
Dummies can be a complete and utter godsend so don't discount or worry about them. DD not even remotely interested but my mammoth feeding, colicky DS was a big fan. He was BF until 1 and I can honestly say, I would not have made it that far without a dummy. And incidentally, he gave it up all by himself before he turned 2 (just forgot to ask for it). It was the least problematic thing in the world.
The gaps do get bigger. By the time they're 1, they're barely feeding at all to be honest.
Look, this is as much about your survival as your DC's. Happy Mum equals happy baby and all that. Do what you need to do to get through it, and if you really have had enough post 6 months then stop. No one will judge you for it.
As an uber positive friend of mine once said, you need to think of this as a daily success story so congratulations! Every day you feed your DC, you're giving goodness and love and closeness. When it stops (whenever it stops), it stops. You can't take away all of the good you've done before.
Hope that helps!
Thanks for all the encouragement. I know that I want to continue BF - making up bottles sounds like an awful faff/worse. I think it's as much the newborn behaviour that organiccarrotcake describes that I'm struggling with - the intensity of looking after a new baby and lack of time out compounded by tiredness. She's been feeding so much in the daytime lately I've barely been out the house either which probably isn't helping. Will try and take more walks round the block at least like limelight suggests - that'd help.
<takes deep breath and tries to focus just on today>
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