64 answers

Considering Giving up Breast Feeding?

I have been breast feeding my beautiful son for a month since he was born. It has been going well in terms of him latching on, etc. However, I am frazzled. He seems to need to eat constantly, sometimes every hour and definitely every 2 to 2 1/2, even at night. I have no time to do anything, most importantly sleep. My husband will bottle feed him breast milk for one night time feeding on the weekend nights but even then I really don't get much sleep since it goes through him so quickly. I am considering giving him formula maybe once at night and when I have to go out for longer than an hour. Luckily, I am off work for the summer. I am having a hard time with this, feeling very guilty about it and don't know what to do. It seems like his hunger is endless. I want to know if anyone has done this or about your experiences with bottle feeding.

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What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi M.,

Please do not feel guilty. Formula is not a terrible thing. I worked full-time when my daughter was an infant and chose to give her only formula. With my son, I was at home, but he was endlessly hungry and I was able to successfully combination-feed him; I would give him a formula bottle at night which held him much longer thus giving me more rest. I would also use formula if I wanted to go somewhere and have my husband or mom take care of him. I am expecting my 3rd soon and I will combination feed again if need be. While I loved breastfeeding, it was also challenging so the combination of breastmilk and formula kind of gives you the best of both, and you'll be a better mom if you can get more rest and not feel "trapped" in the rocking chair all day. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

I am so sorry to hear you are frazzled. Breast feeding, even when the babe is doing well, can be tough on the mom. Do NOT feel guilty about starting bottle feeding along with the b-milk, or when it comes time to stop all together.

Happy mama=happy baby!!!!!!

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Just remember it gets easier! If you want really good support for breastfeeding www.kellymom.com is the place to go. One thing I didn't know was that water/juice/formula (anything but breastmilk) destroys some the the immune protection in the babies. I posted in kellymom because I was thinking about using juice a couple time to help my baby learn to take a bottle. I had no idea that just a little juice could have this effect. You may want to post there so you can make a decision based on all the info you would want.

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More Answers

M.,

I wish I could give you a great big hug!!! Bless your heart!

First of all, no matter what you decide, your son will grow up and be a wonderful, beautiful person. Breastmilk doesn't "guarantee" perfect children. LOL! Don't let anyone tell you what you do is wrong, because it isn't...it's right for you and your family.

If you have been dedicated to the idea (the idea is different than the practice) of breastfeeding, then it is a very hard thing to give up. If you haven't done so, see a lactation consultant so that she can weigh your baby with her special scale before and after he eats. It could be that you are simply not producing enough milk quickly enough. This happened to me. My firstborn didn't gain weight like he should have (he was eating every 2 hours or so) and we found that I just didn't make enough milk. As a first time mom I had NO idea what it felt like when my breasts were empty vs. "half full" if you know what I mean. (I knew "full" of course.) So at 2 weeks old, we had to change my Perfect Mother Breastfeeding Plan.

Our solution, which broke my heart because I was sure I was putting poison into my baby, was for him to nurse 15 min on each side like they say, and then give him a 2 oz bottle. Daddy actually loved the bottle part because he could feed the baby. I also took an herb called fenugreek that stimulates the production of breastmilk. (I think there's a prescription, Reglan, which also does that...but it wasn't FDA-approved when I did it) The fenugreek did help. By the time my son was 6 weeks old and I was returning to work, my milk supply was better. (Irony!!!)

However, I could not, for the life of me, pump enough milk to supply him while he was at the sitters. So I would pump what I could and then supplement with formula. We did that for 4 months till summer came and I was at home with him. Everyone survived...I think I was the worse for wear because I felt so guily. Even then, though, I could see the blessing in it all because he took a bottle so nicely. (He did NOT take a bottle nicely again when I returned to work in the fall, after exclusively BF during the summer, LOL)

The other thing I did, which I might get bashed for, is that I took that baby with me to bed. I am a fairly light sleeper, but I needed to sleep! I'd sleep turned or half-turned on my side so that he could nurse, and nurse he did...ALL NIGHT off and on. I'd switch sides when he got restless and that side was empty...and go right back to sleep. I protected him in the crook of my arm (my shoulder was the "corner" not the elbow) and Life Was Good. The doctors and lactation consultants knew and condoned this...they said it is a phenomenon in working moms called "reverse nursing"... It worked for us and I have no guilt at all. :)

He contined to nurse on demand until he was 14 months, when I got pregnant again,) although the reverse nursing stopped when it was summer and I was home with him, and he did sleep in his own bed from 5 months on. :)

I was in my early 30's when my son was born...so like you he was a long awaited gift. You won't hurt him, or you, with formula. It sounds to me as though you are not seeking to stop nursing, just supplement...and I will tell you, it's the perfect solutuion (as long as his tummy tolerates the formula...what we did do, I am vaguely remembering, is that I pumped - mostly to increase production - and we did 1/2 breastmilk and 1/2 formula - for the first few bottles, then decreased the breastmilk and increased the formula till he was at 100% formula.)
(FWIW, I nursed my second child for 2 years and never ever had a production issue...I had to throw away tons of frozen milk after she stopped nursing!)

And don't let ANYONE tell you that you are wrong!!! Breastfeeding is a huge deal and it is HARD HARD HARD! (It's also SUPER easy, once you get it going...I loved not having bottles to drag around, etc...) And don't let anyone tell you you're "not committed" or "want some time for yourself" because I will tell you this...you cannot lose YOU in the midst of parenting...that's how you become unhappy. Go out to dinner with your husband, with your girls, go to the mall without the baby, be a Woman too, not just a Mom...because when you go back home, that baby will be fine, and YOU will be better, because you took care of yourself just a little bit. It's not selfish, it's smart!!!

Hugs to you! Good luck with breastfeeding!

3 moms found this helpful

I do not think you should feel guilty for wanting to get some sleep. The fact is you breast feed you son during the most important time the first 4 to 6 weeks. Giving him the much need nutrition he needed. Let me share my story with you to show you your not alone in switching to the bottle.

I was almost 30 when our son was born. We hard tried to have a baby for 6 years and we were just thrilled to have this perfect little boy.
Every thing went fine at first until our son became very colicky. No matter what I did or ate he was colicky. Finally I visited his doctor and he told me that it may not be my diet at all it could be me. He said that it could my nerves causing such colic. At first I said no way because I was not a nervous mom. I did a little research and found out that nerves can cause colic as well as a slow down in milk production or the quality of milk. When nothing else worked I decided to discontinue breast feeding our son. He was 4 months old them. It has been many years since then and our son has grown up very healthy and strong. Years after I quite breast feeding I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and now take medication. My story is not the same as your but it still comes out the same way. There are some mothers that have to give up breast feeding before others and it doesn't make them bad mothers in any way. I look at my situation as the the only answer I had without hurt my son or driving my self crazy.

Best of Luck

2 moms found this helpful

Hi There. You've got tons of responses and I don't want to repeat anything. I can simply share with you that the day I finally gave-up trying the breastfeed turned out to be one of the best days of my life. At the time, I thought I was a complete failure and even thought I didn't deserve my incredible newborn. In hindsight, those were the worst 6 weeks of my life. I am so sad I wasted those first precious weeks with my baby struggling to breastfeed and feeling guilty. I started formula...and finally started enjoying my baby! I wish you the very best.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi M.,
I am so happy that so many mothers are giving you great advice and supporting you to keep at it. I wanted to offer my support in a more tangible way, of you feel that it would be helpful. I am a labor and postpartum Doula, as well as massage therapist. I work with a TON with new moms, supporting and troubleshooting breastfeeding, baby's sleep, even more practical things like preparing meals, throwing in laundry, etc. Basically, helping the transition into motherhood (parenthood) go as smoothly as possible. I would be more than happy to speak with you over the phone, by email, or even set up a visit or two if you think talking through the details of what is happening with your little one could be helpful. Sometimes the tiniest shift can create huge results! Take care and please don't hesitate to reach out. L. Koop - ____@____.com ###-###-####

2 moms found this helpful

I just wanted to offer you some encouragement to keep on keepin' on! Newborns do eat a lot, often every two hours all day and all night:( My daughter ate every two hours for an hour each time. I only had an hour inbetween to myself. Now, that being said, I must tell you that it gets better, and it will get better fast! You've already got the first month down, and that is by far the most difficult month. Within this second month, the baby will nurse quicker, and will swallow more milk at a time. And, the baby will start to sleep longer at night. It's just those first few weeks that are the most tough. But, you're getting finished with them. Don't give up after you've already done the hardest part. The rewards of all your work will soon be seen.
Also, introducing "just one" bottle of formula a day is a slippery slope. It will make your milk production drop, and you'll be supplementing more and more, and soon you won't be nursing anymore. I strongly discourage you from introducing formula.
I know that life with an infant is hard, and sometimes you want to throw the baby out the window, but you're doing such a good job.
You can do it!

2 moms found this helpful

I know how hard it can be. My first son couldn't latch properly so I was trying to feed him him every two hours (if not more) when he was that age, and he couldn't latch so all he would do was scream. And then I would get frustrated and cry and then I would listen to him bawl while I was pumping to give him a bottle. He didn't latch really until 4-5 weeks. And then...he was nursing what seemed around the clock. He would spend at least 45 min per feeding and sometimes there would be a MAX of 30 min between feedings. It is one of the hardest things I ever did. But because we worked so hard for it, we kept at it and I was able to nurse him all the way to 29 months.

Nursing an older baby/toddler is the most satisfying thing.....such tender moments. Although an occasional bottle of formula isn't going to scar them for life, it is best to try to wait until after they start solid foods. That being said, you have to do what is best for your baby and you. And only you can make that decision. I about drove myself to the nuthouse with my first son trying to get things to work. So many people told me....calm down it's ok, he's healthy (he almost came premature). But that wasn't what I wanted or needed to hear. What I wanted was support for my breastfeeding and no one gave it. It was what I wanted and needed to do. After all was said and done though, I was so happy I stuck with it. There were so many times I almost gave up. And the second child was easier.

Only you can make the decision. You have to go with your gut. Your child will be fine either way, but you have to gage all the pros and cons to each decision and decide what is best for both of you. Personally *I* am so happy with the choice I made to keep at the nursing, but for someone else, the decision might be different. Just keep it in perspective.....this time is such a short time in the scheme of things. Is it going to drive you crazy? Or can you stick it out for a couple months and just try to focus on your baby and not worry too much about what you are missing "out in the world"?

2 moms found this helpful

M.,

I just went through a very similar situation with my now 4 month old. At the end of her 4th week I was so stressed out that just the sound of my daughter made me anxious and angry. After a few days of feeling the most intense guilt and feeling of failure, I decided that the best thing I could do for the whole family was to stop breastfeeding and formula feed only. Once I did, I was able to enjoy feeding her, enjoy spending time with her again because I wasn't so stressed out. My husband could take the night time and evening feedings. She started sleeping longer and she started gaining weight better. Most importantly, I stopped questioning my decision to have a child and started to appreciate and enjoy her.
Formula fed babies are not any less intelligent than breast fed babies. And despite what many may tell you, YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM if you choose to formula feed.
As for the bonding excuse that some moms give as being why breastfeeding is so much better, you're still holding your baby, looking into his little eyes just the same as if you were breastfeeding. And as an added bonus, his dad and grandparents and whoever else get to experience this too.

Please do not feel guilty if you choose not to breastfeed anymore!! For me, switching to formula was the absolute best decision I could have made. If you think it's the way to go for you, do it and don't look back. And don't let the breastfeeding nazi's make you feel guilty. Breastfeeding is great, if it works for you, if it doesn't IT'S OK!!

Good luck with your decision!!

2 moms found this helpful

M.,

IT IS YOUR CHOICE AND YOURS ALONE! While breastmilk has elements that can not be replicated in formula there is nothing wrong with formula or making the choice to keep some sanity. It is important as a mother that you get as much, sleep and support as you can. I made the choice to execlusively BOTTLE FEED...YEP that's right. While some breastfeeding maniacs may try to strong arm you into feeling guilty everyone is different and you should be encourage to make the best decision for your child and family. Becoming a Mom is stressful enough. You should be enjoying your baby and it is hard when you are sleep deprived. Yep lack of sleep is part of the process but you still need to get some to function. Good luck and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

2 moms found this helpful

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