Don't want to breastfeed but feel guilty

(47 Posts)
chloebruce93 Mon 11-Nov-13 10:35:44

Ds is nearly 8 weeks old and I've been bfing since birth. I'm 19 and a single parent and I have little support. I was set on bfing but ds seems to be feeding every hour and it's driving me mad. Sometimes it takes me hours to even get out if bed because everytime I move he wakes up and wants another feed. I'm really beginning to resent feeding. I hate the way it feels and I can't go out because I don't feel comfortable feeding in public. I've also tried expressing out can only get one bottles worth if milk a day. I know that ds is getting enough milk from the breast because I can hear him swallowing it! I tried him on 2oz of sma before bed a few nights ago and he projectile vomited the whole lot back up so I'm frightened to try it again! Any advice on weaning or some encouragement please!?

wiganwagonwheelworks Mon 11-Nov-13 10:42:51

only that if you want to carry on a little longer, it will slow down soon. They don't keep feeding every hour for long, it does tail off and you soon find you've gone 2/3 hours without a feed. Also you could get a baby feeding cover if you feel self conscious about being out and about? And really no-one is looking at you when you're out, it just feels that way.
Or...you could keep making the switch - it's normal for babies to throw up formula because they need so much more volume wise to get the same nutrition - you get used to BF babies not vomiting but FF babies do seem to posset more. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will be along soon. You're doing really well to have got to 8 weeks smile

EatDessertFirst Mon 11-Nov-13 10:50:27

Firstly, stop feeling guilty! You've done amazingly well to bf for this long!

My DD (now 5) was exactly as you are describing (feeding often) and she was tongue-tied which can make bf difficult for youand baby. Maybe have your DS checked to see if this is a possibility? It could also be a growth spurt. Msybe a HV would be a good first point of contact to reassure you.

If you put your DS full on formula please don't feel as though you have failed!! The formulas nowadays are brilliant if you chose to move on. Maybe a Comfort one so its easy on the tummy(I think Cow & Gate make one) When we put DD on formula (she wasn't putting on weight due to the trouble feeding) it was a revelation. She was so much more settled, I was far less stressed and DP and other people could feed her. She is nowa perfect little girl.

My DS was ff from birth and he is also in perfect health/weight at 3 years old.

showtunesgirl Mon 11-Nov-13 10:53:52

OP, can you see if you can just take it one day at a time for the moment and not think about long term?

I remember the first 8 weeks being horrible and then it got better after that. By Week 10 it was so much easier.

princesspants Mon 11-Nov-13 11:22:35

He shouldn't be feeding every hour now.
He needs at least 2 hours from the start of one feed to the start of the next.
I had 3 with reflux so I had lots of good advice on feeding from pediatricians and they said ANY baby should not be fed any more than that at first.
TBH you should have him 3 hourly with maybe the odd 4 hour by now.
He is unsettled and uncomfortable because of the amount of feeding but then feels he needs the comfort of it because of feeling uncomfortable IYSWIM. It's a vicious cycle.

Try walking the floor or doing anything to spread out the feeds more. It's hard at first but he will get used to it and feel better for it and settle down.

If you absolutely hate feeding out then introduce 1 bottle into his day everyday. Say 11pm ish. You might even get a better sleep. At least then if you are, say meeting friends in a public place and dreading the feed, you have that option.
I suspect he threw up because he hadn't long been breastfed?
Don't try to re feed after he is sick either, adds to the discomfort.

I think you are amazing for what it is worth. 19 and Single and you have breast fed him for 8 weeks even though it has been a struggle. Don't give yourself a hard time. You have given him the best start in life and built up his immune system enormously.

I was 30 when I had my first and i was embarrassed feeding out. I felt so self conscious and I had my husband with me so the fact you have got to 8 weeks on your own is fantastic. He's a lucky boy. x

princesspants Mon 11-Nov-13 11:24:21

If you do decide to wean you can only drop one feed a week or your boobs will become very engorged and sore with possibly an infection if it happens too quick.

princesspants Mon 11-Nov-13 11:25:52

Where did I get that you were feeding him every hour?hmm!

hettienne Mon 11-Nov-13 11:27:16

What a load of rubbish princesspants! Why does he "need" to be going 2 hours? Making a baby wait 3 or 4 hours for a feed is totally unnatural and based on formula feeding - it's not something a breastfed baby needs to do, and most won't.

chloe, do you offer both sides when you feed? I found that starting the day with a really big feed, both sides at least and then offering the first again, meant DS would go a good couple of hours before wanting another feed. If I put him in a sling with a dummy and went out he often went a lot longer.

Pooka Mon 11-Nov-13 11:30:21

If you crack the feeding while out situation, then it would be so much easier in the long term.

Have you tried at home feeding in front of a mirror so you can work out how little is actually on view? A muslin artfully arranged can mean that nothing is seen if that's what is worrying you. Really and truly, having fed three babies out and about I have never ever received an adverse comment. Initially I fed in changing/feeding rooms, but then found a comfy spot on a bench or in a cafe facing away from the throngs as I became more confident. By the third, could feed quite discreetly while walking and pushing a pushchair!

Pooka Mon 11-Nov-13 11:31:37

Would second the sling suggestion - having the baby bundled in a sling and having discovered dummies made the gaps between feeds lengthen gradually.

tiktok Mon 11-Nov-13 11:33:51

princess, you say "He shouldn't be feeding every hour now.
He needs at least 2 hours from the start of one feed to the start of the next. I had 3 with reflux so I had lots of good advice on feeding from pediatricians and they said ANY baby should not be fed any more than that at first. TBH you should have him 3 hourly with maybe the odd 4 hour by now. "

Sorry, paediatricians are 100 per cent wrong about this. Frequent feeding is very normal with young babies - it's very common for babies to feed often, and there is NOTHING wrong with it. Babies need to be close to the people who love them, and feeding enables this.

When babies get older, they usually space their feeds out, take less time to feed, and are generally more able to be comforted by a range of strategies, not just feeding.

At the moment, OP, you are in a very intense stage and it is temporary. Fighting it can be harder work than accepting it and working out ways to make it easier to cope with. There are many options for this - perhaps posting in Breastfeeding and Bottle feeding will help. Or calling any of the bf helplines. Frequent feeding and feeling trapped by it is horrible - but there are alternatives.

showtunesgirl Mon 11-Nov-13 11:51:45

princesspants, your info seems to be quite outdated as tiktok said.

I'm pretty sure I fed my DD every two hours until she was about 9 months when she started to get the idea of food. It was much easier to just feed her than to fight what she wanted.

waterrat Mon 11-Nov-13 12:27:04

Sorry but I agree with the poster who says a bf baby can go for more than 2 hours by 8 weeks. I was in the same position as you op - freaking out at 8 weeks about constant feeding and I realised that some of what I thought were hunger cries were actually that he was tired - so I would put him in the sling and have a walk thn after he slept few again - I was probably still only going 2.5 hours but got to about 3 by about 4 months ...

People should remember that if the op finds bf too demanding she will stop! Which is fine - so telling her that babies feed every 2 hours until 9 months might not be tht helpful - I'm sure some babies do but lots also don't ... Babies can adapt very well if the mum wants a little bit more of a routine

waterrat Mon 11-Nov-13 12:28:49

On a more practical note op - as you actually asked for advice on stopping - I would suggest mix feeding - with a bottle or two at same time each day - you could do te bottle while out so you feel more comfortable ?

kotinka Mon 11-Nov-13 12:32:39

do what fits for you, the guilt is no good for you or your baby. I had to stop bf early due to SPD, we went on to aptamil. it was such a relief to be able to let someone else help with feeds now and again ( reflux problems, feeding little and often).

dozily Mon 11-Nov-13 12:40:40

I think you're doing amazingly well. If you do give up now, try not to feel guilty - you have already got your baby off to the best possible start.

If you are even slightly thinking of continuing though, things will get a lot easier soon - you've done the hardest bit already.

Good luck with whatever you decide flowers

tiktok Mon 11-Nov-13 12:45:24

"I agree with the poster who says a bf baby can go for more than 2 hours by 8 weeks.".....some babies can, few babies would 'starve' if they were 'made' to do this, but breastfeeding is not solely about meeting a baby's hunger.

It is utterly ridiculous to say what babies of this age 'should' be doing - as if all babies can be slotted into a pre-determined time-table and have their needs for comfort, reassurance, contact and connection met in the same time-tabled way.

Frequent feeding for a young baby is normal, and physiologically and developmentally appropriate.

Mothers need support and help to be able to meet these needs without feeling exhausted and oppressed themselves. They have needs, too. These needs are not incompatible (usually) with the baby's needs.

AmberLeaf Mon 11-Nov-13 12:52:47

If you want help to continue BF you will find it here, but, if you really want to stop. Then stop and you will also find support to do that too.

You shouldn't feel guilty.

showtunesgirl Mon 11-Nov-13 13:08:43

Sorry, I don't think I explained myself thoroughly there. Yes DD was BF about every two hours but that was not through the night. Also I found it easier to just give her a quick feed rather than stringing it out for hours saying to myself: she MUST go longer etc.

minipie Mon 11-Nov-13 13:10:40

How is his feeding - does he seem to be well attached? are you sore? is he windy?

Feeding every hour could be normal (it could be a growth spurt) OR it could be a sign that something is not quite right with the breastfeeding - poor latch or tongue tie as someone above suggested. My DD was tongue tied and fed so much better and less frequently once it was cut. I would definitely investigate these options before giving up. Can you go to a local breast-feeding cafe (ideally when there is a counsellor there) or speak to your local La Leche League?

If he is really just hungry then I'm not sure formula will make life much easier - he will still want loads of feeds and you'd just have the faff of bottles as well…

Well done for breastfeeding so far, you're doing great.

waterrat Mon 11-Nov-13 14:23:52

Tiktok you know a lot about breast feeding probably far more than I do ! But this is a board for people to share experiences - I didn't say any baby 'should' do anything - I told the op of my own experience - that at 8 weeks I realised my baby could go a little longer without any stress on his part -

She is asking for advice on weaning so is obviously struggling with constant feeds - I know many mums who had a much stricter routine for their babies than I did and kept bf for months ....

I think it's a shame that a young mum who wants advice in mix feeding or dropping some feeds is just being told to get on with it and feed all day long .....we are trying to say it gets easier and can really be worth persevering particularly with some bottles to make life easier

Op there are tips on mix feeding in the bottle and breast section

tiktok Mon 11-Nov-13 14:38:47

water, I wasn't referring to your post when I criticised people who said babies 'should' do something - it was a post before yours where princess quoted some especially ill-informed paediatricians on what babies ought to be doing.

You were agreeing with that poster, and you said 'babies can....' and I was clarifying that yes, some babies can but that doesn't mean they have to.

I haven't said anything about what anyone 'should' be doing, and I certainly did not say she should just get on with it and feed all day long.

I pointed out the baby's (normal) needs, and her (normal) needs and said they were not incompatible. The OP asks for tips on weaning or some encouragement - she's not solely wanting info to stop bf.

Hope you are clear now about what I said smile

chloebruce93 Mon 11-Nov-13 15:18:41

Thank you everyone. All of your advice has been helpful in someway. I think I will look in the breastfeeding section and give the hv a call. Thank you thank you!!

Chloe you have done amazingly well, so if you do switch to formula you have nothing to feel guilty about. I felt exactly the same as you at around 8 weeks, to keep myself going I'd think 'ok I'll breastfeed until 9 weeks then switch to formula', then I'd get to that point and think 'I'll try and keep going for another few days', and suddenly it all got SO much easier. It was around the 12 week mark. She started going so much longer between feeds, and I'd got so much better at all the practical stuff like confidently feeding in public etc. A year later when I did stop breastfeeding I was in floods because I knew I'd miss it! If you'd told me that in the early days I'd've said no way, I can't wait to stop!

princesspants Mon 11-Nov-13 20:48:59

My god the breast feeding police are out tonight lol!

OK, I didn't tell the OP what her baby SHOULD be doing as a rule. I was pointing out that at 8 weeks their pattern has usually changed and spread out by now. USUALLY, not DEFINITELY.
Could just be another sign he might be uncomfortable.

Pediatricians know a wee bit about digestion systems and not what!!

They explained to me about the whole process starting from smell then saliva builds up, what the organs then do, almost like an engine firing up, then the digestion process etc and how long that would take to fully digest a feed.
Obviously I haven't got it written down word for word but it totally made sense and it worked.
I went from having babies who screamed and fed non stop to much calmer and happier.
Feeding constantly CAN cause discomfort, excessive wind and further need to sooth as breast milk is like a natural antacid. It can be a vicious cycle.

I have watched mum friends with their babies and seen it so many times. The baby is fed, both sides, winded and maybe ready for a sleep. We are maybe out in a cafe so the baby is over tired and grumpy. Mum feeds again a bit more. The baby still hasn't settled by the time we are ready to leave so she decides maybe a quick last feed will settle her.

It is so easy to use/confuse breast feeding for everything. They don't just need breast. They need naps, cuddles, stimulation, winded, too hot, too cold.

It is so easy for people to jump up and down about Breast is Best but some babies have problems like my 3 with Reflux disease and some mothers have it tougher than others too so don't wave the breast feeding flag in everyone else's face because it worked out for you and your baby.

FWIW I fed my first DC for 5 months. It was undiagnosed and I nearly lost my mind struggling to feed him as he pulled back in spasms constantly screaming with pain, throwing up and never sleeping.
Id hide in corners with tears running down my face.
I felt so useless when I met up with my ante natal class and their babies just latched on and fed calmly and looked content after it.

I came onto mumsnet looking for help and that was how I finally got him diagnosed. In amongst the lovely and helpful were the breast feeding police who had nothing helpful to say.

I fed my 2nd DC for a year. Once she was diagnosed and medicated early on I was able to feed her and she calmed down at 4 months.

I fed my third DC for 8 months of sheer hell. He had the worst case of reflux. Every feed was painful. Id have to stand up with him screaming and rigid maybe 8 times during each feed. It got worse and worse until I gave in at 8 months and he could sink a bottle of formula in 5 mins, burp then sit happy - why did I do it for so long?

It's definitely important and I wouldn't have gone through hell if i didn't think so but it doesn't always work for everyone. OP, your sanity is even more so. Your baby needs you happy too. Wish Id have been easier on myself.

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