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Breastfeeding makes me feel depressed - am I the only person who feels like this?

(50 Posts)
feedingfailure Thu 08-Jul-10 19:59:24

I fed my first DC til 6 months, it was a horrible struggle and I hated every minute of it tbh.

Just started feeding DC2 and already I feel the same. When I get a letdown I actually get a feeling of depression that sweeps all over me. I thought breastfeeding is supposed to release oxytocin and that's supposed to feel good? Why do I feel like this about it??

Challenges of establishing feeding aside I just actually abhor breastfeeding. I feel like it stops me bonding with the baby, because I hate it so much and dread doing it.

Am I the only person who feels like this? I talk to people who tell me how much they love breastfeeding and I have just never felt like that. I do it because I have to but in my heart it is not the way I want to feed my baby, I fantasis about formula feeding.

thisisyesterday Thu 08-Jul-10 20:04:24

i've heard of this before. i don't think it's common, but you certainly aren't the only one

i think you're really amazing to have done that for 6 months for your first baby, and to be going ahead and doing it again.

do you feel the same if you express milk or just when you're feeding the baby direct?

feedingfailure Thu 08-Jul-10 20:05:50

Thanks thisisyesterday, my DC have always fed so much that there is very little time to express as they're always on the boob. When I do express it takes me a couple of days to get one feed, so expressing and bottle feeding really isn't an option unfortunately.

MrsYoung Thu 08-Jul-10 20:06:36

I felt pretty similar with both of mine. I can really identify with a feeling sweeping through you at letdown - mine wasn't really a feeling of depression but more of nausea and just ragig thirst which lasted about 30 seconds. It doesn't sound anywhere near as bad as you but definitely didn't make breastfeeding a pleasurable experience for me.
I managed 10 months with DC1 but gave up at 5 months with DC2. I always found bfing tough and quite emotionally draining as well. Sorry not much help to you but you have my sympathies.

feedingfailure Thu 08-Jul-10 20:07:12

Sorry, just realised I didn't actually answer the question! I don't feel it as strongly with the pump, but I still resent it.

thisisyesterday Thu 08-Jul-10 20:08:03

i am sure i remember reading something about this but i can't find it now, all google searches lead me to info about PND and breastfeeding

i am sure i read a woman saying that it helped her to think (while feeding) of all the positives of breastfeeding which reinforced to her why she was doing it, but also helped distract a little from that feeling of "oh my god i HATE this"

thisisyesterday Thu 08-Jul-10 20:08:50

have to say, that while i have never had this problem while breastfeeding i've never felt that big "love" feeling whilst doing it. it's just feeding my baby, it doesn't really feel like anything to me.

feedingfailure Thu 08-Jul-10 20:11:08

That's interesting thisisyesterday, thanks.

I'm worried that I'll pack it in early this time, because when I only had one DC I could grit my teeth and get on with it. But this time, I have a demanding toddler and a demanding newborn and I feel like I need to preserve some sanity.

moaningminniewhingesagain Thu 08-Jul-10 20:12:22

I remember a previous thread about this, I think it was DMER, see here

I used to get a big wave of tiredness and thirst, but I think this is something quite different.

taffetacatski Thu 08-Jul-10 20:20:48

I definitelt felt like this with DS who I fed for 9 months. DD was different, I still never found it enjoyable but it was easier with her and I didn't think about it so much as I had a toddler to cope with as well. I managed 8 months with her.

I'm glad I persevered but am equally glad I never have to do it again.

hairymelons Thu 08-Jul-10 20:30:48

I don't think I felt exactly the same way but it did make me really anxious. Every time DS needed a feed my stomach lurched and I would fret the whole time about how long he would be feeding for and whether or not I had enough milk. I was generally pretty anxious and a bit depressed though so I think it was more a symptom of that than specifically related to BF.

Having said that, am pg with number 2 and dreading a bit daunted about doing it all again. DS1 was a very big, hungry baby and it was a bit relentless. So hard I weaned him a bit soon actually shock blush.

I like making up theories so...maybe it's to do with the hormones that are released? Maybe the oxytocin rush just doesn't feel pleasant to you whereas it might to others.

wem Thu 08-Jul-10 20:36:57

feedingfailure, my friend felt like that, she described it in exactly the same way. She is ttc for number 2 and is anxious about breastfeeding again. Don't have advice, but wanted you to know that it wasn't just you.

pommedeterre Thu 08-Jul-10 20:49:42

I had that. I used to weep copiously all over dd during feeds and gave up the breast at just under 4 weeks. I met another woman with twins who had the same at a baby group.
I found it hard to deal with how I felt about bf. It must be hormonal I guess but stirred up some deep seated old anxieties about my body and self esteem for me as well.

Longtalljosie Thu 08-Jul-10 20:57:16

Just wanted to reinforce what Thisisyesterday says - I never get the big love feeling while breastfeeding. I just get on with it. I do get a wave of tiredness, but that's as far as it goes...

3sweetpeas Thu 08-Jul-10 20:59:12

Hi, I have never had this problem & enjoyed feeding but all I would say is a happy mum = a happy baby. Don't put yourself through it if it's making you feel like this.I am very pro BF but its sounds like the pros are really not worth it for you, a happy mum will be of more benifit to your baby.

heymango Thu 08-Jul-10 21:04:38

I have had the same feeling with all my DCs - a wave of thirst, tiredness and sadness when they latch on. Very strange, but I can ignore it and it passes. I like the idea of the positive thoughts though.

It would never stop me BF but I know exactly where you are coming from. It's also useful to have a distraction at hand - a book or TV. Sometimes you just have to have a good cry!

If it makes you really depressed though, there is no shame in changing to formula - babies would rather have a happy Mummy!

maxpower Thu 08-Jul-10 21:06:11

I promise I don't intend this to sound confrontational, but if it upsets you so much, why are you persevering? I think you need to weigh up the pros and cons and decide which are more important to you. Good luck smile

IMoveTheStars Thu 08-Jul-10 21:07:26

I thought I was the only person who felt like this...

Sorry, prob not much help to you OP, but your post is definitely helpful to me and I definitely feel less of a failure for not continuing BF past the first month.

Well done for feeding DC1 for 6mo!

essexgirl31 Thu 08-Jul-10 21:09:52

I haven't felt what you are feeling but like others have said I have never had the 'love' feeling. It just felt functional like I was doing a job my body was designed to do. (Pretty much how I felt about being pregnant too). On bad days I focused on the benefits of breastfeeding and that helped.

I was glad to stop.

I hope things get better for you

ISNTitFUNtoBEinDISGUISE Thu 08-Jul-10 21:11:50

I always felt very very sleepy and very bored. No big love here either.

I found both times that the hormonal bit (ie for me the sleepy bit) gradually lessened and lessened and now I don't feel it at all - I don't feel anyhing - just pop DD on and pop her off and no emotional thing and no "wave" of sleepiness or anything else.

So while I don't know what to suggest for now, I can say that it will probably get a little bit better all the time until it's gone (hopefully). Also agree with others though, that if you do decide to stop, then don't worry about it, there's no point keeping at something that is affecting you really badly.

Thinking about distraction from the other posts - can you put your favourite comedy on the telly or something? Or do something (drink/eat/read) that you really enjoy to counteract it?

stainesmassif Thu 08-Jul-10 21:12:20

i enjoyed bfing, but i honestly don't think that the physical benefit of breastfeeding outweighs the disadvantage of it making you depressed. there are so many factors that make the mother baby bond strong. god, i hope i don't get flamed!

jujubean Thu 08-Jul-10 21:22:44

I don't have big love when I feed my baby, its not snuggley or lovely she just feeds. It has been a struggle from beginning to end and I don't enjoy it. However I haven't felt depressed and it hasn't hindered our bond, I think if I felt like I was resenting her or not bonding I would think twice about continuing. It's not a test, you need to be happy, happy healthy mummy is THE most important thing for a baby.

EnglandAllenPoe Thu 08-Jul-10 21:36:04

with my first i felt quie down whilst sat down BF - but i felt quite sure i wouldn't feel better feeding her any other way and that the problem lay more with ...

the tiredness

being sat down for long periods which meant focussing-in on negative feelings (much easier not to dwell on things whilst buzzing about doing stuff)


so with second baby I kept a packet of biscuits and bottle of squash next to my chair, made sure i never sat down without being in reach of computer and remotes or a book (or other distraction)..and made sure i had a nap (or at least went to bed with newborn whilst toddler napped)

i also made shameless use of Cbeebies as a toddler distraction so i could settle with baby.

in a way i never really enjoyed BF most of the time, but to my mind it was just another job to be done - there's no need to feel guilt for not enjoying it.

judytzuke Thu 08-Jul-10 21:36:42

OP - you must change your name! You are so not a failure! I felt very similar BFing my 3 DCs and i did for less each time as I really couldn't go on feeling so low and grotty and really quite loathing feeding. If I had another DC I would never BF again! I am totally aware of all the benefits but I think my DCs may have done better on FF cos I might have been a bit happier!! I felt under huge pressure to BF and did do at least 9 months for all of them. Had PND too. Have never told anyone this is how I flet so I was relieved to see your post, even though it was years ago now. I thought it was just me.

tiktok Thu 08-Jul-10 23:55:09

Yes, as thisisyesterday says, it's a known but very unusual effect some women experience - and it does seem to be hormonal.

It's very different from anxiety or worries about body issues - it's a real mood surge downwards, an overwhelming sadness, and it happens with let down.

It is treatable, as the link to the website says.

It would be good to take a print out from the website and share it with your doctor, OP.

You might also find it helpful to talk about this and your feeding options with your health visitor if she's someone you feel would be sympathetic.

Hope you get some decent help soon.

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