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Seeking Support for formula feeding mum!

(22 Posts)
Bobian123 Sun 17-Nov-13 15:43:21

Hi all,

I just wanted to see if there was anyone else out there feeling the same way as me. This is a bit long ;-)

I had a breast reduction when I was 16 and didn't know whether I'd be able to breastfeed. I now have a 5 week old baby and am formula feeding.

During my pregnancy, I was so hoping for any signs I might be able to bf and was delighted when some massaging produced a little bit of colostrum. When DS arrived, he latched on straight away and I was thrilled. As time went on, I found the process very painful. Two midwives said he had a good latch, two said he seemed just to be sucking on the nipple. I was worrying he wasn't getting enough milk. Every mw I saw didnt seem to take my past surgery into account with regards to pain and milk production. Once, I said "well perhaps it's nerve pain?" and the mw said "oh yes I suppose so, that's a good point." I just kept being told to persist.

I lasted about 5 days bf, during which time I cried, DS cried and I felt in pain and hugely frustrated. I had a difficult birth, was suffering "down below" and obv hormones were all over the place. I desperately wanted to give my baby the best start-who wouldn't?-but had to make a decision to draw a line under bf for the sake of us both. I tried pumping but nothing came out, which makes me think I wasn't producing what was needed (ducts were most likely severed during surgery).

So we switched to ff. I still however feel plagued by guilt 5 weeks on and the breast is best messages seem to bombard me. When I buy first milk formula in boots, I am told "sorry, boots points can't be collected on infant formula under 6 months due to govt legislation". When I went to research different formulas online, I was faced with a message to click on before proceeding saying that I must consider the "social and financial implications of ff.". The mw that visited me at home said I should try continuing bf rather than giving DS "that rubbish".

I am being made to feel like I'm feeding my baby poison! I agree that breast is best but what if you actually can't? And why is the govt so involved? Shouldn't they say "sorry you can't collect nectar points on this junk food" by the same token?

Even if no-one reads or responds to this post, I have felt better getting it all down! But it would be good to hear from anyone in the same position!


TheOneAndOnlyAlpha Sun 17-Nov-13 15:51:19

It's a sensitive subject on here, to warn you.

I think you've done brilliantly. My ds was mixed fed due to problems which many would say I invented or didn't try hard enough. Your ds is being fed and is happy. Formula is NOT poison. It is absolutely the right thing to do. My ds is happy, heathy and bright. He has also hardly been ill, the children I know who were ebf seem to always have a cold or virus.

Try and ignore the comments. You are a great mum.

lapetitesiren Sun 17-Nov-13 15:58:42

You poor thing- you' ve done really well to try and for some people breastfeeding just doesn' t work out. Love and enjoy your baby and don' t waste away this precious time feeling guilty about things you can' t change. If you have any regrets about changing to formula then see your midwife or a breastfeeding counsellor to be sure you can' t try to relactate( you didn' t say if the baby was thriving on breastmilk or not) if thats not the case then ignore the b is best messges- they are aimed at reeducating a nation that had almost forgotten how to help mothers breastfeed and are now going overboard in typical nanny state style.its not aimed at you personally.
Your baby needs love and cuddles and a happy mum- are you feeling a bit low- maybe talk it over with your gp?

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 17-Nov-13 16:06:34

Please do not take the blindest bit of notice. Formula is a perfectly decent way to feed your baby. It's not poison. You sound a loving mum who tried her best. There is nothing to feel guilty about!!! What matters is a happy healthy baby who's loved and taken care of. And a happy mummy who can enjoy her beautiful baby.

Honestly, once they crawl they are shoving all sorts in their mouths, I had to pull spiders out of my dds mouth ffs. When they are eating gravel and mud and licking pet food bowls the milk will be the least of your worries smile

Do not waste one more second feeling bad!!!!! X

Bobian123 Sun 17-Nov-13 16:09:22

Thank you both for the replies. Having previously looked through some other threads I can see its a sensitive subject and I also think that's a bit of a shame, so I appreciate your supportive comments :-)

I'm seeing the health visitor tomorrow and will talk it through more with her. Xx

Bobian123 Sun 17-Nov-13 16:10:44

Ha! Thanks Gileswithachainsaw, that made me smile!! X

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 17-Nov-13 16:19:34

Keep smiling smile now go enjoy your beautiful little bundle guilt free smile he has a happy loving family and a home and food. That's all that matters x

MyMILisfromHELL Sun 17-Nov-13 16:32:49

The main thing is you tried your best & that your baby is fed. While I firmly believe that breast is best, formula is a perfectly valid way to feed a baby when mum or baby can't bf. Your mw sounds horrid tbh.

elfycat Sun 17-Nov-13 16:35:59

Formula wasn't invented because of convenience, it was invented through need because some people can't feed for whatever reason.

You sound like you had a flippin good try at it but for whatever reason it just didn't take off. There shouldn't be any guilt attached to using formula, and although I am pro-BF it wouldn't occur to me to comment on a bottle fed newborn. Enjoy your baby and baby cuddles. thanks
As has been said, it's not poison and has been carefully balanced nutritionally over many years.

Essexgirlupnorth Sun 17-Nov-13 16:46:15

I could of written your post. I have a 6 week old and I am mixed feeding due to latching issues and not producing enough milk. I have been in tears about giving her formula due to the Breast is best stuff and feeling like I failed at breast feeding. Though even the breastfeeding midwives have said she has more breast milk than some babies and now with the formula top ups she is putting on weight.
It is so hard when it is rammed down your throat and smug friends tell you that they don't do formula. On the plus side she will take a bottle so can actually leave her for a couple of hours to get out the house.
Sounds like you are doing what is best for you and your baby.

havingastress Sun 17-Nov-13 16:48:47

I only managed to bf for just over 3 weeks. I finally collapsed in floods of tears on the HV who very kindly, and very gently, told me to just stop. I was so unbelievably miserable. Baby wasn't latching correctly. I was still in a lot of pain from the birth (long story!) and was also having to inject myself daily with blood thinning stuff (which was very painful). The pain of mastitus (sp?!) on top of all this was just too much to bear.

I felt guilty for a while. But you know what? I was much happier, and as a result the baby was much happier.

Now expecting no 2 and feeling guilty about what to do even ! I think I will give it another go, as breast milk is best but I won't beat myself up about it this time if it doesn't work out.

Please don't beat yourself up about this. Nothing wrong with formula at all. flowers

killpeppa Sun 17-Nov-13 16:58:31

I formula fed out of choice.

I am a 32G & discrete they are not. I am embarressed enough with them when im dressed never mind being conscious about feeding. FF worked for me I have 2 great healthy boys who have never had even a sniffle (yet). I support breastfeeding 100% but it wasn't something I felt I could do.

Good luck-everyones going to have an opinion on everything. Do what you feel us correct for you and your childthanks

tiktok Sun 17-Nov-13 18:49:33

Op you will know or be able to find out the name of the midwife who said such a rude and hurtful thing to you. How would you feel about complaining about her? It might help other mothers.

Stopping bf when you longed to do it is something that mothers may have very mixed feelings about. They may be certain it is the right decision but at the same time feel sad and regretful and guilty - even though they know they have nothing to feel guilty about. It's a hidden sadness on the whole and not well acknowledged. If you feel able to you can call the nct breastfeeding line. The counsellor will listen and not judge and help you work out ways you can work through your sadness. This might include feeding in ways which mimic the closeness and connection of bf. co bathing, co sleeping, skin to skin and so on . And of course feeding responsively and enjoying feed times. You may be doing all this stuff anyway of course !

Handbagsonnhold Sun 17-Nov-13 18:56:47

Hi Op, I also formula fed by choice and hate the way you have been made to feel. I remember the Boots points thing as you mention it....however no Midwife/hv etc ever even made a comment to me regarding my choices....however I never felt any guilt. Please stop worrying and just enjoy your beautiful baby.... Congratulations x

Bobian123 Sun 17-Nov-13 22:23:16

Thanks so much everyone for your kind words. I do indeed try to show my love for DS in lots of other ways like bathing together abd having skin to skin cuddles, plus eye contact when feeding etc. Hopefully he knows how loved he is! X

youaremychocolatecake Mon 18-Nov-13 00:05:14

My advice is chill... I mix fed my first son due to lack of bf support at hospital I ended up panicking and using bottles. Milk supply never really recovered enough to fully bf but we successfully mix fed for 6 months. He's a healthy 4 year old, never had antibiotics or anything. I know plenty of mums who refused to even try bf and went straight for ff and pleased to report their kids have turned out just fine. I fact 2 of them are 2 of the most intelligent kids I've ever met. I really don't think formula is poison at all.
Pro bf because I'm lazy and it's easier (for me) and have ebf my 2nd son so far BUT it doesn't work for everyone and I took formula int hospital bag just incase x

sweetiepie1979 Mon 18-Nov-13 00:19:22

OP I gave myself post natal depression trying to feed my first baby! I didn't have enough milk and it was so sore and breast feeding actually makes me feel really grotty. I don't like it. I thI k people who can do it and enjoy it are great and go them but it was never for me. I have a new baby now just 3 weeks old she was on bottle from day 3. We are so much happier. My midwives have been very supportive I ignore all the bombard stuff your sensitive so you see it more. Be hsppy and enjoy your gorgeous baby ysoymilk regret it if you dont! This is a short precious time. And you are the mother you decide!

PurpleDana Mon 18-Nov-13 10:25:56

I know exactly how u feel, although there was no reason like surgery that made things difficult for me.
I breastfed my dd for almost 5wks, the first 2 weeks we had no problems but then we had 3 weeks of escalating fussiness, crying, wind, & eventual soreness, so I decided to express feed but couldn't produce enough (which Hv now thinks may have been the cause of the problems in the first place) Then we mixed fed for a week before having to 100% formula feed at 6wks. I felt absolutely heartbroken & dreadfully guilty. I cried a lot. It didn't matter that everyone was supportive around me, I felt such a failure myself and was so sorry to my daughter.
I still feel guilty now! I know it was the best decision for both of us, she has much less problems feeding now, but I sooo wish I had been able to breastfeed her til 12wks (which she is now).
So, I do sympathise with u completely. Although I may sound like a hypocrit, please don't spend your time feeling bad. Breast is best but it doesn't work for everyone. Concentrate on enjoying your baby and look at how happy he is feeding :-)

Slongette Mon 18-Nov-13 18:36:08

I have a 10 day old DS who could latch ok but just would not drink with any enthusiasm - he was cup fed in the hospital and then when we came home every feed became a stressful attempt to get him to feed.nhim crying, me crying - no one happy.

I started supplementing a few feeds with some formula which he took too like a duck to water - I felt so guilty. I've been expressing but not getting very much off so the ff has increased to be the primary food source.

Last week I lied to the MW because I felt so guilty - ended up crying hysterically at DH yesterday wailing that I've 'ruined him'.

Plucked up the courage today to tell the MW that he is now being ff - she said that it is 'second best' but if we're both happy then that is all that matters.

Will the guilt ever go away?

tiktok Mon 18-Nov-13 19:18:42

Slongette sad sad

If bf is important to you, you can start again.

Whatever was causing the difficulty in the early days would need to be sorted - it may be nothing more than a 'slow to start' baby, and maybe exacerbated by a lot of hands-on help with bf which was not a help.

But as I can start again....if you want to know more, you can start a new thread and/or call any of the bf helplines.

Thegreatunslept Mon 18-Nov-13 19:30:24

I chose to ff ds now 6months from the start and I really think nothing of it. He is a big baby happy and healthy 86th centile for weight and 72nd for height. He has had a cold and a cough recently but has been fine (his sister brought her school germs home wink).
Yes it takes a bit longer to sterilise and fill a bottle but it has never bothered me.
I feel no guilt my baby is happy and so am I.

NomDeClavier Mon 18-Nov-13 22:42:46

bobian I am enormously pro-BF, an advocate for it in RL and will do anything I can to support a mother who wants to and is trying to, so please believe me when I say you did your best and people shouldn't be making you feel like this. It's possible that you just couldn't physically and that has no impact on how you are as a mother. You sound like you're doing a fab job under very emotional circumstances.

BFing isn't easy and the PR message needs to be backed up with support or it's nothing more than a stick to beat people with.

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