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Forced weaning grief

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So, I posted a few days ago asking if anyone had any similar experiences; it seems not.  Here's where we are now, and some background.


I breastfed my first until around 10 months of age, when all supply was gone.  I continued nursing her - she just sucked for comfort - for another couple of months, at night when she'd wake.  When she finally didn't need that comfort anymore, I felt relieved that what was - for me - a long, difficult period of lactation (or more like, not-lactation) was over.  Nothing would increase my supply - the only thing that helped somewhat was complete bed rest for a couple days at a time when low supply was at its worst.  I'm glad I was able to feed her via breast, but again, at the end of that first year, I mostly felt relief that it was over.


My second - and last - came along this summer.  I had some supply problems again, but was managing better.  At a month old she developed, first, milk protein intolerance - but then went on to develop an intolerance to nearly every food.  I've lived on five foods only for the past 4 months.  Now, in another spurt, even those foods she can no longer tolerate.  (And when I say, can't tolerate, I mean this: bloody diarrhea, eczema, hives, vomiting, obvious pain....)  I've tried everything.  Enzymes, probiotics, every rotation and elimination diet imaginable, innumerable visits and calls to l.c.s, pediatricians, specialists....  I have nothing left to do but give her an amino acid formula.  We've been trying to get her to take it during the past 5 days, and still nursing at night, trying not to make it too traumatic; but it is totally traumatic.  The stress and grief is the most overwhelming I've ever experienced.  (And I haven't lived a charmed life by any means.)  All day she cries and refuses a bottle or sippy; we end up just trying to pour some nourishment into her mouth via cup or syringe.  Health-wise, she's better, but I'm sure she isn't gaining weight right now.  And I can't give her what I so desperately want to give her, what she so desperately wants, what should be "best" and "natural" and right and good. 


I can't believe I can't feed my child.  I know other parents experience worse; watch their children suffer worse; watch, even, their children die.  But this, right now, is more than I can bear.  I don't know if I feel this way because she's younger - not taking solids and simply can't for a long time yet - or if it's because she's the last and I won't have this experience again, or what.  Has anyone else ever had a similar experience and felt like this?

post #2 of 8
I don't have experience with this but I wanted to lend my support. I'm so sorry feeding your baby has been such a struggle. It does sound extremely traumatic and stressful for you and your baby. You have worked so hard! As moms, it's so hard on on when our babies are unhappy. We just want to do whatever we can to help them feel better. I hope your baby is able to eat and feel more content soon. If I were there, I'd give you a big hug.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Well, my husband finally got her to take a bottle with breastmilk today - and then another two- and then two more with the nasty formula.  Suddenly, it's all over.  I should feel glad; my husband said, "Go eat whatever you want!" but suddenly I don't care or want to.  I don't know whether I'm glad I didn't know this morning's nursing was going to be the last, or whether I'm sorry.  I can't believe how emotionally fraught this is. 

Well, thanks for the reply and e-hug.

post #4 of 8

That's a very challenging situation. I have not experienced it myself but I just wanted to give you some kudos. I'd also suggest, once you feel a little more stable, checking out the Fearless Formula Feeder's blog and Facebook page. She had a similar situation with her first child. Now she blogs about feeding choice and all of the different things that breastfeeders and formula feeders go through. A lot of women who hang out on that page have gone through struggles to breastfeed and coming to terms with formula feeding, so you may find some kindred spirits.  

post #5 of 8
Oh mama, I'm so sorry! What a horrible situation for you all. It is totally reasonable to grieve for the loss of your feeding relationship and the way it needed to end.

Be gentle with yourself. It sounds like you have done *everything* you possibly could to help your baby with her allergies. Including recognising when a specialised formula was the best (and only by the sounds of it) option left.

It's ok to be sad and to take time to recover. I hope some people who know what you're going through will respond.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the blog referral; I will definitely be checking that out.

post #7 of 8
My situation is not quite the same, but I also felt rushed into weaning because breastfeeding was an uphill battle. I have insufficient glandular tissue and after trying all of the major supply boosting hings for months, I used an at-breast supplementer for a while, and have just stopped that in favor of bottles. Julia still nurses once or twice at night, but is mostly bottle weaned. It is such a bittersweet moment for me. I also mourn that idea that without all these modern contraptions and goos my baby may not have made it. It's an awful feeling, and I am sorry you are going through a similar thing. We are almost a week on bottles now and I try to just think of the positive now.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

I hope you are feeling better about it as the days pass.  It's been a few months for me, and there's still sadness, but bearable, insight-giving sadness rather than crushing grief.  The bottles are mostly just an annoyance than anything else, now. 

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