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Did anyone give up breastfeeding because it was so hard/exhaustion?

(78 Posts)
roslily Fri 25-Sep-09 18:40:31

I am struggling with the intensity. I have been diagnosed with PND. Things have improved slightly but at the beginning of this week I refused to feed DS when he was brought to me by husband. I just couldn't take it anymore I just wanted a rest.

He is back to feeding nearly hourly, which means I struggle to rest. I believe so strongly in breastfeeding and was so determined to succeed, but I worry that I am close to cracking point. I am beginning to resent baby, and don't want to spend any time with him apart from feeding. And I don't get that warm, feeling you are supposed to get wathing them feed.

So much of me doesn't want to give up, but I fear I am approaching my cracking point.

tiktok Fri 25-Sep-09 18:48:48

rosilly, so sorry to hear you are at a low point.

You need a lot of TLC at the moment - it's hard to separate the feeding from the intensity of your new experience, your emotional/mental health difficulties, tiredness and disappointment that things are proving so very hard. It could be that feeding is only a small part of this, and the sadness you would feel in giving up bf might overwhelm any feeling of relief at having this pressure lifted.

Things may not get better if you stop...that's the risk.

If you have met a midwife or HV you can feel you trust and is easy to talk to - would you maybe make an appt. to talk through everything, pros and cons, long term and short term?

Not getting that warm feeling may not magically come with formula, either - this lack of the warm feeling is more to do with your tiredness and depression, yes? Rather than how you're feeding?

It's worrying you dont want to be with your baby - if you switched to formula, then this contact might be even less. This is one of the aspects of depression - hope you are getting good help with that. It's a horrible situation

lou031205 Fri 25-Sep-09 18:53:04

It is very hard work. One thing that really helped me was to make it as 'nice' as possible. Nice drink, snacks, feet up, etc. Rather than a chore.

MrsJamin Fri 25-Sep-09 19:00:15

I may be shot down by others but the long-term impact of a depressed mother on her baby is more than the long-term benefits of breastfeeding - therefore if you really do think you will be happier not BFing, then give up.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 25-Sep-09 19:01:20

I have been in your situation and it is so so hard. I did not instantly bond with my baby and had a terribly painful and difficult start to feeding. I was very worried about the lack of emotion I experienced when I looked at him - I felt nothing except guilt that I didn't love him.

I found it helpful to just think one breastfeed at a time, rather than concentrating on the next few months, which felt too overwhelming.

Also getting out for a bit of exercise in the fresh air was essential. I made myself go for a walk each day and things were better afterwards.

I also talked to my very sympathetic bf counsellor who made me realise that I could do this.

Things did sort themselves out for me over the next few months, and I found mumsnet which also helped. Keep posting here, there will always be someone to listen.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 25-Sep-09 19:04:25

MrsJamin, I felt as if I was caught between my intense desire to breastfeed and my intense dislike of breastfeeding. Overcoming the second can be more helpful long term for many people, though obviously this isn't the case for everyone, I get the feeling the op might feel like this. If not then please feel free to ignore me smile

easylife73 Fri 25-Sep-09 19:11:06

Hi Roslily

I felt a lot like you after the birth of my DS2. Unlike you, I was never diagnosed as having PND, but looking back (he's now nearly 7) I believe that's what it was. You don't say how old your baby is.

I bonded immediately with my DS1, but it took 6 months with DS2, during which time I would quite happily have handed him to anyone (even the milkman!) to look after. I even told my OH that I wanted both of the kids put up for adoption (and I felt like I meant it at the time.)

Like you, I had a baby who seemed to want to feed constantly - in fact, on New Year's Eve I spent 6 hours (yes 6!) feeding him solidly, until I was in tears and wanted to scratch my nipples off (TMI, sorry!).

Eventually though, it started to improve, until one day I just realised that I loved him to bits and would do anything for him (anything except feed him for 6 hours again, anyway!). It does and will get better - you just have to give it time. Get help for your PND and take each day (and night) at a time, and get as much support as you can.

I ended up BFing DS2 until he was a year old, and I can honestly say the second 6 months were fantastic, so if you decided to persevere it can work out. If you decide to stop, accept that as your decision and move on - try not to dwell on it or perceive it as a failure. Your baby will be fine either way, and a happy and healthy mum is much more important in the end than how your baby is fed.

Hope you start to feel better soon. x

ilovemydogandmrobama Fri 25-Sep-09 19:31:25

Sympathies -- it is such hard work! Obviously it is impossible to distinguish what's exhausting as far as being a new mom, having a new baby and breastfeeding itself.

The sleep deprivation is pretty much the same, as far as I can tell with both b/fing moms and f/f moms.

If it's any consolation, DS went through a growth spurt when he was feeding lots. It was something like every hour, but felt like constantly.

What helped me:

1. carrying DS in a sling. He wanted to be close and found that it helped as he was feeding as he wanted to be close.

2. Long walks. My grandmother said that one always needed to 'air out the baby' hmm which never made sense until I had my own. Both need to get out the house if at all possible and breathe fresh air. Short walks or long walks, but as long as I got out of the house once a day with DS, my sanity was vastly improved.

3. Lavender Baths. Lots of tea light candles and a long bath. Along the same superficial lines, my morale was helped by pedicures.

4. Lots of pillows for Planet Feeding. Earphones, i pod, radio, dvds, and foot rest.

The constant feeding will subside, and you need to remind yourself that it's just a phase, and will get better. smile

8oreighty Fri 25-Sep-09 19:43:50

This isn't really good bf advice, but if you are truly knackered, at the end of your rope and need to sleep for more than a couple hours in a row, let your dh or mum give your dc a bottle and go have a rest. One a day won't hurt your baby and the rest will do you good. I actually trained a bit in bf support, and extremely pro bf...but also sometimes you just need some sleep. I thin it's ok to do that one a day, so you know you can have a break. Also when you wake up you will have loads of milk! It is also better than giving up, and getting totally depressed.

roslily Fri 25-Sep-09 20:01:02

Thanks guys. Baby is 3 weeks old. I think the issue with exhaustion is that no-one can help me.

I am on anti-depressants, so hopefully things will improve.

Just writing things down helps.

BonjourIvresse Fri 25-Sep-09 20:03:38

You don't have to give it up completely, someone else can give thm the occasional bottle and your boobs will adapt.

that said, if you need to go on ADs and its would be best for you not to breastfeed at the same time, your baby has already benefited from the milk you have already given them, and its more importantfor his welfare that you get well from your depression.

aoifesmama Fri 25-Sep-09 20:18:48

Hi - I know that breastfeeding has so many advantages long term, but at your stage DD was diagnosed with very severe reflux and I'd been taken back in to hospital with a severe bleed after an em CS. However, I struggled on and feel that the constant pressure on me made things more and more difficult. In the end a fantastic MW saw me just before discharging me who told me that breast is almost best, but a happy mum is what makes a happy baby. I sometimes regret stopping, but then remember how hard I found it and how much I love ENJOYING my DD. I know MNers have great BFing advice, but if you think stopping may help, stop.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 25-Sep-09 20:23:19

No, there are some anti-depressants you can take whilst breastfeeding.

gyp5y Fri 25-Sep-09 20:28:13

Humphreycorner sums it up for me. I really believe in the physical benefits of bf but got none of the 'emotional benefits' advertised by those promoting bf.

DD fed hourly (taking almost an hour!) for months. I am dreading having to feed dc2 in a few months. I fed dd for 21mths (her choice!) I can't say I ever enjoyed a feed but the less she needed to feed the less I had to grit my teeth.

HV suggested I express a bottle in the morning (when fed, rested and had 'good' milk) for dp to give late evening so I could go to bed early (when exhausted and milk at its lowest). This really helped!

Maybe try giving a bottle of ebm/formula to give yourself a bit of a break and see how you feel about it in a day or two.

Sorry I can't be more help.

LatinDAISYcal Fri 25-Sep-09 20:42:47

Aw roslily; it is so very hard in the early days, even without PND to mauddy things. I have had PND after all of my pregnancies and I believe it was partially responsible for me giving up with DS1. However like you I firmly believed in Bfing and managed with both DD and DS2 to keep going, alongside other Bfing problems. Getting good support is key, and having somewone there to help share the load as well. It sounds like your DH is pretty supportive and you obviously have some help with the depression. Are you seeing a counsellor or were you just givent he tabs by your GP? I had a referral to the local perinatal MH service that we have in our area and this was great in helping me come to terms woith things. It was also someplace I could go and have a coffee with other mums going through it and not feel out of place. Re the constant feeding; it does get easier, usually after the first six weeks, but both times I found a big improvement after the first 3 weeks growth spurt was out of the way. I also struggeld with that warm feeling, especially with DD as I had been horribly ill with undiagnosed depression through my pregnancy which impacted on the birth and the time afterwards. And truth be told, I still have issues with feeding as I often feel like everyone wants a piece of me and I'd just like it all to stop; that's more about motherhood and having been pregnant and/or BFing continually for the last three years though!

Taking things one feed at a time as suggested by HC is a good tactic, but I'd recommend that you try and get some "me" time and definately someone to speak to. If you could express so DH could give a feed to allow you some rest it would make such a differenc to your emotional well being,. but it is early days for expressing as your supply isn't well enough established. Maybe tiktok can advise on how this could be achieved whilst maintaing your supply? or even whether it's advisable at this stage?

bonjourivresse there are several ADs that are compatible with BFing and I assume the OPs HCPs are aware of the fact she is BFing and have prescribed accordingly smile

apologies for lengthy post; I hope you have time to read it!!

Iggi999 Fri 25-Sep-09 21:52:02

HI Roslily, just sending you my best wishes. If your LO is just 3 weeks, things are all so new and you are probably (IF you are anything like me) judging yourself harshly and trying to do too much. I felt like I'd been sucked into a vortex. I have come out the other side, thank God! Just feed, forget visitors, housework, dressing even - unless they make you feel good. YOu've done an amazing job so far. Could you get through another week, to give yourself some space to make a decision? THen make your choice, to give up or not, and don't feel bad about it smile

MilaMae Fri 25-Sep-09 21:59:41

Hi yes me, Rosilly you sound exactly like I was. I did give up with my twins at 6 weeks and have to say everything was much better after. I actually started to enjoy/love feeding and to feel like the mother I'd dreamt of being. I had a lot more contact as feeding was more enjoyable I wanted to feed iykwim not avoid it,everything was a lot less painful and intense. It was like a curtain lifting very strange. I'd reached a point I absolutely knew I couldn't go on any more. I didn't feel bad about it after either as I knew it was the right thing to do.

I didn't have PND then but did with my dd a year later. I stopped at 6 weeks this time too and knew it was the right thing to do again.The PND is a concern, I had ADs (which did nothing actually, don't be disappointed if they don't work)but the best thing I did was to join a Breaking Free group don't know if there is one in your area. I saw a counsellor too but the group was the best thing for me.

If it was me I'd give it another 3/4 weeks if you possibly can,express so you can get some sleep,could dp/your mum/mil have some more time off so they could walk round with your ds to sooth him in between feeds and you could just sleep and eat. This is a pretty tall order I know and impossible for most but it would help. Exhaustion is total crap, it can be confused with pnd as it can make you feel so low. If you could just get some more rest it would help even if in only a small way.

Try and get on one of these groups in the meantime if you're up to it,it's a few mums feeling exactly the same and it really helps to rationalise everything and work things through. You realise pretty quickly that you're not alone in feeling the way you do. You can even make some good friends over your tea and tissues. One thing it teaches you is that with PND you do need me time(even if it is only a bath), rest and to think of something you've done well every day. I got out everyday too but don't flog yourself if it's too exhausting.

I think at 6/8 weeks you kind of know if you've had enough,maybe you've reached that now everybody is different I don't know, only you can really know. If you've got support further on down the line and the ads are kicking in it will make you stronger if you choose to give up. With the right support you'll cope with either scenario.

If you do reach that point don't feel bad 3 weeks is a real achievement and honestly a year down the line the whole feeding thing seems less huge and you put it all into perspective as other mothering issues crop up and the hormones have died down. In fact 6 months down the line everything will seem so much easier whatever you decide to do.

Hope you feel better soon XXX

BonjourIvresse Fri 25-Sep-09 22:14:06

Sorry if i gave out erronous info. I'm in discussions about this with my doctor at the moment. I've probably got PND and I'm reluctant to go on ADs and I'm having counselling. My doctor has asked me if i would be prepared to give up breast feeding so i could go on ADs, but may be I've misunderstood him.

Rosebud05 Fri 25-Sep-09 22:15:44

I was a wreck when my dd was 3 weeks old, and that was just from the bfing not pnd. Just wanted to say 'hang in there and it doesn get better'. In retrospect, I wish I'd been more assertive about requesting/demanding help so that I could get some rest and head space from the relentlessness of it all. Don't know if that's an option for you~?

LatinDAISYcal Fri 25-Sep-09 22:25:25

BonjourIvresse, my psych at the perinatal MH unit recommended sertraline as the best drug for Bfing mums, but there are ithers that are suitable. some GPs don't understand that they can be used by BFing women unfortunately. You can get more information on ADs and BFing HERE. It might be worth printing this off and taking it to show your GP smile. Hopefully though, the counselling will work for you.

LatinDAISYcal Fri 25-Sep-09 22:30:35

the three week mark is a horrible time isn't it? It does get markedly better after that, and another big jump at six weeks.

Just a thought on the constant feeding and dreading those times; can you take to bed with the baby for the day tomorrow or Sunday (or even better for the whole weekend), getting Dh to keep you supplied with food and drinks and just babymoon, with lots of skin to skin? You may find that your baby will sleep longer between feeds when next to you and you can sleep as well smile

I always go back to basics with my DS2 when things are a bit rough; whether with his health or my mental health.

notcitrus Fri 25-Sep-09 22:34:09

3-4 weeks was the worst for me, and it did get better. What really helped was the GP telling me to get help, and if that meant phoning every half-sane person I knew to get them over and getting them to rock the baby only under my strict supervision but at least giving my body a rest, so be it. A couple days of me doing a feed, then having a nap while someone else rocked him etc, helped a lot.

And expressing. Only enough for a feed every couple of days, but still really helped. And a formula feed every couple of days. And lofepramine which I'd taken for SAD before and is compatible with bf, but that was later - at 3-4 weeks I was explaining I wasn't depressed, just exhausted and bloody miserable.

Hope it improves soon - best wishes.

roslily Fri 25-Sep-09 22:44:45

Thanks guys. I will keep going a little longer.

I am on citalopram, which doctor says is ok for BF.

Unfortunately my mum and mil both live 3 hours away and work in schools so can't take holiday in term time. I actually remember one good day last week where me and baby stayed in bed all day, so maybe more days like that.

BonjourIvresse Fri 25-Sep-09 22:47:10

Is there any possbility that your partner could take parental leave?

LatinDAISYcal Fri 25-Sep-09 23:01:59

It can take three or four weeks for the full effects of the ADs to kick in and some can have horrible side effects during the intial period of taking them; it will get better smile

I hope you can get some babymooning on tomorrow. Baths with baby are nice as well if DH is around at the weekend to help.

Get him to babymoon with you both as well; snuggling up as a family is just lovely smile

i hope things look up soon for you.

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