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Why do i still feel so guilty?

(27 Posts)
Lib76 Tue 19-Aug-08 17:25:11

My DS is 10 weeks old and for the past 3 weeks he has been on formula, the reason..... had dreadful problems with thrush, bleeding nipples for 2 weeks kept feeding him. GP never examined me when after two wks and said i was in constant pain, said to continue with creams drops etc. two days later i ended up in hosptial for three nights with bilateral mastitis! i have never felt so unwell in my life, one second i was feeling a bit off, next temp was sky high and i was getting anti-biotics through an IV. needless to say a very traumatic time being separated from DS. So he went onto formula and was instantly a happier baby! had been crying a lot before, obviously very hungry and getting mouth fulls of blood!

Formula was the last thing I wanted but I knew it was best for both of us, going back to BF was not an option as the mastitis was so bad, the pain was still terrible and i felt so sick on the anti-biotics!

anyway i am rambling! i now feel so guilty that my DS is on formula. i feel that people are judging me when i buy it or if i need to feed him when i am out i just want to say to people why i was unable to BF! Am I nuts or is this a normal feeling!! I know he got all the good stuff in the 7 wks I did feed him but I sometimes still wish I was feeding him :-(

At least the next time round I will know what to look out for if it's going wrong!

Thanks for listening to my ramblings! :-)

jojoisamum Tue 19-Aug-08 17:36:58

Hello there.

I just wanted to say that I b/f DS for the first 6 days before being hit with a serious infection which put me back in hospital for a week.

I too had to stop feeding myself (couldn't do anything for myself and relied on staff so couldn't ask them to express me on top of everything else). I did hope to express and bin until I was fit again but with the drugs given in hospital and the drugs taken at home for a month meant that my milk just dried up.

Yes, when I eventually got home I could have expressed even a little to try and keep going but my energy needed to be spent re-bonding with DS and getting myself fit. Not working myself into a state (and probably making myself ill again) trying to bottle feed, settle DS and then express.

What I am saying is that you did everything you could and that your baby had several weeks of your milk. You had no control over this so please don't be hard on yourself. I felt exactly the same and was terrified when I came home from hospital - I thought I'd never feel close to DS as he was so close to his Dad (that broke my heart for a good couple of weeks) but you know what, I am the one that gets the big smiles and the grins and the gurgles that make my heart leap.

He's putting on lots of weight and is a happy, healthy little boy - I am sure your little boy is too.

As for those who you feel judge you - tell them to bugger off!

Anyway, that's my ramblings. Hope you are ok. Sending you a virtual hug.

Lib76 Tue 19-Aug-08 17:43:34

hi jojoisamum

thank you thank you thank you!

the bonding thing was a worry for me, i thought that ds would not remember me! crazy really as he was 7wks old and was allowed into hospital to see me, but you don't think straight!

you had such a rough time too, poor sole, glad all is well now.

yeh my ds is thriving and sleeps well now too!

you have made me feel better! xx

cupcake76 Tue 19-Aug-08 18:07:30

Message withdrawn

PortAndLemon Tue 19-Aug-08 18:18:06

It seems to be pretty normal. Interestingly, in countries where there is good support for getting breastfeeding established women who can't or choose not to breastfeed seem not to feel so guilty about it as here. I suppose there's a residual feeling that "something more should have been done" to make breastfeeding go better, and then you transfer that into an idea that you should have done something more.

That idea is misplaced. You did plenty. Yes, something more should have been done -- your GP/HV/midwives should have identified and helped with your issues rather than misdiagnosing and mistreating you -- but that is NOT YOUR FAULT. You persevered and did the best you could do in the face of lack of support from those who should have been helping you -- you deserve to feel proud rather than guilty.

Lib76 Tue 19-Aug-08 18:49:14

thanks PortAndLemon for your kind words.

cupcake76, sounds like you did exactlly what i did and lok what happend to me!! i was so determined to keep going, trying everything from expressing to nipple shields and in the end i made myself ill, but nobody could tell me it is very much a guilt/hormonal thing. my husband said a week before i ended up in hospital to stop cause DS had vommited blood and we got a dreadful fright, didn't put two and two together that it was bleeding nipples because i never saw them bleeding after feeds!

cupcake76, you will stop when you feel ready and beleive me only you will know, it is a big decision. but i have now got a very happy DS and deep down i know i shoud have stopped sooner, but i really enjoyed bf until the pain started. The one great advantage now is DH does the late feed!!

Becky77 Tue 19-Aug-08 19:38:07

Great to read this thread. I have struggled from day 1 with BF... My DD couldn't latch on in the beginning and would scream and struggle in every position... When I finally got her to latch on I was just so grateful she'd done it that I didn't make sure it was right and my nipples got massacred as a result...

Then followed weeks of pain and trying to find out what I was still doing wrong etc etc...

Finally last Monday I decided to go half and half with formula... I was so determined to BF but it was making me soooo stressed and upset and I was miserable because I hadn't enjoyed the first days and weeks with my daughter. I felt exactly how you did about telling people and I still feel like I have to justify it.

The twist is that DD has really struggled with the bottle and not because of the taste or wind etc but because she missed getting boob as much... AT the same time she miraculously learnt how to latch properly and the rest has meant that breastfeeding is now almost painless... So I've reduced bottles down to 1 a day. I still like the flexibility of giving her a bottle when I'm out or DP getting to feed her without the hassle of expressing... It's taken me on a massive journey but at 10 weeks I think we're almost happy with it!

Sorry for the essay! I hope you feel better about your decision soon. If your LO is happy that is all that matters xx

quaranta Tue 19-Aug-08 19:45:43

lib76 you poor love. i only managed til 6 weeks with ds2 ( not enough milk despite everything i could possibly do to produce more) .. mumsnetters were great and i will keep thread of encouraging messages i got on the nights i realised i was going to give up forever.

ds2 is fine now a year old, beautiful and big and happy. yes, he has eczema - and ff may not have helped that, but i know i did my best. my nipples almost fell off and nothing was coming out and at that point i gave up. i know i will regret the fact i couldn't do any better and give him more for the rest of my days - but i live with it ok. i had great births and i have wonderful lovely healthy boys so i am lucky. breast is best for sure, but unless it works for mum and baby we should be grateful other alternatives exist. good luck to you both quaranta x

moondog Tue 19-Aug-08 19:49:53

Lib, you have been through hell and from sound of it had crap advice. sad
Banish all feelings of guilt from yer head, woman.

All of us need to remember that most GPs (and HVs) know eff all about breastfeeding. If there are problems, get hold of a breastfeeding counsellor asap.

constancereader Tue 19-Aug-08 20:00:23

You did everything you could. Don't feel guilty, I know this is easier said than done.

I felt like people were judging me for giving formula, but talking to my dh made me realise that I was judging MYSELF, it was an internal thing.

You have had crap support and an incredibly tough time. I know how hard it is to grieve for the breastfeeding relationship you expected to have with your baby, but you will get over it I promise. It is normal to feel sad when things don't work out according to your hopes, but you will feel better soon.

Lib76 Tue 19-Aug-08 20:06:17

Becky77, quaranta, thanks for posting your stories, makes me feel a lot better that other mums have struggled too.

Becky77, like you i was so stresssed was bf and in pain cause DS was unhappy and deep down i think i knew that bf was not working but i was being stubborn and wanted to keep going as i was convinced i would turn the corner!

quaranta you are so right brreast is best if it works but if it doesn't mum and baby end up in a state!

moondog, when i saw my GP about how sore i was her answer was just give a bottle and rest nipples!! exactlly what i didn't want to do was give bottles!

moondog Tue 19-Aug-08 20:07:26

Rest my case.
Silly unhelpful cow. angry

PortAndLemon Tue 19-Aug-08 20:10:04

And that's the wrong advice for thrush and mastitis anyway -- will make mastitis worse and won't help thrush. Many GPs don't treat breast thrush properly and just try to get rid of it with one-dose medication, which doesn't work (you need a course of medication for mother and baby). And if GP had examined you she would (should) have diagnosed the mastitis and got you on oral ABs, which would have sorted it out.

Lib76 Tue 19-Aug-08 20:17:50

exactlly PortAndLemon! was so annoyed she didn't examine me. that particular day she kept me waiting 45 mins! which i found a total disgrace! the worse thing is i am a practice nurse and she knew that but still gave me crap advice! Ah well what's done is done but i could help thinking when i was lying in hospital that it could have been avoided!
constancereader, you are totally right about the "internal" thing. it was a huge thing to deal with accepting that the bf bond was gone.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 19-Aug-08 20:23:35

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Becky77 Tue 19-Aug-08 20:24:33

At Lib76 - I know what you mean about turning the corner... It's like you get strung along. I remember being told it gets better at 6 weeks and gritting my teeth until then and nothing! Then 8 weeks... Nothing and then being told 10 weeks.

Everyone says all the pain will be worth it in the end... But I really think for some the pain and the emotional anguish doesn't make it worth it. I was so close to BND before I decided to go to mixed feeding... And now it's like the weight of the world is off my shoulders. Everytime I went out I'd dread that she'd wake up and cry for boob... And now I plan ot so if I'm going out I'll take a bottle... Problem solved

Lib76 Tue 19-Aug-08 20:25:50

big thank you StarlightMcKenzie! what a lovely thing to say. your right i tried my damdest to keep bf going. so form now on i need to look at the positives and not beat myself up!

Becky77 Tue 19-Aug-08 20:29:58

That was meant to be PND!

thegruffaloschild Tue 19-Aug-08 21:39:43

lib76 - If it's any consolation, my DD2 is 16 weeks old and I have decided to wean her off the boob now as I have 'had enough' of BF.

I did the same at similar time with DD1, but still I can't help feeling this tremendous guilt that I am stopping now, esp as I'm not really having any problems BF, IYSWIM.

I have a toddler aswell and I'm finding it hard to BF DD2, esp as her last feed coincides with DD1's bedtime.

When I was pg with DD2, I told myself I would try and BF new baby, but not beat myself up over it if I couldn't manage it, with having a 2 yr old aswell. I've managed so much longer than I thought I would, but I still feel this awful guilt.

I feel selfish that I am stopping for my benefit only....I want to wear nice bras again, and exercise without having big heavy tits to worry about (I'm significantly larger when BF).


OatcakeCravings Tue 19-Aug-08 22:35:28


I know what you are going through, I felt really guilty for weeks because I didn't BF my son but I couldn't do it because I didn't get any milk at all. Now this was 100% not my fault, I know this but it doesn't stop you feeling guilty. If its any help I don't feel guilty anymore but it took about 4 or 5 weeks until I felt okay about bottle feeding so you will get there I promise!

OatcakeCravings Tue 19-Aug-08 22:36:08


I know what you are going through, I felt really guilty for weeks because I didn't BF my son but I couldn't do it because I didn't get any milk at all. Now this was 100% not my fault, I know this but it doesn't stop you feeling guilty. If its any help I don't feel guilty anymore but it took about 4 or 5 weeks until I felt okay about bottle feeding so you will get there I promise!

Tryharder Thu 21-Aug-08 00:08:55

Lib76, you say your DS has been on formula for 3 weeks now.

My DS1 was bf for just over for about 4 weeks and then I stopped because I couldnt cope with the stress of bf, didnt feel DS1 was getting enough, couldnt get comfortable, etc etc. Looking back,like you, i just had crap support from the health professionals.

For about 5 - 6 weeks after that, my DS1 was ff, with me trying to express milk occasionally and getting about 1oz out at a time if i was lucky.

However, on one occasion, late at night in bed, I was cuddling DS1 as he was crying and as it was, I was bare-breasted. To my surprise, DS1 just bent himself down and latched himself on and nursed. I have no idea if was latching on properly, I didnt worry about tummy to tummy, nose to nipple and all that jazz, he just did it by himself without any help/interference from me. From then on, I began bf him now and then and by the time he was 4 months old, he was being bf at least 3 times a day, obviously with ff as well.

DS1 was partially bf until he was 14 months old. I never managed to regain my milk supply in full and indeed went back to work when he was 6 months old, but the feeds I did do meant a great deal particularly after the hard time I had had.

The reason I am telling you this is that like you, I felt tremendously guilty for giving up bf, like I was a failure or unwomanly or something. But if you still wanted to bf your DS partially, then I am living proof that such a thing is possible even after a 3 week gap. Could you not just try putting your DS to the breast and see what happens or try the skin to skin thing that I have seen others on here recommending.

But I also echo what others on here have said. If your DS never sees a boob again (until he reaches adulthood that is, ha ha), then so what? Plenty of my friends have only ever ff their perfectly healthy children and ironically the child of the friend who bf exclusively for 6 months has been in and out of hospital with infections and asthma.

Lib76 Thu 21-Aug-08 15:11:17

Tryharder, thanks for your story, i know im not alone in the problems i had. for the first week i came out of hospital i was still so unwell, BF was not an option and i was on a lot of very strong anit-bitoics that were making me feel sick, so didn't want DS to get in BM. there was the odd moment when i thought i could just hook him back on as i still had milk. Think DH would have gone mad, as he was so worried about me when i took ill, all he wanted was a happy healthy wife and baby! My milk has pretty much dried up now! that is pretty amazing what happend to you your ds latching back on...nature is amazing!

Stefka Thu 21-Aug-08 20:33:35

What an awful experience - you poor thing! I think you are really brave and obviously want the best for your child.

I had a terrible time getting feeding established - about three months of pain. I got through it only because there was great support in my region and because my mum came through to look after me.

You have nothing to feel guilty about - you really did your best. Your health is important - you need to be well to look after your baby.

Lib76 Fri 22-Aug-08 09:04:35

Thanks Stefka! with all this support i really am starting to feel so much better about it! and every morning i get that big smile from DS makes it all worth it!!

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