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Feel like I've got no option but to give up breastfeeding

(23 Posts)
TheosMam Sat 17-Aug-19 20:01:23

My DS is 6 weeks and EBF. We've been in and out of the doctors and hospital for weeks, severe acid reflux, projectile vomiting, crying for hours, writhing in pain, the works. Every feed is a battle, he's distressed after every feed, almost every feed ends in tears (his; admittedly sometimes mine too) and it's just shit, really.

I bought a pump a few days ago, so DH could do some of the feeds and I could get a break from the crying, as it's starting to really affect my mental health. Except he's a completely different baby after a bottle, he doesn't fuss or cry whilst feeding, he finishes happily, usually falling asleep content, he doesn't do ANYTHING that he does after a breastfeed.

I looked into exclusive pumping, but it's so much work. I have no help for 12 hours a day, and a baby who likes to constantly be held. I have been managing to get 3 bottles a day pumped and I'm finding that exhausting and hard to fit in. He feeds a lot, so to pump that amount would be a full time bloody job. Props to those who do it, but I just don't think it'll do me any good when I'm already struggling.

I desperately want him to stay on breast milk, but not at the sake of my mental health. The only option to me looks like making the switch to formula?

OP’s posts: |
TheosMam Sat 17-Aug-19 20:03:28

Why would my boobs make him so distressed? I've tried expressing a bit first to ease the let down to no avail. I've had his latch checked and ok'd by three different midwifes and health visitor. He's been checked for tongue tie. What could it be?

OP’s posts: |
INeedNewShoes Sat 17-Aug-19 20:04:21

Sympathy to you OP. Establishing breastfeeding can be so tough. I had (different) issues with DD and it was really hard and its so emotionally loaded.

Have you tried using nipple shields? A couple of different friends of mine found them to be absolute life savers in terms of their baby latching happily.

endofthelinefinally Sat 17-Aug-19 20:07:16

I would switch to formula. You have given it your best shot and you and your baby need to be calm and happy.
I breast fed all my dc and was lucky it went well for us. But I wouldn't dream of judging someone else when they are clearly doing their best.
I am assuming there is no tongue tie or diet related intolerance?
Pumping is exhausting and not an option long term IMO.

AnneLovesGilbert Sat 17-Aug-19 20:08:19

How would a mix of expressing and formula feel for a bit? Expressing can be a massive hassle but it would make the feeding itself easier and you could balance keeping your supply with knowing he’s getting enough and neither of you would be in as much distress.

Have you had any advice on what he might be finding difficult?

I really feel for you and you’ve done an amazing job when it sounds like it’s been incredibly tough. 6 weeks is fantastic but you’re right that how you feel is as important as any other factors. If expressing feels too much - totally get that - then it’s okay to stop. But if you’re hesitant at this point then mixed feeding is a great option

Have you tried starting a feed with a bottle then when he’s had enough to take the edge off his hunger/thirst popping him on the boob?

Sexnotgender Sat 17-Aug-19 20:09:53

I’d second trying nipple shields.

And if they don’t work switch to formula and go sleep for 12 solid hours whilst DH does any feeds!

That sounds really tough. You’ve done your best and given him a great start.

Hugtheduggee Sat 17-Aug-19 20:10:49

It sounds like for whatever reason he a happier on a bottle, and it's seemingly better for your mh at the moment, so to me it's a no brainer...

Happy and Fed is a good combination.

Sunshine1239 Sat 17-Aug-19 20:11:17

Switch to bottle

Honestly I did this with dd1. It totally spoilt my experience

With dd2 I breastfed the first feed and then switched to bottle as planned and it was such a relaxing experience! I was out feeding the ducks the next day and get great!

Fieldings15 Sat 17-Aug-19 20:11:45

The first few weeks of breastfeeding are almost always the hardest and sounds like you're going through a really tough time. Is there any sort of local breastfeeding support? We have a 'baby bar' near us which was so helpful in the early days. My ds is also quite a vomiter, though it doesn't seem to bother him so much. Using a bottle also didn't make any difference with him so stuck with bf (now 5 months) and it did get easier. However I agree that pumping is such a pain and time consuming...
You could always try combi feeding which is both breastmilk and formula. Even if you didn't want to do this long term you would probably still be wise to do it initially as stopping bf 'cold turkey' is generally not a good idea (risk of mastitis etc). Anyway well done for managing 6 weeks - your baby will still have got a lot of the benefits such as boosting immunity. Hope things improve for you x

Solihooley Sat 17-Aug-19 20:12:06

Has he been checked for a tongue tie? It’s sounds like he’s not feeding effectively at the breast and possibly taking in too much air?

MoreSlidingDoors Sat 17-Aug-19 20:12:37

I looked into exclusive pumping, but it's so much work. I have no help for 12 hours a day, and a baby who likes to constantly be held. I have been managing to get 3 bottles a day pumped and I'm finding that exhausting and hard to fit in. He feeds a lot, so to pump that amount would be a full time bloody job. Props to those who do it, but I just don't think it'll do me any good when I'm already struggling.

I did it, one day at a time, and managed a year. That was with a husband who was only home for 36 hours a week and no other family within 1000 miles.

Solihooley Sat 17-Aug-19 20:13:26

I would go to your local support group for real life help If you don’t really want to give up feeding at this stage.

Solihooley Sat 17-Aug-19 20:15:46

Oh sorry, just saw the last bit about tt. Has he been checked by tongue tie specialist? So many midwives and doctors are not trained to spot some of the less obvious ones.

AnneLovesGilbert Sat 17-Aug-19 20:17:50

That’s amazing MoreSlidingDoors

ThisHereMamaBear Sat 17-Aug-19 20:17:56

My DS was like this up until about 3 months. My le leche group was so helpful with tips if you wanted any help? Equally as others have said, you have done brilliantly well to do 6 weeks and your mental health is very important for you and your little one. I wish you all the best x

Sabina21 Sat 17-Aug-19 20:18:37

I would switch to formula. Ebf doesn't suit every mum and baby situation and a happy mum is important for the baby.

whatswithtodaytoday Sat 17-Aug-19 20:27:16

I had a very similar experience - weight loss, tube fed for two days to ensure he was getting enough, jaundice, reflux, projectile vomiting, etc etc etc. I didn't want to express because so many friends had hated it and advised against doing it full time once they stopped. He was like a different baby after a day on formula - visibly filled out and stopped looking like Gollum, less screaming, cheerful. I decided to switch to formula, and continue to breastfeed for comfort morning and night, which I continued until he was three months and went off the boob, probably due to moving him up a teat size.

Go with your gut. If you want to continue find help, and if you don't you can combi feed and gradually tail off. Best of luck, having problems with feeding is so, so hard.

SoVeryLost Sat 17-Aug-19 20:36:45

Has he been checked for lip tie? Many people don’t know what one looks like.

Mamma92 Sat 17-Aug-19 20:38:23

Hey I really feel for you I had a similar problem when my daughter was 6 weeks and the HV thought it was because of forceful letdown, she advised to breastfeed in a reclined position so the baby can control the milk flow better it took us a few days to get used to it as she would get in a state crying everytime I tried feeding her as she started associating feeding with pain but after a week of perseverance she was like a different baby shes 6 months old now and still ebf . Good luck and you should be so proud of yourself whatever you choose to do dont ever feel guilty you must do what's best for you x

rugshade Sat 17-Aug-19 20:39:30

Don't worry, formula feeding is great - your baby will be much happier and so will you. Enjoy!

TinyMarie Sat 17-Aug-19 20:45:37

Hello. Could it be that you have a fast letdown? I do and it's caused so many issues for my DD with wind pain and sleep. If you really want to continue breastfeeding then there is lots of good advice online about ways to help such as changing positions or breaking the latch during the letdown.
It might be worth looking into but if you feel you need to switch to formula then don't beat yourself up. Your mental health is important and breastfeeding is bloody hard!

cookieoclock Sat 17-Aug-19 20:46:12

I switched to fully ff at 7 weeks.
My mental health improved overnight and I finally started bonding with my baby. Best thing I could have done for us.

mistermagpie Sat 17-Aug-19 20:54:40

I expressed for size weeks exclusively for DS1, it's bloody murder and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I felt like I spent more time with the stupid pump than my baby. Hats off to anyone who does it but if you don't feel it's right for you then that's completely understandable.

I personally would switch to formula, honestly it's not poison and you have to do what's best for you as well. Lots of women die in a ditch about breastfeeding but it's not the be all and end all of motherhood and you are still important, don't forget that. Protect your mental health and in the long term you will be a happier parent.

My DS2 was formula fed and you couldn't tell any difference between him and his breastfed peers.

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