January 2015 Moms

Overwhelmed with Breastfeeding /Supplementing with Formula

Hi everyone! I've been following this forum for a while, but have only posted once before. I love reading everyone's questions/comments.  They have been super helpful!

My beautiful baby boy was born on January 31st.  I never knew how I could instantly fall in love with someone... but even so I am feeling super overwhelmed.

I am a first time mom and love love love being productive. Its been hard for me to wrap my brain around feeding this little guy every 2-3 hours. I feel like as soon as I finish, I have just enough time to burp and change him...and maybe get a bite to eat and I am back at it again. I know that this is normal and it's just the way it goes until he gets older, but I feel like I  might be spiraling into a bit of a depression.

I had a very difficult beginning of my pregnancy in terms of depression and anxiety. I have been prone to anxiety since I was little, but I had never felt worse than when I first became pregnant.  I ended up going on Prozac, which took a solid 3 months to kick in, after trying to wean off med when I was trying to conceive. I panicked about the pregnancy and thought if I feel this depressed, I might not want the baby afterall (even though it was a very planned baby).  In reality, I really just needed to be back on medicine, and I was bored stiff of staying home and not working. When I became pregnant I felt a little trapped and as if I couldn't apply for a new job because the baby would be around the corner in a matter of months. 

Anyway, for the sake of my own mental health, I ended up finding a very part time position.  With my new job and the Prozac I couldn't have been happier from about 20 weeks onward, and truly enjoyed the rest of the pregnancy and became ECSTATIC about the baby. 

Now that he is here, I can feel that the Prozac is still working, but I am so afraid I'll spiral downward again while on maternity leave, mostly because all I do is feed this little guy.  I am terrified of going back to that dark place. I know having a baby is a huge responsibility, and I am up for the challenge, but I have been seriously contemplating supplementing a feeding or 2 each day with formula so my husband or someone else could feed the baby.  This is making me feel extremely guilty on one hand, however, on the other hand I want to be in a mentally healthy spot for myself and my child. I'm just wondering your opinions on supplementing with formula. Whenever I do research about it, I usually see people supplement because they're heading back to work and/or because of a lack of milk supply.  I will be heading back to work, but not for some time. The fact that I want to supplement just so I can take a break and feel a bit of a "weight" lifted of my shoulders makes me feel like a terrible mom. I'd just like a little time to do something that provides me with a sense of normalcy.  Plus, I am in physical therapy right now as I injured my right leg during labor. I have femoral nerve damage, which means I am re-learning to use my leg as I can't bear a normal amount of weight on it.  I actually couldn't even walk for the first couple of days after labor. That alone has been quite the experience and has made me all that much more overwhelmed (and sad).

I'm just feeling so alone with this breastfeeding thing. It's all on me.  My husband does a great job watching baby, burping him, and changing him....but his nutrition is all on me. Not only is this reving up my anxiety, but making me mourn those little moments I had for myself. Thoughts anyone?  The guilt is killing me.

Re: Overwhelmed with Breastfeeding /Supplementing with Formula

  • I know just how you feel! I had twin girls and have to do a feeding a day of formula because they eat so much and my boobs can only produce so quickly! A feeding or 2 a day of formula isn't going to hurt your baby but a completely overworked mama could. That said, is there anyway you can fit in a pumping session or 2 a day, maybe after lo's bedtime? That way someone else can give a bottle but it's still breastmilk. I know it's necessary to supplement sometimes, but I feel better the more milk they get a day and you may too, with your lo. Good luck! Remember that as long as they are getting food there's 0 reason for you to feel guilty!
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  • I totally understand your feelings of overwhelmed even though I'm EP I had to start a stock pile so SO can feed DS sometimes during the day and night so I can have a break. It's also great that way because i don't have to supplement with formula and it helps DS gets used his dad and me. He still prefers me feeding him over his father so we haven't lost our bond and I feel much more rested this way!
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  • There's nothing wrong with formula. Don't feel guilty. Many healthy happy people were exclusively formula.
  • The first week of breast feeding was very exhausting for me too.  However, it has gotten better, and I no longer dread pumping or breast feeding.  I breast feed during the day and bottle feed breast milk at night.  This allows my husband to help feed during the night.  I pump almost after every feeding for 10-15 minutes to stock pile for the evenings.  This system is working for us.

    With that said, please do not feel guilty about not wanting to breast feed.  You need to do what is best for you and your life.  Do not let anyone make you feel less for supplementing or using formula.  
  • Hugs, breastfeeding is soo hard!  We actually had breastfeeding issues, baby was ineffective at the breast, and learned that we could supplement with my own breastmilk.  How about you try pumping after a couple of feeds a day so you can have bottles in evening or night and have the hubby give the bottle. 

    We are now able to 100% breastfeed off the breasts.  The best thing I tried was learning how to do the side lying position at night/put baby in pack n' play in room.  When she is hungry,  just plop her into my bed, breastfeed her lying down and I can close my eyes and get rest while she eats!  Best position ever! 

    I'm thinking about starting to pump soon so I can leave house to do some yoga when hubby gets home from work.  Need to leave the house after being 6 weeks house bound and need to work out to lose this fat!  Might be much needed alone time/relaxation time too! 

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  • Don't feel guilty --you need to do what works for you and your family. I went to support group today and we talked about how there's too much guilt in parenting. You need to be the best mom you can be by getting what you need and if formula helps with that that's great.
  • I know exactly how you feel! Breastfeeding is very hard. I have been supplementing at night only so that my husband can take on some of the nighttime feedings and it also helps my LO sleep a bit longer at night. It has definitely helped me to get some sleep and feel like things are more manageable!
  • What will help your baby the most is having a mommy that takes care of her health. If breastfeeding 100 percent is driving you to feel horrible, by all means supplement. I had to with my first, had low milk production and he didn't latch so he went totally on formula. I found it very difficult to get used to life with a baby but got used to it. I had no experience with children. It won't ever be as it was but you will find ways to have and steal moments for yourself. Hang in there!
  • I supplement because of supply issues, but different people supplement or exclusively FF for different reasons. DS1 got probably 50/50 formula and breast milk for his first 11 months, and he is 26 months now and doing awesome. I'm trying to boost my supply with DS2 but still having to supplement, but he's growing great and happy. Do not feel guilty about how you feed your child. I know that's easier said than done, but like PP said, having a mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy mom is more important IMO than whether a baby gets breast milk or formula.
  • Breastfeeding does not have to be all or nothing! When I went back to work after having my son, I did pump at work for a few months, and then gradually stopped. I still nursed him when I was home with him, at night, and on the weekends, and he got formula while I was at work. It was such a lot of pressure I felt to keep up with the pumping, I felt a lot of relief when I stopped and didn't have to worry about that aspect of having a baby. Do what you gotta do, mama!
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  • I pump a little extra milk so my husband takes over one feeding so I can have at least one block of four hours of sleep a day. Still entirely breastmilk, I get sleep, my family's tendency to get postpartum depression is kept at bay. Win all around.
  • I thought I was the only one. I'm glad I explored this forum. The first few days were really rough as I have inverted/flat nipples and had some serious issues latching on - not to mention that I developed a cracked nipple and couldn't feed from one Breast for a few days. I felt so guilty and depressed that I was unable to exclusively breastfeed as I was under a lot of pressure from my paediatrician and friends to do so (especially being a doctor myself). Not only that but at times I would have to feed every 1.5hrs. I ended up supplementing for one to two feeds for the day. What also works is pumping some milk and feeding in between so you have more freedom. Don't feel guilty at all - once your baby is getting breastmilk he/she will be fine. The key is finding the right formula. You would be surprised how many persons feel the same way you do.
  • I hate that you are going through all of this. You are not a terrible mom! Sometimes you have to do things that in the long run are best for baby and yourself.

    I have had bits of depression myself but have been feeling better once I found little bits of time for some things that i would normally do prebaby. Even washing dishes is a huge accomplishment.

    Keep your chin up and know you are doing a great job!! And you always have the support of this board if you need it.
  • Did you check out the breastfeeding board for suggestions, too? It can be very frustrating early on.... my girls let me do more and longer now, but they were born early, so are almost 9 weeks now. Its temporary, baby gets more efficient and gives you longer between feedings in a few weeks. That said, whatever you need to do to take care of your whole family (including and especially you) is what is best for you :-) Good luck!
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  • The thing to remember is that we breastfeed because breastmilk is good, not because formula is bad. I breastfed my daughter and am now breastfeeding my four week old son, but both of them had/have a bottle of formula on occasion. Sometimes a mama just needs a break! I'm one of those people who has gets "touched out". I get overwhelmed when my personal space is being invaded too often. I don't think taking care of your mental health is anything to be ashamed of. If anything, taking care of yourself and acknowledging when you feel overwhelmed has the potential to make you a better mom.


  • My little one was born on 1-27 and had trouble latching right off the bat. We worked with a LC in the hospital, but when we came home he couldn't do it, so I just started exclusively pumping. I was bummed, but it was nobody's fault...I was still nourishing Rocco with breast milk. I started having problems with my supply, so I decided to supplement. Probably one of the best things I could have done. I supplement two feedings each day which 1. Let's him sleep in longer stretches and 2. Allows me to build my reserve, so that when I am ready, I can leave him for an extended period of time with my mother or sister. Do not feel guilty for choosing to supplement with formula. You need to stay healthy at all cost for your baby's health and well being. Good luck and stay strong!
  • Please do what's best for you-the fact is I bet a lot of us were formula fed-that was what was best 30 years ago according to my parents and in laws...I'm perfectly fine and so is my husband-I do t think anyone can look at two people and tell if they were breast fed or not. Do what you feel is best for you. I do half and half...and am able to breath in between feedings and it works well for me. I felt guilty and people can still make me feel guilty but I know it's best for my girls to have a happy mom rather than be 100% breastfed.
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