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Although breastfeeding has been easy for me, I wish I'd never done it.

(58 Posts)
SarahScot Sun 04-Sep-11 09:40:28

I was incredibly lucky with breastfeeding DD. After strggling to breastfeed DS, DD took to breastfeeding like a duck to water and we had 5 months of no feeding problems.

However, I have been back at work for 3 weeks, DD refuses all bottles so has no milk through the day. Ocassionally, if she's starving she'll take 1 or 2 oz once a day, but not every day. She's been getting up more and more at night and it's now at the stage where I can't cope. Last night she was in her bed for 11 hours and got up to be fed 8 times. I have tried to get her back to sleep without feeding her but always give in after half an hour as I'm so shattered.

It's having a negative effect on my kids, on my relationship with my husband, my relationship with friends and my ability to do my job. I am miserable, I am making my family miserable. I am so tired that I constantly feel dizzy and am terrified of crashing the car.

I have tried 5 types of bottles, I have tried using expressed milk, a mixture of bm and fm, just fm. I have tried different brands of formula. I truly feel at the end of my tether and don't know what to do to make the situation any better.

I don't know what I expect anyone to say, I think I just want to vent.

DillyTante Sun 04-Sep-11 09:43:07

Don't even know where to start with advice but big hugs to you.

DillyTante Sun 04-Sep-11 09:45:29

I hate it when people recommend this like it is so easy and the answer to everything, but have you thought about co-sleeping? You might at least get more sleep in the short term.

Nagoo Sun 04-Sep-11 09:45:52

I'd give in and co-sleep if I were you. You are at work and need to do the path of least resistance to ensure you get to sleep and she's too young to do without the milk ATM.

In a few months she will be eating much more and you and work on getting her to have a beaker.

WorzselMummage Sun 04-Sep-11 09:46:32

Have you tried a cup?

I never managed to get my ds to take a bottle but he would drink from a cup. You could try a beaker with a lid or a small cup without ( this plastic ones from ikea are good) could whoever is feeding her try spoon feeding her milk?

Sleep deprivation is really vile sad

Grumpla Sun 04-Sep-11 09:47:07

Oh shit, that sounds really dreadful.
I'm not an expert as I solely expressed milk for my DS, but have many friends who BF very successfully envy

It seems that the only thing that worked for them in situations like yours was that the non-BF partner had to completely take over night wakings for a couple of weeks. If your daughter isn't feeding at night and you're at work during the day you will need to express regularly to keep your supply up - hopefully you would then be able to get to a situation where your daughter accepts milk (either EBM or F) in the day from a bottle and BFs evening and morning. But be prepared that that might mean cluster feeding all evening.

Apparently I refused bottles too, my mum used to pick me up from nursery at 4, feed me for half an hour, drive me home, and sit on the sofa BFing me for about three hours whilst my dad fed her her dinner in bite-sized chunks!

If you are at the stage where you feel unsafe driving you do need to make some fairly radical changes and you will need your partners total support for this.
Good luck, I hope you find a solution.

SarahScot Sun 04-Sep-11 09:47:16

Thank you for responding Dilly. We already cosleep, she sleeps in a 3 sided cot joined onto my bed.

Abra1d Sun 04-Sep-11 09:48:58

I wouldn't cosleep. You will still be disturbed and it doesnt solve the problem.

I would stay away from home for one or two nights and leave her with DP and a cup. If you are not there she will have to accept th milk. And you will get sleep.

Moulesfrites Sun 04-Sep-11 09:49:15

Oh I am sorry you feel this way. How old is she? You clearly cannot go on with this level of tiredness and hopefully someone more knowledgable will come with some advice. But, don't regret bf your daughter. She will have benefitted from it and may still have been a rubbish sleeper even if she was ff! I hope things improve for you soon x

faverolles Sun 04-Sep-11 09:49:30

Poor you sad
Have you tried a sippy cup - the milk just dribbles in with no effort. Or using a cup like a doidy cup. Might be easier for her to get the hang of.
The other thing that might help you sleep more is co-sleeping, but that's not for everyone.
I think this is quite common though, and I know a couple of babies who've done this, but things have improved when they start on solids.
I know how you feel, and it won't last forever (despite how you're feeling now!)

shelscrape Sun 04-Sep-11 09:50:09

I really can't offer any advice .... bigs hugs though.

My DS steadfastly refused every type of bottle too, would not take formula from a cup or even expressed breast milk from bottle/cup. Even if I went out all day to went on milk strike so to say. Lucklily I didn't go back to work until he was 9 months old and had just about got the hang of solids bby then. Will your DD take water during the day or baby rice made with formula milk?

PippiLongBottom Sun 04-Sep-11 09:50:23

I am another advocate of co-sleeping. My DS1 aged about 7/8 months woke up one night twenty four times before midnight! He averaged about 6-8 times a night normally. We co-slept from that point on.

I won't tell you that he is nearly five and I can't get him out and I often have his younger brother in too wink

SarahScot Sun 04-Sep-11 09:50:24

Thank you Grumpla. I think your advice about DH taking over night wakings might be a good idea. It would mean us all being awake all night though - I'm a v light sleeper and so is DS(4). The short term pain would be worth the gain if it worked though.

Part of my problem is I can't think straight to make any rational decisions.

SarahScot Sun 04-Sep-11 09:52:21

Oh wow, lots of x-posting. Thank you everyone.

Moulesfrites Sun 04-Sep-11 09:52:28

Oh I sexing getting your dh or dp to get involved at night. We are doing this ATM with my 7 m old and have seen huge improvements within 5 nights.

Also try a doidy cup?

Moulesfrites Sun 04-Sep-11 09:53:05

Second! Not sexing sorry!

JenAT Sun 04-Sep-11 10:01:09

No advice here, sorry but will watch this thread with interest. Ds is nearly 5 months old, breastfed. Never had a bottle, even of expressed milk. I will be going back to work in 2 months, and envisage a similar problem to you.

With my older dd, it took a good 2 months of trying to get her to take a bottle of formula, trying loads of different bottles/teats etc, and suddenly she just took it. We had success using NUK bottles with a latex teat. I tried expressing with her but she would never take the expressed milk from a bottle, so in the end I just gave up.

In an ideal world I would love to wait until Ds will be more established on solids and go back to work when he is about 9 months old, but unfortunately don't really have the choice. I love breastfeeding but found it just wasn't compatible with me working, as I work 10-11 hr days, so going back to work really means the end of breastfeeding for us.

VeronicaCake Sun 04-Sep-11 10:03:11

DH taking over at nights worked for us. It was painful in the short term but necessary.

I don't think you should do too much sexing like moulesfrites suggests though. Then you'll be back to square one again.

juneau Sun 04-Sep-11 10:08:37

Sounds to me like she's just very confused by the situation. You knew you were going back to work, but she didn't and she doesn't understand what's happened. For the first five months of her life she was with you all day and BF, now suddenly you're not there and she's had her main form of comfort taken away, so it's no wonder she's trying to get her comfort when she can. FWIW it's common for BF babies to want to feed all night when their mums go back to work.

Did you introduce her to a bottle early on to get her used to it? Not that it really matters as you are where you are now. I'd call the La Leche League for advice and do try a sippy cup - some babies don't want a rubber nipple when they're used to the real thing (and who can blame them really?)

WorzselMummage Sun 04-Sep-11 10:10:58

Crikey June, we're trying to make the OP feel better, not worse!

SurprisEs Sun 04-Sep-11 10:15:30

OP- I'm sorry you are feeling this way and that things turned out wrong at this stage.
Please don't regret breastfeeding, you did what you thought was best for you and your child at the time and i'm sure it felt great. Enjoy the memories.

As for the current problem, I had the same issue, I regreted introducing the bottle late, not the breastfeeding.

Here are some things you have probably tried but worked for me:
- warming up the bottle a bit more than the recommended (for some reason hot milk was more acceptable than warm milk in my daughters eyes) not too hot though.
I stuck a bottle with a little bit of milk with her toys everytime I put her down to play and eventually she stuck it in her mouth (curiosity goes a long way).
Have you tried Medela Calma bottles? Very expensive but very good.

As for the night problem, it probably won't get better until the day feeds are sorted, I'm sorry to say but you'll have to grin and bear it for a little while.

If it's depressing you, look for support. Most of all be honest with your family about you struggle and your feelings. They should be your rock.

Good luck.

VeronicaCake Sun 04-Sep-11 10:19:45

I would guess in the long-term you won't regret bf-ing. But if you are getting up 8 times a night and working all day I can understand why you feel this way right now!

FWIW we introduced bottles early. DD still refused them a lot when I went back to work. It is an adjustment for all of you. But it is a necessary adjustment and getting another loving parent to cuddle and offer her food in the night is a kind and gentle way to support her through it.

ChippingIn Sun 04-Sep-11 10:19:50

I don't know how unpopular this suggestion is going to be as I was a bit uncomfortable with it when I first heard it, but it worked for my friend. Initially it just seemed a bit 'wrong' but really, many people 'dream feed' and it's really no different.

Ask whoever is looking after her in the day to feed her while she is asleep, make sure the milk is nice and warm. My friends little one will take 120ml every 3 hours like this (formula). Then you can keep bf in the evening/dream feed if you want to, or get DH to take over with bottles.

Good Luck.

SurprisEs Sun 04-Sep-11 10:21:36

Must say co-sleeping was one of my tools too! smile and no she won't be in your bed till she's 18.
Not sure about the husband taking over as I feel the baby is just looking for the comfort that she used to have and was taken away without warning. Not fair on the child. Not trying to make mum feel guilty either, just my opinion.

organiccarrotcake Sun 04-Sep-11 10:30:33

worzel what june says is right though. It's not to make mum feel bad - but it can be helpful to look at the baby's perspective and work backwards.

It IS normal for babies to want to nurse all night when they're separated from mum, to make up for the milk they're not getting in the day - and it's important for them to get that milk somehow. Of course it's not sustainable for you to work all day and be up all night, though, but at just 5 months she's got to have milk.

You might consider feeding her every time she asks at night for a week or so rather than avoiding it. She might go to sleep more quickly (therefore you may get more sleep, especially if you can feed lying down) and if her needs are met she may start to ask for less over time.

If that isn't working then it's not fair either on you or your daughter to get her back down without feeding if it's you doing it. It's exhausting for you and confusing for her, so if your OH can do that, even for a few put-downs (say if you feed her once or twice at night) it might help - although chances are you'll need to sleep in another room away from them both.

Dr Sears has some useful advice: www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/night-weaning-12-alternatives-all-night-nurser

In the meantime, working on getting milk into her in other ways as suggested by other posters may work. I assume you know to have someone else offer the milk, not you, so she doesn't just keep thinking there's something better around?

I know it seems like it's breastfeeding that's caused the problems. Do try to remember that by breastfeeding you've done a wonderful thing for your baby, not to mention really given yourself a good chance of reducing your risk of various cancers. Sleep deprivation is the worst thing ever and I really feel for you. I know how destructive it will be. You will get through this, though, and you will be fine. Keep posting - if what you try isn't working we'll try to think of other suggestions. smile

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