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Did I waste DS's early days by exclusively expressing?

(20 Posts)
sharond101 Wed 23-Jan-13 21:53:53

DS was unable to suckle due to a medical condition and I was encouraged to express milk for him by the maternity ward nurses. I was super keen to breastfeed so went along with it and every three hours expressed milk for him and fed through a bottle. I found the first 3-4 months of motherhood really difficult and happened to mention this to a friend today who seemed to enjoy every minute of it. I did enjoy it but looking back I was so stressed out and never had time to do anything. DS hated being left to watch me pump milk and I was restricted going out because I would get so uncomfortable. I cut down expressing 2-3 months ago and now only do it twice per day. I love being a Mum now and have more time to enjoy my DS as well as doing things around the house that need doing and going out more leisurely.

I feel sad to think I may have did the wrong thing. Would I have enjoyed it more and been less stressed out if I had ff or would I have been in the same boat? On the positive side DS loves his milk (and food now) and has never had a cold, sickness bug or infection so I believe the breastmilk has done him well medically I am just so upset now that I have messed up the first few months and will never get those precious days back.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 23-Jan-13 22:02:31

Oh God. Loads of mothers don't enjoy the early days at the time, only on reflection. They're damn hard whatever you do.

Just my opinion but I think you would have felt pretty much the same had you been making up formula with all that entails, or even bfing directly.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 23-Jan-13 22:04:12

I don't think you can know - I pushed myself to breastfeed and suffered a lot of stress as a result, my friend gave formula and tormented herself for not breastfeeding.

It was a herculean task you achieved - fully expressing for four months. You should feel proud of your achievement. No one has time to do much with a newborn anyway.

moondog Wed 23-Jan-13 22:07:05

Unbelievable, the amount of effort you put in.
What incredible tenacity and devotion.

I don't feel that the early days of having a baby were particularly nice (most were downright horrid on reflection) but that is the way it is for, I would imagine, a great deal of us.

Be so proud of yourself for what you did.

jkklpu Wed 23-Jan-13 22:08:01

Dpn't think about it; look forwards and enjoy your relationship now.

jkklpu Wed 23-Jan-13 22:08:19

*Don't - sorry

stifnstav Wed 23-Jan-13 22:28:56

You did what was best for you at the time. I did the same, expressing every few hours for 15 weeks. DS had tongue tie. He wouldn't entertain bfing even after it was rectified, even with shields, babymoons, skin to skin, I tried it all.

The supply was there, the demand was there - we just had a problem with distribution!

DH had to do the nightfeeds while I expressed the next one, to "get ahead" by one feed every time.

Then there's the storing the milk, sterilising the bottles and the pump, getting chilled milk to the right temp, blah blah blah, so exhausting and that's before getting round to feeding the milk to the little blighter!

It came to a head for me when I realised I was spending up to six hours a day hooked up to the dairy farm, as I called it, before all the other stuff. DS was just feet away on his baby gym but may as well have been in a different room. I wanted to be with him, not just observing.

So I gave up. The difference wasn't huge, but it mattered. But I honestly don't think it mattered to him, iyswim. It was also a case of giving myself permission to stop. I had to accept that I'd done enough, when deep down I felt that I hadn't done enough. I bloody well had!

Looking back now, its a bit of a blur, not sure how we functioned. But isn't it the same for all new parents?

I really don't regret doing it, neither should you.

Don't feel bad about your choices, accept that what's done is done and enjoy your baby! (sorry, long!)

SamSmalaidh Wed 23-Jan-13 22:34:40

You gave your baby the very best start in life.

You might have formula fed and then regretted it, and found there was no going back. Or your DS might have reacted badly to formula, been constipated and miserable, got a stomach bug etc etc.

As far as I can tell, few people find the first 3 months beautiful and enjoyable grin

DerbyNottsLeicsNightNanny Wed 23-Jan-13 22:41:56

I expressed for the first 7 weeks but if I could turn back time I would have ff from day one. It took so much time - time to pump, added to time to feed, added to time to sterilise etc. I did it because I felt under pressure to bf even though I knew it wasn't for me. Am pregnant with dc2 and plan to ff - a lot of people won't approve but I'm a lot more confident in doing what I know is best for me this time round rather than doing what is expected. As with all stages in my sons life though (he is now 3), I think you are always wise after the event, and I think the first few months are bloody hard regardless of how you feed

TwelveLeggedWalk Wed 23-Jan-13 22:48:56

I can really empathise with this. I had the most complicated feeding schedule of anyone I've ever known grin, but I had two poorly premmie babies get through their first winter without getting ill and I have to focus on that.

If I had my time again would I do the same thing? I don't know, because when you are in that place of looking after a newborn I think you are acting 90 per cent on instinct, so although rationally I can see that there were drawbacks, it was what i felt i HAD to do at the time, so I would never have done anything different.

I hope that makes some sort of sense!

Strikeuptheband Wed 23-Jan-13 22:59:50

I exclusively expressed for both children, 6 months each. Actually DD could BF directly but wasn't at all efficient at it. And yes, sometimes I look back on the madness of it all and wish I could have just FF...but then I also remember that DS was premature and that the milk probably helped him a lot. He didn't have so much as the snuffles for 7 months, he was soo healthy. Maybe the breastmilk helped. DD was harder as I had a toddler as well. She now has ASD - and do you know, I find myself beating myself up that I didn't make enough eye contact due to having to express so much, all the attempts at breastfeeding (unsuccessful), being so tired I had to play on my laptop or phone while feeding, etc etc. No idea whether it helped or hindered - DD had a little formula because there were some times I had not expressed yet and she was hungry - so I fed her rather than let her scream.
Those first months were hard both times. I wish I knew (like you) i they were worth it. I think mostly it was. But for what it's worth, I met loads of other mums who were breastfeeding directly and had had all sorts of problems that they worried had stopped them bonding, or were stuck on the sofa feeding for one hour in every ninety minutes. So many people have issues that interfere with those first months as well.

Weissdorn Thu 24-Jan-13 07:53:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Weissdorn Thu 24-Jan-13 07:56:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Weissdorn Thu 24-Jan-13 07:58:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JollyRedGiant Thu 24-Jan-13 08:02:07

The vast majority of people find the early days difficult. I am of with DC2 and panicking slightly about going through those first 4 months again. I don't think it is due to the choices you made.

I exclusively expressed for a short while and it is bloody hard work, so well done for doing it for so long. The health benefits to baby are proven smile

sharond101 Thu 24-Jan-13 08:46:42

I just feel so confused whether it's regret or frustration I cannot decide. DS is 8mo and I still express two thirds of his feeds and ff the rest. I love all we do now and hate to think I could have enjoyed those days too.

throckenholt Thu 24-Jan-13 09:29:12

You didn't do the wrong thing - you did the best you could at the time with the information you had. You didn't do the control experiment so you have no idea how things would have gone if you formula fed instead of expressing. You have no idea of the long term benefit your DS may have had from EBM.

Don't beat yourself up. Being a parent is doing the best you can at the time.

sharond101 Thu 24-Jan-13 13:41:07

Thank you all for the kind words. I saw a friend this morning and she breastfed her baby. Both our babies are teething and at some point in morning each got a little upset. My DS just cries on when I try to comfort him whilst friend's DS finds his mothers hugs soothing. I then got upset as I think this is because breastfeeding worked out for her and she now has a more physical bond with her baby. I must be thinking this out too much and driving myself insane!

throckenholt Thu 24-Jan-13 13:54:49

I think you are over thinking it. Babies vary from each other and from time to time. Maybe you baby was just not happy, or cuddling wasn't what would help (often it doesn't) - teething gel may have made the difference in this instance, or a clean nappy, or winding, or something else.

Don't compare with what you think you see with others - there is always more that is hidden. No-one gets it perfectly right.

Bottom line - you are feeding him, keeping him warm, and interacting with him. Most babies don't need much more - apart from a mum who is not asking too much of herself.

Andcake Thu 24-Jan-13 17:13:30

Poor you. But well done for trying so hard - expressing mums are caught in the middle of the ff\bf battle and its hard.
I exclusively expressed for a while and am now in the process of stopping completely after doing 2 pumps a day for the last month. Although hard on you arms I found for some pumps a manual allowed me to sit on the floor with him on the baby gym or sometimes ( this sounds mad) I sing along to the sound of the pump to keep ds amused. Counting or doing the alphabet works! I also find ways of cuddling when I pump and I think bottle feeing has meant we have great eye contact and he gets to have a good look around when were out not stuck under a cover.
I am stopping pumping completely as I now realise as we get close to weaning its going to be impossible to cope in the morning whilst pumping. I am sure some of thebf advocates will tell me I'm abusing my child by ff but like you I want to spend more time with and enjoy my baby. I have cried my eyes out about it all stopping/not stopping but the newborn stage is hard and we have to make the best choices we can. In hindsight I don't regret it, wish I could have bf but I can't change it only make the best of now. You have worked harder than many other mums to give the best.

Make sure you stay well as you drop pumps at first I got mastitus and I felt I would end up pumping forever.cue more tears at the gp's!

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