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I feel trapped by breastfeeding


Blah blah blah best start for your baby.

Blah blah blah helps you regain your pre-preggy body (this is utter rubbish by the way, instead you get an extra layer of fat above your hips in case you can’t keep producing milk… as if famine is really likely in this day and age).

Blah blah blah bonding (because we all know how that went around here last time).

Blah blah blah keep on doing it or you’ll be a bad Mummy.

I know all the reasons and the research because why else would I have pumped like a milch cow for so long.

I consider myself committed to breastfeeding, committed to doing the right thing and yet at nearly 7 months in, with the prospect of moving to a much fuller on job in August, I want to start to mix feed. ย I want to start to back quietly away from the all encompassing nature of breastfeeding exclusively. ย And most importantly, with a baby that isn’t able to drink cows milk, I want to not have to pump even more than I already do so she can have milk on her cereal.

Because there really is a point at which you have to say ‘I can’t do this anymore’ – that I’m not able to do it all and I need a break.

And quite frankly I think I’m getting there.

But Babygirl and her issues with cows milk is making is really very hard to do.

It appears that its a trial and error approach to finding out what might make her less unhappy (for this read vomiting it all back up, horror nappies and nasty eczema) – all of which suggests that if I can I should carry on breastfeeding because at least, so long as I steer clear of dairy, she’s ok.

But I don’t think I can – I need to find another alternative, something else she can drink, can have on her cereal and we can use for cooking because whilst I know breastfeeding is best, for us, there is a point coming up when, and you can call me a bad Mummy for doing this, where I have to step away from this.

I’m not even considering giving up entirely, just day feeds.

Yet I’m still angst ridden and feeling guilty.

So I feel trapped between knowing what is the absolute best for Babygirl and what is the practical best for the two of us.

Is there an easy route through this?

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39 comments to I feel trapped by breastfeeding

  • Lisa

    >Breastmilk as you know is full of lovely anti immunogens but if you look on http://www.kellymom.com there is lots of research to show that mixed feeding reduces the power of the breastmilk to protect. Personally that was not a risk I was prepared to take, also formula goes through less safety testing than biscuits so I just don't trust it.
    She will be on more solids soon and naturally dropping breastfeeds. It is not forever and worth hanging on for so you can help her avoid, excema, asthma, obesity, heart disease………..

  • Nys

    >At about 6 months, I found myself facing the same dilemma as you are now. I was studying towards a degree part time.. my son had -really- bad reflux and it was heart breaking to see him starting to associate that pain, with feeds from me. The doctors were not able to offer a feasible solution that both worked and that was manageable with my studies.

    In the end, I dropped his morning feeds (the ones he always refluxed on) and replaced it with formula, and continued to breast feed him during the afternoons/evenings/nights for another six months.

    What ever decision you make, you are NOT a bad mother. Each one of us has individual circumstances, and pressures placed upon us. And no one can make the decision for you.

    I wish you luck. I know, for myself, when I finally did make that choice to supplement things, for me, it took a lot of pressure off, his reflux cleared up and my relationship with my son grew stronger as a result.

  • PantsWithNames

    >I ended up doing a mixture of breast feeding with my second. It was what worked for both of us.

    Each child is different, each mother has a different experience with each child. You'll work out what is best for you and Baby Girl, and that is what makes you a good mother.

  • make do mum

    >Don't feel guilty about the mixed feeding route. I had to do it for my sanity! Babygirl needs a happy mum so do what you feel is right.

  • Mwa

    >Oh, I feel bad that you've been made to feel so bad. I was looked on as a freak by lots of people in Belgium for breastfeeding six months (I know a lot of people who never breastfeed at all – their babies are perfectly healthy, as are mine). Please do what your gut tells you! (Or your fat rolls. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Your baby will be better off for you being less stressed. I stopped with both of mine around 5 1/2 – 6 months, and they are fine. The first weeks are the most important, everything after that is a bonus. You know why I stopped? I wanted a drink, and I wanted a date with my husband (I didn't pump). Selfish me. I didn't even have a job like you. We were all happy after I stopped.

    Please do what makes you happy! This will be best for your baby in the end. There is NO WAY in this day and age that you need to breastfeed for any longer than this if you don't feel comfortable doing so.

  • Monica


    I have breast fed 2 kiddies and I must say that the 1st time around I felt like a fat cow!
    The "fat" came from the weight not going anywhere and me thinking all the "breastfeeding=loose weight" was bull & the "cow" came from my son constantly feeding every bloody hour!!

    I did try to put my son on formula but he instantly got infection left and right, needless to say I went back to breastfeeding him straight away.

    I must say though it becomes easier because you have to give less feeds at 7 months your baby should be weaning/ weaned by now so soon enough you will be reduced to a evening and morning feed anyway.

    With the cows milk situation… thats really bad she is intolerant, makes life much harder for you… formula is made with cows milk!

    You can try other milk as many people that are intolerant to cows are not to Goat's or Sheep's milk.
    Goats milk can be found in most supermarkets and you can get Sheeps milk from Planet Organic (they also deliver).

    When introducing milk to any baby or child you should use full fat and water it down, gradually reducing the water amount as their stomach gets used to it. Semi skimmed milk is not suitable as it also has reduce calcium, etc.

    If those milks are not suitable there is also rice or soya milk as a last resort but remember to look for soya that has not been genetically modified as this can cause reproductive problems later on in life with regular consumption.

    Anyways I hope that helps in some way, feel free to email me should you have any questions.
    You can find me at http://www.myfunnybunny.co.uk

    Best wishes,
    Monica xxx

  • Monica

    >I forgot to say that the weight loss only came around at 12 months with baby 1 and at 6 months with baby 2 but it all happened very slowly! xx

  • mummy limited

    >Aah you seem to have hit what I refer to as a breastfeeding wall. I hit one at 3 7 and 9 months and alot of it was connected to pumping and as you say feeling trapped. Have you been to docs about formula that doesn't upset her. I know there is something available on prescription. I've said before how much I admire your dedication with all the pumping. You should be proud of how long you've done. Maybe by giving youself permission to mix feed you might not feel like it. If you see what I mean? Especially while you are off. TBH now MM is a year and I give some goats milk so no pumping I feel free again. Plus he's only just dropped feeds in last month or so.

  • MissK

    >Breast is definitely best, but a sane mummy is better! Do what you need to do to stay well in your mind because there's not a sticking plaster for that one!

    I'm still breastfeeding HRH at 23 months and I know the feeling of frustration and despair when it just seems like you can't do anything right for fear of doing wrong; there will always be people who pick holes in whatever you decide to do, but ultimately, only you live your life. Nobody else is doing your washing and work and looking after the gorgeous ones, so do what's best for you- the only thing that can guarantee a happier baby is a happier mummy. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  • 1 husband, 2 kids (and lots of books)

    >The practical way that's best for both of you is always the right way. There are lots of things in life that make you healthier, more secure, less prone to ecezma etc. etc. The number one thing is being happy. Focusing on doing all the right things to the detriment of the bigger picture cancels out many of the benefits (in my humble opinion at least). A happy, stress free life is the greatest gift of all that you can give – to you and your baby!

  • Jen

    >Go with your gut instinct on this one. I breastfed two and bottle fed my third due to the first two being milk protein intolerant. My third went on special formula, as your family Doctor about getting a prescription and it will tide you over until she is ready to move up to goats/rice/soy/oat milk. Good luck. Jen.

  • MrsW

    >I have three children and only one was breast-fed, my middle one. He's the one with every allergy going! Peanuts, tree-nuts, legumes, asthma, eczema – you name it he's got it. My 2 formula fed babies haven't an allergy to bat between them. As you can imagine I kinda balk at all that "breast is best". Don't let anyone make you feel bad for making a decision that you feel is right fo you and yours. When I was formula feeding No3 and anyone so much as hinted at disapproving they got my allergy diatribe right back at them ๐Ÿ™‚

    If your little one is going to have a long term issue with dairy it's a good idea to be investigating alternatives as soon as you feel ready. The joys of having children with "special dietary needs"!!

  • YummyNo1

    >Don't you dare feel guilty! You have done an amazing job – in fact, amazing isn't a big enough word for how well you have done! You have given your baby the best possible start and if now you feel it's time to go on to mixed feeds then do so – but don't feel bad – you have nothing to feel bad about!
    I bf all four of mine but they all went on to mixed feeds – I introduced some formula feeds during the day. That was the right thing for me and you need to find a way that is right for you too.
    Regarding the cows milk allergy – I know soya formulas are available on prescription so speak to your GP or HV. My eldest was intolerant to cows milk (it is really quite common) and I substituted cows milk products with goats milk products but he was older than your baby when it was diagnosed. I'm not sure when you can introduce goats milk so would be best to check with GP or HV on that.

  • YummyNo1

    >Don't you dare feel guilty! You have done an amazing job – in fact, amazing isn't a big enough word for how well you have done! You have given your baby the best possible start and if now you feel it's time to go on to mixed feeds then do so – but don't feel bad – you have nothing to feel bad about!
    I bf all four of mine but they all went on to mixed feeds – I introduced some formula feeds during the day. That was the right thing for me and you need to find a way that is right for you too.
    Regarding the cows milk allergy – I know soya formulas are available on prescription so speak to your GP or HV. My eldest was intolerant to cows milk (it is really quite common) and I substituted cows milk products with goats milk products but he was older than your baby when it was diagnosed. I'm not sure when you can introduce goats milk so would be best to check with GP or HV on that.

  • fiona

    >Don't feel guilty, 6 months is fantastic. Plenty of people don't/can't breastfeed, so you have given your baby a fantastic start. I was adamant that I would breastfeed both my children for as long as possible given that I have diabetes and it is supposed to reduce chances of them inheriting that. But with my second who fed non-stop it was very hard and I ended up very run down and got very ill. My GP had to force me to stop and I felt awful, but afterwards realised that you have to take yourself into consideration too. Plus my GP said that after so many months the benefits reduce significantly…but he may have just been saying that to get me to stop.Do what feels right to you.

  • Crystal Jigsaw

    >Interesting post but I'm not the best one to comment! I never breastfed at all, went straight to SMA. Amy ate for England so I guess I would have been there 24/7. Incidentally, I've always wondered when it's time to stop.

    CJ xx

  • Tawny

    >Don't feel guilty! I fed K for 6 months, she is now 11 years and healthy and happy. Have you tried goats milk? I have a Guide who cannot have cows milk but is fine with goats….

  • cartside

    >Have you tried soy milk? A friend of mine had a similar problem with dairy intolerance and she found breast feeding increasingly painful and wanted to stop for that reason. Normal formula didn't work for her girl, and she didn't like soy, so she kept going for a while until they found some food alternatives – such as soy yoghurt which the girl found more palatable. She breast fed for longer than she wanted, but eventually bit by bit replaced it not with formula milk but other products and it worked well. Of course that's easier the older the child.

    It is really hard to continue bf with a full on job. I did for the first four months and then was at the end of my tether – spending every minute pumping, working late to make up for pumping breaks, all for a meagre amount. So I stopped the working day pumping when Cubling was 9 months, but managed to fully breast feed on days off, incl. night feeds, first thing in the morning, upon return from work. It worked really well and I continued to bf up to 23 months. Without the stress. Yes, she had formula for a few months during the day, but hey, you have to keep sane!

  • Bobbie

    >I used Alpro soya milk they also do yogurts as well. worked fantastic for my first little boy!! when i needed to bottle feed i used Aptimal easy digest lower in lactose. My little boy is really sensitive to the protien in cheese so i limit that but he can now have cows milk x good luck hun x love AandEMummy x

  • Emma

    >You completely have to do what is right for you and Baby! My Chick would never breast feed at all and although I was made to feel like hell there was nothing I could do about it! See if the Doc can help work out what else apart from diary can help with the mixed feeding and try not to feel guilty or beat yourself up about it!!! xxx

  • It's a Mummys Life

    >Not a bad mummy at all, just need to stop and that's fine absolutely bloody fine!! There are soya alternatives for babies now so just ask your GP or HV about it. There is a solution for your baby, you just need to give yourself a break. ALso once you stop how you will rejoice when that extra layer finally goes! Good luck xx

  • Patchwork Bird

    >Firstly you have done really well to get to 7 months. Much longer than most so well done! I stopped at 6 months because I was going back to work and even though I was ready, the guilt still crept in. I think it's inevitable, you'd probably still be the same if you did it for 7 years! So go easy on yourself, you should be proud of getting this far.

  • It's a Mummys Life

    >Sorry just read some of the other comments and think maybe I was a bit flippant. Seriously though, you have done it for 6 months which is excellent and what the DH recommend so please don't feel bad about it. I read Lisa's comment and felt a teensy bit angry. There are a hell of a lot of people out there making you feel guilty for giving up breastfeeding, but only you are the one doing it for your child. If you feel it's time to stop, then it is. Simple. Your child needs your love and attention, it doesn't take a boob in her mouth for her to know you love her. Seriously. YOu have to be happy for your family to be happy. I really believe this.

  • DearDull Diary.

    >Never feel bad, you have to do whats best for baby and YOU.
    See your GP see what he can offer formula wise. I do think the older they get the harder it is to stop, I am still waiting for my youngest to self wean and shes 2. It not due to breast being best or that I like bfing, i dont.. i have had several failed attempts at stopping and i am gutless and want a quiet life.

    Hope you find a solutionxx

  • Life through the Slim Lens

    >I think you're fantastic for going 7 months.

    Did you know there are lactose free formulas out there? Or possibly just better for those intolerant – not sure if that is the problem for babygirl.

  • PhotoPuddle

    >Am not going to go off on one but the whole feeding your baby issue just makes me feel so angry. Basically whatever you do is wrong. If you breastfeed people look at your like you are doing something disgusting but if you bottlefeed then you get people thinking you are the devil and trying to poison your child!
    The fact you have breastfed for so long is wonderful but if it's time to move on then go for it. DO NOT feel guilty. There are lots of alternatives out there and I'm sure you'll find something.

  • The Moiderer

    >I think it has all been said and I agree. Dundee Uni did a study and found the first 18 weeks are the critical ones so you have well covered that. Please don't feel guilty

  • Heather Davis

    >It's been a long time since I've had to deal with these issues (my youngest is 6) but I do remember all too well the pressure I felt to breast feed for as long as possible. There is no escaping it. You've done a great job doing it for this long. Nobody should be telling you anything else. If you feel you can't go on then find an alternative that works. Don't feel bad about it. My eldest is 17 – you think anything about her now has to do with the fact I breast fed her until she was 6 months old? I am not saying there aren't benefits, just put in perspective there a lot of other things equally or more important. Good luck!

  • rock n roll mummy

    >Don't feel guilty, I have been trying to mix feed my little one for few weeks now she is 4 months old. But i am trapped in that she won't take a bottle so I feel I have no options at the moment but to carry on. I have been getting myself in a right flap over it with a mixture of feeling guily like you that really i should be doing it for at least 6 months but unlike most mums breast feeding takes over my life and i find it difficult to make it a way of life. I am always wondering when the next feed will be and the lack of routine does my head in sometimes especially when you are having to look after a toddler too. I really want to give formula in the day but when you speak to the health visitors they have no real suggestions as to what to try. So for now i am continuing and will prob just have to go straight to a cup but i think she is too young at the moment. Reading the other comments, def go to docs and get some soya based formula and good luck with it all let us know how you get one.

    I think you are amazing BF for 7 months thats incredible well done x

  • Emily O

    >I agree with cartside that I think you can get soya milk formula for babies with dairy intolerance. You've got to be pleased with 7 months, espcially when it's involved so much expressing which personally I hate doing. I always breastfeed to 6 months and by then I've had enough. And I stick to 6 to make it equal for each child! Good luck, it's tricky. I've tried a bit of mixed feeding with my baby but she refuses formula at the moment.

  • Expat mum

    >Two of my three had dairy issues and I used lactose-free formula for the first and soy for the second (no breast milk available sadly). They were both fine once I made the switch.
    You're a star in my books for getting to 7 months anyway!

  • strawberriesandwhine

    >We discovered Toby had a milk protein allergy when he was about 8 months old, when I started trying to introduce a cereal that was made with formula. Have you had Babygirl tested to find out exactly what it is about the dairy that she has problems with? If it's lactose, there are great lactose-free formulas out there for the few feeds a day she still needs to get through milk. If it's milk protein, you might like to try goat's milk – Toby didn't have any problems with that. He's outgrown his allergy now, which I partly accredit to the probiotics our doctor prescribed him which helped boost the bacteria in his gut, which were apparently a total mess.
    I breastfed Toby until he was 15 months in total, but by the time he was 10 months, we were down to 2 feeds a day (one first thing, and one last thing) plus however many at night, when I was too lazy to give him anything else ;o) We dropped night feeds all together at about 11 months, and then at 15 months he weaned himself, just wasn't interested, never a tear shed (by him at least ;o)
    Babygirl is reaching an age where she can easily start eating solids during the day, and actually doesn't need much milk at all. Have you looked into baby-led weaning? I think we get stuck in this idea that babies need x at 6 months, y by 8 months and milk until they're z months. Do what's best for both of you. If you're hating it, then it's not the best thing overall.

  • Notes to self plus two

    >OMG, do not feel guilty.
    I would say right now you need to make life easy for yourself.
    You are going to start a new job, have a 7 month baby and need to establish a new routine.
    Be proud that you made it to 7 months and also be proud that simplifying this aspect of your life is probably the best, stressless approach to your life for you and your baby. It's more important you are happy and can approach all areas of your life as one, balanced and as calmly as possible.

  • Knackered Mother

    >MAM, you've done 7 months, that's so clever! I had enormous udder-like boobs, mastitis with two out of three babies and found it really quite stressful, stopping at three months with the first two, eight days with the baby girl. I felt all the guilt you mention with the first two but with the last one I stuck a mental two fingers up to anyone who made me feel bad. My baby, my choice. You've done seven months, here's a medal x

  • JulieB

    >You have done amazingly well – don't beat yourself up! When I went back to work I just couldn't face the whole pumping thing, and just did a morning and evening feed for a while. Seemed to work quite well – I think the main thing is being relaxed about the whole thing.

  • Metropolitan Mum

    >Honestly, I was sometimes sitting here asking myself how you managed to pump that much – I never managed and if I would have gone back to work that wouldn't have been an option.
    if there will ever be another baby, I don't think I'd breastfeed again. I didn't have any physical problems feeding little L, I just felt very isolated and imprisoned. Feeding in public was just not my thing, plus little L got so easily distracted that I had to retire to the quietness of our bedroom with her several times a day to feed her. All in all it felt like a pregnancy that never stopped. It made me feel depressed.

  • angie

    >You should never feel guilty, I applaud you for the fact that you have stuck with it for the last 7 months exclusively breastfeeding your baby. No one is perfect, no shame or guilt should be felt when you are physically worn out. You should way out your options and also seek help, perhaps you can pump and have your husband feed the baby in the morning – maybe it can create an intimate bonding experience of him and the baby as well. If that isn't an option, then mixing feeding is also an alternative.

    Just remember you are not being selfish for making these decisions. Happy Mommy means Happy Baby!

  • Mummy

    >I just wanted to let you know that you will be able to find something to balance it all out, but until you do don't feel that you have to force yourself to carry on or that you have done it wrong. You have done the very best anyone could do!

  • kelvix

    >You've done really well to make it to 7 months. Some carry on for longer, some for less, some don't even try it, some try and give up after the first fortnight.

    As a mother, your place will always be in the wrong – you will find so many people willing to give you advice that you didn't even ask for! The only way to keep your sanity is to do what is best for you and Babygirl. And if gradually coming off BF milk onto soy/rice/other non-dairy is the way to keep you and her happy, don't care about the rest. You and she are the most important parts of this.

    I BF for 3 months only. It was good to do it, but there were othe circumstances causing me to stop. My son is fine and healthy (so far as we can tell) at 2.5. Do what is right for you.

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