Started breastfeeding at 3wks, now I want to quit after 3 days!(11 Posts)
Very long-time lurker here. I've got many a good piece of advice from these forums in the middle of the night. Now needing some sage wisdom as I'm lying on the sofa crying and this is not me and not who I want to be!
DD is 3 weeks old, our first much longed-for IVF baby. I always intended to breastfeed but was unable to after the birth - stayed in hospital for 2 nights and had various midwives helping and prodding about but she would not latch on. Thought this could be due to my nipples being fairly flat, or because DD was 2 weeks early. Discharged from hospital expressing milk.
I tried nipple shields but found them really faffy and DD lost weight - was sent back to hospital and dr suspected she was losing too much energy trying to feed through the shields and not getting much milk. Stopped using shields and she's gaining weight now.
This past weekend DD latched on at last! She seemed to be feeding well, sucking and swallowing, milk in her mouth after she came off etc. Went to BF clinic yesterday and was told all looks good. Then she fed most of the afternoon, and constantly from 8.30pm til 1.30am, screaming if she came off the breast for a few seconds. At 1.30am I was dozing/hallucinating (had very little sleep previous night too) and crying, kep reading articles online about how this was normal, keep going etc. DH woke to me crying, got a bottle of expressed milk, gave her about 50ml and she slept for 3.5 hours.
Today I've continued BF but she seems very unsettled between feeds. Brought my duvet down to the sofa as I'm still desperately tired and tearful but DD is making quiet moaning/snuffling/grunting noises and I just can't sleep. So tempted to give her a bottle. I've cancelled seeing friends this afternoon. I can't help thinking if I had just stuck to expressing and bottle feeding things would be easier. I've seen so many people saying how wonderful breastfeeding is. When does the wonderful bit kick in? I don't want to quit so soon but sleep deprivation is making me feel miserable and ill.
Sorry you're having such a horrible time at the moment.
The work with breastfeeding is all front loaded, so the first weeks are the hardest and then it gets better as you go on (usually). Cluster feeding is hard work, but it shouldn't last for long. 6 weeks for me was better, then 3 months a whole lot better than that and then now at just turned 7 months it's no effort at all.
But, if you're miserable and ill then stop. Swapping to formula is going to be easier than expressing I'd have thought.
Don't worry I went through similar things. I couldn't sleep well until my daughter was 16 months old. I also had my daughter after two miscarriages and she was born at 37 weeks and she had very low sugar levels. She stayed in intensive care for one week around that time I tried to BF her but I wasn't successful but expressed as much as I can. She was already having formula from a cup at the hospital in intensive care. When I get home first day it was terrible she cried a lot and I thought she was starving and I gave the formula but after that with the help of midwives I successfully breastfed until she was 16 months old and never used the formula again. It takes time. Ask help from midwives and local centers. It takes time and determination. It is harder to prepare sterilize and prepare bottle.
We had a difficult start too. The first few days of feeding are really difficult and I felt the same way as you. Despite a late start for us, my baby still seemed to do the typical newborn stuff too. Keep going, take it feed by feed. If you don't want the bottle temptation remove it. Take it so easy on yourself, stay home. Get food delivered, etc. It's so difficult at the start but I'm a long way in now and it was very worth the effort at the beginning. for you.
Oh and your baby is cluster feeding to up your supply!
Breastfeeding is harder work for the baby but that's normal. She's used to getting her milk from a bottle and probably found that pretty easy. I expressed for four weeks and my DD seemed so settled and happy and slept so well but when she finally got latched on the boob she needed to feed a lot more often to get the same amount.
It will get easier in a few weeks time. Your baby is still working out how to feed effectively but before you know it she will be feeding like a pro. She's spent three weeks learning how to bottle feed, now it will just take her a little time to get used to the boob. As a pp said, it's hard now, but in a months time if you can stick to it, it will be a lot easier than sterilising etc!
I know I sound like a stuck record, but if it still isn't settling down in a few days don't be afraid to check tongue tie. I know it won't be the case for everyone, but as very few people are qualified to check for one I think they are easily missed.
The point when I had my awww this is nice moment was about 5 weeks in, something clicked and it was like I was flooded with happy hormones and despite a horrific birth I kept thinking "I want to do this again", so just because it doesn't feel good now, doesn't mean you've missed that feeling yet!
5-6 weeks each time. Sorry.
I did go on to feed all four for over two years each though as when it's nice and awwww it is really special.
Fucking hard work to start though, sorry!
I've been expressing long term (6 months +). If giving your child breast milk is your optimum choice then try to stick to bf if you can. A few weeks effort now will save you HOURS (days probably) of being attached to your pump. I hate having to leave a social event because I have to pump or plan my day around when can I express and where.
Obviously bottle feeding formula is an option too.
Also don't plan too much around how the feeding effects their sleep at this early stage. Babies are trained sleep assassins. Once they lull you into one plan, they do something radically different to ruin your "routine" .
Don't beat yourself up. Breastfeeding never worked for me. Mine never latched on once in a month and I had no milk supply, had meds for 6 weeks but couldn't stay on them forever. My twins had express milk in bottles but topped up with formula and then I just switched to all formula. I was ivf too and wish I hadn't spent so much time being bullied about breastfeeding and just enjoyed my babies! My dds are very healthy have had no time off sick in 4 years and are top of the class
Thanks for the responses, they have made me feel a bit better. zebras that's so impressive that you've continued expressing for 6 months. I'm sure you are right that the effort put in now will save hours of pumping in the future.
It's nice to hear from those who have come out the other side - thank you for all the supportive input and acknowledgement that it's bloody hard!!
If it gets better after 5-6 weeks I think that seems manageable...having said that I've just caved in and given her a bottle of expressed milk. I've been trying to sleep all day and not even managed 5 minutes due to DD fussing between feeds. 10 minutes after the bottle and she's settled and quiet.
You're right newme there is such pressure around breastfeeding. I knew that before I had DD and always told myself I would rise above it and do things the way that's right for me. But when you're tired and hormonal it's more difficult to be objective.
Can I combine BF with expressed bottles (break me and her in gently, save my sanity a little) or is it better to go 'cold turkey'?
I don't think anybody warns you how hard the first few weeks of breastfeeding are and it sounds like you are doing a great job.
My DD is 3 months old and I am far enough in to say 'it does get easier and it is worth it' yet I also have the fresh memories of how knackering it is. I almost vomited an passed out due to exhaustion.
Everyday the muscles in her mouth will become stronger so she will become more efficient at feeding. You'll notice that she will start to have slightly longer between feeds (20 mins rather than 5mins) and you can start to have a shower in the evening.
My DD would feed from 4pm until midnight for at least the first 4 weeks then slowly it became 4 until 11 then 5 until 10. She still feeds more often in the evening but it's not enough to make it a problem. My advice would be to start early. If you know she is going to want to feed solidly for 5 hours then just have her on you from 6pm. Even if she isn't eating have her on your boobs so it's available to her, don't try to move her off unless you need the loo etc as this will keep her relaxed. Remember to wind her as well.
My DD was the noisiest sleeper ever and I found I couldn't sleep at all. I solved this though with the help of podcasts. I told myself that I would only go to her in the night if she cried, if she moaned or grunted I would leave her too it and I resisted the urge to constantly check on her. I then downloaded a load of podcasts. I recommend Desert Island Discs and Womans hour. I would go to sleep with one earphone in as it would block out the grunting and farting but i could still hear her if she was crying. Honestly this saved my sanity.
Keep going as you are doing so well and this phase of her life will be over before you know it. Eat loads of food (I had about 3 fried egg sandwich a day) and drink loads of water.
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