Breastfeeding Guilt

First of all I really don’t think there is a right or wrong way to feed your baby, it should be completely your decision. When I had Will I bottle fed him from day 1, I suffered from PND and I think if I’d have added breast feeding into the mix I might have had a complete mental breakdown. With Ben I breastfed him for about 10 weeks before I decided to move onto bottles and this worked well for him.

Darcey arrived on 1st January and I told myself all through the pregnancy that I would try and breastfeed her but if it didn’t work then I wouldn’t beat myself up about it, I would just give her a bottle. She did really well at first latching on but it did take a while for my milk supply to come through, about 4-5 days which was quite trying.

The first three weeks zipped by and I thought that we were doing OK with the whole breastfeeding thing. Then things slowly started to change;

She was no longer latching on properly and was becoming very lazy, waiting for the milk to let down instead of working for it herself. She was diagnosed with a tongue tie as 6 weeks and had this snipped which did make a bit of a difference. It was certainly more comfortable for me feeding her but she was constantly making a clicking noise and taking in air. I know I should probably have unlatched her and made her try to latch properly but when you’re knackered and have a starving baby that’s easier said than done.

Then the reflux started …. I was half expecting this as the boys suffered really badly from reflux. It meant that Darcey would scream whilst I was trying to feed her and unlatch, be sick, not latch back on. Then I had to get the Gaviscon in her with a syringe after feeding when she was already being sick.

All in all it was becoming really difficult. My main concern was how to get Darcey more comfortable. I decided the best way forward for us was to start introducing bottles a couple of weeks ago. I did this gradually at first offering 2 formula feeds a day whilst I still breastfed her the remainder. I noticed that after the bottle feeds she was much happier but breastfeeding was still not working for her.

I took the decision to move completely to bottle feeding and I would express as much milk as possible but just give it her in a bottle. This has worked really well for Darcey, it was a bit of an adjustment for her to have a bottle all the time and she does still look for the boob now and then. She has been far less sick, I think because I can put the Gaviscon in a bottle and get it working when needed. She is also much happier and in less pain, even sleeping through the night.

All these little things tell me that this was the right thing to do for Darcey, at the end of the day I just want her to be happy and healthy. Personally I’m a bit gutted I can’t breastfeed her, but she is still getting 3 bottles of expressed milk a day. I will continue to express the milk for as long as I can for her so she gets the best of both worlds.

I know this is the right thing to do for her but I still feel guilty about not being able to breastfeed her myself for the recommended 6 months. This is slightly crazy as if I was talking to any other mum I’d be saying well done and you’re doing the right thing. It must still be all the new mummy hormones. I did let her sneak a feed a couple of days ago from me and the projectile vomit and screaming that followed was not good. There seems to be so much pressure on new mums to breastfeed from healthcare professionals and social media messages.

Has anyone else felt guilty about the whole breast/bottle feeding issues?

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  • Reply Agent Spitback

    At the end of the day, whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, as long as your child is fed and healthy, then it shouldn’t be an issue. It has to be a decision which works for both mom and child. So don’t feel guilty for doing the best for your child. Thanks for linking with #abitofeverything

    April 10, 2016 at 7:43 am
  • Reply lifewithpinkprincesses

    my first daughter was premature and I felt a strong need to give her the “best” and expressed milk for her. Then when my second came along I felt a strong pressure to breastfeed because my mil had for such a long time. then it became natural and by the third I felt there was no other way…. Unfortunately it only lasted 9weeks.

    March 27, 2016 at 9:30 am
  • Reply Jemma

    I breastfed my 2nd and she was unsettled from day 1 and constantly cried. By 3 months she broke out in excema then finally at 5 months she was diagnosed with a severe milk allergy so I transfered her on to the bottle. I don’t feel guilty stopping breastfeeding but feel guilty for not noticing something was wrong earlier. She’s now 18 months and is allergic to milk, eggs, nuts and wheat xx

    March 26, 2016 at 7:46 pm
  • Reply My Little Babog Blog

    I felt guilty when I gave up at first but looking back now I was in a horrible place and my kids needed me, all three of them. It was the right thing to do at the time switching to bottle. I’m pregnant again and I will breastfeed again as long as I can.

    March 25, 2016 at 10:49 pm
  • Reply Cydney (@CydneyHelsdown)

    You are not alone! I felt so much guilt when i made the decision to start giving my boy milk but at the time it was the only option, i couldn’t cope with his colic and didn’t really have the right support around me to know if i was doing it properly! It’s one of my only regrets as i wish i could’ve continued for longer and just sucked up the pain and got over that hurdle, but at the time my sanity was more important!
    You can only do what’s right for you and your baby, there’s always going to be someone to disagree or share their opinion but it’s not up to them! You are following your feelings and intuition and that’s the most important thing 🙂

    – Cydney x

    March 24, 2016 at 5:14 pm
  • Reply Harriet from Toby & Roo

    This is a WONDERFUL post. I have exclusively bottle fed a baby (massive guilt), exclusively breastfeed a baby until 11m (guilt that I found it hard and even more guilt that I couldn’t with number one) and I’m still feeding a 14 month old who, quite frankly, will probably still be on the boob at 31 – massive guilt over child one again, guilt over not enjoying it more, guilt over… everything! I can’t bare the breast is best palarva – FED is best. If you have PND and you are given such immense pressure to feed, find you are struggling with no network and your baby drops weight/becomes ill etc – well, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that that is a bad situation for all involved.
    As breastfeeder and woman who is stoically passionate about a woman’s right to feed, I can’t tell you how much you have NO need to feel guilt at all. There is nothing wrong with saying, this isn’t working for my baby or me. H x

    March 24, 2016 at 4:21 pm
  • Reply Zoe Forde

    As a woman who hasn’t even had kids yet, I feel this breastfeeding pressure!!! How can something so natural as having a baby be turned into this massive furore over who does it best? I hate the thought of extra unnecessary pressures being put on new mothers, when they already have so much to deal with without being subjected to ‘advice’ from all sides on how to raise their own baby! xx

    March 24, 2016 at 2:12 pm
  • Reply joannavictoria

    I really struggled breastfeeding Blake I ended up mixed feeding him until he was 4 weeks old than moved on to formula. I would have liked to express but found that very tricky too. I felt very guilty about it too.

    March 24, 2016 at 12:03 pm
  • Reply The Pramshed

    I don’t think you should feel guilty about not breastfeeding, it is so hard, and I can tell from your post that you certainly gave it a good go. You did what you thought was best, and your little girl was much happier as a result. What’s important is that you and your baby are happy. There’s so much pressure put on women to breastfeed, and often suggest it is easy, but there are so many factors that make it so hard that are not discussed until they happen. Don’t beat yourself up, I wasn’t breastfed, and I turned out alright. Claire x #KCACOLS

    March 23, 2016 at 9:39 pm
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