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so upset (long)

(33 Posts)
berolina Fri 03-Jun-05 20:01:58

Had ds (first baby) 16 days ago and, as some of you will know, am having problems with bf. Am mixed feeding at the moment after we had to give him formula in hospital (short spell in scbu), but am trying to establish bf. A lot of feeds though (and every feed today ) he will refuse to latch on, scream and cry - even if I calm him down it will start up again when I resume the feeding attempt. It's hard but I keep persevering because sometimes he does latch on and I so want to bf. However he exhausts himself crying and he has to be fed so we are giving hm EBM and formula. Anyway, this evening he was screaming and crying again and he'd got himself into such a state that when dh brought his bottle of EBM he didn't take it at first. Usually when I give him a bottle he has it lying on the feeding cushion and me supporting his head a bit and that almost always works fine. However, this time he didn't take it and just carried on being upset. dh said I should lift him up a bit. I was feeling a bit fraught and over-sensitive (particularly because his tone implied my method was rubbish) and said 'you do it if you're so much better at it'. Then he said 'no, you have to learn it so he (ds) doesn't end up being allergic to you' I couldn't believe it! I am unhappy about the bf situation but I do my very very best not to transfer any of these feelings to ds and just feed him with love, however he gets fed. But dh has just implied he's picking up all kinds of negative vibrations from me. He has completely knocked the rather fragile confidence I had. I worry already about our bond because of the bf problems and I hate that he ends up screaming before a feed, and what dh said is making me feel worse and worse. Am I damaging our relationship? Will he never feel good with his mummy? I can comfort him when he is crying for other things - I'll pick him up, rock him and he'll fall asleep in my arms - but now I'm even doubting that. I'm afraid I lost it and cried and also screamed at dh to stop when he started going on. I'm so upset - what am I doing to my relationship with ds? Also, dh keeps saying things he thinks ds has to 'learn' to do - I pick him up immediately if he's crying and try and feed him immediately if he's hungry, dh thinks he should be able to wait a while - yes, when he's older, of course he should, but he's 16 DAYS ffs. dh is also a lot more relaxed about giving formula than I am - I HATE giving formula and worry about ds's health if I don't manage to get bf established. dh and I have a fantastic relationship and he is wonderful with ds (he's at home and we're child-caring equally), but I'm now just wondering how divergent our ideas really are - and what he said has so upset me. Am I a useless mummy who's ruining her bond with ds at only 2 weeks old?

pinkmama Fri 03-Jun-05 20:08:42

Berolina, so sorry you are having a tough time. You are not a useless mummy, nor are you ruining your bond. I dont know how to advise re the bf, but he obviously settles well with you at other times. Your confidence must have taken a real battering. I hope someone has something more constructive to say soon x

RnB Fri 03-Jun-05 20:08:44

Message withdrawn

shalaa Fri 03-Jun-05 20:09:25

Your not useless!! I found breast feeding quite difficult at first, your both new to it. He doesn't automatically know what to do and neither do you. Have you spoken to your midwife or HV? Mine was brilliant with me and helped alot. DH can be insensitive but realise that you've gone through birth are still feeling tender and your hormones are crashing big time so have a cry if it makes you feel better. Have you tried one of the breast feeding helplines like La Leche?? I think you should give them a call as they might have helpers in your area? Either way don't give up it does get better!! And your not useless and your son does love you!

tiredemma Fri 03-Jun-05 20:10:10

i dont think your useless, i applaud you for perservering with bf, i know i couldnt cope after 24 hours and resorted to bottle feeding-(which i must add, did work better for me.)
Stop worrying too much about whether he will never feel good with you, i remember pacing the floor at at all hours with ds in my arm wondering what i was doing wrong, baby's can sense if your panicky so maybe thats what your DH meant but phrased it in an insensitive way. A new baby does throw things up in the air and can take a while to adapt to it, dont be so hard on yourself, have you tried discussing this with your midwife or health visitor?

Aragon Fri 03-Jun-05 20:14:13

Oh hon, hang on in there. This stage is often the most miserable for parents - especially when it's a first baby. Breastfeeding can be fraught sometimes and is a learning process for both you and your ds. Of course you won't ruin your bond with him - he knows you above anyone else at present and believe me you are the most important person in the world to him because you are the source of his food. EBM is milk that nobody except you can produce. However he gets this milk it's really precious.
Have you tried asking your midwife or HV for help or a breastfeeding counsellor. The NCT have them available freely to new Mums who are establishing breastfeeding - if you ring their national number they'll be able to tell you if there's a supporter in your area.

Men don't really get the breastfeeding thing - they think it doesn't matter if it's formula. I doubt your dh meant to upset you. I can remember being exhausted when my ds was tiny and dh saying "why don't you cuddle up in bed with him" and me thinking "ffs I just want to curl up in bed on my own and sleep for a million years, why can't you take over for a couple of hours"

Have you tried sitting in a warm bath while trying to latch on - sounds mad but it can work. Baby on your midriff and allowed to find the breast himself, it's usually alot calmer, baby can smell the milk etc. It's really worth a try.
Skin to skin contact really helps.

aloha Fri 03-Jun-05 20:14:56

Berolina - what happened?? You were doing so well with the weigh in and everything. Have you called La Leche league yet?
Of course you aren't damaging your son! You and your dh sound so stressed. Can you sit down, not express for five minutes and eat a meal together and have a glass of wine and try to relax for just five minutes.
Re all the long have you left him between feeds before now? Is he really hungry? I don't mean ask silly questions but if you are giving him EBM and formula, how hungry is he?
Have you tried being in the bath with him and just cuddling?
Feeding isn't the be all and end all of a relationship otherwise fathers of breastfeeding mothers would bond with their babies, and they do, I promise!

KBear Fri 03-Jun-05 20:15:51

This is the hardest part berolina - the first couple of months until everyone gets used to one another! Keep calm, keep trying, whatever happens you know you did your best. DH's always say the wrong thing when they are trying to help, let it wash over you and have a hug and accept the support that he is trying to give and you need so badly. You're going to do this but you do need to relax and suddenly, as if my magic, it will happen. Good luck.

aloha Fri 03-Jun-05 20:16:41

Personally, if my baby wasn't showing an interest in feeding, I'd end the attempt. I think if they stop crying then they aren't really hungry!

aloha Fri 03-Jun-05 20:17:13

And agree men never really seem to work out what the big deal is with breastfeeding!

LIZS Fri 03-Jun-05 20:38:05

It sounded so much more positive earlier today . You are absolutely not useless and are doing incredibly well to have got so far.

Agree with Aloha that you need to start waiting for him to develop an appetite and formula isn't going to help him do that long term as he will always feel "full" if you top him up as regularly as he would bf. I do believe that sometimes babies actually don't want/need attention immediately though. In dd's case she actually would calm down when put in her car seat or bouncy chair for a few minutes. My mum would insist mine were hungry if they cried, whether they actually were or not, and having bottle fed us she didn't get the idea of bf on demand.

Your ds is way too little to be affected by any of this but perhaps your dh is concerned and bewildered about the apparently fussy, hungry behaviour and your exhaustion. Men are a bit more detached in their approach and would probably see formula as a pragmatic solution all round, whether it is or not. Can you talk to him calmly, perhaps after you've had a rest, and tell him how important you feel it is to breastfeed at this stage and that you need more support, along the lines of the advice Mears and Tiktok have given (skin to skin, baths etc), to establish the feeding. Perhaps even agree a timescale to review it, say in 1 week. Has he met the mw or bfc's to hear and see their suggestions so that he can feel included part of it and offer practical help to you.

Remember to try to give yourself time and energy to enjoy your new baby. Do you have a sling that you or dh could carry ds in so that you could at least get out for a bit over the weekend. You may find that being out and about will help ds settle better.

Good luck, you can do this but you don't need to beat yourself up over the problems you have experienced and you need to feel dh is working with you.

berolina Fri 03-Jun-05 20:41:09

Thanks everyone
shalaa, aloha, I have called LLL and another helpline (think it was ABM), the advice is to keep persevering, lots of contact with baby and shorter ( aloha) bursts of expressing - possibly cup feeding or this new Breastbottle thing as well. Things were going better yesterday re. latching on and I thought we were on an upward curve, but it's gone a bit pear-shaped today - maybe it's too hot for ds here or something.
aloha, ds will do the crying thing (or not, on the occasions he doesn't) whether we've left it 2 or 4 hours (he varies a bit - has 2 or three feeding clusters a day, at other times he really will go for 4 hours or more, and we tend to let him). He will definitely be rooting though and clearly hungry. He also doesn't finish bottles if he doesn't want them (just sits with teat in mouth and doesn't suck) so I think he does have some sense of fullness and hunger. Just now he had a couple of bouts of cryng which we put down to digestion and were able to stop by rocking, but then he wouldn't stop and we really think he was hungry.
tiredemma, I suppose ds is picking up on something, however calmly I try to approach feeding etc. (occasionally I even just have to laugh at this 'the-whole-world-is-against-me' scream he does - but often it is just heartbreaking). How do you switch that off? Where's the Lovely Competent Calm Mummy button? (dh seems to have a Lovely Competent Calm Daddy one - maybe I'm jealous???)

Jimjams Fri 03-Jun-05 20:55:12

Have you ruled out reflux? My friend's ds used to scream at every feed. He wasn't a sicky baby but was eventually diagnosed with reflux and gaviscon sorted him out.

Ds1 used to scream when asked to feed on the left hand side. (it was a harder nipple to feed from). Luckily he would feed from the right hand side. I do remember the first few weeks bfeeding with ds1 being hellish. Then suddenly it wasn't, and we went on for 13 months.

Don't torment yourself though. My 2 other boys have been part bfed (ds2 to 2 years; ds3 is 5 months and still part bfed- although most of his energy will be supplied by formula) but had a lot of formula (because of lack of supply and no chance to increase). Ds1 is the one with the problems, ds2 and ds3 are fine.

berolina Fri 03-Jun-05 21:01:06

Yes, jimjams - another thing is he does struggle to get on the nipples - he's a small baby and (not that I have huge nipples of anything ) he will find it hard to get that latch. The way he behaves just before starting screaming (sometimes quite frantic rooting, does this head-shaking thing when going onto the nipple) indicates (at least to me) a lot of interest in the breast but something then frustrating him.

berolina Fri 03-Jun-05 21:02:13

Not sure about reflux - would the screaming start before/during or after a feed? ds is also not very sicky and actually generally quite calm and chilled out (except for feeding time!)

aloha Fri 03-Jun-05 21:06:04

Tbh, i have wondered about reflux. Definitely worth getting it ruled out, I think. I know how much you want to breastfeed so I won't say, Oh, just give him a bottle. These are early days and as he gets bigger and stronger and better at breastfeeding (babies get better at is as they are novices at first too!) things can improve beyond recognition, so don't panic. But if it doesn't work out, he's had lots of breastmilk, and you really have done so well and tried so hard, you have nothing to reproach yourself with.
But certainly you don't have to give up yet. Do recommend a glass of wine though!

KBear Fri 03-Jun-05 22:00:12

I used to find that flattening the nipple when the baby was trying to latch on would help - that frantic head turning is usually a sign that he is looking for the nipple but maybe just needs you to ram it in! When I was in hospital and trying to feed my first I had the usual nightmare to get started, almost gave up, when a helpful midwife showed me a more forceful approach (for want of a better word) of flattening the nipple and holding it and gently pushing the baby's head towards it and hey presto it worked. I remember how you are feeling soooo well and I really hope you manage to continue.

aloha Fri 03-Jun-05 22:02:01

Yes, I got some advice on positioning this time round that made such a difference to me. I know you aren't in the UK but just the tiniest thing can make it such a different experience it really is worth contacting someone who can give you one to one advice - someone who can actually see you!

berolina Fri 03-Jun-05 22:21:11

Thanks aloha and KBear. I'll investigate the reflux theory. MW is coming on Monday so should be able to help.
dh and ds are asleep - think I'll hit the sack too, the next feed approaches fast (tired )
Thanks everyone again. dh's comment still stings but I know he didn't mean it 'like that' and I feel a bit better.
Wine sounds a wonderful idea aloha, but we've none in the house...

Mads1 Fri 03-Jun-05 22:27:22

Dear Berolina

Please don't be so hard on yourself. This is such a challenging time you are going through and you must keep reminding yourself that you are doing a fantastic job. You sound like you are a brilliant mother already!!

With regards to bonding. Yes BF is a good way of bonding but there are also 100 other ways that you must not take for granted. Your DS only has to look at you, hear your voice or be touched by you and that already means so much to him.

I hope things get easier for you. What ever happens just remember - you are doing a great job (the hardest in the world!!)

BadgerBadger Sat 04-Jun-05 00:11:58

Berolina, have you tried lying down with your DS to feed him? I had similar problems with both of my DD's, with DD2, this was the way I resolved it.

Unfortunately, they do pick up on our stress, no matter how hard we try to hide it. It does not make us bad mums! But our LO's are finely tuned to our body's behaviour, even that which is barely perceptible to us, I think. I came to this theory with DD2 (after (in total) about 16 months of breastfeeding!) that when in my arms, my baby could feel how tense I was, but if I just laid next to her to feed her, it removed a lot of the problem.

I fed her 'lying down' for quite some time, (just the two of us in bed was even better!) but when she was happier with feeding again we returned to other positions. It also gave me the time and space to become more confident and relaxed about feeding. It's also a useful position for an over active let down, they seem to be able to cope better with the force of the milk.

If you're having any concerns about your supply, try a cup of fennel tea before bed, it works wonders!

My DH drove me mad during my first attempt at BF (in fact, he's come perilously close this time too!). I took every single comment he made regarding breastfeeding first time around as personal attacks on my ability to mother my child .

Believe me, I have at last realised the two are not linked at all.

kbaby Sat 04-Jun-05 12:10:43

You sound so upset ((((big hugs))))
I have a friend whos dd was the same as yours. She had lots of trouble bf her lo and was seeing bf counsellors weekly. Her DH was also pressurising her into formula. But she continued to feed her dd until 7 months old and eventually the crying when latching on stopped and her dd gained eight and fed wonderfully.

Unfortunetly youll find lots of things to argue with DH about. I used to think we both had the same views on child rearing until I had DD and since then I appartently give in too easily and treat her like a baby( shes 12 months) and I think DD behaves as if anything she does thats slightly naughty now means that shes growing to grow into a drug dealer or murderer and hes too harsh on her. Were all different and you just need to find a middle ground.
I hope the feeding gets better but dont think you have to breast feed, formula isnt so bad.

SoupDragon Sat 04-Jun-05 12:37:43

Has anyone from LLL or the NCT actually sat down with you and helped you get your DS latched on? Speaking on the phone is all very well and good but having an expert sit down and watch/help you can be more helpful.

berolina Sat 04-Jun-05 13:17:27

SD, that's my next step for the new week - getting someone over here to have a go with me. Am in a small town in Germany and the LLL person I've spoken to is in the next city, so hope I can find someone here. Thing is ds is very erratic - when he does it it's wonderful and I love it (no pain, nothing), but then there are all the times when he doesn't.
Have never heard of overactive letdown BadgerBadger! Don't think I suffer from it... (although I have sprayed BM in ds's face before when hand-expressing some to persuade him to latch on )

mears Sat 04-Jun-05 13:23:35

Sorry to read how upset you have been by DH's comments. We all get very sensitive in the newborn period and he probably did not mean to crticise you. He probably is desperate to help you too.

When DS is rooting around and missing the breast have you tried popping in your finger to start him sucking? Sometimes I find that calms a baby down and they will then go on the breast. Also hand expressing till there is milk on the nipple may tempt him.

If you could possibly avoid a teat altogether just now he will get desperate to suck and will go on the breast. Do you have a little cup in your breast pump kit? You put the milk in that, sit him upright with his arms wrapped in and hold the cup to his bottom lip. He will lap the milk out of the cup like a kitten. It actually does not take any longer that bottle feeding. By avoiding teat use he will satify his need to suck on the breast.

Alsdo do not give a dummy until he has cracked breastfeeding.

As I have said before Berolina he has proved he can do it.

Is there a cranio-osteopath anywhere nearby. He may benefit from that as he was a ventouse delivery - just a thought.

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