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How do I get past these feelings?

(9 Posts)
Keepsmiling1 Mon 13-Jul-15 20:27:55


DD2 is 13 weeks and I stopped BF when she was 6 weeks old. I stopped for a variety of reasons: she had been very fussy, lots of crying, arching her back etc and when I took her to the Drs he diagnosed reflux and thrush in her mouth. The gaviscon was very tricky to administer when BF and experience from DD1 told me thrush was a nightmare to get rid of so that was one reason. DD1 also didn't like me BF and kept asking when she could have a bottle so I could play with her again. DD2 fed a lot and as I was never sure how much she was getting I always felt like I had to offer in case she was hungry. She would also never settle for me and always rooted for food when I had hold of her. So I made the decision to switch and I have to say the difference was amazing! She was much more settled and even now is such a content and smiley baby. She roughly feeds every 3 hours now and is only up once in the night for a feed.

But I feel so sad about it all. I only managed to BF DD1 for 3 weeks and I was so determined for it to work this time. I wonder if I gave up too easily or if the change in DD2 would have happened anyway if I had just persevered. I feel so jealous when I see other people BF and think if she had been my first I would have happily sat on the couch all day feeding but obviously couldn't with DD1 to look after. I just can't get past these feelings though and every day I think about it and feel sad. I don't want to look back at this time and remember how sad I felt. As I said, I bottle fed DD1 and she has turned out fine but I just really wanted this to work. How do I stop feeling guilty and sad? I'm just so drained from thinking about it all the time.

BeverlyGoldberg Mon 13-Jul-15 20:33:44

I have been having similar feelings. I stopped for health reasons at 6 weeks. I had a difficult birth which left me anaemic and then I got a chest infection, in short it just got too much and my baby's appetite was increasing as I was getting weaker.

I still feel terribly guilty even though I know I couldn't have carried on.

You did what was right for your family. Your baby is more settled and healthy. Babies are happier when their mum is happy, so take comfort that you have a happy and healthy family who you did your best for.

I know it's hard because I feel the same way but try to put it behind you and enjoy this lovely time with your baby.

minipie Mon 13-Jul-15 20:47:43

I read a phrase on MN a long time ago which has stuck with me:

"If you could have, you would have"

Has saved me from retrospectively beating myself up over various things I did with DD.

Please don't feel guilty. You had very good reasons for your decision, it was the best thing at the time and there's no guarantee it would have worked out if you'd persevered anyway.

BikeRunSki Mon 13-Jul-15 20:55:46

keepsmiling, I know those feelings so well. I was sure I was going to have a water birth and breastfeed. DS was born by emcs and lost 23% of his birth weight in a week. I was sure tearful, my boobs were so sore and all I could think was how good bf was for babies... It must be, I was surrounded by posters and people telling me. We were still in hospital, and the paediatrician wanted to put him in SCBU, but a mw persuaded me to let DS have a bottle. He blossomed and we went home the next day. He's nearly seven now, tall, fit, strong, healthy, bright.....

But when I stopped bf I felt so guilty, guilty that I was depriving my baby of the best start in life. But I also felt huge relief that I didn't have to struggle to feed him anymore. I also felt dissapointed in myself that I had given up so easily. I finally made my peace with myself when we had an NCT reunion, when DS was about 8 weeks old. Our NCT course leader said "There are many ways to nurture a baby, the way you feed them is just one". So true. We are fortunate to live in a country with clean water on tap, and formula easily available, within affordable-ish costs. In 6 months time you'll be weaning... In 12 months time your baby can be on cow's milk... Infant feeding is such a short time.

3 years later I had another baby - very traumatic, uterine rupture and her heart stopped in labour, followed by crash emcs. I also had heavy flu and just couldn't recover (I lost the ability to control my body temp). I was bf DD with mixed success. I had the same community mw as before, who said that she wasn't going to try and persuade me to presevere with bf, because she knew I hadn't with DS. I think DH was despatched to Tesco before she'd left. That time I felt no regret, dissapointment or guilt about stopping by at all.

Keepsmiling1 Wed 15-Jul-15 12:48:42

Thank you all. I know you're right, it's just so hard to accept. In my head if we had continued then DD would be feeding every 3/3.5 hours in the day (for about 10mins!) then up once in the night (this is my friends routine who is currently BF) but I know in reality it probably wouldn't have been like that as DD seemed to be a very hungry baby!! We aren't having any more babies so I know I won't ever BF again which is also hard to accept.

DD is currently fast asleep on me at the moment which is lovely and I know feeding is such a small part of raising your baby. In some ways I'm looking forward to when she's 6 months because I would have stopped then anyway so won't feel as guilty!! I also feel like everyone looks at me when I'm out and about and give her a bottle thinking why aren't I BF!! My friend is due in a couple of months and I know I'll feel jealous if she BFs which is just ridiculous!!

Imeg Wed 15-Jul-15 17:38:26

It sounds like you know this already but just in case it's helpful I'll just remind you that your BF friend is very lucky: at that age mine would feed for at least 45 minutes at a time every 2 hours or so and wake at least every 3 hours in the night. You don't know what would have happened if you'd continued breastfeeding - maybe the reflux might have continued, DD1's behaviour might have deteriorated, you might have struggled to manage both of them together. Obviously this is speculation but this is the kind of scenario why you stopped breastfeeding in the first place.
Are you managing to get out and about ok? (maybe going for walks or to the shops rather than baby groups if seeing breastfeeding mums is bothering you at the moment?)
Do you think you're generally feeling down a lot? I just wondered because you said you feel drained from thinking about it all the time. So I just wondered whether you are managing to look after yourself, eat properly, sleep as much as you can with two small children, get some fresh air and a break sometimes from the children?
It's really hard to tell from an online post whether you are 'just' feeling sad because the feeding didn't work out the way you wanted it to, or whether it is really taking over your life in general, so apologies if you're actually fine more generally, it was just a thought!

Oly4 Thu 16-Jul-15 16:35:07

i just wanted to extend my sympathies to you and tell you not to beat yourself up about this. Your child will thrive on formula, millions have around the world. It's ok. You did your best, it didn't work. Don't best yourself up.
I fed my son for six weeks until reflux/no sleep/weight loss drove me to despair. I've bf my daughter from the start and am still doing so 15 months later. But it was easy... She just latched on at birth and away we went. I've been on both sides of this fence and I think you should go easy on yourself. In the grand scheme of things it does not matter. And there is so much good you can still do with weaning on amazing, nutritious food. Well done for doing all you did

punchdrunk Thu 16-Jul-15 20:06:41

Hi keepsmiling,
I don't usually post on here, but saw your message while looking for something else. It struck a chord because I remember feeling the same way with my daughter who is now 8, and wanted to reassure you. All those feelings you're describing ring a bell. I felt sad and guilty and yes, jealous of breastfeeding mums. Eight years on and I don't know why I felt so terrible! She is a healthy, thriving child who is almost never ill. I know it's easier said than done, but you should try not to give this issue another minute's thought. The fact that you're so worried shows you're a caring, loving mum and that means your baby is going to be a happy, healthy child. There is always something for us mums to feel guilty about, from feeding, to weaning, to sleeping, to potty training.. the list is endless. You need to pat yourself on the back, let the guilt go and enjoy every minute.

Pyjamaramadrama Fri 17-Jul-15 12:24:03

I've no real advice but I just want to say I know exactly how you feel.

I breastfed both my ds's for one week. I had the same problem with both boys in that my nipples got really sore really quickly due to incorrect latch. This teamed with being up every 2 hours during the night and having constant visitors and I gave up.

Both boys were more content on the formula but there were other problems, wind, funny colour, smelly poo, making bottles is a pain the the neck.

I really do rather regret it, ds2 is only 5 weeks old and I still get tearful and feel so jealous of other mums who are bf, I keep thinking how if I'd stuck at it it would be easier. But that might not be true, ds2 is still quite fussy and like you is have constantly felt the need to offer him boob taking time away from ds1.

In terms of the health benefits I can only say that ds1 is now 7 and is very, very healthy. So the formula can't have been that bad, but for me nothing beats the bonding of bf your baby.

Just remember that you had your reasons at the time, keeping sane yourself is important, and you bf for 6 weeks which means you had that experience and gave your dd the early benefits.

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