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decision about breastfeeding

(58 Posts)
juju283 Tue 14-Jan-14 14:47:27

Okay so I have decided I do not want to breastfeed. I am obviously well aware of the benefits to thebaby and myself but my reason for choosing not to is because I had an eating disorder when I was younger. It was resolve but being pregnant has brought some of it back and I am constantly worrying about whether or not I am eating enough for my baby. I try really hard but I struggle to get the 300 calories extra in a day. I know when you breast feed you should have 500 calories extra and for me I would constantly worry that I wasn't doing this and would fear that my baby was not getting enough milk. I feel that although breast feeding is best ,in my case it is better that I know that my baby is eating and I haven't got to worry about what I eat reducing my chances of pnd too. Does this make me selfish or a terrible person for making this decision?

Loopylouu Tue 14-Jan-14 15:04:14

No. Of course not. Above all your baby needs a mother who is happy. You don't need to add anymore stress into your life when the baby is born.

Loopylouu Tue 14-Jan-14 15:05:46

I say that as someone who has had PND. If you feel Formula feeding will protect you against that then go for it.

Confitdecanard Tue 14-Jan-14 15:10:07

I think breastfeeding is only best if it works for both mother and baby. You are not being selfish at all.

Hermione123 Tue 14-Jan-14 15:13:40

Not at all, it is a mature and responsible decision based on your unique history and shows you'll be a great parent. You may get ill informed judgment from people who don't understand about eating disorders but such judgment is worthless. Take care and good luck. Btw in your situation, I'd tell people you couldn't bf for medical reasons, since in your case that is completely correct. I recommend seeking support for your eating issues post birth though, maybe you should discuss with your GP?

juju283 Tue 14-Jan-14 15:14:58

Thank you so much for your replies. I know midwives really like to push breastfeeding for obvious reasons but I just wanted to see what others felt before i mention it to midwife!

JeanSeberg Tue 14-Jan-14 15:16:09

You sound like you've considered what is best for you and your baby in your personal circumstances and have come to a sensible decision, you should be proud of yourself.

I hope all goes well for you both.

JeanSeberg Tue 14-Jan-14 15:16:43

The words that come to mind here are Never explain, never apologise. wink

muppetthecow Tue 14-Jan-14 15:17:44

Not selfish at all. Breast feeding is only best when it allows for mum and baby to both be better off for it. If you feel that it wouldn't work for you, then that's your decision based on your understanding of your personal circumstances. It sounds like you'll be a great mum smile

lilyaldrin Tue 14-Jan-14 15:18:26

You can still do the first few important colostrum feeds, that give your baby lots of immune benefits, and then switch to formula when you're home. You don't even need to tell the midwives what your plan is, just do what works for you.

Wuxiapian Tue 14-Jan-14 15:23:04

No, it doesn't make you a selfish or terrible person.

I'm 33 weeks pregnant and have decided not to breastfeed as I have an 11 month old and don't want to be tied to the sofa being a milk machine.

Some may call that selfish, I really don't care. I'll do whatever suits me and my family.

Best wishes.

icingmyback Tue 14-Jan-14 15:32:59

you are not selfish at all but if you feel like you would like to breastfeed but it is the worry that is stopping you then you could talk to someone about that. you do not need to be concerned with the extra 500 calories per day - plenty of women breastfeed successfully without those extra calories. your body knows what to do and as long as you don't get badly dehydrated, you will be able to produce enough milk for your baby.
whatever you decide to do, your baby will be fine.
i'm not trying to convince you either way, the most important thing for you and your baby will be your mental health so do what is best for that.

LadySnapcase Tue 14-Jan-14 15:38:07

Not at all. Part of my reason for stopping breastfeeding was it's impact on my mental state. I spent the first few weeks of motherhood horribly anxious, and I can't eat when I'm anxious, so was losing a lot of weight and also feeling guilty because I knew I had to eat properly to breastfeed. And then DS had reflux and I got stressed that it was something in my diet that was making it worse, but couldn't really change my diet cause I could literally only manage to force down a few foods. Anyway, I then felt guilty when I changed to formula, but also hugely relieved that the pressure was off, and DS is happy and healthy. You do what you have to do to look after yourself and your baby!

bonzo77 Tue 14-Jan-14 15:41:25

Far from being selfish, you are considering the whole picture of your life with a newborn and trying to anticipate and avoid a problem. If you do FF, and you do end up with PND or anxiety, or whatever, you will be able to go straight into whatever medication is appropriate for you without having to check what is compatible with BF. I FF both my boys out of choice. No one questioned me about it.

PenguinsDontEatKale Tue 14-Jan-14 15:53:43

You absolutely must do what is best for you. The most important factor in your baby's early days is your mental health. If FF is best for that, then ff. Quite frankly, if you simply didn't fancy bfing, you ff and there is nothing at all wrong with that.

I just wanted to point out a couple of things. First, as someone else has said, if you wished you could do the first few colostrum feeds and then switch. That is a great immune boost if you fancied doing it, and doesn't mean you have to carry on with bf after that.

Secondly, just in case other people are reading this thread and panicking, you don't need to eat an extra 500 calories a day in a regimented way to bf. For most women, eating to appetite (and fat reserves built up in pregnancy!) will be fine (and 500 calories is at the top end of likely extra calorie needs anyway. Kellymom estimates it at 300-500). It also tends to be the mother, rather than the baby, who suffers if calorie intake is too low (e.g. women bfing in famine zones). I can understand that, with your history, you would feel you needed to monitor to check that you were eating enough, but just to reassure women without eating disorders that they don't need to do that.

IssyBe Tue 14-Jan-14 16:36:49

Breastfeeding or not BF is a personal decision ultimately.

To be honest, in this instance I think the best thing you can do is seek expert advice from your local breastfeeding support service because you may get mixed views on here.

It can be just a phone call or an email to them. The NHS Choices website should have a database on all breastfeeding support services, and you can search using your post code to find one close to you. In the mean time do what you feel is best... smile

NickyEds Tue 14-Jan-14 16:40:30

You are not a selfish or terrible person- far from it . It sounds like you're being really sensible about this. When I was pregnant I set my heart on BF with absolutely no information about the realities of it. I don't think I've noticed an increase in calories I have- if anything I'm eating less as I have neither the appetite of the time but if you think that it's not for you then don't do it- or just give it a try then decide.
I've had an aweful time BF- mainly due to DS Tongue tie and am now mix feeding whilst trying to increase my supply.I feel embarassed buying formula and guilty when I feed him it. It's ridiculous the pressure to BF- now I've given him formula loads or women I thought exclusively BF have said -in hushed tones-that they gave their babies a bottle occasionally!! Don't let the mammary mafia bully you into a decision you're not happy with- it is up to you how you feed your baby. Of course you could just wait until the baby's born and see how you feel!!

Mim78 Tue 14-Jan-14 16:45:21

No of course not, it's up to you.

You don't have to decide finally now, although I can understand why you want to go in with a clear decision in mind in case people put pressure on you.

I don't think you HAVE TO eat an extra 500 calories per day though - if you don't you'll probably just lose weight I'd have thought (just saying that as logical deduction not actual knowledge!).

bakingtins Tue 14-Jan-14 17:20:45

Unless you are starving yourself then your body will make enough milk, using your stored resources to 'fund' it in terms of calories if necessary. Women in third world countries on extremely nutritionally poor diets can still breastfeed their babies. If you are already slim or underweight then you might struggle to also maintain a healthy body weight if you don't eat more. I found I had a huge appetite, and if you have issues around food that might be difficult for you to handle.
Please don't claim that you "can't Bf" though, just as your body is designed to nourish your baby throughout pregnancy it will do so through infancy.
If you choose not to breastfeed it is nobody's business but yours.

GimmeDaBoobehz Tue 14-Jan-14 17:23:33

Not selfish at all - I wanted to EBF but had to top up with formula from a young age and it's helped my daughter amazingly, considering she is now 9 months and on 75th centile whereas she was on the 2nd.

However if you were really keen on breastfeeding and this was your only worry is there a possibility of perhaps a calorie shake you could take that would give you 500ish calories a day?

Whatever you choose to do it's what is best for your baby as what is good for you, is also good for your baby as an anxious Mum is going to not enjoy all the lovely things a newborn / young baby brings.

JRmumma Tue 14-Jan-14 17:28:43

I think that if the upshot of breastfeeding is potentially to trigger any sort of relapse in your eating disorder then formula feeding is absolutely the right choice for you and your baby. Breast milk may have many benefits, but none will outweigh the benefit of a healthy and happy mother IMO.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

Ilovekittyelise Tue 14-Jan-14 17:35:10

its absolutely your choice and contrary to advice given earlier id say no, dont explain to health visitors/midwives/anyone why, its none of their business how you choose to feed your baby and you should NEVER feel the need to justify your choices/make excuses for yourself; be confident in your choices and ignore everyones well meaning advice

fwiw i was open minded about feeding and bf wasnt happening easily. i had a dreadful birth and after sitting on a rubber ring at one of those bloody clinics i just thought fuck this, its not a priority, and however much other people tried to undermine my choice i knew it was the right one for us.

i did express for about 6 weeks tho so he had a mix of formula and breast milk. obviously completely your choice what you do but expressing a bit might suit you; you would know babys getting plenty to eat and see how it goes.

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 14-Jan-14 18:10:48

Nope not selfish at all, as others have said it is better for baby to have a mum who is happy and in a good place rather than worried and anxious. You should never feel bad about that.

I will not be breastfeeding either, I suffered severe abuse when I was in my late teens and as a result it is physically impossible for me to bf. Both my consultant and midwife have been brilliant, they have written in my notes (and signed underneath their respective comments) that I will be ff and that this is not to be questioned. It's not a subject I relish coming up, even though my issues are long since resolved, so could you get a sympathetic midwife/GP/consultant to write something in your notes?

TransatlanticCityGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 23:03:20

I don't think you are being selfish, it's your decision.

The only points I would add for your consideration are:
- You could always start breastfeeding and switch at the moment that feels right for you
- I don't think you need extra 500 calories to breastfeed. I certainly didn't eat any more than usual post birth and I probably at less due to lack of organisation and time (and I BF exclusively for 12 months)! You want to be well hydrated (water!) and eating a balanced diet but you don't need extra calories. You may find if you don't have much fat reserves that you get more tired quickly, in which case you could increase your caloric intake OR stop breastfeeding at that point. But if you feel fine, you'll probably shed the baby weight very quickly, if you even have much left to begin with.

Lydiejo Wed 15-Jan-14 03:04:08

I don't think it makes you a terrible person. And it is absolutely your choice. I do think it is a little selfish though. Why not at least try breast feeding, knowing that you could stop at any time if necessary? You and your baby will benefit from bf even if for a short time. Or you could do mixed feeding, with just a few bf each day.

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