spirits need lifting

Michelle - posted on 03/20/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )

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before i start i just want to make clear that i love breastfeeding and have no intentions of stopping but im starting to feel quite clostraphobic. My girl is 4 months old now and i havnt left her side since she was born. I would love to be able to just go for a nice meal with my partner or have a girly shopping trip with my friends but im unable to. Ive tried pumping and just dont seem to have much look with it. My partner put his foot down the other day and demamded that we go out for a few hours so i left her with my mum and she gave her formula. I didnt have a good time, just wanted to come home and felt guilt ridden for giving my baby formula even tho i know it will do her no harm. Has anyone else had thhese problems and what did you do? I know myself that it is important to have time away to yourself and with your husband but i just cant face giving her formula again.

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I know what you mean about feeling isolated. I used to joke that I couldn't leave my baby - not because of emotional reasons, but because I anytime I was away from my baby for more than 2 hours, my breasts would become engorged. So I'd either have to pump or find the nearest baby to relieve myself! lol...

Just hang in there. And tell your partner to do the same. The frequency with which your DD feeds will diminish over time and you'll have more freedom. And when you finally do stop BFing, you'll miss it so much - you'll barely remember the frustration and sacrifice.

It's such a short time that our babies depend on us totally. Enjoy the moment. It'll be gone before you know it.

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Lisa - posted on 03/20/2009

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I know what you're going through with feeling guilty about giving her formula! I did too, but I had no choice as I started drying up and am still trying to build my supply back up!



My daughter is only 4 1/2 months so supplementing her with formula was a hard pill for me to swallow, but when your baby is hungry then you've got to do what you've got to do...



When I realized what was going on, I sat down and had myself a good cry! I felt like I was letting her down! Luckily she took to the formula pretty well (after she finally accepted the bottle which was no easy task) and you know what?? If she likes it then just be ok with it!!! You're still bf'ing her anyother time so as long as she's still getting that throughout the day/night then that's fantastic!! A little formula here and there is not going to hurt anything!!! (Despite what anybody says!!!)



You really do need time for you (and your partner) as we all tend to kind of forget ourselves and our own needs!!  The first time I got to go have a girls night with my girlfriends felt great! Dont get me wrong, of course I felt so guilty and it was hard to relax and just have a good time, but it was much needed cause the next time I was out and about babyless was a little easier..and so on...



Hang in there and just try to relax!!! Good luck : )))

Itsamystery - posted on 03/20/2009

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As others have said, you can increase how much milk you get when you pump if you keep at it. It's hard to get much if you just pump now and then because your body isn't being told to produce extra milk, but if you start pumping at the same time every day you'll soon get more milk. It takes persistence and can be discouraging at first when you hardly get a dribble of milk out, but if you keep at it you'll see results.

If you could give her your milk while you're out, would that help you feel better and enjoy your time out?

Your feelings are totally normal. It's really important to have some time to do something for yourself, even if you can only get 2-3 hour snatches. Try not to feel guilty, if your baby is with someone who loves her, she'll be fine.

PS - if she is taking a bottle, you might want to try to keep that up so that it is easy to get her cared for by others. Breastfeeding babies tend to prefer breast over bottle if they don't have much contact with a bottle once they get past a certain age. Eventually you might have a wedding or a conference or just want to be able to do something that takes longer than 3 hours, and if she takes a bottle you'll be able to do it. It's hard to keep up though; you have to give the bottle regularly enough to keep her used to it. If you wanted to do this, daddy could give her one bottle of your milk in the evening - that way you get a little break too. If you do this, pump at the time you would be feeding her to keep your milk supply up. At 4 months giving one bottle a day shouldn't interfere with the breastfeeding relationship or give her nipple confusion.

Of course, all that might seem like too much work, in which case don't worry about it. I'm just thinking it might be helpful if you're feeling claustrophobic. I stopped regularly giving my son bottles of expressed milk when he was about 4 months old and when I needed to go to a 5 hour class when he was about 5 1/2 months, he wouldn't take the bottle anymore and screamed the whole day, I felt so guilty. He hasn't taken a bottle since so I couldn't go out for more than a few hours at a time until he was about 14-15 months old and eating enough solids to cope without milk for 4-5 hours. So I'm thinking that giving her a bottle would lay groundwork for you to get some time out of the house in the future. Bottles don't have to mean formula, if you pump regularly and build up your supply.

Keely - posted on 03/20/2009

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i pumped pleanty but Connor would not take a bottle. He wont even drink it out of a sippy cup. Luckily he loves my mom alot so he is pretty happy with her and my dad. I spend alot of time with them and seeing how much my mama loves Connor and he loves her puts me at ease. She loves and cares for him like i would at home and that definately helps. I am righ there with you tho, i have a hard time leaving him. I only did it for one day when i had had one of those up all nights and mom came and took him for the day. I got some much neededc rest but felt so bad and so guilty!! I havent done it since. I know he would be ok, and he is eating solids some at this point but i really dont want to leave him. I wish i could help more, but i know how you feel! Connor is now 7 months old and still sleeps in our bed from time to time. I keep in mind that he is only little like this once and he is growing so fast that i dont want to miss a minute. My hubby feels much the same so i luck out there. Best of luck, just hang in there! YOur feelings are normal and prove what a good momma you are.





Emily - posted on 03/20/2009

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Why don't you work your way up to longet outings? Feed her before you go, leave her with a trusted friend or relative be home within two hours or three if you think she can go that long. Don't leave any milk or formula. Work at the pumping then maybe you and your husband can have an afternoon out after a while which may be important if you are feeling clostraphobic.

Jennifer - posted on 03/20/2009

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Pumping can be a pain, more ways than one, so I pump 3/4 times at work, then when I get home to my daughter, I pump one side while she feeds on the other side. You might try that method a few times to make a few bottles to freeze for when you and your partner would really like a peaceful hour or two out.

Allison - posted on 03/20/2009

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I'm so sorry you're feeling like this - but it *will* get better .

Have you tried taking her with you on outings? If you wear her in a sling or wrap, you can nurse her in there when she needs it, and she'll probably be happy or asleep the rest of the time. My husband and I do Date Night every week (and have since my daughter was 3 months old), so we've gotten good at keeping a new baby with us and just adjusting to it. This would work really well both at a restaurant that has large booths (if you're still uncomfortable with nursing in public) and out shopping as you can nurse relatively hands-free and behind the fabric of the sling. Plus, she might enjoy "shopping with the girls" too! :-)

You might even be able to leave her with someone for a short time. What we did with my son (who's now 2) was when he was about 3 months, I'd take him to my moms and nurse him right then...then we'd leave and go to dinner. Typically he'd be fine for an hour or 2 before needing to nurse, so I'd come back right after dinner and nurse him if he needed it. A couple times he'd start to fuss before we got back, but mom my was able to play with him and rock him to soothe him until I arrived - he certainly wasn't going to starve in the 2 hours max I was gone. We *never* used formula - it wasn't necessary for these times out...even though we did it every week! It can work out well to exclusively breastfeed.

Once he was easily going 2 hours, we'd start to do something else after dinner, and just have my mom call us when she thought he was getting hungry. Sometimes that was just sitting in the truck and talking, or taking a walk around the neighborhood. Eventually we did give my mom a bottle to feed - I'd pump when we were out so that I had milk for the next date night (got good at pumping in my husband's truck!). That way I didn't have to have separate pumping sessions at home.

Let your husband know that if you give formula to baby, *you* will have to pump at that time too or you risk reducing your milk supply. So it does end up being more work for you, especially if you're not comfortable with pumping. Plus, it changes baby's poop ;-)

It is hard to pump when you're nursing so much. Have you tried to pump one side while she is nursing on the other? Sometimes that helps. Also, you could pump a bit after she's done nursing - at first you won't get anything, but it will signal your body to make more milk so eventually you will.

It will get better, so hang in there! Try to be creative with your time and your feedings and don't be afraid to experiment a bit.

Teresa Cannon - posted on 03/20/2009

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I breastfed, but not exclusively.  My daughter had a bottle of formula every other day or so.  My advice would be that any breastfeeding is beneficial!  Do as much as you can & know that formula isn't evil.  At four months, you're not running a huge risk of her preferring the bottle to your breast.  This being said, the thing that helped me get out the most was the sling that was given to me by a friend.  It was a Maya Wrap, I believe.  It came with a video - if it hadn't, I may not have been able to use it.  It's difficult to get the hang of, but once you do, It's a life saver.  I could take her anywhere.  I could feed her discretely in the wrap & she would go to sleep in it.  I would wear her sleeping while I shopped, hiked, walked the zoo with my son, ate dinner with my husband, cleaned the house.  If she woke, she could sit up & look around.  It takes a week or so to build the muscle to carry her comfortably for very long, but it's worth it.  And then, you gradually get stronger as she gets bigger.  It becomes less useful when they want to get down & walk, but it could help you for the next several months.  Best of luck - hang in there!

Annie - posted on 03/20/2009

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aw u sound a little like me hun i have just started to give my daughter a sippy cup this week and she has took to it lovely only like 3 oz at a time but still its something ,

i find breastpumps awful and i hand express but she wont take from a bottle...



we have not been out either maybe soon eh x

Elaine - posted on 03/20/2009

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Don't dismiss pumping, it can take a while for you body to adjust to making ''extra''. It would like if you were able to pump and leave a bottle for you little one you would be able to enjoy yourself more. I know the commitment to breastfeeding can be hard, expecially when hubby isn't completely on board. I hope that you can help him to understand how important BFing is to you, while letting him know your working on a solution that works for you all! Good luck :)

Steph - posted on 03/20/2009

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i am exclusively breastfeeding my 9 mos. old son and let me tell u i have not been away from him for more than an hour in his whole life and it is exhausting. i will say that as she gets older it'll get easier, my son eats every 4 hours now, so that's like 3 hours i could get away at a time, and really i don't want to be away from him much longer than that anyway. is pumping an issue because u can't get a lot of milk or just cause it's uncomfortable? because i hate pumping, it's not comfortable and it takes forever, but when i was pumping i would get my son to start nursing so my milk was flowing then pump and just switch him to the other side. but most important don't give up! and know that your doing a great job.

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