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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was so dead set that I wouldn't have formula anywhere NEAR my child, and I was SO sure that I would be able to muster through the tough times with breastfeeding and get support when I needed it that I wouldn't ever have to consider formula feeding. Well. I formula feed. I had thought my community was very Pro-BFing, but came to find out as a stressed out, tired new Mommy who was in sever pain due to complications with my episiotomy (that I didn't want by the way) - that there was little to NO support and resources here where I live. At least none that I knew of back when my son was first born. I gave up - like a punk, I gave up and I was DEVASTATED to have to formula feed my son. But I was making the only choices I thought I could make give what I knew and what my life was at that moment.<br><br>
However, after getting past the emotional and physical stumbling blocks, and having discovered this forum as well as really becoming comfortable with how I want to parent, and not feeling like I have to do things the way everyone around me tells me I should do them - I now know it's possible to relactate, and I have had it in the back of my mind for a week or so now.<br><br>
As strongly as I feel about breastfeeding and as strong as my instincts are that I do NOT want to formula feed anymore, I also feel that it's a decision that my husband and I should come to together and both be on board with. If I were to be completely honest, I would have to say I'm not sure I could give up the freedom that FF has given me without feeling maybe a little resentment at times. My first four weeks were hell for me, I was so overwhelmed and stressed and feeling like I was failing at every aspect of parenting, that I really came to almost NEED those times when my Mother or my Aunt could take my son for a few hrs or an overnighter, to give me a chance to regroup and take a breather. If I were to relactate that wouldn't be an option any longer. Now, I do feel that I can't base a decision like this solely on MY selfish needs. Just saying that I'm feeling a little conflicted.<br><br>
I want this SO badly, but how do I know that I won't come to resent my poor lil guy because of this? Has anyone relactated and breastfed again, that can give me some real life advice? Was there any sort of adjustment period where you had to get used to the whole experience all over again?<br><br>
I'm coming to feel very strongly about many aspects of AP - most of which are completely new to me, but I feel they just fall into line with what feels best to me and what feels most instinctive. And to feel this way about parenting, it just feels SO WRONG to formula feed. I feel guilty every time I make up some bottles, I feel guilty when I have to let him cry while I'm warming bottles, and I feel guilty at night when I know he'd probably just like to nurse a bit to go back to sleep but instead have to find other ways of soothing him that I know just aren't cutting it.<br><br>
Just now in fact, Evan was snoozing on the couch and he was grunting and just sort of restless. I laid next to him and instantly he snuggled into me. He put his face right into my bosom and I swear he was rooting around, instinctively probably looking for the breast. It made my heart ache.<br><br>
I still have not completely dried up and I can easily express liquid from my breast with hardly any effort. So I know (or hope) that relactation would work for us. It's just so hard to make that choice. It shouldn't be but it is.<br><br>
I guess I'm just looking for someone who has done this and suceeded who can give me some words of wisdom or support. And typing down my thoughts and concerns are helping me to figure out waht I need to do and what I want to do.<br><br>
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest, and any help or advice anyone has would be great!<br><br>
~Nadine~
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"><br><br>
You sound like a great mama.<br><br>
Remember that relactation doesn't have to be all or nothing- you could do the comfort nursing and overnight feedings without losing the ability to "get away for a few hours." Even full-time nursing moms can pump if they have to be away from the baby for a little while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, Ruthla... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
Evan is now a very happy 8 week old lil man, and I know that even though he may not be getting breast milk, he IS happy and healthy for the most part. He's had some gas and potential reflux issues that we've been dealing with since he started formula feeding. Which is WHY I want to BF again so badly. I feel that if he starts to nurse again, he might be able to eliminate some of his 'digestive issues'.<br><br>
Thanks again for your response. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I think it's a great sign that you can still express milk from your breasts! I would just start offering him the breast before each bottle...it may take a while or not, but even if he only gets a few ounces per day it would be a great health benefit to him. And like someone else said, you could certainly pump or allow him formula for feedings where you aren't there to nurse. I exclusively pumped for 5 months until one of my babies finally started really nursing...I still pump what I can for the other and hope he starts nursing soon. Good luck!
 

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Well if you do decide to relactate you will definately have a TON of support at MDC! Do you have any LLL groups nearby. It would be great if you had some IRL support too.<br><br>
BTW congrats on your little guy! Sounds like he has a good mama.<br><br>
Kara
 

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I think it would be very easy for you to relactate.<br><br>
Also remember that there will be alll those wonderful mothering hormones involved when you nurse your son that may help you cope better. And you won't have any bottles to wash, and little man won't have to wait to eat. You may be surprised that your stress level may possibly go down.<br><br>
Good luck to both of you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Just nurse him- you don't have to make any major commitments or sign permission forms... goodness! If you baby is rooting at your breast- and you have milk in there- just nurse him!! Sure you are going to still feed him formula while your supply builds up- maybe always there will be some formula in the picture- but just nurse your baby- what are these words and concepts getting in your way? there is no ceremony that's going to happen- but maybe you need one... maybe you need to say a prayer or a poem, light a candle, play a song, sing a lullabye, make the place and give yourself the permission to try this again. take the step, all you have to do is take it! Nurse your baby, hold him close, feed him, stop stressing, don't quantify- let your love flow! Dosen't matter what the balances and ounces are- look at your baby! love your baby the way that feels right to you.<br><br>
You may still have bottles around if you need a break- maybe they are bottles of formula, maybe they are bottles of breastmilk... don't let fear of being tied down get in your way- you are a mom now- you are going to be tied down to whatever extent you want- but it is not an excuse to not do what your heart is telling you is the right thing to do- I mean look at that post about Kate Winslet and the cheauffer driven bottle of breastmilk... bizarre! I would not make the same choices as she did- but she's doing it! Yeah Kate!<br><br>
Love Sarah
 

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8 weeks? stick that boob in his face, he'll love it!!<br><br>
wishing you well on your re-lactation (or volume fill, since you have not dried up completly?)<br><br>
~S
 

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I haven't relactated, but I did give my DD some formula in the beginning (long story!) which was not my intention and i was worried for a while due to the problems we were having that I would not be able to breastfeed her. So I can relate to feeling guilty and bad and stressed and overwhelmed and in pain and just disappointed that things were not happenning the way I'd planned or imagined. I too tossed out the formula sample I was given in pregnancy stating that MY baby wasn't going to have that crap, only to find myself supplementing on the advice of an LC when breastfeeding wasn't going as well as I expected! Luckily I had a ton of support and help from my husband and my best friend/midwife to keep going, so I was able to persevere through the breastfeeding problems and get the help that I needed to continue and not end up going to formula feeding. But it was hard once my confidence in my ability to breastfeed was compromised.<br><br>
As far as whose decision it is to relactate, I think that it is yours. I don't think you have to ask for your husband's permission any more than you had to ask permission to breastfeed in the first place. You are the mother and breastfeeding is a mom thing! It would be good to have his support for breastfeeding, but you are the one who is having all these ambivalent feelings about nursing, including guilt and regret, and you are the one who has to live with your decision and your emotions about it. If he is not supportive of breastfeeding in general, that is sort of another separate issue that needs to be addressed, but that would have been a problem if you had been bf'ing from the beginning. I don't know about your DH, but I've noticed with my DH that he sort of follows my lead in terms of DD because I'm the mom and he trusts my instincts/intuition. You may find that if you start breastfeeding again he'll get on board pretty easily.<br><br>
It sounds to me like you are thinking that breastfeeding=constant self sacrifice of your needs for the baby and formula feeding=freedom to have your own needs met. Breastfeeding=difficult work, formula feeding=easy. It also seems like you have a negative association with breastfeeding and your emotional and physical comfort and well-being from the difficult and exhausting first days with a new baby, and that you think that starting to breastfeed again would send you back to that difficult time and experience. Put that way, of course you'd be ambivalent about resuming breastfeeding!!! I can tell you from recent experience, breastfeeding gets a lot easier with time and practice. I think that in the beginning bottle feeding probably IS easier, because there's not the same learning curve while you're so exhausted and dealing with everything else about a new baby. But then after a little while breastfeeding really is the easier way to go, once you've got it down. And it gets nice. Sounds like the other things are falling into place somewhat for you in terms of getting more comfortable and confident caring for the baby.<br><br>
I think everyone needs a break from the non-stop duties of caring for a baby once in a while, that's as true for breastfeeding moms and formula feeding moms. I will admit that in the first two months or so of breastfeeding my baby I felt a little "stuck" sometimes when feeding was painful and difficult and I felt like I was nursing constantly--I wished momentarily when I was having difficulties that someone else could help me with feeding the baby and that I didn't have so much responsibility all by myself. But now it's no big deal, since both breastfeeding and caring for the baby in general is getting so much easier as she grows. Now if it's been a while and we've been running around doing stuff, it feels like a relief to be able to just sit down and relax and nurse the baby! And even if you relactate and start breastfeeding, you can still give the baby the occasional bottle of formula if you want. Why would relactating make it impossible to leave the baby for a few hours or even overnight? Breastfeeding moms do this all the time!! They just pump, or feed the baby before leaving then return in time to feed again. Even if you need or want to give some formula, who's to say that you can't do that? It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Actually, if you relactate you will have MORE freedom, because you will have a lot more options--even if you want to breastfeed him 50% of the time or 95% of the time and give him bottles of formula, you will have that option. Whereas now the road you're on of exclusive formula feeding with a bottle will eventually give you that option alone. Moms do all kinds of different things, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Even a little bit of breastmilk is better than none, and even if you always give him some formula there is still a benefit to nursing. My mom breastfed me for almost a year, but she gave me one bottle of formula a day so that someone else could feed me.<br><br>
Your baby is still pretty young and if you still have milk you might not have to do too much to get your supply back, and it sounds like life with the baby has sort of settled down and your confidence is higher and you are of course more healed and recovered. It doesn't sound like you had a huge unusual circumstance around the nursing per se but the normal learning curve and bumps in the road as you and the baby figure it out, but that it was just a combination of issues including your physical state and your postpartum mental/emotional state. (I'm not being nasty here, I'm rather remembering how crazy it was for me in the first few weeks!) Frankly, it sounds to me like you want to breastfeed, but you're a little nervous and scared because you think it will be too hard and also what if you "fail" again? Sounds like you're thinking about things as kind of black and white, and being a little perfectionistic about breastfeeding, and you're afraid to even try because you've made it a big deal in your mind and aren't sure you're up for it. (I can relate to that because I am a recovering perfectionist!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> ) It's easier for us to accept never trying sometimes than to risk trying and not having things work out the way we want. Calling youself a "punk" for giving up breastfeeding is really harsh--forgive yourself, let go of the guilt and start from where you are now!!<br><br>
If the little guy is still nosing around your chest I would imagine that he'd be happy to start suckling again once you put him on and he figures out what to do. You could probably just start formula feeding him at the breast with a supplemental nursing system (SNS) and see what happens, and gradually reduce the amount of formula you are giving as the amount of breastmilk he's getting is increasing. That might be an easy way to transition back to breastfeeding. When I was giving formula it was at the breast with an SNS, and it was a little bit of a PITA but not too bad, it is definitely do-able. Even when my DD was getting formula I could see how much she loved nursing, and that gave me a lot of motivation to continue letting her do it even if there was some formula involved. (Which turned out not to be necessary in the long run.) I hated the SNS at first just because I felt like you do about the formula and I was being kind of a purist, but then I started jokingly calling it a "sex toy" for breastfeeding and seeing it as something positive for our nursing relationship.<br><br>
Good luck!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2">
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm calling tomorrow to find myself a LC, and I am going to give it a good second shot. I have a good feeling it will work out. I really want this and would feel so much better if I could quit FF. Hopefully it won't be too long of a process but I'm game for whatever this requires from me. And hey, if BF doesn't take this time around, at least I'll feel good knowing I really did try my best to give Evan the best beginning possible. And worst case scenario, if it DOESNT work? At least I'll know for next time round. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Thanks ladies for making me realize this isn't as big a decision as I was making it out to be in my mind. I think I was way overthinking everything, and Kavita hit the nail on the head when she said that I may be afraid of "failing" again.<br><br>
I'm excited about this - and hope you're all prepared for me to be on here alot as I go through this. I know it will work out. I am sending my boobs some positive milk-making-vibes! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Wish me luck girls, that I can find a good LC or some other good support person who can make sure that things work out this time around.<br><br>
~Nadine~
 

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Yay!!! Good for you!! Good luck finding a good LC! Also La Leche League can be really supportive and reassuring--is there a LLL chapter anywhere near you?<br><br>
Frankly, I think you don't need to wait to find the LC to start trying to put him to the breast--just give it a try when he's wanting to suck and see what happens. Probably best to do when he's not starving, but just alert and interested so that he doesn't get frustrated if there's not a lot there at first. Don't force it, don't stress about the whole thing and try not to get too caught up with the results, just enjoy being with your baby and I think everything will work out!!<br><br>
Yeah, I'm good at recognizing overthinking and fear of failure--they are two very familiar mental states for me, so I could tell you were doing it because you sounded like I do sometimes!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">Just nurse him- you don't have to make any major commitments or sign permission forms... goodness! If you baby is rooting at your breast- and you have milk in there- just nurse him!! Sure you are going to still feed him formula while your supply builds up- maybe always there will be some formula in the picture- but just nurse your baby- what are these words and concepts getting in your way? there is no ceremony that's going to happen- but maybe you need one... maybe you need to say a prayer or a poem, light a candle, play a song, sing a lullabye, make the place and give yourself the permission to try this again. take the step, all you have to do is take it! Nurse your baby, hold him close, feed him, stop stressing, don't quantify- let your love flow! Dosen't matter what the balances and ounces are- look at your baby! love your baby the way that feels right to you.</div>
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Sarah, what beautiful advice. It actually brought tears to my eyes.<br><br>
Jen
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">My first four weeks were hell for me, I was so overwhelmed and stressed and feeling like I was failing at every aspect of parenting, that I really came to almost NEED those times when my Mother or my Aunt could take my son for a few hrs or an overnighter, to give me a chance to regroup and take a breather. If I were to relactate that wouldn't be an option any longer.</td>
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Lucky for you, that is a completely false assumption! Ten days after my son was born, I had to go back to school and take final exams! So I pumped BM and left it in a bottle in the fridge for DH to feed DS while I was gone. It was easy, and a nice break for me to get out of the house.<br><br>
Also a little while after that, I got totally sick and I stopped BFing. I was crushed and didn't even know what relactation was. After about six weeks, I learned about relactation, so I did it. And it worked! I had excruciating nipple pain right from the beginning (the very beginning, when he was born). And I could only tolerate BFing once a day when I started relactating. When I could tolerate that, I nursed him twice a day, and so on. And even just nursing infrequently brought my milk right back in. Good Luck!
 

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Yay for you! And yes, it can be done. I weaned my 5 month old at 5 weeks and we've now been relactating for 10 weeks. When I began relactating, I just barely had milk drops. Now my babe is getting anywhere from 8-10 oz. of mama milk a day. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Like others said, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Do what you're comfortable with. Honestly, there was a big adjustment period for me. I'd say probably at least a month, and there are still some days when I wonder if I can continue. But, I've had wonderful support here, and these ladies have kept me going.<br><br>
And even on those bad days (which are getting fewer and farther between) I only have to look down at my son nursing to remember why I'm doing this. It's truly a beautiful bond with so many benefits for mama and baby. Just tonight I left my babe with dh so I could get out for a few hours of alone time. We normally nurse using a lact-aid, and my babe only has a bottle 1-2 times per week and usually takes them without trouble. Well, tonight he was fighting a cold and refused to take the bottle the entire time I was gone, which luckily was only a few hours. When I got home and put him on my breast, you could visibly see his body relax. The comfort of nursing was exactly what he needed, and I'm so very grateful I can give that to him.<br><br>
Feel free to PM me if you need anything, and please keep us all posted on your progress. You'll have plenty of cheerleaders here! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
edit: I had to add this, because after thinking I got worried that my post my be hurtful to some mamas we have here who are relactating/breastfeeding and are unable to get their babe to latch. What dedication these mamas have! I like to think that even if my babe didn't latch I would still be relactating, but oh, what a harder journey it would be. Mamas who pump exclusively are truly awe-inspiring..what love they have for their babes.
 

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I haven't had time to read all the replies, but I did see that someone recommended an SNS or lact-aid type system. I wanted to second that. As a matter of fact, I'd go so far as to say, order one TODAY and pay for overnight shipping. You won't regret it!<br><br>
I used an SNS for 11 months, it's only been recently that I've made the switch to supplementing with solids and she'll also take a sippy cup of water.<br><br>
Instead of feeling "tied" to the baby, look at is an opportunity to have him alone for awhile. So many times we've had company or been somewhere and people want to start playing "pass the baby." My mother-bear instinct kicks in and I just take her back saying, "I need to nurse her." Then I take her to another room and re-group, kwim? Not that I mind NIP, it's just nice to be alone for awhile.<br><br>
This time goes by so fast. I have an 11 1/2 month old walking around the house carrying a sippy cup...she's not my "baby" anymore, although she does still nurse 6x a day, I know it won't last forever. Enjoy this time, mama! He's rooting around...he's letting you know what he wants. Give it to him!
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">Wish me luck girls, that I can find a good LC or some other good support person who can make sure that things work out this time around.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> Good luck Nadine! I posted on your previous thread, and I'm so glad to see your planning on relactating. Breastfeeding has been such a wonderful experience for me-- I hope it works out that way for you too. If you can't find a LLL Leader near you, you could call your nearest Leader on the phone. I'm sure they'd have great advice and support for you. <a href="http://www.lalecheleague.org/WebUS.html" target="_blank">Here</a> is a link to find a LLL group. Not all groups are listed (only those whose Leaders have web access), so if you don't see one in your area try looking in your local phone book for "La Leche League."
 

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I'm struggling with the same feelings! Man, my little princess was having serious constipation problems this morning and I started crying! I bf for 2 months, and gave up after to bouts with mastitis. Now, I'm just feeling so guilty that I'm not giving dd the best thing available...breast milk. I think it is great that you are going to try again, and I'm so glad to see all the wonderful positive support from these women, ladies-i'm inspired. I'm calling my LC today! Good luck and enjoy! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Made my appointment for Monday with our breastfeeding clinic in Sudbury, and I'm really excited to see where this takes us.<br><br>
Although now I feel stupid because I just gave my breastpump to my sister in law who is about to have a baby any day, so I need to get another one. Pooey on that, cuz they aren't cheap. All worth it though.<br><br>
I will for sure keep you all updated as to how this all pans out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I utterly (udderly?) and completely second what Ruthla said.<br><br>
If you can still hand express, latch your little one on and go for it! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Just to make sure all you awesome relactating mamas have this link:<br><br><a href="http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/maintainsupply-pump.html" target="_blank">http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/ma...pply-pump.html</a><br><br><a href="http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/relactation.html" target="_blank">http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/relactation.html</a><br><br><a href="http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html" target="_blank">http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html</a>
 
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