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Thread: giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

  1. #1
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    Sep 2014
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    Default giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

    Hi all,

    This is probably not the right place to post this but I'm hoping someone has some pointers. I don't need to go through our whole story but my baby is 3 months old and we've had a major struggle, and things took a turn for the worse after I went back to work. We made the decision last night to just try exclusive pumping until my milk dries up, combined with formula to make up the difference.

    I know this is the right decision at this point, for both me and the baby, but I'm feeling so devastated and I don't know how to move on and focus on the important parts of my life. I guess it will get easier over time but before it does I'm going to have to watch the freezer stash get used up, my milk output decline, increase in bottles and formula, etc, all of which is going to be very hard to watch. I guess I just invested too much emotion and effort into this whole breastfeeding thing.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for how to move on? A support group of some kind? Ways to think about it that aren't so devastating?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

    For anyone that feels like they would offer a more thorough reply with a better understanding of the ramom's experience, please take a moment to look at the other threads she has shared, rather than asking her to rehash here. This is clearly a really difficult experience.

    http://forums.llli.org/showthread.ph...23#post1342623

    http://forums.llli.org/showthread.ph...back-to-breast

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*ramom View Post
    I know this is the right decision at this point, for both me and the baby, but I'm feeling so devastated and I don't know how to move on and focus on the important parts of my life. I guess it will get easier over time but before it does I'm going to have to watch the freezer stash get used up, my milk output decline, increase in bottles and formula, etc, all of which is going to be very hard to watch. I guess I just invested too much emotion and effort into this whole breastfeeding thing.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for how to move on? A support group of some kind? Ways to think about it that aren't so devastating?
    You know your situation best. Better than anyone else, you know the difficulties you have encountered, and the efforts you have made. I think it is totally okay to feel however you are feeling about this-- please allow yourself room and time to experience whatever emotions are coming up, and not to focus on how you 'should' be feeling, not to try to rush yourself on to 'getting over it', etc.

    I really don't think you "just invested too much emotion and effort into this whole breastfeeding thing." Nursing your baby was/is incredibly important to you, and I think that this is really understandable, normal, natural, etc-- would perhaps even say 'instinctual', at least in part.

    If you feel like you have gathered as much information and knowledge and support as was possible for you, that you have made the maximum (and most effective) effort that you were able to make, for the maximum duration of time that you were able to make it, and you feel like now this is the right choice for you, having done those things, then perhaps you can find empowerment in that-- that this is an incredibly hard choice for you, but you are making this choice, and to try to own it?

    But if you feel like there is any shred of 'well, maybe I could still try this, or maybe I have the energy to do this for a little while longer...', I think, that if it were me, that is the part that would make it harder for me to really heal and process all of this, you know?

    Perhaps it would be helpful to really write this out for yourself. To sit down with a piece of paper to really make this thought process complete. You mention "I don't know how to move on and focus on the important parts of my life." Well, what are those important parts? Maybe really identifying them, in a really concrete way, is the first step toward being able to focus on them, and structure your life and your decisions around them.

    In regards to formula, the website Fearless Formula Feeder might be worth checking out; I think they either have a forum or a Facebook group too.

    But-- and I know that it really doesn't sound like this is something you want to discuss, maybe, but I wouldn't feel like I was offering the best support that I could offer if I didn't broach this part of the subject-- breastfeeding does not have to be all or nothing. Is there any part of you that thinks it might be possible to find a workable solution that let's you continue to nurse your baby, some of the time, or to exclusively pump longer term?

    I read through your other threads-- is baby still being fed bottles in a non-paced way? Did you ever get to the bottom of baby's reaction to the bottle / need to 'force feed'?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

    You are confident you have done what you could, and that this is the best decision for you family. So if you are still feeling devastated by a decision you believe in, perhaps it is the way you are looking at your decision that is the problem.

    We made the decision last night to just try exclusive pumping until my milk dries up, combined with formula to make up the difference.
    But you are not giving up breastfeeding. Your plan, if I understand it, is to pump and give your baby your expressed milk in a bottle and to supplement with formula as needed. This is still breastfeeding, as some of your child's food comes from the breast. You do not know when or even if pumping will become totally unsustainable, but if/when it does, you can deal with that then. Your child is 3 months old, and, assuming she shows signs of readiness, can start being introduced to solids in two or three months. So the time of exclusive nursing is limited anyway.

    I am not asking anything, I did review your threads. but I will also say that if you ever wish to nurse or your baby does, ever, wish to nurse, there is no reason to not do that. I mean, if you are mourning the loss of nursing at the breast, it might help to understand that things need not be all or nothing. If you wish and if circumstances allow, you may nurse again- whether it be one time or more. Please understand I am not saying DO that, you are ready to stop trying to nurse at the breast, and I am not questioning that. I am saying that just because you have made the decision to stop nursing at the breast need not mean there is some rule that you must never ever nurse again should you ever want to.

    As far as a support group, what would you be looking for? What support groups have you utilized already?

    By the way, continuing to use paced bottle feeding methods and cue feeding would keep feedings more like the biological norm- smaller, not too fast, and frequent, with baby in control. This is a feeding method that is helpful even for the exclusively bottle fed baby.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; October 31st, 2014 at 10:32 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    She's starting daycare next week and they won't do paced bottle feeding (we didn't have a lot of choice in daycare but even if we did I wouldn't have known to ask about this.) So there's really not much I can do, so I really need to move on at this point. The baby doesn't want to nurse any more, and it's causing too much anguish, distraction, and lost sleep for us to keep trying.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

    I can't offer any better advice.
    Feeling devastated or even mourning the loss would be completely natural.

    If baby will still latch and nurse at all, then no need to quit those nursing sessions but don't stress yourself about them.

    Has baby been checked out medically to make sure there is no medical reason causing the dark urine and baby's attempted refusal to even take bottles?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

    Lots of people exclusively pump for the duration of their breastfeeding relationship. If you are consistent and methodical, you may have sufficient supply to feed your baby. My friend did it -- I was in awe of how much she told me how many ounces she used to pump in only two sessions at work, while it took me three to get half of what she would get. In fact, since her baby was a about 2 years older than my first, I really thought EPing would be the easy way to go and figured I'd do the same. But I'm glad I ended up nursing -- I would not have survived EPing unless it was my only choice. You seem to feel that's where you are now.

    I think it's harder to motivate yourself to pump than it is to nurse, though, so try to find something you like to do while pumping (I like listening to comedy podcasts or watching TV). Just make sure you have a good pump, keep up with the parts maintenance, and pump as much as you possibly can. I pump in the car on my commute to work and then three times a day at work. You need to aim for 8-12 sessions a day, I believe (someone correct me if I'm wrong).
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and "Baby Brother," born 6/23/2014, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

    I just read through your past posts (sorry, should have reviewed them more closely before responding the first time). Have you had any in-person help beyond your LC? Maybe another LC, a LLL group, something of that nature?
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and "Baby Brother," born 6/23/2014, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

    So there's really not much I can do, so I really need to move on at this point.
    Yes there is. IF you wished, YOU can feed your baby with a paced feeding method when you are with your baby. Also, you can educate your day care about this feeding methods. I am not going to get into it all here but the traditional feeding methods of huge bottles spaced very widely (time wise) and over which baby has no control of the flow because they are laying almost flat and the milk just won't stop coming are potentially harmful. There is nothing more difficult about 'doing' paced bottle feeding, it is just people often do not know about it or know how to do it.

    I wonder if it is possible that your feelings about weaning/no longer trying to nurse are combining with the often difficult and conflicting feelings about the daily separation from your child due to work and causing you to feel helpless about all feeding choices, or even other parenting choices? You are not helpless, you are and always will be your baby's mother, the person who knows what it best for your baby, and the person whose job it is to make sure others are also doing what is best for your baby- whatever you believe that to be. I am not saying your baby must be paced bottle fed and/or cue fed, many, probably most, bottle fed babies are not, although the thinking about this IS changing. Fine. But IF that is something you want to look at, why not? I am just encouraging you to do whatever will help you feel more empowered about your rights as your child's mother in general.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2014
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    Default Re: giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

    Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the thoughts. It's difficult to explain to people in my family and I don't have anyone else to talk to about it, so I appreciate the chance to discuss it here.

    The ped said the dark urine is due to not enough milk. I don't know the explanation for her weird behavior with the bottle but I'm realizing it's not because she's not hungry, just some inexplicable baby behavior. (She's very active/wiggly so her movements that look to us like avoidance might not really mean that). We talked to a couple different LCs and I've also been to the LLL meeting, they were nice but weren't able to suggest anything beyond what's been suggested here. I think the problem *could* be solved if I didn't have to go back to work and send her to daycare, so I hope that other people reading my thread don't get discouraged if that's the situation they're in.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: giving up breastfeeding and feeling devastated

    You have given your baby so much up until this point, and I think from your posts it is clear to anyone reading how much you love your child, and how much you want to ensure she is healthy, and nourished, and fed with love. Thank you for sharing your journey here.

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