I have a 14 week old daughter - and things are generally going well. (I got some great advice about her sleeping a few days ago, so thank you for that!)
My daughter was unable to breast feed. There was a delay to my milk coming in (due to haemorrhage during birth) she was jaundiced and she had a tongue-tie that we got cut when she was 8 days old. We saw multiple lactation consultants but unfortunately she was never able to successfully feed from the best. I have flat-ish nipples. We tried nipple shields.
Because of this I have been exclusively breast pumping. I'm talking every 3 hours around the clock for up to an hour each time (this is how long and regularly I had to do it in order to produce enough to sustain her - a plan I worked out with the MCHN.)
I am lucky enough that my husband is doing his PhD so mostly works from home. He has been an enormous support and cares for her while I pump. I can't do it anymore. I lose so many hours in the day and can't keep up in top of housework (my husband is doing far more than his share, not that he minds but he really has to work) and I miss out on caring for my daughter. I adore her but worry that she doesn't even realise I'm her mum because I'm not breast feeding her and because even when I'm trying to interact with her while I'm pumping it's limited because I have always needed to massage my breasts to aid the milk flow or I'm there waaaay longer (hence hands free pumping bras did not work!)
I've had two bouts of mastitis and been hospitalised and I am so sick of this bloody pump. I am also studying. I have two weeks worth stashed in the freezer (due to an early over supply that was killed by the mastitis) so I can comfortably get her to 4 months exclusively on breast milk.
Why am I so hung up on this? I have ZERO judgement for women who choose to formula feed for whatever reason whereas I am racked with guilt and a part of me says "why can't you pump for 8 more weeks, slacker?" The thought of 8 more weeks leaves me feeling completely overwhelmed. She's thriving on my milk and I know 'breast is best'...But I am done and I feel so guilty.
What were your experiences like switching to formula? Anyone?
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28-10-2013 10:23 #1
Had enough! Your experiences?
28-10-2013 10:29 #2
Breast is generally best, if it's working well for bub AND mum.
You've worked bloody hard to make it this far. Good on you!
If you do switch to formula you are doing what's best for both of you, and that's awesome.
Remind yourself that you've done a great job, I take my hat off to you. You (if you do switch) are continuing to do a great job, just with a different source.
FWIW, ds2 stopped bf at about 5 months. He is now a happy, active, thriving 4 year old.
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28-10-2013 10:32 #3Junior Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2013
Have you considered mixed feeding? I have found using part formula and part breast to be a real saviour. I've been BF for 4 months now and I would have given up much earlier without the formula. I find BF exhausting haven't had success with expressing, so formula is my sanity. I figure BF for longer if not exclusively is a good compromise!
28-10-2013 10:34 #4
Will come back later to post
28-10-2013 10:37 #5
I started comp feeding my son as my supply just couldn't keep up with his hunger (he was a big boy for a while there!). It took two weeks before he would drink a whole bottle of formula because he loved breastfeeding. We would just offer him a bottle every night before bed at the same time and eventually he sucked one down. Have you thought about doing some combination of breastmilk/formula? That way your EBM could last a little longer.
You have done so well to get where you have - I'm not convinced that I would have persisted in those circumstances. I think 'switching-to-formula-guilt' is a real thing, and I still feel it now that my son has turned 1 and self-weaned. But he is thriving, and is the healthiest baby I know in my circle of friends. He has absolutely no issues whatsoever.
I've been thinking about it a lot, and I think as mothers we fall into that 'putting baby first at all costs' mindset. Well, I know I did. What your baby needs is a healthy, rested and happy mother so that you are able to attend to her needs and build a relationship with her.
28-10-2013 10:49 #6
Firstly well done for getting this far with pumping full time, it's bloody hard work!
I did it for 8 weeks, I was the same as you, tried everything but couldn't get my DS bf successfully...
I remember waking up one morning & realising that I was bonding more with the bloody pump than my own son & it wasn't worth it, my DH was doing all the feeding while I was pumping trying to keep my supply going...
I'll be honest, I still feel guilty but that's the emotional side of me, the sensible side knows it was the best decision I could make for my family to switch to formula... Yes breast best is best but IMO... 'HAPPY MUM HAPPY BABY' is a better motto to live by...
My DS is now over 8months and is thriving... He is a very happy boy who lights up when I walk into the room...
I hope you stop being so hard on yourself & but your needs first for a moment to make your decision... GOOD LUCK!
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28-10-2013 10:56 #7
I second the mix feeding advice. If you couldn't possibly shake off the guilt then mix feed part formula part breast.
You have done a great job so far, I personally wouldn't have lasted that long expressing pretty much the whole day
28-10-2013 10:59 #8Senior Member
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
Bloody breastpumps! If I never see another one again, it will be too soon! I take my hat off to you for doing this exclusively for 14 weeks, what a mammoth effort, especially through the bouts of mastitis.
I pumped exclusively for 8 weeks with my third bub because he was born at 31+5 and was tube fed ebm until he came home from hospital and then he was on the boob with ebm top ups for another few months he then went on the boob exclusively. I too got mastitis repeatedly and it just sucked balls. It was honestly one of the hardest times of my life.
When he was five months, I was done, so over the pumping and ready to stop and so I did. I stopped pumping and just used up what was left in the freezer and it was just luck really that by that time, he was strong enough and willing enough to breastfeed without needing the top ups.
Had he not been happy and gaining on the boob, he was going on to formula, I had the tin ready to go and that was it.
If you do decide to make the switch, it's a gradual process anyway, you may find you can still pump a bit and mix feed for a while if you wish to.
I do know that for me, the decision to stop pumping was very hard but in my heart, I knew I was running myself into the ground and that my kids needed a present, partially sane mum.
Be kind to yourself and do what's best for you xx
28-10-2013 11:09 #9
You have done such a good job!!!
My DD is 13 weeks and I exclusively pumped for 9 weeks, mix fed for 2 weeks and now she's fully formula fed.
I was exactly the same that I just couldn't shake the guilt to stop breastfeeding (I also have no judgement for formula feeding at all!) but eventually realized that too much of my day was being spent hooked up to a machine and missing being with my baby.
I tried to mix feed but my supply dropped very quickly, although had it not I would've kept happily pumping 7am,3pm & 10pm.
I've found the benefits to be
- I can leave the house without fear of being home in time to pump (or fearing bubs will starve if I missed a pump)
- I only have to wash/sterilize and organize bottles once a day
- DD and I get to play and bond so much more as I'm not spending so much time pumping/organizing bottles
- Selfishly, I have my body back and can excercise as I please without worrying about my supply...and no more leaking constantly all day ;-)
To be honest the guilt is still around, even more so if DD gets a sniffle and I wonder if breastmilk may have helped her fight it, but she's a happy baby with an even happier mum and I'm very happy with my choice.
Good luck with whatever you choose you've done such a brilliant job xx
28-10-2013 11:18 #10Senior Member
- Join Date
- May 2006
I had similar issues breastfeeding, had multiple bouts of mastitis, had extreme pain when breastfeeding, saw a LC many times until she referred me to see a rheumatologist where I was diagnosed with my first autoimmune disease. I breastfed for 6 weeks (agonising) and pumped for 6 weeks until my supply dried up from stress and illness I think (multiple mastitis, uterus infection, left in placenta - and I know now multiple autoimmune diseases) I ended up pumping and then switching to formula.
I was racked with guilt for years. But I have come to the conclusion through my experience, that breastfeeding has to be good for both mum and bub, and if it isn't sometimes it isn't the best thing to do.
I look at my 7 year old now, and I am in awe of him, he is so bright, so lovely and very healthy. I am no longer guilty, I figure I gave him a good start with 3 months of breast milk.
You have done a brilliant job so far. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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