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Cannot breastfeed :(

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I breastfed 3 out of the 4 of my children.  The last two were exclusively breastfed for an extended time and never had a bottle at all.  I loved the bonding and the ease of breastfeeding.

 

Now I'm pregnant with my 5th...a ten year gap between the last child.

 

I was treated for breast cancer 6 years ago and had bilateral mastectomies with reconstruction.  I was told that I'd most likely be infertile after doing chemo.  Obviously not. lol

 

Anyway, I'm super, super sad about not being able to breastfeed.  And angry too.  Not only because of the health benefits and it being the perfect food, but because of the bond.  omg, I loved that more than anything.  I think about all this and I cry and it's stealing a little bit of the joy of my pregnancy :((

 

I see breastfeeding stuff and I cry.  I know, that's probably ridiculous and extreme, but I can't help it.

 

I've been looking at Milk Share and I'm actually seeing if that's an option for me, but I'm a little scared of un-screened milk.  Also, I'm giving birth in another country and won't be returning to the states for a few weeks.  I tried to search for a milk share there and I'm not finding a single thing.

 

Any words of encouragement, wisdom, anything at all would sure be helpful.  Thanks :)

 

 

post #2 of 25

Personally, I think the bonding aspect is overrated.  I love my first more than anything in the world... and his baby sisters got all the milkies.

 

There are several other reasons why using donated bm would be wonderful.  But you will bond with the baby just fine over a bottle.

 

hugs, mama.

 

ETA ... sorry my post sounds flippant, I meant to offer encouragement and I can understand your pain.  I think it is ok to grieve the loss of nursing.  What I meant was:   try not to let it spoil your pregnancy, which is another time of superb bonding!!


Edited by HappyMommy2 - 6/1/11 at 1:16pm
post #3 of 25

I don't have any personal experience with bfing or not being able to bf (I'm expecting my first in Aug), but your post made me want to reach out anyway. Here's an old thread that might be helpful for you.

 

Also, maybe you can reflect on the nursing relationships you had with your other children. Besides the actual breast and breast milk, what made feeding times special? You can still have this closeness and love with your LO even when feeding with a bottle. I've been looking into this myself, because after my LO is born, I have to return to work way sooner than I'd like, but I want the baby to receive the same kind of bonding with DH bottle feeding, as it would with me at the breast. As you already have 4 children, this video might be kind of "duh", but it has really helped give me and my DH some confidence.

 

post #4 of 25

oh my heart goes out to you mama. I'm still not over the lost months of nursing i had with my first-- there is an ache that just won't heal for some reason.

We also considered milk share, but decided against it due to the unscreened milk issue.

 

Have you considered a lactaid/SNS? It's a bottle that connects with a small tube that's taped to your breast. oops! gg baby up!

post #5 of 25

Hugs, mama, big time.  I totally understand.  Neither my partner nor I was able to breastfeed our twins sons (supply issues) and I fully breastfed our daughter...  It was (and is) devastating.   I second trying out a Lact-Aid though.   It gives you a bit of that "nursing feeling".  It's not the same, truthfully, but I did enjoy our time with the Lact-Aid.  

 

I'm hoping to get pregnant with a 4th, and we'll keep t he lact-aid for DP to use with that child, mostly for bonding (she doesn't expect to be able to produce milk)

post #6 of 25
Bravo to you for kicking cancer and for having another kid in spite if chemo. joy.gif

I know BF is a wonderful thing, and you have every right to mourn it's loss. I would just suggest making time for lots of skin to skin contact with your little one, and maybe a SNS for some early bonding. Good luck and remember to take time to nurture yourself as well as that little one you are growing.
post #7 of 25

Aw mama, that would bum me out too greensad.gif  I'm so sorry that you won't be getting to breastfeed this baby.  I would absolutely allow yourself to be sad about missing the convenience of breastfeeding.  But on the bonding front -- you can do that without your breasts.  You can offer your baby a gentle start, you can still snuggle your baby close each and every time you feed.  I am betting that you'll still be the one person in the way that mothers are for babies.  Your baby will still recognize your smell, your feel, your touch...  Plan on spending lots of time skin to skin...  There's nothing stopping you from putting your baby against your bare chest while you feed from a bottle.  A bottle won't stop the loving gazes, the gentle touches, the warm smiles.  Your arms will still be your baby's favorite place in the whole world!

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much, all of you :).  I'm crying reading these replies.  I really appreciate the kind words and encouragement.  I just needed to vent and have someone understand how I feel.  Last night I dreamed that I gave birth to my baby a little early and she (it was a girl in my dream but I don't know what I'm having) was rooting looking for a breast :(  That's how bad this is bothering me.

 

I thought about an SNS system, but I don't really have nipples to a baby to latch on to.  I did have some constructed, but they've gone down over the past few years.

 

Anyway, thanks again. 

 

Italiamom, are you from Italy?  That's where I'll be giving birth :)

post #9 of 25

I'm not from Italy.  My mother and her side of the family are, and I am probably the least creative person ever when it comes to user names!

 

Regardless, I'm so sorry it's in your dreams too!  I've had situations like that, where not only are you plagued all day with feelings of sadness, but then you're not even escaping those feelings in sleep.  It is so frustrating and deeply hurting.

 

I really do think that you will find ways to love and bond with this baby that will surprise, amaze, and delight you.  Being a good mother, a loving mother, a gentle mother, is so much more than just our breasts.  Our connection with our children is SO MUCH MORE than the connection at the nipple.  Be confident in your capacity to offer EVERYTHING your new child needs.  Your body is not "less than," it is just different than it used to be.  And, quite frankly, it is a body that has survived cancer, chemo, and major surgery to create a new life.  Give your body credit!  Its connection to your new baby is already so miraculous...  Have faith that your body, and your baby, will create a wonderful bond together, even if it is in ways that are new and unexpected.

post #10 of 25

Have you looked into bottle-nursing? I did that with my dd when we couldn't BF. I would snuggle up with her on the couch and FF like that, with her all tucked up in my arm, close to my chest. It was really nice, and since you can't do that hands free (an eventual option with BF, even if you don't always do it that way) we got tons of bonding time. My DH would feed her that way too, which was so cute.

post #11 of 25
Definitely look into bottle nursing-- it really helped when I was bottle feeding my twins. You sound like an amazing woman. Congrats on the new baby!
post #12 of 25

My formula feeding friend (who, like you, was physiologically unable to breastfeed), told me that she still experienced a lot of the same bonding that goes along with breastfeeding.  Believe it or not, her baby often preferred HER to give the formula over Daddy.  Much of the real bonding has already taken place in the womb.  Baby loves Mama because s/he recognizes that gentle voice.  love.gif 

 

Oh, and my friend's baby also did all of those sweet things that breastfeeding babies do, like grabbing at a nursing necklace and caressing her arm while eating. 

 

Finally, I don't know if this is any consolation, but between 5-10% of the time, women simply cannot nurse their babies.  If you read any histories of infant feeding (a good start would be this one), you'll be GRATEFUL to have that formula for your baby. Earlier attempts at breastmilk substitutes were grossly unhealthy at best and fatal at worst.  As critical as I often am of the formula industry, I have to confess that the products that it has developed are indisputably superior to what moms routinely used in ages past. 

 

Take heart, Mama!  You're doing a fine job with the resources available to you.  hug2.gif

 

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexisT View Post

Have you looked into bottle-nursing? I did that with my dd when we couldn't BF. I would snuggle up with her on the couch and FF like that, with her all tucked up in my arm, close to my chest. It was really nice, and since you can't do that hands free (an eventual option with BF, even if you don't always do it that way) we got tons of bonding time. My DH would feed her that way too, which was so cute.


I think this is definitely a good option! You can still do so many of the things that are important in bonding like skin to skin contact, looking into baby's eyes, etc. You can also look into upright paced bottle feeding if you wish, which makes the flow of a bottle more like the ebb and flow with nursing and letdown. It'll just be different from what you're used to, but that's okay.

 

post #14 of 25

You may want to consider finger feeding which is basically putting your finger in the baby's mouth nail side down and feeding through a thin tube or feeding syringe.  I used to nanny for a BF baby who refused bottles and finger feeding was the only way to nourish her for 9 hrs/day.  This option would allow you the skin-to-skin action of actual BF but of course it might get rough if the baby never accepts bottles, esp if you plan to WOH.

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

I will definitely look into bottle nursing.  I've never even heard that term before!

 

Once again, thank you ladies.  It helps to be encouraged especially when you have no one irl who understands.

 

Hugs to you all :)

post #16 of 25

OP- you're an amazing woman, and amazing mother, and whatever happens you WILL bond with this babe.  It's going to different, but it will still be wonderful, loving, nurturing, and supportive.  Brava to you and best of luck to you all!

 

I'm moving this to breastfeeding challenges in the hopes that other BTDT mamas will have words of wisdom and support!

post #17 of 25

I'm so sorry that you won't be able to breastfeed this baby. I know how hard that is. After successfully nursing my first 4 babies for 2 yrs each, my 5th child had physical issues that made nursing impossible at the beginning. I exclusively "bottle nursed" him for 2 1/2 months, and as others have mentioned, it was a sweet bonding experience. I still talked to him and snuggled him and touched his little body and face. It was so sweet and I didn't feel our relationship suffered at all.  Even now that we've been able resolve most of our breastfeeding issues, because of my low supply he still has to take 4-8 oz a day in a bottle.  He gets just as happy and excited to nurse as he does to bottle feed. And like another poster mentioned, he absolutely prefers to be bottle fed by me over anyone else in the family.  I love that he knows and loves me, and your baby will feel the same way about youlove.gif


Edited by homemademom - 6/4/11 at 7:18am
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunarlady View Post

Bravo to you for kicking cancer and for having another kid in spite if chemo. joy.gif

I know BF is a wonderful thing, and you have every right to mourn it's loss. I would just suggest making time for lots of skin to skin contact with your little one, and maybe a SNS for some early bonding. Good luck and remember to take time to nurture yourself as well as that little one you are growing.


This was my first thought too, I know a mother here who never thought she would be pregnant after fighting cancer, and is using a SNS gives her all the feeling of breastfeeding - it's made a huge difference to her I would see if I could look into that - sorry I just read the rest of the posts so am feeling a little silly, anyway, the finger feeding is a great idea as well, congratulations on your baby!!

 

post #19 of 25

Mama, you are an amazing woman...you beat cancer and your little one will get YOU.  That is a huge gift.  I know that you are mourning right now, and maybe even some of that mourning is about what the cancer did to you, but you are a brave amazing woman.  The breastfeeding years are just a tiny little blip on the parenthood screen.  I have 3 kids--2 breastfed and 1 not (she was adopted)....ultimately, I don't think you will be able to tell which one was which (uh, ok, you will...but only because one is Asian.  I meant that there is no difference in their intelligence, health, etc.  ;lol: )

 

Bottle nursing is a very good alternative.  You can still get that skin to skin contact, hold the babe close, look into her eyes, and feed her with a bottle using the same holds you would have used for nursing.  

 

Peace mama.

post #20 of 25

I breastfed my first three children, and formula fed my last child.  I definitely mourned not being able to breastfeed her.  Too much, really.  I beat myself up for it.  Looking back, I wish I would have known then what I do now, so that I could have saved myself some mental anguish.  What do I know now?  That my daughter is as healthy and smart as my other 3(and actually, she is healthier as a toddler than any of my previous kids, but had about the same amount of ear infections as a baby as my previous ones did), and she is as bonded with me, as well.  Having to bottle feed was not the horrible thing that I had thought it would be.

 

As an aside, I gave her all of her bottles, as she absolutely would not take a bottle from anyone but me. lol.gif    I also still co-slept with her and had her bottles right next to me on the nightstand.  I had a warmer that had a cooler attached, and I would make up the bottles before bed, and then warm them up as needed.  It was awesome.

 

 

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