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For those of you who utterly hated breastfeeding but did it anyway...

(49 Posts)
weeblueberry Mon 24-Jun-13 20:34:00

At which point did you decide just to plough on with it despite really hating it?

I've been ebf for 6 weeks, since my baby was born but really hate it. In the last few days its become painful (pretty sure it's thrush which ill get seen at the docs) but its just been the icing on the rubbish cake quite frankly.

Despite everyone saying 'do what's best for your family' I really don't want to give up. I'd like to persevere if I can but don't know how to get through it while I'm really not enjoying it.

mymatemax Mon 24-Jun-13 23:57:14

I bf ds1 for about 5 weeks, hated every minute of it, he was grizzly & unsettled. Eventually admitted defeat & gave him a bottle, he turned in to a settled happy baby overnight. Best decision i ever made.

I know breast is best but it just wasnt for us.

I was all set to bf ds2 but he was born 3 months early & although I expressed & froze my milk for the first few weeks, he was very poorly & he was 9 weeks old before he was able to suck, so he went on the bottle.

Dont beat yourself up, do whatever suits you, its your baby your choice.

sleepyhead Tue 25-Jun-13 00:02:13

It hurt like hell with ds1 for 4 months. I dreaded most feeds although it had dulled to resignation by about 6 weeks. I bought every bf cream, gadget, pad whatever in the hopes of something making it better (so much for bf saving money hmm). I read endless threads, blogs, sites, books, went to groups and saw bf counsellors.

I don't know why I didn't give up. It didn't really occur to me and I dreaded anyone telling me I should - didn't feel I could even talk about how hard it was because people would say "happy mummy, happy baby. Formula isn't poison" etc, etc and make me feel selfish at continuing.

Anyway, 4 months in - suddenly it's not sore any more and it all becomes a piece of piss and it was great from that moment onward. Bf until 14 months and was a bit sorry to stop (bowed to pressure from the "are you still bf?" brigade, and was sorry to find that all my champions, my mum, my dh started feeling queasy about it after a year).

With ds2 I had high hopes that it would be better. The first 3 weeks were hell. It was worse than the first time because every day felt like a million years punctuated by feeds that felt like razor blades, the spectre of mastitis always on the horizon and not even the comfort that it might be better tomorrow. Experience had taught me that this was just going to go on, and on.... And I felt guilty at feeling that this time no way was I able to cope with 4 months. I was aiming for 6 weeks and it felt like a million years.

Except by 4 weeks it was totally fine. Amazing. I'm so relieved.

I guess I feel the opposite of you. I'm not an organised person and my extreme problems have meant that I've had to feed expressed milk for a majority of feeds when the ds's have been very tiny (and I realise how lucky I am that I can do this quite easily). I find bottle feeding a complete pita. I'm the sort of person who realises they need to be leaving now. I'm rubbish at being prepared and bf means I can just get the baby and go. I've found it very freeing and I feel I'm less tied to the paraphernalia of motherhood somehow, but that's just how I feel. I guess if I was ff I'd get used to it and get into the swing of the routine.

Something to remember though (as if there wasn't enough to remember), is that bf is relentless when they're tiny but it gets quicker, easier, faster, shorter, less frequent as they grow. Bf a 5 month old bears no resemblance to bf a 6 week old.

But then, when you have a 6 week old 5 months might as well be 5 years...

Lots of people would think I was pretty stupid to put up with what I did with ds1 just to bf, but I don't regret it. Couldn't do it twice though.

shufflehopstep Tue 25-Jun-13 00:08:05

I set myself a limit of 12 weeks and if I hadnt started enjoying it, I'd go onto bottle. Amazingly, all the issues I was having sorted themselves out (or were diagnosed and medicated in the case of the thrush) and I started love it. DD is coming up to 13 months old and I'm just in the process of stopping altogether and really miss it.

Shiraztastic Tue 25-Jun-13 00:13:20

Fucking awful for a good 8 weeks with DC1. Hated it, was sore, massive problems and felt really really tied down too. Fed for almost 4 years. Having got through the hell on earth at the start, I was determined to do 6 months, then a year... And by then it was easy, convenient and great.

DC2 similar length of time (including 18 months in tandem with DC1.

DC3 2 and a bit years, including 18 months in tandem with DC2.

DC4 is 10 months and no sign of stopping yet.

I realise now that part of what I hated in the early weeks with Dc1 was the loss of control, being at someone else's beck and call, totally overwhelmed by new baby etc. Much (though not all) of this is just about having a new baby, not bf per se.

shufflehopstep Tue 25-Jun-13 00:15:41

Meant to say, it was at about 10 weeks when things started to fall into place. I'm definitely the same as sleepyhead. I'm not a routine-led person and breastfeeding was infinitely more preferable to all the sterilising that has to be done when ff or expressing.

DinoSnores Tue 25-Jun-13 06:31:02

With DS, BFing was so hard (he had a tongue tie) for the first six weeks. Every feed was my last one for several weeks. What kept me going was how much easier BFing was going to be rather than mixing up formula, sterilising, carrying it all around. Once he'd has his tongue snipped & then got to 6 or 8 weeks, it was the easiest thing in the world.

DD has 'got' BFing from the very beginning, feeding well when she was just minutes old, so I think a lot of it comes down the individual baby.

YouMaySayImADreamer Tue 25-Jun-13 07:29:49

I like you had few technical problems with bf...i even secretly wished sometimes that we did so that i had a proper 'reason' to stop without me feeling guilty. I hated the trapped feeling of not being able to go out for more than an hour or so, and not being able to have a few drinks or a night off, and being the only completely exhausted parent in the relationship, because despite what everyone says, when youre feeding every 1-2 hours, day and night, dp changing a few nappies inbetween doesnt give you more than a few minutes break!

However i was pretty determined and constantly battled with myself as it sounds like you are. I changed my initial target from 6 months to 3 months quite early on. Then after this, i decided to just get ds through until he had had all his injections at 16 weeks. During this time i worked hard at expressing which im terrible at because of the minute amounts i seem to get. But i worked up to be able to get a couple of ounces per session and got a little freezer stash up so i could have some occasional freedom on a night out etc. This helped a lot with the feeling that i could have a break at some point and in the mean time, ds stretched out his feeds to three hourly, meaning i could leave him a little longer to go to a gym class or the shops or something. These things combined so that before i even got to 16 weeks (possibly around 3.5 month mark) i had forgotten about wanting to give up and it was so much easier. Now at 5 months ive been enjoying it for a while and plan to go beyond 6 months (although i sometimes wish i could wear nicer clothes/bras, have a few drinks whenever i wanted, hate my saggy boobs, it is nowhere near enough to make me want to stop).

5madthings Tue 25-Jun-13 07:34:14

I hated bfeeding at varies points right up to about 9mths but with good bits in between. With my fist three ic arrived on determindely u til they self wwaned!

With ds4 I stopped at four mths as I was I'll and with dd at three mths as she was crap at it and was hating it, plus after switching with ds4 I knew it was fine to do either.

Byte you do NOT need antibiotics for thrush!! That will make it worse, you need an antifungal treatment for you and baby.

plummyjam Tue 25-Jun-13 09:36:44

Can't say I hated it as such but the first 6 weeks were difficult. Latching on was toe-curling, DD would feed for hours on end, I was doing all the night feeds so was absolutely exhausted. Was also struggling to get out because worried about DD kicking off when she was hungry and having to feed in public.

The first 6 weeks are hard anyway because you don't really get much feedback from baby, not really smiling or interacting much.

Fast forward to 20 weeks, now DD latches on quickly, no pain, feeds only last about 10 mins tops and she can go a couple of hours between feeds. After getting over that first feed in public which was a bit daunting, I've now fed her everywhere - in fact BF makes life easier in this respect because you can stay out as long as you like. After a bit of practice I can express enough so I can leave her with DH for a bit and have a break. I can eat like a horse too and the pregnancy weight has dropped off!

Only downside is that she feeds at least every 3 hours at night but co-sleeping means I feel rested enough in the day.

I think it can feel like a chore at first but I can't imagine doing it differently now, it feels very easy - FF looks like a lot more work with sterilising etc. I hope things start to improve for you soon.

mrsmartin1984 Tue 25-Jun-13 10:39:12

I didn't like breastfeeding to begin with. I dreaded it every time she cried. Just found it really stressful. But I never thought about giving her a bottle. I knew I'd hate myself forever if I gave in as I wanted to do what was best for her.

Now I love it. It is such a close and loving experience. So glad I ploughed though the rough stage

weeblueberry Tue 25-Jun-13 12:33:53

Thank you again everyone. Yesterday was a bad day and I always swore I wouldn't make any decisions on a bad day. I really really want to keep breastfeeding in our routine until at least 6 months. My partner and I had a long conversation last night where I told him how trapped I felt. He didn't realise I felt that way and suggested if we go another 2 weeks (I got the cream for the thrush this morning which will take a wee while to kick in) and I still hate it as much as I do now we'll introduce a night time feed which will allow me to have some freedom in the evening.

I just have to get out of this funk where I dread the feeding. I'm building it up SO much in my head that I'm basically thinking about it the entire time I'm NOT feeding if you know what I mean? I'm also terrible for putting her to the boob every time she has a winge because she's too young and I'm finding it hard to differentiate when she's upset/vs hungry. Also because her feeding pattern isn't established yet. I'm also nervous about feeding in public because of my rubbish looking boobs. Aaargh.

Aaaaaand breathe...

plummyjam Tue 25-Jun-13 12:59:41

Don't worry about sticking her on the boob if she's whingey. Chances are she will be hungry, if not she'll refuse it or she might just suckle for comfort. You can't overfeed her.

I don't know where you live but a lot of big shopping centres (trafford centre etc)and stores (boots, John lewis, mothercare, mamas and papas in particular) have rooms where you can feed if you don't want to bf in public - I don't mind feeding in public now but sometimes I use them if I want a bit of peace and quiet. I also BF in the back of my car quite a lot - nobody seems to notice!

It definitely helps to be able to get out and about a bit and somehow I always feel like I'm feeding less when we're out than when we're at home.

Shiraztastic Tue 25-Jun-13 13:22:41

Oh you're doing so well! Really, honestly, this part is the hardest. My suggestions:

Never hesitate to offer the boob (if you feel able). If it works, who cares what the problem was!
Babies feed even more often in warmer weather.
Have you thought about bringing baby into bed to feed lying down at night? Or even in the afternoon wink.
If you need to be touched less and be by yourself, at the weekend can your dh take baby out for a walk for an hour? You can do whatever you like! As your LO gets older, the times they can go without a feed stretch and you are less tied. They can also do more and are more interesting blush and easy to distract with toys, or after 6 months food etc.
A good sling gives you hands free to do stuff. You'll not be able to sit, but you will be able to maybe do things like gardening, walking, shopping etc. little babies often sleep better snuggled up that way rather than battling to out them down for a nap or whatever.

Is there a breastfeeding group near you? The moral support from others in the same boat can be a godsend. If not, when you feel low try one of the bf helplines. The ladies on them are lovely smile.

Never make a decision about feeding between midnight and sunrise. Things a.ways look better in the morning.

Feeding in public isn't so bad once you get going, but daunting first few times. Try a vest under a top, pull vest down and top up and very little shows. Most of the boob is hidden by baby's head. Take a friend or dh with you to 'guard' you if you feel nervous. Cafes are good places to start, or changing rooms in shops (just grab an item of clothing and take baby in with you!). I've always found the car a safe haven.

You are doing really well.

Oh, and buy What Mothers Do, by Naomi Stadlen. It will help make you feel better about it all. It's wonderful your dh is so supportive.

VisualiseAHorse Tue 25-Jun-13 13:29:24

Don't worry about your 'rubbish looking boobs'. Practise latching on in front of a mirror, you will soon get the hang of not whipping out the whole thing. Wear a vest top under your tshirt. Unclip your bra, pull vest down and tee up, just enough to expose your nipple and latch baby on. You'll be surprised at how little exposure there actually is.

Once the baby is actually latched and feeding how do you feel? Do you feel calm etc? Look at the baby while feeding and see how comforted she is. Try to concentrate on that feeling instead if you can.

attheendoftheday Tue 25-Jun-13 13:43:58

I really struggled with bfing for the first 6 weeks. It was so painful, I had really cracked, bleeding nipples every feed. I really wanted to bf, so I stuck with it, but I only managed by not thinking further ahead than the next feed.

It's a personal decision, and making it to 6 weeks is no small achievement. You don't need anyone's permission to switch to formula. If you do want to stick with bfing, then it will get easier with time. I was glad I stuck with it, as from 3 months to a year it was so easy and convenient, and bring dd2 was much easier.

TwitchyTail Tue 25-Jun-13 15:11:42

I am 4 months in. I've never particularly liked it. I've been fortunate in not having any serious physical difficulties, but I have no doubt my life would be much easier and freer with formula feeding. I really relate to the feeling of being trapped.

But I am still breastfeeding because I have read enough good quality research to know that breastmilk is absolutely the best infant nutrition there is. I see it as a sacrifice for a relatively small amount of time in my life to give my baby the best possible start. Not saying this is right for everyone, just explaining my reasoning for continuing despite not loving it.

TwitchyTail Tue 25-Jun-13 15:17:36

And I also struggled with the feeding in public thing. I built it up - first planning trips out around places with feeding rooms eg Mothercare, Boots, John Lewis, big shopping centres; then using a cover (Mamascarf or Bebe au lait); then finally realising no-one cared or could see much so just doing the vest and top thing described above. Or I just do it in the car, or in a spare room at friends' houses. There are loads of options - it helped me to realise I didn't actually HAVE to feed in public, ever, if I didn't want to. You can always go to the loo if all else fails. NOT saying you should do this, or should have to, but it's a thought that helped me get the confidence to go out without fear of being caught short.

EvidenceBasedMum Tue 25-Jun-13 17:12:39

We struggled with tongue tie, oversupply and severe reflux, mostly manifest as feeding refusal / screaming at every feed. She ended up hospitalised twice and I was expressing 8 times a day for her to refuse the top-up bottles anyway. It was utterly shit.

Carried on mostly due to grim determination, and also the knowledge that this definitely was the best thing for my baby (I'm a medical doctor and research scientist so had definitely done my research here). As another poster said, it seemed a small price to pay. Emotive as it may be, I did not want to start my parenting 'career' by not doing the best for my child. (I do realise that if it is making you so miserable you can't function as a mum then perhaps it is the best interests of the child to stop).

Anyway, once those things were fixed it got much easier and by about 5 months was great. Still very happily breast feeding at 9 months and it is only the spectre of returning to work that will make us stop ( or carry on, somehow?!)

The key thing for me is that I've kind of forgotten how bad the awful times were. It might seem like it will never end, but in a flash it will all be fine.

Good luck

CalamityJ Wed 26-Jun-13 18:54:49

The first 6 weeks are the worst, till 8 wasn't great but then we both seemed to 'get' it and it became a doddle. She's pissing around this week being distracted but my FFing friends say it's the same (without the pull off pain but still frustrating). It's easier and cheaper than FF as well as the health benefits blah blah blah. So yes I don't like it but it's bearable and the goodness outweighs the badness.

weeblueberry Wed 26-Jun-13 21:59:28

Thanks everyone. We went out to a cafe with some nct friends and fed quite well while everyone else was there. I've just got to practice being a bit more subtle about it. I've given myself the goal of ebf til at least 12 weeks (this will probably include expressed milk at some stage) and then we will reevaluate and possibly add in a formula feed if I'm still hating it as much. I admit ill be gutted with myself if it comes to that but personally feel ill get over the guilt quicker than the potential resentment that could come with prolonged ebf. Hopefully trying to express will be easier than last time and ill fill so many bottles this will all be moot! The health visitor said to introduce a bottle (whether breast milk or formula) sooner rather than later because, as sone of you mentioned, it can be harder to introduce the teat after a certain stage.

daerwen Thu 27-Jun-13 01:36:01

Like what they said, do what would make you happy. smile

VisualiseAHorse Thu 27-Jun-13 09:20:57

Yes to the prolonged resentment - a friend really struggled with BF (cracked nipples - she refers to the scar as the 'grand canyon' now), and because she flat out refused to give up it has really effected her relationship with her little girl. No one had told her it was ok to bottle AND breast feed (once BF is well established) so she battled one and it's really taken it's toll on her and her daughter's relationship.

Remember, you have already done really well (very patronising!), and it's good that you have a 'plan' to re-evaluate at 12 weeks.

SpooMoo Thu 27-Jun-13 17:19:25

I've never really enjoyed it but it does get easier!

For me I just kept reminding myself that actually formula wouldn't be better for us - it'd mean leaving the bedroom at night to prepare bottles, it'd mean more to wash up/take out, it'd be the end of the certain "cure all" of sticking a boob in to soothe her when we don't know if she's hungry/tired/in need of comfort.

I had 6mo as a target, now we're at 8mo so I'm aiming for a year. Most other mums I know (not me) successfully tried mixed feeding so maybe give it a go? Do whatever is right for your family, just be happy with your decision.

IdaClair Thu 27-Jun-13 22:25:45

Congratulations on your new baby, you're doing great. We had every BF problem under the sun - failure to latch, pumping, tongue tie, reflux, failure to thrive, weight loss, poor weight gain, mastitis, infective mastitis, recurrent infective mastitis, thrush, low supply. Like someone above I felt nauseous with every let down, and I had a baby that would only feed upright whilst moving.

Yuck, horrible. Eventually stopped at 9 months, and even stopping felt rubbish like I had failed. I wish I could say it got better, it didn't for us, but so many people above will give you hope. I don't actually know why I did it, I wouldn't do it again. Do what you feel is best - your job is to feed your baby, the rest is just detail.

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