thread: Formula feeding guilt...

  1. #1
    Registered User

    Jul 2008

    Formula feeding guilt...

    hi all, i'm a mother to a 3 week old baby boy. i breastfed throughout my entire stay in hospital (4 days) despite cracked, sore & bleeding nipples. needless to say, breastfeeding did not leave a very good impression! everyone always says "breast is best" and i think this is what fuels my guilt. due to my breastfeeding problems and low milk supply, i both formula & breastfeed my baby (more formula than breast). but i cant help but feel guilty formula feeding my newborn at such a young age as i had always thought i would breastfeed and am worried what other people would think of me. is there anyone else feeling this way or in the same situation? kinda need to be reassured that formula feeding is still good for my baby...

  2. #2
    Registered User

    Sep 2007

    have u tried expressing??
    i was in a very similar situation with dd 1 so when ds came along i didnt b/f i expressed and bottle fed from day 1 i never attached him- from fear i didnt want to experience wat i did wit dd with the pain ect. its ok to formula feed my dd is nearly 3 and is the smartest little cookie! ur baby has to be fed and u are doing ur best! there is nothing wrong wit formula, and as for people judging u they actually have no right so i wouldnt worry my love jus take one step at a time!!!
    good luck

  3. #3
    Registered User

    May 2008
    where the V8's roar

    It sounds to me that you didn't get any support with breastfeeding and so you haven't failed to breastfeed the system has failed to support you. Did a lacation consultant come and see you while in hospital? did any of the midwives help you with breastfeeding or did they just get you to watch the video?
    I am stealing parts of what I'm about to say from someone else I just can't think of their name. While breast may be preferred over formulae if you were to put a bunch of babies into a room it would be hard to pick the b/f ones over the formulae.
    I guess you have a few options, you could try expressing and feeding that to bubs, you could go to formulae or if you do want to try to bf you could get in contact with the Australian Breastfeeding Association they might have a contact of a Lactation Consultant in your area who could come and help with attachment and see what else was causing your cracked nipples.
    As for the guilt.... in those early months I felt guilty about anything, mummyguilt they call it. In the end if you are doing the best you can with the support and resources you have then you have nothing to be guilty about.

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Mar 2008
    Nth West Melbourne

    Hugs hun.

    Two things-

    I agree with what oli's mrs said about expressing. BF-ing didn't work for me and expressing was great for a while. I expressed until DS was six weeks old when my supply dried up (mainly my fault), but I was glad I could give him breastmilk for that time.

    The second is that since 6 weeks, my DS has been formula fed, and he has always been very happy and healthy. I know that's not any kind of conclusive evidence, and I too very definately had the 'breast is best' guilt, but fwiw, we are a case in point where FF has worked very well indeed.

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Apr 2009


    Hey. I'm kind of in the same boat. My 4.5mth old has an ear infection and he's been having trouble sucking off me. I've tried expressing but it just doesnt get enough out. So I went and bought formula.

    It's better to feed your baby something than nothing. If you continued to bf you and bubs would be stressed out and you wouldnt be able to let down and bubs wouldnt get anything anyway. You are doing the right thing and you shouldnt feel guilty. Dont let people make you feel bad because its not as if you didnt try. And if they keep wingeing about it show them your nipples. Thats the only solution I can come up with.

    Good on you for trying Remember some mothers wouldnt have tried half as much as you so you should be proud

  6. #6
    Registered User

    Mar 2007

    Hun, If you want to BF, there is help available. BF can be hard. If you want to FF, that certainly does take a lot of the pain away, however once BF works well it can be more convenient. I FFeed my DD2. She couldn't tolerate my BM. I still feel that I failed her, but I know that it is not my fault. 'BF is best' is not meant to alienate formula mums, it is meant to reduce the number of FF mums, but the main thing is doing what is best for your whole family. Your mental health and your physical health are good reasons to FF if that is what you want to do but if you want to BF, then go and find a good Lactation Consultant that is IBCLC certified.

    FF is still good for your baby. Your baby is being fed, that is what matters. It is not a crime to FF, and it is all a personal choice. Yes I am pro BFing, but I do know the need for formula, as DD has a medical need for it. Mummy guilt sucks doesnt it.

    ETA: Waiting....
    I BFed my DD1 until she got an ear infection, and then I weaned pretty much cold turkey. I regretted it after a week. If you dont want to give up completely, keep pumping, even if you dont get much, the stimulation will ensure you still have some supply.
    Last edited by alioops; April 4th, 2009 at 04:13 PM. : Note for Waiting...

  7. #7
    Life Subscriber

    Jul 2006

    PB, congratulations on your new baby. The first weeks with a newborn are really hard, especially when's it your first. Every thing is new and confusing, and you are exhausted. Often no-one has told you where to get support if you need it. You sound like you are doing a really great job, but have been let down by not receiving the right information and support.

    The thing now is to do decide what you want to do. It is still possible to breastfeed if you want to, and with the right help it can be done without pain (once the initial damage has healed). If this is what you want, I recommend you start by calling the ABA helpline on 1800 mum2mum. They can give you some initial information and hopefully recommend an IBCLC qualified Lactation Consultant in your area. The ABA call will not cost you anything and you don't have to be a member. An LC will cost money, but it's far cheaper than buying over time!

    If this is not what you want, then that's ok. There is no doubt that when breastfeeding is possible that this is the best option. But when you have not received the right information and support from the beginning this can be a more difficult option, and if restarting is not something you are keen on doing then the right thing to do in your situation might be to continue just with the formula, or with some expressed milk and formula.

    If you would like more information on the differences between breastfeeding and formula, I can give you more information, as can the ABA helpline.

    Whatever you decide, it is difficult not to feel guilty. Mother guilt gets us whatever we do! But try to accept in your heart that you have made the right decision for you and your family in your situation. And that is the best that any of us can do.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Add Beatrix on Facebook

    May 2007
    within a puff of pink

    hun the girls have given you great advice,

    one thing i just wanted to say was have a read of the quote in my signature


  9. #9
    Registered User
    Add Beautitude on Facebook

    Feb 2008
    Adelaide SA

    I agree with everyone when they say that we as mothers feel guilt about everything.

    I was in a similar situation to yourself and breastfed in hospital but when I came home I had a major breakdown and gave up breastfeeding so good on you for trying so long, you have done a great job!!

    I think we all understand that breast is best but for myself formula was best and it took me a very long time to understand that. It took me awhile to realise that I have done the best thing for myself and my family and I would have not been a good mummy if I couldn't bond with my baby as i was heading down the road of PND.

    You need to do what is best for you and your family and you can only know what that is. I have found that others are really supportive of my situation, I think I was the hardest on myself. Please dont feel guilty about this, whatever you decide is the best decision. If other people think badly of you well they can go and jump!

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Oct 2008

    I agree with everyone above, they have given you great advise and support.

    FWIW - I breastfed in hospital and then never got the proper follow up from anyone, by three weeks we had a hungry screaming baby but we didn't know why and by four weeks were were in hospital for faliure to thrive - I just wasn't producing enough milk due to stress and little support. I gave up BF then as I was just exhaused. I do feel guilty but I have an incredibly healthy, smart and active 5 year old and I think; at least I gave her 4 weeks worth of BM. In hindsight I would have got a lot more help externally as the others are suggesting, sometimes you need a lot of help in the begining. This time around I am going to ask for help all the time from every source I can.

    Good luck and what ever happens, you are doing the best for your baby.

  11. #11
    ♥ BellyBelly's Creator ♥
    Add BellyBelly on Facebook Follow BellyBelly On Twitter

    Feb 2003
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia

    If things have healed, you can always relactate.... you need a script of motilium and I would do it under the guidance of an IBCLC... not just any old lactation consultant, but an internationally board certified lactation consultant. We have some locators in the breastfeeding section. There is still a chance you can do it and with support, guidance and nurturing.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    In 2015 I went Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  12. #12
    Registered User

    Jul 2006

    Sweets Hugs. I nearly set myself crazy over feeling guilty for not feeding DD1 past 6wks. We had a tough start and DD was not putting on weight and I was not getting any rest. So tired, emtional and exhausted I gave her formula. The first bottle hurt me the most and I cried whilst DH feed her. Although DD thrived and loved her bottle I still had that horrible feeling of guilt because I knew that breast milkis the very best. As months went past I still felt guilty but my guilt was because I really didn't seek enough help or support.

    Then I had DD2 and we had a better start to bfing and everything was going great until around 15wks where DD refused to feed from me (we were comp feeding). I sort support from the lovely ladies here at BB but I still did not seek extra support and yet again my baby ended up on formula. Although I was less guilty feeling this time and I loved the short bfing relationship I had with DD2.

    This time around I have re evaluated my own personality (this I believe helped contribute to my past failings). I have subscribed to the ABA and just read their book, which I believe every new mum should have a copy of and I will be employing a LC. Of course I'll have my BB friends as well.

    If you want to relactate employ the very best ppl to hlep you. Goodluck.

  13. #13
    Registered User

    Dec 2005

    Please don't feel guilty. My baby boy was born 4 weeks early and has been formula fed from birth as my supply was woefully inadequate.

    Most of the advice I was given has already been given by the others who have posted before me.

    I do want to add that giving formula does not in any way make you a bad mother. Letting your baby starve would make you a bad mother, and you're not going to let that happen.

    Definitely read the quote in Beatrix's signature - it helped me through the bad days!