and donor bm would always comes first - I had a lactating cousin at the time who I knew would provide bm for my baby.
I totally get the determination to breastfeed, and I know issues are rare. But they can happen. I do think the quote about "everyone has a breaking point" is the right one. What someone can handle someone else may not be able to. What I hate is when people say, "Oh, even with the issues you had, I would have persevered" even when they have never been through it. I hate that, hate it with a passion. It smacks of the whole "If I was raped I'd never ever have a termination" when someone has never been raped. How can people say that when they have never been in that situation?
Anyhow. My breastfeeding stories have always been complicated, and it wasn't things like cracked nipples and mastitis which were the breaking points for me. It was the unbelievable constant pain I had, which then led me to a rheumy which then led me to take medications that are considered to compatible with pregnancy or breastfeeding etc that were the final straws for me. Not to mention I had infections after every birth and the last time I had a baby I developed sepsis and could have died. Yes, everyone has their breaking point. But at the end of the day, I feel I couldn't have done any more than what I did. And I am SO proud of myself that I managed to give my first one 3 months of BM through severe vasopsasm, mastitis, cracked nipples and a diagnosis of multiple autoimmune diseases, my second two 6 weeks of BM (which in hindsight was bad for the one that is lactose intolerant) and my last one one week of BM (before the sepsis kicked in). Go me
Most issues are present long before formula is available to you though, it's not something you go buy at 2am or at whim (I don't know any chemists/supermarkets open at that time, let alone have bottles and are ready to go at anytime an issue arises) You make the choice to buy it at a reasonable hour, the same way you make the choice and have contacts for donated milk.
It's not the first choice, it comes after a few exhaustive breastfeeding sessions, lc visits, dr visits etc.
To the pp, when I say low supply you just keep feeding, yes, that is true. Low supply means more regular feeds, I had serious low supply issues and we worked on this alot and in the end nothing I did helped, that's just how my body made milk, so I couldn't go more than an hour between feeds, my baby drank small amounts more regularly the first 4-5months. I had the same issue with my first and gave formula top ups, the second time I decided no top ups I will just give what I have and thats it, and it still worked out, actually better for my supply with no top ups because my baby kept demanding.
The first time I thought there was a set time to feed and set amount they should have, the second I realised there is no time frame, no amount of feeds they should be having, no certain amount of milk. She fed, slept for a really short time and fed again. Sometimes she wouldn't settle cause my supply was too low (usually if I just pumped) and I'd give her bm top ups, sometimes just 10-20ml.
Anyway, this is what I did and my experience of how I worked through some of my personal issues.
I haven't read through the whole thread and it's probably got a bit off topic but just wanted to say that nipple shields were a life saver. There are a lot of "experts" who still follow old advice that nipple shields reduce your supply. This is just not true with modern nipple shields so if they help keep using them for as long as you need!
I second advice to do as much research before the birth. DH and I attended an ABA class and found it really helpful, not just about BF but also about life with a newborn in the first few weeks. It sometimes seems like some people are over the top pro-BF but it can be a mindset that you need to get through the tough (early) days.
I personally would recommend getting a double electric breast pump if you can. I got a second hand Medela one off ebay for really cheap. Everything gets sterilised before use or you could buy new attachment cups if you are worried (still much cheaper than buying new). This time I'm also going to get some of the Medela Calma teats incase I have to give expressed milk.
I loved the My Brest Friend breastfeeding pillow. I had bad tendonitis in my wrists so this let me feed bubs without holding him. All other pillow types were no good for me as I found they would slip out from me but the my brest friend attached around the waist and was a firm pillow.
My personal experience- a few sore nipples in the first few days but nothing major, I went home 9hr after birth (at birthcentre) and found that great as I could get my boobs out in private in my own home and I had midwives visit me at home. At about day 10 my son could not attach at all to one side and at one point he couldn't attach to either side. It turned out I had so much milk (it was pouring out of me) and I was so engourged he was nearly drowning in milk and couldn't get a good latch. I also had flat nipples (more flat on one side). I ended up having to give him a bottle at one point (of EBM). I also used the breast pump to make my boobs less full to make attachment easier but was worried about increasing my supply more. My midwife talked to a LC and recommended nipple shields. We had instant success and never looked back. I had to use them on one side for about 4 months until he got bigger and no longer had problems with the flat nipple.
I think the best thing is to expect to be able to BF. There are some women who can't but the vast majority of women can given the right help and advice, expect that you'll be one of them. If you've done your research, got good advice and still end up having problems then at least you know you did everything possible to succeed and don't feel guilty about bottle feeding (formula or EBM). Remember it's also possible to mix feed (FF and BF) if you can't keep up a good supply and this is still great as your baby still gets lots of benefits from having even a small amount of breast milk every day even if it's not exclusive.
Oh and if it's possible in the first couple of weeks to have someone do all the cooking and cleaning for you this is great! My Mum stayed for a couple of weeks so all I had to do was feed the baby, sleep and eat. DH did all the nappy changes initially too.
I'm talking about personal experience, when I faced this issue or that, this is what I did. I did say formula is/was my last option, not on my mind at all. When you have the mentality that its not an option, you do exhaust other avenues first and keep formula last.
Ofcourse in your experience it was the only option, and I never said it's never an option. I have no experience with what you went through and can't say what I would have done, but obviously with advice and help from professionals I would also have come to find the right decision for my baby.
I can say confidently with some womens issues 'this is what I would have done' because I know myself and what I want and also through the experiences I had I know my breaking points. It's not saying 'this is what you should have done' Its not a smack to anyone, women tend to take things personally like your speaking about them, it's too egotistic. But when I talk about myself I really am and can speak for myself. I have never told anyone what they should do, or what their breaking point is. But it is true that what one womens breaking point, isn't the same for someone else.
Also with the rape scenario. I have never been raped or had an abortion, but I can say with 100% certainty that I would get an abortion. Because a. I don't want more children (and we made that decision permanent) I'm married and there is no way I would have another mans spawn, particularly an animal who raped me.
I can say that with absolute certainty
Not everywhere has milk banks.
I've actually never heard of milk banks. That is quite interesting. Have always wondered whether breast milk is the same or whether mothers have different milk, whether the babies can tell the difference, etc. Has anyone on here ever used a donors breast milk? I assume you would buy it & bottle feed. I don't know if I would be comfortable with another woman breast feeding my child, I think that would be a bonding experience I would want for myself.
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