No announcement yet.

dealing with enormous guilt over breastfeeding

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • dealing with enormous guilt over breastfeeding

    Hello. I'm so glad i found this site bc i feel strongly about attachment parenting. This is my first post. I am really in need of some help and advice relating to breastfeeding problems. 5 years ago, i had breast augmentation surgery. I researched it VERY well at the time. Unfortunately, having children wasnt really a priority for me. I cant say that i didnt want any or didnt see myself having any but it was a non issue, if that makes any sense. Sadly, it never even registered on my radar screen. Therefore, breastfeeding certainly wasnt a priority for me. Oh, how things have changed. I am a first time mom now and am absolutely AMAZED at how strong of a desire i have, to breastfeed. It's like a built in biological instinctual undeniable drive inside me and it has ended up meaning more to me than anything almost. The problem is, my surgery has affected my supply. I am REALLY REALLY struggling with how to cope with the fact that i am having such a hard time and my baby is ultimately suffering bc of a decision that i made. certainly it was in the past and it wasnt intentional but that doesnt make me feel any better. why doesnt it? everyone keeps trying to tell me that and it doesnt help. I am being super hard on myself but i dont feel i deserve not to be that way. I am VERY VERY natural minded, which i know flies in the face of the surgery in the first place. I have changed a lot. I had a home birth, unmedicated....i am choosing not to vaccinate (again after thorough research) and i am practicing attachment parenting. I feel that most important piece of the puzzle is breastfeeding. am i putting too much pressure on myself and too much emphasis on it? I read posts on this forum from women with breast cancer who can not breastfeed and my heart goes out to them. I feel i am different bc i CHOSE this. please help?

  • #2
    i was really hoping to find some words of encouragement or advice on ways to cope. I am aware that the problem i have is bc of a choice i made and that choice isnt necessarily going to make me too popular on a site like this where everyone is very natural minded.

    Maybe i am oversensitive and fragile right now. I am not trying to offend anyone, i promise. I am being most sincere. Initially, I debated on whether to post but then I saw that there were bottlefeeding with love threads and other posts and thought maybe there would be women out there who would understand. i'm not looking for sympathy or trying to be melodramatic.

    i'm just having a very hard time. anyway, that is all i wanted to add, for what it's worth.


    • #3
      Don't be alarmed that you haven't gotten a response yet... sometimes it takes a day or two. I hear that you feel conflicted and responsible for your low milk production. I would encourage you to still "mother at the breast" with a supplementer as ANY milk from you is still very good for your baby, as is the actual comforting skin to skin. I am sure you will get more varied replies, maybe with others in your particular situation. You are doing the best you can in your circumstance and I commend you for reaching out.
      How old is your baby? Do you know anyone else currently breastfeeding that you might consider a milk sharing agreement?


      • #4
        thank you for your response. maybe i should have more patience! sorry.

        I have a sister who is breastfeeding however i dont know how i'd get the milk bc she isnt close by (3 hour drive each way) and it has to be kept cold and it's very expensive to ship it refrigerated, i would imagine. I dont even know if that would be possible.

        I have looked into milk banks but they have limited amts of milk and are primarily for the NICU on pediatrician referral from what i've gathered.

        Do you think any amount of milk is better than no milk, even if it's only 5 oz per day of breastmilk?

        Also, how much milk do they start to need once they start solids. She is 6 months now. i know they gradually, very gradually, start to rely less on milk but that it's still the main source of nutrition. For example, they say a bf baby takes in on average, 24oz of milk per day until 6 months. Then what happens?

        she wont use the SNS. i have one and she will not suck when the tube is in her mouth. it is REALLY hard to get her to take ANY form of supplementation. We've mixed bm with her solids but you only get a small amt that way.
        Last edited by firsttimemom; 05-27-2008, 11:32 AM. Reason: forgot to add


        • #5
          Originally posted by firsttimemom View Post
          Do you think any amount of milk is better than no milk, even if it's only 5 oz per day of breast milk?
          Yes! I do think any is better then nothing, and I am assuming she enjoys that special time with you? Yes?

          How do you that that that is the only amount? If you are comparing to the pumping amount--you may have more, babies get milk much better then pumping.

          So have you breastfed and formula in a bottle her first 6mo? What was the arrangement. I was referring to the little tiny tube attached to your breast and right next to your nipple when she is breastfeeding. Or possibly syringing (special feeding syringe) into her mouth while breastfeeding... But I think maybe you are past that because of her age.....

          Don't dismiss milk from your sister. There are ways to get it efficiently and cheaply. Maybe a drive once a month to get frozen supply in a cooler?

          You have a lot of questions! Keep them coming!


          • #6
            You are right. i should get her to freeze the milk. The 5 oz/day is the amt i am assuming she'd be willing/able to give me since she'd be starting to pump just for me (she doenst normally).

            I was told that frozen milk has none of the benefits of breastmilk though bc the live elements have been frozen. Is that true? I still want the frozen milk, dont get me wrong but i thought/think it isnt nearly as good as fresh.

            I can pump but only get something from the left if i double pump since the letdown reflex on the left is damaged from the surgery. Hence there is less milk in that breast bc i can not get her to nurse it very often. The right side has good and bad days. i find one main effect of the surgery is that my output is VERY finicky. one day i can be dry, next day i will have some milk.

            So far we have managed on just breastmilk but her weight gain is low (25th percentile).

            I have so much guilt over this as well but when we try to supplement her, she wont take it! it's so stressful.


            • #7
              Originally posted by firsttimemom View Post
              Do you think any amount of milk is better than no milk, even if it's only 5 oz per day of breastmilk?
              Any amount of breast milk is better than not receiving any. You are giving your baby the best.

              Are you currently supplementing with formula? How do you think your baby is doing with the amount of milk you have?

              The decision you made in the past is in the past and it does not affect your ability to love and nurture you child. I'm sure you will be thanked for everything you have done!


              • #8
                just because she is in the 25th % doesnt mean she is not getting enough......does she have enough wet diapers for her age?? My DD (who I pumped exclusively for for 14months, she always had BM but it was in a bottle) had all she wanted of bm and was in the 12th% at 1 yr, but she was growing and healthy and had enough wet diapers so I never worried about it. 25th% is not 'off the chart' for being small, she is still on there!!

                I think 5oz is better than nothing, she will still get some of the benefits!!

                When I was EPing for my DD I tried to give her fresh as that is the best way to give it but after a year I started weaning myself off the pump gently,it took 2 months to dry up but I gave her frozen milk too. It still has everything they need....fresh IS best but frozen comes in a close second IMO!!!

                Even with the cost of shipping the milk frozen, it would still probably be cheaper than formula, man that stuff is expensive!!

                Good luck!!



                • #9
                  Hi FirstTime Mom.

                  I can hear the pain and anguish in your post, and you are struggling with some big emotions. Remember, though, that there is a difference between "guilt" and "regret". "Guilt" is when you knew better and chose to do something anyway, while "regret" is when you didn't know and made the best decision you could at the time. You were younger. You weren't thinking of kids. Nobody told you it could cause a problem breastfeeding, and you wouldn't have known how important that would be to you anyway. You made the decision that you thought was best for you at that moment in time given the circumstances at the time. You really need to forgive yourself for that, and let go of the guilt. You regret the decision, and would change it if you could, but it's over now and you need to look forward. You are doing so many wonderful things for your baby. Nobody is perfect, and nobody has the "ideal" situation. If you need to feed him with formula, thank god there is formula available! You are NOT "choosing" to bottlefeed. You have a medical condition. It was an elective surgery then, yes, but the point is that it that you don't have a choice now. You never made the conscious choice not to breastfeed. And, the even bigger point is that even if you had "chosen" to bottlefeed, you could still form a strong, secure, loving attachment with your baby and could still practice attachment parenting. You can bond over feeding ("bottle nursing") just like you would with breastfeeding. It's comes more naturally with breastfeeding, but it can be done with a bottle, and there are moms here who have done it and who have wonderfully healthy relationships with their children. If you are feeling guilt every time you try to feed your baby, that could inhibit your ability to really enjoy the moment and to bond with whatever feeding method you use.

                  Any amount of breastmilk you can get for your baby will help nutritionally, so keep pursuing those options. But remember the attachment bond can be the same. Be gentle with yourself, and forgive yourself just like you would a friend in the same situation.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by WildBlueberry View Post
                    Any amount of breastmilk you can get for your baby will help nutritionally, so keep pursuing those options. But remember the attachment bond can be the same. Be gentle with yourself, and forgive yourself just like you would a friend in the same situation.

                    Yes I agree with WildBlueberry!
                    Here is a link toward ideas for shipping human milk.

                    Do you have a local group?

                    See, I told you people would respond!


                    • #11
                      Thank you so much for all of your posts. I am really struggling. I know regret is different from guilt. I have both but the regret is so huge...all i can think of is why why why did i do it? it's tormenting me on the inside. it's affecting all aspects of my life including work and my friends and family. It's just really horrible in every way. I havent really enjoyed my daughter very much bc of the stress involved. imagine if every time you sat down to nurse, you felt a panic attack coming on.

                      Namoifreidrickmd: thank you for that link. i am interested in the milk share program bc i talked to my sister at lunch and she has two kids and doesnt know when she'll have time to pump consistently. I am in Canada though and i am not sure if i can join up as a recipient for that reason. Do you happen to know?

                      I know any amount of breast milk is such a good thing and i am glad to hear that frozen is still nutritious.

                      Thanks so much


                      • #12
                        i'm unsure from your posts if you have been exclusively bfing up to this point. could you clarify? i think it's awesome that you have been nursing through all of this. she's had 6 mos. of BM!! that's something for you to celebrate! that's way more than most babies in this country. what a gift you have given her!

                        also, could you clarify if you have actually started solids? if she has, you can definitely continue to nurse and relax about your supply.

                        thank you for sharing your story. there are many other moms out there like you. i know that we get the reputation of being "natural-minded" people and that may be true of many of us, but i think if you stick around, you'll find there is a wide variety here.


                        • #13
                          hi paxmamma.
                          sorry to be brief--have baby with me here.
                          i am excl bf to this point but we syringe her a lot of breastmilk when she hasnt seemed to nurse well. i pump and try to stim my supply and give her what i get.

                          what do you mean by, if you have started solids, you can relax about your supply?

                          she has started on pureed foods. i mix it with breastmilk

                          today i find she is nursing a lot less.

                          i find that i also am having a v hard time getting a letdown on either side and limited swallowing

                          how much bm do you think a baby can nurse in 30 sec to one min of actual drinking/swallowing?

                          soemtimes that is all she gets, usually actually. somehow she gained this week, must be the solids.

                          pls respond re how i can relax about my supply if i have started solids.
                          i know i should be hapy with 6 months but it has been so damn hard and i want so badly to continue


                          • #14
                            Hi firsttimemom. I am a lurker who has decided to say hi.... hello everyone!

                            Well, I think what paxmamma was meaning by the you can relax now comment is that now that your LO is on solids she will be getting some of her nutrition from them and therefore the 'weaning' process has begun. Maybe you could now try doing the puree without the milk added and save the stuff that you pump for other occasions? Like maybe to freeze for later if you find you can no longer feed... would give you that little bit longer

                            I am sorry that you are having such negative feelings about the whole thing. As everyone else has said you are doing a great job! The fact that you are so worried about it now just goes to show how much you care, and because you have stuck with it for these six months it also shows that you are willing to do what it takes to look after your LO in the best way possible..... you have already proven you are a great Mum!

                            As far as how much she can be getting in 30 sec to a min... well its hard to say really as it does depend on your letdown and your baby. My little boy often has really quick stops at the breast and seems to be very satisfied. He really only ever takes longer than about three min if he is wanting a cuddle. And with the let down - its no wonder you are having trouble with that if you are so stressed out at every feed!!! Have you tried something like feeding her while in a nice bath or doing something equally relaxing? It might help.

                            As long as she is gaining weight and is happy then I think it sounds like everything is going along swimmingly as far as she is concerned! Its just her mama who needs some much needed hugs and encouragement! Remember that you are doing all that you can, you cannot change the past and you are not doing your daughter and favors by beating yourself up! We have all done things in the past that we regret, forgive yourself, its the best thing you can do for your daughter. You are doing a great job. As paxmamma said, you have already given her a great gift of your milk these last six months, more than a lot of mothers do. GL. Your a lovely, caring, thoughtful Mum.


                            • #15
                              thank you mumtoone! your post was so nice. i really appreciate you taking the time to write it. hugs to you.