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Anyone else feel a bit down about being a FFer?

(20 Posts)
blacktreaclecat Thu 20-Sep-12 08:37:23

DS is 14 weeks and has been FF since birth. He was 4 weeks early and "we couldn't get him to latch onto the breast. At the time I was happy with the decision. We had to feed him something, H and I were both FF and expressing sounded very difficult. Plus it was never mentioned as an option by the hospital. It was only later I wondered if I should maybe express and it was too late really.
I'm back on the pill so couldn't relactate even if I wanted to which I don't.
We have had a few problems settling him onto a formula. He was on SMA LF for a while. Now he is on Cow and Gate and seems ok. He is a very happy easy baby now, settled, sleeps well, lots of smiles and coos.
He has mild baby eczema and a bit of reflux but the reflux is a lot better now than it was newborn.
So why do I feel so rubbish about FF? There is so much breast is best stuff about and it makes me feel awful.
I try to avoid the subject. I make sure I don't look at friends if they are bf (only polite really- who stares at their friends boobs!).
Anyone else feel this way and when does it get better?

CherryBlossom27 Thu 20-Sep-12 08:46:08

I felt the same too! For me, I thought it would be straightforward to breastfeed as it's natural and therefore should be easy. I was fully sold on all the health benefits of breastfeeding too! In reality when DS arrived it was so awful, he wouldn't latch on and was screaming and turning bright red as he was hungry and getting nothing. We had 5 different midwives trying to help getting him latched on and it just wasn't happening.

Please don't waste time feeling bad like I did, honestly, there is no point and your baby is happy and healthy - that's the only important thing.

I think when I started weaning DS onto solids was when I started feeling better as I could choose what to feed him whereas bottle feeding didn't seem like a choice.

blacktreaclecat Thu 20-Sep-12 08:54:02

I won't wean very early and don't want to wish time away (they are so lovely little). I'm looking forward to weaning though. Will make sure he gets very healthy food, organic if possible. That'll make up for no breast milk I reckon
Thanks cherry blossom

Rhubarb78 Thu 20-Sep-12 09:02:42

I was devastated when I changed to ff. Ds, however was thriving, happy and so much more content. I ruined a precious time because I felt like a failure for not bfing. I dont regret it now, he is the picture of health and a very happy baby (doesnt seem to be that bothered about not bfing). My ds had a bit of mild baby eczema too but its completely gone now, also has reflux but had that when just on breast milk so don't think thats got anything to do with formula. I was expressing but stopped when he was more awake and it meant me ignoring him to pump milk. Forget about the bfing, be a ff mum and proud that you did the best for your baby!

tiktok Thu 20-Sep-12 10:29:11

blacktreaclecat, it's normal to feel sad about decisions and choices we made that did not work out - and I think it can be especially painful with feeding because you face it every day.

I think it can also make things difficult when formula is not problem-free - like in your case you had some problems finding the 'right' formulation for him.

The fact he is smiley and settled will make your feelings easier to cope with - you're getting great feedback that he is happy and that he doesn't bear you any grudges smile smile

You may have discovered this already, but mothers newer to ff may not have: bottle feeding can be close, responsive, tactile and rewarding, and part of an expression of love....just as bf can be. Feeding is so much a major part of a young baby's life and way of 'connecting' with you, and you both deserve to enjoy it however the milk is 'delivered'.

(What makes me sad is to see bottle fed babies passed round like a parcel, so other people can have 'a turn', or because they are 'helping' even mid-feed, as if it didn't matter much. When this happens a lot, it does matter.)

balkanscot Thu 20-Sep-12 12:16:31

In my mind there was never any doubt that I wouldn't BF when I was pregnant, it just seemed the most natural thing to do. Reality, however, turned out to be very different: long & protracted labour ending in forceps delivery, milk coming in late, and BF actually proved to be much trickier than one is led to believe. After attending numerous BF clinics and having paid for a private BF consultant to help me attach DS in the privacy of my own home, I have decided to pump. In the end pumping so many times a day nearly cost me my sanity and brought the worst out in me (I became obsessed with how much EBM he was having and had thoughts of him becoming malnourished and dying if he didn't have the amount I thought he should have been having).

After 14 weeks I finally made a decision to fully FF. Like you, OP, I still can't bear myself to look at women who BF at playgroups, health forums, etc., but only because I still feel a touch of sadness for not being able to do the same. At one point I wasn't even able to look at my breasts because they seemed a reminder of being there but not actually performing what they were designed to do. All this despite knowing that the decision I made to FF is the right one.

I think I was just not prepared for the shock of discovering that I wasn't able to BF (i.e., that it didn't work out).

tiktok, I agree with you wholeheartedly, especially with the last paragraph: I was very clear that I didn't want anyone to "have a turn" feeding my DS, only me and DH (not sure if this BF/FF stuff had something to do with it). With an occasional feed from grandparents when we went out (2-3 times altogether).

blacktreaclecat Thu 20-Sep-12 12:17:20

Thanks.
I do feed him in a very cuddly way and look into his eyes. Only me and DH feed him and my mum has looked after him a few times (hair appts!) so she has too a few times.

MiniPopsMum2012 Thu 20-Sep-12 13:17:59

I know how you feel blackcat, Minipop was born 10 weeks early and although i expressed and bottle fed BM for as long as I could, my milk started dwindling just as his appetite increased. I stopped expressing two weeks ago, after 14 weeks, and I can't talk about the whole breastfeeding fiasco without lots of tears.

I feel a complete failure, and its not because I didnt want to breastfeed, I really did, and just assumed I would be able too, but in reality it was an awful experience during a very traumatic time.

What makes it worse is every time we have any sort of baby-related appt they always ask if he is breastfed, and I have to explain my inadequate body functions all over again.. sad Although I feel proud that I could express for the first 14 weeks, which I think were the most important.

Minipop is fully FF now, and we have a lovely time during feeding, it's special Mummy-time.

He has reflux and skin problems, but these are due to being so premature - he was 3.2lb when born, and is now 12.7lbs, so has caught up weight-wise for his corrected age.

To be honest, when he is hungry he just wants milk, I dont think he minds where it comes from :D

tiktok Thu 20-Sep-12 13:28:58

mini, so few babies born as early as this get breastmilk for that length of time....when someone asks you if he is breastfed, how about saying 'yes - he got my breastmilk for three and a half months' and say it loud and proud smile

Practise it!

MiniPopsMum2012 Thu 20-Sep-12 13:33:29

Ahh thanks Tiktok, I will remember to say that, I didn't think of it that way. grin

20wkbaby Thu 20-Sep-12 13:50:15

I ended up FF DD1 from 7 weeks old and I felt really torn about making the decision but looking back it was the only thing I could have done to preserve my sanity.

I had terribly cracked nipples as a result prob. of bad latch initially as well as almost constant feeding so they never healed, I got mastitis, tried to express but that was almost as painful for my boobs. I dreaded each and every feed and if I hadn't had to take my mixed emotions into account would have stopped breastfeeding much earlier. I cried buckets right up until I decided to swap to bottles. As soon as I made that decision and started her on bottles for every feed I felt a massive relief and could enjoy feeding her and looked forward to her waking up - that to me was worth more than anything and shouldn't be underestimated as a positive thing to do for your baby.

There is a lot of talk about breast is best and a lot of us assume that because it is natural it will be easy and unfortunately some people without experience of the difficulties still judge. All I can say is if had had DD2 first I might have been one of those people as although feeding her was not all plain sailing she wouldn't let me give up till she was nine months old!

I have seen both sides of the story, and although I would say if all else was equal and there were no other factors involved then breastmilk is the best thing for your baby, real life is rarely like this. Don't question yourself - success in breastfeeding is not an indicator of how much you love your baby, the fact that you are worrying about it shows how much you want the best for your him - breastmilk is a very small part of this compared to all the challenges you will be facing for him during his lifetime.

20wkbaby Thu 20-Sep-12 13:53:13

Can I just add that having experienced both sides I would categorically say that breast feeding does not mean a greater bonding experience between you and your baby. It is a lovely way to feed when it works out well but with DD1 the best thing I did for her to help our bond was to bottle feed. Dreading feeds or being distracted by pain is not conducive to bonding.

EasilyBored Thu 20-Sep-12 17:50:38

I BFed DS for 12 weeks in the end. He was a good feeder in the beginning, and piled on the weight. He was also a 'happy puker' and threw up all.the.time, so he also ate all.the.time. I know little babies do feed a huge amount, but he literally wanted to feed every minute of the day. He started thrashing around a lot at the breast, scratching and hitting me and throwing himself away from me (while still latched on) and screaming when the milk presumably wasn't coming fast enough. He would do this for hours at a time, then when he was finally finished, promptly projectile vomit all over me, and then want to feed again. I dreaded feeding him, I was fed up, frustrated and starting to hate having to feed him or spend any time with him. Everyone said that as long as he was putting on weight that there 'wasn't a problem'. I just couldn't take it anymore,and started mix feeding and expressing, and eventually one day (I was down to just BFing twice or three times a day) I just made him a bottle instead of BFing, it was like I didn't even make the decision, I just did it. I felt so relieved and started to enjoy my DS. He was still a difficult feeder until he was about 6 months old, but I felt much more relaxed about it knowing I could just go and make more milk, or ask DH to feed him.

I still get a bit of the guilt when I see my friends BFing, and whenever DS gets a cold I have a little 'what if...' moment. But I don't let it get to me beyond that because it's pointless, DS is thriving and happy and very loved, and that's enough.

Figgygal Thu 20-Sep-12 20:01:13

Op I struggled for 8wks with bf readmitted to hospital day 5 started top ups in hope of increasing supply with demand feeding, fenugreek had latch checked was beautiful , nct bf support etc but at end of day breasts didn't change in size despite 3 stone weight gain, they didn't get hard or sore, didn't feel anything although there was some milk the top ups just got bigger and he refused breast more often than not. Eventually I only was keeping going so I could say to dr at 8wk check that I was so 2 days before I just decided no more as I, dh and DS were just getting worked up over it.

DS is now 9mo and all of the stress and guilt of it is far behind us. I still feel sad at times but that's easier to deal with than the irrational guilt!! You will get there too

blacktreaclecat Thu 20-Sep-12 21:29:39

Hi mini pops mum- you are doing something right, he is a cutie smile
I think I would have felt better to have given a few weeks of bf. I believe that those first few weeks are the most important for immune etc. My intention was never to be a 100% BFer for many months but I wanted to try and see how it went.
I just feel rubbish - like the other day when he was diagnosed with baby eczema I felt it was my fault because he didn't get that early bf. although I know realistically this is stupid- I had baby eczema and grew out of it by age 2 so he will probably be the same and would have been the same even if bf.

chaosandcupcakes Fri 21-Sep-12 18:13:24

Reading these posts is reassuring other people out there are feeling the same. Dd is almost three weeks old and she refused to latch from day 1. Countless midwifed tried to get her to latch in hospital and actually I think she was traumatised by them pushing her head on. She screamed and thrashed and still does if I try to get her to latch on. We started topping up and expressing in hospital and we still are today. I have dairy allergies and had bad excema as a child so really wanted to breastfeed but she won't and having her scream at my breast like its torture is very upsetting. I cried and cried for 2 weeks about it and the visiting midwifes though I was getting pnd but starting to realise she is quite happy with some formula and some breastmilk. She shows no preference and yes cuddling up with her while I bottle feed her is lovely.

I'm well impressed with people saying they expressed for 14 weeks, I'm struggling at nearly 3, really want to try and go to 6 though.

Spuddybean Fri 21-Sep-12 19:23:55

Reading these posts has made me feel a bit better. I have a thread on here (no milk in left boob) about my failures with breastfeeding. I also had a traumatic forceps delivery and I have an inverted left nipple. I am currently struggling with bf and contemplating giving up. I'm finding that contrary to being a bonding experience, bf is making me anxious and upset. I dread DS waking up and needing a feed. I can't face leaving the house because feeding is so difficult i couldn't do it in public. So i am missing out of fun stuff i could be doing with DS. I am going to persevere for another week and then take stock. (DS is 10 days old).

I also thought it would be natural, and i admit i judged those who didn't bf. Which i think is par of the problem. I don't want people to look at me and think i didn't do what was best for DS. This is one of the hardest things i've ever had to do and i am not making the decision lightly.

SarryB Sat 22-Sep-12 14:31:18

Minipop you don't have to explain yourself when someone asks whether you BF. You just say, "nope, he's formula fed". And leave it at that.

It is far more important for a baby to have a mentally healthy mother in my opinion, all you ladies are fab!

EMS23 Sat 22-Sep-12 15:48:15

I'm currently bf'ing my 1 week old DD2 after completely failing to bf DD1. She was small born, traumatic forceps delivery etc etc.. Wouldn't latch, had to be nose tube fed due to low blood sugar etc..
At the time, my failure to bf sent me into PND. I ruined the first 6 months by being so fixated on that aspect of her care. It eased slightly at weaning.

But till this week, when DD2 was born, I always felt it was my fault for not trying hard enough.

Then DD2 arrived, latched on beautifully and basically hasn't stopped bf'ing since. I was so happy, finally saw that what happened with DD1 wasn't all my fault and some babies do struggle to get the hang if bf'ing.

BUT.... I'm finding bf'ing awful. She feeds constantly, I'm in so much pain and I'm dreading her waking up or being near me. I want to give up but knowing how badly it affected me last time is making me persevere.
I almost wish she would reject the breast and make this decision for me. I just want to enjoy my new baby but I'm in constant pain and can't even cuddle DD1 because my whole chest area is on fire with the pain.

I wish I didn't have this awful history with bf'ing and I could just give it up, guilt free. But I don't want to go back into PND & feeling like a constant failure and being embarrassed to FF in public or spend the whole time telling people why I'm not bf'ing, even when they haven't asked!

It's such an emotive subject and unfortunately I think we do ourselves no favours in getting so fixated on it. It's only one aspect of a lifetime of caring for your child.

Willsmum79 Sun 23-Sep-12 09:28:16

Don't feel bad OP!

I had similar problems - Will wouldn't latch on and after a month of him grazing for 12 hours between 5pm and 4am, I went onto FF. It was best all round because it was tearing my sanity apart and that is definitely not good for an infant!

He has always been a fussy feeder - never takes the required amount and seems to prefer feeding between 7pm and 7am even now at nearly 9 months!

Sadly there are people 'out there' who judge us on our choices and will make no secret of doing so. But if you look at this way, would you be able to identify the BF children in a class of reception children? You cannot tell who was BF and who was FF. As long as your baby is thriving and in good health why the hell should it matter? Yes we all know 'breast is best' but formula is NOT poison and will not do your child any harm.

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