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Breastfeeding Fail and Sadness(9 Posts)
Hi there, I had a little boy a few months ago and had my heart and expectations were fully set on breastfeeding. After an intense induction he arrived but never latched on. Numerous midwifes tried and I found it very upsetting each and every time someone tried to what seemed to force him on to me and he would just scream hysterically. It left me pretty traumatised as I never expected this to happen. I ended up pumping instead and this also upset me and I felt that I was missing out in holding/bonding my baby and I found being hooked to a machine psychologically distressing. I only introduced a nipple shield too late and it was falling off and I was in such a overwhelmed and exhausted state that at that time I felt I simply couldn't cope and completely panicked. I saw two LC's but my options were pumping or shields and by this point I didn't really think the shields were working and felt I'd never cope when my husband returned to work.
The thing is it's 4 months now and my little baby only got two weeks worth of breastmilk. I've really been so incredibly upset looking back and don't understand how I didn't try harder or keep going with the shields. I know hindsight is wonderful but I've really struggled and shed numerous tears over this. I have since felt so utterly selfish to have thought I could not cope or keep trying but at the time I was not coping very well.
I just wonder if anyone has been through similar and come out the other side? I am bonding and really working so hard to ensure I do my very best considering the ache and upset I feel that I let him and me down so badly and just hope someone out there can help me feel better if they have gone through a similar experience. I've just felt that I let him down at my very first job at being his mamma and feel pretty sickened since and it's hurt me a lot. Any helpful thoughts or advice to help me stop hurting so much would be really great
You didn't let him down at all - in fact you did exactly the right thing, and made sure he was being nourished in the way he needed to be, even when it wasn't the way you wanted. It sounds like you made the right call. Bf is lovely but not always possible. It's nobody's fault, just one of those things, and all we can do as parents is make the best of the unexpected situations we come up against.
You sound like a fabulous mum. Your little boy is very lucky to be cared for so well. Be kind to yourself - you've been through a lot for him already
So sorry that you have had this experience, I have heard so many stories like this, my own was a similar one! Ive written a blog about my traumatic time and it helped me a lot, your baby needs and loves you, whether or not he was breast or bottle fed is besides the point - you're his wonderful mum and you're there for him! Thats what counts xxx
If you're interested, this is the mystudentmidwife.co.uk to my blog post on breastfeeding. Just know that you are not alone! We need to approach breastfeeding differently so that women are not left feeling this way!
OP, it's so sad your experience has left you feeling so distressed.
None of this was your fault.
In fact the zealous and forceful pushing on you describe is traumatic and I so wish hcps would stop doing this. It rarely works and the results are often terrible - the baby stressed and screaming (or just switched off and asleep) and the mother feeling invaded.
You did everything you could and there is no reason to think your feeding experience has harmed your baby in any way.
However it harmed you. And that's wrong. It might help you to write your experience down and send it to the director of midwifery and the infant feeding lead at the unit where you gave birth. You could just copy and paste your post here. They need to know and you need answers.
So sorry this has happened OP
Unfortunately I think your experience is fairly common due to our healthcare systems support for new mothers - you story is actually pretty much exactly what happened to me although I managed to mixed feed until about 3 months by pumping.
I have felt the exact same guilt you have gone through, followed by anger at the very poor support I received. It is not helpful and goes against every instinct both mothers and newborns have when a stranger comes along and manhandles baby onto the breast!
There is no need to feel guilty, your baby will thrive and honestly there is so much more to being a mother than the way you end up feeding for the first few months of life. I know it doesn't feel that way but I'm pregnant with my second and feel happy and empowered by arming myself with knowledge and reassuring myself via studies etc that formula is a perfectly valid and healthy option for infants today in this country. Once you take the pressure off of your self, you really will lose the guilt and focus on all the wonderful things about being a mum
Don't feel guilty- at all. You have spent the past couple of months trying to do what is best for him. That means you are a great mother. The pressure to BF successful can be huge, as can the disappointment when it doesn't work out.
I've been though it. My best friend has been through it. In fact, most of the mother in my friendship group have been through it. It's not just you. Those first few months are confusing and terrifying. HCP all have their own view points (or axes to grind) and it is upsetting and confusing to get conflicting advice.
In the end, feeding your baby is much more important than how you feed your baby. You did the right thing giving him milk to help him grow. Not matter what kind of milk it is. It shouldn't make any difference to your bond.
When I was struggling with the concept of not EBFing DD my DH pointed something out to me. He asked me if I though my two mum friends, who FF their babies, were bad mothers or any less bonded to their children. It was a massive wake up call. I thought about the wonderful relationship they had with their babies.
BFing can help bonding but it isn't the be all and and end all. If you're cuddling him and playing with him and talking to him then he'll bond.
I'm sorry you went through this OP. Don't dwell on it and focus on loving and cuddling your little baby instead. Your baby loves you and you are doing everything you possibly can to look after and protect your baby.
I went through the exact same thing when I had my baby. Ds was delivered via c section at 35 weeks weighing only 1.6k and was in the scbu for 4 weeks. The early delivery, the section, physically not being around DS enough while he was in hospital and all the stress that came with it affected my ability to produce milk. I spent weeks visiting DS in hospital and having an endless stream of midwives and LCs trying to 'help'. I had tablets prescribed to help lactation, drank all the teas I was being advised, pumped to the point of making my nipples bleed, used nipple shields. I cried so much and felt like a total failure. I watched all the other mums pump what looked like gallons of milk within minutes while I would only get a piddly 5ml after pumping for 30 mins.
Looking back i realise I had undiagnosed PND from the breastfeeding fail. DS was put on a drip for the first 3 days as I didn't have any milk and he was losing weight from trying to latch and not getting anything. After that he was fed formula through a tube. It broke my heart to see all this. At no point did the midwives think to suggest giving him a bottle to take the pressure off myself. Being a first time mum I didn't know any better and was given the impression that the bottle was not an option. I was so desperate to breastfeed and the midwives and LCs kept pushing for this, telling me if I introduced bottles the baby won't breastfeed. I religiously pumped every two to three hours for weeks and would collect whatever came out in a syring and mix it into his formula. The midwives and LCs kept telling me what a grand job I was doing and that every drop counts and helps the baby develop their immunity blah blah blah.
It wasn't until the end of week 3 when DS accidentally kept pulling out his feeding tube that one midwife took pity on me said "look, I don't think it's going to happen for you". That's all I needed to hear, and I wish someone at the scbu would have just told me this earlier and I could have moved on and given my baby the bottle instead of him having to have a new tube pushed down his nose every other day and me going mad bleeding my nipples dry whilst trying to pump. Even after I introduced the bottle I carried on pumping and taking lactation tablets for 5 months in the crazy hope that I will be able to breastfeed. A friend finally knocked some sense into me when she witnessed what I was doing for the sake of feeding DS that lousy 5ml dribble. Up until that point I didn't speak to anyone about it as I was so ashamed of not being able to breastfeed. I even used to lie to my gp about how effective the lactation tablets were so that they didn't stop the prescription for it.
I lost the first five months of having DS stressing about this one thing that I missed out on enjoying having a little baby. When I stopped with all the breastfeeding madness both DS and I were much happier.
I hope you are able to put it all behind you and enjoy your baby OP. My DS is now 4.5 years old and we have such a close bond and I'm sure once you get the breastfeeding thing out of your mind you will be bonding better too.
You're not a failure and your baby is thriving and loves their mummy!
Please don't worry, you have done nothing wrong. In the years to come you will realise what a small part of parenting this is- when they're babies the BF/FF thing seems so important but it really doesn't matter. For what it's worth, I had a similar experience with DD1 who just didn't take to BF- she is now a very active sporty 10yo who very rarely gets ill. My DD2 was completely different, took to BF straight away and I fed her until she was 3.5! Of the two of them DD2 is the one who catches colds/sickness bugs at the drop of a hat. I often think, all that stress about BF and "doing the best thing for them" when they were babies has not actually made the slightest difference and certainly wasn't worth all the heartache. And my bond with them both is equally strong!
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