Babies: 0 - 3 Months
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Mom guilt, formula fed only now

I’ve been feeling guilty giving up on breast feeding and pumping. My experience giving birth was the most amazing most beautiful think I have ever gone through and giving birth to my son was so worth it. The only thing was that I had a hemorrhagic and lost 2.5 liters of blood. My husband and doctor kept it hush hush while I was pushing. After I gave birth I was so focus on my son that I didn’t even notice how serious it was. I kept bleeding out, each time my doctor tried to stitch up an area another area would start to bleed. Since I lost a lot of blood I had get 2 blood transfusions. I thank god that I was alive and well and the transfusions works but with what my body went through I wasn’t producing as much milk as I thought I was going to. My doctor said it may be from what my body went through, loosing so much blood made me anemic. I am no longer anemic now and I stopped taking my iron supplements. As a first time mom and experiencing an early miscarriage back in October of 2021. I’m really hard on my self with my son and his health and wanting the best for him. He is rainbow baby and so I get anxiety regarding his health. My husband recently went back to work. I have been having a hard time with pumping. Once my milk finally came in. It wasn’t much. I have flat nipples so he wasn’t latching either. I worked with a friend who is a lactation counselor and she put me on a pumping schedule but it just made me depressed. It was depressing each time I would pump and only getting 10ml each pump just made me so sad that I couldn’t produce enough milk to feed my son naturally. It got to the point where before my husband went back to work I told him that pumping was really effecting my mental health and making me sad and depressed and that I want to stop pumping completely. He was supportive and understood that I need to take care of my self and my mental health. Especially with him going back to work he wanted to make sure I was ok. So I stopped. After I stopped pumping and mixing what little breastmilk I was able to produce he began to have dark green diarrhea and big blowouts. This happened during new years holiday and reached out to the doctor. This wasn’t normal. They ended up switching his formula. He has been on 3 different formulas since he was birth. This made my anxiety go through the roof. I felt so helpless because I blame my self for not being able to feed him my breastmilk. I fear that he isn’t gaining enough weight and that there may not be a formula out there that will be ok for my baby’s stomach. It weighs heavy on me. I can’t shake that I am not a good mom because I can’t feed my son naturally. Am I the only one that feels guilty? My son is almost 2 months and he’s eating and he’s healthy and eating but I can’t shake it. 

Re: Mom guilt, formula fed only now

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    nicademus20nicademus20 member
    edited January 2023
    My heart goes out to you. I experienced the same mom guilt and while a different birth story, the tears and guilt related to choosing formula feeding is there. 
    Long story short, my baby was a premature one and my body wasn't ready and I was told to pump every 3 hours for 15 minutes each breast  and "the milk will come". 
    The pediatritian and Every one said "Breast milk is best" the lactation consultants at the hospital, "keep it up, breast milk is best" 
    But it felt like each time I did, I may have just as well sliced my nipples with razors! 

    Not only did I have to deal with the traumatic birth, but now the pressure of everyone putting it on me, and myself pressuring me!! 

    I feel that in your writing too. So I will share what helped me make the decision towards formula and how it hasn't been regretted. 

    I wasn't getting anything beyond colostrum, and was crying and depressed all the time. I would sit in the NICU with my baby and pump looking at him as the lactation consultants said to be near him and it will help. But the pain was unbearable. The lactation consultants told me to put the machine as much as I could bear, and turn it one notch down from that. But nothing was happening besides colostrum. So, to not cry in pain and feel the anxiety as it became time to pump, I turned it to a comfortable level, and then the colostrum stopped. 
    I would just cry more. 
    People said the stress makes the production lower. "Well, then stop pressuring me!!"

    I cried, and cried. I stopped pumping when it became either turn it back up and cry in pain through it, or tell everyone to back off and take the pressure off, and formula feed. 

    I felt so guilty. The formula had been turned into something evil with all the pressure I had, and I put on myself. 
    But, I had to in order to feel that weight lifted and read more about it and found that there isn't much difference now between breast milk and formula. 
    Plus, no more pain!! Additionally, I can lay on my stomach and not have to worry about the nursing pads, and can enjoy anything people shouldn't do if breast feeding! 
    The guilt does fade. My little man is 11 months now and healthy and happy. 
    It isn't the formula or breast milk in the end, it is how happy you make your baby ☺

    What I also had to contend with was the bonding that I would miss having my little one not feed from me--but, try to focus on true love shared between you and your baby. That is unmatched! 
    Formula is healthy, and can take the pressure off you. The decision made me happier in the end. 
    I hope that you will make the decision that is best for you too. The mom guilt with that does fade, it will. Anytime you think of it, think of how happy your baby is. I repeat that so you also will see whether we feed them from formula or breast is not the be all and end all to being a mother ☺


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    For the poop, changing diet will change the poop. We use Simulac liquid concentrate and that has been good for my little man. Hopefully if you ask around to a different doctor they may be able to give more advice towards what to feed your baby too. Best of luck and HUG
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    oh girl I feel you! I had a similar experience except my placenta got stuck and had to go through a whole birth fiasco and 2 blood transfusions after. I even passed out trying to get up to pee! I just made the switch to formula and am working on drying up currently. I felt so guilty at first and now that I see her eating well and gaining weight, I feel a sense of relief and happiness but still morn the lack of being able to breast feed my LO. I think part of the transition with hormones heightens it but try to remember fed is best! Our LOs are thriving and will grow even though we had to transition. I think there is so much pressure from society to be this perfect breast feeding mom and have a huge supply that it adds to the anxiety’s. You are not alone! You’ve got this momma! 
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    I feel all of this. Wow. BF was extremely traumatic with my first - I have IGT and fell prey to the BF rhetoric… “ if you only try a little harder, your milk will come in and be enough for baby.” Well, it never did. I was doing everything, including taking medication and triple feeding around the clock. I was so depressed and helpless. I cried a ton and did not bond with my first as much. I switch to formula 100% at two or three months. I still struggle with the guilt, but it has faded.

    Fast forward to baby number 2, who is almost one month old. I had planned on trying breast-feeding again, but an unexpected stay in the Nicu thwarted that plan. My LO was struggling with breathing. I had to make a decision… either help LO conserve energy by using formula or serve my ego by trying to BF. I ultimately chose formula, as it’s the best option for both of us.

    I wish I could tell you that the guild goes away completely, but it doesn’t. But I constantly remind myself that fed is best. 🩷🩷🩷 and in a few short months, this won’t matter anymore, and all of our kids will be refusing their veggies, and wanting chicken tenders lol! 
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    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I’m a new mom and My son is 4 weeks and I just stopped breastfeeding. I had the same experience after giving birth I was shaking so bad I couldn’t feed my baby so his first meal was formula. The next day my doctor insisted that I get a blood transfusion. My baby was eating fine while in the hospital but as soon as I got home he wouldn’t latch and I didn’t have a breast pump at the time so I sent my boyfriend to the store for formula. Once my pump came I started to pump but would only get 4 oz. Everyone kept telling me to start pumping more often but that didn’t help, it seemed like the more I pumped the less I get and the longer I wait during the day the more I would get. So I just continued to supplement with formula and the thought or feeling like I can’t provide for my baby sucked and left me more depressed amongst other things like lack of sleep and just sitting home all day. And Everyone one likes to give unwanted advice even though I know it’s coming from a caring place but it’s also a constant reminder that I don’t know what I’m doing or if what I’m doing is right or best for my son.
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    I've heard a lot of people say switching to a really high quality formula helped. In Europe their standards are much higher for the quality of ingredients in formula, and for sensitive tummies like newborns have it can make a massive difference. Look up Holle, Kendamil, HiPP, etc. 

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    I am so sorry for everything you went through. I feel the same way you do with pumping / breastfeeding and the depression. I just had my son and he is 7 days old. The depression came very quickly and I had to stop because the thoughts and feelings I was getting were so bad. My boyfriend is so supportive thankfully. When I was pumping I would get about .5 oz each size everyone 3 ish hours. I’m trying to stop now and I’m so lost at how to do so. Does anyone have any ideas / suggestions?
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