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To really want to know where I went wrong with breastfeeding?

200 replies

sunglassesintherain · 16/05/2021 08:22

I don’t know if anyone might be able to help me process and understand where I went wrong.

My baby was born at just over 40 weeks after a failed induction and emergency section. I lost consciousness after the operation and so I didn’t get skin to skin with him. OH gave him a bottle of formula milk.

He slept pretty much constantly for twelve hours and when I tried to breastfeed him he just kept losing his latch and getting increasingly frustrated. We persevered for the three days we were in hospital but when he was weighed when we went home he’d lost 12% of his birth weight. We were put on a feeding plan with formula expressed breast milk and trying to feed from the breast.

I saw an independent lactation consultant and he had a tongue tie snipped (she did say it was only a tiny one so not sure it would have made all that much difference) and had community midwives come out but no one would really help.

I expressed for him for nearly three months but I am just trying to work out where I went wrong. Was it not getting skin to skin when he was born?

OP posts:

ShitOnIt00 · 16/05/2021 08:24

You didn’t go wrong at all, it just doesn’t work out in lots of situations,
. I really doubt it was the lack of skin to skin because this would be a factor in lots of cases and I don’t think it is. My sister’s babies all struggled to latch on- who knows why.
Expressing for 3 months is absolutely AMAZING... you’ve effectively doubled your workload! So well done to you. X


CheeseIsMyJam · 16/05/2021 08:25

I don't have an answer OP but please don't beat yourself up about it (easier said than done). Sounds like you tried all you could and it just didn't work out. I shan't go into a long essay about my experience but I tried really hard and it just didn't work in the end. I spent so much time feeling bad and obsessing over it when I should have been enjoying time with my son. I got counselling for post natal anxiety which helped.

Be kind to yourself Flowers


NailsNeedDoing · 16/05/2021 08:26

I’m no expert, but it seems to make sense that such a traumatic birth would lead to problems with breastfeeding.

It sounds like you tried everything you could to make breastfeeding a success and there’s nothing else you could have done. You did nothing wrong, sometimes it just doesn’t work out.


EverdeRose · 16/05/2021 08:26

It's probably a combination of a lot of things.

Milk doesn't come in quite the same after q C-Section, no skin to skin, the bottle of formula, the tongue tie, generally a lack of physical hands on support. It all adds up, but it sounds like you did everything you possibly could to breastfeed.

I was determined to breastfeed until my bqby naturally weaned, but our breast feeding journey was cut short by a long way due to many issues, its caused some feelings of grief which I'm addressing. You did your best, and when best meant no longer breastfeeding you did that too.


EverdeRose · 16/05/2021 08:27

Expressing for 3 months makes you an absolute warrior though in my opinion!


inthenameofthemother · 16/05/2021 08:27

It takes a village is my experience . My wee one was taken to Nicu as soon as born and I was taken to surgery so no skin to skin. I pumped for 2 weeks while in nicu, when I brought my DC home I didn't know what i was gonna do. My friend recommended stopping to get nipple shields which is the only reason I was able to feed DC. I had a support group, health worker, peer to peer support, independents. My wee one had her tongue tie cut twice. The positive breast feeding book by amy brown is fantastic. Although I read this afterwards. So it's not that you did anything wrong it's that you didn't have enough support. Which is really sad. I only had that support because my friends had multiple children and learned after the 1st etc. Please don't be hard on yourself. You did your best


sunglassesintherain · 16/05/2021 08:30

Yes ... tried nipple shields. Sad I just keep wishing I’d persevered. I lost so much confidence when he lost all that weight. Expressing was absolute hell, I regret that in many ways, it took me away from him as he wanted to be held and I kept thinking ‘but I need to express.’

OP posts:

Darbs76 · 16/05/2021 08:31

Did you try and get him to latch during the 3 months you expressed. I couldn’t get DS2 to feed at birth, he just couldn’t seem to latch, he was only 5lbs 10 and crying as he was so hungry so I gave him some formula and bought a breast pump. Around a month later DS said one day when I was expressing just try him on the breast as he was hungry; and he actually just started sucking away, much to my shock. I think he was just to weak to suckle properly at first. I went on to feed him for 8 months in the end.


BalloonSlayer · 16/05/2021 08:31

When I had my eldest I felt breastfeeding was successful because DC1 was born knowing what to do. I didn't have to work out positions, latch etc. When DC2 was born they didn't know what to but by this time I did.

If I had had my DCs round the other way, if DC2 had been born first, I don't think I would have managed to Bf them.

So in other words, I think it's luck.


sunglassesintherain · 16/05/2021 08:33

I did at first darbs but it was very distressing for both of us. I don’t think he was particularly weak, though, he was a healthy weight (8lbs) when he was born and even though he lost some of that he was still a good sized baby.

OP posts:

Wherediditgo · 16/05/2021 08:33


Expressing for 3 months makes you an absolute warrior though in my opinion!


In the nicest possible way, you did not ‘go wrong’ Flowers
Going wrong would be not showing your baby love and comfort and meeting their needs. Which you obviously are.

Darbs76 · 16/05/2021 08:34

And I completely agree don’t beat yourself up. After my experience with DS2 I thought I’d be able to do the same with DD1, but I ended up in hospital for 5 days on IV antibiotics after an infection set in through the cracked nipple I had, so I had to stop expressing and then she went onto formula at 3wks old. It upset me greatly, wish I’d been able to continue. But in the long run fed is best and I was glad I was able to BF at least 1 of my 3 kids. It can upset you for a long time but you need to consider you did everything you could and expressing for 3 months is amazing, I remember how hard that is


andivfmakes3 · 16/05/2021 08:38

Lack of skin to skin wouldn't have been the issue - my twins were taken straight to NICU so I don't get any skin to skin

Giving him a bottle of formulae straight away might have been an issue? Babies don't normally need to feed the second they are born? I was told they generally have enough nutrition naturally to last them several hours after birth

Letting him sleep for 12 hours was probably the issue - my twins were woken every 2 hours at first and then 3 hours to feed (by the NICU staff). I was told newborns shouldn't go that long

When I was establishing breastfeeding with my twins in NICU they followed this particular route - so wake baby up - take temperature and change nappy - baby needs to be awake and alert to feed. Put baby to breast - try for no longer than 20 mins - if they aren't interested don't force it - try again when they are showing cues like rooting/sucking fingers.

I used nipple shields which were a pain for me as one extra thing to keep clean and keep near when they needed feeding but it did work

Positioning is everything - I tried a few different positions before finding what worked for us.

Did a breastfeeding support nurse help you with positioning?


mistermagpie · 16/05/2021 08:38

I expressed for DS1 for six weeks and it was absolute torture, I felt like the bloody pump got more affection than my baby, it was horrible. So big respect for doing that.

As to the breastfeeding not working out, often it doesn't - it hasn't for me two out of three times and it can be so hard to accept, so I totally understand. You do have to try to accept it and move on though, you did your very best and sometimes it just doesn't happen but it's not your fault and you didn't do anything wrong.


SugarCoatIt · 16/05/2021 08:39

YOU didn't go wrong anywhere OP.

Firstly, I would say that just because something is evolutionary ancient doesn't mean that it's easy.

There are lots of women who have much more straight forward and less stressful starts to their journey than you, and they still find things challenging.

I actually think you did an amazing job to be expressing for 3 months for your Son.

I know women who breastfed for a day, and women who breastfed for 4 years, some who could, some who couldn't, some who chose not to.

But a really common occurring theme in all the women who chose to breastfeed was that whenever their breastfeeding journey came to an end, for whatever reason, there was a sense of guilt, and/or a sense of loss, sometimes fleeting, sometimes long lasting.

You should be celebrating your success OP, and you should be really proud of yourself.

There's enough Mum guilt and pressure without adding extra onto ourselves.

(If you want to look at the physiological reasons that may have effected things then kellymom has a lot of good articles and the book The womanly art of breastfeeding is really good)


Comtesse · 16/05/2021 08:41


Expressing for 3 months makes you an absolute warrior though in my opinion!

I completely agree with this. You gave your baby the best start you could. When something didn’t work, you tried other solutions, you were tough and resilient. I think you need to be kind to yourself OP - this is NOT failure in any way Flowers

Babdoc · 16/05/2021 08:41

OP, by the time your child starts school, breast feeding will be a distant memory and the least important thing about your experience as a mother. Please don’t get hung up on it and beat yourself up over it.
The majority of UK mothers have stopped breast feeding (or never started) by six weeks. You persevered well beyond that with expressing, so if anything you should be feeling smug rather than a failure!
Put it behind you, and start enjoying your baby.


sunglassesintherain · 16/05/2021 08:43

It’s really kind of you to say that it was amazing of me to express but I feel so much guilt about that now, looking back. I remember feeling angry because ds would wake up and want to be held and I hadn’t finished pumping Sad And I was up for hours in the night so of course was ratty and irritable and exhausted. I was probably horrible.

He’s a healthy happy baby and I wish I knew why I feel so sad about it, but I just do. I’d never anticipated formula feeding (please don’t think there’s any judgement, I am very fixed in my belief that choice is best but my choice was taken away from me.)

I just want to be prepared if and when I have another baby and try to do better.

OP posts:

sunglassesintherain · 16/05/2021 08:44

Also, although I expressed he only got around 50/50 breast milk and formula. I remember once he threw up after feeding him breast milk and feeling briefly as if I hated him. That’s horrible.

OP posts:

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER · 16/05/2021 08:44

I do think it’s largely down to luck. There was no skin-to-skin when I had either dd decades ago, so I can’t think it’s down to that. And I had no particular help or encouragement, but they just seemed to know what to do, and did it.

TBH I never had any idea that it was supposed to be difficult.


Horehound · 16/05/2021 08:46

Skin to skin did bugger all for me. My baby had to have formula as he couldn't latch. Also slept too long which I kick myself for. He had jaundice, lost too much weight then we were readmitted to hospital for light therapy and feeding plan. Had to express for two to three weeks until he got the hang of breastfeeding.
It's very difficult to persevere.
I did hand express colostrum onto a teaspoon before we were readmitted to hospital and when my milk eventually came in I was topping up formula feeds.

But it was very very hard and I almost gave up had I not had a lot of support.
I know it is hard but do not blame yourself. Flowers


Draineddraineddrained · 16/05/2021 08:47

You didn't go wrong ANYWHERE xx

I hav two girls, both born by EMCS. The first was crazy to breastfeed, she was never off me, but had a terrible terrible latch and tore me to shreds. I ended up feeding her for 2.5 years. Second girl absolutely refused the breast from birth until about a week old. Had to give her formula and then expressed milk. She also struggled on bottles for no reason anyone could tell me. It was bloody miserable. And yes expressing is a special hell, not the doing of it itself but how much time it takes away from baby, and the fear when you can't "get enough" for the next feed... Props to you for managing three months! My lass is now three months and I've been able to encourage her back to the breast, but she's still also having expressed bottles a couple of times a day mainly because my confidence in bf is shot and I'm s scared she's not getting enough.

My point is it's bloody hard (for a lot of people, experienced or not) and every baby is different. You went above and beyond to give your milk to your baby when they needed it most. You've done nothing wrong at all. There's a great book by Amy Brown about bf grief that would be worth your while to read xx


twoofusburningmatches · 16/05/2021 08:48

I had lots of skin to skin immediately after birth, and my baby still struggled to figure out latching. It took us weeks to get it right. Obviously wasn’t there, but would question the need for a bottle of formula immediately after birth if you wanted to breastfeed. When my newborn baby was struggling to latch and I was struggling to express colostrum, my midwives only recommended a cup of formula after about 14 hours, maybe even longer. And was very adamant it should be a small amount in a cup rather than bottle. We luckily got there in the end with breastfeeding but that was only thanks to a lot of support from midwives and the nursery nurses over many weeks.

It seems to be luck of the draw whether you get the right support. And a tough birth often makes breastfeeding more difficult.

Well done for expressing for months - that is amazing and such hard work.


CloseEncountersOfTheTurdKind · 16/05/2021 08:50

It's not your fault. I have 3DDs, the first 2 I had no skin to skin with as they were both rushed off to intensive care. First had first breastfeed at 5 days, second at 4 days. Breastfeeding was wonderful. 3rd DD was straightforward labour and skin to skin immediately and breastfeeding was a nightmare! I think it's just one of those things, and you are amazing to have managed 3 months of expressing! Be kind to yourself, you are doing a great job Flowers


sunglassesintherain · 16/05/2021 08:51

Mine wasn’t jaundiced at all - everyone commented on how lovely and pink he was (he still goes alarmingly red if a terrible crime is committed like putting a cardigan on when it is cold!) but I don’t think S2S helped us much either horehound, he barely wore clothes in the first three weeks!

I was so determined to breastfeed. I wish I knew what happened?

I probably should have persevered more, I think I feel a lot of guilt about that. I’ve seen that book recommended before and I do want to read it but I think I’d find it really upsetting just now.

OP posts:
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