What should I do about feeling guilty with not breastfeeding?

Tera - posted on 01/02/2013 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My son is only 2 and half months old and I have never been able to produce very much milk. When he was born he latched on great and was a natural so I thought it would be better then my previous experience but it has been then same. I have done everything from nursing every 2 hours then pumping right after and taking a lactation blend and drinking mother's milk tea. I did have some milk stored but with him not getting enough when he nurses we are supplementing with 2oz. breast milk with 2oz. of formula. With the holidays just passing and being with friends and family I haven't been able nurse as much but tried to pump as often as I could. He was nurseing really good at night but that has now depleted. I know breastfeeding is the best and it's a hard job but I am ready to stop. When I bring it up to my husband, he makes me feel guilty. I am not sure what to do. Am I a bad mom for wanting to stop breastfeeding after only 2 and half months? I just feel like I am to stressed out and in a bad mood all the time with my older daughter. And I don't think me being stressed is good for my baby either.

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Michelle - posted on 01/14/2013

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Just a couple thoughts.
I could only pump 1 oz., but if my son nursed, he got 6oz or more. Pumping is NOT a good judgement of how much milk you have.
ALSO, if you supplement with formula, they fill up on formula a lot more then breastmilk. Breastmilk is a supply and demand status. If you are drinking the tea and staying hydrated and not supplementing with formula, the more your baby will drink, the more you will produce. You will go through times where the baby is sick or going through a growth spurt and will notice that you start to have more as the baby nurses more...and it's frequency, not just nursing for an extended period of time, that also helps.

You have to make the right decision for you, but I would highly recommend meeting with a consultant before quitting. You will be able to make a more informed decision and not wonder if you made the right one or not. I would probably have started supplementing if the consultant I went too hadn't showed me (By weighing my baby before and after he nursed) how much HE got versus the pump machine. It made me feel much better. My doctor had told me to supplement, I refused because I knew that supplementing would reduce my milk....I gave it 3-4 days and instead of losing weight, my son started gaining weight and pooped and peed all day long.
Hope this helps!

Celeste - posted on 01/02/2013

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I'm sorry you're having some problems. Would you like some help? Maybe we can help you. Have you sought out an IBCLC?

Breastfeeding or not has no bearing on what kind of mom you are. One piece of advice that helped me is, never stop on a bad day! But, only you can make that decision and if you're at peace with that decision, there's no guilt.

Cleaver - posted on 01/02/2013

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how much you pump means nothing its the baby's behaviour and how much he poops

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Delia - posted on 02/07/2013

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Supplementing can be the beginning of the end! Each ounce swallowed from the bottle is an ounce not drawn out from the breast - telling your body to make an ounce less = more supplementaion=less milk produced = "I couldn't make enough milk so I had to quit".

Stop using pacifiers, and instead each time baby cries, pop baby onto the breast. Get into bed, and get your baby's BARE skin against your BARE ski/bare chest, drink plenty of fluids, DON'T try to be super woman, and instead get your sleep and rest.

Google Dr. Jack Newman for great videos (check out the one on squeezing the breast while baby nurses to increase the amoungt baby gets at each feeding!) and excellent helpful information AND get into a breastfeeding support group such as La Leche League and/or see a lactation specialists if you are really concerned.

Your milk supply is not fully established (it's up and down) for the first 3 months. You leek, you get engorged, the baby hits a growth spurt and cries etc. IT WILL GET BETTER I PROMISE.

Remember your baby's stomach is the size of baby's clenched fist. They don't need as much as you may think. Knowing whether your baby's getting enough is basd on pees, poops and weight gain - and not based on their crying (they all cry!).

Babies are made to breastfeed, and your body is made to produce milk. You can do it!

Alicia - posted on 01/16/2013

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First of all I'd like to note its wonderful that you have nursed as long as you have! I highly recommend contacting a lactation consultant or nursing support group in your area. I nursed for 9 months before calling it quits, I did battle the slow production toward the end what helped me was, maintaining fluid supply, mothers milk, napping when baby naps and taking an herbal supplement called fenugreek. It's important to ask yourself in the future will I be disappointed if I stop nursing now? It does not make you a bad mother if you decide not to nurse your baby. Would it be possible to continue to pump on a consistent basis and continue to supplement with formula on a longer term basis? this way you know how many ounces are being consumed, and still have the benefits of breast milk? Also, is pumping at night an option when production is higher? It's about finding a happy medium for you and your baby, like the saying goes, if momma is not happy nobody is happy. A happy momma makes a happy baby. Best of luck

Christine - posted on 01/08/2013

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Hello! Please reach out to a lactation consultant or counselor in your area right away! They will be able to help you with this. Making milk is supply and demand. Just let your baby nurse as much as he wants to. Make sure you are getting plenty of fluids, eating healthy food, and getting as much rest as you can. You might want to have your son sleep with you so that you don't have to get up as much at night. As long as both you and your husband are for the idea and as long as no one is doing any drugs, drinking, or smoking, it is more than fine to sleep with your baby. Try to get some exercise too. It will make you feel better. There are some herbs you can take to help increase your supply, but a lactation consultant would have to tell you about those. If after you have a visit from a lactation consultant and you still want to stop, then you should. She will support whatever decision you make. If you stop, you shouldn't feel guilty. You tried and that is all you can do. No, you wouldn't be a bad mom for stopping. If you only breastfeed for three days, you gave your baby all those antibodies to protect him from illness and allergies! The stress is not helping your supply either. Try to do some stress relief. When you nurse the baby, do it in a quiet, dimly lit room with relaxing music on and candles on. Good luck!

Brianna - posted on 01/06/2013

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I agree that it is more about his BM and urination as well as growth. I have always produced a small amount but it is what my baby needs. Babies often get more from nursing than pumping, as they are pros. I would strongly urge you to continue trying and RELAX! Don't stress about the amount, if you hear him swallowing and he is thriving (alert, growing), you are producing enough. Your doctor will let you know if something is wrong. It is your decision but it sounds like the stress is related to feeling like you don't produce enough. Your body responds to how your baby feeds and you pump, so it doesn't sound to me like you have an issue as long as you pump/nurse frequently. Good luck.

Susan - posted on 01/06/2013

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Don't feel guilty. With my first, she never latched and I had a low supply so I pumped every 2-3 hours. The most I ever made in an entire day was 7 ounces. I tried and tried and nothing helped so I stopped. It was really the best decision I could have made. I too was tired of pumping and stressed out and realized I was losing valuable time in my life for so little milk. I said the most I made was 7 ounces, but a normal day was more like 3-4. Totally not worth the time. Formula is not the devil. My daughter turned out great and is super smart. You have to do what's right for you and your family and only you can decide that.

Celeste - posted on 01/02/2013

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Sounds like you've come to a decision then :) I'm glad your husband is more understanding!

Tera - posted on 01/02/2013

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Thank You Celeste, I have been talking with my husband on how I feel and I think he is finally understanding. I have struggled so much to have a good milk supply to feed my baby and he has seen the stress I have put on myself just worrying about our babies weight gain or lack there of. So we have decided to stop. I do feel bad because I really wanted to go as long as I could and wish it would of been longer then 2.5 months but I have given my all. My baby is healthy and that is my only concern.

Thank You both for your help.

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