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Anyone else regret breastfeeding?

(348 Posts)
RidingMyBike Wed 25-Apr-18 06:56:57

I think DD is self-weaning as she hasn't wanted a feed for a few days. She is 28 months. Which means I've been reflecting on our 'breastfeeding journey' (stupid phrase) and wondering whether it was worth it?

I have never enjoyed breastfeeding. I loathed every single second of it for most of the first year. I only really kept on going after ten months because she only wanted to feed once or twice a day and doing something you hate for ten minutes a day is a lot easier than constantly.

None of the supposed benefits I was told about seem to have been true. It wasn't free (it cost more than formula in terms of extra food for me, plus the bras, tops, pump etc), it didn't help us bond - in fact it gave me PND and totally mucked up bonding for months. It wasn't fun and snuggly. It wasn't 'convenient'. It turned out most of the research into its benefits could be ruled out because middle class mums are more likely to BF and the advantages come from that background not the BF. The benefits of fewer infections etc are at population level, not individual, although she has no allergies and has never had a stomach upset (whilst EBF cousin has multiple allergies and several upset stomachs!)

DD was combi-fed from five days after crap advice from midwives meant she developed hypernatraemic dehydration when my milk didn't come in and their obsession with EBF meant I was advised not to supplement with formula initially. I loved feeding her formula - I liked measuring the little scoops, getting it all organised. Looking into her eyes whilst giving her a bottle did help us bond.

Why is there so much pressure to BF? With what I know now I wish I'd just formula fed from the start - although doubtless I'd be beating myself up on missing out on the bonding experience hmm I'd been told about.

Anyone else feel like this? I feel like I've been mis-sold a product that has really not lived up to the hype beforehand!

RaindropsAndSparkles Wed 25-Apr-18 07:05:08

I don't quite agree but I think it's a mothers choice and there's massive guilt out there due to the breast is best mantra. It's possibly infinitesimal benefits probably have to be weighed against any bdifficulties which often aren't as easy to overcome as folk lore says.

Ibwish I'd put ds on the bottle much sooner. 23 years on he's ok though.

KatnissK Wed 25-Apr-18 07:11:17

I felt mis-sold on breastfeesing too. In many ways I have had an easy journey so far - DS latched like a champ from day 1, gained weight brilliantly and is healthy and happy. I didn't experience pain and have managed to avoid mastitis and thrush so far (DS is 10.5mo).

But there are so many things I was unprepared for - the cluster feeding, the frequency of feeding, the whole "touched out" thing taken to an extreme level. I remember reading cluster feeding was a positive as milk had the sleepy hormone in the evening and baby would fill up to sleep longer. Bollocks. He would cluster feed for hours then still wake up 2 hours later. He has never slept well. I was told so many times not to introduce a bottle or dummy too soon but no one warned me not to leave it too late, meaning DS is now a bottle refuser. So I have not had a single night of undisturbed sleep since he was born.

Even silly things - everyone said I would lose my baby weight by breastfeeding. Like hell I have! I have struggled and struggled to lose half a sodding stone, weighed myself just now and have put ON 2 lbs! Also I agree about the equipment plus clothes - I had to quickly pull together a bf-friendly wardrobe. Also I have ended up co-sleeping which isn't ideal now as DS is wiggly and kicks and I know that we are going to have to battle to get him in his cot. And co-sleeping was absolutely a direct result of bf-ing as I was exhausted getting up every 1-2 hours to feed.

If I have another then I will combi feed from birth and wean fully onto formula at 8 weeks. I am not prepared to shoulder the sole responsibility of feeding another child for months on end with no break. I get that there are so many benefits to bfing but I can certainly see many benefits to ff too.

Sipperskipper Wed 25-Apr-18 10:08:29

Yep agreed. I ebf for 6 weeks. No pain or anything like that, she gained weight wonderfully, but it was just NON STOP. Awake pretty much all night feeding, attached all day. Unsettled on and off all day and night. I understand this is often normal, but Jesus, it was soul destroying. Switched to formula and she was pretty much sleeping through the night a couple of weeks later.

I found bf meant it was so, so hard to have any sort of routine, and routine has been a lifesaver for me. She now sleeps well, eats well, and is the happiest baby I’ve ever met!

If I have another I will not put so much pressure on myself to bf. Will do it for a few days and see how we go. If I’m finding it tough will go straight to formula.

Bringonspring Wed 25-Apr-18 10:16:43

I did a year first time and currently on 9 months. 3 more months then I am done!!!! I don’t look love it at all, night sweats, smelling of milk, the whole ‘totally touched out’, no sex drive, having to do all the night feeds, plus the pain to begin with-crying each time they latched.

Equally my children are uber healthy (no stomach upsets, ear infections etc) and in the grand scheme of things a year BF is such a small part of their life. I hate it and yet I am proud of myself even more because I hate it.

28 months is very impressive.

OfDragonsDeep Wed 25-Apr-18 10:23:23

Yep, it was awful & I only managed 3 weeks! You're amazing for doing 28 months.

If I have another I'm doing formula from the start. Breastfeeding ruined those first 3 weeks of my baby's life for me & I'll never get that time back. We were readmitted to hospital for weight loss sad

IveGotNoClothes Wed 25-Apr-18 10:28:34

I lasted 8 weeks then gave up.

Personally I felt like a dairy cow. I don't think I'd even bother with my next child.

My ds is a year old & is fine, yes he's had a constant cold but I can't say it's because he was only BF for 2 months.

I personally don't like it

Shmithecat Wed 25-Apr-18 10:37:11

Depends what kind of day I'm having... we had it very easy. Ds fed immediately after being born, and fed well. Never had thrush/mastitis etc. The odd blanching nipple but that's it. We also coslept so it didn't tire me out too much.

However, I'm sort if regretting deciding to let ds self wean. I only stopped feeding in the night about 6 months ago but he still feeds in the morning, before nap time and for bedtime. And any other time in the day that i can't distract him. He's 2.6yo. And won't drink any other milk. Pfft. 😖

GreyCloudsToday Wed 25-Apr-18 10:39:48

Yeah, we need to be talking realistically about breastfeeding in the context of women's actual lives - where partners are back at work, often living far from family or getting little support from them.

When the sole responsibility for feeding the kid is on you all the time without break or exception, it gets so hard. And I say that having had the "best possible" breast feeding experience of easy latch, no mastitis, weight loss for me, good bonding etc. I was still overjoyed to stop at 10 months.

I've got a double pump this time and I'll be making sure my partner does at least one feed a day to keep sane!

TwiceAsNice22 Wed 25-Apr-18 10:45:50

I really regret breastfeeding. I nursed my twins for nearly 2 and a half years. I wish I had just formula fed from the start. My girls were prem and low birth weight. They needed to gain weight and I mix fed them for 2 months until they refused bottles.

It was then a nightmare to try and get them to have formula to gain weight (they weren’t even on the percentile charts until they were 3 years old) I ended up having to feed them with the sumplimental nursing system (basically a bottle that had tubes that were taped to my nipples so they could get formula while they nursed).

Between them they woke up every 1 to 2 hours every night to nurse for the first year. They might have still woken up if bottle fed, but at least their dad could have taken terms feeding them.

I also didn’t want to nurse in public as there really is no way to tandom feed without being topless! So I felt I was always in such a rush to get out and back in time to nurse. Generally I didn’t get a break, it was all on me. There was added stress because they were not gaining weight and had failure to thrive and took a long time to start eating solids. So I did feel guilty and responsible for that on a personal level, because they weren’t getting what they needed from me.

It also wasn’t until they stopped nursing that they would just hug me. Prior to that they would want to nurse every time! And lastly we were all sick so often because we were so run down from lack of sleep!

I think there are pros and cons with nursing and formula feeding, but I think no one really acknowledges the negatives about nursing. It’s just seen as this easy, positive experience, when that’s not always the case and there are some major downsides to it!

GinaLinetti99 Wed 25-Apr-18 10:48:11

Yes, I did.

I was absolutely determined to breastfeed DD. She had a lazy latch despite hours of BF support and by about week five I developed ductal thrush that my GP refused to treat (much to my HV's dismay). Eventually I was in so much pain I thought about hurting myself. My GP said I couldn't have antidepressants because 'baby's needs come first Mum'. I stopped BFing that day and didn't look back.

Second time around, I didn't bother. It's been wonderful. DS is a much easier going baby.

Lightsong Wed 25-Apr-18 10:50:28

I was just saying to my DP that if i could do things over with DS i would formula feed. All for purely selfish reasons. I fed DD for a year and didn't feel like this but DS is now 13 months and seems to be more demanding for BF than ever and I am so fed up with it. I have gone back to work full time so DS gets fed in the morning, plenty of solids through the day but when i return from work he wants BF on and off till bedtime and still feeds 2-3 times through the night. He is also mega clingy with me, wont spend 5 minutes with DP if he knows I am around.

I still acknowledge that BF has made many things easier, we took DS abroad for 2 weeks last year and it was a breeze, no worrying about prepping bottles to take out. And he's totally fit and healthy (touch wood), only ever been to docs for vax, but BF has really taken it's toll on me, physically and mentally this time round.

Wowzel Wed 25-Apr-18 10:51:34

I regret ever trying as it made me so miserable when my baby was born.

stargirl1701 Wed 25-Apr-18 10:54:46

I struggled hugely with DD1 but, with hindsight, I do understand why I struggled so much. My preparation for breastfeeding was basically watching the NHS DVD and one antenatal session that focussed on the physical benefits that breastfeeding gives on a population scale.

I live in a formula feeding culture.
I come from a formula feeding family.
My expectations of a baby's needs were based on my cultural norms.
I had no peer breastfeeding support.
I had no expert breastfeeding support.
I had no idea peer bf support would be needed.
I had no idea there was expert bf support.
I thought the midwives would be able to help me.
I was a motherless mother and didn't realise that mattered.

I had a lovely water birth. We had a delightful golden hour. It made no difference. At 10 days post birth I was taken by ambulance to hospital with infective mastitis, uterine infection and bladder infection which led to sepsis. In hospital, I discovered I was allergic to Flucloxicillan and needed resus. Not the breastfeeding 'journey' I expected at all. I began mix feeding in hospital. I got home after 8 days and then switched to ff. I struggled with the grief and relactated at 11 weeks. She then mix fed until 12 months.

I learned lots. When DD2 came along, I was ready. It was still hard with crazy oversupply but I persevered. I had peer support, expert support, I understood that bf every 10 minutes or for 18 solid hours was normal, I bedshared to get more sleep, I didn't listen to my family/DH's family spouting nonsense about bf and took strength from being a role model for my girls.

DD2 feeds morning and evening at 3 and half. I can say I enjoy the post 2 years bf more because it is no longer on demand and I can go away for a long weekend without getting engorged. The difference in the quality of her attachment compared to DD1 makes it worthwhile though. I no longer care about the 'physical benefits'. It's all about attachment for me.

Bowlofbabelfish Wed 25-Apr-18 10:55:16

I bfd mine for 18m. Pregnant again now and I won’t exclusively bf again. This one will be mix fed.

It’s really just about doing what works for you - if that’s breast or bottle or a mix then that’s what you should do.

It’s shit that there’s so much judgement and pressure on women. The primary literature does show positive effects but you need to look at very large sample sizes to find them in the West. That means that yes, public health are right to reccommend bf but that the the effects at the individual level are fairly small and outweighed by other individual factors.

Do you mind if I ask you how you started off with the mix feeding? Did you add a bottle from birth or did you get a few weeks BF in first? I’m looking to have 1-2 bottles a day and the rest bf.

Lightsong Wed 25-Apr-18 10:56:23

Also, same as KatnissK, DS has always been a bottle refuser. Would never even take milk (expressed BM as point blank refused formula when attempted at 6 months) out of a billion different types of cups that we tried. And we have also become accidental co-sleepers because of BF. So I haven't had a night off for 13 months, I'm starting to get worried about the long term effects of sleep deprivation.

ElspethFlashman Wed 25-Apr-18 10:59:44

I regret it a fair bit. Not 100% cos I feel glad I tried but it was never ever an enjoyable experience. And I had zero problems.

But mentally it was an absolute head fuck to have to basically be a prisoner to it. It definitely was a major contributor to my PND last time.

And neither of my children avoided illness or allergies, so..... Perhaps it was a bit pointless.

dinosaurkisses Wed 25-Apr-18 11:05:07

"Yeah, we need to be talking realistically about breastfeeding in the context of women's actual lives - where partners are back at work, often living far from family or getting little support from them. "

Just this. The way BF is presented as so easy, convenient etc may have been true when very very few women worked outside their home and almost always lived in very close proximity to their own mothers or female family members, and many had hired help.

In is day and age with ready made formula, self sterilising bottles, formula making machines, paternity leave and generally men being more inclined to help look after baby, I think many of these benefits are overplayed.

Bowlofbabelfish Wed 25-Apr-18 11:08:31

But mentally it was an absolute head fuck to have to basically be a prisoner to it

Yes this is basically why I’m mix feeding this time. Ds fed constantly and poorly. Dh was desperate to help but couldn’t do everything he could have done if ds has taken a bottle. I didn’t even get out of the house alone for ten months. It was ridiculous when the baby had two parents.
He also didn’t sleep until he was weaned, and being woken every hour for 18m is enough to break anyone.

So next one - mix fed. Best of both worlds. And anyone who judges will be politely told to fuck themselves

Flutist Wed 25-Apr-18 11:12:58

I'm still bf my DS. I don't enjoy leaky sore boobs and smelling of milk, and having to wear a bra 24/7 to catch leaks, and I'd like someone else to take turns at night feeds or even babysit without me having to express and then express again while I'm out. Baby is basically glued to me all day and I don't get out much. I haven't lost weight either. In public I bf under a shawl but have still noticed people staring and felt uncomfortable. Also I never know how much milk DS is actually getting and I worry that he's starving.

Imo there are more positives than negatives though. The main one is the health benefits for both of us. And it's more convenient to pop a boob in the baby's mouth than to have to faff around with formula and bottles. If I go out I don't have to carry bottles with me and find somewhere to warm them up. Feeding the baby is an easy way to calm him and put him to sleep. And I do find it to be a bonding experience.

Like everything there are pros and cons I suppose. I'm willing to put up with the negatives for a year or so in order to give my child the healthiest start in life.

Lazinganddazing Wed 25-Apr-18 11:14:50

I’m 3 months in and miserable but DS is a bottle refuser. He’s constantly ill since he was born, has eczema etc and I have not slept a full night he was born! I’m so hungry I’ve gained weight, my boobs keep changing size so I’m spending a fortune on nursing bras and I have oversupply issues that mean I can’t feed well in public! I have a 3 yo who’s fed up because she’s had no mummy time and with no family nearby and dp working all the time she’s the one suffering. This whole experience I thought would be empowering is just getting more and more miserable, however, DS was seriously ill at 2 weeks old and we were told he may not survive, bf’ing was the only thing I felt like I could do to help him - weather or not it did I have no idea, but I cling on to the fact that I did something and he recovered, so that counts for something in my experience.
God it feels good to vent, everyone irl expects you to say how amazing it is!

Madmarchpear Wed 25-Apr-18 11:15:31

I don't regret it but I wish I hadn't been such a purist refusing to mix feed, pump and offer a bottle or introduce a dummy. And I wish I'd had the resolve to refuse her some feeds and get her down to just a morning and night one by 18m as planned. She is nearly 3! I cannot sit down on the couch without her jumping on my knee and clawing at my top. That's a bit irritating but there have been loads of lovely moments too. I personally think it's helped her fly through illnesses and protected her from the constant viruses my older dd has exposed her to. It's been a massive part of our bond but I definitely should have been kinder to my self.

ElspethFlashman Wed 25-Apr-18 11:15:32

Bowl one thing I am very very glad of is that I introduced a bottle at 2 weeks with both of mine. When I stopped BFing I had no problems as they were cool with bottles. You do have to keep it up to no longer than every two days though as they will start refusing it - disaster!

Like a fool I insisted on pumping so that bottle would be breastmilk and since I had a good supply anyway I gave myself a horrendous hideous awful oversupply which made life very distressing. I really believed that a good breastfeeding mum had a supply of breastmilk in the freezer. What was I thinking??! Such BOLLOCKS!

So with the second I just gave formula and milk supply was completely normal. I still hated it so much I wanted to claw my own skin off just to get away.

Namechange128 Wed 25-Apr-18 11:18:12

I think we should all have a choice and am so sad that so many women on here felt pressured into bfing. Just in case people who haven't yet bfed are coming on here and getting completely freaked out, I do want to say that this is not the only experience by any means. I have bfed twice and plan to do it for a third, and have been fortunate that after the first few weeks of latching challenges and cracked nipples it genuinely has been great, I lost my baby weight and more by 6 months both times with no effort, which is maybe also why I definitely saved money, especially exclusively bfing second time, as didn't end up eating lots more food, just burned through what I'd gained. With my DH away a lot and us travelling to see family, found it much easier than when I was taking formula. When I went back to work I didn't bother pumping as they were eating food by then, but loved our snuggly evening and even night feeds.
I realise there's a lot of luck here in having good support to establish bfing, and in not having some of the other issues here - so this is not meant to be smug! Just to reassure anyone struggling through the first 6 weeks that it may well improve dramatically. If it doesn't, or you just don't want to, then of course I'd agree don't feel the need to keep bfing, your baby will be fine either way!

InDubiousBattle Wed 25-Apr-18 11:25:04

I don't regret bf but both of mine were my fed. Ds was my fed due to a horrendous start to bf with a tongue tied, exhausted, sleepy, jaundiced baby who was losing weight and becoming dehydrated. I bf him for 7 months but he probably had 40%of his food as f. With dd I chose to mix feed from about 2 weeks old. She was very easy to bf but had one bottle of f a day with the very occasional other bottle if I went out for any reason. Bf when out and about was very convenient for us as she would be done and dusted in under 10 minutes fro about a month old.

I know a disproportionate amount of women who ebf (maybe 15)and all but one mix fed their second babies and wish they'd mix fed their first.

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