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My fight with breastfeeding

(42 Posts)
hollowtree Sun 07-Jan-18 02:29:13

My daughter was born in September by EMCS after long, traumatic labour. I was desperate for a natural birth and to exclusively breast feed. With the former being compromised I was even more keen for the latter. By day 2 it became clear EBF wasn't an option for me. I was deeply traumatised and needed PTSD therapy. My body and brain were exhausted and the EMCS took weeks to recover from.

But I pumped from day 2 to encourage my supply so we could try again. I pumped 8 times a day for 1/2 hour. I didn't get out much. I took fenugreek and domperidone and even pumped once until I bled because I had burst the capillaries in my breasts. I still only ever made about half of what she needed.

At 12 weeks I went to see a cranial osteopath privately. She was excellent and a few days later my DD finally latched for the very first time. It was amazing. But it was hard work.

She had suffered some neck trauma from where she got stuck in labour and could only feed in certain positions. I tried desperately to breastfeed from there on in but she wasn't used to it. If we were out of the house I would try but she would wriggle and fuss so that my breasts were constantly exposed to all present company, it was impossible to be discreet and so eventually I only fed her at home when we were alone and comfortable.

After a few days she became very fussy and I soon realised my supply had dried up.
She must not have been draining me properly. So, back on the domoeridone, the fenugreek and yes- the dreaded pump. We had 1 week of 'breastfeeding'.

But now, I sodding well give up. I've tried my hardest and she has had around 50% breast milk since birth and she is now 4 months. I really have given it my all.

So tomorrow, my official 'last day' of pumping (I've been gradually decreasing) I am going to throw my nursing bras in the bin.

I am going to take some cold and flu capsules for this rubbish cold I seem to have had for an age. I am going to take ibuprofen for my period pains and I am going to book in for a laser hair removal treatment (I had to stop due to being pregnant and 'breastfeeding').

I am going to look forward to being less hairy in the future and, in the meantime, but myself a lovely new underwired bra!

I can also now start my New Years diet without worrying about decreasing my supply.

If I'm going to feel like an utter failure I at least want to be a sexy one.

Anyone else welcome to share stories, you have my full support and sympathy if you are struggling or have struggled.

Dilligaf81 Sun 07-Jan-18 02:47:37

Be kind to yourself. Breastfeeding is bloody hard work at the best of times but you and your dd have had a hard start together. If giving her formula means you can be happier and enjoy those times together than that's what's best for you. I have 4 dc and dc one never last he'd so I pumped but by week 6 was blooming exhausted so moved her to formula. I felt guilty that it wasnt natural etc but she's never ill, a clever girl and never had any issues. The ebf dc2 however has extreme asthma, hay-fever and gets every illness going. Enjoy your little one it's a special time. Xx

hollowtree Sun 07-Jan-18 13:50:45

Thank you so much dilliga, I really appreciate your response and you being so kind.

I also want to clarify, that I would never see anyone as a failure for not breastfeeding! But for some reason, I really feel like one sometimes.

Waddlelikeapenguin Sun 07-Jan-18 13:56:18

You are not a failureflowers
And (& i say this as someone still bfing my 3 yr old) the greatest benefits are in the early days which you have done your damnest to give her. A happy mum is a far greater gift for your DD.

Be gentle with yourself, step back & gaze at that amazing baby you have grown & nurtured. Congratulations flowers

tinymeteor Sun 07-Jan-18 14:01:14

Jesus, 4 months of pumping after a traumatic birth? You're a bloody hero. Begin the next phase without guilt, you've done an amazing job. Just phase it out slowly over a couple of weeks, you might have more supply than you think and it's uncomfortable to go cold turkey.

lulu12345 Sun 07-Jan-18 14:14:46

Good grief you have done absolutely amazing, way in excess of what most of us would in the same circumstances. I can imagine how you feel right now, I think there is a hormonal change as well as a mental change when you stop bf that makes you feel a bit low but honestly, whilst I had moments of enjoying bf, my life suddenly became overall so much easier and happier when I switched to formula (at 6 months) and I’m sure that made me a better mother in different ways. Enjoy this next stage.

Gizzymum Sun 07-Jan-18 14:26:37

First of all, you are not a failure. To put yourself through so much is a heroic effort (id have given up at pumping 8 times a day as trying to find the time to do that with a newborn is such a challenge).

When my DS was born we had to stay in hospital for 4 nights due to trouble getting him to latch and feed. I was also pumping regularly but barely getting anything. Finally we were given nipple shields and he was able to latch.

After a month or so he wasn't gaining weight as quickly as they like (he gradually got further and further away from the bottom centile) so I was told to do FF top ups. I also tried oats and fenugreek (I came out in hives due to the latter so stopped that). Then one day my DS (then about 3mth) decided to refuse BF anymore and only took FF. since then he's rocketed up to the 50th centile (now 7mths). It was a strange feeling giving up, like I'd lose that closeness, but now instead of feeding him for 1-1.5hrs a time (both breasts plus compressions plus ff top up) it takes 10mins and we get more quality play time/time for trips out.

I think too much pressure is put on people to continue and just wish a heath professional had had the guts to suggest just swapping to formula earlier (I think they're probably too scared to suggest it because of the push for BF). Now I look back at my DS photos from the first few months and cry as I see how skinny he was.

sacgonflable Sun 07-Jan-18 14:52:58

Just to say - 4 months of pumping is amazing. It is so relentless and to me has the all the hard bits of breast and bottle feeding together! Enjoy ditching the pump.

hollowtree Sun 07-Jan-18 15:00:40

Thank you so much everyone! I feel so much better about it all now, I was worried other mum's would judge me for giving up. I'm going to throw that pump out the window!

Tedster77 Sun 07-Jan-18 15:03:13

Why would you feel like a failure?!? You’ve been through hell and exhausted every avenue and done amazingly. Some things are just beyond our control.....

Enjoy your cold meds, de-hairing and lovely bras!

VimFuego101 Sun 07-Jan-18 15:07:06

Even a few days of breast milk is a big help for your baby's immune system. It's amazing that you kept going as long as you did with so many difficulties.

Lunalovepud Sun 07-Jan-18 15:14:44

You're not a failure at all - you have done a brilliant job and have fought tooth and nail to try to make it work.

I had a similar experience with my first baby and was absolutely devastated when I couldn't bf - it was awful. Life became much better for us when I had finally decided to stop though, I had more time and energy as I was free from the relentless worrying and pumping and enjoyed my baby much more.

Well done you - 4 months is a fantastic achievement.

Jenala Sun 07-Jan-18 15:25:24

Fucking hell you did amazing to be pumping and feeding as long as you did. You should be proud of yourself, not feel like a failure!

dustpan Sun 07-Jan-18 20:51:59

Oh hun my heart goes out to you. You are anything but a failure. But I know and understand that gutting feeling that you have failed by not achieving the dream of easy breastfeeding that we all think should come so naturally. It can be genuinely devastating, particularly when you're also dealing with birth trauma and PTSD.

My advice is - cuddle your baby, every opportunity, for as long as you can, hold baby close & smell them, kiss them, focus on getting to know every inch of each other. Embrace bottle feeding & the sweetness of your baby holding your finger while you feed, know that you are feeding baby with your love at the same time as milk.

Things will get better, this first horrendous chapter will pass, and you will have months and years of happy times ahead x

YouCantArgueWithStupid Sun 07-Jan-18 21:10:54

Enjoy that underwired bra OP! I'm 31
Weeks with DC2 and dreading nursing bras again. smilethanks

hollowtree Sun 07-Jan-18 23:09:27

Oh my gosh thank you so much! These replies are amazing and have made me feel so much happier... I am relieved to know it's over and I'm moving on. Hooray for lovely bras!

mehhh Sun 07-Jan-18 23:25:35

Wow you have done amazing to be pumping so much!!

My dd was breastfed with 1 formula per day up till 5 months and then after her 3rd injections just refused it, I was literally distraught and tried everything, we still breastfeed once per day but I still feel like I've failed at times because she's not totally breastfed... as long as the babies are happy and full that's all that matters x

woundedbutwalking Mon 08-Jan-18 21:28:58

Hi OP, I've just made the same decision & have spent all evening crying about it!!! I've been in constant pain for 6 fucking months now & DD has just cut her first tooth. I literally can't take it anymore.

I'm so conflicted part of me (my boobs) is just so bloody relieved that I'm not going to be constantly sore, but part of me (stupid brain) feels like if I could just keep going a bit longer, get through weaning etc...

Anyway- I'm so pleased you started this thread, I really, really needed to hear that people do try for AGES, put in 100% effort & it still just doesn't work out. I do think this is the right decision for me but I'm terrified I'm going to be a rubbish mum sad

Lunalovepud Mon 08-Jan-18 21:52:13

@woundedbutwalking you are not going to be a rubbish mum. You have tolerated constant pain for 6 months to try to do what you think is the best thing for your baby. That's heroic.

Besides, worrying about being a rubbish mum guarantees that you aren't one... Rubbish mums don't care that they are rubbish. flowers

Mrstumbletap Mon 08-Jan-18 22:12:46

Wow well done, you have done an amazing job. I would have given up long before that!

I pumped for a month and thought this is blooming hard, and I don't want my boob out all the time and switched to formula.

I was Glad he had some breast milk at the start, but really formula was great. DH lovee being close to him and giving hi I'm a cuddle and a night feed and I could have sleep which was amazing!

Well done OP.

LeaveAllThisToYesterday Tue 09-Jan-18 03:30:10

I also want to clarify, that I would never see anyone as a failure for not breastfeeding! But for some reason, I really feel like one sometimes.

I came on here to post almost exactly the same thing. I don't judge other people, why am I judging myself so hard? Sitting in bed crying as I feed three week old DC1 a bottle, because 2h on the breast has not filled him up. Desperately trying to increase my supply (which never came in properly, we went through weight loss, hospital admission, severe jaundice, CS, and I've been ill), but it's one step forward and two steps back. I know that switching to FF is the reasonable choice, but I feel like a failure to consider it.

Bue Tue 09-Jan-18 04:37:34

Well done OP. Pumping can be awful, that's an amazing long haul!

But where did you get the information that you can't take cold remedies or ibuprofen or have laser hair removal? All of these things are fine when BF. If you decide to BF again in future the Drugs in Breastfeeding helpline and info sheets provide all the correct info.

Thissameearth Tue 09-Jan-18 21:56:35

Well done for persevering with expressing. ps don't through out nursing bras I know it sounds weird as it's underwear but I'm in a bf group and there is demand for them as they're expensive and not everyone can afford - maybe your old bras will make it easier for someone else to feed smile

April45 Wed 10-Jan-18 21:21:02

You are amazing and not a failure in anyway. You’ve done so well to have pumped so long. Take the pressure off yourself, your little one doesn’t care what milks in her bottle she cares about the person giving it and the lovely connection you have together.

ICJump Wed 10-Jan-18 23:00:13

What an amazing thing you have done. 4 months of pumping is an incredible. You might not feel it right now but I hope you’ll be able too look at what to be done with pride.

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