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Endless problems with BF. When do you know when to call it a day?(19 Posts)
DS is 13 weeks old. We've had problem after problem with bf'ing. Tongue tie which was cut, healed and then cut again, milk blebs, Raynaud's of the nipples, mastitis, sore cracked bleeding nipples, etc. Even now at 13 wks his latch isn't great, feeds I'd say 90% of the time are painful and it hurts for like an hour afterwards too. Oh and he's started teething early so has now added in clamping down with his gums like I'm a teething toy!
When I was pregnant I was very pragmatic and said I'd give it a try and if it didn't work I'd switch to bottles, but since I've had him it's become this massive thing in my mind that I both want to and don't want to give up.
He does take a bottle, we introduced it before his tongue tie was cut to give my battered nipples a break, and he has a small bottle early hours but sometimes he doesn't want it and waits for boobie.
I just don't know what to do. I feel so fed up, stressed out and anxious! I feel like our crap journey with breastfeeding has cast a shadow over our first few months.
When do you say enough is enough and quit??
I’d be stopping if I were in your shoes.
I stopped when DS was 6 weeks due to similar issues. I’d been awake 48 hours, trying to feed him, then express, then give him that. It absolutely broke me. It was fucking horrific to be honest. I didn’t have the support from my exDP when deciding to stop either which didn’t help.
All that aside, if you think you’d both be happier stopping (not quitting!) BFing then switch to formula. He’s had the benefit for your milk for 13 weeks.
Have you seen a breastfeeding/lactation consultant?
This can make a huge difference. I had to have quite a lot of help to get DD well latched. Without that help we just never would have got it working for both of us.
If you've sought that help already and you're still in pain I think you would be completely justified in calling it a day. You want to be able to enjoy your newborn and have good quality time. That is as important for bonding as breastfeeding is.
I feel I lost DD's first three months to concerns about weight gain and then a physical issue that meant my tiny baby had to have physio.
If you're in a position to free yourselves up to get on with enjoying your time together and you've tried every avenue with BF then changing to formula wouldn't be such a terrible thing.
I understand the angst. BF is so emotionally loaded
for you. I don't think anyone can say you haven't given it your all.
Ultimately it is your decision but if it is making you unhappy then it's time to stop. You can argue the breast bottle debate till the cows come home but neither are as important as a happy mum.
I say all this with hindsight as my ds had tongue tie, my nipple split and I ended up being admitted with breast abscesses. The pain and constant misery completely ruined the first few months of our time together.
When I was in hospital I was distraught that I had failed. My lovely breastfeeding advisor came to visit and asked me why I was so upset. She told me I should be celebrating, we are so lucky to live in a world that provides formula for our babies. 100 years ago my son wouldn't have thrived or worse as I was to ill to feed him. She was absolutely right.
He had formula for a while while I had treatment but as he was my last baby I ended up trying to breastfeed again. We did find a happy medium where we mix fed and that worked for us. In fact I went on to breast feed until he was 2.5.
But this is your journey and you need to find the way that is right for you and your baby.
Have you tried nipple shields? DDs latch was dreadful & I ended up with hideous mastitis, used shields & only fed from the right for 11.5 months in the end.
A very lovely health visitor " gave me permission " to say I can't do this. Some people just aren't able to breastfeed and I was one of them . I tried breastfeeding specialists etc but it didn't work and it was making me depressed. My DS was losing weight and I felt compelled to keep going until the HV told me it was my choice and a happy mum made for a happy baby. Best decision I ever made but as others have said it's one only you can make. My DS went on to thrive, is on the 95th centile for height and weight and is a nonstop bundle of energy. Crucially, my mental health vastly improved once I stopped beating myself up about not breastfeeding.
I have seen the NHS lady (infant feeding co-ordinator) and the local breastfeeding peer supporters (we have a large network of these in my area).
There is a local lactation consultant but I'd be looking at sixty quid absolute minimum which sadly for us is quite a chunk out of the budget! People keep recommending this route to me locally but the amount I've already spent on breastfeeding is loads. Osteopath for ds (no difference), painkillers, lansinoh nipple cream (love it), nipple shields (no good), nipple thingy for shy nipple (no good), feeding bras in 36J(!!!), feeding tops, breast pads, heat pads for Raynaud's, etc. Like I say I'm on a tight budget and it just seems like I'm throwing money at a lost cause.
The crazier thing is my first born I didn't even try to bf, wasn't bothered, didn't beat myself up, he's fit as a fiddle. All I can think is my hormones and anxiety have zoned in on this as the thing to fixate about!
What would you say to a friend in the same situation OP?
I think what's stopping me is DS loves boob, his weight isn't a concern and sometimes he will refuse a bottle until boob appears.
He mouths at my top where my boob is and looks up at me all cute and pleadingly.
These are what is holding me back from giving up.
I know I'd tell a friend that it's okay to stop, and that a happy mum is a happy baby.
Cant seem able to say it to myself though!!
Ah OP you sound properly lovely, you really do. BFing can be so fraught with emotions. I’d maybe think about upping the bottle feeds whilst gradually reducing the breast feeding, that would be what I would do. But only you can choose what’s right for you.
Surely if you’ve spent as much as you say you have then £60 for a lactation consultant would be a drop in the bucket? Also don’t underestimate how much bottles/steriliser/formula will cost you.
Without trying to sound harsh, I experienced the majority of the things you’ve been going through - tongue tie division twice, multiple blocked ducts, milk blebs, thrush and a cracked nipple for nearly 3 months.
If you want to stop BF then stop, it’s not giving up, you’ve done an amazing job dealing with it. If you want to continue then see a lactation consultant and see what advice they can give you. Have you tried taking soy lecithin to reduce the number of milk blebs and have you gone right back to basics with his latch?
You are allowed to stop, formula isn't poison and it sounds like you've had such a hard time. You have nothing to feel guilty about.
If you do decide to continue get some hydrogel breast pads to help with healing and pain - they're miracle workers! Also see someone from the la leche league to help with latching etc if there's a group local to you.
But first and foremost be kind to yourself, baby will adjust to bottles. You can stop.
Hi OP - the decision you make is up to you but I wanted to sympathise. I had lots of problems in early weeks and it honestly was one of the lowest periods of my life. That sounds crazy when I write it down, but it’s true.
So, when do you know when to give up? Firstly you don’t ‘give up’ you just choose another equally good approach. Formula is a very good substitute. In answer to your question: When your mental health is being affected, when you are dreading each feed and feel miserable, when you resent your baby.
When do you keep going? When you have the odd feed that goes ok and you think you can give it a bit longer, when the latch seems to be getting better slowly, when the thought of giving it one more day doesn’t make you want to jump off a bridge.
Look into mixed feeding - that rescued me. However if I had had to go to fully formula that would have been fine. My GP told me that it’s such a special time and she’d seen so many women make themselves seriously unhappy with breastfeeding not going well.
If you so decided to keep going then my top tip: tell yourself you’ll give it three more days, and then stop if you want to with no judgement. Then if after three days it’s bearable, tell yourself you’ll do one more week. Etc. Until you decide to stop. Everyone stops at some point - you stop when right for you.
I know what you mean OP- I FF DC1, never felt bad about it, worked for us and no regrets. So many times I’ve read posts on this board where the OP is looking for permission to stop BF and I never understood it.
I’ve since “tried” bf with dc2 (5 weeks) and it despite not loving it, I’m finding it hard to think about giving up between the hormones and the FF-guilt.
I’m mix feeding and it’s working well- probably 50/50 with formula. It’s a nice middle ground for now.
A nice HV also helped me stop as I was a broken woman. It turns out when I saw a GP that they would have recommended I didn’t even BF in the first place.
My HV also told me sometimes it just doesn’t work out, not every woman and not every baby can do it and that’s why formula exists.
Mixed feeding sounds like a good place to start and might give your boobs a bit of a break. Is there someone else who could give a bottle to start so it’s away from your smell?
I've been there with all those difficulties. At 13 weeks it's less 3 months till you start weaning anyway. If I were you I'd be wondering if it was worth keeping on plugging away or just give yourself a well earned break and enjoy the rest of his new born phase.
I have also been there. I struggled to 6 weeks, then did up to 16 weeks mixed feeding then had to stop breastfeeding altogether. It was distressing as I'd had no trouble breastfeeding my first 2 DC, but really had problems with DC3. DS was much happier on the bottle, and so was I
after a good cry It's OK to stop
Is it a sharp needle-like pain when he's feeding? If so, it could be thrush. I had that and got a course of antibiotics (ds was fine and didn't get it). The best thing to do is avoid sugary treats (very difficult with a young baby I know, I was forever snacking due to tiredness). Thrush feeds on sugar so if you keep it low it will die x
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