Making the Decision to Breastfeed

[deleted account] ( 29 moms have responded )

When we found out I was pregnant with our daughter, and after we had settled down and figured out what the hell was going on and how we were going to handle it, I made the decision to breastfeed her. For me, it was the best choice for the both of us because keeping up with feeding her would mean I would be eating better and it would mean she would be healthier and have a better immune system.

However, when my daughter was born and I tried to get her to latch on, she started screaming and arching her back and trying to get away from me. This happened nearly every time I tried. She latched on twice, and then started freaking out because apparently I wasn't producing. I tried to express for her, and nothing came out. I wasn't even leaking as much as I've heard you're "supposed to." My husband was all for me breastfeeding, but I got mixed messages from my friends and family members. No one I knew was breastfeeding, and everyone was saying all these negative things about how it hurt them when they tried or they dried up or something along those lines. I don't know what the problem was, maybe I wasn't drinking enough fluids, maybe I wasn't eating exactly the right things, maybe it was just that my daughter didn't want to be breastfed.

All I'm positive about, is that because she refused to latch on, because I wasn't producing, and because I had no support system, I was deeply depressed and it is still hard for me to feel bonded to my daughter. I am pretty sure I had PPD with her, and it's not unfathomable because I definitely had depression before her as well.

Now comes the hard part. With our son, I would really like to be able to breastfeed. However, I don't want to feel so detached from him like I do our daughter, and I'm scared that if I try to breastfeed him and he refuses me like she did, then I will fall into another deep depression and will not be able to bond. But at the same time, I really want to be able to breastfeed and feel bonded and reap all the good benefits that come with it. Our daughter is very healthy even without being breastfed; she has a good immune system and she heals quickly, she is right where she should be on the growth charts, and she is intelligent. But I'm still torn.

So I was thinking today, maybe it would be better to give up now, and not put myself through the possibility of feeling rejected, which is ultimately one of my biggest fears in life. Am I still a failure? I still feel like it. But at the same time, I feel like if I go on and try to breastfeed, I'll have set myself up for failure anyway. I guess I just don't have my heart set with this one.

What would you do?

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/10/2012

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Well, so you know, colostrum they get period, even if your milk doesn't come in for a couple of days. Typically with a vaginal birth it takes about 2 days to start really coming in, and for c sections it takes up to 5 days. Some people think their baby is not getting anything during that time, but they are. This does not mean you are a failure to BF your daughter. It just didn't work out, and without a strong support system, that makes your odds for success even lower.

If you don't want to BF your son, don't. But don't already decide that you CAN"T. That is just silly. It sounds like you want to, so why not try? Hospitals always have lactation consultants on deck, so you ask for them to come help you. If you are still having difficulty BFing on your departure from the hospital, ask the consultant for a referal for extra help for once you leave. You can do it, but if you never try, I think that will cause more depression problems for you.

PPD is a serious problem, and if you feel you are getting it after this next birth, seek help. With 2 children, it is going to be a bigger adjustment. Also, the way you choose to feed your baby has NOTHING to do with how well you bond. You choose to BF, yes it is a different attachment, but is also very demanding and stressful in itself. It is hard work. I know you can do it if you try. Bottle feeding, you still get to gaze into their eyes, and hold them lovingly. Also, they still fall asleep in your arms and look just as beautiful wit formula dripping from their sleeping lips as does breast milk.

You have a very poor attitude of giving up before trying for fear of failing. We learn the most about ourselves often with failure. You are strong, and either way you and your baby will survive.

Elfrieda - posted on 05/12/2012

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Kristen's right about the bonding thing. I'm not sure if you want to hear from me again after that long post before, but I bonded much more with my son after I STOPPED breastfeeding. The stress was gone and I just enjoyed him. I don't think that women who talk about the bonding experience of nursing are saying that that's the only way to bond, I think it's just that those lovey feelings come out when we have a chance to sit down and stare at our babies a little bit and admire their noses and stroke their ears, and one of those times is nursing.

Janice - posted on 05/11/2012

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When your pregnant everything seems like a huge deal. Its the hormones. Deep breath!

IDK if this will work for you but first let go of the past and then make a plan for the future. If you feel you wished you tried harder last time then do so this time.

My daughter was breech and when I found out I was upset over planning a c-section yet for some reason I didn't try any of the positions that can often get a baby to turn. I was so mad at myself for that! So when i was pregnant with my second I decided to try harder. I looked up ways to try and ensure my son went head down. I knew that I would be so upset with myself if I didnt at least try. IDK if it was crawling on all fours or just luck but it worked out for me.

Instead of just worrying, do as much research as possible on common problem with breastfeeding and possible fixes. That way if in the end breastfeeding doesn't work out you can not feel like you didn't try. And more than likely your efforts will pay off and you will be happy then too.

I must say this is just how I personally approach situations, I know it may not be the way to go for everyone.

Mrs. - posted on 05/10/2012

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Your value as a mother is not based on wether you feed your kid from your boobs or not. You are not a failure based on the ability to do it or not. You are not a failure for choosing not to and you are not a success based solely on choosing to. You are of value as a mother regardless.

Kristin - posted on 05/12/2012

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I breast fed my son. Before he was born I had all these wonderful images of us bonding and being wonderful. When he finally arrived, it wasn't like I imagined it. He wouldn't latch on for very long and I would have to express in a little cup then fill up a little syringe and feed him like that while in the hospital. When we came home, I had trouble. He seemed lost and didn't know what to do. I was so heart broken and cried often. But finally he figured it out and we were good to go.

When my nephew was born, my sister had an awful time getting him to latch and stay latched. She just kept at it and eventually they both figured it out.


The bonding opportunity is still available even if you don't breastfeed. I know many women who didn't or couldn't breastfeed and the bonding process was still there with the bottle.

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Merry - posted on 05/14/2012

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Was she also dealing with acid reflux? Fierna got a bit better with the meds so I wasable to cope.
I figured there s no way I could do formula and I just sort of made my mind up that it wasn't an option. I might have been less depressed if I had stopped fighting to bf but I cöuld see she was growing well so I didn't seriously consider it.
But I sure felt like I was doing it all wrong cuz she was just so awful to feed.
Turned out to be a heavy let down, over production, foremilk hindmilk imbalance and acid reflux all rolled into one. Horrid concoction but thankfully now it's fine and she nurses like a normal one year old :)

Stifler's - posted on 05/14/2012

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@Laura that is exactly how renae was/is. I couldn't deal with it. I still have trouble getting milk into her.

Becky - posted on 05/12/2012

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Your not a failure!!! My son was born 12 weeks premature and never latched on. I just pumped for almost 9 months. Seek out help from a lactation consultant. Let the hospital know the problems and feelings you had with your daughter and you want to try again. They have people to help. Every child is different and the more knowledge, the more confortable you are and the more relaxed you are will help.

Merry - posted on 05/12/2012

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There's no succeeding or failing in motherhood :) we all do things well, and sometimes we have regrets but this isn't failure.
And you didn't fail to bf your first. It just didn't work out!
I think if you don't try this time you might always wonder or kick yourself for not trying so maybe you should try and at least see how it goes first.
La leche league is available in most areas for meetings and phone advise.
I know some times there's a bad leader who gets a bad rap but overall they are helpful kind and not pushy.

With my daughter she did the latch on and off and on and off cry on and off cry arch on off cry claw at me on and off etc.
It drove me nuts! I developed PPD from the stress and I felt like I was failing her even though she was exclusively breastfed and growing well, she cried so much! I thought my milk must be burning in her mouth the way she acted!
I got on medication for PPd that was safe while breastfeeding and I made sure to never have formula in the house so I wouldn't be tempted.
After i put her on acid reflux meds she improved a bit. But she still was and IS difficult to nurse! She's active and fidgety and loud and always whiny. She's just a loud expressive and picky girl and as a newborn it was just all comming out as crying All Day Long.
I'm really glad it worked out for me so well, but I know it's not always the case for everyone and this doesn't say a darn thing about how strong a mom they are or how much they love their child.bonding comes with time together. Not just with boob in mouth feeds.
I hope you can give it a shot and maybe it will be wonderful and healing!
But always remember that you didn't fail. That word can cut us down so hard and it's just not beneficial to even think it. :)

Janice - posted on 05/12/2012

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If it wasn't for the breastfeeding group on COM I would have never been successful with my daughter. I got the best advice (way better than doctors) and they made me feel sooo much better when things weren't going well. Definitely join.

Stifler's - posted on 05/12/2012

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I was exactly the same as you. Adamant I was going to breastfeed Logan exclusively etc. then shit happened. With renae i tried again and it was even worse than the first attempt she latched even less and screamed even more when I tried to feed her and was jaundiced where he wasn't. I had all the lactation consultants advice in the world plus circle of moms friends and others in real life who had breastfed on my side. But they couldn't get up and feed her for me so I could recover from the birth. No matter what you decide to do it will be in your and the baby's best interests. It was in renae's and my best interests to go to formula i was starting to go insane not knowing what the hell was wrong with her after 5 days of not having a succesful breastfeed.

Tina - posted on 05/12/2012

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I got to admit I got alot of bad advice from hospital staff which really didn't help me. Probably is a good idea to do some research I was I had. Because alot of the things they were telling me to do with my kids I found out is wrong and actually made it harder. Goodluck anyway nomatter what happens.

[deleted account]

http://www.circleofmoms.com/breastfeedin...

Jaime that is the link for breast feeding moms on com join it, you can ask anything you like to help you on your breast feeding path, the ladies there are friendly and informative, if they can help they will.

I found knowing more this time round definitely helped me and I had more support because I made friends with ladies online who were able to successfully bf, they gave me great advice and tips and were able to show me many of my issues were normal.

[deleted account]

thank you Janice!! i don't know why but i seriously must have forgotten how hormones blow everything out of proportion. they didn't with my daughter until after she was born. but that's a good idea, i hadn't even thought about researching. i usually do! so i will definitely do that. then at least i will know how to go about doing things.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 05/11/2012

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It just seems like a big deal. But don't worry you're NOT a failure for not being able to breastfeed.

[deleted account]

i shouldn't be stressing out this damn much if it's such a simple decision, right??? but i am, sitting here freaking out because i don't know what i want to do but i know i don't want to stress out but i feel like i'm giving up too easily and i feel like that's what happened with Julie so i feel like it IS my fault that i didn't stick it through and breastfeed her and now i'm giving up before he's even born so i feel like i'm letting him and myself down. no i shouldn't be beating myself up about this crap, it shouldn't be such a big deal, but it is for some reason to me. i just want to enjoy my baby, not stress about how i'm feeding him! urrrrgh...

my mind is all jumbled up about this. i know it shouldn't be, but it is. ugh...

Elfrieda - posted on 05/11/2012

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I think you should give it a try, but without all the "failure/rejection" talk that you tell yourself. If it works, that's great, and if it doesn't, well it doesn't work for everybody and you already know that you're not poisoning the child by feeding him formula. This will be a different baby, and you're a different person than you were, too.

It'd also be a good idea to keep a close eye on yourself to make sure that your reality isn't being altered by PPD. Have some sort of plan in place just in case it does come back.

For myself, I'll join the club of women who couldn't nurse their first! Well, I did for 4 months exclusively, but had very slow letdown and I actually wasn't producing enough so I was starving my poor boy. Finally I was able to see through my obsession to the poor skinny baby that was suffering, and I started feeding him formula, which I thought was pretty much poisoning him! Yes, I was very distraught, and would nurse him at every feed as well as giving him a bottle, which he HATED because there wasn't much milk there and it didn't come as fast as from the bottle. Finally at 7 months old I said, "I'm done fighting!" and after that I'd offer the boob and if he wanted it he could have it. Usually he didn't, except for first thing in the morning and at bedtime.
It was AMAZING the difference not fighting about nursing made in my feelings for him. Suddenly I was enjoying him, he was interesting, he was cute, nothing like how I felt about him before.

So with this new baby, I'm going to try breastfeeding again. But if it doesn't work, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I suggest you do the same.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/11/2012

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Then there is me, I had a very easy time with my first baby and a very difficult time with my second.

You just never know until you try. It is up to you but to give up before trying, you'll never know, whether this time will be easier or just as hard.

I would give it a go. No one says you have to keep trying if it doesn't go well. You are also NOT a failure if it doesn't turn out. You're not a failure if you don't BF, either. It is a personal choice. It does sound like, perhaps, you would like to but are afraid. There is nothing wrong with being afraid either. You just will never know, unless you try. ;)

Good luck!

[deleted account]

First of all, you are NOT a failure. You said it yourself. Your daughter is healthy and happy. This makes you a success.

I understand exactly what you're saying about feeling like a failure though. My situation with my son was almost identical to yours. I don't know how long you lasted with trying to BF her but I only made it 6 weeks. Well, two days shy of 6 weeks, to be exact. I also fell into a really deep depression. PPD, combined with having dealt with depression my whole life. It wasn't pretty. I honestly don't think I had your same issue with not feeling like I bonded with my son, so I don't know how hard that must have been for you. For me, once I stopped trying to BF, there was this huge relief that swept over me. It surprised me because I had always wanted so badly to BF. I know that if I were to ever have another, I would try again to BF. I know more now than I did before and, even though I did use all the resources to try and make it work the first time, that doesn't mean it wouldn't work a second time. Personally, if it were me, I'd definitely try again.

I think that with your experience in dealing with depression (not just PPD), you have more tools in your mind and heart than you know. If you want to try and BF your new little one, then I say go for it. Maybe it will work this time. But if it doesn't, then draw on your past to see yourself through it. Know that just because you may not be able to BF, you don't have to let it affect your bonding process. I really hope this is making sense! I guess what I'm trying to say is that you are probably stronger than you give yourself credit for and that you now know that not being able to BF isn't the end of the world. Use that experience and knowledge to at least give it a try, if that's what you truly want to do. Best of luck to you ♥

Sylvia - posted on 05/11/2012

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I have a good friend who struggled to BF her first baby, then went on to nurse her second for more than a year. If it doesn't work out, don't beat yourself up about it, but I think you'll regret not trying -- and it might work out well this time!

Janice - posted on 05/11/2012

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Please stop beating yourself up! You are not a failure!

I do think if a part of you wants to try again you should. Every baby is different and it may work out this time. I think if you decide to try you need to first get in a different mid set. You baby is not refusing you or rejecting you they are just telling you they need help learning. This link may help you: http://www.circleofmoms.com/breastfeedin...

With my daughter she pulled away and would not stay latched for more than a minute for the 1st 2 weeks. It was hell but I pushed through and we breastfed past a year. I was lucky though because my milk didn't come till day 4 but then I had more than enough. Also I was very stubborn.

With my son he latch on easily shortly after birth and we have had no issues. Again I'm so thankful for this because I have been depressed since I found I was pregnant with him. And I'm positive it would be way worse if we had issues like I had with my daughter.

PPD is really tough; you do what you need to do to get through it, period. If that means bottles and formula so be it.

[deleted account]

It sounds as though you want to bf your son, so try you will regret not at least trying later on if you don't try.



My son would not latch ever, so I pumped until I couldn't get any more milk out, that was three weeks, I felt like such a failure and hated that I couldn't even feed my child properly until I saw he flourished on formula, he started gaining weight, sleeping better, was happier during awake time, I realised I'd put too much on bf'ing. So when I got pregnant with my daughter I decided to just go with the flow, she latched on the first evening (she was in nicu so I couldn't hold her for the first day, on the evening they told me I could hold her, then when I put her back in the incubator she started rooting so I put her to the breast and she fed...I was very excited), it wasn't all plain sailing but I gave myself targets so the first one was to get to three weeks like my son had, then a month, then two months, then three months, then six months, then to teeth, then to a year....we are almost at the year and I am beginning to think about weaning from the breast, I'm ready to have my body back but I'm so glad I didn't decide to not give it a go because of my last experience,every child is different.



Know that if you try and for whatever reason you can't bf you are not a failure or a bad mum, a bad mum wouldn't care about what if anything their child ate! Breast feeding does not make a mother, it isn't the only way to bond with your child. I know I bonded with my formula fed son as well as I have bonded with my bf daughter :-)





It may be worth speaking with your doctor (or midwife) about your past ppd issues and your fears they could return and keep a close eye on your mental well being yourself so if it does you can get help before it gets too bad.

Celeste - posted on 05/11/2012

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NO, you are NOT a failure. Don't base your value as a mother on if you breastfed or not.

It sounds like you didn't have a good support system. IF you want to to breastfeed, I'd find a support system before your baby is born. I have found that moms who want to breastfeed can be sabotaged by the medical community (doctors, hospitals, nurses) right from the get go. I'd find an IBCLC, join a breastfeeding support group. Educate yourself. You can always stop breastfeeding but it's hard to start up breastfeeding. You might surprise yourself!

Tina - posted on 05/11/2012

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What ever happens it's not your fault my son was the same. He'd fight with me he was such a strong willed baby and still is. It may or may not go well for you this time. Atleast you can say you tried. You've also got to remember as stressed as you are after having your baby trying to get the hang of things again on top of it trying to breast feed you're stressed. Your baby is stressed too it's suddenly gone from being nice and cosy feeling safe and familiar to all of a sudden it comes out it's cold, scared all these strange people are touching him and so forth. Don't feel rejected it doesn't matter whether your baby is on your breast or on a bottle your baby still loves you and knows who you are. Your baby is familiiar with you voice. I've struggled with depression and because of it felt like I've missed out on so much. I felt ashamed I didn't want my babies to see me like that. Your babies don't care about any of that your their mum they love you unconditionally remember every time they cry it's for mum whenever they smile it's for mum. You are a good mum don't let anyone make you feel otherwise. You are not a failure you love your kids more than anyone every will. You worry about them more than anyone ever will there is no bond stronger than that. Your child may not be hanging off of you every minute of the day and you will have your good and bad days. But you will always love eachother and no matter what happens do what I do. No matter how depressed I feel, how cranky i am. Some days are hard and I can be a complete nightmare sometimes. But I make sure at the end of each day. Either when my kids have gone to bed or are asleep I give them a kiss on the forehead and tell them how much I love them. I know even when they're sleeping they can hear me and no matter what happens they'll always know I love them. Please don't beat yourself up. Time goes too fast to worry about these things so much. Goodluck with your little boy.

Lady Heather - posted on 05/10/2012

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I think we need a support group for mums who couldn't breastfeed their first! I was so there. The unlatchable wonderbaby and some mega depression. I won't tell you what you should do beyond saying that you shouldn't choose not to until you have at least given birth. You will probably be surprised at how different it feels to become a second time mum. You don't have the hurdle of becoming a mum to get over. Things really do come more naturally. Heck, I was scared to even hold my first.

This time for me I was determined to go longer than the last time. My first daughter got two weeks of breast milk (pumped) so I set my sights on 15 days. Things started okay. My younger daughter at least gave it a try. On day 3 we had a meltdown. She stopped staying latched, she chewed, I was bleeding and it hurt. I had flashbacks to the first time. But I guess because my brain had so much less to deal with I was better able to process the situation. And I did something totally not what was recommended: I got a shield. The nurses weren't happy about it. But I knew me and I knew that without that piece of plastic there was no way I would make it to my goal. And because I was confident as a mother I was able to tell the naysayers to fuck off.
I made it that 15 days with the shield. Around that time I started alternating with or without the shield. I set another goal to make it to one month. By one month everything was fine. Today she is just shy of seven months and she is a lover of boob.

Not telling you to do what I did. I just want you to know that you might surprise yourself. It's soooo different from your first time experience. And if you can't make it work, it's not a fail. We all do the best we can for our kids and sometimes the best thing is formula. I know with my mental state the first go formula was certainly the right thing.

Melissa - posted on 05/10/2012

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My first son would not breastfeed either. And I too felt like a failure and was depressed because of it. Like you, I had no support system, my mom formula fed as well as my friends. My second son was born Valentines day this year. I was determined to breast feed. We had a very rocky beginning but he is now feeding just fine. I didn't have the depression this time around and it is a world of difference. It is really hard not having a support system and I can see why you are apprehensive about trying this time around. But I recommend trying. Talk to the lactation consultants at the hospital before you are released and have their number on hand. The lactation consultants helped me out a lot. There is a web site called kellymom.com it is a great breastfeeding resource that I think you should look into... even before the baby comes. Look at all the Q and A's. They will clear up a lot of the 'misunderstandings' such as milk supply, lack of leaking and many others. I encourage you to try and if you need support, since I have been in the same boat, feel free to send me a message.

Jenn - posted on 05/10/2012

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Your son may be very different than your daughter. He may take to breastfeeding instantly and your body, having produced milk before (no matter how little) may kick into full milk mode sooner. And then again none of that could happen. Guess I am saying don't decide now. You sound like you want to try and if you know in advance that it might not work out, perhaps you will handle it better than you think. I would certainly try. Very true about colostrum. Just the tiniest amount is packed with all the nutrients your baby needs, especially since they sleep 90% of the time those first few days anyway. But in order to try this second time, you must relax. Take it easy, think positive, allow your body to do what it will. Even infants pick up on stressful mom and in turn get stressed. Take those first few days to give it a go. Feel confident in your proven ability as a mom to make the right choices for your baby. Forget what everyone around you says. Follow your heart and instinct!

[deleted account]

The decision to breastfeed or not is entirely up to you. Formulas today are extremely good--your child's health is not going to suffer because you choose to formula feed--but if you beat yourself up over breastfeeding, your bond is likely to suffer the same fate whether you choose to try it and fail, or choose not to try at all. I say this is because you seem to blame yourself for not breastfeeding your daughter, even though it was not your fault. When you look at your decision not to breastfeed your son, you may feel that you are still falling short and failing him by not trying in the first place.

I am NOT saying you should try to breastfeed if you don't want to, I just think you need to discuss this issue a little more in depth with your therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist before making this decision. Have you brought this up at all yet? What did he/she say?

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 05/10/2012

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I'd try it again because I had the same situation with my older daughter. She didn't latch, hardly gained weight and was mostly bottle fed (she also slept through the night at 4 months). I also had PPD with her, but I believe that may have also been caused by how her father was acting towards me. I haven't experianced it with my second child.

Like your daughter mine has been healthy (she had kidney reflux at 3 months, but that's genetic) she's at the top of the height charts, very skinny, very active and very smart. She's 7 and in grade 1 (I started her late in school) and is one of the best students in her class.

I also have a 2nd daughter who is 14 months old and decided to start the process over again- she latched right when the delivery nurse placed her on my chest. I still nurse her- in fact I'm nursing and typing at the same time.

If you're unsure you can try the breastfeeding mom's group on here to get some support. They're pretty good about it. I think we even have a lactation consultant on this forum.

As for bonding, I know it may feel like you didn't bond with your daughter because you didn't breastfeed, but I'm sure you did fine. I'm adopted and of course was bottle fed, but my mom and I are much closer than my husband is with his mom and he was breastfed. I'm also very healthy and all that other good stuff. I hope that helps

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