So, my little girl is now 3 months old and I am considering bringing my milk supply back in, and would really appreciate any stories or advice on the topic.
To give a bit of context, we breastfed from birth, but due to weight loss she was put on formula top-ups in the first week. So we mixed for the next 5 weeks between breast, expressed and formula. Unfortunately, despite there being no problem with her latch, positioning or tongue, I was in agony with every feed. Bleeding, cracked nipples. I wasn't sleeping or eating and was starting to not enjoy having a baby. We saw all kinds of professionals and I had a fair bit of support but no one could find a reason why it wasn't working. For some reason she also seemed to be cluster feeding for up to 20-hours a day for a large part of that time, but I was just told to give her the breast if she wants it. One day I just couldn't do it anymore and stopped giving her the breast. I tried to keep expressing for her but it was too painful so I let my milk dry up and she's been having only formula for 7 weeks now.
However, I developed post-natal depression as a result of this and have been struggling with it. After coming across the idea of relactation, I felt instantly better with the idea that I could be giving my baby some goodness from expressing again, even if we can't breastfeed. I'm aware of the basics on how to do this and I know it'll be a slow process, but I'd really love to hear other's opinions on this.
Congratulations on your little girl! I didn't want to leave your post unanswered but don't have any personal experience of relactation. I can, however, relate to your experience of BF when she was first born. We had similar problems in that DS had lost weight at 2 weeks so we started topping up with expressed milk and formula, and when he was 6 weeks I gave up on direct BF, but continued to express until he was about 8 months. I also felt really sad about not being able to BF, but I do feel that I did the best I could for him at the time as he was losing weight and so we needed to change our approach. I remember reading about relactation at the time, I think it was on www.kellymom.com which is quite a useful website for all things BF related. Have you had a look there? It might be a good place to start. Are you seeing someone for your PND? From reading your post I think that would be important. I would actually be inclined to focus on that and bonding with your baby. Expressing worked for us but it doesn't for a lot of people, so I would actually be quite wary of it in your position, especially if you're not intending to use it as a way of getting back to BF. If it is to be successful, it involves pumping multiple times a day and during the night, and that is all time when you can't be cuddling your baby. So I suppose I would be worried it would be detrimental to your mental health, although having been through a similar newborn experience I can absolutely understand your wish that BF had been successful. I hope things work out for you and that you are able to enjoy your time with your new baby.
Sorry that was a bit rambling, I'm on my phone so can only see the last couple of lines I've written at a time.
Congratulations on your baby. You would get more responses by mums with experience of expressing/bf issues by posting on the Mumsnet infant feeding board (the breast and bottle feeding board).
Thank you both of you for your replies, I didn't realise there was an infant feeding board to be honest. I am currently on Sertraline for my PND and need to talk the relactation idea through with my health visitor and midwife, as I am aware of just how difficult and exhausting it will be. I worry though that if I don't try it, this guilt over having to give up breastfeeding will keep coming back to me. I'm sorry to hear you had a rough time of it too - I wish I'd had the foresight to let my nipples heal for a while and then just express for my baby, instead of letting my milk dry up altogether. But I obviously wasn't in the right frame of mind when all that happened.
I didn't really realise before having DS how many people have difficulty with BF, and a lot of people struggle with guilt of not being able to BF if that was how they hoped to feed their baby. With PND on top of that, you must be finding it really tough. I agree that chatting to your midwife or health visitor is a good idea. Is your partner able to support you very much?
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