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Failing at breastfeeding(24 Posts)
I have posted about this a few days ago. Since then I have bought nipple shields and a pump to express, to give my sore bleeding nipples a rest on the advice of my midwife. It's been another 4 days since then and my baby has lost weight. She screams all night because she's hungry. My milk is dwindling as she isn't getting enough through the shields. I've got rid of the shields today and it's agony to feed her, I've not healed at all despite slathering on the Lanolin cream. I fed her formula for the first time last night and it's the most content I've seen her. She's just 13 days old. I am tearful and feel like an utter failure.
So sorry you are feeling like this. Have you tried one of the BFing Helplines? Have you got the numbers? Can you call the Maternity Unit nowcand ask for support?
Really feeling for you. It’s so so tough in those first couple of weeks. I’m not great with the advice. But how’s the expressing working out at the moment? Don’t stress about a bottle of formula if your baby is hungry, you’re not failing, you’re looking after and caring for your baby however you can and that’s an amazing thing. Have you got any bf support groups nearby and have you ring the national breastfeeding helpline?
Please please give hydrogel breast pads a go. They work like blister plasters to encourage moist healing and are miraculous.
With my first my nipples were bleeding and she was losing weight - I cried at 3am and begged my partner to get some formula. The next day I was given some hydrogel breast pads and within 12 hours the toe curling pain had eased and completely gone within a couple of days. I went on to feed for a year.
At the very least if you try lanolin with some cling film over rather than leaving them to air it'll help.
The first few weeks are so, so tough. It does get easier and of course if you decide to switch to formula it's perfectly ok, be kind to yourself. You sound like you're doing a great job in really tough circumstances!
it is hard but you're doing so well! Even if it seems to you that you're not.
What helped me most was seeing a private lactation consultant, she was amazing and came to my house. Best £60 I ever spent! If you have the cash I would recommend this.
Otherwise do ring the breastfeeding helpline and they can give great advice over the phone.
Promise you it will get better
Thanks for the replies. Yes I've tried all the help I can get. Multiple midwives have advised me on it, the breastfeeding team have come round and watched me breastfeed and apparently the latch is good so it 'shouldn't hurt'. That's not helpful, especially when I bleed all over my clothes during feeding because she mashes my nipples up so much. I could express a decent amount about 3 days ago but I cannot get anything out of them now as I think where the shields have prevented baby from feeding properly, my supply has almost gone. She has been suckling on me without shields for a good 2 hours tonight and I could sense she wasn't getting much at all from me, so after that I topped her up with formula to stop her starving. I just feel so miserable that I can't even feed my own daughter. It sounds illogical as I'd be the first person to tell another woman that it really doesn't matter how the baby gets fed, but when it's you it just feels awful and like I'm failing at motherhood when I've only just started it.
Hi, I’m sorry you are having this problem. Dont give up if you really want to work.
I have had success with what I describe twice so hopefully it will give you some hope.
Firstly make sure you do not have thrush, if you do the pain will bs there whilst feeding, red hot pain, then your nipples will be burning after andyou will not be able to withstands having anything touching your breast see the link www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/dibm/thrush-oct14.pdf
Don’t worry about feeding bottles, you are resting your nipples.
However you must express each time you bottle feed to keep up supply. Use Lansinoh nipple cream before you pump or you will make yourself sore. Do use yourself in the stuff afterwards, and basically do it’s over and over again.
GIve it a few days. Your nipples should have healed and any milk expressed will have been fed to your baby. Give formula too if you need.
Then when all is quiet and you are calm, slowly and carefully (with nipple cream on). Try feeding a go again, and see what happens.
This might work for you. Hope it does, good luck.
ARggh stupid iPad typos everywhere.
Oh, bless you.
You can stop. You really can. Formula is not a failure.
I'm pretty sure it's not thrush. It's hurt from day 1, tongue tie is suspected but unfortunately the hospital are so booked up with appointments that there's quite a wait for it. They think it's only a mild case of it though so they may not even snip it at the appointment. I've just bought some Hydrogel pads online so hopefully they'll help. Just wish my nipples would heal more quickly, even the 4 days of shields wasn't enough time to allow them to heal. It literally makes me cry when she latches on, then the rest of the feed is fairly uncomfortable. I'm not normally a wuss either so it's got to be quite bad to bring me to tears.
You poor thing, I remember being there myself
I bought these ad found the creams did nothing
They saved me big time! As well as this I used a double electric pump (pumping didn’t hurt at all for whatever reason.. it was like the pump latched much further back so it wasn’t on the nipple at all) and my supply went right up ! Too much so as I ended up with freezer full of milk . Also oatmeal is great for increasing supply
Was a wait for tongue tie in local hospital so I paid privately..wasn’t an immediate fix but it defo helped. I also think babies mouth growing helped most. I pumped and bottle fed with a few breast feeds for the first month and then got him back on the boob.
Sorry that all my suggestions involve paying extra (private tt) but they did help!
Also you’re not a failure for giving formula, you have to keep baby fed. But I understand the feeling of despair x
If you do want to persevere to breast shells. R Took 24 hours to let my nipples recover with them
From someone who's now tried and failed to breast feed twice:
It really is much harder for some of us than others. Other people being able to do it easily or relatively easily doesn't mean they're somehow better mothers or even better breastfeeders. They're just lucky. Yes, they may have had to work a bit, but for some of us all the lactation consultants, nipple shields, creams, latch advice etc etc in the world won't be enough.
I stopped breastfeeding DS2 now 6 weeks when he was 12 days. My supply never came in properly, numerous people had checked the latch and confirmed no tongue tie but we never got it to a tolerable level of pain. So I had a paltry amount of milk and agony to endure. Not worth it.
I'm not saying you should stop. I'm just telling you my story to show others are in the same boat. If you do stop, remember that you did the best you were able in the situation you were in. There's nothing to feel guilty about in that.
I feel for you. This sucks. I just wanted to tell you that you're not failing in any way. You are doing great. Persevere if you want and switch to formula if you don't want to. Both are fine. I'm so sorry that this is difficult for you.
I have officially given up and moved to formula feeding. I went out and bought all the necessary equipment earlier. I just can't hack it. I keep crying about it, i couldn't even last 2 weeks and i've had so much help to try and encourage me to carry on so that makes me feel even worse. I'm still not convinced that this is the right thing to do but at least i won't be in pain this way and i won't dread my baby waking up for a feed
Well done. You have absolutely done the right thing. You will now be amazed and relieved by how well she does on the formula. She will sleep better, put on weight and you will both feel happier. You’ve done everything right. You’re a good mum.
CrimsonFootstool Thank you for your kind words, i do feel like an utter failure but hopefully she will be a happier baby for it. It really has opened my eyes as to why breastfeeding rates are so low in this country. Even the experts all disagree with each other on methods and ideas of the best ways to solve any problems. I think taking some of the advice actually ended my ability to feed her.
It is the right thing to do because you’re putting milk in your baby’s tummy whereas before it wasn’t happening. It’s not your fault. As Terramirabilis said, some people just can’t manage it. And sure, there are loads of lactivists out there who make women feel like they should have tried harder, because only 1 or 2 or 3% of women physically don’t produce milk (like lack of milk production is the only acceptable end to breastfeeding) but as you know, it’s more complex than that.
I physically couldn’t get my baby latch on to my flatter than flat nipples. Not once. No one could help me either. That baby is now 7 and those torturous days are irrelevant now. One day you’ll feel the same
Yes I agree, it’s really bloody hard for some mothers. Lots of pressure, lots of advice. The advice can be helpful. But I think it’s right that someone says, it is actually ok to formula feed. I had similar experience to you. In the first 2 weeks he lost over 2 lbs and screamed all night every night. I felt a failure when I succumbed to formula. But after a couple of days I was soooo grateful for the formula and consider it a life-saver, literally. I called it baby opium.
I was lucky in that I was able to carry on hand-pump expressing a tiny bit for a few weeks. But it was less than a bottle a day. So the rest was formula. Everything will improve when you’ve both got more sleep and full tummies. Being a mum is really about knowing your child and making decisions for them that only you are qualified to make.
Well done OP, definitely the right thing to do in your circumstances. Now you can move forward and enjoy your baby. Please don't look back
I just want to add a reply to let you know that this happens to so many people and you are absolutely not a failure. I stopped 10 days in and I was absolutely devastated. My milk never came in properly either and i know exactly how heatbreaking it can be but please try to lose the guilt and understand that it just doesn’t work out for some people despite all the help in the world. It’s so hard to get your head around but it’s not worth feelings of guilt and failure spoiling the precious first few weeks with your baby - they really spoilt mine to the point I can’t remember a lot of his first month because I was so miserable. I also ended up with postnatal depression.
So please drop the guilt and enjoy your baby, formula feeding has lots of positives in the end I promise, once you’ve got your head around it. Hang in there x
I wish when they're drumming into you all the breast is beat stuff somebody actually explained how really shitty it is as well.
I will never forget when my first son was 2 weeks old driving to a 24 Tesco at 2am with a screaming baby in the back crying my eyes out because I felt like such a failure.
Had another Crack at it with my second and after 2 days I knew it wasn't happening and there was no guilt about giving him a bottle.
Baby number 3 breastfed like a champ from day 1.
Made it to nearly 2 months with number 4 so far.
Fed is best. You tried and it didn't work and that's fine. And sometimes I think you just need to hear from others that breastfeeding is not a bed of roses like they would have you believe in all the antenatal classes
You're doing a fab job!
Fed is best. I formula fed one of mine because breast feeding just didn’t work out. I felt guilty for ages but he’s no different now to his breastfed siblings!
My only regret is seeing breastfeeding as an all or nothing thing. In hindsight I wished I’d just cut down to a few feeds a day for a while to give all the cuts a better chance to heal.
My son had a tongue tie which was snipped but by then time that happened the cuts were so deep and infected that it was painful to even wash in the shower and the thought of feeding every three hours was too much. The thought of feeding once or twice a day might have been bearable though but I didn’t consider that.
Op you are absolutely not a failure. You tried really hard to do this thing that is just not as natural to everyone as it’s made out. I had such a hard time with breastfeeding all the pain bleeding etc but luckily my son was gaining weight so I had plenty of milk. My mother breastfed me and both my sisters found it very easy so I have no idea why some ppl can and others struggle.
So now will you please remember the pain you’ve been in and the dread you felt before a feed and if in months time any feelings of regret or guilt creep in just keep clear in your mind how bad it felt for you and that you’ve made the right decision for both ur health and your little one.
You’re doing great, this is one tiny part of being a mother and it is not a failure in any way shape or form c
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