Post # 1
I’ve posted on here before about the fact that our baby will be born with cleft lip and palate, and I’ve recently had to face the fact that I won’t be able to breastfeed my baby. I still want to give him breastmilk so I plan to pump, but the whole thing seems a little daunting, especially factoring in pumping time and feeding time every 2-3 hours. I am also sad that I won’t have that special bond with my baby that breastfeeding gives. I’ve been told that they still recommend bringing baby to the breast after feedings for that bonding, but I’m worried that won’t really equate to much, especially if he falls asleep right afterward. I know that the mostly important thing is a healthy and fed baby, but I am still sad and I feel like part of motherhood was stolen from me.
Has anybody else been in a similar situation? Any advice for coping / pumping / bonding?
Post # 2
Sorry to hear about your baby’s health problems. There are good things about pumping – your spouse can also participate in feeding, and you can pump ahead of time so that you have a supply ready if you want to go out somewhere – or even eat or drink something that the baby shouldn’t have (I found wasabi gave my baby terrible gas pain).
Post # 3
I breastfed my first baby but pumped exclusively with my second due to her being in the NICU and never latching properly. I actually preferred to pump and plan to again with the baby I’m due with in February. Yes, it takes some time and there is cleaning involved but it it very nice to be able to go out for a few hours to the movies or dinner and leave the baby home with dad! Plus, there is some peace of mind in knowing exactly how much the baby is taking by bottle which is an unknown with regular breastfeeding.
Post # 4
I pumped for my Dear Daughter ( just stopped recently and she’s 9 months) and I have no regrets. We have an AMAZING bond and I really don’t think that breastfeeding would have made any difference. She’s my best friend and we make each other laugh all day long. Her face just lights up with smiles when I walk into a room and that’s enough to know that I still did OK. I had some people give me guilt for not trying harder to breast feed but whatever. If anyone tells you your bond won’t be as strong if you don’t breastfeed they are absolutely ridiculous. You are baby’s mother, the bond will be there no matter what! Breastfeeding or pumping will not make a difference.
Post # 5
It can be really devastating when breastfeeding doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped. I wasn’t able to breastfeed for a different reason, but it was something I’d always pictured myself doing and I worried that I’d be missing out on something really special.
As it turns out, there are many equally wonderful ways to feed a baby, and the most important way is with love. My son and I couldn’t be more bonded, and the fact that he ate formula out of bottles rather than breastmilk from my breasts couldn’t have mattered less. I promise you, there is nothing magical in your breasts that makes you or your baby more bonded to each other. The caveat, though, is that lots of women can get depressed when breastfeeding doesn’t work out, and that depression can interfere with bonding – so while some mourning is absolutely normal and okay, if you feel yourself becoming depressed over it, please talk to someone about it. Your OB or pediatrician should be able to give you a referral.
I’d encourage you to seek out support from moms in similar situations. I know there are some great Facebook groups for EP’ers (exclusive pumpers). I’d also recommend reading the Fearless Formula Feeder blog – even if you wind up being able to meet all of baby’s needs through pumping, the FFF has a lot of stories from women who have had to mourn the end of a breastfeeding relationship before they were ready, and the blog is very supportive of all types of infant feeding. (No one will judge you, whether you’re pumping, feeding at the breast or formula feeding.)
ETA: The way I’d pictured feeding a baby before he was born – basically cuddled up lovingly, staring into each other’s eyes – and the way most of his actual feedings went – bleary-eyed in the middle of the night while Netflix-bingeing or checking Facebook on my phone with my free hand – turned out to be very different experiences. You can absolutely make bottle-feeding into a close, special bonding moment… you can do skin to skin, you can talk or sing to baby as they eat, and so on. But whether boob or bottle, after the first couple of weeks the magic wore off for almost everyone I know, whether they breastfed or bottle fed.
Post # 6
Just wanted to pipe in – I was allergic to my mom’s breastmilk. I had to be fed goat’s milk with a bottle, so she really didn’t pump or breastfeed me. My mom is now my best friend. We are super close and have an amazing relationship. I firmly believe that our relationship would not be better had she been able to breastfeed me.
Now that I am pregnant with my first, we are keeping an open mind about what may or may not happen with breastfeeding. If it doesn’t work, that is perfectly okay, and I know that my relationship with my child will still be wonderful. I also know that there is SO MUCH more to parenting and mother-child bonding than breastfeeding.
Post # 7
Breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily mean bonding and closeness. Breastfeeding for me caused extreme pain, anxiety, and I absolutely dreaded it. There are way way more important things that impact your relationship other than breastfeeding.
(I had an undiagnosed case of thrush for 2 months, once I was treated it got much better)
Post # 8
- Wedding: April 2016 - Ed Oliver Golf Club, Wilmington, DE
I don’t have any advice, but I am in a similar situation. I am due in March and we found out about 6 weeks ago that she has congenital heart defects and will need open heart surgery almost immediately after birth. These babies tend to not be able to feed normally, usually requiring a nasal feeding tube, because of being sedated after surgery and then being exhausted from eating. I plan to pump so they can give her my breast milk through her feeding tube; but I know she will probably need some high calorie formula as well. I have definitely been mourning the idea of that snuggle time with breastfeeding; but keep reminding myself that the most important thing is that she is fed and getting healthy. Good luck, mama! we got this!
Post # 9
mishybear : that is true–he can at least help shoulder the feeding burden, plus that gives him a bonding opportunity too 🙂
eeniebeans : that’s a good point–especially with our baby’s surgeries, it will be important for us to gauge his feeding so that he gains enough weight for anesthesia
Pinkmimosas : this is reassuring–as a FTM, it is scary!! I’m already obsessed with my son, I just want him to feel the same way about me 🙂
KatieBklyn : thanks for the info–I will definitely check into that group. I think I’ll be okay, but it’s just different than how I pictured early motherhood being. I guess it’s good practice for all the curveballs my kiddo will probably throw my way 🙂
courtneysokal : thank you, I need to keep that in mind. I will be there for my son in every way that I can be!
CityBearBride : I’ve heard this too–that breastfeeding can be really painful and difficult. I’m hoping that pumping isn’t too too painful, and that he takes to the specialty bottles well. Since he can’t generate suction, it’ll be a little contrary to his reflexes, and I’m worried about him not eating well. I guess that it’s a learning process no matter how you feed!
MsCandyGirl : I am so sorry to hear that–I know how scary getting any unexpected news about your baby can be. I’m trying to remind myself the same thing–the most important thing is to have a healthy and fed baby, no matter how it happens. I’m also not ruling out formula in case he has problems gaining weight or if pumping 8 times a day is driving me to insanity. I had to give up the fantasy of motherhood I had when I heard about his cleft; it is just not as easy as I thought giving up all these downstream pieces of that fantasy.
Post # 10
First of all, I’m sorry you won’t be able to feed your baby the way you imagined. It hurts when things don’t go the way you want! but to echo the others, breastfeeding is only special if it’s what works for you! It can be bonding time, but it’s not irreplaceable! However you feed him will be binding, plus you will sing to him, hold him, cuddle him, be there for him…that’s what counts! I promise he will be as bonded to you without breastfeeding. best wishes to you and your sweet baby!
Post # 11
I’m sorry hon. BFing didn’t work out for me and my FD either. I pumped to get him EBF until 4 weeks, then pumped to give him about 50% Bridesmaid or Best Man until he was about 6 months, then a bottle a night until he was almost 8 months. Honestly, I still am sad. I’m still jealous of the BFing posts. I still feel guilty for not trying harder to get him to latch. I hated pumping. I felt like I spent too much time disconnected from him. I felt so much better when I cut down and started FFing, as I got to hold him more. You still bond with the baby. I am very well bonded with mine. I would often cuddle him up to my leg as I pumped. Get into a EPer group on FB. I am a part of Exclusive Pumpers private group. You have to fill out a forum to get in, then wait a while. But those chicks have so many tips and tricks! They can be intimidating though. Some of them pumped for years.
Post # 12
- Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman
I’ve had to do a lot of pumping due to some setbacks with breastfeeding (bad latch, low milk supply) and it has been hard to let go of the vision I had for us but you can only do so much. Just be sure to have lots of skin to skin contact, which will help your milk supply and also will be bonding time for you and baby.
Post # 13
My first was born with a tumor on the floor of his mouth, and,he was unable to latch. I pumped and bottle fed for 10 months, and I never once felt that I lacked bonding. Its there, and it’s not less than with a Boyfriend or Best Friend baby, it is just different.
To be honest with you, EPing can be huge pain (but worth it if you can), and PPs are right, that joining an EPer forum is very helpful. It’s a good resource to have for tips, tricks, advice (and a place to vent!)
Definetly get a pumping bra to free up your hands!
Post # 14
liaeona : Even though I have not experienced this, I can really relate, as breastfeeding my first son was very special to me (and I was lucky to have a fairly easy go of it with only a few issues). I would be very sad if I was unable to breastfeed my second baby. Although after having one nursing relationship I know how hard it can be and there are definitely some pros of pumping or formula feeding, like others have said! I’m sorry you are having to adjust your vision- just know that it’s normal for many aspects of motherhood. If it wasn’t nursing, it could’ve been something else. Our babies and parenting them is never really like what we expect, and that is ok. Anyway, you have gotten so much good advice from previous posters. I love the bit about not idolizing breastfeeding. Yes, it is wonderful, but so many feeds are just spent getting the baby to eat, burp and back to sleep as quickly as possible, dammit. So it doesn’t matter how or what you are feeding him then! Also, you can have so much of the bonding that breastfeeding brings without actually having breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin, baby-wearing, snuggles, baby massage, singing and rocking, etc. I don’t know anything about your baby’s cleft lip and palate, so I’m sorry if this is bad advice, but some babies can be taught to nurse when they are older (like older adopted babies)- will your son have surgery at some point? Could you potentially nurse a little bit down the road? There are two websites I found, you’ve probably seen it but just in case here it is. Best of luck to you and big congrats on your little guy! Remember that you will have an icnredible bond with each other no matter how you feed him!
Cleft Lip / Palate (Resources)
Post # 15
Have you thought about getting in touch with an IBCLC to get some advice on how pumping might look for you? You can still do lots of skin to skin while feeding baby and there’s so much more to bonding than the method of feeding!