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Feeling dreadful about mixed feeding

(14 Posts)
StiffyByng Wed 20-Jul-11 11:13:18

Owing to a medical condition, I am unable to supply enough milk to EBF. I am doing everything I possibly can to maximise supply, have had advice from more than one lactation consultant, but formula top ups were the only answer. Rationally I know I have to do what is necessary to feed my child, but I feel dreadful about it.

I have always passionately wanted to breastfeed and was determined to get through anything to do it. Everywhere I go with my baby I see breastfeeding publicity and I agree with it all. I hate, hate the faff and expense of the bottles and formula, and also now hate the smugness of the health information that points out how easy and cheap breastfeeding is. More than anything else, I feel I'm not a 'proper' woman for being unable to feed my child. I see things on here about the 'risks' of formula feeding and feel so sad I have to expose my child to that.

I've always been live and let live about how everyone else chose to feed their children and this is all about ME and being unable to make the choice I wanted to make. I know I'm not the only person on here to be in this situation. Does anyone know any ways I can feel better about this.

steben Wed 20-Jul-11 11:17:22

Is your child happy and healthy? If the answer is yes then just enjoy it - there are plenty in far worse off positions and you did/are doing what you could/can in terms of breastfeeding. Stop beating yourself up and enjoy your baby. FWIW I combination fed, until I had to stop BF at 3 months and I have a very happy and healthy toddler.

Cyclebump Wed 20-Jul-11 11:19:44

I too had to mix feed when my son was first born and I too beat myself up and felt awful.

You are not alone!

When I spoke out about how awful I felt people I'd known for years told me they'd done the same and had felt too bad to tell anyone. Your baby needs nutrition, by BFing as much as you can you are doing the best you can while topping up with formula is you doing what you have to to keep your baby healthy.

My supply drastically improved once the milk came in after two weeks but if I had to top up again I would. My son is a gorgeous, healthy bouncing baby. BFing is great if you can do it, but modern formula is better than it's ever been if you're unable to or don't want to.

Don't forget you're flooded with hormones right now, when your baby flourishes and is giggling at you from a bouncy chair suddenly it will all be worth it. X

nethunsreject Wed 20-Jul-11 11:21:53

Good Lord, you have done everything possible to ebf! And you are bfing.

Absolutely nothing to feel bad about!

This is onen of the few times formula is useful.

Give yourself a massive pat on the back.

LaWeasel Wed 20-Jul-11 11:40:03

Please don't feel bad - I mixed fed my DD, for no reason other than that I was exhausted and really needed someone else to be able to give a bottle every so often. I mixed fed right up until she was one.

I am so grateful that formula exists and I was able to do this or I probably would have gone mad! In your case, it is absolutely for the good of your babies health to be mixed feeding...

Therefore you are amazing - and that's all there is too it.

tiktok Wed 20-Jul-11 11:49:56

Stiffy - using formula is sometimes unavoidable and of course you are going to be sad when you planned to fully accept your need for formula 'rationally' but your sadness is in your heart not your head, and that's where you have to do the work of acceptance. Rational, logical arguments are not going to do the trick - yes, of course you have no reason to berate yourself or do anything other than feel proud you are doing your best, but that's the logical position!

One thing you might try is to work on applying your 'live and let live' tolerance towards other people to yourself. Tolerance is a feeling , after all.

StiffyByng Wed 20-Jul-11 11:52:48

Thank you all. I feel silly saying all this on here really, but today is a bad day. I need to give myself a bit of a slap (or a pat maybe) because DD is gorgeous and happy now she's getting lots to eat. Parents have such awful things to face, and I'm dribbling on about this.

TruthSweet Wed 20-Jul-11 12:32:12

Someone I know was unable to bf fully as she had had a reduction on one side. She was upset about not being able to give her baby all of the milk they needed herself and we talked about it quite a bit.

What helped for her was thinking about the formula as medicine for both her and her baby. The physiological process of lactation wasn't working fully for her so it was being treated by giving formula to her baby as well as all the milk she could produce.

If she had diabetes she would have taken insulin and if her baby had had diabetes she would have given the baby insulin, it's essentially the same thing but we do place a high value on bfing and it's part in mothering so she felt guilt and sorrow at not being able to do it all by herself even though she did all she could to make a full supply. She managed to mix feed for nearly a year too so adding formula to a baby's diet doesn't always mean the end of bfing.

She is a fantastic mother (irregardless of the way she fed her baby) and it sounds like you are much the same smile. Enjoy your baby and well done on every feed she has had from you, they have all counted and no amount of formula will take those feeds from you and your daughter.

StiffyByng Wed 20-Jul-11 12:36:49

Thank you, Truthsweet. Oddly enough, I had also been doing the 'medicine' thing and it did help, but then I began to think I was fooling myself. It's good to know someone else has had the same idea.

TruthSweet Wed 20-Jul-11 13:13:17

It worked for me too when DD1 had to have formula when she had jaundice as newborn and when I was too ill to feed DD3 - then I had lots of medicine and formula was just one of the medicines given until I was able to fed her myself.

ShowOfHands Wed 20-Jul-11 13:25:41

It's strange being a parent because you don't ever celebrate your success, you feel riddled with guilt for what you perceive (erroneously) as failures. I bfed dd exclusively for 7 months and then continued to feed until 3.4yrs. Do I feel great about this? No, it largely passes me by as a non-event. I still dribble on about her birth instead. How I failed. How delivering a baby is something women just do and how it's the best way to bring a child into the world and caesareans are risky etc etc. And every time I see an article saying that babies born vaginally grow up better equipped to deal with trauma, bf better, have mucus cleared from their lungs better, are less shocked/traumatised by birth etc, I feel like I've been physically punched in the gut.

Was it my fault dd was born by cs? No. Did I do my best? Hell yes. Does it really matter? No. But that's all rational. And parenting isn't something that we're too good at being rational about. We're emotive about it instead. And how many hours do we all spend wishing and crying and gawd knows what else when every hour of every day I suspect the majority of us are doing our level best by our children.

I think it's ok to be sad you know. You feel regret and a degree of anger that the seemingly natural wasn't possible. But I think there are ways to make the degree of sadness proportional to what actually happens. Talking about it, praising yourself, allowing yourself to celebrate everything brilliant about being a parent.

I've also found that having a child grow up a bit helps. Because when they're little babies you look at them and feel guilty. When they're bigger and they're throwing chubby arms round you and declaring you the 'best mama ever' with sticky kisses and obvious adoration, your perspective changes a bit. DD gives not a stuff about the small things I lie awake worrying about. She loves me and I actually did succeed. It just took a long time to accept it.

StiffyByng Mon 25-Jul-11 15:28:44

Hi, Showofhands. Sorry not to reply; my phone that I mostly accessed the internet on was stolen. Thank you for your lovely post. It made me a bit weepy but made me feel better too, as has this whole thread.

SnarkHunt Mon 25-Jul-11 16:30:47

Show of hands is dead right. I'm the same: harp on about bad birth experience (not a CS but far, far from the natural homebirth we wanted) and dwell on things I can't change. But I'd never, ever think less of anyone else who this has happened to, nor would I dream of thinking anyone elses conception/birth/feeding/insert other thing that might not ve in our control had any bearing on them as parents. You ARE feeding your baby. You are breastfeeding your baby! This is a wonderful thing! Thank god that we have formula for situations like yours so you can give your baby a safe top-up; I'm big into the "well if we all lived in a tribe in the jungle..." theories but the fact is that we don't. I like the NCT "every feed counts" posters: even if you do one colostrum feed it is worth it. If you do two, great. If you feed for a week, amazing. If you feed, mixed or otherwise for a bit longer, fantastic. If you feed till they're 4, good for you.

Don't be any harder on yourself than you would be on your best friend. You're doing a wonderful thing!

aliceliddell Mon 25-Jul-11 16:40:23

I looked at a hell of a lot of books (12 yrs ago) before I found one that spoke well of mixed feeding and recommended it as 'best of both worlds' - they get antibodies, you get sleep, dp gets bonding. <whispers advice to work on feeling smug and possibly slightly superior>

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