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5 Bumps

Formula guilt

I have been pumping exclusively for seven months (due to latch issues early on) and I am proud of myself for being able and willing to do it this long, because as anyone who pumps will tell you, pumping is no picnic. But now it is starting to wear on me, I feel like a slave to the pump. I miss much needed sleep in the night to pump so I can keep my supply up, and I am always trying to find a way to entertain baby when I pump during the day. I am exhausted, and moody and argumentative with my husband. My nipples are sore and beat up and I am finding that I just want to quit and go to formula. Of course the pediatrician wants me to pump through the winter, even if it is only twice a day, but I just want to be done with it. But whenever I think about giving him formula I feel bad, because I do have the milk. It is just that getting it out is becoming a burden. Can anyone give me some words of wisdom or understanding?

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 9:18 AM on Nov. 14, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

Answers (19)
  • Well, first of all, I do know what you're going through because for 3 1/2 months I pumped what felt like non-stop. I never made enough breast milk, so I had no choice but to supplement with formula. However, I was determined to get as much as I could for him. Eventually and unfortunately, when he was 3 1/2 months, my supply completely diminished. I felt SO bad and was so worried about giving him only formula. I envisioned an unhealthy child, for starters. I would cry because I felt like I wasn't able to give him what I knew was best. However...my son is now almost 14 months old and has never been sick. He has developed perfectly and has thrived on formula. None of the things I worried about happened. All I can say in your situation is that your baby will be happier if it's mom is happier. If you can get more sleep, you'll have more energy. If you feel like you can't take it anymore, then that's your decision. cont..
    LovingSAHMommy

    Answer by LovingSAHMommy at 9:25 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • cont...

    Really, no one can tell you what to do, but it sounds to me like you've given it a lot of effort and time. Most women don't even make it to 7 months, and that's with the baby latched on. You could always try supplementing with formula and giving him 1/2 breast milk and half formula. He'll still be getting the benefits of the breast milk, at least. Whatever you decide to do, don't feel guilty, hon. You've obviously given it a fair shot.
    LovingSAHMommy

    Answer by LovingSAHMommy at 9:27 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • It's you decision....Half formula and breastmilk idea is a good one to try. But it's your body and if your body can't do it or you don't want to keep doing it to your body then don't. your baby had 7 great months but now mommy needs to heal. Don't feel guilty either way you decide it's up to you.
    Finkette

    Answer by Finkette at 9:33 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • You could still put the baby to the breast, even if you had latch issues early on. This would instantly increase your supply, since your breasts respond better to the baby then they do to the pump.
    I couldn't pump, so I had to manually express. But I did try to pump, It was so painful! I can't imagine doing it for months!

    Seriously, do a little research, you may find that being able to nurse the baby will cure your problems.
    ObbyDobbie

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 9:33 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • First let me say you have done a fabulous job! I understand totally where you are coming from. Would a compromise be to start getting your sleep at night and just pump during the day? Do not feel guilty! I find it so sad that moms feel this guilt. Take a look at that beautiful baby and know you are the reason he is thriving. Not by just what you feed him but by all of you that you give to him.....your love and care. Also, consider this........one of my relatives had very little milk supply. She pumped what she could and also gave formula. Her baby is happy and growing like a weed. She is content in knowing she is doing all she can for her child.
    Even if you go to formula only be secure in knowing you are providing SO much more than just food to your child. I wish you all the best. hug.
    elizabr

    Answer by elizabr at 9:38 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • I agree with PP. You have nothing to feel guilty about. My sister FF'd her first 2 kids due to going back to work 2 & 4 weeks after their births. She was pretty young the first 2 times, & with her 3rd (and last), she wanted to give BF'ing a shot. She felt that she chickened out the first 2 times (latch issues as well), & she took every minute of vacation time that she had, 4 months. She did BF the 3rd the entire 4 months, & it was HARD. There were so many times that she cried from the cracked & bleeding nipples. She never felt guilty for FF'ing, just for not trying BF'ing.

    You've done it for 7 long months AND with it causing disruption in sleep. At 7 m/o, your baby's becoming more active & your son's safety is going to depend on your having a watchful, attentive eye. We had no choice but to FF our DS who came to us from foster care. He is a very healthy, little boy who never gets sick. :) Hugs! Take care of YOU!



    doodlebopfan

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 9:45 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • BTW, our son was almost 7 months when he came to us and his mom had been FF'ing him. No health issues whatsoever. You've done great!!! Take care!! :)
    doodlebopfan

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 9:48 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • I had a similar experience to LovingSAHMommy, except it was only about 2 1/2-3 months for me. I really wanted to breastfeed for at least a year and we had so many latching problems and then I had supply problems. I felt very guilty, but I know I tried my hardest to make it work. Pumping can be very time consuming and stressful depending on what else is going on--like having trouble sleeping and having a baby with GER/colic symptoms in our case. I know my DH was very happy when I finally gave up, but he never wanted to say it until I made the decision for myself that it was too much to continue. I felt guilty about using the formula, but my son was healthy and happy, so I'm sure he's fine. I think it's really GREAT that you've been able to pump for this long! I would have done that too if my supply had been better, and maybe he would have eventually got the latching thing. Good luck with your decision!
    pam19

    Answer by pam19 at 9:53 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • you did a great job!!!! when i was pregnant my husband and i envisioned exclusively breastfeeding but the hospital offered little support and no one told me how hard it would be, so i bought an expensive pump and pumped for only 2 weeks before quitting! so i feel youre doing an excellent job for lasting 7 months! you have nothing to feel guilty about :)
    pookipoo

    Answer by pookipoo at 9:59 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • You are doing great!!! I know how hard it is but look into that beautiful face your love with DH created and I am sure you will know why you should continue. Set up small goals for yourself (that is how I made it 15 months). Try and get through til Christmas and then see how things are. You have already made it 7 months and are doing beautifully. Hang in there!!! With the sore nipples have you tried anything to help that? Lansinoh is good.

    mama_l

    Answer by mama_l at 10:06 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

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