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Breastfeeding grief... when will I stop hurting?(6 Posts)
My dc2 is 7 months old. We stopped breastfeeding at 3.5 weeks due to an undiagnosed tongue tie. I knew there was a problem from day 3. I had breastfed dc1 for 10 months and had overcome quite severe initial feeding problems with him and so I KNEW there was an issue with dc2. I went to multiple HCP’s who all said nothing was wrong despite my agony and shredded nips. I developed thrush and mastitis. I paid for a private lactation consultant who also said there was nothing there. In despair and heartache I very reluctantly gave up as it was impacting our lives so much and really felt I had exhausted all avenues for help and tried everything I could. A couple of months later, dc’s issues were still present on the bottle, leading HCP’s to think she had an allergy. A friend urged me to get a second opinion on the TT. Which I did, and it was diagnosed and fixed. She is now fine.
However, while I am happy that she is ok, and she is thriving on the formula, I am left with such heartache that I couldn’t breastfeed her. I had 4 miscarriages inbetween dc1 and dc2 and I did not allow myself to bond with her while pregnant. And I really feel not being able to breastfeed has negatively affected our bond now. I am working on it, I’ve tried to get lots of skin to skin when feeding/bathing. I’ve tried to do classes with her. But I do feel something is missing.
I also feel I’m really struggling with self esteem, feeling I let her down. That I should have pushed harder to get a second opinion.
I am finding it incredibly hard to see pictures of people breastfeeding or the ‘breast is best’ and ‘you are welcome to breastfeed here’ posters in public. I feel jealous of women I see breastfeeding, and when I feed my baby I want to stand up and say ‘I really did try’ and explain our story so people understand what happened.
I’m not judging bottle feeding or saying I’m embarrassed to be doing it. Because it saved us from an awful experience. Breastfeeding was causing us such turmoil. It was a relief to have an alternative. And she is thriving and sleeping well. It was the best decision for us. But I just have this feeling in my tummy that won’t go away. Some days I don’t think about it and then I might see someone breastfeeding and my tummy is in knots again. And I just feel a little low sometimes, and a little distant from her.
I don’t really know how to deal with it. I just want to move on from it and I don’t know how.
Very similar story to me with dd1. Knew feeding wasn't working but struggled through and fed her for 9 months.
Dd2 knew within a week. Turned out she had tongue tie also so we got it cut, something we didn't do with dd1 I just struggled on undiagnosed until it stretched and it all came good.
Dd2 tt snip was at 2 weeks and she not bf consistently after that (about 1 proper boob feed every 2 or so days) so I expressed for 3 months as I felt guilt not giving her the same start as dd1.
I saw a hypnotherapist and did cbt and I feel fine now with and I'd highly recommend if you can afford it.
It's tough but I believe I went the extra mile for dd2 as I expressed 2/3 times a night while she slept through from 6 weeks!
I know it's easier to say than do but please, please don't beat yourself up. Bonding doesn't only happen through breastfeeding. I have older children now and know lots of mums who didn't breastfeed and have amazing relationships with their children. I also know mums who did breastfeed and have terrible relationships.
Bonding with your child is simply a case of building a relationship with them, paying attention to them, meeting their needs, letting them feel your love. You can do all of that without breastfeeding.
Definitely get some help via counseling / support because once you can forgive yourself for not breastfeeding, which was totally not your fault, you will be able to focus on getting to know your lovely baby and enjoying your developing relationship
I apologise if this sounds harsh, but it's not bottle feeding that is affecting your bond - it's how you FEEL about bottle feeding. Bottle fed babies don't have a second rate bond, but because you are so disappointed, that is affecting how you feel (or at least you worry about the bond - it's probably absolutely fine)
You didn't let her down, you made a sensible decision that has enabled you to not suffer and her to thrive.
Your msg has completely broken my heart. I sympathise and I understand the kind of sadness you're going through. While you find your way through the hormones and maternal guilt, please try to remember- my god woman- you have done your best! Way above and beyond many. ( I'm a midwife and mum) You are an incredible mother. In my experience, it doesn't matter what happens, there is always one thing you wish you could have done differently but had no control over. You are still feeding your baby and that ultimately is all that matters. It will get easier :-)
Oh OP I really feel for you.
My ds also had a tongue tie despite being told by 3 midwives, 2 gps and a health visitor he did not. The bloody misery of those first few weeks of his life, dragging myself daily on public transport to breast feeding clinics to try and get help still haunts me now.
Like you I had losses before he was born, 5 in my case , and it meant I had a very medical, high observation pg, which I am extremely grateful for, but I think bfeefing became really important for me as a kind of antidote to all that stuff.
I just wanted my body to work, without people giving me advice or poking me. I wanted to do something naturally.
And I hear you when you say you arent anti formula feeding in any way, but you really wanted to bfeed and the fact that you didnt upset you. Its crap and I'm sorry it wasnt different.
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