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Support for a FF mum

(82 Posts)
MyGoldenNotebook Thu 16-Aug-12 12:52:09

I'm posting here out of desperation. I am absolutely not trying to begin a ff/bf debate. I am extremely unhappy that I gave up bf too easily after two weeks, and now suffering from terrible feelings of shame and self-hatred which I know are completely pointless and spoiling this precious precious time with my beautiful, perfect eight week old daughter.

But I'm not doing well. I'm bursting into tears a lot - including in public - and feel very depressed. Sometimes I feel like I'm having a kind of minor breakdown as nothing I think makes any sense (apologies to people who have really had break downs - I'm just not sure how to express myself on this point). It's so self-destructive. I feel as though I have no right to enjoy my dd and that I'm a selfish bitch. I feel as though I will never like myself again.

I tried using google to find sources of support but the best I could find was 'formula is not liquid poison'. Of course it's not liquid poison! What a bloody stupid thing to say.

I can't talk to my friends in RL about this too much as they all bottle fed and I don't want to upset them as it is hard to explain that this is completely personal. I do not judge other ff mothers at all. I certainly don't think that they shouldn't enjoy their babies. I don't think I'm being logical.

But despite giving myself sensible pep talks all the time, all I see everywhere is breast is best and I'm so ashamed. I feel like I'm being stared at when I ff in public. I feel like my SIL who is bf-ing her 12 week old (and who I like very much) must think I'm ignorant and find my behaviour incomprehensible. I'm actually trying to avoid her which is also mad.

This is so pointless and unhealthy. I need to move on. But how?

PS I really hope that I haven't offended anyone with anything I have said. That is not my intention at all - and I'm not quite myself at the moment.

usualsuspect Thu 16-Aug-12 12:57:01

In RL no one is judging you.No one is staring at you. You sound a bit depressed could you have a chat with your HV or GP?

Please don't beat yourself up, your baby will be fine.

LemarchandsBox Thu 16-Aug-12 13:05:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MyGoldenNotebook Thu 16-Aug-12 13:05:59

Thank you usual - I will speak to HV. I don't want my feelings to affect my daughter (I love writing daughter - I'm so thrilled to have her). I think I am a bit depressed - or at least bizarrely self-destructive - just keep hoping it will start to pass. It was yesterday that broke it. I was sat in a busy museum cafe by myself and just started sobbing and couldn't stop. Self pity as well of course - that disgusts me too - but I'm normally very reserved and have never don anything like that before.

MarthasHarbour Thu 16-Aug-12 13:07:14

This is what upsets me about BF propaganda. Yes we all know that breastmilk is the 'best' for baby, however, a lot of us make our choices for whatever reason and it is nobodys business how you feed your child. Also, it feeds into paranoia and depression in the way that the OP is feeling and makes those feel that they have in some way 'failed' their child.

I BF'd for three weeks and felt that i was failing DS by choosing to FF. I would make excuses (getting the bottle out in front of BFing friends and saying 'look at me i am a bad mum' etc) I look back at it now and think hmm

DS thrived on formula milk. He was fine, i felt better, he felt better, he was content, DH and family could help out with feeding/night feeds etc. He is now three years old and is a happy healthy little boy.

You are still post natal and your hormones will be all over the place. Please now just focus on the choice you have made and be proud that you have made an informed decision for the benefit for you and your baby. Try and move forward and look forward to your baby's development.

I also suggest you speak to your HV. I was worried about DS's 6 week check when they asked me how i was feeding, instead i was met with support and she asked if i had any questions about bottle feeding.

Good luck smile

LemarchandsBox Thu 16-Aug-12 13:08:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MyGoldenNotebook Thu 16-Aug-12 13:10:14

That is very good advice Learchands - I will start to repeat it to myself. I am seeing SIL on Saturday for the first time since I gave up so I'm trying to stay relaxed about it. Totally get it's me with the issue not her.

MyGoldenNotebook Thu 16-Aug-12 13:11:14

Thank you both so much :-)

usualsuspect Thu 16-Aug-12 13:18:47

Just enjoy your daughter, these feelings will pass, honest.

BrianCoxIsUpTheDuff Thu 16-Aug-12 13:26:05

I did bf my daughter.

I based my decision on my lifestyle and needs at the time.

I'm ashamed to say that the fact it was better for the baby was not top of the list blush

My best friend FF both of her babies. She didn't want to BF, at all.

You will find that in the 'media' or on faceless forums, somebody somewhere would have a smart arse comment to direct at both myself, for chosing to BF because it suited me as a single parent to not have to sterilise bottles/make up formula/get out of bed. Somebody else will be waiting with a smart arse comment to stir up catsbumfaces for those who FF.


You will also find, that as with real life, there are a hell of a lot more people - as this thread has shown - that will offer support, advice and hopefully help you to realise, that we all make choices based on what we need to do to function as a mother and what is best for our children.

Do not feel guilty, enjoy your baby and concentrate on making yourself feel better about your valid choices.

Ultimately, if you still feel down, have a chat to your GP or HV, just so they can make sure you are ok. It is perfectly acceptable to not be ok, just make sure you get some support around you.

Good luck smile

Trazzletoes Thu 16-Aug-12 13:26:29

Sorry you are having a tough time. It sounds to me like you are being a fab mum. I promise you, no one else gives 2 hoots about how you choose to feed your baby. As long as she's getting milk of some kind, who cares?

tethersend Thu 16-Aug-12 13:26:57

Oh Golden sad

You sound so sad.

Not being the kind of mother you thought you would be is a constant feature of motherhood- but please be assured that sometimes you surprise yourself by being better than you thought you would be.

You are a good mother. FF does not alter this one bit.

I hated BF and FF my second DD from birth (now 12 weeks); I got great advice on here, even from BFing experts. I am not a bad mum.

I agree with usual that you sound depressed- I had horrific PND with DD1 and have cried in public places countless times. It's utterly overwhelming having a child, and you may be focusing all these feelings onto feeding, as it's pretty much all babies do at eight weeks.

See your GP, they can really help.

neontetra Thu 16-Aug-12 13:30:05

Poor you - it is such a stressful time, and so easy to feel guilty - if it isn't feeding, its how we are handling routine, bedtime, etc etc. I spent weeks wracked with guilt because I was putting dd to sleep on her side - it was the only way she would sleep. Then I met some other mums and realised I wasn't the only one and instantly felt better. You are not doing anything to harm your dd - in fact formula has been specially designed to be great for babies! I think perhaps the more you can get out and meet other mums it might help - believe the majority of people end up ff, don't they? Good luck - hope you feel better soon.

Geekster Thu 16-Aug-12 13:30:14

Hi MyGoldenNotebook. I know exactly were you are coming from. I had to stop breast feeding my dd at three weeks and still feel guilty over it she is now nearly six months. I was like you for a good month or so after I gave up. I felt a failure and so ashamed and guilty and found myself justifying it with anyone who would listen.

But now I look back and I was getting so stressed and anxious when it came to breast feeding my dd that it was doing neither of us any good. I only have to look at her now though and see how healthy and happy she is, and how much her Daddy and grandparents have been able to enjoy feeding her too that it was the right desicion for us.

At the end of the day you have to do what is right for you and your baby. You are feeding your child and giving them lots of love and that is what all babies need. Not a stressed out mum.

It does get better in time. Give yourself a break. You've got an eight week old baby. You have been through a lot physically and emotionally. As you say youve got a beautiful, perfect dd. Enjoy her, gaze at her and cuddle her, she won't care how she's being fed as long as her mummy is there for her.

Sending you a big guilt free hug x

DuelingFanjo Thu 16-Aug-12 13:33:18

go and talk to the GP, it could be more than just feeling bad about not breastfeeding.

Also, don't look at positive promotion of breastfeeding as propaganda. In my experience most parents don't want to make judgements about people who can't breastfeed and though they may speak positively about breastfeeding it doesn't mean they are blaming those people who can't breastfeed.

You ARE doing the best for your child and your child.

mindosa Thu 16-Aug-12 13:34:06

Please dont let the guilt get to you.
You need to mentally put a line under your choice and then make peace with it.
FWIW - I found breast feeding my first impossible and gave up after a couple of weeks. I gave myself 2 days 'guilt' and then moved on.
My second was breastfed for 5 odd months. She is quite sickly whereas DD1 is never ever sickly.
I am quite sceptical about the breastfeeding research - a lot of it does not stand scrutiny.

If you find you cant get over this, then perhaps its pnd and you might need professional help

mindosa Thu 16-Aug-12 13:37:30

Dueling Some women make the choice not to breastfeed and that should also be supported as well as women who cant bfeed. In reality most women can breastfeed if they persevere, they just decide to give up as its not working as well as it should (well thats what I did anyway)

BeaWheesht Thu 16-Aug-12 13:38:13

I went through all this, I bf my son and not my daughter (dc2) - the guilt I felt was horrendous and because I didnt talk to anyone about it, it got worse and worse and worse.

My daughter is now 2 (almost) and I dont feel the guilt anymore, shes a happy and healthy kid more than my bf son and its ok, its ok to be overwhelmed, to find it hard, to 'give up'. It really and truly is.

StealthPolarBear Thu 16-Aug-12 13:43:50

Op please see your doctor, you sound really depressed sad
As for the breastfeeding, I don't know your reasons for 'giving up too easily' (and you don't need to justify them to me!) But did you get the support you neededto continue? I guess not, as its clear you stopped before you wanted to.

I care about breastfeeding. I think its important and I think the 'propaganda' is a tiny attempt to reverse decades of cultural norms and opinion. Howver, I care more about mothers and babies, and as an mother doing her best for her baby, you need to accept that you are a good mother - as good as any other - that you personally are feeding your baby in the best way you can. If you can't then not breastfeeding will be responsible for wreckig your time with your dd, which would be such a shame. She needs you, your love, your cuddles, feeding, changing and little else at the moment.

viagrafalls Thu 16-Aug-12 13:50:31

OP this could have been me writing this. I bf for one month exclusively but was in so much pain and so exhausted as DD would sleep all day and then feed all night - not an exaggeration, she would feed from 11 until 5am and it was killing me. I also had mastitis and deep breast thrush which wasn't diagnosed until it was too late ( i had introduced bottles as I felt I couldn't 'keep up' with the amount she needed.) I then mix fed until she was 4 months old and it was obvious that the only person getting anything from the pathetic one and day feed was me) I felt so ashamed about it I didn't tell anyone - my OH would find me in tears al the time as the shame and the guilt were unbearable. It made me feel like I was failing as a mother when I hadn't even started! no-one who has BF successfully can understand the guilt and shame you feel when its something you want to do so much but cannot do for whatever reason. I have friends who bf now and I am still a little bitter about the whole thing. DD is one on Sunday and looking back I am so proud that despite all the obstacles I tried my best and this is the only thing that matters now. It wont matter to your daughter whether she was BF or not, what counts is the love and affection you continue to offer. She's not going to blame lack of breast milk on a bad exam result or a poor choice in boyfriend.
You will always feel a bit sad but there are other more important things you can give as a mother. i have so much more to say but it all boils down to the same as this - BF is not the be-all end all you feel it is at the moment. FWIW I also was diagnosed with PND and this was the first step in moving on.
Enjoy your beautiful baby. smile

StealthPolarBear Thu 16-Aug-12 13:51:36

Something else that occurs to me is that I think you're assuming people are either bf mums or ff mums. Plenty do both . Many start doing one and move to Tje other. Most Peope don't actually care how you feed your baby, as long as you do. Most mums know how sensitive an issue it can be, nd for that reason are non judgemental. The ones that are (on either end of the spectrum) are not ones id want to be friends with.

MyGoldenNotebook Thu 16-Aug-12 13:56:19

You're all so wonderful - taking the time to respond to me. I'm going to keep re-reading this thread. It has felt good to get this out in the open as it has all been inside my head up until now. I'm so lucky to have my beautiful girl - and also that MN exists to help women. I never understand when people criticize this website.

I don't see breastfeeding advertisements as propaganda as such. BF is very hard so women need lots of help and encouragement if they want to do it. I think it's just that sometimes it seems like FF is being revealed as taboo when it is left out of NHS leaflets, parenting classes etc. ... and the antonym of 'best' is obviously 'worst' - there are only two options! This is only my warped perception of course - and when you're feeling vulnerable it seems personal - even though it obviously isn't.

You've all helped me to calm down a bit. I will speak to HV though if I don't feel better in a few days, as I'm not sleeping either and I really just don't feel right. But I know that is sleeplessness and headaches fro crying. My DH is very supportive but I haven't told him all that I am feeling. I need to do that.

Thank you all xxx

zippey Thu 16-Aug-12 13:59:26

Our baby was FF, she is now 1 and very happy.

MyGoldenNotebook Thu 16-Aug-12 14:02:25

Oh viagra - that's really sad. I'm so glad you were able to move on. Thank you for sharing your story. You should be proud of yourself! We're so hard on ourselves and it does nobody any good. I was never BF - not even for a day - and have done very well academically and I'm very healthy so I know formula doesn't necessarily mean that anything bad will happen to my baby.

stealth you are absolutely right of course. The divide is only in my head.

WilliamItWasReallyNothing Thu 16-Aug-12 14:05:00

OP, I had very similar feelings when I gave up bFing DD. I actually felt like I was mourning - I couldn't bear that I had "given up" on something I wanted so much. It did affect my relationship with DD too if I am honest - I felt rejectedsad. I never sought help at the time but I know now I was suffering from depression. I only sought help several years later and now regret I didn't seek help sooner. Feelings around BF / having a new baby are complicated and challenging. It is natural to find it confusing and overwhelming at times. It sounds like you are having a tough time though and I would speak to your HV or GP. Hope you get some sleep tonight x

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