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Bought some formula today, feel like such a failure :(

(41 Posts)
welshfirsttimemummy Thu 13-Jun-13 22:36:03

I have a 4 week old DS who until today was EBF. I have had lots of problems including positioning, attachment, lots of pain when DS is feeding , DS wanting to constantly feed day and night and me getting an hours sleep at a time max with sometimes 2 or 3 hours between at night leaving me exhausted and emotionally all over the place.

Today, I just had enough. I have been crying pretty much constantly the last 2 days, I have tried a support group, talking to my community midwife, talking to my health visitor, and going to the post natal ward for help from the breast feeding coordinator and we just can't seem to get it so it's comfortable and pain free. I can't see him cry anymore. hmm

So today I decided I couldn't carry on like this and bought some formula. DS took it no problem and had his first settled long sleep in days. I felt so much more relaxed, like the pressure is off. I have also expressed some bottles today so he is still getting breastmilk.

I have nothing against FF babies, I was FF myself, it's just not what I wanted or planned for.

I just feel so guilty, like I have let down DS by not carrying on EBF hmm.

FattyMcChubster Thu 13-Jun-13 22:42:59

Please try not to feel guilty. Your child is fed, ultimately that is what matters. Tomorrow is another day and after some rest you can decide if you want to try bf again or have some rest and ff. Formula is not the devil, you are not 'bad' for using it. Really, don't beat yourself up over it (easier said than done).

Greenandcabbagelooking Thu 13-Jun-13 22:45:38

You are not a failure at all. You are feeding your baby a perfectly appropriate food for his age. He will be absolutely fine, and you will be even more fine because you aren't stressing over not being able to BF.

SirBoobAlot Thu 13-Jun-13 22:47:42

Firstly, here's a big hug. x

Secondly - have you spoken to the peer support team or a breastfeeding councilor at all? Just because you have given some formula does not mean you can't breastfeed again smile

That said, if you feel this is the best choice for you and your DS, don't feel guilty. You have given him four weeks of breast milk, and that is wonderful! Be proud of yourself for struggling through difficult times.


BabylonReturns Thu 13-Jun-13 22:49:15


With the best will in the world, you have already done amazingly.

Maybe a top up of formula every now and then will work wonders, I did this with ds and at 14 months, he is still BFing. I put this down to topping him up.

If I hadn't, I'd have given up BFing at 6 weeks like I did with both DDs.

Don't be hard on yourself xx

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Thu 13-Jun-13 22:50:01

do you feel this has to be the end of bf?

fwiw I have an italian friend who mix fed to start with and then as they were less knackered both baby and mum felt more able to face ebf.

it will do you both the world of good to have a calmer time.

you could try tomorrow morning giving bf a go once you have both had a better rest.

I wouldn't personally do the top up thing at the end of a feed but to do one feed a day (or more) as an out and out formula feed and see how you get on.

this is easier for some than others, you are learning at the same time as your baby. If you are content to say that is the end of BF, you have done really well!

welshfirsttimemummy Thu 13-Jun-13 22:51:00

Thank you everyone. I think I will carry on BF but maybe give 1of 2 bottles of formula in the evening so my DH can help and I can get some rest.

I don't think it's "bad" to FF, I'm just disappointed that it's not going as well as I imagined when pregnant hmm

TeaMakesItAllPossible Thu 13-Jun-13 22:54:56

You are not a failure smile

Having a baby is surprisingly hard. And been the baby's food supply is really hard.

You made the right decision today to ensure your sanity and feed your child.

Tomorrow is a new day and I have I no doubt you will make the right decision again for the two of you - whether that's EBF, combined or FF.

tiktok Thu 13-Jun-13 22:55:39

Let's think of another word than 'guilty'. 'Guilt' is the word for someone doing something wrong, that is their fault, and which they knowingly do rather than doing something right.

You don't tick any of those boxes.

What you are is sad and disappointed that your plans did not work. You might even feel resentful that you tried so hard and yet it still didn't work. You are certainly exhausted, and you have been stressed and anxious.

No one can tell you to get over yourself. No one can tell you that your strong feelings are not worth feeling, or that you are making a fuss over nothing (happily, no one here should do that!). You are, understandably, distressed (as well as rested and relieved) - but you have not stopped breastfeeding, you have not even stopped exclusively breastfeeding, you have just suspended exclusive breastfeeding - and you can decide to return to it, or select 'predominant' breastfeeding, or to express, or to phase out bf entirely....when you are in a position to make the decision.

But you are not guilty and when you really consider it, that is probably not the word for what you are feeling.

Hope tomorrow is a good day for you and your baby smile

ChangeMyHappy Thu 13-Jun-13 22:55:53

I had a terrible time breast feeding my 1st DD, just as you describe. In the end, I saw a cranial osteopath for my backache and after hearing about our feeding problems, she suggested treating DD.
I cannot tell you the difference. All HCPs had said latch looked fine and couldn't work out why I was in so much pain, but after 1 treatment my DD opened her mouth wider than I had seen and took a full feed which didn't hurt at all! It seems she had got quite a stiff neck from the delivery and once it was sorted we fed comfortably until she was just over a year old. Might be worth a try.
Having said that-it's called 'parenting' not feeding, do what feels right for you. Happy mum=happy baby.
Good luck which ever way you go smile

stickygotstuck Thu 13-Jun-13 22:57:38

OP, I was you 4 years ago. I felt like a complete failure when, try as I might, BF just did not work for us. DD was mixed fed from the very early days as was losing weight fast. She would have died if I had not used formula. And yet I still could not shake off the guilt for ages. What should have been my precious few months with my new baby were spoiled for ever.

If I am honest with myself, I only just about got over it when DD turned 3.5 yo. Please don't be me in 3.5 years' time!

You can BF, FF or mix feed. It really doesn't matter. What matters is a content, thriving baby and, even more importantly, a happy mum. Whatever works for you is the right thing to do.

BoffinMum Thu 13-Jun-13 22:58:58

You gave it a go, you weren't happy, in days of yore you would have had the help of a wet nurse or relative which are not options now. Honestly, who cares about a bit of formula in Western Europe? It's fine.

Wolfiefan Thu 13-Jun-13 23:02:55

Just what sticky said. I tried to BF for four months the first time round. My son lost weight, I was back and forth to all the hospitals, expressing with a hideous electric pump from the hospital and feeding non stop on demand. I eventually quit. Massive disappointment.
DC2. Stopped trying after less than 48 hours. I understand BF is best but I can't. My DD was fed, settled and soooo much happier than DS.
Do what suits you. I can guarantee that in 20 years your DC wont know or care!

DoodleAlley Thu 13-Jun-13 23:04:17

You are providing for your child either way so you are doing brilliantly and not at all failing.

As mothers we are our own harshest critics but we shouldn't be and our dreams and hopes are often the tools we use.

But we shouldn't because we are all trying our best and they way that looks will be different for each little family. I am as guilty of this as anyone else.

You clearly love your son and want what is best for him. If that involves the odd bottle of formula then so be it. It's just food and I know when they don't do much more than eat sleep and poop it seems like a big deal but ultimately feeding your child is only one part of raising them to be the man or woman they were created to be.

Before you know it they'll be trying to eat fluff off the carpet or stones in the garden and the formula he has had will pale into insignificance.

You are tired, at four weeks in your hormones are still playing a merry dance with your emotions.

Go easy on yourself as I'm sure you would tell a friend to do if they were in the same situation.

NightmareWalking Thu 13-Jun-13 23:15:14

Another hug from me. I had to introduce formula because DD wasn't gaining weight, trouble feeding, thanks to my health issues and I beat myself up over it - yet here we are at 9 months, and we're still mixed feeding. Formula just took the pressure off for us to get find our own way. Whatever works for you as a family, is what works xx

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Thu 13-Jun-13 23:19:58

You are not a failure!!!

Sometimes it just doesn't work or you need to use formulae for a bit whilst you work your way through advice/techniques etc.

Please please please look at your your baby and see him warn and fed and happy and loved. That, is anything but failure xx

BabylonReturns Thu 13-Jun-13 23:29:19

When I said top up, I meant one or two bottles of formula instead of a BF.

Ds settled well, I got a rest and felt more able to continue, to the point where I am now trying to reduce bf to once a day as he's just too huge to be discreet anymore!

You really mustn't beat yourself up, you're doing brilliantly x

run4it Thu 13-Jun-13 23:32:09

Please don't stress about it - the important thing is that the baby gets fed! I was like you - at four weeks had to start topping up with formula, and ended up having to give ds more and more until at 4 months I realised I wasn't making any milk and had to FF him totally. I had really bad pnd as well (which I think was the reason I wasn't making enough milk). Looking back (he is 7) I just wish I'd made the switch in full sooner. He was much happier, and it would have been much easier on me! Hope this helps!

godeeva Thu 13-Jun-13 23:37:32

I had the same problem. My DH told me The most important thing is to ensure baby is healthy and growing. If formula helps u to do this then embrace it happily because the alternative is too painful to contemplate! Use bottle feeding time to look into baby's eyes and coo n talk to him. Such a lovely n personal way to bond. U r a success because u have sacrificed that which is so important to you (breast feeding) for baby's health n happiness!

cantreachmytoes Thu 13-Jun-13 23:40:24

And another hug from me.

It sounds like you have been doing a brilliant job! Who could ask for more of someone than that they try, try and try again? You are doing excellently.

I ended up mix feeding as I had reduced milk production after breast surgery. I was devastated and felt I'd let DS down before he'd even left the hospital - even though I knew it was a possibility beforehand.

I spoke to a really hard core breast feeding advocate who made La Leche League look like part-timers (I was rather scared at first, but she was understanding). She said that one of the important things about breast feeing is being held and the eye to eye contact. Obviously there are nutritional benefits, but she reckoned any breast milk was good and that the other side shouldn't be downgraded. Her advice was that when bottle feeding, to do it with undivided attention, holding baby same height as breast so they can see you properly.

It wasn't my dream or my ideal, but I definitely noticed some advantages to mixed feeding over both EBF and FF.

You have not failed at anything (although I do understand that feeling), you have succeeded in finding a method to make you lives better. Honestly, that's pretty good going!

50shadesofbrown Thu 13-Jun-13 23:50:23

Like everyone else said, you are not a failure.

Just like you, I was 100% determined to EBF. I'd not considered any other option. We hadn't looked at formula. So I was devastated when I struggled with it. By 4 weeks I was in so much pain & DD often went to bed hungry at night as I was in so much pain my milk supply was affected. sad I decided to get formula to allow time to heal (was horribly sore) & it really helped, DD was mix fed for a few weeks but I tailed the formula off & increased the breastmilk as my supply went back up, I managed to get back to full EBF by 8 weeks & she was fully EBF for several more months. Just try to think of it as giving yourself time to physically heal. You're meant to enjoy EBF, this really isn't possible if you dread it because it's causing you so much pain & distress. Formula isn't failure. It's a choice, you can go back to 100% EBF. It will take a bit of work but if you are as determined as you sound, you should be able to do it. Good luck!

catlady1 Thu 13-Jun-13 23:55:41

I'm bfing my 12-week-old DD right now. But I absolutely wouldn't be if I hadn't made the decision to give her a little formula when she was about two weeks old, for many of the same reasons as you - unbearable pain, difficulty latching, constantly hungry baby, no sleep. I sent DP to the shop as soon as it opened at 6am to buy formula after a night spent listening to DD scream with hunger but unable to get her to latch on properly to my bleeding nipples, and I cried my eyes out as she drank her first bottle, but I also felt a lot of relief and it was good to know that DD wouldn't have to go hungry while I got more help with bfing, and that I could get some sleep and give my nipples a break! And I can say that now, we have no problems at all. Breastfeeding is pain free and easy, and DD will take a bottle if I need a break. She's absolutely thriving, we both sleep well. There is no shame whatsoever in doing whatever you know is best for you and your baby.

welshfirsttimemummy Fri 14-Jun-13 07:18:13

Thanks everyone, I feel much better knowing I'm not the only one who has done this. And I feel much better today, like the pressure is off and if I have problems BF I have an alternative to feed my baby.

The most important thing to me is that I get to enjoy him smile and I can do that much better when I'm not crying all day.

Badvoc Fri 14-Jun-13 07:23:12

Well done op.
You are not a failure.
You have absolutely done the right thing for you and for your baby.
Enjoy your little one x

itsonlysubterfuge Fri 14-Jun-13 07:50:41

I think I can understand how you feel, except I gave up after a few days of seeing my baby cry. If you would still like to breastfeed later on, can I just suggest that you always try a little bit of breastfeeding first while you are getting the formula ready? If you would like to just just formula feed, then you shouldn't feel guilty at all.

I mix fed my little girl until she was about 6 1/2 months and she started getting her top teeth in and she was really miserable and only wanted to breastfeed. Now she is 11 months old and only breastfed. I personally can't believe after the rocky start I had, that somehow we managed to do it.

I hope you are feeling more positive today and enjoying your beautiful baby boy!

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