Missing the Breastfeeding Gene?

I’ve had this post sitting in drafts for quite a while now. It’s been sitting in the ‘drafts’ section of Mrs Lighty’s brain for longer still. You see, it may be a little bit controversial: it’s about breastfeeding, or rather, my failed and hated attempt at it.

I’ve found that breastfeeding is a very emotive subject. At least it is for me, if for no one else. And whilst I am already feeling the need to apologise if I offend anyone, I should make it clear that I don’t want to start the ‘Breast vs. Bottle’ debate. I just want to tell my story.

I now call myself a failed breastfeeder, and refer to my month long attempt as having “starved Baby Lighty for the first month of his life”. I do this to try to inject some humour into proceedings, to try to deflect from the fact that, as a mother, not breastfeeding for longer has made me feel like a huge failure. And I know that the reason why I feel like this is because my failed attempt at breastfeeding is solely my fault.

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A two month old Baby Lighty being formula fed by Mr Lighty.

When I look back at my time breastfeeding now, I should have had a very straight forward journey. Having had a relatively difficult pregnancy, I had a ridiculously easy delivery. You’ll probably all throw things at your screen if I say that towards the end of my labour, I was put on the oxytocin drip as I couldn’t feel the pain of my contractions. And even after the drip had been put in, I still couldn’t feel them and had to be told by the midwife when to push! So there should have been no obstacles to breastfeeding, as there can be after a difficult delivery. And actually, the only time that I can remember vaguely enjoying breastfeeding was the first feed after Baby Lighty’s birth, when he was put on me for some skin to skin, and he naturally found the breast for the hallowed ‘golden hour’ feed. I remember excitedly saying to Mr Lighty, “look! He’s doing it!”.

After that, things rapidly went downhill. When I attempted to latch him on later on that night, once I’d been moved to the postnatal ward, he wouldn’t latch, and everyone – midwives and relatives alike – said that he probably just wasn’t that hungry. The next morning, he screamed the ward down, and I desperately text Mr Lighty to ask him to get to the hospital as soon as visiting time started. The midwife came in to see what the commotion was about, and I burst into tears. But at no point did she say that he was probably hungry. Maybe I should have known, had some sort of in built mother’s intuition, but I didn’t realise. I was tired, starving hungry myself as the hospital hadn’t been able to provide anything gluten free for me so I hadn’t eaten since the night before I gave birth, and not really with it. Later on that night, once we’d brought Baby Lighty home, the screaming continued all night long. I was sure that our neighbours were on the verge of calling social services, and I actually went round to their house the next morning to apologise.

Looking back now, the poor tot was hungry. The only thing that calmed him down was some skin to skin with Mr Lighty and the sound of the hairdryer (Mr Lighty joked that he’d heard that sound so often in the womb it had become comforting!!). If I did skin to skin with him, he immediately wanted to feed, and I’d find myself with a tiny human being attached to me constantly. It was like he felt that if he let go, he wouldn’t be fed again, and who could blame him after hardly having been fed by me in hospital? I know that any experienced breastfeeders reading this will say that it’s entirely normal for a newborn to feed seemingly continuously, that it was probably both for comfort and to build my milk supply. But I didn’t know that.

People have also said to me since then that it was also possibly because Baby Lighty was born realatively small, at 6lbs 8.5oz, and he wanted to ‘catch up’ outside the womb. Others have said that he was probably nursing for comfort rather than feeding, but experienced friends and health professionals alike that witnessed me breastfeeding all agreed that he was definitely feeding and not just using me as a dummy.

And when, night after night, you’ve had a mini human attached to you constantly, in what I can now recognise as cluster feeding, from 5pm in the evening through to at least midday the next day, it takes its toll. Baby Lighty was a summer baby, and in the first month after his birth, after yet another night of constant feeding, the morning would dawn light, bright and summery, and I would sit in my bed, a little person still attached to me, and cry, tears rolling down my face, desperately trying to wipe them away before they hit my newborn baby’s head, and I’d sit thinking about my friends that were just getting up to get ready for work as the clock struck 6am, and there I was yet to go to sleep, still feeding from the night before.

Well meaning friends and midwives would come out with the age old adage of “sleep when the baby sleeps”, and I’d try to tell them that if he came off the breast at all, I would do just that. But he didn’t; he was constantly attached to me. “Just snatch half an hour here or there”, they’d say, but as much as I would have loved to have snatched half an hour here or there, I couldn’t because he simply didn’t come off the breast at all; there was no half an hour here or there.

And a month of nights repeatedly like this, postnatal anxiety which the midwives didn’t seem in the slightest bit bothered by, and being called apologetically by Mr Lighty because the baby wanted feeding again as I attempted to take a quick shower, or have something to eat, or use the loo, took their toll. I started to resent Baby Lighty, my poor, innocent newborn. One thought started to fill my head more and more: I hated breastfeeding. I hated the way it made me feel emotionally, the fact that I was resenting my baby; I hated the way it made me feel physically: light headed, tired, constantly hungry yet too anxious to want to eat, the pain on the initial latch; I hated how disgusting I felt on the rare occasions when I’d wake up leaking milk  (and they were rare, for I now feel that my anxiety also affected my milk supply); hated how constant it was; hated that I often didn’t want to leave the house for the fear of being stuck feeding for hours in public; hated the fact that I wasn’t enjoying new motherhood.  Simply put, I hated breastfeeding.

And when that then translates into you not wanting to pick up your newborn son, not wanting to hold him or cuddle him or kiss him because he’d immediately want to feed, asking someone else to comfort him when he was crying because if I did it he’d root for the breast, something isn’t right.

Yet still I continued. And the reason why? Because I could breastfeed. Baby Lighty was feeding fine, he was latching on well apparently, I wasn’t in any particular pain, and I was doing what was supposedly best for my baby. If I gave up simply because I hated it, wouldn’t I be the most selfish mother in the world? Wouldn’t that make me the worst mother ever?

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Formula feeding a nine month old Baby Lighty in the sling. I love how he’s got his little hand on mine in this photo! Formula feeding definitely helped our bond more than breastfeeding.

Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that, no, it doesn’t. It affected my mental health to the point whereby I feel now that I didn’t bond with Baby Lighty as well as I could’ve done. I feel like it took me a long time to adapt to motherhood, something I haven’t admitted often, and maybe that would have always been the case, but I feel now that far from creating that magical bond that many breastfeeding mothers say they feel, it completely broke the bond for me. Writing this now I am welling up with tears, thinking about how sad I felt in that time, how I wanted to escape being a mother constantly. And yet I still don’t feel like I can get across to people how utterly world-shatteringly awful I felt at the time. I can quite easily see why a new mother in the throes of postnatal depression or anxiety would consider – or in worst case scenarios actually act upon – leaving their brood. And if that anxiety or depression is being caused or exacerbated by breastfeeding, then I strongly believe that it isn’t best.

The only sense that was spoken to me during that dark month was by my NCT breastfeeding teacher who took the time to visit me at home to see if she could help me in any way. When I burst into tears as she walked through the front door and I continued to cry on her shoulder for the whole of the hour’s visit, Baby Lighty camped at my breast as he always was, she could see that breastfeeding wasn’t for me, and said “as mothers, we have to do what we need to do to get through the day, and if that means giving formula, then give formula.” And I’ve taken those words of wisdom with me throughout everything I’ve done so far in my short time as a mother. Just do what you need to do to get you through the day.

In the end, the decision whether to continue breastfeeding or not was taken away from me, as my community midwives told me that Baby Lighty wasn’t putting on enough weight, and as it was so hot when he was tiny, there were also fears that he was dehydrating. It still didn’t stop me from feeling incredibly guilty when we switched Baby Lighty to formula, especially when he then developed reflux, and certain comments on forums and from strangers regarding the fact that I was ‘poisoning’ my child didn’t help at all, but I’ve had to learn to rise above them. My friends, relatives and those that know my story know that I did what I needed to do.

All in all, I breastfed for just shy of a month. And I’m kinda proud of carrying on for that long, as it was the hardest month of my life, and in a lot of respects the worst month of my life, possibly even bad enough to put me off having another baby, and I take my hat off to all of you fabulous breastfeeding mamas out there, as breastfeeding is incredibly hard work. I want to stress that I’m not anti-breastfeeding at all, it’s hard work but it’s also amazing and if you can make it work for you, then that’s fantastic. But I do feel so unbelievably sad now that I can only remember one good memory from the first month of Baby Lighty’s life; the rest of that month is a blur of tears, worry, and resentment which I can only relate to breastfeeding.

A lot of people have since said to me that with the right support I probably would have been able to continue, but I respectfully disagree with that. I did the NCT breastfeeding class, I had lots of support from my community midwives during home visits and clinic appointments and as mentioned above, my NCT teacher was kind enough to come and visit too. I also phoned the NCT helpline twice, and they were a great comfort. I have to say that I phoned another very well known breastfeeding helpline twice too, and emailed them, and not once did I receive an answer or response. But despite that, I strongly believe that no one could have taught me to enjoy breastfeeding; no one could have put aside my anxieties and fears except me. No one could have helped me to bond with my baby when I didn’t even want to pick him up. Would I try again if we did have another baby? Yes, possibly. But I also think I’d have the confidence to know when it is right to stop if breastfeeding wasn’t working for us.

If I’ve learnt anything from the breastfeeding experience, it’s that I feel that I now know my body and mind well enough to look back and know that stopping when I did was the right decision for both me and Baby Lighty. Had I continued, my mental health would have continued to deteriorate too. Baby Lighty would not have had the mother he deserved if I’d continued to breastfeed.

*Apologies for the lack of breastfeeding related photos in this post, but I simply don’t have any breastfeeding photos; looking back now, I didn’t want to document that time. A version of this post originally appeared on My Petit Canard as part of her #BreastfeedingStories series.

Proud to be linking up with:

Mummuddlingthrough
Rhyming with Wine
This Mum's Life
A Mum Track Mind

58 thoughts on “Missing the Breastfeeding Gene?”

  1. I feel sad reading this as you know I followed your journey and tried to help advise where I could, I’m sure some of that wasn’t the right thing or potentially even made you more upset because I was there with my baby stuck to my boob…I know it’ll come with time and it’s not helped with dealing with anxiety but do try to focus on the positives. You did try, you did feed him, you did listen to someone and her advice finally clicked with you. I’m sure this could be said for lots of decisions you’ve made during motherhood so far but obviously they’re not seen as so emotive with it being the one thing everyone talks about. Maybe a Mum will read this and it’ll click with her that something is making her unhappy, you never know…

    I have sat some evenings crying those earlier weeks, I felt like a dairy cow some days and add to the fact I couldn’t sit properly due to an infection I’m surprised I even made it through as I felt before baby arrived I was going to fail as a mother. I had some amazing support and some comforting words at the end of a phone those evenings I did struggle and even Lee couldn’t comfort me. I don’t think anything can prepare you for those tough, early days if you have a tiny baby who needs to feed a lot. People see me still feeding Paisley now at 13 months as ‘easy’ and ‘successful’ but that’s not to say it didn’t come with hiccups and challenges along the way. You’re not a failure for not making it as far as other Mum’s, the comparrison should never be there. I feel you’ve done amazingly to have got through what you did. Those first few feeds are an achievement in itself.

    My anxiety was set off with work, how selfish is that?! I can do a year of sleepless nights but worrying about my work can send me over the edge…!? My point is a lot of the time it is our own doing (or undoing) when we feel like we fail but as quickly as we can knock ourselves down we can also build ourselves back up. It really takes a strong mind to float through this parenting malarky. Keep positive, remember to give yourself a pat on the back and it’s fine to have a bad day as we’re ‘learning on the job’ and it’s bloody tough at times xx Well done on sharing your story, all of it

    1. Charlene don’t feel sad! If I’d managed to make breastfeeding work, you would’ve been bugged by me constantly for advice, I couldn’t think of anyone better to help breastfeeding mums! And don’t feel selfish for having work anxiety, if you heard some of the weird and wonderful things that have triggered my anxiety in the past, you would cart me off to the nut house!! I hope you realised that you were one of the supporters I thanked on my Facebook post for helping me to get this post out there? Xxx

      1. You can pester me any time about anything! I’ve found having someone who isn’t family around to ask random stuff to is the only way to keep same these days as they seem to be able to see outside of the dark and scary mummy box we sometimes get ourselves in!

  2. I completely relate to this. Breastfeeding is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Never feel guilty for making the right choice for you and your little one. Thanks for the great read.

    Michelle

    Mamaonthehillblog.wordpress.com

  3. omg I feel for you. After being drugged to high heavens for three weeks before being induced only to the going into the world of pre eclampsia and an emergency c section. I didn’t produce any milk at all! I had the lovely breastfeeding nurses coming in and ‘helping’ and ‘encouraging’ but still nothing happened. It wasn’t until day two and a half, I can be that specific, that a lovely midwife asked
    Me what was wrong, so I explained . O lay to be told – you had an emergency c-section, you had a lot of drugs, your body doesn’t realise you’ve had a baby, let alone know it should be producing milk. I was gob smacked. Until that point NO ONE has mentioned that this could even happen. In one second I went from being a failure to being quite a brave mummy who was, under the circumstances do really well.

    Breast is best, but it isn’t always the way.

    1. Thank you, yes you’re right, there are so many different factors that can contribute, which is why I think it’s amazing for those that can make it work. Unfortunately it was only my brain that stopped me from breastfeeding, but the brain is a powerful thing. Thanks for taking the time to read my post Mandy xxx

  4. Oh my goodness, I just want to give you a hug – and I will, next time I see you. You are so right, in so many ways. Breastfeeding is hard. Being a mum is hard. And there should be so much more support for new mums. No new mum should feel isolated, helpless and miserable for simply not knowing what is going on. But you are not a failure, nor should you say you failed at breastfeeding. You did it! You did it for a month – and a month with a brand new baby feels like a year, I know. But you did it because you were following your mum-instinct to do what was best for your baby, and you stopped for the same reason. And that makes you a fabulous mum, too.
    My sister-in-law had two babies who wanted to feed continously, and she switched to formula too – you are not alone! We’ve discussed it, and it sounds like she has a low milk supply, just the opposite of those with an oversupply, which is also very hard to deal with, I’ve found. I remember nights of being draped over the bed, sobbing, because my baby was screaming and wouldn’t latch, though I tried over and over. It finally dawned on me that she just wasn’t hungry and I was constantly stuffing a boob in her face! But the anguish of those memories is fading fast, and I hope that your memories of that first month are blurring too. Well done for recording it here, though – bother the breastfeeding support groups, there should be a ‘I’ve opted not to and I need support too!’ group! X

    1. Thank you so much, and you’re so right. I’m glad that I’m not alone in needing to switch because of it being so constant, although I’m sorry that your sister in law had to go through it too. Yes where are our support groups, the ‘we tried and did what we needed to’ groups?! Thank you so much for reading my post xxx

  5. You poor, poor girl. I completely understand what you have been through having had a similar experience. Your NCT teacher was an absolute angel supporting you to do the right thing. For me that person was my mum. When you get to that stage you just need one person to give you permission to take the other option. I found with my second baby I was strong enough to give myself that permission. It makes me sad to look back at how anxious and vulnerable I was with number 1 though. Well done for coming through, being a wonderful mummy through that awful breastfeeding and bottle feeding and for bravely sharing your post with us all! The ones that have been in draft for ages are usually the best!!! x x

        1. Thank you, and yes you summed the feelings up beautifully – anxiety and vulnerability. I’m glad you had more strength the second time round, I hope I do if we ever have a second. Thank you for taking the time to read my essay of a post #coolmumclub PS, your linky confusion made me laugh as I often get mixed up!! Hope you got that coffee?! Xxx

  6. A very moving post.
    I breast fed for exactly 2.5 weeks, and changing to bottles was the best thing I ever did. I felt guilt, of course, but that soon dissipates when you realise no actual harm has come to your child. I didn’t even attempt BF baby 2, and she had no ill effects either.
    I found the hardest part of bottle feeding was the judgemental breast feeders. They seemed to think they were better parents. Since it’s been nearly two decades since baby 1 was born, I can look back and say they are not better parents, their journey was different that’s all.
    Don’t feel guilty, there’ll be so much more important things to feel guilty about later.
    Take care and congratulations on your new addition!

    1. Thank you, that’s a lovely way of looking at it, that their journey was different. And I’ll look forward to that future mummy guilt!! 😉 Thanks so much for taking the time to read my (very long) post 🙂 #coolmumclub

  7. This is such an honest and moving post lovely. I know that we’ve “chatted” before about breast feeding and you’ve always joked about your “failed attempts” but I can really feel how much it upset you. I think that you did an amazing job to keep going for as long as you did. You have absolutely no reason to be upset. You did exactly what you needed to do and what was best for you and little D. Breastfeeding is not for everyone, and if formula feeding worked better for you well then you absolutely did the right thing to switch. Happy mummy = happy baby. Sending you a high five for being such a fantastic and brave mum, and a hug, just from one mum to another xx
    #Coolmumclub

    1. Ah Dawn you just made me shed a tear! Thank you. Yes I’ve never really admitted to what extent I hated it before now. Even Mr Lighty said he had no idea I felt that bad until he read my post xxx #coolmumclub

  8. Breastfeeding is such a complicated issue. We are all so different. I desperately wanted to feed…and couldn’t get my girl to latch for 3 months while I exclusively pumped. In hindsight, I probably should have just switched to formula rather than spending all my precious moments pumping when I should have been focussing just on her and driving myself mad with it. Hindsight is a strange thing. Thanks for sharing this on #coolmumclub lovely x

    1. I remember reading your post about breastfeeding and admiring you so much for having pumped that long. We all do what we think is for the best at the time, and that’s the main thing. Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub xxx

  9. There is so much pressure to breastfeed from both personal pressure and society pressure, it’s enough to cause any mother to break down in their early days.
    Thank you for sharing your story. Reading these stories are just as important as understanding the benefits to breastfeeding.
    I completely agree with you. Every mother and baby is different and sometimes no matter how much support you get, it’s simply a better option to not breastfeed for the wellbeing of both mother and baby.
    Your labour sounds dreamy! I bet you can’t wait to do it again haha X #coolmumclub

    1. Haha my labour was pretty good I must admit!! To be honest is was because Emily from My Petit Canard was adamant that she wanted stories both good and bad for her series that I was brave enough to write it all down. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my massively long post 🙂 #coolmumclub

  10. My baby is only 3 weeks old so I’m still very new to this but breastfeeding is absolutely the hardest thing about pregnancy/baby I’ve done so far. There’s so much pressure that your partner can’t help with and despite all the information out there, most of which is conflicting, it’s all still a big mystery….how often should they feed, how long, can you over feed, how to know if you’re under feeding?…there doesn’t seem to be a definite answer because “all baby’s are different”. When your hormones are running wild and you haven’t slept for more than an hour in weeks it’s a lot to deal with. I think making the right decision for you is very brave and you sound much happier for it. A lot of people might let the anxiety and depression spiral out of control which would take all of the joy out of this special event. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story, no one should judge you for making the right decision so both you add your baby are healthy and happy # coolmumsclub

    1. Ah many congrats on your new arrival! Thank you, looking back now I can see how anxious I was but I couldn’t recognise it when I was in the midst of it. I’m glad that I made the decision to stop when the midwives suggested it, as otherwise I think it would have got much worse. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my essay of a post when you’ve probably got much more important things you need to do 🙂 #coolmumclub

  11. I read this on the train to work this morning and couldn’t comment as arrived at my stop! Just seen this again on #coolmumclub so back again. I was sad to read this as it sounded as though you were disappointed with your breastfeeding experience, but there is no need to be. You tried your best and realised that it wasn’t the right thing for you and that’s fine. We are all doing what we can to get by.

    1. Ah thanks for using your commute to read my stupidly long post!! Yes I think disappointed is the right word; I’m disappointed in myself as I feel like I was the sole reason I stopped, even though at the end of the day the midwives told me to as well. But you’re right, our best is all we can do #coolmumclub 🙂

  12. I really felt for you reading this post. I agree that breast isn’t always best if it is affecting your ability to bond with your child and is damaging your mental health. I feel very lucky to have been able to breastfeed my son for 10 months and had a really good experience as I have lots of friends and read lots of posts where they have had a very similar breastfeeding experience to you. Don’t feel sad or guilty, or did what was right for you and baby. As they say happy mum=happy baby xx #coolmumclub

    1. Thank you, I feel less sad about it all the time but I still have odd days of doubt. You’ve done fab to have fed your son for 10 months! I think if it works for you then it’s truly an amazing thing. Thank you for taking the time to read my post 🙂 #coolmumclub

  13. My oldest would feed every hour and would feed for 45 minutes. I had a hard time sleeping or showering or even eating as he was always latched onto me. I made it to two months before I finally gave in and decided to give him formula but my first born was the opposite of small. He was a big baby and the mothers around me and the doctors said they thought that maybe he just had a big appetite but they assured me that I was a making enough milk. I was but the pure exhaustion got to me, not to mention I started suffering from post pardum depression so I switched to formula. It was hard at first as my bond with him was like no other but I needed to switch for my own sanity. My second son was significantly smaller and had trouble latching. Once he did though, he hardly ever ate. Miraculously he gained a whole pound in the month that I was breastfeeding him but I stopped at only a month because he developed acid reflux. Each one of our stories are different and are our own. I agree with your teacher that we as mothers have to do what we have to do and if switching to formula is what we have to do then that is what we do, screw the naysayers. They have no right to judge you! Popping over from #bigpinklink

    1. Just goes to show that all babies are different too!! It sounds like you did great by both your boys though. Thanks for taking the time to read my (long!) post 🙂 #bigpinklink

  14. This is such an honest and moving post hun and it echoes how I felt with my second exactly. I was desperate for someone to tell me I HAD to stop but there was no reason and so in the end I rang my mum in tears and said “I’m losing myself”. She was amazing and made me feel better but I still feel guilty even now xxxx thanks for sharing your story xxxx

    1. That’s such a great way of putting it, that you were ‘losing yourself’, that’s exactly how I felt. I felt like my whole identity was being sucked out of me by this little tiny person. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my very long post! Xxx

  15. What a moving and honest post. I felt sad for you reading this as it sounds like such a difficult time. You don’t need to feel any guilt – you did what was best for your family! I don’t think I could have lasted that long with what you went through. I have been lucky in that the cluster feeds (which are not as extreme as the ones you experienced) tended to be late afternoon going into the evening so I didn’t find it too hard.

    Thank you for sharing this. #fartglitter

    Ps your labour sounds nice, any tips?!!!

    1. The whole month felt like one long cluster feed to be honest, it was so mentally draining, not sure I could go through it again. Ha, yes I could definitely do the labour again luckily. No tips, just plenty if gas and air!! 😆 #fartglitter

  16. Such an honest post, I tried to breastfeed for a week and gave up, little man was hungry and losing weight. I felt like such a failure for a long time but in the end I realised I did the best I could for me and my baby. Thanks for sharing. Helps to hear stories from others who went through a similar thing.
    http://www.mummyitsok.com

    1. Thank you, that’s why I write it to be honest, in the hope of helping someone else. Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking the time to read my post xxx

  17. Ugh, big hugs! I never achieved a latch and so expressed milk for 5 months because I felt to guilty not to. I also hated it and feel really anxious at going through that with another baby. It’s the main reason I wont discuss having another at the moment. Need to figure out how to get over that first. I totally agree that we mums have to do what we have to do to get through the day but it’s hard to use logic to battle mum guilt. Loved this post. Thanks for your honesty xxx

    #fartglitter

    1. Thanks Mama. You did fantastically to express until 5 months! That must’ve been hard work! In a selfish way I’m glad it’s not just me put off having another for this reason. Do you think you’d feel the same next time round?! Thanks for reading my (very long) post and hosting #fartglitter xxx

  18. Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds horrendous. I put enormous pressure on myself to breastfeed as I felt that I’d ‘failed’ in labour and I had to do something to make up for it. Sounds silly I know but the things you think with next to no sleep and about a zillion hormones whizzing around. I had no support and was struggling big time, it wasn’t until a community midwife was off and I got a cover from another area that saw my misery and sat with us for 2 hours helping me to get the latch we’d been so sorely, (literally!), lacking that things turned around for me and I grew to love feeding in the end. Anyway, my point is this, I had horrible memories of our first months but my daughter is 5 now and we are so close. There are a million other ways to build a bond and you should never worry that the first month can affect what will be a lifelong relationship. Go easy on yourself. Thanks for linking up. #bigpinklink

    1. Thank you, that’s very kind of you. Sounds like you had quite the journey too! I’m glad you learned to love feeding in the end, so many people do have a good experience which is lovely. Thanks for reading my (very long!) post and hosting #bigpinklink 🙂

  19. Reading this and reading everyone’s comments is like you’ve all been looking through a little window into my life for the last two months! I am a first time Mum, breastfeeding my baby and hating it! I don’t feel like I’m bonding, I feel like I don’t want to pick him up for fear he’ll want feeding (it’s still very painful for me). He wants feeding all the time and I feel like my poor boobs don’t get a rest. It’s not easy and to some it doesn’t come naturally, despite what all the midwives and health professionals would have you think. Well done for managing a month, you did amazingly and as a friend said to me, “when you stand in a school playground you can’t pick out which children were breast fed and which were formula fed” – it’s not the end of the world as you’re so often made to feel!

    WELL DONE!

    1. Ah thank you so much and I’m sorry to hear that you’re currently going through this. Is it worth speaking to your health visitor and / or a breastfeeding support group / peer? You have done amazingly well to get to two months, I dread to think what sort of state I would be in if I’d carried on for longer xxx

  20. It’s awful that you had to have that first terrible month but that photo of you bottle-feeding in a sling is adorable and you’re both obviously happier for the change 🙂 Breastfeeding is definitely one of the hardest parts of the newborn period whether it be physically or mentally, and there should be absolutely no guilt associated withthe choice not to do it as long as you and Baby Lighty are happy now xx

    1. Thank you, I’m normally a bit funny about bottle feeding pictures but I do like that one. Yes you’re right, breastfeeding is so hard and I’m pleased now that we didn’t struggle on any longer than we did, as I don’t think we would have bonded. Thanks for taking the time to read my (very long!) post 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

  21. I love this post. I felt exactly the same with my first. I just don’t like how it makes me feel and my baby was never satisfied. Good on you for raising awareness, it’s just not for everyone.

    #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. Ah I’m sorry to hear that you felt the same way but also glad in a way that I wasn’t the only one. I hope it does raise a bit of awareness about how it can affect mental health. Thanks for taking the time to read my post 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

  22. I really enjoyed reading this post and four months post-partum I can really relate. I hated breastfeeding as well and for many different and complex reasons. I fed my daughter for three months and was eventually told to put her on formula because she was losing weight. Breast apparently is not always best! It’s silly that this debate rages on really, as long as baby and Mum are happy and the baby is being fed then it really doesn’t matter whether its by breast or formula. But bloody hell, breastfeeding is far far harder in my experience and I’ve done both with my two. Good for you for speaking out and telling it like it is! I hope you don’t get any of the breastapo on here commenting about “poison” and other rubbish but if you do just ignore it because at the end of the day you’ve fed your baby and he is doing just fine! Thanks for linking up with us on our first week with #fortheloveofBLOG – really hope you can join us again next week x

    1. Ah thank you, I’ve been lucky enough to have lots of lovely comments so far so hopefully that will continue, although I was wary of putting the post out there for the reasons you’ve mentioned above. #fortheloveofBLOG

  23. First of all you didn’t need to once apologise for any part of your story. You tried and it just didn’t work. My son would feed every 2 hours all the time. I was told repeatedly that he would slow down but even months later he would wake in the night for a feed still even after weaning. You cannot tell how much they are taking and I was told he was probably a little and often type of baby. Even now at 2, he won’t eat a big meal but prefers to graze in the day, maybe his stomach can’t take it? Who knows? Your story was so heart felt and almost made me cry. Thank you for sharing it and please be proud of it. You can help new Mums by sharing this and give them so hope during a difficult time. xx

    1. Thank you, that’s very kind. Two hours between feeds would have been good for Baby Lighty, ha!! Even on formula he’d only go three hours between feeds. As you say, it was such a worry when I didn’t know how much he was taking. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

  24. I didn’t even try and have been made to feel like an inadequate uncaring mother. I have no issue with anyone breastfeeding, but I knew before I even got pregnant that it was not something I wanted to do. Baby was bottle fed from the start and although i have been made to feel bad for doing so, I know I would have felt worse doing something against my will x

    1. I really admire you your strength. I wish I’d had more conviction (and perhaps I would have if we had another). Even now, 15 months on, the thought of breastfeeding sends a chill through me. But at least now I know I’m a better mother for not forcing myself on with it further. Thank you for taking the time to read my post xxx

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