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Postnatal depression and formula feeding

(32 Posts)
Atticus500 Thu 20-Aug-20 11:05:58

I’ve been doing a lot of research and it seems many women with PPD felt better when switching from breast to formula. I’m desperate to be proactive and start doing things to help myself and another mum who was at a similarly low point suggested the pill, a higher dose of ADs and formula was the answer for her. I’ve already identified these as possibly helpful so wondered if anyone else had found their depression lifted a little when stopping breastfeeding?

OP’s posts: |
Duckinghellfire Thu 20-Aug-20 11:35:22

I found stopping breast feeding made me feel worse, because of guilt i felt for stopping. But we are all different, if its one of the pressures thats causing some of the depression then it might help. For me it was more the isolation of having 2 young children plus baby, and lack of sleep etc.

Sayitagainwhydontyou Thu 20-Aug-20 12:19:03

Breastfeeding was great for me when i had PPD because even when i didnt feel bonded to DD or was worried i was a bad mum i could reassure myself that i was giving her the absolute best she could have and she was getting lots of comfort and security from me too.

HotDogHotDiggityDog Thu 20-Aug-20 12:27:14

I did, I felt much better after switching to formula. Breast feeding wasn't working, baby lost heaps of weight and was so unsettled all the time. Switched to formula and it was like having a different baby, slept better and was much happier. Also was able to take it in turns with husband to get up for night feeds so got more sleep which also made me feel 10x better.

ciaralily Thu 20-Aug-20 12:29:26

I struggled with PNA but breastfeeding always helped actually - it made me feel really calm and in the moment. Maybe the flow of oxytocin?

Ihaveoflate Thu 20-Aug-20 13:35:45

It's a very personal choice and depends on how you feel about breastfeeding in general. If it's making you feel crap and like you're trapped, then stop. If it's something you really enjoy then stopping might not be a good idea. Only you can decide and whatever choice you make is the right one, because it's right for you.

I have zero guilt for not breastfeeding, for what it's worth (mental and physical health reasons).

FairfaxAikman Thu 20-Aug-20 13:38:52

I think BF helped stop my low moods developing into full blown PPD, or even PP psychosis (i'm high risk for both as a currently "stable" bipoalar sufferer) as it forced me to stop and focus on my child, rather than my own thoughts.

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 20-Aug-20 13:42:29

I stopped BF as it was certainly detrimental to my mental health, I felt much better when I switched the DC to formula

bravefox Thu 20-Aug-20 13:52:17

Yep absolutely. Horrible mastitis, not producing enough milk = angry jaundiced baby, neither lactation consultant nor any of the staff in neonatal were able to help.

Eventually switched to formula (against MW advice) and it was like night and day - happy, fully fed baby, no more horrible pain and DH able to help with night feeds = finally some sleep! Only regret was pushing through the weeks of utter misery before making the change.

surreygirl1987 Thu 20-Aug-20 13:53:23

It's not the same for everyone. I did feel better after switching to formula because I suddenly felt 'free'... however, I felt like a failure as a mum for most of the early mo the and might have moreso if it wasn't for the fact I breastfed. Breastfeeding was literally the one thing I felt I gave my baby. So it also depends maybe at what point... I switched at 7 months.

Dogsgowoofwoof Thu 20-Aug-20 13:56:04

I felt worse for not bf. Having to switch to formula made my mental health decline.

Letsallscreamatthesistene Thu 20-Aug-20 14:26:29

I 100% felt better for stopping BF.

Its so, so personal though. For example, I read posts about feeling guilty/a failure/asking how to get over not BF and I just cannot relate at all.

Atticus500 Thu 20-Aug-20 18:00:13

Thanks all for responding. For what it’s worth I feel very trapped by breastfeeding and long to feel like me again, as well as a history of eating disorders, depression and issues around control. I think breastfeeding is contributing to my depression but I’m anxious about switching in case it makes things worse? Anyone feel like me and found ff beneficial?

OP’s posts: |
Letsallscreamatthesistene Thu 20-Aug-20 18:02:56

I felt very trapped by BF. I have been diagnosed with PN Anxiety for which im getting CBT for. FF just meant I could reclaim my body a bit and share the load with my husband whilst I had some 'me' time. Its actually been invaluable.

Lalapurple Thu 20-Aug-20 18:07:01

How old is your baby? If just a few weeks, it might settle down as the first few weeks of breastfeeding are very intense- after about 6 weeks it feels a bit more normal.
However I think it is really individual- personally I think I could never have coped with sterilising bottles etc and switching would have made everything worse for me.

Combination feeding might also be an option? You don't have to only do one or the other.

Atticus500 Thu 20-Aug-20 18:09:30

She’s 13 weeks. My husband is really keen for me to switch to ff and I don’t enjoy breastfeeding, it’s just that it seems “easier” in a way? But I also accept I’m at rock bottom and need to do something proactive to try and feel a little better.

OP’s posts: |
RainbowFlowers Thu 20-Aug-20 18:11:08

If you're worried about not bonding with your baby when formula feeding there are plenty of things you can do instead. Lots of skin to skin. Cuddles and having a bath with baby. Baby massage. Singing to baby.

Sayitagainwhydontyou Thu 20-Aug-20 18:11:52

If you don't enjoy it, stop. Ignore your husband, they're not his boobs, and go with your gut.

Fatted Thu 20-Aug-20 18:13:10

I didn't BF my kids at all and still ended up with bad PND after my first child. I was like you though, I had issues with depression and anxiety, and OCD type behaviours before having kids. I also had Satan's screaming baby from hell who cried pretty much every day constantly for 12 weeks.

I do not think it will magically fix everything, but it does make it easier to let someone else have the baby for a while and get five minutes peace to yourself.

Sipperskipper Thu 20-Aug-20 18:16:11

I felt like a different person when I stopped bf DD 1 at 6 weeks. I wish I hadn't pushed on for those weeks, as I feel I ruined her early days. I didn't enjoy any of it and was utterly miserable. She was far more content when we switched too.

Have just had dd2 and have not attempted bf this time. Am so much happier.

BertieBotts Thu 20-Aug-20 18:20:11

It sounds like it would be beneficial for you to stop.

It can give you a bit of a hormonal dip when you stop so be prepared for that but that's short term and the other benefits may outweigh it anyway.

It's only associated with making PND worse in the case that the mum feels upset about not being able to BF as long as she had planned/wanted to or associates it with feelings of personal failure.

Blak Thu 20-Aug-20 18:22:17

I was diagnosed with PND too and I found breastfeeding wasn’t letting me be able to get a Bitcoin of normality into my life. So I introduced a bottle and I’ve been expressing milk. I now combination feed until I make the complete decision to stop BF and I feel so much better within myself. I can actually start doing a few bits to make me feel normal again. My baby is fed the breast throughout the day (mostly) has an expressed bottle for bedtime and then formula throughout the night but of course you could mix it up a bit to whatever suits you best.

CallItLoneliness Fri 21-Aug-20 12:42:08

You could try mixed feeding? It doesn't have to be one or the other, and introducing a bottle or two a day will probably help you feel less trapped, and allow you to try before you buy on the FF front.

Out of curiosity, why is your DH so keen for you to stop BF?

Lalapurple Fri 21-Aug-20 14:09:50

I think BF is easier than formula feeding in many ways if you get the hang of it (no bottles to remember, you don't run out).

I think you should do what your instinct tells you to do- not your DH or anyone else. Stopping breastfeeding won't help you if you do it because other people have suggested you should.

It might be worth thinking if there is anything else you can do. What support do you have day to day? Can your DH do more (household chores, taking baby for walk so you can get a break etc, changing nappies)?

DianasLasso Fri 21-Aug-20 14:14:30

Not being able to breastfeed properly (PCOS and low milk yield, combined with tongue tie) was a big part of my PND, I think. I switched to formula, and while for me the guilt of doing so added to the load (even though I could see it was the only thing to do because DS was genuinely not growing properly), I did find that my brain felt like it was "coming back on line". BF hormones seemed to induce a state a bit like menopausal brain fog in me; this literally lifted over the course of about 2 days as I stopped.

So yes, I can well believe that for some women, BF hormones may have a detrimental effect on depression (just as for other women, the same hormones put them in a very happy place).

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