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BF failure - feeling sad & useless

(35 Posts)
MrsN1984 Tue 27-Jan-15 17:36:41

DS is 5 days old and I am really struggling.
He took to the breast straight away and for two days it was great and I felt a huge sense of achievement along with elation when he fell asleep on me.
Then day 3 was horrendous. Would not take the breast and he was very distressed. We broke out the 'emergency' aptimil starter pack and he took that and some breast that day.
Now I've gone to expressing so I don't feel like such a useless mum and it's killing me.
I guess expressing is a compromise and DS is still getting what he needs from me but I miss that closeness we had at the beginning hmm
I can't stop crying with desperation

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 27-Jan-15 18:03:57

Ok, first of all this is not a "failure" this is a (possibly temporary) change of plans.

If you haven't already, take a look at the Kellymom website - there's loads of info about breastfeeding issues. 5 days is no time at all, and it's entirely possible that you can move back to full or mostly directly breastfeeding.

There are loads of things going on - forceful let down, oversupply, tongue tie, latch issues - all of which can be investigated. Are there any breastfeeding support groups near you, or can you see if your HV can refer you to an infant feeding specialist.

In the meantime, there's no harm in offering a breastfeed at a time of day/night where he is most calm. I would also suggest using bottles like the Medela Calma ones that mimic a breastfeeding mechanism.

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 27-Jan-15 18:07:53

Oops, should have written "loads of things that COULD be going on".

Loveleopardprint Tue 27-Jan-15 18:53:52

Don't feel guilty!! I couldn't breathe feed. I have two clever, beautiful, tall daughters who at 15 and 12 survived and flourished even without breast milk. Give yourself a break. smile

Loveleopardprint Tue 27-Jan-15 18:54:13

Breast feed not breathe feed!!!confused

Charlie1330 Tue 27-Jan-15 18:57:51

Try not to worry. My first baby would not latch on no matter how hard I tried. I ended up expressing for three weeks, which wasn't easy but wanted to give my baby the best start possible. After that time, because of the effect on me I decided I should formula feed and she flourished as a result. She is now eight and and rarely ill. My second who I breastfed for 8 months has quite a low immunity to bugs. In hindsight, I know that I tried everything to breastfeed - I had the "expert" at breastfeeding midwife round to help and she still couldn't get her to do it. If I look back, I should have relaxed more and not worried so much but it is hard when you're desperate for it to work. Good luck with it, but please don't worry if it doesn't work. Your health and well being are just as important as your baby's is and lots of babies flourish on fomula as my daughter did.

WishUponAStar88 Tue 27-Jan-15 19:02:07

Please don't feel guilty and you are certainly not useless. Personally I found expressing horrendously difficult and stressful. If you're finding expressing hard I would step away from the pump and offer the breast when calm, otherwise bottle. Of course it is your decision and you need to do what works for you but combining breastfeeding, expressing and then feeding the expressed milk can take up a lot of time and be very stressful. Exclusive breastfeeding (in my opinion) is only 'best' when it is best for both mum and baby. Formula is not poison and a relaxed happy mum and baby is much better than an upset baby struggling to breast feed and a stressed mum.
It's such a hard time in those first few days but you're doing great flowers

Jackiebrambles Tue 27-Jan-15 19:03:16

Do you know when your milk came in? I'm wondering if that was the day he got distressed because there was more / different milk or it could come too fast if you have a fast let down perhaps?

hufflebottom Tue 27-Jan-15 19:04:05

I know the feeling, but dd (5) didn't bf and she's turned out into a lovely little horror angel.

You aren't useless or a failure. thanks

glorious Tue 27-Jan-15 19:12:47

You are not a failure whatever happens. You obviously care very deeply about your baby and that makes you a great mum. Your hormones will be all over the place at 5 days which makes it all so much worse.

If you still want to breastfeed it is not too late. Call one of the helplines (numbers and get some expert advice, then see if you can get real life support asap from someone who knows their stuff. Midwives unfortunately can either be great or not so great.

glorious Tue 27-Jan-15 19:14:56

Also if you want to continue have you tried lots of skin to skin or maybe a bath together? That can calm both of you down which is never a bad thing.

Or of course it's ok to choose to stop as well smile

Booboostoo Tue 27-Jan-15 19:16:24

Have you had any support in RL? I think that if you want to bf it would best to get a lactation consultant to see exactly what is happening and advise you.

You can also continue to express and/or ff. Neither will affect your closeness with you baby, you are his mum!

GoldfishSpy Tue 27-Jan-15 19:20:09

My DS2 took a week to learn how to latch on, and had to be tube fed formula (plus what little I could express) until day 6. We then managed to crack it and he was ebf from then until nearly a year. DOn't give up yet, some babies take longer than others.

if you want to continue, offer the breast before every feed, (don't wait till he cries for a feed, a bit before he would normally want it is best so he isn't worked up).

I'm sure more knowledgable people will be along soon...

Best of luck.

LetticeKnollys Tue 27-Jan-15 19:20:11

I had to express for 2 weeks before DS would latch. It was very stressful but I'm so glad we stuck with it. You sound like you really want to breastfeed so don't give up! I know how rubbish it feels when you're struggling to feed your baby, for me it just became a big war of perseverance at this stage.

Have a good look for tongue tie because they get missed all the time (the paediatrician said DS didn't have one but he most certainly did). If you think he has one then push for a referral and don't be fobbed off.

Also try and find someone who is a breastfeeding expert of some kind, ideally a lactation consultant but I went to a breastfeeding clinic in Oxford which was very helpful (and free). Don't assume your midwives know your nipple from your elbow just because they can deliver babies because they probably don't.

If all else fails, then if you are bottle feeding his EBM then you could always see if he can latch with nipple shields. I cup fed my DS instead, I don't know if it helped him not to develop a preference, some say it does. It was a right mess though.

Good luck!

ninetynineonehundred Tue 27-Jan-15 19:27:47

Op you poor thing. My baby was a boob refuser and the midwife suggested a nipple shield so that baby thought it was a bottle.
She took it, we established breastfeeding (this was when she was about a week old so only had formula for her first week), and several weeks later started to refuse again - because she wanted the real thing smile
I ended up nursing her for 3! years.

If this sounds smug I'm really sorry. I wanted to give you some hope that it could still work.

If exclusive breastfeeding(or even any breastfeeding doesn't happen it really really doesn't matter. Your beautiful little one is fed and happy. He can see the love in your eyes and feel it in your arms. The closeness is still there.

Congratulations on your little guy flowers
Give the nipple shield a go if you like and try not to worry.

MrsN1984 Tue 27-Jan-15 19:48:59

DP has been brilliant thank god!
HV was supposed to come today, didn't show up and then no answer when I called hmm
DS is straining and possibly constipated which isn't helping my guilt.
Will try NCT helpline in the morning - anything to stop curling up in a ball and crying confused

callamia Tue 27-Jan-15 20:00:55

Is there a la leche league or breastfeeding cafe support near you? These people saved me when I was having a monstrous time trying to learn to feed DS. I was expressing, using formula, grazed to ribbons, and they very gently listened, understood and showed me how to do it better. My HV was little use.

Please don't think of yourself a a useless, you're far away for that. You're upset because you care so much, and you're doing the very best you can. It's going to be ok.

scallopsrgreat Tue 27-Jan-15 20:04:00

Oh MrsN. I've been in your position, my first was a breast refuser. It's soul destroying flowers.

My second at about 5/6 days old got nipple confusion and started to refuse too (to do with using nipple shields because it was excruciating - he had tongue-tie in the end).

However with my 2nd I got the best bit of advice which worked. Run a really deep bath (nice and warm but not roasting) and lie it. Then get your DD and submerge her as much as possible in the water (your DP will probably need to help). And then keeping her in the water and nestled on you, put her to the breast.

If you google rebirthing breastfeeding there are a few examples/advice.

Best of luck xx

museumum Tue 27-Jan-15 20:04:01

My ds stopped latching when my milk came in. I went to a bf support group and it turned out he had tongue tie. We managed a combination of expressed milk and bf for two weeks then got the TT cut on the nhs. He bf from then till 13mo.

scallopsrgreat Tue 27-Jan-15 20:07:05

Yy tongue-tie is always a possibility. Be warned though I had 4 HCPs tell me it wasn't ongue-tie and it was! If you can find a TT specialist, that's best (they were in short supply near me though).

glorious Tue 27-Jan-15 20:07:10

Some of the helplines are open until 10 so you can call now if you like. And if you want to pm me your rough location I could look up face to face support. Agree the HV is unlikely to be any use - many give terrible bf advice (though some are great of course, the problem is just that you may not know which is which)

andnowforsomemoreofthesame Tue 27-Jan-15 20:19:43

call la leche league or look for breastfeeding cafes near you. Most HV are CLUELESS about Bf, so don't expect much.

Don't be too hard on yourself, your hormones are crazy, this is a very difficult period. Trust that you can breastfeed (most women can). Keep trying, try not to panic, drink LOADS of water and get some RL help (from knowledgeable people, like bf consultants). If the baby is fine, alert, with wet and pooey nappies, then probably everything is fine.

My DS2 spent the first 2 days very angry and crying when feeding. Now I know he had a tongue tie. But even then, I just insisted, fed very frequently and it was just fine. He is 2 and still bf. I don't know if I would have been that confident if he was my first child, so I understand your pain...

good luck. You'll be fine either way.

MrsN1984 Tue 27-Jan-15 20:22:57

How can I tell if it's TT?

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 27-Jan-15 20:29:20

It's very hard to tell, which is why lots of HCPs miss it. Sometimes you can see that their tongue is heart shaped when they cry (because it's being tethered by the tie). They can be lip tied too, where the top lip can't "flip" up like it should when latched. I had to manually flip up my DSs top lip when he latched for a fair while.

You could have a Google and look at some of the images of the various different tongue ties, but they can be very hard to actually spot sometimes.

callamia Tue 27-Jan-15 20:36:31

You probably won't be able to tell, but a good bf counsellor should. It is definitely worth a trip to a bf cafe - most areas have more than one per week, and the have tea and biscuits and lovely people who know how you feel.

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