“I’m a new mum really struggling to breastfeed. Every feed is filled with anxiety and both me and baby crying. How do I know it’s time to give up??”.
One of our lovely TMC followers needs some advice on how to deal with an upsetting situation.
What advice would you have for our follower in regards to breastfeeding and struggling?
Have you been in a similar situation? What did you do to make yourself feel better? Do you have any good advice?
TMC always aim to be a supportive and inclusive space, and we often receive messages asking for advice on all sort of things.
As much as we will always try our best to give advice we are only our little admin team and sometimes it may be things we do not know much about.
So therefore we wanted to create a way for you all to ask us (and all followers) for advice, and hopefully get the support you need.
It will always be anonymous and it can be on any subject. We are an open minded bunch and won’t judge anyone.
What our community has said:
Josie: This is exactly how I felt four almost five years ago when I had Kaiden. It took me weeks to finally give up on the breastfeeding because it just didn’t work. Once I finally did, I could finally enjoy the feeding moments again and actually start enjoy being a mum ❤️
Ashleigh: I really struggled to breastfeed, I had a one time one session with a local support group and also nipple shields saved our journey! She developed a tear preference after we had to give formula in the hospital, I didn’t give up and gradually she had more and more breast and we breastfed until just shy of 6 months ❤️
Kim: Similar experience here, we persevered for 4-5 weeks, sought advice from a lactation consultant and support groups, but with constant pain, anxiety and a very hungry baby we decided to slowly transition to bottle and it was the right thing for us. There is a lot of support out there depending on how much you want to breastfeed, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself, look after your mental health and do whatever is best for you and baby!
Jourdain: I think yours and your babys happiness is whats most important here. As long as your baby is fed 🤍
Caoimhe: I’m exactly here right now also. Baby is 6 weeks old. Some feeds are ok, others are miserable and I dread the latch at times – especially at night. I’m starting to introduce formula and while I would still like to breast feed, adding in a bottle has helped take the pressure away. At least I know he has a fully tummy and we can slowly figure out our routine and what works best for us. So much of it is in your head though, the pressure, you’re trying to heal and be the best mum. I’ve had to think about it just like – think about this feed only, not the next one or tmrw or what the big plan is, just focus on this feed. Reaching out to a lactation consultant also helped.
Laura: Ahh this is so awful to read. First of all you have to do what’s best for the two of you. If it’s causing stressing and anxiety you need to ask yourself if it’s really worth it. Babies are happy as long as they are fed (which ever way that may be). If it’s something you really want and are happy to persist with a little longer then it’s SO Important not to feel anxious, grab a cuppa (and some biscuits) lots of snuggles and eye contact, work on the latch (we had some fantastic advice from our midwife so seek support). Xx
Megan: If you want to continue then please don’t give up as it will pass. It is so easy to say but I was in the same position, I literally dreaded every feed when I would hear her cry for me but now we’re at 13 months and she literally walks over to me, pulls down my top and helps herself and we all laugh about how easy it is!
I was an absolute mess at the start and so nearly gave up but I’m so happy I didn’t as giving up wasn’t what I wanted!
I joined some groups on Facebook which are run by specialists with free advice. Tried different positions etc but for me the best thing was to take myself away from everyone, go upstairs with baby and lay in/on the bed just us calm and quiet to feed. I took away the “timer” app too as at the end of the day I knew that she was feeding when she needed and as much as she needed so jotting down every feed was making me stressed “why hasn’t she fed for 3 hours? Why this why that” it wasn’t a helpful tool for me!
Doing this took away the pressure, it gave me some quiet and privacy in case I got upset and it helped us bond, it was more relaxed and that meant I was less stress. Removing the stress aspect is the number one solution I think for me. Get some essential oils, frankincense or lavender are both good options for calming and both safe for baby. It’s funny because at the time it felt like it was going on for months but in reality it was only a short time and the experience after, knowing we helped each other through it, helped us bond.
That being said, if it’s not for you then it’s not for you. Don’t feel pressure to continue if it’s contributing badly to your mental health or if you simply don’t want to, that’s okay too! Follow what your body needs, but if you do carry on then know it will get so much easier. 🤎
Rebecca: Try combination feeding – so you give some feeds from a bottle but also breastfeed alongside. Obviously your supply will drop and it’s probably ‘best’ to have some plan of which feeds will be which, maybe for e.g breastfeeds in the day, bottle feeds overnight. I fed my daughter this way for the first 8 weeks or so, then we switched completely to bottles – ended up on anti-reflux formula as she found ordinary formula difficult. Try (it’s so hard but try!) not to beat yourself up or feel bad if you decide to introduce or swap completely to formula. You could also exclusively pump if you really want your baby to have breast milk. Breastfeeding your baby for ANY length of time is something to be proud of and as a teacher, I have no idea of which children in the class were breastfed and which were bottlefed, but I know whose parents try to make their decisions in the best interests of their little ones❤️
Aarti: Oh lovely firstly just sending hugs 🤗 nobody really prepares you for the level of stress and anxiety that comes with being a mum to another tiny precious human. But please remember to be kind to yourself, you are a beginner in this job and you learn every day. I remember having painful boobs and feeding on the wrong one because I was so tired, nobody is an expert when you start and even after second baby I still had to learn again. If you want to continue just know you are learning a new skill and feeding your baby takes time but will get a little easier and if it’s too much then that’s normal too and your baby will still be fed and nourished and happy and whatever you decide your baby will be loved 💝 look after you first, sending lots of love 🥰 xxx
Do you have any further thoughts for this mama? Keep the comments kind! This is not a “breast is best” versus bottle feeding. It’s a real mama struggling!