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Too selfish to breastfeed

(14 Posts)
Theyvallgone Mon 13-Jul-15 10:01:33

Emotive title ... to be clear I refer only to how I have begun to feel about myself, absolutely not judging anyone elses choices.

It's taken me a long time to work up to typing this out, not sure I want to face half of what I know I will write - but here we go.

I always assumed I would breastfeed for at least 6 months, for all its obvious benefits and convenience. But DS is now 6 weeks old, and I think I'm done with it. To be truthful I wanted to stop when he was barely a week old so technically should be proud to have come this far? But I don't feel proud, I feel selfish sad

I had a shite pregnancy - hyperemesis, PGP/SPD, gestational diabetes. I was induced, it took 4 days and the delivery was no picnic either. Following the birth my stomach muscles have split, I needed antibiotics for my stitches and the baby has thrush in his mouth. Breast feeding was incredibly painful for the first month despite his latch being good. I feel like I've been poorly and restricted in what I can do for the last year. Additionally I have to take codeine for an unrelated condition, I know this is now not recommended in breastfeeding (a relatively recent development) but, following a brief discussion with a GP who didn't sound like she knew what she was talking about, I've had no choice.

I just feel so guilty that DS is getting all these antibiotics and painkillers through the breast milk when his little body is too small to cope with them. And I also feel like after the hellish past year I've had health-wise I really need a part of myself back. I need to be able to have a drink if I feel like it, take my pain-killers without feeling awfully guilty etc. I cannot cope with the amount my breasts leak, getting up and changing my PJs more than once a night, and hoping to God they don't leak while feeding in public. Every time I pick him up he is rooting to feed, even if he's just fed because he can smell the milk and can't resist - I can't comfort him like his dad can because the smell winds him up.

He has been having 1-2 bottles of formula a day for the past 2 weeks, usually for the feed following my painkillers so that I feel he is getting less of a hit of them. I feel like now its time to start to transition to more bottle feeding and less breast feeding. But I feel so so guilty when technically, physically I can breastfeed when so many can't. When he's crying to be fed and I'm trying to get him a bottle ready, I look at his little face and feel awful for not just putting him to my breast to comfort him sad I worry he will feel as though I've rejected him because he won't be at the breast any more.

I know all of this sounds stupid, and when he's a bit older I won't care how I fed him, I'm sure he will thrive either way. It really isn't about the benefits of breast vs. bottle as I'm intimiately familiar with pros and cons. I just can't wrap my head around what I want to do. I feel as though my need to improve my mental health by feeling a little more free (as in not watching what I ingest so baby doesn't get it) means I'm being too selfish to breast feed and I should just stop all tablets/restrict what I do for the next 6 months to do whats 'best' for him. But then is it best for him? If I'm unhappy surely that impacts on him too?

I don't know, I'm all in a mess about it. I wish I could do a bit of both without him getting any nasties in the breast milk sad

Sorry for the long post, not sure what I'm hoping to achieve :/

OTheHugeManatee Mon 13-Jul-15 10:12:51

You're not selfish. You're trying to protect him from exposure to your medication, and to balance your needs and his so as to be in the best place to carry on taking care of him. You sound like a devoted mum to me. No need for guilt, whatever you decide flowers

FishCalledWonder Mon 13-Jul-15 10:17:48

Be kind to yourself. He will be fine. As PP says, definitely no need for guilt.

Kent1982 Mon 13-Jul-15 10:19:12

Look here, you can only do your best and you are. Everyone's feeling guilty about one thing or another. I would call the health visitor to see what advice they can offer or more likely I would ask to see a different GP.

I know I'm not much help o you and I'm sure some other fabulous women will give you super advice.


ThisIsClemFandango Mon 13-Jul-15 10:21:52

Please don't feel bad. Breastfeeding can be hard and emotionally draining especially in the early days and weeks. You are not selfish.
I have no idea with regards to the painkillers and antibiotics - have you asked your HV about it?
If you do decide to switch to formula your baby won't feel rejected by you so please get that out of your head. You've done the best you can for him and you've given him the best start but the most important thing for him is that he has a happy and relaxed mum and not one who is stressed and low because of breastfeeding.
Can you book an appointment with a different GP or try to contact a bf specialist? or even chat to a HV - it sounds like you need to talk through your concerns surrounding the breastfeeding and the formula and get some reassurance and advice. But in the meantime try not to stress. If you quit now you are doing nothing wrong and you have nothing to feel guilty about.
I don't really have advice to help you but I didn't want to read and run - and I've been there with some of the ways you're feeling when I stopped breastfeeding myself. It will be ok. flowers

SwissArmy Mon 13-Jul-15 10:32:07

Dear Lord, They, you poor thing - what a gruelling time you've had. You're not being remotely selfish to want to be able to take medication to deal with chronic and acute health conditions without worrying about its effect on the baby.

For what it's worth, though, I entirely understand why it's a hard decision to make, especially when feeling ill and vulnerable. I had no milk supply and after two months of trying literally everything (supplemental nursing system, drugs, pumping every two hours, advice from every source fromLa Leche League, GP, NCT bf support ) it was still a desperately difficult decision to stop trying. I blamed myself for years. Don't be like me. You're not being selfish, you're being the adult making a decision that's best for you and your baby.

Yumpopbythesea Mon 13-Jul-15 10:45:45

I'm one of those pro breastfeeder washable nappies mums and even I say don't feel guilty just get on the bottles! well maybe slowly cut down the breastfeeding so your boobs dont hurt. cutting down and stopping breastfeeding does horrible things to your hormones though so expect to feel terrible and upset. that's normal and doesn't mean you've done the wrong thing. baby will get fed and what's really important is they have a happy healthy mum to love them.
hope you are feeling better soon but be warned the next couple of weeks of hormones and sore boobs might be horrible xx

SonceyD0g Mon 13-Jul-15 10:47:54

You have done more than many mothers would have even attempted

TobyLerone Mon 13-Jul-15 11:03:05

It's a balancing act. Everyone needs to be happy. I'm a huge advocate of breastfeeding. I'm still BFing my 18mo DD and I'm a peer supporter. But it needs to work for everyone.

You've done well. Every feed is beneficial to the baby, so every one you do makes a difference.

If you do want to carry on, at least partially, I would suggest seeing a different GP asap to discuss if there are any alternative treatments for your condition. There are many painkillers which can be used while BFing. The breastfeeding network website is a brilliant resource for info on this.

OwlAtEase Mon 13-Jul-15 11:13:11

You sound like an absolutely wonderful mum, and you are doing a great job looking after your baby. But it is really important to look after yourself too. Your health and happiness matter. I think of it like - your family is a team, each member is important, and the happiness and health of that member improves the team overall. So looking after yourself is not at all selfish, and it ultimately benefits your baby too.

PeppaWellington Mon 13-Jul-15 11:50:25

You have been through the mill and I agree with TobyLerone, it's a balancing act.

When you have a small baby you have to weigh your needs up against the baby's. If it's making you miserable and you have concerns about what the baby is ingesting, then is having you stressed and unhappy in the baby's best interests?

If you're thinking about a compromise, could you pump and dump for a couple of weeks, or till you're off the ABs (and maybe codeine?) then give him expressed milk in addition to formula, or see if he'll still latch on?

There is NOTHING wrong in stopping bf when it's not working for you.

PeterParkerSays Mon 13-Jul-15 12:06:07

I remember so many of the things that you've mentioned - my DS couldn't sleep tucked up against my side of the bed because he could smell the milk and wouldn't settle.

As much as it's "best for baby" it's also bloody gruelling, particularly if you've got other issues going on.

If you want to try and carry on, can you ask your health visitor or someone like the La Leche League about pain killers which you know you can safely take, then you're getting potentially more reliable advice than your GP gave you?

Theyvallgone Mon 13-Jul-15 14:57:45

You're all amazing flowers, thank you so much for your supportive replies.

I have my 6 week GP appointment this afternoon and will enquire about the painkillers. The last lady I spoke to started muttering about Tramadol or Morphine patches shock hmm which in my book are infinitely worse?!

Has anyone any experience of mainly bottle feeding but perhaps maintaining 1-2 breastfeeds per day? How did you do it? I worry that my supply will just dwindle trying to do that, as I know how it works RE supply and demand.

Bless him, he doesn't seem bothered either way, whereas I can't stop weeping when I think about it. Must pull self together.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jul-15 20:52:37

You aren't selfish at all. You sound like a mother who loves her baby very much and wants to do what's best for him flowers

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