View Full Version : Determined to BF next time
Hi girls, I need your advice and support here.
I'm not BF my DD atm and haven't been doing a good job since she was born 4 months ago. I never even imagined that I would not be able to BF her as my mom told me that she BFd her 3 children and still had enough milk to feed the rest of the village. I don't know how to explain how shocked and sad I was about not being able to BF my girl and also the huge amount of guilt that I (have) felt. To cut the story short, I had c-section so naturally my milk came quite late (or so I was told by the nurses). I couldn't feel or see the flow come out of my breasts and my daugther constantly cried because of hunger (both at the hospital and when we came home). I guess I wasn't prepared for this - I thought I was...I read articles/books about breastfeeding prior to the birth but maybe I didn't do enough. I thought it couldn't be that hard- my mum didn't have a lactation consultant or any kinds of supporting groups but she successfully did it. I got a bit of help from the nurses at the hospital (reminding me to feed every 3 hours yeah big deal), even the lactation consultant couldn't help much.
When we got home, my milk still hadn't come. We decided to give her some formula because we couldn't stand seeing our baby crying from hunger. To make the matter worse, she reacted badly to the first formula we bought. She cried constantly and was in so much pain, I thought to myself "if I could breastfeed her, she wouln't be in pain like this". The nurses did some home-visting and focused on the positions and stuff, no one seemed to agree that I had low supply - all they said was "you have plenty of milk". How funny because everytime I expressed I could only get about 20-30 ml. I tried to let her suck for about 20 mins but she pulled off and screamed everytime. My inverted nipple bled and sore, I cried because I was in pain and felt like a failure. I tried to bf for as long as I could and supplemented her with formula. She didn't want to be bf because it's so hard for her to get my milk so not surprisingly she began to like formula better and fussed everytime I put her on my breasts. After 4 weeks of trying, my supply dropped dramatically (I could expressed about 30-40ml at a time, now not even 20ml). We decided we had to give her formula full-time and ironically I was relieved, I think because I felt as if all the weight and pressure had been lifted from my shoulders.
My daugther is healthy and happy and I can't thank god enough for that. I know breast is best and I want to give it another try when the next bub comes along (not in another year though), but I'm so scared the very same thing will happen again. FF, to me, is easier (you don't have to agree with me on this) but deep down I know I want to try BF again. How should I prepare for it next time around (including another disappointment in case it doesn't work out again)? I'll give birth at the same hospital so I guess I won't be given excellent help/support from the very same staff.
Sorry this is so long, I just have so many thoughts today :p
First off congratulations on the birth of your DD:D
I am so sorry to read about the difficulty you have had with breastfeeding your DD. I am sure that some of our breastfeeding "gurus" will come on here and give you lots of links and resources that you can investigate for next time.
I really wish that I had gone along to one of the ABA courses prior to having my bub I think this would have been really helpful. I have to say that I think Breastfeeding was once of the hardest things. The only experience I had of it prior to the birth of my DD was seeing my sister feed her kids and by then she had it down pat and made it look really easy. Friends had warned me that it was painful to start of with so I was prepared for that. What I dont think I really realised was that it is a learnt skill for both mum and bubs. It takes time and you need lots of support in the beginning.
I'm sorry that the lactation consultant at your hospy wasnt much help. I found mine really useful. She was the only person I would feed in front of as I was sick of conflicting advice and people manhandling my boobs:rolleyes: Perhaps you could look into what private ones are around.
Please try not to feel guilty (easy for me to say I know, I felt terrible when I thought I was going to have to give up feeding my bub as she was loosing weight). Remember that she will still have benefited from your colostrum and got all those fab antibodies.
I am sure that there are lots of mummies here that have been through the same experience as you - there is one who immediately springs to mind, unfortunately she is off line for a while but I will tell her about this post and hopefully she may contact you to offer some support:D
All the best, apologies for the ramble
(((((hugs to you))))))
I agree with Manxie. DO NOT feel guilty. you persisted and your DD is healthy, so feel proud of that!!!!!!!!!!!!!
haven't much advice to give and not much time either, but one thought i had was to maybe consider trying for a VBAC next time (there is heaps of info and support around for that) as i have heard that your milk does tend to come quicker after a vaginal birth than a c/s and that b'feeding may be easier/quicker to get established after a v/b.
good luck with your little girl. btw - i LOVE the name Rebecca!!!! :p
I was really sorry to read your post too. :( Obviously I can't talk from experience but plenty of other mummies will be along to help you with their advice I'm sure.
I just wanted to say that I know some mums have a really different experience with different babies so don't be too worried that just because it didn't work out for Rebecca that it can't work for your next bub. At least now that you know what you might expect you can be armed with the questions you need to ask for next time!
In terms of preparation, I am planning to go to ABA meetings while I'm still pregnant, so that might be something you think about doing as well. For increasing supply I know you can get some good herbs (fenugreek springs to mind) as well as something you can get from the doc, so maybe you could ask about those things before the next bub comes along so you are prepared.
Don't feel guilty - that's just a waste of energy ;). You are much better to do what you are doing and that is being positive and proactive about making things different next time around if it's something that is important to you. Good luck. :)
To me, pregnancy and birth was a breeze in comparison to breastfeeding. I found it really difficult. I remember being in hospital, bubs wouldn't feed for the first few days so I was hand expressing colostrum every hour (joy!) and then in wheeled the old TV with the selection of 10 B/Feeding videos followed by up to six midwives at different times trying to attach bubs. Not quite what I had imagined......
But it got better. At first I couldn't express very much either but after absolute perserverence (expressing every 3 hours), my milk supply gradually increased. I also changed my diet to include much more protein to help the milk production.
I also was in extreme pain (literally having to clench my teeth and dig my fingernails into the couch for every attachment for the first 6 weeks due to a poor previous attachment that just wouldn't heal).
It's hard with a new bub because with what little time you have left for yourself, you can't dedicate all of that time to teaching your body to produce more milk and if you're anything like me, you feel like you're wasting what you do have by expressing it !
Breast is best but formula is the best substitute we have. I was a formula baby and have no issues from that. B/Feeding does get better the longer you persevere but if it is stressing you to continue, then stick with the formula because baby also needs a happy Mummy. I weaned my son to formula at 4.5 months and he has thrived on it.
All the best - you've done well by continuing for so long given the conditions - well done !:D
Hi there Ying, I know what you're going through. My DD had a cleft lip and it was really difficult for us to breastfeed. After her repair surgery at 14 weeks old, she refused the breast and would not go back on for love nor money. Like you, I felt relieved when we put her exclusively on formula, but then I felt guilty about it too. I still have some guilt about it now, but I have learnt that it is not worth getting upset about something I can't change. I'm pregnant again, and like you, determined to breastfeed this new baby. A part of me is absolutely scared to death of how I will cope if things don't go according to plan. But all I can do is stay positive, and try my hardest. I plan on seeing a Lactation Consultant in the weeks leading up to the birth, and I'm going to join the ABA this time.
I think a really good way to deal with the anxiety is to talk to someone about it, a counsellor etc. I see a counsellor for other stuff, and we have talked about my "breastfeeding issues", and she helped me realise that I was actually grieving for the loss of our breastfeeding relationship. To recognise that my grief was valid, was a really important step for me. I realised that I was allowed to feel this way, and it definately got easier after that. Before talking to my counsellor about it, I would literally cry at the thought of breastfeeding again. If I saw someone BFing, I would get sad and have a little cry when I got home. But now, I feel like I've moved past that stage of my grief.
(sorry this is so long - I know what you mean about having lots of thoughts to get out!! :) )
Hi Rebeccasmum :)
The Queen has made a really valid point. When the breastfeeding relationship doesn't go as planned, you've experienced a loss. It's an unexpected loss, and a degree of seperation from our baby that we aren't quite ready for. It expresses itself as guilt in a lot of us. It's important to acknowledge the grief and feel comfortable expressing it.
Discussing with your midwife during the course of your pregnancy just how inportant it is to you to have a breastfeeding relationship is a good start. If you let them know you had problems and ask in advance you can be booked to see the LC while you are in having your baby, and they can arrange any follow up needed.
ABA classes as someone else suggested, are another good start. I recall feeling like the worlds biggest failure when breastfeeding didn't get off to a smooth start the first time around, and when I finally joined the ABA as my daughter turned nine months old it opened up a new world- I found that other women had similar stories and troubles.
Invest in a good private LC if there is limited appointments when you need them. She will come to you in your own home, which is less stressful for you and baby.
And if you must supplement while waiting for your milk ( and I've heard this happens with C-sections, milk taking longer to come in) you could arrange to have a supply line, so that the baby is learning to breastfeed while still getting the food they need!
Hugs to you and your little one :)
Hey there Ying,
Wow, you certainly can't be faulted for effort, you must have gone through so much with trying so hard to BF and then the guilt of not being able to do what you had planned.
I don't really have any advice for you, but just wanted you to know that with all the care and concern you are showing, your bubs sure are lucky little tackers to have (and about to have!) a mum that loves them so much.
Thanks everyone. Reading all of your posts brings me tears (I don't know why I'm a bit tearful today, must be the weather ;) ). I think I finally make peace with this now. I talked to my mother when I found out I coudn't breastfeed and she made me realise that bottlefeeding doesn't mean I am a bad mother. She said breastfeeding is only a part of parenting and that I already did my best. I wondered if that was true, I kept asking myself if I had done my best knowing that some women didn't start off well but successfully breastfeed their babies in the end.
I didn't quite understand my feelings at the time, all I knew was I felt disappointed, numb, and just...weak I guess. Now that I (and all of you) reflect that experience I think what I felt was an experience of loss. I looked at my daugther and I couldn't feel "love", I felt protective but didn't love...and it disgusted me when I felt that. How could I not love my own baby? I asked myself...but I just couldn't because this tiny person just kept crying and pulled off everytime I put her on my breasts - I felt rejected and unloved. I started to bond with her and love her when I decide to give up breastfeeding and I thought I had moved on from the guilt. Last month I saw a woman with a baby same age as mine in a restaurant. We talked a bit about our babies and I pulled out a bottle to feed my girl, at the very same time that she pulled out her boobs to feed her boy. It hurt me to see that but I tried not to think about it. DH said to me later that our daugther is so much more advanced even if she's bottlefed - when pulled up to stand her legs don't lag and her headhas never been flobby, whereas that little boy cant do the same things (I know it sounds bad I think it's a father's ego :cool: ). It seemed like a good consolation but the truth that I can't bf still makes me a bit sad.
Now after I got this of my chest I feel heaps better (thank god for Bubhubbers :) ). Next time I'm pregnant I'll make an effort to attend a breastfeeding class (not easy with a toddler but will try) and maybe join ABA (how do I do that? just ring them?). Certainly will try VBAC and I'll not be too hard on myself if it doesn't work out. I agree that to succeed with bf you need a lot of support and help. I went to private hospital but look how much help I got (very bad experience there but that's another story).
And thank you everyone for telling me that I'm not a bad mother :)
I had the same problem but I had natural birth adn milk didn't come in till late day 5! My bub had no sucking reflex and that combined with my flat nipples it was impossible to feed. I cried about it for 6 months!
This time around I discovered a thing calles a niplette made by AVENT, you can buy it from chemists but it's cheaper from Target. It basically pulls the nipple out so it's not falt or inverted anymore. It is recommended for use before pregnancy but you can use it in the first few months of pregnancy and first few days after birth. After only using it for a short while my nipples are now a little bit poking out (it's better than totally flat!) This might be a good investment for you. It says in the instructions that you should continue using it until the nipple no longer retracts, but being pregnant my nipples were getting so sensitive that I couldn't stand it any longer:o
Don't feel upset and guilty over it, it does no good, and put into your mind "At least I tried my best." Some women won't even try to feed their babies and some even think that breast feeding is disgusting!:confused:
Hope I have helped you in some way! Good luck and chin up!;)
I didn't quite understand my feelings at the time, all I knew was I felt disappointed, numb, and just...weak I guess. Now that I (and all of you) reflect that experience I think what I felt was an experience of loss. I looked at my daugther and I couldn't feel "love", I felt protective but didn't love...and it disgusted me when I felt that. How could I not love my own baby?
You have just put words to exactly how I felt, but haven't been able to put it into words...Thankyou :)
I too, had diffculties breastfeeding and ended up bottle feeding my son.
I struggled with the thoughts that I was a bad mother because I couldn't breastfeed, but when I realised that there was nothing I could do to bring my milk in, I felt much more at peace with myself.
I know I did absolutely everything to try, but sometimes nature has other plans.
I plan to try and breastfeed, if I have another baby. Lucky for me, if it doesn't work out again, then at least I know I can still feed my baby formula, even if it is "second best"
Just wanted to tell you a postive story of not being able to BF one baby, but being able to BF the next.
I so badly wanted to BF, but did have worries that I wouldn't as I have flat nipples. I went to a BF class when I was pregnant and read lots of pamphlets etc in preparation for BF. When I had DD (emergency c/s) I had fantastic nurses that gave me all the support and encouragement to feed, but DD would just not attach. She would suck a few times and then stop, fall off and so on... When my milk came in we tried a nipple shield but that didn't help either. I spent many nights in tears trying to get DD to feed and felt even worse when she started losing weight and so had to start topping her up with formula. I went and visited our Parent and Baby Unit here and even they couldn't get her to feed. Eventually one of the consultants took me aside and said perhaps I should think about expressing or FF. I decided to express for several months and then FF. I never looked back. Once the stress of trying to feed my baby was gone, I started to enjoy her and not dread feeding. I can still remember in those early days looking up at the clock and thinking "oh no, she's going to wake for a feed soon". My DH thought I was getting PND, but I was just so stressed about feeding. I think I had heard "Breast is Best" too many times and I know that it is, but sometimes Breast is not always possible and we have to try and not beat ourselves up about it, incredibly hard though it is not to! I know I shouldn't have felt bad as I was FF baby and there's nothing wrong with me :p
Now for the good news. I have been BF my DS for 8 months now. I did have to use a nipple shield for 6 months, but now thats gone too. I think every baby is different and he actually had a go from the start. He was also born by c/s, but he actually had a little drink when I got back to my room. He then did try, but we ended up giving him my colostrum by spoon and syringe as it was just too hard for him. Once my milk came in, we used a nipple shield and he never looked back. I am so grateful to my little man for letting me experience BF as I absolutely love it.
So I hope that has given you some hope for your next bub.
Also just wanted to say that how much you express, doesn't mean how much milk you have. Some women can hardly express anything, but they have plenty of milk to feed their bubs. I know this time around I can never express much, but there is plenty of milk for DS to drink :) . You can also join the ABA on-line. Just go to their website.
ps - sorry it turned into such an essay.
I am sorry to hear you had such a difficult time establishing your milk supply and continuing Breastfeeding. I read that you wanted to know how to join ABA . You can join either you local group (local paper and they love to have todlers along)or online through this link. Sometimes its good to talk it out with others who have experienced the same difficulties you have. Next time will turn out better information and support are the key as others hear have already said.
Some local hopitals also run Breastfeeding classes prior so they can help you sort out a truley helpful solution from one that will reduce your milk eventually leading to weaning. It is a very thin line for somewomen just one well meaning suggestion can make the difference between establishing a good supply and running short.
Wish you and baby the best
I just wanted to encourage you to join the ABA. You dont even need to be bf to join and you don't need to join to attend their meetings. You could go along to meetings now if you wanted to. I have found them to be really supportive and it is just really nice to get out and talk to other mums.
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