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Postnatal health

Wracked with guilt over giving up bf

5 replies

Hannahlouise4026 · 25/04/2019 10:28

Baby number 3, was determined to breastfeed this time - read up loads before hand, mentally prepared myself for the difficulties (struggled feeding number 1 and didn’t bfeed number 2 at all)
First few days were ok, baby was born first day of easter holidays and with a 4&5 year old at home and husband that had to return to work as soon as I got home from hospital, I was coping ok. Around 2 weeks I just really started to struggle, feeding was taking 1hour plus each time, and then as soon as he was fed he would want fed half an hour later. I know it’s normal, but I couldn’t properly look after the other two as I could never put him down. I felt anxious and teary every time I could hear him stirring for a feed. By 2 weeks he still wasn’t back to birth weight so midwife suggested topping up with one bottle of formula. This helped a little , the relief I’d feel when it was the time of day for the formula bottle. After a few days I decided to try mix feeding, so he was having about 2/3 bottles and rest breastfeed. I feel like I gave up to quickly, and he was solely being formula fed after a couple more days. Now 2 weeks later I’m feeling consumed with guilt. Baby is struggling with reflux (didn’t seem to have it while bf) everyone outwith family/close friends assumes I’m still bf and I’m too ashamed to correct them. I’m embarrassed to feed him in public as I feel so ashamed for giving up. Where I live pretty much everyone breastfeeds. How do I get over this extreme guilt? He’s my last baby and I’d always, always wanted to breastfeed. And I stupidly gave up for selfish reasons.?

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StrawberriesAreRed · 25/04/2019 15:15

You are doing what is right for you and your baby and have nothing to feel guilty about.
My DD is 10 weeks and after successfully BF her 3 brothers I didn't have reason to think this time would be any different.
She was born with a slight tongue tie and struggled to latch on, particularly at night when she would end up so distressed.
At 10 days old I started expressing and she took to a bottle immediately but I struggled to keep up with the expressing and introduced 1 or 2 FF a day from 3 weeks. My milk supply was dwindling so by 6 weeks all her feeds were FF with 1 BF at night.
I had to give up BF a week ago as she started sleeping through some nights and my supply dried up.
I've cried over not being able to solely bf this time but realised I gave it my best and that is all you can do.
Don't feel guilty about giving a bottle in public as no one has the right to judge you over how you choose to feed your baby as every baby is different and you have to do what is right for you and your LO.
Thanks

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FartnissEverbeans · 05/05/2019 02:21

As I understand it, reflux doesn’t usually manifest until babies are a few weeks old anyway so it’s probably not the formula.

I was confident in my decision to exclusively formula feed (I have my reasons, but all I’ll say is that it was a choice I made) but I think postpartum hormones conspired to make me feel guilty. Now that I’m rational again I know it was the right thing for us to do.

Formula won’t harm your baby. Breastmilk is of course better on a population level, but the effects on your particular child could be negligible or none. For example, statistically speaking I read that it takes something like 24 (I don’t have a source for that to hand but I read it in Joan Wolf’s book) breastfeeding women to protect against one GI infection. In a third world country that’s crucial, but in the West, less so.

A lot of the benefits attributed to breastmilk aren’t really borne out by the evidence - a lot of studies don’t control adequately for confounding factors like maternal BMI, socioeconomic status etc. Some do of course, but the best studies are large scale longitudinal ones like the PROBIT study, and sibling studies. Both of those seem to be pointing towards much more conservative conclusions about the benefits of breastmilk (the PROBIT study errs on the side of conservatism anyway due to the study’s design, but it’s a well regarded study and its conclusions are valid).

However, I don’t think this knowledge will make you feel a lot better. Be kind to yourself. Parenting is about compromise a lot of the time. You’re a good mother. In time you’ll feel better about what was clearly a logical, sensible decision.

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Mumoftwox · 04/06/2019 19:38

Hi, I completely understand this feeling. Have just had my third 11 days ago and had all the intention of breastfeeding. My other two were breastfed, since having them I have been diagnosed with connective tissue disease and I'm on medication to control it. I was expressing in the hospital, however as I was leaving the doctor rushed to tell me I cant breastfeed on the medication it's really high risk for baby. I was so angry that no one had mentioned it before and soo gutted feeling like my baby wont get the same nutrients that my other two have had. I'm now bottle feeding using sma and still feel a bit of a let down but can only do what we can do. Try not beat yourself up about it. Most important thing is your baby getting fed. xx

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Ifsomeonehadtoldme · 28/06/2019 09:38

Try not to feel guilty with DS 1 guilty feelings made me carry on to a year and I cannot begin to describe the relief I felt when I gave his last feed on his first birthday. Currently toughing out a rough patch and trying to get to a place to try formula but guilts getting to me again so you’re not alone.

Tell your family and own it proudly. Your baby is happy, well fed and healthy. Those are the only things that count for him. He needs you to get whatever help you need to get past this.

Also it’s absolutely not selfish especially if you’re look after other LOs - it’s hard! I definitely don’t have that down and I feel guilty about having to ignore DS1 instead!

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Greenmarmalade · 28/06/2019 09:46

I've bf my 4 DC and would never judge you for not breastfeeding. Having experienced it myself, I know how time consuming it is, and how many challenges there can be. I would never judge anyone for making the decision to stop.

My exclusively bf dd1 also had reflux, so try not to assume it's because of your feeding choices.

You're looking after 3 children, which is a tough job... you're doing brilliantly!!

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