Not due till summer... already anxious(7 Posts)
...about feeding. I have anxiety specifically related to 'blame' and 'guilt'. Please bear with my crazy, crazy post...
I made the error of reading (zombie) threads on opinions about feeding - as opposed to the lovely threads here about practicalities I hasten to add. Alongside 99.9% of comments being 'breast is healthiest, cheapest and a great choice, but FF mums are also OK' I saw some comments e.g. formula feeders are worse than junkies for the NHS, they don't love their kids, expressing women are ashamed to get their bodies out in public, FF women just want their 'breasts for sex', mixed feeders should feel guilt etc'. My CBT nurse would be having kittens if she knew I'd read them BAD Squiz !
I want to BF, but I will have to return to work meaning expressed milk or mixed feeds - due to distance from childcare (in a year's time LOL, see what I mean about anxious!?!). Also due to my anxiety it is important I get rest - and I suspect after BF is established, having an expressed feed once a night might be a way of ensuring I don't get in a cycle of anxiety.
Now I'm terrified that some people will (secretly) hate me at parenting groups/helplines if:
-BF doesn't work and I FF (I know it should for 99% of women, but I'm already in the 0.3% of women with recurrent MC due to a condition... what if I'm double unlucky?)
-I end up mixed feeding for whatever reason
-I choose to express to go back to work/when out and about in winter (I have joint/muscle pain means I have to wear numerous tight layers in the cold).
I've even seen 'how to express' factsheets on BF organisation
OK. Firstly, lets question the assumption that someone might hate you (secretly or not) because of how you feed your child. Most people wont even know how you are feeding them so they will have no grounds to form an opinion. If you look at the stats for the number of people still exclusively breast feeding at 6 months they are soooooo low. There will be so few people in a position to judge you anyway, because most people will be the same as you, either expressing or mixed feeding, if not fully FF themselves. Those people who do judge other mothers for ANY choice they make are not with your time or thoughts anyway. No one should judge another without being in their shoes.
Next, it sounds like you want to try to BF, great! There is so much help and support out there to get you started, and every day your baby gets some breastmilk, you are giving them some antibodies, so it is all good, but if you need to mix feed, there is no harm in that either. A happy, calm mum is better than a stressed one who is exclusively breastfeeding. Same with expressed milk - it does not matter if it is coming from you direct, or a bottle, its still good for baby. Expressing is a great happy medium if you are not sure you want to use formula but want a break or to be able to leave milk for your baby when you go back to work.
The other thing to remember is from 6 months your little one will be on some solids as well as milk, so feeds reduce (in number and in length of time) and from 12 months, children are fine to go onto full fat cows milk if you want them to. No need to think about breast or formula at that stage.
To summarise: No one will be judging you, it is your choice, and you need to be happy in yourself with whatever method/s you use to feed your little one. Congratulations on the pregnancy!
I'll tell you what I wish someone had told me. Formula is not poison. If BF does not work for you formula is fine.
The important thing is you feed your baby (and stay sane ). My DS did not take to the boob as he was v v v sleepy at birth. I ended up expressing for him and then moved to formula at 12 weeks when I needed treatment for a pituitary tumour. He is a perfectly healthy, happy little boy. Make yourself aware of the support you have in your area (NCT, LLL, etc) if it will help with your anxiety, but the most important thing is to enjoy the rest of your pg.
Congratulations for the impending new arrival
Squiz, those negative (and very silly) comments you have read are absolutely not typical. You said so yourself. I have been on mumsnet for years and years and I have never ever seen a silly comment about formula feeding that has not been responded to with a barrage of corrective comments from the rest of the common sense world!
It is absolutely a part of your anxiety to focus on the .0001 percent of negative comments on here, and to ignore the positives....it's got nothing to do with reality. As such, it's your HPCs who can help you challenge this mindset.
And as Dots says, there is a lot of help and support for bf out in the real world
It is true that there is a very small % of women who physically can't breastfeed, but IMO it is SO much more complicated than the pure mechanics of getting milk from the breast.
It's about you as a mum, your baby, your relationship with them, and what makes you the happiest (I.s. The least stressed!)
I have MH issues and decided not to breastfeed as it was making me very unhappy. I hasten to add this will probably not be your experience. I mention it because my most pro-breastfeeding friends have been hugely supportive if my decision, because it's about the specific circumstances.
The fact that you want to BF is great, and you've got loads of time to find out where all the support is. You can get your ducks in a row so to speak and find out where your nearest baby cafe etc is.
It might be worth talking to your CBT nurse about it if you can, as, for me, it was really helpful to have a plan in place for looking after myself when the challenges of new parenthood reared their ugly heads!!
Tiktok Yes absolutely! As you say 99.9% of the comments are very normal indeed and tie in with what I've always 'instinctively' felt (i.e it would be sad if I couldn't feed naturally but not the end of the world in the context of a loving family). I must say the practical advice I see on all areas of parenting here on MN is incredibly reassuring (especially your BF advice which always seems so calming and sensible).
I think I'm just having a 'moment' as work asked about length of leave and my mind went off on one!
Becca yeah, my advice from CBT was to get everything organised in my mind in advance (find out helplines, BF cafes etc') and be 'practically minded'/mindful rather than dwelling on unhelpful emotions.
DH is enormously helpful (psychologically - sadly moobs don't make milk LOL!) and upbeat. He's been reading up and knows about skin-to-skin, helping with housework so mum can feed etc', bless him!
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