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Grief after end of Breastfeeding

(8 Posts)
niqnet1 Mon 20-Feb-17 19:40:54

As title says really. I stopped feeding my daughter 5 weeks ago (she's 6 1/2 months now) and I am going though what can only be described as a grieving process. I'm mourning the loss of our breastfeeding relationship.

I didn't want to stop feeding her but I was in massive amounts of pain with one of my boobs ( recurrent blocked duct in one area) to the point that it was affecting my daily life. I couldn't carry my daughter on my right hip, couldn't use a sling, couldn't sleep on my right side and couldn't hug my son.

I breastfed my son for 9 months (also plagued by difficulties) so I think deep down I had that goal this time around and not making it as far feels like failure.

I worked with a private Lactation Consultant but didn't see much improvement so we made the decision as a family to stop. I have come to the conclusion that I just have a dodgy duct which blocks very easily. I've been sad ever since.

Anyone else gone through this? I cry if I see other people breastfeeding, particularly if it is an older baby as this is the bit I feel I missed out on. I also cry about once a day just generally missing not being able to feed her.

I have been to GP and will be starting private counselling next week but wanted to see if anyone else experienced this.

cobaltblue27 Tue 21-Feb-17 09:25:02

Hi there,

Poor you. I wanted to say that I also felt incredibly emotional about stopping breastfeeding DS1. I was under huge pressure from work at the time, and it wasn't on for me to carry on expressing during the day (I was made to feel so uncomfortable and there was nowhere to express in many cases apart from the loo), and then the evening feeds waned. I cried a lot, and felt guilty. I did get over it in time but felt very sad for a while. I think it is something that should be spoken about more, as I know we are not the only ones to struggle. I know my mother was very upset too (she breastfed all her children).

In your case though, try to tell yourself perhaps that your children need their mother to feel strong and well, and breastfeeding was causing constant pain for you. You did everything you could, and you made a well-informed and sensible decision for the good of your family. I don't think you should feel guilty, but entirely sympathise with the sadness. perhaps try to stop feeling guilty at least? It sounds like you are suffering enough. Sending much understanding and all good wishes. I hope in time you feel better. Sorry not to be able to say much more that is constructive!

niqnet1 Tue 21-Feb-17 16:58:26

Thank you for your kind words.

DramaAlpaca Tue 21-Feb-17 17:17:37

I was terribly sad when I had to stop breastfeeding my youngest DS. He was only 4 months and we'd been mixed feeding since about six weeks because he simply wasn't gaining weight. It was very strange because I'd breastfed my first two babies with no trouble, and it just didn't work with my youngest.

It got to the stage when he was refusing the breast because my milk had dried up completely, so we switched over to bottles and didn't bother trying to supplement any more. I was devastated, really upset. I'd loved the breastfeeding relationship I'd had with my first two, and to not have that with my youngest (I knew he'd be my last) was very upsetting to me and it took me a long time to come to terms with it. It was a grieving process, like you describe.

So I suppose I'm just trying to say I understand how you are feeling.

It might help to know that the bond I have with my youngest is just as strong as the older two, even though we didn't breastfeed for as long.

Please don't think you've failed, you did your very best and sometimes it just doesn't work out. From the sounds of things you did really well to carry on for as long as you did.

Haggisfish Tue 21-Feb-17 17:20:00

I had this, too. Dc2 not as bothered at all so didn't feed anywhere near as long as dc 1. Felt huge sadness and it was difficult for me to be around bf mothers for around two years tbh. Two years on again and it's much easier now. Look back on the time fondly and can be around bf fine. I'm thinking of becoming a bf counsellor-might that be an option for you?

Haggisfish Tue 21-Feb-17 17:20:58

I also think a lot of it is hormonal-your oxytocin levels fall a lot which affects you greatly.

niqnet1 Tue 21-Feb-17 19:10:31

I agree hormones seem to have a lot to do with it. I feel like I have extreme PMT on top of the grief. I think this is something that will take me a long while to get over as breastfeeding was very important to me and it's highly likely she's my last child. I'd love another but can't see hubby agreeing.

niqnet1 Tue 21-Feb-17 19:15:58

The other thing which seems to be making it particularly hard is that my daughter was thriving on breastmilk. It was just me being unable to cope with the pain which ended our journey.

I must add though, she's the most laid back baby and switched to bottles with no drama at all.

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