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Feeling beaten down and a bad Mum

(19 Posts)
LittleMansMum2017 Sat 21-Oct-17 23:30:46

Hi ladies

First of all I'd just like to point out that I really could do with some uplifting so any nasty comments are really not welcome. I also DO NOT want this thread to turn into a bf v formula feeding debate. Too many times I see this and I have to be honest, I think this is partly the reason why I feel the way I do now.

I'm lying in bed really struggling to sleep as I have progressively become more and more saddened and upset by the fact I resorted to feeding my little boy formula who is now 6 months old.

As a bit of background I had a VERY bad birthing experience and sat up in hospital for 5 days straight extracting collostrum by syringe with my husband purely because I was so determined to feed my DS in the way of originally planned. My milk came in but I suffered with such bad PND and infections I became so detached from by DS any oxytocin in my system deserted me and I ended up struggling g to feed my baby bond with him even look at him. This was hard, so very hard. He lost 10% body weight in a few days and so formula was the only answer for his health. For the next 8 weeks I struggled to put him to my breastvin tears as he didn't seem bothered or interested in trying. I resorted to expressing small amount about 10-20ml every couple of hours and I offered this to him in a bottle the rest was formula.

If you'd have asked me 4 months ago what I thought I'd have said I'm doing the right thing by me and by baby. Yet why is it that as time has worn on I feel so terrible. I'm obviously starting to wean my DS now and to be honest I am doing all o can to give him the best of the best in terms of natural homemade healthy foods, 1 because it's the best thing to do and 2 because i think im trying to 'make up' for something.

I support all Mum's regardless of how they feed their children. I never have an ever will judge any mother based on how she chooses to feed mostly because I have no idea how and why she has come to her decision and if she in fact had a choice.

However I'm almost now in rees 6 months down the line and feeling a pang of sadness every time I bring a bottle to his mouth.

I guess you may ask why I'm posting this. In all honesty I'm not sure. I guess I just want some comfort and to reach out to other mums who maybe or have felt the same. X

Jellybabie3 Sat 21-Oct-17 23:47:34

OP i feel you. Not the same story my DS is only 2 weeks old. Had a tough labour which resulted in DS mot wanting to feed and i had lost alot of blood and been through 3 day labour so was physically drained delaying milk. I too stayed 5 dats and was using syringes to drip feed baby until he lost 13.8% body weight and we were forced to bring in formula. Have been home just over a week and we are struggling to bring up my supply to try and ween him off formula. Everytime i give him it ut majes me cry. I know it's fine etc its just not what i planned and it just breaks my heart that i feel i cant provide for my son - especially if hes gulping it as it makes me feel like i never will. The wierd thing is before being preg i always said i wouldnt bf but the minute i was expecting i changed my mind. I cant offer you advice but if i could give you a hug i would. Your doibg everything you can, remember that flowers

LittleMansMum2017 Sat 21-Oct-17 23:51:22

@Jellybabie3

Thank you so much for your post. I too am sorry for how you feel but I knew there were mum's out there that felt the same as I do. I wish I could take away the anguish for all of us but as my dad would say we are "doing the best with the cards we have been dealt" and we are good Mums. We are all good Mums flowerssmile

Misspilly88 Sat 21-Oct-17 23:55:20

Feel for you. I went through a similar experience 3.5 years ago with my first child. I can say the pain stopped for me at 1 year. I then got together some local mums and made a support group for other mums in this position. You're certainly not alone. But you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. You did the best thing for your baby. In a year this time will be a distant memory as he'll not be having much milk at all. Please try not to beat yourself up And seek help if you need to.

BakedBeans47 Sat 21-Oct-17 23:59:32

Xxxx been there worn the tshirt and you stuck with the BF much longer than I did. Well done you. Every drop he got will have benefited him.

It hurts, of course it does, but it’s really not worth spoiling these precious times with your beautiful baby for. You’re his world and he loves you regardless. You’ll never fail him and he’ll never think you have x

Time heals and helps make it all better. My kids are 11 and 9 now and I honestly can’t remember when how they were fed in infancy last crossed my mind.

KiaraS Sun 22-Oct-17 00:01:48

You sound like a truly wonderful mummy. Your baby is healthy and fed. Well done you! Enjoy this time. Please don't beat yourself up over BF v formula. I promise it doesn't matter. Your mental health really does matter so please reach out if you're finding it difficult. It helps. Congratulations on becoming a mummy smile

@LittleMansMum2017 - I formula fed all three of my dses - each time I tried and failed to breastfeed. I beat myself up over it for a long time - not helped by having as-then-undiagnosed depression.

I have been where you are, and I can understand how you are feeling, but I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that you are a good mother.

My boys are now 20, 22 and 24 - all bright, healthy and flourishing. I know that breastfeeding is a great thing to do for your child - but what I have learned is that there are so many other great things we can do for our children - what we feed them when they are weaned, as children and onwards, teaching them to cook, making sure they get plenty of exercise and fresh air, reading to them and with them, playing games with them, laughing with them and crying with them, supporting them through all life brings, teaching them right from wrong - all this and so much more we can do for our children - and you WILL do for your child.

We don't have to be perfect, as parents - we are human and we all make mistakes. What matters is that we do our best, in our individual circumstances. It is very easy and tempting to look at other parents and decide they are doing a much better job of raising their child - I know that I did it, over and over again. It is hard to look at ourselves and accept that we are doing a good job - the best we can - but believe me - you ARE doing a great job of being a mum, and will carry on being a great mum.

It is important that we are able to look at what we do, and change things that aren't working, but not that it tips over into self-destructive criticism.

I have a parenting book that I recommend to anyone who asks - called "How Not To Be A Perfect Parent" by Libby Purves - it is full of humour and common sense based on her experience and her friend's experiences of those early years of parenting. Basically, her premise is that we can't beat ourselves up for falling short of our own standards of perfection - no-one can be perfect but we can all be good enough.

I am not too sure I am making sense - I am old and it is past my bedtime - but I hope it helps in some way.

You are doing a great job and you are a good mum!!

MyDobbygotgivenasock Sun 22-Oct-17 00:20:44

Do you understand what you've done?
Really?
After everything you've been through you put your feelings aside to do the very best by your tiny infant. The very best. When you were struggling and could hardly bear it, you nurtured him and fed him on a diet that has built millions of fine strong and healthy babies. You feel guilt, why? What are you thinking you have to make up for? Nutrition? You gave him good and ample nutrition, colostrum and then formula. A bond? You built that from scratch anyway through all the obstacles nature threw at you. What else? He got good stuff from you and then he got his food in a bottle.
It wasn't what you planned no and it's ok to feel sad that challenges forced your hand but talk to any mother who had pnd and breastfed, there'll be another reason for her guilt. It's not about the boob, it's about the brain.
I suspect your little boy looks at you as if you are the moon and stars, and you are, everything you did is meaningful and even if different to your ideal it is not lesser. A lifetime of guilt is delivered with the placenta, the plans change all through their lives and it can be hard but while it is absolutely ok to feel the sadness of these things, don't let guilt lie to you and obscure the good that has come out of the different way and make it all about the what ifs of a lost opportunity.
You wouldn't judge because there's nothing to judge, that's it. There's much to be applauded and a change of feeding plan doesn't negate any of it in the least.
Enjoy your baby, he's thriving because of you.

Smithy1234 Sun 22-Oct-17 00:27:47

I understand you so well! I never thought I wouldn't breastfeed exclusively. I didn't even consider formula, so when I was faced with every problem imaginable (tongue tie, milk coming in late, nursing strikes etc.) it hit me hard. I was a mess for first 8 weeks for sure. I was caught in a cycle of feeding, pumping, sterilising bottles etc. I never achieved the ebf, but I am still mix feeding at almost 9 months. I think I made my peace with the situation at around 8 months mark. Thanks to this site actually. I commented on one of the bf vs formula feeding posts about not being able to breastfeed, and one of the posters said to me that I am a breastfeeding mum, and my baby is a breastfed baby, even if not exclusively. And something clicked in my head. Breastfeeding is not all or nothing - we do the best we can in our circumstances.

TedSquawks Sun 22-Oct-17 00:38:37

Slightly different perspective. I breastfed for 10 months. I should have been delighted.... Well when I had to stop because of circumstances out of my control I felt devastated and so guilty. I had been desperate to 'make it to a year' and I had set this target and expectation on myself to bypass formula and go straight to cows milk.

I suppose what I'm saying is no matter what we do there always seems to be something we'll beat ourselves up over. Something to be guilty over. Please stop! It's such a waste of energy. Is your baby happy/healthy? That's all that matters. I look back at that time and think wow I was so hard on myself and you will too. It will pass. When your big thriving toddler is stuffing their face with lots of lovely veg etc you won't even think about it until you see someone on here have angst and you will tell them not to worry flowers

Waddlingwanda Sun 22-Oct-17 00:39:07

Try to ignore outside pressures at the end of the day you need to be in good health to adequately look after a baby regardless of how you feed it, I'd say go for ease any day (whichever that is for you.)

Just do what works for you. If you want to bottle feed then do so, and don't feel the need to justify it to anyone. If you really want to breastfeed you still can, although it'd be a hard slog to get your milk back in. Either way it us your choice and baby being fed is the main priority.

I have done both and felt the pressures from either side. I have also started to breastfeed late on which is why I know it can be achieved, but ultimately it suited me to return to the bottle 3/4months later.

LittleMansMum2017 Sun 22-Oct-17 07:40:42

I've just read all of your replies, what great Mums you all sound! Genuinely, to take the time to write to me and explain your deepest emotions and explain how you have had challenges along the way in an attempt to help me really is brilliant. Im on the one hand very sorry for your difficulties but much more I'm very pleased you have made peace with yourselves and moved on. It's great to hear from mum's with much older children and actually to hear how clearly you can remember the early days with your children - I hope I can do the same in 10/20 years.

Today is my birthday and to be honest the replies I've had so far from you ladies are the best present i could've wished for. I'm really pleased I made this thread.

I do beat myself black and blue (mentally) over giving my son formula and I do it each and every time. Yet whilst I persecute myself, I never ever judge another mum for doing the same, I simply see her as fulfilling her role as a mother.

Before falling pregnant I was adamant I wasn't going to have children but my dh was desparate so we agreed to have one. My son is truly the best thing I have ever done and yet brings me the most anguish at the same time as I feel I need to 'match up to society'. I need to stop reading formula v breastfeeding posts I think because they serve no purpose but to make me feel less of a mum.

I'm an only child myself and before March this year I had no experience of children (I work in finance). Perhaps I watched Mary poppins too many times and thought it would all be roses. I don't know. But the way I am feeling has knocked me in a way I could've never anticipated. I even found myself apologising to my son as I gave him his bottle yesterday. Things need to change both with me and also the way society can make non breast feeding mum's feel. Ironically the NHS and government promote breastfeeding for the health of mum and baby yet forget that those who do not breast feed (for whatever bloody reason) can be left feeling less of a mum and almost weak in the eyes of those who stay up all hours of the night nursing their children. I'm fed up of feeling the way I do and I want to change that.

Thank you to each of you for your kind words. I really mean that flowers

KiaraS Sun 22-Oct-17 08:05:45

flowersHave a very happy birthday x

Jellybabie3 Sun 22-Oct-17 13:47:36

Happy birthday 🎂

chelle85 Sun 22-Oct-17 15:07:51

I could have written your post. It sums up exactly how I am feeling right now. My DS is 8 weeks old and I always planned to breastfeed to at least 6mths but had said if it didn't work out I wouldn't beat myself up about it. I found it extremely hard at first but everyone said the first two weeks were hardest so I stuck it out thinking it would get better. Then we had all kinds of reflux issues so it was a case of lets persevere for another 2 weeks to see if the medication helps. Then at 5 weeks we discovered he had a tongue tie so it was another couple of weeks to see if his feeding improved. Then at 4am this morning when he was flailing about screaming and not latching properly I finally broke down. It seems there will always be one thing after another that stops me from enjoying breastfeeding him and I feel like it is pushing me towards PND and stopping me from enjoying time with him as I dread nightimes. But then I feel like I am being selfish even considering giving him formula so that I can get some sleep. We also aren't sure if he has dairy intolerance as the couple of times I have tried formula he has either sicked up the full feed or seemed really congested afterwards.

I've tried talking to health visitor because I would rather move to mixed feeding so that he is still getting the benefit of breastmilk but without me feeling so trapped but as the NHS is required to promote breastfeeding she just keeps telling me "he may be exactly the same on formula" to try and put me off.

Nice to see that there are plenty mums on here thay understand that mums mental health is as important as babies health

LittleMansMum2017 Sun 22-Oct-17 17:28:43

@chelle85

So sorry to hear you are finding things tough. Yes it is so tough and I think in the end it's a case of making a decision between breastfeeding and your mental health at times. I don't doubt that every woman who breast feeds goes through difficulties but I think if it gets to the stage where you feel like you are going down a road to PND then you need to take a step back. One lady on here said to me you baby will appreciate and want a happy Mum holding a bottle than a crying Mum trying to breast feed. I tried and tried and tried to bf but as I said earlier all my oxytocin deserted me and it turned into a terrible cycle of trying to feed my DS with a lack of milk he would get upset and frustrated losing weight and I'd in turn get upset then no milk! Round and round we went!

Whatever pathway you decide please don't let your choices bow upset you in the future as you made them for all the right reasons smile

Queenofthedrivensnow Sun 22-Oct-17 18:35:23

Happy birthday xxxx

I promise you when your baby is a bit older this will fade. Something we do as new parents is fixate over the minutes of parenting until we are insane. I did it too.

Parenting is so much more than feeding choices and you have a lifetime of choices to make as to what’s best for your child.

If you have any bf gear leftover Pumps r whatever - get rid of it now. Let yourself move on. Focus on positive input by our child xx

LittleMansMum2017 Mon 23-Oct-17 22:10:45

@Queenofthedrivensnow

Thank you for your comment. Yes I do have some kit around breast pump etc. I've found it hard to let these go as I guess psychologically by getting rid I really am calling it quits. But in reality I had to call it quits months ago.

Youband so many other posters on here are right, I need to appreciate what I have with my DS now rather than dwelling on negativities which in all honesty aren't negative, they are just different to what I imagined before he was born. He is a very happy boy and long may it continue.

I just hope I can find peace with myself as soon as possible.

Queenofthedrivensnow Tue 24-Oct-17 14:32:01

Hi op. I know it doesn’t feel like it now but when your dc gets older all the mums stop focusing on infant feeding methods. My kids are 5 and 8 and I’m asked about feeding from birth about once a year and that’s only because I’m a sw and we deal with babies all the time. Otherwise it wouldn’t be never. When dd1 started school and I met other mums I didn’t know when she was a baby we never discussed it. Your experiences are nothing to be ashamed of that’s not where I’m going with this I just mean I promise you your focus on feeding will fade in time and you will stop dwelling on it xx

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