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Giving up breastfeeding at 3 months(32 Posts)
Since my baby was born I feel like feeding her has just been one big stress.
I was in hospital a few days after the birth due to high blood pressure and other things and she wouldn’t latch. I had a lot of one to one help from midwives but she just wouldn’t. I hand expressed colostrum and then asked for formula because she was clearly hungry. So we came home and I kept on trying to get her to latch but nothing so for the first seven weeks I pumped because I really wanted her to have my milk, so she bottle fed breast milk, then I got her privately assessed for tongue tie after a friend commented it could be due to that and she was and that was cut, but she will only breastfeed with a nipple shield and I worry she’s not getting enough. Yesterday she was screaming straight after I fed her for ages and then her nappy was bone dry which is really unlike her. Unfortunately not having any luck getting her off the shield I think it’s because she spent those early weeks feeding from a bottle so the breast without the shield is alien to her. I’m sick of worrying about it all.
The obvious compromise solution would be to go back to expressing your milk and giving it via a bottle, OP, if direct breast feeding is being problematic.
Alternatively, you could just switch to formula milk, if you’ve had enough of the hassle.
I’m not sure I have it in me to keep on pumping. Pumping is so hard and time consuming.
I've had 2 babies. First like yourself I exclusively pumped for. Second has latched on by herself and fed easily. The first I gave up pumping after 3 weeks and switched to formula. A massive weight off my shoulders. He's 3 now and grand. Your baby has had so much benefit from your milk already. Don't feel guilty if you must stop. Exclusive pumping is exhausting. I would perhaps give one last attempt without the shields so you know in your head you gave it every chance and you can remember this whenever you get a pang of guilt! I'm sure you've given everything a go for latching but have you tried just cradling baby like normal wojt their mouth next to nipple and giving them some time to try find it themself? (no holding their head or your boob?)
Do you have an infant feeding team on your area? Ask your health visitor. I found them really helpful.
No face to face help though. I’ve had help via zoom with la leche
Babies go through growth spurts at different times and often behave in the way you've described while doing so.
If her general weight gain is good I doubt there's a problem. I could never express (and ebf 2 DC) so I understand your reluctance to pump; and it's loads more faff.
You could try removing the nipple shield (I suspect going cold turkey is the quickest fox) but if you're feeling like it's tricky at the moment I'd recommend waiting a bit.
@User0ne I do remove the shield but she won’t latch at all....I’ve tried doing it mid feed too and nothing, I assume it’s because she’s so used to the feel of a teat. Not sure if anything else I can tryZ weight gain has been okay, slow and she’s fallen almost two centiles.
My DD wouldn't breastfeed without a shield but stopped out of the blue when four months old. However, she never took a bottle again after that.
My breastfeeding clinic were totally relaxed about the shields, said it had enabled me to breastfeed when it might not have worked.
Fed is best, you've done really well so far.
I had to use the shield for my 1st DS as the hospital staff gave him bottle first after birth.I fought for 4 days until my DM suggested nipple shields.I was using it for 9 months without issues.I was also in uni since he was 3 months old and could never express more than oz of BM so he had formula from that time when I was having lectures and BM when at home.
Don't give up yet if you can,the first 12 weeks are usually the most difficult.
If the shield is working for both of you try to stick with it.
The screaming/crying during feeds or after is quite common at this age due to growth spurt.It may last for about a week until the new rhythm is established.Lots of feeding and skin to skin will help a lot.Give it another week or two and see how it goes.
I don't envy you op! I remember the uncertainty, stress and worry with bfeeding. I wanted to give up everyday but I knew that if I did, I would feel guilty so I kept going. It got a lot easier after a few months, then it was easy. However, like others have said, you've given so much goodness already. If you're happy to stop, there's no shame in that.
I’ve had a good think tonight and don’t feel any guilt about potentially stopping. I’m so proud of three months. Most people would have switched to formula the second they got home from hospital with the not being able to latch. I don’t feel she is latching great with the shield I quite often have to take her off and reposition her, she knocks the shields off. It’s not fun. I was so emotional in the early days about the thought of not breastfeeding but I’ve persevered pumping and shields but it’s making me anxious to be honest.
Totally fine to be a combi feeder or to continue to use breast shields if that’s what you want to do or to just stop. I used to pump 4 times a day instead of the recommended number of around 10 so was a 50 percent of each type feeder. Now pumping only once a day, she’s mainly on cows milk or water but a formula bottle at night and a breast milk bottle in the morning every couple of days.
@Yellowtopaz don't feel any guilt whatsoever about stopping breastfeeding. In the circumstances you've done brilliantly to get as far as you have. Give yourself a pat on the back and switch to formula.
Your anxiety will improve once you see her thriving on formula, and you'll feel physically better when you don't have to do all that pumping, which really takes it out of you.
I speak from experience, by the way. Two babies who thrived on breastfeeding and then a third who just didn't gain weight. I combination fed until four months, but it took a toll on my mental health and in hindsight I should've stopped sooner.
You should feel proud of yourself!! And it is not worth the anxiety. It is wonderful if you can breastfeed effortlessly but many of us can not. I can honestly say the stress of breastfeeding ruined the first 3 months with DS1 and I would not wish that on anyone. The stress, the shields, the endless latching on and off, I really sympathise. I also stopped at 3 months (and formula fed my other 3 which was a joy). The most important thing is that your baby has enough milk, wet nappies and that you are not stressed. You are right to do what feels right for you and your baby.
@DramaAlpaca @Bluebutterfly36 thanks for your kind words. I know right now feeding seems like the most important thing in the world and you can get really obsessed as a new mum but I know plenty of babies thrive on formula and my gut is telling me she isn’t doing as well as she should breastfeeding.
Do what's right for you OP, you've made great progress and done so well to pump all this time.
The only other thing I'd add if you do decide to persevere with shields is that some fit better than others. I liked the MAM shields the best, the Boots ones I started out were huge and a lot less natural shape.
@everydaysablessing I do have the mam ones, thank you.
I may say, OP, that I formula fed my two DDs and they are now healthy intelligent graduates in their 30’s! Formula milk isn’t going to poison your child, and if you want to switch to it you have absolutely no reason to feel guilty.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to breast feed my son. He couldn't get latched properly and I used nipple shields. Then I pumped but like you say, very time consuming, really affected everything. I gave up at 13 weeks. My daughter, I had made the decision not to breast feed, but she latched straightaway and was a bit easier. I combi fed her for 18 months. My son is nearly 4 and my daughter nearly 2. Both are just happy, boisterous toddlers. Looking at them, you wouldn't be able to tell who was bf most of their babyhood and who FF. We put too much pressure on ourselves and other mums. Do what is easier for you and your baby and whatever keeps you happy. Much luck!!
@Yellowtopaz I exclusively breastfed DS for 12 weeks, exclusively pumped for 2 weeks, now formula feed. He always would only breast feed lying down, never in any other positions. He developed silent reflux at about 8 weeks and wound no longer feed lying down without screaming and still wouldn’t feed in other positions 😓 those last 4 weeks of breastfeeding were SO stressful so well done you for making it this far with the issues with latch ❤️ As for exclusively pumping...anyone that manages that full time deserves a medal in my eyes 😳😳 between expressing, feeding, washing/sterilising the pump I felt like my wee guy spent his whole day in the bouncer when he wasn’t being fed 😓
I transitioned DS fully to formula over 9 days and he’s a completely different baby 😳 so content with feeding!!
I had huge guilt over stopping breastfeeding but honestly, after seeing how he is now and seeing how much better I feel, it’s the best change we ever made!! ❤️
I’ve just pumped and hardly got anything compared to what I’d usually get. Supply is definitely down. @slapmyarseandcallmem
@Yellowtopaz Definitely no point dwelling on it now ❤️ Its been dealt with and that’s the main thing! I spent weeks feeling really angry because we’d never been able to get any feeding support due to covid and I knew if we had managed to master more positions I would have been able to continue for longer even with his reflux. Honestly though...it doesn’t matter. He’s had breast milk for as long as I could, his belly is full, he’s a happy baby and that’s all that matters.
The fact that your DD had drier than normal nappies would be enough for me to make the switch ❤️
@RWK29 yes exactly. It’s helpful to talk it through but I honestly completely panicked when her nappy was dry, I felt terrible.
3 months is amazing well done. Onwards and upwards now that you can just give her bottles and not worry!
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