Post # 1
i had my baby girl 3 weeks ago. I posted recently about having some issues with baby blues. I do feel like things are getting better and my emotions are leveling out. Right now my biggest struggle is breastfeeding. I have been giving it 110% but it’s been a tough road for us. She does not have a tongue or lip tie and has a good latch although it is shallow sometimes. It took a while for my milk to come in and because of this she lost some weight. Her doctor was concerned she lost too much and was dehydrated at first so he had me supplement for 24 hours to get her weight up. Since then she has been gaining slowly and as long as she hits a specific number on Tuesday which I think she will we will be out of the woods with her weight. Because of her weight issues the doctor and lactation consultants have told me to hold off on giving her a bottle or a pacifier. I am just becoming exhausted with breastfeeding. She is doing it constantly I mean probably 20 hours out of the day. She sleeps with us and I side nurse because that is the only way I can get sleep. Even during naps she falls asleep at the breast and I just let her stay there because to try to move her she will wake up and want to nurse again. I know some of it is confort as she is still so young and cannot have a pacifier it is just really getting to me. I am so exhausted and feel isolated because I am constantly nursing. I can’t do anything around the house because I never have free hands and part of me just want smy body back. I have been going to a lactation group weekly they just say this is normal breastfeeding behavior but I am having such a hard time coping. I know breast milk is the best for her and I always wanted to breastfeed it is just proving to be wayyyy more challenging than I thought. Do any Bees have advice or insight? Should I give up? Will I regret it if I do? Are things going to get easier if I continue and when? Please help I am desperate and feel like this is taking a huge emotional toll on me. Thanks in advance!
Post # 2
Disclaimer: not a mom.
Google “cluster feeding” and see if that fits. If so, it’s a phase and will pass!
I’m all for breastfeeding when possible, but my friend’s lactation consultant had great rules for her re: the baby. They were: 1) FEED the baby and 2) ENJOY the baby. So, if formula feeding makes you or baby happier, don’t feel guilty about it.
Post # 3
No disclaimer – am a mom and also echo what the previous poster said.
I ended up doing a split breastfeeding/formula feeding (so I could leave the house!) because the pump and I were not friends but that’s just what worked for us.
There were definitely really bad days/weeks (cluster feeding is shit), and it did get better but early life with baby is about survival for the whole family! If the tiny human is getting fed and you’re emotionally ok, whatever makes that happen is what you should do.
Our little dude got boob, I got bottles when I was a baby and we’re all (so far) kind and well adjusted humans.
Post # 4
I’m also not a mum yet. My sister’s experience was that she LOATHED breast feeding and pumping and the accompanying stress and guilt that it wasn’t going well.
When she eventually made the decision to switch to bottle feeding, it entirely revolutionised her feelings on motherhood and enjoyment of her baby. He is totally fine and developing normally 2 years old now).
Breast is best but that doesn’t mean formula is bad. The most important things are you and your baby’s well-being. Sometimes this is better served by not doing what is ‘best’
Post # 5
I have a 10 week old baby boy who I am breastfeeding. I will start by saying if you choose to stop breastfeeding because you think it’s better for you then please don’t beat yourself up about it. Your baby needs you happy and healthy more than anything else but I will share my experience.
My son was born underweight due to issues with my placenta and the first few weeks he was constantly attached to me and I was finding it really hard. I was advised not to give bottles or a pacifier because it could affect my milk supply and cause nipple confusion. However, I started expressing when he was 3 weeks old so my husband could give him a bottle and I could get a break and gave him a pacifier. I have had zero issues with my milk supply and luckily he has had no problem with nipple confusion.
It was clear to me when my son was nursing for comfort, which he could do for hours, so it made sense to give him the pacifier. I made sure to still let him nurse for comfort sometimes and when it was clear he was going through a growth spurt (if you’ve not already, google when they should have growth spurts, my son fit the expected pattern perfectly and it helped me understand his need to constantly nurse to increase my milk supply) I would try and avoid the pacifier but it made such a difference to be able to have that break. Just being able to hold my baby without him wanting to nurse was amazing.
Now at 10 weeks it’s so much easier and has been for a while. He goes 4/5 hours through the night without nursing and 2/3 hours in the day. He has also become so much more efficient at nursing so it’s only 10 minutes at most each time he needs feeding. I love being able to just whip out a boob when he is hungry and not have to worry about making him a bottle, especially in the night but I still pump and have my husband give him a bottle every couple of days so I can have a few hours unbroken rest.
My health visitor told me if you want to introduce a bottle the best time to do it to avoid nipple confusion is between 3 & 6 weeks. I’m a first time mum so by no means an expert but I would suggest just trying the bottle and the pacifier and if it causes problems and you need to use formula you know you’ve done the best you can for your baby.
Post # 6
Oh honey! I know what you’re going through! When my son was born I had a massive blood clot in my leg, which was so painful I didn’t even notice labour (honestly!). Because of the pain, my body didn’t bother making milk for the first week. The baby dropped from 6 pounds 6 oz to 5 pounds 0 oz. I felt like a huge failure. My Mother-In-Law was a lactation consultant and refused to let me quit (goddamn it!! I think it would have been better in a lot of ways to just quit here). I was pumping milk 6 hours a day (so much the milk was pink from burst blood vessels in my breasts), and then put the milk in a tiny tube taped to my breast – which she made the baby nurse on to get the milk.
After 7 days the milk came in, but even so, he was nursing 12x a day. I was exhausted. I was put on morphine for the leg pain (the blood clot), so any energy i had was zapped away. Hubby worked out of town during the week, so it was just baby and I. I had no family, and as we’d just moved when I was 7 months pregnant I had no friends.
But… it does get better. The constant feeding slows down at around 6 weeks. Nursing – after getting started – is actually easier than what I saw friends deal with with bottles. No carrying bottles with you when you leave the house, heating them up, cost of formula is insane, etc. My son loved it – and so did I – we had a great close bond. He had to be slowly weaned off because of the morphjne – so he nursed longer than most kids. In the end I was glad I did it – but I think back to those early weeks and I still cry thinking about how hard it was! I sure feel for you.
Post # 7
Breastfeeding is fckngi hard and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I struggled for 6 weeks and couldn’t cope any longer.
I struggled to supply her with what she needed. It would take me 25-30 mins of pumping to get 3 Oz of milk when my friend could pump double that in half the time.
The pain was almost unbearable to the point where she would cry for food and I’d hate her as I knew the pain she was about to cause me.
It genuinely did make me struggle to bond with my baby.
I don’t believe every mum can breastfeed.
Only do what you can for as long as you can then throw in the towel. You don’t want to start resenting your baby like I did.
Now having said all this, I feel so much better equipped to understand the demands of breastfeeding and I fully intend to do it again when I have my second. Maybe I’m nuts. I just feel this time I will be going into it with my eyes open and better able to cope with it.
Good luck 🙂
Post # 8
Good luck with whatever you decide. You know what will be best for you and baby long term.
In my experience, if I had quit breastfeeding, I would have regretted it even though I loathed it by the end and cried many tears over sore nipples and pure exhaustion. My baby was 19 lbs at 4 months…all breastmilk so I understand the 20 hours a day of feeding. I would say that was us for the first 3-4 months. She never took a bottle, I got zero breaks. But once we started solids there was a bit more freedom. I ended up breastfeeding til just shy of a year. Now I have a 13 month old who is so independent, thinks she doesn’t need mommy and I cherish those early days of me and her fighting for survival.
Post # 9
- Wedding: June 2014 - DD born 2015 DS born 2017
Totally normal behaviour! We all go through this! I know it’s frustrating but don’t think of her as ‘using you as a pacifier.’ I hate that phrase so much because pacifiers mimic boobs, not the other way round! Anyway she is regulating your milk supply (which means she’s telling your boobs how much she needs) and if you let her suckle all she wants she’ll be gaining weight on track and both of you will get good at a good latch too!
Honestly I enjoyed the first few weeks as I just had my husband wait on me and bring me meals as I just sat on my ass watching Netflix for the first few weeks while my newborn either slept or suckled on my boobs in my arms. I didn’t cook, clean or anything at all, I sometimes didn’t even shower, I just held her all day 😊 PLUS I was in absolute agony the first 5 weeks til we fixed our latch but I still look back fondly on that special time. Again, this is normal behaviour, and well done on figuring out side-lie nursing for nighttime, that’s the easiest way- you just stir enough awake to pop your boob in their mouth then go back to sleep while they nurse. You’ll be MUCH more sleep deprived if you have to get up and make a bottle several times a night!!
This cluster feeding phasr will pass soon enough, and everything will all settle into place. It’s a hard but amazing time. Hang in there, hugs!
Post # 10
completely agree with everything you’ve said. And OP, I just want to reiterate : it DOES get better. By 6 weeks things should calm down a lot. A lot of babies lose weight before your milk comes in. Try your hardest to muscle through the next few weeks and feed on demand as much as possible and baby will be at a healthy weight in no time. You are half way to a break and probably even a little bit of sleep 😊.
Post # 11
breast is best UNTIL ITS NOT.
I’ll tell you what our pediatrician told us a month ago when I was in a similar situation (besides the phrase above which was also hers): your baby needs you to sleep. Your baby needs you to be healthy and happy far more than she needs your breast. Bonds are created throughout a child’s life, not just by having your boob in his/her mouth.
There’s a lot of stigma attached to feeding our babies formula nowadays. Yes, we KNOW breastmilk is superior to anything out there. We KNOW breastfeeding is important psychologically and physically. So we feel guilty and ashamed and (at least in my case) sometimes like a failure for not living up to those standards. For not ‘pushing thru’ or pumping more or thinking we’re depriving our baby of antibodies and prebiotics and…we KNOW. But sometimes, sometimes, when we’re at the end of our rope we have another option: formula.
Just throwing that out there MrsJet. You do not HAVE to push through or deprive yourself of having a more pleasant early bonding and getting to know your baby experience.
I’m not you Bee but baby blues + exhaustion + 20 hours of feeding a day + the emotional toll you see this is taking on you might be an ‘end of the rope’ situation.
PM me anytime if you wish.
Post # 12
I have a 12 month old. I VIVIDLY remember week 3. It was horrible. I know what you are going through. But it did get better! I remember a light coming on around week 6. That being said, you need to do what is best for you and your family.
Post # 13
Sure, breast milk is great but think of all the people you know who were formula fed and are FINE. My husband was and he’s a normal successful adult. I say, if it’s starts to affect YOUR mental health, start doing both or start doing just formula. It will free up some time and you can get a break from being a mom (which everyone needs!) while someone else feeds your baby.
Post # 14
You are at the hardest point of time for breast-feeding at least that’s what I found. Three weeks sucks. It really does get easier, around the six week mark I found a huge improvement.
Although I’m no expert and of course you should listen to your doctor and lactation consultant, 20 hours a day seems a bit excessive to me. Maybe your husband can take the baby for a walk once in a while so you can get some rest. And I would really encourage you to put her down while she’s not feeding so that she’s not on you constantly! I know you said you didn’t want to wake her up but in my limited experience newborns don’t wake up that easily.
My son lost more than 10% of his body weight in the first few days and it took him four weeks to get back to his birthweight. It was extremely stressful and I really feel for you. We did supplement with small amounts of formula and I pumped a lot as well as breastfeeding. It sounds like you may not have supply issues anymore which would be great. For the first three weeks we used a syringe to give him top ups and at three weeks we introduce bottles. I was very worried about nipple confusion but he was totally fine and can switch back-and-forth between the two very easily to this day (he is 10 weeks now).
I highly recommend the book called the science of mom. It has a chapter on feeding that reviews the most cited studies on formula versus breast-feeding. Basically it made clear to me that none of the studies have a conclusively proven that breast is it really that much better. Studies on siblings in the same home, one of whom is formula fed and one of whom is breastfed result in no difference in IQ, health, etc, between the siblings.
FED IS BEST!
Post # 15
‘FED IS BEST’ <- I love that. Thank you for that.