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guilt and bottlefeed

(57 Posts)
lilyofvalley Sat 27-Jun-09 20:39:48

Does anyone feel guilty for not breastfeeding? I did try for 7 weeks but it didn't work out. Now every time I read a formula pack of instructions or anything else for that matter it bangs on about breastfeeding being the best. I know this and don't need to be reminded all the time, I feel bad enough as it is.

mumblecrumble Sat 27-Jun-09 21:24:01

ahhhhh....... you need to add 'but not best for you' to the end of it when you read it.

Presumably there was a good reason for you switching and your family would be worse off if you did.

Also, I'm sure there are breastfeeding mums who are shite at something.

I breastfed [mix fed really] will dd was 18 months. I also always forget to brush her teeth and I wonder if we watch to much TV when daddy is on late shifts.

You'll awalys feel guilty about soemthing. I have eaten 2 oreo cookies in the time I;ve written this post.......

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 27-Jun-09 21:32:56

Message withdrawn

mumblecrumble Sat 27-Jun-09 21:40:12

However I spent all night with her so DH and DD could get a good nights sleep. Have a redeemed myself for giving formular...


ElenorRigby Sat 27-Jun-09 21:41:16

DD wasn't breastfed, coslept or carried about in a sling. She's doing great. Guilt, not in the slightest, I actually feel really quit smug when I see how bright, confident and strong she is compared to some of her clingy peers.

hercules1 Sat 27-Jun-09 21:42:55

Elenorigby - I did all of those things and feel the same smugness about my confidant dd and ds grin

Seriously, you will always feel guiltly no matter what you do.

DontLookDown Sat 27-Jun-09 22:16:23

Lilyofvalley you can't win, I felt bad over insisting on giving supplementary formula feeds to ds, then with my second baby we ended up with dd being observed in hospital because I hadn't given them to her and she'd lost a scary amount of weight sad He never fed properly despite all help, support etc., and I felt dreadful over ffeeding, now it's getting embarrassing because dd's 15 months and still wanting to bf day and night like a newborn.

Chill out, enjoy your baby, pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy the guilt-free tipple envy

booyhoo Sat 27-Jun-09 22:25:03

lily you did breastfeed, you did it for 7 weeks. just because you didnt do it for 6 months or longer doesnt mean you have failed. if someone asks me if i breastfed ds1, i say "yes, i bf'd for 7 weeks". i dont say "no i failed at it." there is plenty of time throughout your child's life to feel guilty, this is one thing you do not need to feel guilty about. you persevered for 7 weeks at a time when your hormones were all over the place and your body was still recovering from giving birth. you did very well IMO.

dawntigga Sun 28-Jun-09 06:20:52

Lily, you have to do what's right for you as that's what is right for your child! And yes I'm a member of the BMA and ABM, the message isn't 'You will all breastfeed!' done in my best authoritarian voice, it's 'Everyone needs to make their own decision based on the best information possible'. Yes, some people get a bit evangelical about it - I'm one of them but I never forget that the message is informed choice!


littleboyblue Sun 28-Jun-09 06:35:27

I tried bf ds1 but gave up after 3 days. I didn't even bother trying with ds2. I don't feel guilty, I do what's best for my whole family.
Formula isn't poison or anything.
Yes, we all know breast is best, but surely the important thing is that your baby is fed. Does it matter with what and how? Food is food IMO.
FWIW, my friend bf her dd for nearly a year and her dd is always poorly, is allergic to everything under the sun, so maybe you just get what you're going to get?
Don't feel guilty. Feel guilty if you're not feeding or looking after your baby at all, but you are.

StealthPolarBear Sun 28-Jun-09 07:34:39

You did breastfeed - for 7 weeks! If it didn't work out then there are reasons behind that, but I bet it comes down to inadequate support
A friend of mine talks about how she 'failed' at bf- but she bf her DD for two weeks - crucial feeds!

CherryChoc Sun 28-Jun-09 07:57:21

There is a great poster by the NCT which lists reasons to be proud of bf for any length of time - here is a list up to 6 weeks:

- First feed helps to stabilise baby's blood sugars and protect baby's gut, and is a great opportunity for the first skin to skin cuddle.

- The antibodies in mothers colostrum provide natural immunity from infection

- Helps the womb to contract towards normal size

- Sticky black meconium is cleared more readily from the baby's bowel

- At 1 week, the transition to the world outside the womb is eased.

- At 4 weeks, for premature babies, lower risk factors for heart disease in later life

- At 6 weeks, half the risk of chest infections now and up to 7 years old

This is why they should change the slogan, not breast is best, but every breastfeed makes a difference. Feel proud of what you did achieve!

booyhoo Sun 28-Jun-09 12:29:08

cherrychoc, i totally agree, every breastfeed makes a difference.

Dotty38 Sun 28-Jun-09 22:58:06

Cherrychoc I so so agree, it's about what you can do and I think you should be given recognition even if you just manage to breast feed for 1 day.

I had huge struggles for the first 8 weeks trying to breast feed. I was depressed, emotional and felt like a failure, and I continue to feel devaststed about it and have such guilt about bottle feeding my daughter. I put a lot of pressure on myself to continue breast feeding even though I was continually ill with mastitis, had bleeding nipples and deep breast thrush throughout the long 8 weeks. I constantly asked the midwives, health visitors and feeding advisors what should I do but because my baby was thriving they all told me to continue, even though I was in a terrible state. It makes me angry now looking back on it and it wasn't until a close friend of mine had a stern word with me and told me to quit and bottle feed that I did. I really needed someone to help me to decide because I felt so so guilty and selfish switching her to bottles but none of the professionals would support me in this decision at all. I think clearly all mothers should be encouraged to breast feed as it is better but it shouldn't be at such a cost to the well being of the mother and baby and nor should mothers who bottle feed be made to feel guilty.

The problem I have with 'breast is best' slogan is it implies that formula is bad, which is not the case.

As soon as I actually did start to bottle feed I was able to enjoy being a Mum and actually enjoy my baby as appose to feeling ill and in pain all the time.

But I agree also with hercules that as Mums we'll always be feeling guilty for something as all you want is the best for your little one.
Rant over!!!

charx Tue 30-Jun-09 22:57:47

I am so with you lilyofvalley. I have massive guilt - its reducing me to tears. DD now 4 weeks. Had such cracked nipples - still not healed properly. Poor latching on despite attending breastfeeding support groups and paying to have specialist round (who also pointed out that I had thrush - ow!). So because its too sore to BF I have been xpressing - I want to try and cry 'cos Its so not natural for me - I want to do it for DD but also because I want the ease of not having to sterilise and because I want to feed on the 'go'.

But it is killing me. DD1 (never BF - another thread and the reason why I want it to work with DD2) - I don't have time to feed, wind, expressing and then cope with and feed DD1 never mind the piles of washing . . . etc etc. I am in tears at the end of each day as DH comes home - with the exhaustion and feeling inadequate - I keep thinking it will get better and boobs will feel better too . . . but how long do I give it?

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 30-Jun-09 23:06:19

charx, sorry you're having a shit time. If you want to carry on you need help that works for you and to work through each bit in turn

- have you had the thrush treated?

- once that is underway, you can work on healing the nipples - what kind of advice have you had to do that?

- have you got someone whose advice you trust giving you ongoing BF support?

- do you want to carry on, or do you want to stop or somewhere in between? Could you carry on with a bit more emotional and practical support, for example?

beccar917 Thu 02-Jul-09 14:04:14

Dear Charx
I went through exactly the same with my baby (now 9 months and exclusively breastfed). It was a nightmare time - but I did get through it. I know exactly how you are feeling and if you are determined to bf then stick at it - you will get there and it will get easier.

What I did:
(as well as Lots of crying and v.little sleep)
Called NCT helpline regularly - they were amazingly helpful and there may be a counsellor near you who you can visit.
Drank lots of water and herbal tea (mothers helper)
Put lanisoh on nipples regularly (it does work) and on breastpads
Kept feeding baby (baby will help them heal)
Kept trying to express in short bursts (so that it didn't aggravate nipples too much).

Do try and get some professional support though - there is lots out there - La leche, NCT etc

best of luck

tiktok Thu 02-Jul-09 14:47:04

Guilt is so the wrong word in these situations.

Guilt is for people who deliberately and knowingly commit a crime, an unkindness or an otherwise unpleasant or negative act.

The English dictionary does not intend it to apply to people who desperately wanted to breastfeed, tried and ended up switching to formula!

The words for that are sadness and disappointment and unhappiness - not guilt.

charx - I'm assuming your baby has been checked for oral differences like tongue tie?
I hope things work out for you - call one of the bf helplines, and explain how badly you feel things are working.

Good luck. You don't need to feel guilt because you have done nothing wrong

sleepmore Thu 02-Jul-09 14:56:24

I want to echo the posts here. I struggled with DD1 and after 3-4 weeks ended up mixed feeding and was giving her EBM and formula until 4 months - but the expressing was hard work doing it everyday. I continued longer than I should have done because it is counterproductive to your functioning and looking after a baby should be looked at in the round and one should not single out one aspect.

I too felt like a failure for not breastfeeding and felt embarrassed bottle feeding in public.

With DD2 I said I will breastfeed if I can and if it does not work then the formula is in the house - no pressure. It has worked so much better, latch much better, weight gain - the whole lot.

It is hard as DD1 is only 16 mo and DD2 is now 7 weeks but so far so good - so it can work 2nd time around.

I agree - any bf is good. Don't have regrets about what is passed and cannot be changed - you did your best.

ooosabeauta Thu 02-Jul-09 14:59:51

I think it's such a shame that we are made to feel guilty about this. I was desperate to breastfeed my ds, but after two weeks of him not gaining weight despite frequent feeding, my midwife told me it would be kindest to give him "an easy meal", ie. a few ounces of formula as my breatmilk didn't seem to be doing the trick. He was instantly happier and started gaining weight. I feel lucky that I had this midwife, despite other people (including a midwife friend) saying that is was a terrible thing to recommend!

At the same time I had a friend whose baby was in the same situation, and she was advised to persevere with the breastfeeding, and now she is below the 0.4th% line despite being born above the 25th%. I can't see that this is kindest for their baby, yet they are congratulated for breatfeeding and feel no guilt!

I think this all comes down to the government and authorities knowing that it is generally best for babies, and so they have to use one rule to encourage all, at the expense of people for whom it is not best.

Sunflower100 Thu 02-Jul-09 15:07:09

You tried it and it didn't work out. Therefore you are doing the best for your child by formula feeding.
My friend's baby ended up with dehydration in hospital because she tried and tried and it didn't work out. The best thing for her healthy thriving ds was to bottle feed.
Please don't feel guilty.

Sunflower100 Thu 02-Jul-09 15:09:05

Fwiw I breastfeed for almost a year and my dd is allergic to tons of stuff has very bad eczema and catches every cold, cough going. My friends ff ds is as fit as a fiddle!!!

tiktok Thu 02-Jul-09 15:32:12

No one can make you feel guilty without your permission! You can feel judged, or criticised, or annoyed, or resentful - but feeling guilty is entirely within your control.

Sometimes, a small amount of formula is necessary if a baby is not gaining weight well enough to feed effectively. In almost every case, though, fixing the breastfeeding so it works better would make formula unnecessary...and expressing breastmilk for top ups instead of formula top ups is an option, too.

A baby who is not breastfeeding well may lose weight or fail to gain properly - this needs attending to!

tiktok Thu 02-Jul-09 15:34:00

A baby ending up with dehydration is almost always an indictment of midwifery and maternity care - babies who are not breastfeeding well dont suddenly become dehydrated. There are always signs bf is not going well. Good midwives spot these signs before the crisis

pigletmania Thu 02-Jul-09 15:38:32

I totally agree lillyofthevalley, only bf dd for about 2 weeks before i was told that i had to top up with formula and my milk dried up. Starlight Mackenzie, I wish that bf was as easy as breathing. I thought that it would be until i came to do it, its not as simple as popping baby on and away you go. There are different things that can go wrong, such as insufficient latch,mastitis, or it seems supply issues like i had.

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