I can't believe I'm posting this... burnt out from nursing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 11-04-2010, 01:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I can't believe I'm posting this here. I am very much pro breastfeeding. I breastfed my (recently weaned) oldest child for 50 months (4 years, 2 months). I am still breastfeeding my second (21 months) and third (8 weeks). I have donated milk and nursed other peoples babies. Other Moms have nursed my oldest and second oldest. My second never had a bottle ever. It was always either me or else another Mom straight from her breast the few times I wasn't there.

Right now though I am so burnt out from nursing. It's not just nursing I'll admit. I am also dealing with some PPD and also situational hell in my life. But after all the nursing I've done I am just craving a break and I feel so horribly guilty about it I can't even describe it.

I make lots of milk. I'm blessed beyond measure for that. Right now I am hand expressing exclusively during the day (from 7am or earlier, whenever the baby wakes, until 10pm at night). I can get enough for him and also extra for my friend who is supplementing to get her daughter to gain weight because of low supply.

My 21 month old nurses twice, maybe three times a day. My oldest at 21 months was still nursing every 2-3 hours with one longer stretch of maybe 5 hours at night. I feel guilty that I say no to him when he asks sometimes. I don't want him to wean. I can handle him nursing 2 or 3 times a day even if I feel like I *should* be able to nurse him more (mentally should I mean).

I feel even guiltier that what I would love to do is stop breastfeeding the baby. Just pump and feed him exclusively. It has occurred to me that my supply may not always stay this high with just expressing milk and at that point I want to just be able to give him formula and be OK with that. I feel so guilty for saying that. I have never ever given any of my children formula and it just feels so wrong for me to even be considering it... especially for such selfish reasons.

His latch sucks. Breast or bottle he clicks and does a weird thing with his tongue (not like a tie where it can't move from the bottom of his mouth but almost like it is drawn upwards... I've never seen anything like it). He hurts me. He does totally fine with the bottle (DS2 never would take one, no matter what I tried). It's so much easier... even with the hassle of cleaning parts and having to make sure I bring milk everywhere, and expressing it... it's easier mentally and also anyone can feed him. I've never wanted to share that before, attempting bottles for my other two (which DS1 took and DS2 refused) were always so that I could leave them if needed, not for if I was there. This time having that freedom to pass him off and get other stuff done is so good for my mental health. Even when *I* feed him a bottle I feel like I'm not trapped by him like I am with nursing.

I don't even know what I'm looking for here. Has anyone else ever felt the same? Any thoughts or suggestions? I really just needed to vent and get out my guilty thoughts. I don't know what I'm going to do yet... keep doing what I've been doing I suppose for now. Tomorrow I'm meeting with an LC to see if we can figure out his tongue issue and also why he isn't gaining weight well (first of my babies to do that). I can't help but feel that fixing his tongue isn't going to fix my mental burn out though. I don't really know how to fix that.

Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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#2 of 11 Old 11-04-2010, 01:53 AM
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Wow, mama. You sound drained (perhaps pun intended ;0).
Big hugs to you!!! I feel burnt out sometimes and I'm only on my first. All I can think about is oxygen mask analogy. You MUST take care of yourself first in order to take care of others. It sounds like you've done a lot of selfless giving to others and it may be time to give to yourself.
PPD can have a way of making mamas feel inadequate no matter what they do... FWIW, you are a great mama even if you give your youngest formula. It's a sign that you were able to recognize your limits and make a decision in he best interest of all your children.
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#3 of 11 Old 11-04-2010, 04:23 AM
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have you posted in health and healing? i have heard mamas overcome mental breastfeeing fatigue (or at least feel better about bf) by adding nutrients to diet/taking vitamins.

ppd definitely does not help! are you seeing someone for it? do you have support at home? i hate to think of you struggling

i hope the lc can help with the tongue issue. hang in there, mama!
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#4 of 11 Old 11-04-2010, 10:54 AM
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If I am way off then please forgive me.... You said you are also dealing with PPD and that is part of why you are feeling burnt out. I know it can be so hard in the beginning when baby is latching wrong. It might help you to keep trying with baby at breast, even if it's the last thing you want to do. Sometimes stress and PPD can make us want to distance ourselves from our babies, but it's a time when having a physical connection can really help.

Mama guilt can be so strong. It is OKAY to think and feel the way you are feeling. I second PatioGardener's questions. Are you seeing someone to help you with your PPD? What is your support system like? Is it in the budget to perhaps hire a postpartum doula to support you during this time, ease your burnout, and help you establish your relationship (breastfeeding and otherwise) with your new baby? If it's not in the budget, there are doulas out there who do free/reduced rate work while they are getting certified, depending on your area.

Do you wear your baby often?

Mostly I just want to send out support. It is hard to hear that such a wonderful mama is struggling...

Mama to two, and second-time surrogate. Expecting May 2015.
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#5 of 11 Old 11-11-2010, 02:31 PM
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You know, breast is best... until it isn't.  We hear this slogan all of the time and feel pressure from all over to do anything and everything to breastfeed, but it's not the be all and end all to parenting.  Any decision you make to better the welfare of your children is the right one - including making sure they have a happy mama.

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#6 of 11 Old 11-11-2010, 07:10 PM
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The mouth motion you describe sounds like dysphagia, a sort of weak suck where the baby chews instead of draws. My son had it, and we corrected it with bottle therapy with the aid of a special dysphagia therapist. It is really tiring to deal with feeding issues, and it's okay to admit that. I hope you find and fix the problem with his suckle.

The exhaustion toward your baby sounds like it could be ppd or mineral deficiency, but you might also just be tired. Are you able to take time to bond with this baby? Whether you nurse or bottle feed, the bonding is most important. Can you wear him on your chest, bathe with him, let him sleep on your chest, or find other non-nursing ways to be close and stimulate oxytocin?

Don't let yourself fret over problems you don't have right now, though. Bottle feeding may be the best way forward, and your milk will probably hang around as long as you want it. Good luck finding answers!

Summer, wife to DH (07/99), SAHMama to DS (07/08) & DD (07/10).
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#7 of 11 Old 11-21-2010, 05:02 AM
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Hello Triscuitmom,

        My heart truly goes out to you and you sound like a wonderful Mom.  You have no reason to feel guilty at all and this is good you are reaching out for some help and guidancel.   I am new to this forum.  I am an RN and have been an IBCLC for 20 years with 3 children.    Your story sounds a lot like mine with my 3rd child too when I  had a very bad case of PPD and difficulty nursing.   I feel for you and  wish I could give you a big long HUG!

Other posters have said some of the same things...but first thngs first.

Are you seeing someone and getting treatment for the PPD?  Any chance you could have any other help problems such as anemia which could be wearing you down?

Do you need some help and support with the other children?   If so, reach out for help!  Even if it is a few hours in the afternoon so you can take a nap.


You sound like you have enjoyed nursing in the past and still enjoy nursing your second child.

Breastfeeding when it is "hurting" is never enjoyable.   I am so glad you are seeing a lactation consultant who may be able to help you with the dysfunctional suck pattern.  There are suck training measures you can perfom which can correct the suck pattern.   Or you may need a referral to an ENT with experience in breastfeeding who may find something else which could be corrected .

In the meantime, if you need to pump and feed EBM by other method to give your nipples a break, please do so.   If your baby's suck pattern is not efficient in trnasferring milk, it is not helpful anyway.    The most important is to feed the baby and if it must be pumped EBM, that is okay!   You can always hold your baby skin to skin and mimic breastfeeding if you are giving pumped EBM in a bottle.  I know you will  find someone that can help you determine the cause of the clicking and inefficient suckling, it will work out and you will be happily nursing at the breast again.

In the meantime, do find ways to take care of yourself.   I will be thinking of you!

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#8 of 11 Old 11-28-2010, 12:34 PM
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Sorry to hear about your struggles!! It sounds like you have given so much of yourself to others you now need to take time for yourself, which is near impossible with a 2 month old, I know!! But what your baby needs most of all is a relaxed, happy mama. Take steps now to make that happen so you can enjoy every precious day with your family.

Feed formula, feed EBM, feed your baby whatever works and give yourself permission to not feel bad over it.

Crunchy Christian mama to my home birthed, unvaxed, uncirc boys Shane and Cody!!joy.gif
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#9 of 11 Old 11-29-2010, 04:53 AM
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How are things today?

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#10 of 11 Old 11-30-2010, 12:28 PM
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Much love and hugs to you momma. I feel you. My first son was almost 2 yrs old when I weaned him because I would get angry at the idea of him nursing and avoid it at all cost I was so tired of being mauled all the time. I felt it was better than to wait for him to decided because I never wanted to resent him for it. Its a personal decision and I wish I had had more support from other mommas but I got nothing but encouragement to keep going...I just wanted someone to acknowledge that 'yes a nursing relationship can not be blissful'. Right now I am nursing my 4 day old son and my nipples are on fire and it feels like a tiger cub is chewing on them every time he latches on but I know that it will get better and I know the challenges ahead and I am ready for them. I wont be afraid to give a pacifier because I refuse to be one and I wont be afraid to unlatch him or to encourage a feeding schedule. Right now we are just breaking in these poor nipples.


Just know that there is another momma out there who didnt have the wonderful dreamy nursing relationship all the time. I do miss nursing but I am ready now to accept that it wont be perfect all the time and I will have down moments.

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#11 of 11 Old 12-09-2010, 12:20 PM
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I had terrible problems breastfeeding my DS after he was born. Not the same problems you are having, but I experienced similar overwhelming feelings of guilt when I felt like I.just.can't.breastfeed.for.another.second and I totally fell apart when I started to supplement with formula. (In my case, I exhausted all the possibilities I had at the time with low supply and I just had to feed the baby). Obviously, I had a mild case of PPD and almost went crazy from lack of sleep, but I think breastfeeding is a strong psychic bond between mother and child and has alot of emotions wrapped up in it regardless of PPD or not.


I second another poster who said to check out your baby's latch and mouth. If it's a fixable problem, I think alot of the stress will drop once he stops causing you pain.


Hope you can get through this. The most important thing is being able to love and accept yourself whether or not you breastfeed or how much you breastfeed. And you are doing amazing things, mama. I think you are awesome.

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