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Breastfeeding has gone totally wrong and I am beyond devastated

(46 Posts)
smk84 Wed 24-Oct-12 19:17:40

I can't explain much more right now, I have been crying for days and can't cope very well. I am sure if you come on mumsnet you will have seen some of my posts. Ds will hardly feed from me now, most of his feeds are formula, by bottle, and I feel like part of me and part of our relationship has died. I feel like no one gets it, and I would give almost anything to be able to go back and try again, but I am in such a state that I am gonna have to give in I think. My whole world is dark right now. I can't bear changing his nappies and every feed is traumatic. Sometimes I can't look at him I feel so bad and disconnected from him. How on earth did we get here?

SmileItsSunny Wed 24-Oct-12 19:20:26

Ah. brew
It is so hard. You poor thing.
I am sure that one of the more experienced posters will be along shortly to give you more practical help.

Don't beat yourself up about it. Have you spoken to Health Visitor, your GP, anyone else about this? It sounds like you may be at risk for PND.

Do you have any other real-life support?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 24-Oct-12 19:21:42

I think there must be more going on than breastfeeding issues here. Have you spoken to your GP or HV?

Figgygal Wed 24-Oct-12 19:22:13

Op u need to go see someone about this. I've seen your previous posts and I was u 8 months ago after bf went tits up by 8wks he refused to feed from me and we went ff as could never pump more than half an oz. I was distraught to finish bf and had terrible guilt but perspective a few months down the line is a healer. Stop beating yourself up so much have u spoken to someone in rl about how u feel today?

FrothyOM Wed 24-Oct-12 19:25:22

Please don't beat yourself up about this.

Breastfeeding can be very hard and this happens to lots of us.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 24-Oct-12 19:25:47

smk has been around all the houses with this, if you've seen any other of her many posts.

I think counselling is really in order now, smk. Are there any services you can access either through the community mental health team or even through your work (if you were working before baby)?


mummywithnosleep Wed 24-Oct-12 19:35:50


Sorry to hear you sound so upset (terrible word but I don´t know another that is more appropriate)

It sounds like you have put a lot of pressure on yourself?

Can I ask a really dumb question? Why can´t you bear to change Ds nappies?

I does sound like some counciling may be a good idea, is it possible that you have PND?

Whilst is does seem like the end of the world, and I know when I went through something not disimilar (only I had health problems so had to give up feeding) I felt like the ONE thing I should be able to do was "taken" away from me. That I was the ONE letting DD down, as I couldn´t feed her PROPERLY, and no one seemed to understand, it was all "as long as they are thriving" etc. I felt very alone.

But DD did thrive, and I learnt other ways to be close to her. We used to have lots of lots of cuddles and baths together, which helped.

Could you maybe let someone else do some of the FF feeds? Just to take a little pressure off of you?

I´m sure someone much more helpful than me will be along in a mo,

You sound like you are doing a great job at being a mum (I would n´t have believed it when I had to stop feeding DD, but I had to say it to you anyway, cause I beleive it)

spicandspan Wed 24-Oct-12 19:49:16

Yes I agree with other posters that there is more going on for you than breastfeeding here.

It IS horrid when you have to stop Bfeeding when you don't want to.

A seperate thing is how you are feeling about your baby and yourself. Crying for days and feeling disconnected from him are signs that you might be having some PND symptoms. I had PND and denied it, refused all help. Looking back I so wish I had tried to get some help, for my sake and my baby's. The fact you might have to stop Bfeeding does not make you any less of a mummy to your lovely baby, he needs you just as much -and he needs you strong and well and resiliant.

You sound like you need to talk to someone about this. Go to your gp and ask for help, but if you need to talk about it right now, call the samaritans.
08457 90 90 90
they are there for anyone in distress, not just people who are suicidal.

balkanscot Wed 24-Oct-12 20:12:15

smk, I was in a similar boat 3 months ago. Couldn't even bear to look at my DH feeding our DS bottles, I just kept staring out of the window, with my back turned to both of them. Then started obsessing about other aspects of feeding (I was expressing and ran myself into the ground with it) and slowly came to realise that I was sliding deeper and deeper into PND's clutches.

After a really supportive HV and GP I am now well enough to be able to enjoy my DS and am finally feeding him with reasonable confidence (FF). Still feeling a bit wobbly if I see a woman BF in a cafe or playgroup though.

Please, please seek help - these feelings you are experiencing can be overwhelmingly devastating (they were so strong for me that I literally thought I was going insane). You will overcome them in time. My thoughts are with you. Thinking of you and good luck.

pigletmania Wed 24-Oct-12 20:28:13

Smk you need to get professional help. Have you spoken to your HV?

gemmeg Wed 24-Oct-12 20:36:12

You poor thing. I can understand where you're coming from. My DS was small when he was born, he lost too much weight then developed jaundice. I was so determined to BF that I was devastated when I was told I would have to bottle feed until DS had put on weight. I was giving him expressed milk at first but as my mood sank, I stopped producing enough milk and was then told to give him formular on top of the dribble of breast milk from me. I went home from hospital after 6 days with the baby blues and utterly upset that I may not be able to feed my DS properly.


I contacted La Leche Liga and a volunteer came to visit me at my home. She gave me advice that was very different to that from the hospital (i.e how to solve the BFing issue and not alternatives). My mood lifted, my DS started to drink properly and my milk supply increased. I am still BFing now and my DS is 1 year old. I visit a LLL group once a month where we discuss all aspects of BFing and one thing our group leader tells us time and again is that MOST BFING ISSUES CAN BE SOLVED WITH THE RIGHT ADVICE. We often talk of this "downward spiral" some mothers can get into wherby their milk supply drops as a result of additional formular feeding, but worried their baby isn't getting enough milk from them they increase the bottle-feeding thus further decreasing milk supply. Also, the fact that you are really down will also affect your milk and your baby's readiness to drink from you. I urge you to contact LLL. Type it into your search engine and I'm sure you can find contact info. Perhaps once you get some sound advice on how to get your baby to BF it will go some way to helping the depressionyou feel right now. If you can tell me anything more about your situation, maybe I can pass on some of the advice I have received.
How did this situation begin? How old is DS now?

aamia Wed 24-Oct-12 20:54:40

Thinking of you. I'd stake large amounts of cash on you having PND. Get help and the whole world will seem a better place. You'll reconnect with your gorgeous baby, bf/not won't seem like the end of the world any more and you'll be happy again. Please talk to someone soon smile.

Ouchy Wed 24-Oct-12 21:08:21

I've been here before, for similar reasons to yours. I didn't want to stop bf but had no choice. It completely broke my heart. I didn't know how else to comfort or be close to my baby boy. I was a mess.

But I got through it and so will you. You will find other ways to comfort, be close etc. you sound like a wonderful mother. Fast forward 2.2years and me and ds are still so close, with a fantastic relationship.

It caused pnd for me. You need to talk to someone close perhaps? I was lucky to get lots of emotional support from my mum, which I needed. You need some too, you are going through a lot. Once you're more back to your normal self, feeling brighter, you will see in time how happy you make your little one, and you will have a great relationship.

Private message me if you want. You will get through this and you and your baby will have a brilliant time together xx

whenwill Wed 24-Oct-12 21:09:18

Oh sad I feel so sad for you. (Did you think anymore about getting help around the house? Maybe just a housekeeper/cook for a while so you don't have to bother with it all). Do you have other adults around you much?

You know, I have worked with a lot of mums and all ff. It was easier for them in a sense because it was within their control. They just either decided to do it from the start or made their peace with it very early (and you have actually bf for ages really; much longer if you count in effort). They thought in pros and cons (e.g. I'm struggling) and made it their decision that was then made and done with and that was that. Any feelings of guilt where still there but more like 'that's the terrible cost of ff but it is still the decision and has been made and taken effect'. I'm not explaining well.

You have tried so hard to bf and had so many hopes at all stages (probably this forum gave you these too at times) but you have ended up giving formula anyway (so your son could eat and be healthy! It is not, after all, poison). So it will be harder to let go as ff has been gradual and temporary in your thoughts and feelings and so letting go will be gradual too. Your ds couldn't help the way he is and it is not you.

I don't think this forum is representative of the majority of bf views around. No matter how much you rate bf yourself, other people's opinions are bound to affect you; whether they try to encourage you to bf with their expectations that it is doable (and therefore give you lots of advice, support and ideas that can't work for you); or whether they say, it's fine, just ff (and therefore sometimes seem not to completely understand). E.g. I might acknowledge 'now you are ff' and this sounds almost impossible for even me to accept! so must be way more so for you. Your post title doesn't even say ff but focuses on 'not bf'. All these views are hard to hear when you are struggling and it can't necessarily make things easier for you pressure-wise; though having people there is always good!

I think your boy will not mind in the slightest when he is older and you have (compared to many others) such a rich and large experiential relationship with him due to all you have gone through together. Draw the line here if you feel it is time. He would be so touched you went through all this but enough already.

oh, i had some other things to say but can't remember them and I've gone on long enough. Please talk in rl to someone, it may not be just about the bf but it has been your constant focus for so long. If you let it go, where would you be then?

smk84 Wed 24-Oct-12 21:37:49

Thank you everyone. Yes I do have pnd, have known for a long time, but was really hoping it wasn't going to happen again and was trying to stave it off. Have been on ad s for about 2weeks, no improvement but. Know it takes time. Have self referred to the depression and anxiety service, and been having a 30min phonecall every 2 weeks with psychological well being practitioner, which has been no help. Also had 8 sessions of therapy with a counsellor who thought exploring the past would help. According to her my levels of anxiety mixed with bf would be causing 'poisoned mothers milk'! So not sure what else I can do now. I think it's easy to slip so far down without realising it. Now I know, I hopefully can remember what helped me last time, and start to take some steps in the right direction. Stopping giving bm to ds would be a hard decision, as when I got to a point of drying up with ds1, it caused me to slip into the depths of a very dark depression and I spent the best part of a year trying to relactate. On the other hand where we are now, trying to bf, then bottle, then trying to feed again and I between all of that trying t express..... Not really gonna help either I think. Thank you so much for reading and for your comments.

luckysocks Wed 24-Oct-12 21:39:21

Oh smk sad

I hover around here occasionally and I remember your posts from when my DD was small and I was also struggling with feeding.

Feeding our babies is such an emotional area and the benefits of breastmilk are drilled into us so strongly. I don't know the whole story but it seems to me that you have done BRILLIANTLY.

It also sounds as if you have been on an emotional rollercoaster and I agree that some of what you've said suggests that some RL support would be a good thing.

luckysocks Wed 24-Oct-12 21:41:38

sorry, x post.

It sounds like you're having a really tough time.

Fairylea Wed 24-Oct-12 21:46:12


I'm the other end of it all... I struggled for 6 long and miserable weeks to feed dd when she was a baby and I felt utterly bereft I wasn't able to make a success of it. I am sure it contributed to the terrible pnd I developed.

Fast forward 9 years - yep years ! - and honestly the fact I formula fed doesn't matter one jot. I know it seems HUGE now but really feeding them from a bottle or a boob is a tiny part of parenting. Hold yourlo close, look into their big eyes and let them enjoy the bottle. You can have the same bonding feeling. Trust me.

You need to make peace with yourself .. I enjoyed bottle feeding so much that when I had ds 4 months ago I knew from the start that I would bottle feed and it completely took away all the stress for me.

Please please don't let how you feed your baby become overwhelming. Your baby won't judge you for it.

PeerieMootsMum Wed 24-Oct-12 21:50:18

Couldn't read and run you sound so desperate sad - big virtual hug to you.

I've seen quite a few of your posts and you have been battling so hard with this. Do you have a DP who can take over all the feeding tonight and let you get a solids night sleep, don't think this will fix things but may help a little.

You def need some RL help for poss PND I've seen my DSis go through it twice and it was like a black cloud and awful for us all - but it did get better and she now has a fantastic relationship with her kids.

Regarding the feeding if you do go full FF please don't look at it as 'giving in' you have really been through the mill with this and you've done amazing to get this far. Your relationship with DS is most important thing and if this is truly coming between you then maybe it is time to consider stopping - FF is a better alternative than a traumatised mum.

Also I'm not by any means a expert but if you are this stressed and upset its likely to be both affecting your supply and baby desire to latch. Can you set aside time for mummy cuddles with skin to skin where it doesn't matter if feeding happens or not - maybe with less pressure it might help.

Realise that's a bit garbled and prob no help but just want to offer any support I can. Hope things get better soon x

PeerieMootsMum Wed 24-Oct-12 21:55:55

Sorry took forever typing that on iPhone - glad you're getting help x

NorthernBabe Wed 24-Oct-12 22:00:25


Sending you a big hug, your post really touched me. I found it really hard to bf my baby initially and remember feeling so low about it. As Fairylea says you're baby won't mind if you go with the ff - they wont remember. As long as you're both happy that's all that counts and you're baby healthy and putting on weight.

Things will look up x

manitz Wed 24-Oct-12 22:08:23

hi i'm sorry i haven't read your other posts on bf but with both dd's I struggled to feed and after expressing (fuck all) for about a month and sobbing my eyes out (dd1 also dairy protein allergy) I fed her nutramigen with cocoa powder from a bottle. Anyway to keep up the feeling of bf, I would always bf morning and evening but I was aware it was not a food source.

I know that might not help as you and others have said this seems to be about more than bf and counselling is a good idea. dd1 is now 9 and I really couldn't care less how I fed her 9 years on but i wish she'd stop bloody whining

tiktok Wed 24-Oct-12 22:09:03

sad smk, I have said before you sound as if you need very specific help and support with your emotional needs and mental health....the counsellor is wrong about anxiety levels causing 'poisoned' milk....utter rubbish. If you can - and I have suggested this before - see if you can get more than counselling and actual therapy from an infant mental health specialist, if there is a service in your area. These therapists work with mothers, and enable them to 'connect' with their babies.

Feeding has become the focus of your grief and good therapy will help you go beyond that.

smornintime Wed 24-Oct-12 22:24:23

How old is DS?

SarryB Wed 24-Oct-12 22:54:42

O smk, please make a bigger fuss and get more help. You should be getting more help than one 30 minute phonecall every 2 weeks. You should be talking to someone in the perinatal department.

Feeding a baby is only one part of being a mother. Think of all the other things you can do - have baths together, baby massage, loads of skin to skin naps, carrying the wee one in a sling etc etc etc!!

Set yourself a deadline. That's how I got through. I would say to myself "if I'm still feeling hollow about BF next Sunday, I will stop."
Then it would get to that Sunday, and I would think "we're doing well, I'll go for another week".

Have you looked up D-MER? There's a fab link- , and it really helped me explain how I felt about BF, I felt hollow, empty, anxious, paranoid, secretive (I told my partner I'd stopped trying to feed, but I was still trying and he walked in on us!) no connection to the baby at all. 6 months later, and I still feel the same way when I feed, but the worry has gone. To be honest, I feel much 'closer' to the baby when I bottle feed him. I'm just stubborn I guess!

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