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Formula feeding guilt


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  #1  
February 19th, 2013, 09:10 AM
mal91011's Avatar Mommy to Maxwell
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No matter what I did I could never get a good supply of milk to come in. According to an lc I had lots of things stacked against me - the c section, my milk didn't start to come in until day 7, and fibrous breasts which slowed down my milk production even more. Her suggestion to me was pump, pump, pump.

When max lost over a pound in the first week I started supplementing with formula, even though I knew it was a slippery slope. He continued to have a good latch, but as his appetite grew so did his unhappiness with how little milk I was producing.

So even with pumping and offering him the boob every feeding I was never pumping more than half an ounce. And time wise I could never find time to pump more than 3 times a day - I don't know how you mamas do it more!!

Now Max has pretty much weened himself already. He wants nothing to do with the boob, even if I offer it to him after a bottle.

I feel like such a failure for bfing not working out. I feel guilty like I could have tried harder or should have done things differently. Hes calling the shots though, and hes healthy and thriving. I feel so guilty for calling it quits on bfing.

Did any of you ffing mamas feel this way? This mothering thing is so hard.
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  #2  
February 19th, 2013, 09:42 AM
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I just wanted to say I'm sorry. I know that breastfeeding is an emotional relationship and it's heartbreaking when it doesn't work out the way you had hoped.

I bf'd my first daughter and at 9 months elected to go on the minipill for birth control. Within 3 days of being on this birth control my milk supply completely dried up. I literally went from over producing to not producing anything. I tried everything to get my supply back and it never happen.

I think it's much harder to live with not Bf'ing when it's not really your own choice. All I can say is that with time you will come to terms with it when you realize your baby is happy and healthy.
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  #3  
February 19th, 2013, 10:31 AM
lovelyenchanted's Avatar Super Mommy
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I tried BF'ing my first daughter and went through the same thing. c-section, no supply, anatomical issues. SO I quit and felt guilty. This time I told myself I would try, and not feel guilty if it didn't work. I had originally decided to FF from the start, so this was a change that happened shortly before my c-section date.

So, I tried. And I got pressure for it to work from every angle. I experienced the same issues plus milk not coming in until days after I got home, despite the pressure. LCs can pressure me all they want, but they canNOT tell my body to work. So, you know what? I felt guilty when it didn't work. Again. And it sucked. But, like you, I could not find time to pump more than a few times a day. It was a cycle of give the baby her bottle, pump, get cleaned up, have maybe 5 minutes, and restart the cycle. I could not do that for 24 hours straight.

So, after fighting myself internally for a few days (over something I never originally planned to do in the first place!) I let it go... I stuck with the formula, and we're both happier for it. She's not struggling to get food, and I'm not in tears and emotional agony every 2 hours.

So... try not to be so hard on yourself. BF'ing is NOT easy for everyone. I actually think there are very few people it comes very easily to. I think the good majority of people have to work at it in the beginning, and if the flow of things is not just right, it's very difficult.

My ODD was FF, and she is smart as a whip. I think formula comes with this horrible stigma attached to it for some reason now. But really, if there were so many people NOT BF'ing, there wouldn't be this "breast is best" push from health agencies... they wouldn't HAVE to tell women they should be doing it if EVERYONE was doing it. And while I agree that BF is the best thing nutritionally (in most cases) I don't believe it is always best in terms of the mother's well-being.

So, chin up, mama! Our FF babies will be just fine! And don't you feel guilty about it because you are still doing right by him! He needs a healthy mama physically AND emotionally) more than anything!
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  #4  
February 19th, 2013, 11:19 AM
minalyn's Avatar MOMMY to Evan 1/7/13
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I feel the same way, mothering thing being hard. It's like why didn't anyone ever mention this stuff? I tell myself, try with the next kid. What caused my guilt was my milk didn't come in till like day 5 and he needed to eat so FF is the route DH and I chose together. You say how he's thriving... just remember that and don't let that UNNECESSARY guilt keep you down. :hugs:
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  #5  
February 19th, 2013, 11:39 AM
BeamerMarie- Due Jan 2012
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I BF about 15 times yesterday (we keep a log) and she was just wearing on me. I broke down about midday when I hadn't even brushed my teeth and was starving myself. We also pump 2-3 times a day and do a bottle at night (helps her sleep through the night and is not ingrained as part of our bedtime routine). Pumping has really been helped by a handsfree pumping bra that allows me to do tasks while pumping. Just go to Amazon and search "breast pump bra" and all kinds of choices come up. You can pump while doing just about anything except showering. Cooking, folding laundry, doing your make-up, etc.

It has really helped. Even though I'm only pumping 2-3 times a day, that 40-60 minutes I get back in a day.
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  #6  
February 19th, 2013, 12:01 PM
MammaWannaBe's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I SO went through this. The one thing that made me feel ok about the C-Section was, "even though I didn't get to have my vaginal birth at least I can breastfeed." And then I couldn't. It was crushing. I mean I literally was in tears in the hospital trying to get her to latch on, but failing miserably because of anatomy issues. The LC was fantastic and basically told me to pump and supplement with formula. I literally couldn't watch the first time she took formula I felt SO bad, but I think I would have felt worse to know that she was starving.

Once we got home I was pumping and built up an ok supply, but it was wearing on me physically and emotionally. It was like having twins and I was exaushted. I couldn't do it. So although I was producing enough (this was when she was a week old though) I was beyond frazzled and the stress I think started to effect my milk supply so I gave it up. And I spoke about it on here how going to FF felt like such a failure even though I know women that do it and I was formula fed, so I know that babies are fine that are formula fed, but I just felt like a failure as a woman. But I knew that I had to stop for my own sanity.

It's been a few weeks and I don't regret my decision. She loves her bottle and really doesn't care what she is eating and most importantly she is growing like a weed! Also, I love that my DH can share in the feeding and it's something he enjoys too so I think of it as nice time with her. Also, if I had been strictly BF I would be up with her all hours of the night feeding, but with FF we can share the responsibility which is nice.

There are still days I struggle and I feel a pang of jealousy when I hear of other mother's BF-ing because I don't want to be viewed as selfish for going FF or something, but then I realize that I just need to get over myself. What is important are HER needs not MY needs. Formula may not be what I wanted, but it's best for her and she is thriving so that is ultimately what is important.

Parenting is certainly not easy, but the fact that you are having these feelings shows what a good and concerned mom you are and you are putting your child before your own needs, which is a lovely thing.

If you ever want to talk further about this you know how to reach me! I am SO there with you and went through this same thing so know you are not alone!
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  #7  
February 19th, 2013, 12:33 PM
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I had such bad latching issues with Julius, and then he was in the NICU and every time he would fuss the nurses would give him a bottle instead of calling me over from my hospital room, and on top of that he started to only want to feed for 5-10 to ten minutes and just sort of sip on my boob so that I had hard lumps and had to go pump afterward. I then had nipple issues and decided I would rather pump and bottle feed than have him on the breast but also was supplementing because I was only get 2oz a pump out and he wanted more. Now I'm still getting 2 oz out and he's basically a FFbaby but the doctor said even the little breast milk he gets is good enough, I felt horrible I try and pump but I too only get around to it 2-3 times a day.
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  #8  
February 19th, 2013, 12:37 PM
missadie222's Avatar Go Your Own Way mama2b
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Quote:
Pumping has really been helped by a handsfree pumping bra that allows me to do tasks while pumping. Just go to Amazon and search "breast pump bra" and all kinds of choices come up. You can pump while doing just about anything except showering. Cooking, folding laundry, doing your make-up, etc.
I got that bra! I love it too! SO MUCH BETTER.

I have to supplement too, low milk supply despite what a million Lactation Consultants were telling me. I found out my guy was starving when at 3 1/2 weeks he had lost 5 ounces and was back at birth weight. My mom had similar issues. I plan on BFing and supplementing til at least 3 months, maybe 6 depending. I FELT SO HORRIBLY GUILTY with my first formula bottle I gave him. Wic DOES NOT HELP. They act like formula is pure unadulterated chemical candy and I really felt like **** about it because they put SO. MUCH. PRESSURE. on me to exclusively BF. I had a breakdown when I finally realized I HAD to supplement. I was so sick of lactation consultants and their "wisdom", they practically refuse to believe there is such a thing as a body without perfect BF breasts. I realized I have insufficient glandular tissue, and so does my mother. To tell you the truth I was kind of relieved when I realized I HAD to use a bottle, since they were very against that as well. I started around 3.5 weeks with the MAM bottles cause he liked that paci nipple. It made it so I was able to get a glass of champagne the other night with my girls... DH bottlefed. We are able to travel further and have a bottle of either breastmilk or formula on hand. It's a giant chunk of responsibility off my back. I need that freedom.

I CAN NOT BELIEVE the demands of exclusively breastfeeding... with my complication and all the pain from sitting it was SO HARD in the beginning. It's gotten much easier, but it's actually relieved mainly from knowing there is an alternative to ME alone. My dad has fed Utah, my DH feeds him, his aunt has fed him.... I enjoy sharing the responsibility.
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  #9  
February 19th, 2013, 12:40 PM
Xtapolapocet's Avatar Super Mommy
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First...YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE!!!

I have been traveling the same road as you (in a way). Because the nurses bottle fed David before I could breast feed him (I was also a c/s, but sedated), I never had the ability to get him to latch on - EVER. The only breast milk he has had is what I can pump. My supply began to dwindle because a pump cannot generate the milk production stimulation of him actually breast feeding. I was also forced to supplement formula and just like you, I knew it would eventually become a full time deal. The only comforting thing I can tell you is what the doctor told me. After 6 weeks breast milk and formula are pretty much the same. So if your son has had any breast milk during the first 6 weeks (even just a little) that's when it really counts. So don't beat yourself up, mama! You're not alone and you haven't failed at a thing. At least you care...some moms don't. So that already makes you a stellar mommy!!!
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  #10  
February 19th, 2013, 12:44 PM
babygreenes.mommy
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Hi, I'm Sarah and I'm dropping in from the August '12 PR. When my daughter was born, I got to breastfeed her once before they took her to the NICU, which I had no idea about until later...made me angry...moving on...

When in the NICU, they told me I had to pump constantly to help my supply and also for her to get her feedings, because she had to feed through a tube. So not only did I not get to breastfeed her, I then had problems pumping due to my breasts getting sore and cracked and I was getting really frustrated. My supply did increase, and I was able to pump a lot after my nipples got better, but then my milk just started getting smaller and smaller until I was literally having breakdowns because I was losing my supply and couldn't keep up with her feedings. Did I feel guilty? Oh yeah!!! I sent myself through this huge drawn out guilt trip and felt like I had failed my daughter. She was only in there for a week and a half, but because I kept having problems pumping, I eventually lost my chance to breastfeed and had to switch to formula.

I'd say, save yourself the emotional stuff and just tell yourself it isn't your fault. Breastfeeding doesn't work for everyone, and even though that's not what we want to hear, you have to remember it isn't because you didn't try. You really wanted to breastfeed and it you tried and it didn't work. Your baby is still healthy and thriving and that's what's really important.
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  #11  
February 19th, 2013, 03:16 PM
mal91011's Avatar Mommy to Maxwell
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Thanks ladies. I'm so glad that i'm not the only one feeling this way. It's incredible how much pressure we put on ourselves when it comes to mothering. Yet again this is another one of those things that there's nothing i can do about it and need to not make myself feel like such a failure. My body did fail me, but there wasn't much i can do about it. My breasts are filled with fibrous cysts and have been since i was a teenager. Add that with the c section, which i obviously didn't want and the odds were stacked against me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MammaWannaBe View Post
I SO went through this. The one thing that made me feel ok about the C-Section was, "even though I didn't get to have my vaginal birth at least I can breastfeed." And then I couldn't. It was crushing. I mean I literally was in tears in the hospital trying to get her to latch on, but failing miserably because of anatomy issues.
This exactly!! I didn't get my natural labor. I didn't get my vaginal delivery. And then i can't freaking get BFing to work either?! In those first few weeks it all put me so close to the end of my rope.
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  #12  
February 19th, 2013, 03:22 PM
MammaWannaBe's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Originally Posted by mal91011 View Post
Thanks ladies. I'm so glad that i'm not the only one feeling this way. It's incredible how much pressure we put on ourselves when it comes to mothering. Yet again this is another one of those things that there's nothing i can do about it and need to not make myself feel like such a failure. My body did fail me, but there wasn't much i can do about it. My breasts are filled with fibrous cysts and have been since i was a teenager. Add that with the c section, which i obviously didn't want and the odds were stacked against me.



This exactly!! I didn't get my natural labor. I didn't get my vaginal delivery. And then i can't freaking get BFing to work either?! In those first few weeks it all put me so close to the end of my rope.
It really felt like nothing was going my way. I was am emotional basket case. I try to remind myself that the healthy beautiful baby is the prize even if it didn't go my way. I really didn't know that BF-ing could be so hard or basically impossible for some women. I think it's also the stigma that comes with FF. I hate that I feel like I need to explain myself. You wanna look at my nipples and give it a shot? Feel free lol
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  #13  
February 19th, 2013, 03:27 PM
mal91011's Avatar Mommy to Maxwell
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Originally Posted by MammaWannaBe View Post
I hate that I feel like I need to explain myself. You wanna look at my nipples and give it a shot? Feel free lol
Haha exactly!! Wanna feel how lumpy my boobs are? Not making this crap up!! Actually once the LC explained to me that people with fibrous breasts sometimes have problems BFing a i felt a bit better. At least i finally had some kind of reason why they weren't working right.

It's funny now because looking back my friends and i joked that BFing would be easy for me and my size 34DD breasts. And now i realize my bff and her size 34b will probably have an easier time bfing!
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  #14  
February 19th, 2013, 08:14 PM
Dee
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I am so here with you. J is 9 weeks old and I still feel awful that I can't feed him the way I wanted to... on top of all of my other hopes about his birth and first days going unmet. (I'm so wrapped up in it, I think I've replied to every thread about this in our DDC... it consumed me.)

He's rejected my breast so many times, and seems so traumatized when I try to BF, that I finally embraced the fact that giving him a bottle is much better bonding time. I'm pumping right now and still only get milliliters at a time, but instead of pumping 8 to 10 times a day I now do it 2 times a day, use the time to catch up on email (and JM!), and will give him what I can.

And I eventually stopped crying so much about this when I realized that there are going to be many things that I won't be able to do for him in his life. It turns out, much to my surprise and dismay, that breastfeeding him is one thing I can't give him. But I can do a lot of other things. I'll be able to teach him to ride a bike, I can help him with his stats homework in high school, and it turns out I'm pretty handy with a snow blower and can teach him that. For all the things I can't do for him, there is so much that I can, and will.

This is true for you, too. You will do SO many things for Max. It is sad that breastfeeding isn't one of them, but that still doesn't change the fact that he is so lucky to have you for his mom.

(ETA: FFing also means that other people can give him a bottle. Especially his dad, and this has been awesome for his bonding with his dad.)
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  #15  
February 19th, 2013, 08:26 PM
RobynL's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I had a very similar situation as you. I do not produce enough breastmilk. With my first I started to give up around 2.5 months I got so sick of pumping, sns device, nursing non stop etc. I had orrible guilt too! I found myself having a similar problem this time around with a low supply and baby having a big weight loss. I now supplement 8-12 oz a day depending on supply. I take expensive nursing tincture constantly, fenugreek, eat oatmeal and pump but still it is not enough. My dr thinks dexter is getting at least half breastmilk. Wich makes me feel better but still it is depressing and I find myself crying over it as much as I try not to. You are not alone, bf is not easy for everybody and no matter what I do I just don't have enough either. I've spent hundreds of dollars on an expensive pump, medications, lactation consultants and still I'm struggling. Just know you tried your best and are not alone. Dex is 7 weeks today and I'm praying to go to 6 months, even of he is only getting a little breast milk. But onestly 6 months seems impossible. I'm taking it week by week eight now and just doing the best I can. Hang in there mama, your baby will be just as happy as a breasted baby and you will be a lot less stressed long term.
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  #16  
February 20th, 2013, 08:36 AM
Angel.Eyes4351's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Megan, I just wanted to say that what you are feeling is normal... And it is really hard. I went through the same thing with my first. No one thing led to me failing at breastfeeding, it was a combination of things stacked against us. Preemie, bad latch, c-section, nipple shield, and probably NERVES. I also have fibrocystic breast disease, I didn't realize that could have effected it too.

However I wanted to say that I nursed my second for 22months with little to no issues. And things are going well so far this time. So don't think that your circumstances will necessarily repeat themselves. I honestly feel my birth had much to do with it. Will you VBAC your next baby?

I also want to say that my oldest is very healthy, athletic, and in the top of his class. And also every bit of colostrum and breastmilk that you were able to give him was beneficial!

And lastly... Hugs. I can remember all too well bawling my eyes out while hooked to my pump... I think it's something you totally have to grieve. Breastfeeding, and your birth. <3
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  #17  
February 20th, 2013, 05:30 PM
MammaWannaBe's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I like how you put that Bri, grieve your birth and the breast feeding. I think it's so important to do that and give it time, it's much more emotional than I could have ever imagined.
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  #18  
February 21st, 2013, 11:35 PM
mal91011's Avatar Mommy to Maxwell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel.Eyes4351 View Post
Megan, I just wanted to say that what you are feeling is normal... And it is really hard. I went through the same thing with my first. No one thing led to me failing at breastfeeding, it was a combination of things stacked against us. Preemie, bad latch, c-section, nipple shield, and probably NERVES. I also have fibrocystic breast disease, I didn't realize that could have effected it too.

However I wanted to say that I nursed my second for 22months with little to no issues. And things are going well so far this time. So don't think that your circumstances will necessarily repeat themselves. I honestly feel my birth had much to do with it. Will you VBAC your next baby?

I also want to say that my oldest is very healthy, athletic, and in the top of his class. And also every bit of colostrum and breastmilk that you were able to give him was beneficial!

And lastly... Hugs. I can remember all too well bawling my eyes out while hooked to my pump... I think it's something you totally have to grieve. Breastfeeding, and your birth. <3
The ob said if I were to have a second one I could have a vbac, but I'm 98% sure max will be my only child. I think that's probably why I'm taking all of this so hard is that in all reality this was my only shot at a lot of things that my body ended up failing at, but it's all been beyond my control.

You're right, it's definitely a relationship that I need to grieve, but focus on the positives that max is a healthy guy.

Man, I'm amazed at mommy guilt!!
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