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Please guide/reassure me I'm so confused...

(13 Posts)
Viagrafalls Thu 15-Sep-11 15:26:15

Will try to be to the point!
I had my little girl just under a month ago, have been solidly breastfeeding through thick and thin, got mastitis in the 2nd week, my baby seemed to never ever be satisfied. She would latch on during the night, suck for a few mns then fall asleep at the breast, I'd put her down, she'd cry again and it was a vicious circle of never being full/fully rested and I was getting about 2o mins sleep a night (NOT an exaggeration) I was totally shredded, on the inside and out, crying all the time (my partner is away working). She was cluster feeding from 3pm until midnight when we went to bed shattered and I was constantly empty and never had a chance for my boobs to refill. I was a complete mess frankly.
On tuesday night I folded and agreed with my friend to get in some formula to 'top up', I know what you are all thinking and I'm feeling so guilty now - she has slept so well since but I'm finding that she is never satisfied unless the milk I give her now comes from a bottle - I express as much as I can to give it to her in the night but during the day she just wants to feed constantly and again is never satisfied. I am at my wits end as I want to BF her but I know that she isnt getting enough from me as she is restless and overtired when I dont give her a bottle (BM or F) I do feed her from my breast but it can take up to 2 hours of nudging her and undressing her and then she will doze for 15 mins tops and then wake up hungry again. I tried to start the day today saying no bottles during the day but I've already given her 2 oz of expressed milk after she got upset earlier after a feed.
Can anyone reassure me or anything, I am so bloody depressed and confused! I know she is going though a growth spurt, will it be possible to 'back off' with the bottles when the spurt is over?
I keep crying about this as I so badly want to BF ,y baby from the breast and not just a bottle as this completely defeats the object of the ease of BFeeding IYSWIM.
I feel like a complete failure anfd that I've completely messed things up and its not even been a bloody month. sad

LillyTheMinx Thu 15-Sep-11 15:51:02

You are not a failure and you shouldn`t be feeling guilty. There is a reason why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture and as much as you`d like to BF, it`s important for your baby to have her fill and for you to get some sleep.

Have you spoken to your HV about it? I had trouble in the beginning with the latch so the midwife arranged for a breastfeeding expert to come and see me which really helped.

I know I haven`t really helped, but I just wanted you to know that you shouldn`t be feeling down on yourself.

I hope you manage to find a solution as once the BF gets in to full swing it is much easier.

Cosmosis Thu 15-Sep-11 16:12:09

Your boobs are never “empty” and don’t need a chance to refill, so please don’t worry on that score. What is her weight gain like? It is really important to feed on demand in the early days as that is what establishes supply, but it’s also important to check that there is nothing else going on behind the scenes that might indicate a problem. I think it would probably help you to speak to a bfc in real life, have you tried ringing any of the helplines? Or do you have a bf support group near you at all?

Viagrafalls Thu 15-Sep-11 18:06:04

her weight gain was fine, she was quite small (6,6) and she's been steadily gaining, it was me, I just couldnt stay sane, I felt like throwing myself out the window after 3 weeks of what felt like constant BF - I had a n NHS support lady round on tuesday morning and to be honest she was utterly useless, really nice and sweet but in her early twenties and clearly had no idea what it was actually like to be feeling like that, she kept coming out with slogans like 'every ounce counts' and then when I was in tears aslking what damage bottle feeding expressed milk would do she said 'have you ever tried lying in a warm bath and gently expressing by hand into a sterile jug'?
I would have laughed if i wasnt already crying - the very thought of having enough time to run let alone get in a bath was a joke. I guess I'm just worried that I've descended down a slippery slope into bottle feeding. I've given her two feeds today now but had to end each one with some bottle fed breast milk and one with a top up of formula because she just kept falling asleep on my breast and waking up crying. I just don't know what to do!

Viagrafalls Thu 15-Sep-11 18:07:05

am going to a BF support group on friday when my partner is back, i'm a bit housebound as we live on the top of a huge hill and I lost a lot of blood giving birth so its been tricky getting out and about on my own with the baby.

Mollcat Thu 15-Sep-11 19:17:59

Hi Viagrafalls that sounds tough (and familiar). What a lot you've had to deal with after what sounds like a difficult birth too - you've done so well to get this far, a month is a long time (a lot longer than most people manage without mastitis and everything else you've had thrown at you) and it doesn't sound to me like you're a failure. I hope the BF group tomorrow is helpful. It's difficult when people give you impractical advice. The NHS breastfeeding support people I saw were lovely but, ahem, useless, though it depends on the area and the individual's training! If you can get to see a breastfeeding counsellor trained by the NCT, Association of Breastfeeding Mothers or La Leche League, or even better an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, that would be fantastic. Call National Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 100 0210 or Breastfeeding Network Supporterline 0300 100 0212 and ask for a local BFC or for a lactation consultant

When you say you were shredded on the outside, do you mean your nipples are sore? Anything else about them - what shape are they when your baby comes off the breast?

Please don't worry too much about giving formula if you have to, and only you know when you have to .Use the tools you need to. If you have a supply it can often be increased again once you've sorted out the underlying problem (I've gone from 200mls a day to 700mls a day and that's without the assistance of a fully-functioning baby - much easier if you can use one of those rather than a pump).

Good luck for tomorrow.

Viagrafalls Thu 15-Sep-11 21:19:41

Thank-you very much, I've just been in tears again whilst giving her a bottle - I hate it! I feel like I'm failing her - it was formula as I just felt so sore after 2 hours of on-off feeding when she was tired. My nipples are flat but very red and tender when she comes off, letdown is also agony, the most intense stinging sensation, t feels like acid being poured on my chest. My lovely man is going to be back during the night and he will be here for 2 weeks so am going to try to get back on track a bit more with some help - roll on tomorrow although I know that there will be more tears before bedtime.. x
Thanks again x

NotQuiteCockney Thu 15-Sep-11 21:31:40

I'm afraid it's really normal for tiny babies to want to feed regularly, and to want to sleep with you - she feels safe with you. Is sleeping with her, and feeding that way, an option for you?

The sore nipples sound like her latch isn't entirely right. If you have a look around at information on the cross-cradle hold, that may help. A poor latch will mean feeding is more work than it could be.

TCOB Thu 15-Sep-11 21:42:27

Not as wonderful on the technical side as some of the other lovely MNetters (BF DS for 6 months before moving to FF and now BFing 14 month DD) but just wanted to write and say please, please, please don't be hard on yourself - give or take the odd bottle you are BFing your baby - you are doing something wonderful for her DESPITE all the problems (and BFing can be fraught to start with, even for the people you see around who look like they were born to do it perfectly) and you are mind-numbingly tired too in a way you'll never be again (well, until more DC come I know it is not approved of - and I desperately don't want to conflict with other advice as I know frequent feeding is critical to getting the supply in and for both of you to get the hang of it all together - but if giving the odd bottle will help you longer-term to keep BFing, then please don't see it as the end of the world. I hope things start to fall into perspective when your lovely man comes along, he sounds fab. BTW your description of let-down sounds similar to mine - but in an odd way I grew to really like the liquid-nitrogen feel of it...weird, I know.

SurprisEs Thu 15-Sep-11 21:47:37

You are not a failure! You are doing the necessary for you ad your child to remain healthy and relatively calm.

My daughter fed for 5 hours on and off one night as she too used to fall asleep feeding. So I know how you feel. I managed to bf for 13 months though, so all is not lost smile

Sounds like the latching/ positioning is going a bit wrong. It may be that she is hungry because she is falling asleep before getting any of the hind milk ( less watery and more filling). Basically she might be getting rid of her thirst but not her hunger. Leaving a leg unclothed so she is slightly cool and less comfy might keep her awake. Change her nappy as she goes to sleep so that she wakes up and feeds again, getting some of that precious hind milk.

Hope the support group goes well tomorrow.

Wish you and your baby the best.

tiktok Fri 16-Sep-11 16:02:44

Aw, shame things are making you feel so bad sad sad

I hope the bf group was helpful. If not, then do make the call(s) to get real life help - it's not really possible from your post to see if this is a baby who is actually fine and bf well and where things would improve with some attention to positioning/attachment, and who just needs to be close day and night (which means you need some help in managing to cope with this and get the rest and sleep you need)....or if there is something else going on, which might need a more 'complex' fix such as a baby with tongue tie.

Sometimes, early breastfeeding does mean frequent feeding, and sometimes babies object hugely to being away from the snuggly warm's not that they literally need feeding all the time, but they cry and fuss when put down to sleep, and then stop crying when they are picked up and fed. This does not mean they were going short of milk, but it does mean they are happiest when not asked to sleep alone.

As I say, hard to know what's going on....but a good breastfeeding counsellor will hep figure it out. Expressing and giving by bottle is usually the most time consuming and difficult way to breastfeed, so obv this would be something you would try to avoid in favour of sorting things so you bf direct smile

Mollcat Fri 16-Sep-11 21:42:47

Hope the group was helpful Viagrafalls. Let us know how you're doing if you get a moment to (I know that isn't always very easy - hopefully you're busy feeding comfortably).

Viagrafalls Sat 17-Sep-11 16:42:36

Well, sorry its taken me so long to get back, I went to the group and there was a problem with my latch, the lady listened to me cry and showed me how to do it better but its so hard when there is no-one else here to help me, Ijust couldn't do it the same and my right nipple is still so sore from this morning, after I fed her it was like shooting pains for about 20 mins through the nipple, I have fed her 2 big feeds today but also 2 of formula as she just wont settle and I'm so tired. I've just left a message with an NCT councillor to call me back, I feel so sick when I look at her having milk from the bottle - its not what I want to do but I'm so tired and feel so drained all the time!!

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