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Getting really tired and frustrated with breastfeeding :(

(28 Posts)
Jode82 Sat 16-Jul-11 04:41:38

I've got an 11wo DS who is utterly delicious and I love him to pieces. I've been mostly breastfeeding (4-5 Bottles of formula in total) and been having a really hard time. I know I'm doing it for his good and that it's the best start but I feel like I'm really struggling to keep going. I constantly have lumps (especially to punish me on those times when I give him a bottle because I just feel so drained and knackered) which take days to work out, we've had thrush which is agony and I'm in the middle of treatment for.

Please someone tell me it gets better!? I'm determined to carry on until he's 6mo but it's so hard, I'm really close to quitting. I feel so alone a lot of the tine, especially when we go to see friends and I have to go in another room to feed... I know this is my choice but I just don't feel comfortable getting my boobs out in front of friends.

People keep telling me I've done really well to get this far and not to feel guilty if I do decide to give up, but I don't want to, I want to keep going so a few words of encouragement from people who had a tough time but survived would be really great. xx

TheRealMBJ Sat 16-Jul-11 06:31:42

Hi Jode. Congratulations about your gorgeous DS. He sounds lovely and it sounds like you are doing a great job smile

What you describe sounds like very normal reaction to giving an occasional bottle. Your body is obviously very well attuned to your DS's needs and is making milk for him when he needs it smile, when you then skip a feed, it doesn't stop making the milk but because the milk is not being removed from you're breast, you're getting lumps. As you continue breastfeeding your supply will become more locally regulated and eventually it will be easier to give an occasional bottle. Unfortunately blocked ducts are a risk for mastitis so it is important to try to drain your breasts as adequately and feeding your baby directly at the breast is the best way to do so.

When are the times that you feel the need to give formula for a break? Is it at night? Have you considered co-sleeping or feeding lying down at nap times to get yourself some extra rest? Co-sleeping is safe when you follow the guidelines and was a life-saver for me in the early days.

Thrush is very, very painful sad. Usually, the pain improves dramatically after the first 48 hrs of treatment. What treatment are you on? This is a very informative leaflet on thrush. Both you and your DS need to be treated and you need to be on an adequate does of fluconazole. Is thatnwhat you're getting. You can also take some paracetamol and/or ibuprofen for the pain if you need to. If you are and you are still in significant pain it is worth getting the diagnosis reassessed.

Do you have a breastfeeding support group near you? I can't urge you strongly enough to pop in and see the peer-supporters and breastfeeding counsellors at a support group. And it is a very non-threatening place to feed your baby too grin.

There is no need to give up if you don't want to and peer-support is an excellent way to feel more confident. smile

TheRealMBJ Sat 16-Jul-11 06:34:00

Sorry for all the typos blush. Typing with DS clambering all over me is nigh impossible.

neepsntatties Sat 16-Jul-11 07:12:15

It gets better! It took three months before feeding settled with Ds. I also has thrush, horrible I know.

Do you express when you give a bottle? Might help stop lumps plus you could use the milk for another feed.

I was quite shy about feeding first time round. I have a 5 month Dd now and I feed her everywhere. I have not had one single negative comment from anyone. Is there one really good friend you could try feeding in front of to see if you can get more confident in this area. I hated it when I ended up in another room.

If it's what you want then hang in there, I don't think you are far away from it being easier.

VeronicaCake Sat 16-Jul-11 09:57:12

You are doing an awesome job, and your baby is lucky to have you putting in all this effort. If you get blocked ducts after feeding the odd bottle of formula this is not punishment! It is possibly linked to the fact that you are missing a feed, but for God's sake don't feel guilty about it or as if you deserve it. Breastfeeding should be comfortable and painless for the mother and if it isn't there is help available to sort it.

To be honest if you are constantly having lumps (presumably blocked milk ducts) and have only given 4-5 bottles then I don't think the bottles have anything to do with it. Are they always in the same place? If so it sounds like tweaking your baby's latch slightly so he drains the breast more effectively might make a big difference. I had occasional blocked ducts always on the lower right hand part of my right breast. Simply adjusting the position of my arm when supporting DD's breast changed the angle she fed at and made things work better.

Is there a breastfeeding support group near you where you could see someone in real life who might be able to help with latch and positioning? Or have you tried having a chat to a breastfeeding counsellor on one of the breastfeeding helplines?

japhrimel Sat 16-Jul-11 10:04:44

Thrush increases the risk of getting blocked ducts so this may improve when the thrush is treated. But if you want to carry on giving formula occasionally, you really need to express then.

Have you considered a nursing cover? Or practiced with a vest double layer? I can feed really discretely - nothing's visible unless DD starts pulling off and even then I can whip my top down quickly if needed.

rizzie Sat 16-Jul-11 17:24:09

The RealMBJ offered some good advice, I think! Especially on the co-sleeping front (it is a total lifesaver, I swear!)... Even if you don't want to co-sleep, learn how to breastfeed lying down on your side (it took me and baby about 2 days "practice" to get this down, and it changed our lives fatigue-wise. It is the best thing I did for myself in my struggles with breastfeeding), you can rest on your side during some day and night feedings, which helps a ton when you are breastfeeding so often and are so tired.
Also, we often forget that breastfeeding is like a JOB, it is not always easy, and it takes a lot of time -- even when you've mastered it with your baby, it is still work, and it still "interrupts" your day and evenings. But so does formula feeding -- and breastfeeding is cheaper, more portable, no prep/sterilaztion needed, and is the best food for your baby. I would just say to allow yourself to take it easy on yourself. Like, don't worry too much about "keeping up" with all the things you used to do (I know it is frustrating to let things pass for a while, but trying to keep up with it all will only increase your anxiety). Like you, I am not comfortable breastfeeding in front of people, but now refuse to feel guilty about walking away to have a lie down and feed the baby when I want to. Screw 'em! I get to have a little rest, and cuddle with the baby... Also, about 6 weeks after delivery, I developed a horrible rash all over my breasts, thighs, and abdomen (I believe it was post-partum PUPPS) and was in itch-crazed agony for three weeks. I could barely sleep, and would weep all day during feedings which were intensly painful... I was this close to giving up and going to formula. I'm so glad I stuck with it and pushed through all those feedings -- me and baby are like old pros now, so I promise you... it gets better!!
Last but not least, if you are completely miserable, do not let anyone make you feel guilty about stopping if you decide to stop. It's your choice and YOUR BODY and your baby. Only you can decide what's best for you, so if you have to stop, do not let anyone bring you down about it. All the best to you!

GruffaloMama Sat 16-Jul-11 21:32:20

I promise it gets easier - DS used to cluster feed in the evenings for 3 hours at a minimum. Suddenly at 12 weeks he started spacing this out into noticeable feeds and I started feeling like I was perhaps (one day) going to get a chance to sit and eat dinner with DH again...

You're doing great - and in difficult circumstances. I totally agree with Rizzie too that you have to view BFing as being the equivalent of a job. It is. At times hugely rewarding (and snuggly and beautiful). And at times bloody hard work and boring and annoying - even when you know you're doing it for the best of reasons. But it's okay to feel that way. And to come on here and get support.

FirstVix Sun 17-Jul-11 13:29:30

Re the bloacked ducts - I seem to get this when I wear nursing bras that are slightly too tight. They mostly come under the arm area. When I wear no bra I never seem to have blocked ducts even though feeding is mostly from one side at the moment.

FirstVix Sun 17-Jul-11 13:31:39

bloacked blocked - should have previewed!

Miggsie Sun 17-Jul-11 13:38:02

It does get easier, only this knowledge made me persevere with breast feeding, after a couple of months it was great. However, the inbetween time of waking up soaked in milk was hideous. But, on the plus side it soon got into a nice rhythm when I could just nip out with DD, no need for bottles or sterilised anything. It was so simple. But you have to go through the ghastly bit to get to the good bit.

NAR4 Sun 17-Jul-11 17:55:05

I am breast feeding my fourth child and had a really horrible time to start with. Only the knowledge from my previous experiences of breastfeeding kept me going. It isn't always easy, but does get easier as time goes on. I highly recommend finding a breast feeding group near you. Ask your health visitor, maternity ward and doctor's surgery if there are any near you. You can also phone a breast feeding councillor for advice and support. Try looking on The Breast Feeding Network or Association for Breast Feeding Mums.

birchykel Mon 18-Jul-11 02:17:32

Really sorry ur having a tough time, I don't think I can really offer much but I thought id comment as I am going thru the same....its now 2.10am and been up since 10.30pm wiv babes trying to feed, wind and get back to sleep. I am struggling too, I love my girl to bits and want to continue breastfeeding but nights are so hard. Not really sure why guess cos I'm sooooo tired. Just now I gave in and gave her formula cos then I know she has had a good feed and may sleep better. But I feel guilty too. She was going every 3 hours anger usually does in day but at night its getting every hour or so. I feel selfish cos I want sleep and I want to find a way of getting her to have a good feed so I can sleep.
Anyway I don't want to go on sorry. Just thought id let u know I'm here and would support u.
Oh yes I bought I bf scarf for wen I'm out, bit tricky to start wiv but soon get the hang of it.
Goodluck.
Here if u need anything.

BertieBotts Mon 18-Jul-11 05:29:17

Birchy I hope you are feeling better this morning. Today is a new day. Would you consider the co-sleeping or partial co-sleeping advice on this thread too? If you're sitting up to feed once an hour you must be feeling absolutely exhausted. Another option could be if you have a partner who is willing to help, get him to pick up baby from her cot and bring her to you for the feed, which you can do lying down in bed, and then he can take her back to her cot if you don't want her to stay in bed with you.

Also I remember when DS was tiny he always used to wake a lot more often if something else was bothering him, e.g. too hot/cold or if his nappy was wet. The breastfeeding would get him back off to sleep again as it would distract from the issue but then he'd wake again after 45 minutes to an hour (which I believe is a newborn's sleep cycle?). So worth checking for these things. Another thing that dads can help with if they can - and if your sleep is this broken I think that your partner should be helping out if they are around, BF or FF!

Don't feel bad about sleeping when the baby sleeps in the day as well - take every opportunity to catch up on that sleep. Often even if you don't like the idea of co-sleeping at night it can be easier to do it during the day when you have a big double bed to yourself.

coldcomfortHeart Mon 18-Jul-11 12:26:03

Can't add much advice to what's been said already but
It does get better!

I had a terrible time (thrush, ugh- if you are getting treatment make sure it's the right treatment according to that BfN leaflet linked to above) but I ended up loving bf DS1 and did it for over 2 years- something I would have never, ever believed when he was little, when every feed was agony.

Also, try feeding in front of a mirror- then you can see how much/how little is on show. You might be surprised, as the view others get is very different to what you see from above, and might give you the confidence to feed in public. Or get a nursing cover/use a scarf or muslin if that will help.

Hang in there. And definitely get along to a bf group, they saved my sanity.

birchykel Mon 18-Jul-11 18:45:15

Hey bertiebots, thanks for the comment. I didnt mean to have a moan as this isnt my thread. After reading what you put I did try laying down on the bed and feeding her, she did ok but i did leak over the bed and then she was really sick...like big time soaked bed sheets and mattress.....not sure if its because she is use to being held with me sitting in the nursery chair??? Thing is with she is a sicky baby, I am wondering if she has reflux? Always sick, then needs feeding after and the process starts again. I am not really sure how to do co-sleeping, sounds silly but hey thats me.
Jodie82 how are you getting on?

xx

Jode82 Tue 19-Jul-11 17:58:13

Hello ladies. thank you all so much. I'm doing ok, still persevering! Have carried on as before and while it still hurts (repeat prescription for both of us!) we're doing much better. I'm still only giving the occasional bottle when he's had all he'll take from me. Starting to think he stops because his mouth hurts rather than me being empty which is what I thought before. I guess it's much easier and therefore less painful for him from a bottle. Will try expressing but previous attempts weren't too successful.

Birchy, I'm sorry you're having a tough time too but it is worth just trying to keep going. I know that doesn't make it any easier because it's what everyone's said to me, but this too shall pass! I think we just need to take a deep breath and try to get through it. Maybe we should find something to bite down on like dp's arm in the olden days!

I have to say, I do love my hubby but I'm really starting to get pissed off annoyed with him. He was so desperate to get married and have kids, more so than me, and yet he never seems to want to help out with DS when he gets back from work. He does the house work, which is amazing and I love him for it, but times when I have had a hard day and offer to cook so he can take Isaac from me, I feel this hesitation like he's trying to think of an excuse. Maybe I'm being paranoid. That's what lack of sleep does to you!!

Anyway, as I said, am continuing with bf, there's a bf consultant at the mums group I go to on Thurs (when I have the car) so will see if she can help. Also re bf in front of people, I don't have too much of a problem with it when I'm comfortable, and have a cover for when out and about, but recently with the weather etc we'll be at bbqs where there's nowhere convenient and comfortable for me to feed outside so I end up indoors on the sofa on my own. Not fun. But I'm determined and will succeed!!

GruffaloMama Tue 19-Jul-11 18:42:38

Hi Jode - glad you're doing okay. Just thought I'd mention that sometimes dads can be quite nervous about relatively young newborns - it might be worth saying to him that actually you like cooking (assuming that you do grin ) and that it's nice for you to have some non-baby time. He might just not be very confident yet that he can do as good a job as I'm sure he can. And ref the blocked ducts thing - like firstvix said, it might be worth checking that your feeding bras are still the right size - your breasts can change size quite a lot and that can affect whether they're giving you the right support.

Birchy - DS was really sicky - used to feed like a little piglet and then throw up after pretty much every feed and then have a top up - he was renowned for it at local baby groups. I never bothered getting him checked for reflux as it didn't seem to bother him (no obvious pain or other reflux signs and he was gaining weight well). Also his cousin was just the same so I didn't feel too worried. He grew out of it sort of overnight at a year.

birchykel Thu 21-Jul-11 05:26:38

Hey girls, glad ur feeling more positive Jose82, it is hardwork but so worth it. My girl has worse by each day, screaming in what seems like pain for 2hours sometimes huge amounts of curdled milk coming up and just as she settles I hear her tummy make a noise and then she screams again. I get upset seeing her like that ane I can't help her.
Gruffalomama, did ur boy ever seem in pain? I can handle the sick its seeing how uncomfortable she is that does me in.

It's great to read these threads as it really does help and u realise ur not the only one out there going thru it, thanks ladies.xxx

GruffaloMama Thu 21-Jul-11 09:01:20

Hiya Birchy - no he normally seemed pretty comfortable - he was just a pig. Also, his sick was just regurgitated milk - rather than curdled, IYSWIM? It might be worth getting an opinion of a local BF counsellor about whether it might be reflux. Sometimes it can be a reaction to something that you're eating, or straightforward reflux/colic. (all of which are pretty horrible...) If it is reflux they might be able to recommend some medication for before or after feeds to help your little girl. It's so tough to see them in pain.

birchykel Thu 21-Jul-11 13:13:36

Gruffalomama, I'm going to speak to my bf counsellor today. I did go to gp today, he said he sounds like reflux and to try boiled water in-between feeds as he doesn't want to put her on meds yet as she doesn't poo every day and meds can make her constipated. Her poos are watery when she goes but she don't go every day. So prob doesn't help. Glad ur boy wasn't uncomfortable, it is so upsetting seeing them in pain. Xxx

birchykel Thu 21-Jul-11 13:18:24

Jose82 was meant to say I know what u mean about the other half annoying u. last night mine was upset cos our girl was in pain I told him that I laid her on her side on our bed and I stroked her back to settle her....he said u won't fall asleep like that will u....I was offended and felt like giving him a slap.. know he didnt mean it like that but Ooohhhhh. lol

turbochildren Thu 21-Jul-11 13:32:38

hello just came on thread and saw birchy with baby throwing up after lying feed. If your baby takes too much lying down, try to let her lie propped up a bit for a while after feeding. they need some help to keep their food down if they have a tendency to throw up.
thankfully this gets better as they get older. against all advice I have not let my baby lie flat this time, but always with her head and upper body raised a bit higher/propped up with a thin pillow. much less throwing up and consequent washing than with last baby!

Also, it is possible that some foods in your diet is not agreeing with your baby. mine could not deal with onion, spicy food or green veg in general. A very bland diet for a few months, but it settled baby down. worth a try!

good luck!

MigGril Thu 21-Jul-11 22:36:01

birchykel - I hope you've had some better advice from the BF couciler. Realy you shouldn't give water to a BF baby at all, BM contains all the water she needs and giving anthing other then BM will fill her tummy but water has no callaeries and it can effect there electrolit balance to invery young babies.
It's also not unseal for BF babies to go day's inbetween pooing if her stools are still runny then she's not constipated. Actually some babies can go over a week, it's because BM is so easily digested that there is very little waste.
www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/baby-water.html

Please go see another GP they can give meds if it's refulx to help with the pain. Oh and complain about the other GP please giving such outdated and possibly harmfull advice.

birchykel Fri 22-Jul-11 01:41:21

Hi migGRil, I thought the same with the water but the gp is the top one at my surgery, he runs the place and have always trusted him. I told him that her poo's are runny wen she does go it just isn't every day. I really don't know what to do now, she doesn't like the water to be honest tried it afew times yest and yes it did help bring up wind but he said cos she wants feeding sometimes every hour it will make her go longer between feeds and then want more wen she does feed which will get her poo flowing. Great just totally confused now!

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