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Breastfeeding gets harder the longer I do it but everywhere says it should get easier

(20 Posts)
IdaClair Thu 02-May-13 19:25:19

I've now done both - FF one baby, BF the next. I've always been told if you put in the effort with BF in the beginning it gets easier. But it doesn't - it gets harder and harder. FFing wass a total breeze for me compared to the constant trauma of BF.

I'm now in the process of stopping BF, I've given in, and even that is hard and I feel utterly crap about it and like I have failed my DD. I've struggled and struggled and nothing to show for it apart from an upset baby.

MoreSnowPlease Thu 02-May-13 19:39:28

Sorry you're finding it so hard. I think for most people it does get easier but it can take a lot longer tan the prescribed 6 weeks. Lots of problems can get in the way too, have you posted about the issues you are having or had any outside help?

How old is your Dd now?

chocoluvva Thu 02-May-13 19:42:18

You've done really really well to give your baby the benefits of your breast milk. You can't usually see the benefits, but they'll be there.

What's making you feel that your baby would be happier with FF?

QuietNinjaTardis Thu 02-May-13 19:43:07

You haven't failed your dd. I found the technique of breast feeding easy but after 3 months where I was still getting engorged and I was exhausted and still feeling uncomfortable breast feeding that first bottle of formula was a big relief.
I will give it another go and seek help from mumsnet this time but if its the same then I will probably mix feed quite happily.

IdaClair Thu 02-May-13 20:11:00

Thanks, I'm sorry for the pity party. I've had advice but nothing seems to help.

I'm not sure that DD will be happier with FF, really, I'm not sure I will either, but we're both miserable at the moment.

DD is 8 months now, and we started out with refusal to latch, cup feeding, then syringe feeding and pumping, then large weight loss and failure to thrive. Diagnosed tongue and lip tie which was snipped.
I resisted the advice to supplement because of the weight, then was told by doctor and HV to stop BF completely but kept going anyway until eventually DD was put under the paed and treated for severe reflux and the paed supported me to BF. In between all this I had mastitis, then infective mastitis, then thrush for both of us, and I also had a hormonal response to BFing which made me feel nauseous every time she latched on for the first 8 weeks or so. Then there was the winter vomiting bug which DD got even though I BF her, when I was told not to feed her (again) by the same doctor. We've struggled the whole time with refusal to latch, seemingly randomly, and we still are, some days she will not feed at all, some nights she does the same, and there is no consoling her, I end up juggling her screaming with pumping to get milk for a bottle which she WILL take. She scratches and struggles and arches off me when I try to BF her like I'm upsetting her. Because of all the problems I struggle with supply, I've taken herbs and done extra pumping twice a day for months to keep it up. Most recently we're going through teething, she is now biting me, I am bleeding. I have been studying since she was a few weeks old and back at work for a few weeks now. She has bottles when I can't be with her, and takes up to 15oz of my freezer stash in a day, and is settled for DH, but if she was with me she would likely completely refuse to BF or BF for a few seconds only, cry and be very unsettled. Now I'm nearly out of my freezer stash, struggle to fit extra pumping in to the day/night so I am replacing it with FF, and having a pity party.

I held out so long for the time when it would be better, and it's still not better, I don't have any good memories of it, and soon it wil be over.

Shybairns Thu 02-May-13 20:15:53

Crikey IdaClair! That sounds like a catelogue of nightmares! And you have perservered to 8 months!!
Please congratulate yourself. You've done amazingly well considering all that you have been through.

Enjoy forgetting all about bf.

KingRollo Thu 02-May-13 20:17:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

goodasgold Thu 02-May-13 20:22:47

Sounds amazing to have managed 8 months. Most people would have thrown the towel in by now, I congratulate you, you have done for your dd what most people would not have done. Now please have a nice time with her. God I must be mellowing, or you have been through enough.

IdaClair Thu 02-May-13 20:30:57

I don't feel like I have done well, I feel like I have been stubborn maybe to her detriment. It was only the thought that it would get better, one magical day, and we would finally have this nice pop her on the boob type of relationship, and it would come to a natural close when it felt right, that kept me going. Now I just feel crap (I'm blaming the stopping bf hormones) and like the whole thing was a mistake. Like I just did the hard bit and didn't keep at it long enough to reap the benefits. I feel like it was all pointless and like I have failed. Like if I'm just going to give up anyway I may as well have given up months ago and made life easier for everyone, and happier for her. She's still tiny (<2nd centile from a birth weight of the 75th) and struggling so much with illnesses I feel like I'm taking away the only thing she knows, and I can't see our relationship without it.

stargirl1701 Thu 02-May-13 20:34:25

Maybe a referral to talk to a psychologist about how you feel? You've been through hell OP. Have you heard of ACT therapy? Acceptance & Commitment Therapy? It has helped my get over bf trauma similar, but not as extensive or prolonged, as yours.

KingRollo Thu 02-May-13 20:44:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sittinginthesun Thu 02-May-13 20:50:39

I had a very similar experience. FF eldest, then BF youngest and hated it. I had thyroid problems, hormonal reaction to feeding which led to flash backs and a type of anxiety thing, recurring mastitis. I kept going, as it was almost an addiction.

I stopped at 7 and half months (had mix fed for couple of months before), when he just refused. I was so relieved.

If I had another baby, I would not BF again.

I think you should accept that it is okay to stop now.

chocoluvva Thu 02-May-13 20:58:43

You've done fantastically well.

FWIW - my DS was a "fussy feeder". Even the LLL lady didn't know why.

I remember feeling like you did about stopping BFing. Like I was failing (after a similar amount of time to you). Once I had, I really enjoyed the feeling of having my body back to myself.

I understand your determination too. I took herbs, expressed, tried to relax, tried to exercise, set an alarm clock for the middle of the night as I'd read that feeding at night is good for your supply. His weight crept further and further down the charts for about six months. I worried about it constantly yet still felt awful at the thought of stopping. I was just about on my knees and frequently asked by other incredulous mums why I persevered so much. It's maddening when you read that virtually all mums can successfully BF for as long they like. They obviously didn't know your baby or mine.

Who knows though. Once you're feeling more yourself, your baby might settle for a feed first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. Some mums continue with just one or two feeds a day for several months. And if it doesn't, well. everyone has to stop at sometime.

If you're like me, no amount of people telling you you've done better than most is consoling - you just want to do what's absolutely the best for your baby. Just think how loved she'll feel when she's older and you tell her the saga of when she was baby and the difficulties you had, but still continued for eight months and studied. What a fantastic example you are to her - of being determined, resourceful, confident in your own judgement and loving.

chocoluvva Thu 02-May-13 21:02:04

So sorry - I've cross-posted with you OP.

You're exhausted and hormonal. Once you've stopped, it'll be fine. Your baby will not 'miss' BFing. You're not being silly either. It's a big thing.

sittinginthesun Thu 02-May-13 21:03:08

Sorry, just re- read your last post. Your relationship will not suffer! I think this is the hormones talking, and I know it is hard to stop and almost becomes an obsession, no matter how much you hate it.

Everyone told me to stop (HVs, doctor, consultant, family). I just couldn't. But, when ds2 refused, I was just so relieved.

We all felt so much better afterwards, and DS has remained a cuddly, loving child.

ghosteditor Thu 02-May-13 21:07:39

You've done fantastically well to feed for so long - doubly so given all the trauma you've been through!

I wonder if the tongue/lip ties came with an odd palate shape? That could explain the fussing and all your infections. Irrespective, you sound at the end of your tether, and really low - please don't forget that you've done what you thought was best at every step, and you can't change that with the benefit of hindsight.

Would you consider taking the stress out of it all by switching to formula but maybe keeping a morning or evening feed/expressed feed? If she's 8 months and weaning then formula isn't a big deal, really. You can keep on with only one feed, I think - friends of mine are doing that.

I say all of this despite still bf 15mo DD - she flat out refused bottles, formula, cow's milk at every stage - so we're sort of here by default. And she's still milk obsessed. I had a 3 day work trip away and spent the first two days in pain with engorged boobs. It's never easy is it...

LBsBongers Thu 02-May-13 21:08:30

You have breast feed for longer than most people and stuck at it despite the rocky road it has been, most people would have caved ages ago.

Well done you, I am not just saying that, I really really mean it.

Have a small pity party if you want but don't dwell long on the decision to stop BF. Well done you

Overcooked Thu 02-May-13 21:12:33

Fuck me, you have succeeded, there is no failure, you have done the absolute best for your DD, you deserve a medal not a flaming guilty conscience.

Littlehousesomewhere Thu 02-May-13 23:40:35

I agree with the others, you can be proud that you tried so hard. I hope in time you feel better about it all and she settles more as well.

That list of problems you had to face is huge and you have done the best you could.

It is so hard when you feel that you have made the wrong decisions and keep asking yourself the "what ifs?''

Even if you regret the choices you have made try to remember that even if you had started to ff earlier you still would have had some of the same problems to deal with, reflux, teething, vomiting bug. It wouldn't have been a completely problem-free alternative.

IdaClair Sun 05-May-13 16:30:52

Thank you for all the comments.

DD is happy having more bottles and I bought a big tub of formula today. I still feel crap and really upset about not feeding her. Even when I do I think my supply is really bad now and she gets very cross, or just comfort sucks and never swallows. She must be getting next to nothing.

My nipple on one side is burning though, but even latching her on doesn't help? Is this normal?

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