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Can't BF and feel hopeless?

(32 Posts)
EmeraldGreen2 Sat 23-Aug-14 17:43:31

Hi, ladies, not trying to start a fight or anything, I'd just like some genuine support. sad

At the start of my pregnancy my GP and OB both informed me that because of health reasons and the medication I'm on (for mental health, trigger subject for me I'd rather not get into it and be judged) that I won't be able to BF.

At the start of my pregnancy I accepted this but I wanted to do my research and seeing all the benefits of BF (higher IQ, greater protection against illnesses) I can't help but feel like a failure to my baby. SIL has commented numerous times on how 'advanced' her two DC (both BF) are and how it's such a shame that my little one will be 'behind'.

I'm not saying anyone who FF is a failure or anything of the sort, I just feel awful because of the promotion BF gets and the negativity FF gets most times. sad Would really like some words of wisdom on this and would like to know if anyone else has had similar problems or felt like this?


lisaloulou84 Sat 30-Aug-14 20:35:03

I really feel for you OP, it's horrible having the decision taken out of your hands.

I had an extremely similar situation to culture - induction followed by instrumental delivery, and baby taken to SCBU almost straight away after he couldn't breast feed and he started to get poorly and was put on anti biotics and fed via a nose tube, then with the lack of contact and my stress, I never really produced any milk, despite various attempts to get the flow going - I beat myself up about it but it was out of my control and so is your situation.

As many others have said FF babies usually grow up I be perfectly normal as no different to BF babies. My DS is now 6 months FF from day 1 and despite hyperthyroidism which should be holding him back developmentally as his medication is still not perfect, he is flourishing! His weight is and has alway been good, he's sitting up, days away from crawling and said mummy today smile

Just know that how you interact with and raise your baby is in the long run so much more important than how they get their milk.

theborrower Sat 30-Aug-14 20:08:48

Hi OP, just to reiterate what penguins said, all formula is pretty much the same, because it has to be really, it adheres to strict guidelines. Make sure that whatever brand you choose is stocked in your local shop though, it will make things easier smile

I'm glad your DH spoke to your sister in law. If she's not speaking to you, well, it just reinforces that she's a bit mad really.

DesertDweller Sat 30-Aug-14 19:42:27

I'm sorry but if you look around you at adults, you simply CANNOT tell which ones were bf and which ones were ff. you can however sometimes tell which adults were not hugged enough as babies! In an ideal world you would recline serenely on a day bed with shiny babies nuzzling at your free-flowing bounty from your breast while you eat peeled grapes, but sometimes reality gets in the way. Please don't beat yourself up, you love your baby and are doing the best you can!

PenguinsIsSleepDeprived Sat 30-Aug-14 18:58:47

I am not anti-formula at all, but just to say that there is not one that is 'best'. They are all the same. All Aptamil has is clever advertising. And posh branding.

leedy Sat 30-Aug-14 17:59:33

Do still check with Wendy Jones/the BFN about your meds - a lot of medications transfer into milk but in quantities that are negligible/not likely to cause any problems for baby (why yes, I have been on many prescription medicines while breastfeeding) - you can also get info from Lactmed but I'm not sure if it's quite as up to date.

At least you'll have the most up to date info and if it's still an absolute no no you will know you've made a thoroughly informed choice to do the best thing for yourself and baby. Apologies if you've done this already, obviously!

And yes, sounds like you're better off without your SIL putting her oar in re your pregnancy/baby if that's the kind of arsology she comes out with....

Best of luck!

EmeraldGreen2 Sat 30-Aug-14 17:42:49

Hello, ladies! Sorry for the late reply, been so busy with hospital appointments and SIL. Honestly, I can't thank you all enough, this support and information has been invaluable to me! The links were great and very informative! smile thanks

Speaking of SIL though, DH sat her down to calmly talk about her comments to me, she didn't exactly take it very well and now refuses to speak to both DH and I ....which I'm slightly glad about because each one of you are right, this defiantly isn't an influence I want in my pregnancy. grin

My medication defiantly crosses out BF though since it is one of the particulars that can be passed on through breast milk to the baby. I've been looking into milk banking but apparently our only milk bank in Northern Ireland is running dangerously low as it is. So if all else fails I'm going to through myself into formula research about which is best, I'm leaning more toward Aptamil at moment! smile

DoingTheSwanThing Tue 26-Aug-14 16:26:30

SIL is an idiot and should be put in her place (ideally by OH!).

Easy to say, but I really hope you can make peace with your situation and not let feeding method spoil the enjoyment of your new baby. Honestly, in the fullness of time it won't seem so important and you'll make many, many more important parenting decisions as the years go on.

Just to throw another option out there, have you considered donor milk? Not for everyone, but informal milk sharing (via HM4HB for example) can be a great option for some families. Lots of donors have been screened prior to donating to hospital milk banks. Lots of info online if you want to consider it.

Good luck xx

RiverTam Tue 26-Aug-14 16:12:39

it's not even as much as that, becca - in 2013 the WHO published a report that found that, once the mother's IQ had been taken into account, the difference was 2.19 IQ points on average.

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 26-Aug-14 14:47:06

The thing about having a baby is that so many things can be different to how you wanted them to be, and the apparent "choice" is taken out of your hands.

I wanted to have a spontaneous labour, at home in a birthing pool, no pain relief, with delayed cord clamping, natural placenta delivery and immediate skin to skin and first breastfeed.

What actually happened was a hospital induction that took 5 days, an epidural and then an EMCS. Baby and I were immediately unwell due to group B strep acquired after my waters broke. After an initial failed attempt at breastfeeding, baby was taken away to SCBU as the infection was rampant and he needed urgent antibiotics. He was initially on a drip and then fed via a nasal gastro tube. He was given formula as I was too poorly to express to begin with.

Basically everything happened that I had wanted to avoid. BUT - none of it was in my control. It was all necessary, and so because of that it was the best outcome that could have happened. Does that make any kind of sense?

beccajoh Tue 26-Aug-14 14:28:30

The intelligence thing - it's an extra 7 IQ points. Hardly worth even thinking about to be honest! Many, many other factors will have more of a bearing on your child's life than the type of milk you feed your baby.

Your SIL is a dipshit.

Imeg Tue 26-Aug-14 14:23:13

PS reading this back I realise it could sound a bit dismissive of your feelings about not breastfeeding, which was certainly not my intention - I know that it's a really emotional issue and I was just trying to point out some possible silver linings. I hope you can make peace with it soon.

RiverTam Tue 26-Aug-14 14:21:02

you could always say to your SIL that presumably she must have been FF as she's so bloody thick grin. Really, what a price twat she sounds. Get your DH to have a word with his sister if she carries on in that vein. You aren't failing your baby, in any way, shape or form.

On a thread earlier today someone said that they felt their decision to BF or FF was probably one of the least important decisions made with regard to their DC, and I think that's probably about right. The baby is loved, fed and cared for. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

thanks and brew for you, biscuit for your SIL.

Imeg Tue 26-Aug-14 14:13:33

I persevered with breastfeeding because I couldn't face the hassle of bottles (too disorganized). However now the baby is 5 months I do sometimes wonder why I bothered and formula feeding seems to have a lot of advantages - I suppose it's a case of 'the grass is always greener on the other side'. You are probably seeing all the advantages of breastfeeding because it's not an option for you and because I can't get mine to take formula I am seeing all the advantages of bottle feeding if that makes sense!
Just in case it helps, these are the aspects of formula feeding that I am envious of:
- having the option of others helping with feeds so you can catch up with sleep
- not spending the first days/weeks half undressed trying (amid growing frustration) to persuade the baby to feed properly, but being able to enjoy it properly
- being able to let relatives/friends have cuddles rather than constantly having to take baby back to stick it under shirt/scarf etc
- there may not be any scientific basis for it but ff babies do seem to sleep better at night (after the first few months)
- As the baby gets older being able to leave it with someone more easily from time to time
- you can look at the baby's face more easily when bottlefeeding
- Not having to drink gallons and eat every few hours - inconvenient when out and about
- Not dripping milk at random times

Your SIL doesn't sound like a helpful person for you to talk to...
Without wishing to cause any offence to anyone here I find this forum very unrepresentative of people's attitudes in real life - in every day life so many people are formula feeding that in my experience it's just seen as normal.

Zara8 Tue 26-Aug-14 13:14:51

Your SIL is a fucking moron

badpenny has pasted some good advice for bottle feeding there - it's what I did (without knowing it was the right thing to do!). Regular stops during feeds to wind baby can help keep gas/vomity issues at bay - well they did in my son.

Loads of lovely cuddles while FF makes it nice smile Also on a cold night it's nice to cuddle a lovely baby in one arm and hold a warm bottle of milk in the other smile

cookiefiend Tue 26-Aug-14 10:26:52

The problem with nhs bf propeganda is that it makes people feel like failures when they struggle with bf or are unable to. I am lucky enough to have eventually sorted out the problems I had bf, but for a good chunk of time whilst I was struggling I was a total wreck, worried I was failing dd. Now she is 11 months I can see that there are more important things to worry about. HER little friends who are ff are thriving as much as she is. I know it is hard when you had hoped to fb, but try to let go. There's are a million other important things you will do for your child and undoubtedly you will raise happier children than your competitive bitch if a sil.

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 26-Aug-14 10:12:56

This is not a BF v FF debate, as the OP has stated that there is no choice in the matter.

On an individual level, being FF is one of many many factors that affect the development of a baby. Infant formula exists as a safe and appropriate alternative for women who can't or choose not to breast feed. The OPs situation is exactly why infant formula was developed and no one should criticise or upset a parent for using formula (in any situation in fact!).

Doje Tue 26-Aug-14 10:02:10

over stated is probably more accurate than overrated, but you get what I mean...

Doje Tue 26-Aug-14 09:59:00

Not sure about posting links, but this study has looked at siblings that have been bottle and breast fed and concludes the benefits of breastfeeding are overrated.

(ready to be flamed by breast is best brigade....)

leedy Tue 26-Aug-14 09:19:19

Your SIL is being a vile, judgemental bitch. As everyone else has said, a lot of the BF health advantages etc. are observed on a population level, it doesn't mean your particular child is going to be healthier, cleverer, etc. Whether you FF or BF is just a small part of bringing up a child, and your own health is important too.

And as dannydyer said above, it might be worthwhile checking with the BFN about your meds, as a lot of doctors are over cautious about medication and breastfeeding. I fed DS1 on antidepressants and he still appears to have the right number of heads. smile

Topseyt Mon 25-Aug-14 20:02:50

You are not failing your baby, and he/she will not fall behind just because they may not be breastfed. Ignore your SIL.

I formula fed all of mine from birth. I did try breastfeeding my eldest but stopped at about day 4 as it was horrendous and I wasn't well. She is 19 now and got A*s and As in four A Levels. She has just completed her first year at university with a 2.1 grade for it. There is no way the fact that she was bottle-fed has held her back.

My younger two are aged 15 and 12, and also doing fine. 15 year old is not academic, but that is her anyway and nothing to do with how she was fed as a baby. 12 year old is virtually top of her year in most things.

Feed your baby using the method that works for you, and that you feel most comfortable with. Ignore anyone else. Your sanity is important here, and your baby really won't care one way or another as long as he/she is being loved and adequately fed (and formula is perfectly adequate).

theborrower Sun 24-Aug-14 21:27:27

Firstly, please don't listen to your SIL, I can't believe she said that. It's vile, ignorant and cruel.

I can relate to what you're saying about feeling like you're failing your daughter, and about BFing promotional posters etc. I had a terrible time trying to BF my first daughter, and every time I saw a poster that had a message about it being the best choice/decision I felt so angry and upset because it wasn't my choice to formula feed, I had wanted to breastfeed her.

It's ok to feel sad and angry about it and even grieve for an experience / part of motherhood you thought you would have.

As time goes by you'll realise that it's a small part of being a mum - at the beginning it seems the most important thing in the world, but then they're on to weaning, crawling, walking, talking, tantruming etc. I'm not trying to minimise it, I know how emotive feeding is, but it does feel like less of an issue once your wee one is growing up.

I think the info another person has posted above is great. I remember thinking that if I was going to formula feed her, I'd make sure I made it as nice as possible.

Hope you feel better about it soon OP x

LaurieMarlow Sun 24-Aug-14 14:00:47

Emerald, please don't beat yourself up about this.

The first thing to remember is that women who make others feel bad about their feeding choices do so out of their own insecurities. This is your SIL's problem. Blithely ignore, otherwise you are making it yours.

The most recent BF studies suggest that the benefits of BF may be significantly overstated anyway. Your little one won't be 'behind', you'll be giving her all the love & care you have, BF is only a teeny, tiny part of the picture. Christ knows why society gives it such undue emphasis.

A happy, chilled out mum is exactly what your baby needs, so just turn a deaf ear to your SIL's comments, you don't need to deal with that crap right now.

And good luck with your little one!

dennant Sun 24-Aug-14 08:43:32

Wow sil needs a punch in the face (metaphorically not literally of course!) That's so unfair that she is chipping when clearly you are having a tough time before baby has even arrived!
Have a read through some of the posts on this site, there was one recently about whether breast is actually best, someone posed the question and there were many positive stories about ff. Many mums saying that there ff baby was healthier, more developed than there bf siblings and therefore no evidence to say ff is detrimental.
You need to feed your baby, and you do it the best way you can, friends if mine have admitted that after persevering with bf for a few weeks they switched to ff and looking back wished they had done it much sooner.
I mix feed my little girl coz I can't produce enough milk, and she is gaining beautifully and very satisfied after a feed. No guilt about using formula here, she is a happy baby!
Best of luck, and don't listen to your sil I am sure that she would do the same in your position.

BadPenny Sat 23-Aug-14 19:47:41

You and your baby will be fine! If you like, you could try some of these tips (edited - sorry it's still long!) from Eva Lyford for 'paced bottle feeding' which apparently helps babies feed more 'naturally' (if that's the word):

"This information is particularly targeted towards infants under 6 months of age. Babies should be bottle-fed:

When their cues indicate hunger, rather than on a schedule.

Held in an upright position; it is especially important to avoid letting the baby drink from a bottle when lying down. Such a position is associated with bottle caries and an increased frequency of ear infections. Note also that babies should be held often at times when they are not being fed, to avoid the baby being trained to eat in order to be held.

With a switch from one side to the other side midway through a feed; this provides for eye stimulation and development.

Care providers should be encouraged to make appropriate quantities last the average length of a feeding, rather than trying to feed as much as they can in as short a time as possible. This time element is significant because the infant’s system needs time to recognize satiety, long before the stomach has a chance to get over-filled.

Gently, allowing the infant to draw nipple into mouth rather than pushing the nipple into the infant’s mouth, so that baby controls when the feed begins.

Stroke baby’s lips from top to bottom with the nipple to illicit a rooting response of a wide open mouth, and then allow the baby to “accept” the nipple rather than poking it in.

Consistent with a breastfed rhythm; the caregiver should encourage frequent pauses while the baby drinks from the bottle to mimic the breastfeeding mother’s let-down patterns. This discourages the baby from guzzling the bottle.

To satiation, so that baby is not aggressively encouraged to finish the last bit of milk in the bottle by such measures as forcing the nipple into the mouth, massaging the infant’s jaw or throat, or rattling the nipple around in the infant’s mouth. If baby is drowsing off and releasing the bottle nipple before the bottle is empty that means baby is done; don’t reawaken the baby to “finish.”

The benefits of bottle-feeding in this manner:

The infant will consume a volume appropriate to their size and age, rather than over- or under-eating.

This can minimize colic-like symptoms in the baby whose stomach is distended or over-fed."

Even if this doesn't happen exactly like this at every single feed - heaven knows no two breastfeeds are the same - it can be helpful to use these tips that follow biological norms.

Though in my view, the most important thing is skin-to-skin contact and holding a newborn - research consistently shows it's good for brain development (see e.g. - most of the studies deal with pre-term babies but it's not like there's no benefit for full term ones, it's just less likely to be studied - mechanisms are the same).

TheGirlAtTheRockShow Sat 23-Aug-14 19:26:24

Wow. Your SIL sounds like a delight!
Know that you are making the right choice for you and your DC. Formula is perfectly good. There are countless people who have been formula fed and done brilliantly in life.
Do not beat yourself up.

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