Ainu to be a bit upset by this comment and to think maybe I gave up attempting to breast feed too easily?

(136 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Sun 26-May-13 21:47:57

I wanted to breast feed. I planned to breast feed. I tried to breast feed. DD (11w old now) wasn't a fan, screamed blue murder every time we tried, never once latched on. I paid three separate lactation consultants and tried to take all their advice. My nipples are flat and that didn't help. DD gnawed as them and cracked them every time she tried to latch and they were in danger of getting infected. I expressed colostrum into a tiny syringe for hours after my c section and then I pumped for three weeks as often as I could. I never got supply up properly because I couldn't pump as advised ten times a day, I didn't know how to do that and be with DD at the same time IYSWIM, I couldn't hold her/comfort her while pumping and DH couldn't take more paternity leave than allowed so he could be home to take care of her while I pumped.

Today a fellow new mother asked me if I had not breastfed because it 'didn't fit in with your lifestyle'.

She probably meant no harm and I know she herself went to impressive lengths to establish breastfeding. She is a bit on the smug side in general but I don't actually think she was trying to make me feel small.

But I have been down all day ever since.

I am wondering if I did give up too easily.

I chose to prioritise my mental health (have suffered depression in the past) as the whole thing was getting me very stressed plus I was skipping sleep to try to pump and therefore not having the energy to bond with DD the way I wanted.

I thought at the time it was the right decision but today that question made me feel shit.

I dd feel guilty when I stopped but I told myself (which is true!!) that important though bfing is, to me it was not a be all and end all, I feel I have other things to offer DD even if my breasts were useless to her sad

I am generally very hard on myself though and so now I can't shake the thought that I stopped too soon and too easily just because it wasn't working out as easily as I wanted.

It wasn't remotely because I wanted to drink coffee and booze etc which is what that comment made me feel.

Ugh. Why am I doubting myself now?!?

Oh and what should I have said to her? I just kind of mumbled something about it not working out.

AIBU to feel rubbish and slightly ashamed for not finding more ways to try to make it work?

pointythings Mon 27-May-13 19:15:22

Ignore, ignore, ignore. You tried everything. It didn't work for you. End of.
And I say this as one of those lucky, lucky people who found bf easy and had buckets of the white stuff. Enjoy the lovely baby snuggles and ignore the smug cow.

orangeone Mon 27-May-13 19:18:19

And as for comments from others..... I tell mums to say "thank you for your comment, but I hope you won't mind me ignoring it as I think you've been rather rude'! grin

Or smile, nod and find different friends.....

I chose to prioritise my mental health

THIS - you chose something that benefited you both. It's all very well and good breastfeeding, but if it is making you unhappy and depressed, why continue? Your baby needs more than your milk, she needs love, attention and a happy mother.

Congratulations on your beautiful DD! smile

I am a breastfeeding peer supporter. I also suffered PND. It was partially related to the struggle I had establishing BFing with DS, but there were other factors too. It sounds to me like you did exactly the right things and chose to feed your baby in another way because she needed to be fed. As a peer supporter I would never advocate a mother borderline starving her child because she could not establish BFing for whatever reason. Yes, there is a lot to be said for not "giving up" at the first hurdle and some women are able to break through the hurdle/s and feed for longer but for the ones that aren't (particularly if they gave it their best shot!) it really doesn't matter. We are lucky to have an alternative and safe way to feed our babies - formula exists for exactly the reasons you were unable to feed!

Ignore anyone who tries to tell you your decision was wrong. You are doing the best thing for your baby - worse would be attempting to BF to the point your DD wasn't getting enough nutrition and possibly ending up with PND to boot, which (I can speak from experience) does not help with any aspect of parenting. You will feel enough guilt in parenting without worrying that you didn't breastfeed her for long enough - choose your battles (with yourself a lot of the time!) wink

Well done on trying so hard, and well done for standing by your choice to feed your baby in a way that satisfies both her and you.

itsblackoveryonderhill Mon 27-May-13 20:04:08

Don't beat yourself up. You'll realise in a few years that there are a few smug parents around, but they'll get knocked down a peg or two when they realise that there child is well, a normal child, nothing special or outstanding. Just an ordinary child that is just special to them.

FWIW, think of it this way.... If you suffered from epilepsy, you would probably be taking medication that is not compatible with breastfeeding and I bet you wouldn't have beat yourself up under that situation, but you have flat nipples and you tried and you tried really hard, you have no control over it.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both FF and BF and so neither one is any 'better' than the other. Formula is not poison, and I can bet the majority of us ladies with younger children were FF because that was the advise in the 70's and 80's and we are all perfectly fine and since then formula is much better nutritionally.

My DD was breastfed until 16mths old (she's now 4yrs and 5mths), but when we talk about it, she of course can't remember it and she laughs in nervous way when she see's the photo's I got DH to take of me feeding her because I knew I wouldn't particularly 'remember' it as it were.

Chin up, and if anybody else makes such a comment, just say, 'and why is it a concern of yours?' That will shut them up.

VikingLady Mon 27-May-13 20:26:56

Another peer supporter here - a depressed mother is not going to help any baby!

A response for future comments: "Does it make you feel better about yourself to put me down, when you don't know about my medical history?"

What a cowbag.

itsaruddygame Mon 27-May-13 20:49:36

Ignore her! Only the most insensitive mother could make such a comment. I seriously don't understand how anyone that initially struggled could even go there. It says a lot about the type of person she is that she made such a comment.

RunnerHasbeen Thu 30-May-13 15:07:02

It sounds like I had a similar experience to you, but in some ways I was lucky to have been ill after the birth and that gave an explanation to people that they could understand. At 11 weeks it was still such a sore point that I would be liable to cry if I was asked about BFing.

However, at 17 months, I can look back thinking I tried and realise that things improved immeasurably after I stopped trying. I don't have any doubt about the decision to stop, I can see it wasn't going to happen. I now judge myself as nicely and sympathetically as I would someone else who had had such a hard time and really tried. Just so you know it is unlikely to stay such a sore point and to congratulate you on everything you managed to do - your daughter is a lucky girl.

RooBow Thu 30-May-13 21:44:42

I had exactly the same problem with bf-ing my dd when born last year (5 weeks early by cs under general) - I thought it would just happen but neither of us could get the hang of it! Tried for about 3 weeks before giving up & carrying on with bottle (scbu had started bottle feeding while I was still being operated on). I was devastated, felt guilty, like I was a failure & was letting her down but there was no way I could have carried on trying to express, nothing was coming out in the end.
I worried that we missed out on bonding but she's now 14 months and we're so incredibly close!
I felt totally judged by other bf-ing mums in the first few months, luckily no one said anything so cruel to me as they did to u. I would have reacted the same if they did, wouldn't have known what to say. Just think that she doesn't know what ur experience has been like, we're not all lucky enough to have the 'perfect' birth experience but I don't believe that exists anyway!
I'm happy to report that my dd hasn't had anything worse than a cold whereas the bf babies in my group of mum friends all keep getting virus' etc. She's a very happy, content little girl and u can't tell she was ff or premature now. It gets easier & ur bond will grow over time.
A councillor I saw after my section said something I still have to remind myself of sometimes now, that I have done the best I could do for my child - & we really can't do anymore than that so we shouldn't keep beating ourselves up!

thefuturesnotourstosee Thu 30-May-13 21:59:23

OP I breast fed DD for 2 years and am still feeding DS at 10 months. I'm obviously a perfect mother....... you're obviously rubbish wink

However I can afford to be smug. I was damned lucky. Breastfeeding came easily with DS and after a little bit of help from a friendly midwife I established it within a few days with DD. To be blunt if I hadn't I'd have given up very early on. It hurt, my nipples cracked and bled, I cried, couldn't sleep for pain, couldn't get her latched on and was on my way to buy a tub of formula when I met my midwife in the road. She asked me how it was going and I sobbed on her and she said to give it one last try. She came round that evening and spent an hour with me checking my latch, holding my hand and showing me how and it worked if not it would have been cow and gate by 8pm.

I hadn't even tried a 10th as hard as you did before I nearly gave up. You've clearly done everything you can. You need to feed your baby and there is no rule to say you have to be miserable and in pain to achieve it .

Enjoy every minute. Breast or bottle it does not matter. The main thing is that they're fed.

MrsRickyMartin Fri 31-May-13 17:31:30

I am still BF and I find that comment idiotic. You did the best you could and you really don't owe any explanations to anyone.

Just agree to whatever they say and they won't be able to comment more. For example I had a EMCS and someone said to me: oh, you didn't have the strength to push? I said: no, I am too posh to push.

The most important thing is that you and baby are healthy.

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