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I am currently exclusively pumping for my 1 1/2 week old daughter and I am toying with the idea to start FF full time. What made you decide to FF and did you feel guilty about it?
There is no reason to feel guilty about feeding your child.
With my first I went the BF route, it was miserable, he wasn't thriving, I was miserable, he was losing weight and mentally I was suffering very bad with the guilt that I should stick it out. Eventually we ended up switching to FF and he gained weight, was a happier baby and I was able to come out of funk and be a better parent. This time from my experience the first I decided for my own physical and mental well being I would go straight to FF. My recovery was smoother, baby was and is happy and I feel good about it. There is nothing wrong with FF and the most important thing is a happy baby and happy mother.
I decided to formula feed after having a difficult time waiting for my milk to come in. DD needed formula in the hospital after having high levels of bilirubin and my milk didn't come in until 6 days after delivery. My lactation consultants told me to pump 8-12 times a day, in addition to letting her try to breastfeed for 45 minutes. It was too much for me. I was already feeling overwhelmed with having a new baby but having a never ending cycle of BFing, pumping and then bottle feeding was just too much- I was miserable and I was making everyone else miserable too.
I started exclusively FF at about 2 1/2 weeks and since then things have been so much better for my family. I do feel guilty about it, because I know BFing has so many health benefits. Sometimes I think "I should have just stuck with it", but then I remember how tough those first 4 weeks were. Right now I feel like I get to be the mom I want to be. I get to enjoy having this adorable little crazy person instead of being stressed out, cranky and unhappy. She is almost 2 months and is doing great!
It's strange, but I felt like I almost needed "permission" to start formula feeding. What helped me was talking to adults who had been formula fed as infants and parents who had or were currently formula feeding- in every case the kids were healthy and happy.
Do what's best for your family.
I wanted to EBF but 10 days after LO was born, my supply wasn't meeting all his hunger needs. I started supplementing 2 oz of formula at that point. I hated the whole thing. It was time consuming, painful, inconvenient, and on top of it I immediately developed tendonitis on my hands due to it. I hated that I would try to pump to increase my supply and he would just end up drinking what I pumped before the end of the day and I still had to supplement.
At 3 months I got mastitis from a clogged duct (3rd time clogged) and lost most of my supply on that breast. When I tried to increase it, I just injured my hands even more so at that point I made the decision to wean him and move to FF. As I started increasing the amount of formula I was giving him, his stool started changing color and that caused some real guilt for me. The reason why I stuck with BF-ing for 3 months was because I just knew it was best so it was hard to get away from it and not feel guilty. I did take 3 weeks to fully wean him off which really helped me embrace FF. Once he was fully on FF, I literally felt free and I think I probably became a better mom. I was no longer miserable from it.
Two things I suggest: Because bf-ing creates a very special bond between mom and baby, make sure that even if you move to FF, that you cuddle him and hug and kiss him a lot during and after feedings so you won't miss out on that bond. And second, I read that some women can become depressed after weaning off the breast but if you make the transition slower, you will most likely be okay. That's why I took 3 weeks to wean him off and I was perfectly ok with it by the end.
My Ovulation Chart
After 2 weeks of troubles with BF I was about to lose my sanity so I stopped! I felt guilty when I was deciding whether to stop or not because I do feel there is a lot of pressure on women to EBF. But after that first bottle I really felt a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. BF was too emotionally and physically draining on me. I was crying almost all day, I was in pain, I was upset that I was solely responsible to make his food, I lost my appetite (terrible for supply) ... basically I was teetering on the edge of full blown PPD. Once I stopped I was happier and being in a better mood meant I was able to be a better mom (because IMO it wasn't fair to my baby for me to be having epic meltdowns everyday when it was feeding time!).
Do what is right for your family and don't feel guilty!
I received very little BFing support in the hospital. I didn't realize it until afterward, though. I didn't know what I was doing and had no clue I wasn't doing things correctly. I just thought it wasn't working. LO kept grabbing the nipple shield and by the time I was nursing her, she was over-hungry and losing her mind. It was also very difficult with my incision after my unscheduled C-section.
By the end of our time in the hospital, DD lost 8% of her birthweight and was extremely dehydrated (she was peeing the orange crystals). We started formula our last full 24 hours in the hospital.
When we got home, I tried to pump, but didn't do it often enough. Hindsight, I should have seen a LC immediately. All of these issues would have been resolved.
My Pedi told me at one of my first appointments that they don't care what a baby is fed. A happy mother AND a happy baby are all that is important. If BFing is risking that, then FF. I will be honest that I felt horrible about it for a few weeks, especially after I realized that I could have remedied the situation. But, my milk was gone by the time I got my mind together and got over the hormone hump.
Don't feel bad. Just make a healthy baby. :)
TTC #1 since 3/2011
DX: anovulatory and severe MFI
DH is a testicular cancer survivor
12/11 first round of clomid 50 mg no response BFN
1/12 Clomid 100mg BFN
2/12 Clomid + metformin = BFN
2/20/12 HSG all clear!
IVF#1 w/ICSI lupron, gonal f, ovidrel
ER 6/15/12 6R 6M 6F! ET 6/20/12
Beta #1: 154 Beta #2: 509 Beta #3: 7326
Baby Boy EDD 3/7/2013
Hudson James born 3/1/2013 7lbs 15oz 21in long
Idani:There is no reason to feel guilty about feeding your child. With my first I went the BF route, it was miserable, he wasn't thriving, I was miserable, he was losing weight and mentally I was suffering very bad with the guilt that I should stick it out. Eventually we ended up switching to FF and he gained weight, was a happier baby and I was able to come out of funk and be a better parent. This time from my experience the first I decided for my own physical and mental well being I would go straight to FF. My recovery was smoother, baby was and is happy and I feel good about it. There is nothing wrong with FF and the most important thing is a happy baby and happy mother.
I exclusively pumped with DS and I was a single parent. It got to the point where I had zero time for myself because by the time I put him down, I'd have to pump and then he'd be up again right when I was done. (He didn't sleep well during the day... at all.) I stopped at 3 1/2 months and I felt okay about it. Sometimes I wished I had tried harder.
This time, I stopped actually pumping just shy of 3 months because I had a great stash built up that could sustain him for a while. Honestly, with a 3 year old, a new baby and a FI that is gone 24 hours at a time, several times a week for work AND being a FT student.... I didn't really feel that guilty about giving myself a break. I did it for a little bit, LO got breast milk and now we're on to formula and I couldn't be happier. I think I'm just generally a happier person. I don't have to plan my days around the times to pump. I don't have to stress about how much breast milk is in the fridge should I have to go somewhere, and worrying that it won't be enough while I'm gone. I had mastitis twice--- I definitely fought to continue. I finally had just reached the point where I did what was best for my sanity, and I feel good about that. I think not BFing will always make me feel just a tad bit guilty, but in the end, I'm feeding my baby and he's happy.