Guilt still lingers about failure to breastfeed

  1. My daughter is now 9. She has been in the 97th percentile for weight ever since 4 months of age (or younger...can't quite remember). She had breastmilk only for the first two weeks of her life...turns out she was starving (due to my severe under-production of milk) but it wasn't recognized until the end of the 2nd week.

    I spent about a month working with a lactation consultant, using a "supplemental nursing system" but even all the work didn't help ... I was just one of those rare cases where I didn't have enough milk ducts. My sister has the same condition. I remember just sobbing and sobbing in the lactation consultant's office when she finally deemed my case hopeless (of course, she didn't quite say it in those words).

    I hadn't thought of all this for awhile (I mean, my daughter is now 9 years old!!) but I called to make an appointment for her to see a doctor this morning and the doctor on call was the same doctor who failed to notice that she was starving at her 1st week checkup. He was too busy making fun of the fact that I had given birth to her at a freestanding birth center (instead of a regular hospital). She had lost weight at her first week checkup, and he should have realized that it was too much weight loss. I know now from my sister's experience - she got far better care - they were checking her son's weight regularly every DAY for the first few days after he was born, and realized very quickly that she wasn't producing enough milk.

    Remembering this doctor just brought up all of these emotions that I haven't felt in a while. I had to call back and cancel the appointment because I realized I wouldn't be able to handle seeing this doctor again. I will always wonder if the fact that she starved for the first two weeks of her life is the cause of her subsequent almost insatiable appetite and tendency to be on the high end of the BMI for her height. Also, I have seen the research that breast-fed babies have fewer issues with obesity. She had the genetics for this anyway (through me), but my guilt (and ANGER, now that I re-read this!!) still lingers on...:sad:
     
  2. P.S. - with my sister, they also automatically put her with a lactation consultant from the beginning, and would weigh the baby before and after she fed him. She had her baby about 6 years after I had mine, so maybe nursing mother/infant care was taken much more seriously by then...and also it could be the fact that she's in S.F. California (versus a small town in Kansas).
     
  3. I understand how you feel. I had the same situation with my oldest(now 18) where he was starving and we didn't discover it until he was six weeks. With #2 (11) we also didn't find out until the 6 week checkup, but went on to hire specialists where we found the roof of his mouth was too high to get suction. I was able to half nurse/half formula feed by pumping, but I do feel guilty we didn't figure out with my oldest ways around the suction issue. I bought a medical grade pump this pregnancy because I don't want to chance starving little Luke. I still am fueled by the guilt from the first one. I send you {{hugs}}. My oldest is perfectly healthy, and has grown up fine. I am sure your daughter will be fine also. I do notice a difference in their ability to feel full, but it has not made a significant long term difference in their weight. My oldest had a chubby period at about 9, but has grown out of it.
     
  4. Don't be so hard on yourself :flowers:. I wasn't breast fed and I have always been a little on the high side of average for my BMI, but that is not because I wasn't breast fed... it is b/c I ingest too many calories... I see what you are saying about the insatiable appetite, but if it doesn't bother her, don't let it bother you.

    If her weight does get out of control and you are concerned about her health, it is worth talking to her about what happened early in her life and help her try to be more aware of her tendancy to indulge b/c of this infancy urge. Just being conscious of it can help alot!!

    Oh, and I can not believe that a dr. would make fun of a patients decisions. You are strong for even staying at that practice... I would have blown out of there so fast, after I chewed that guy out. Dr.'s can be so ARROGANT! I would have canceled my apt too, he is not interested in helping people...I hope this helps!

    Be good to yourself! Your daughter has a great mom :smile:.
     
  5. Don't blame yourself... its not your fault that you happened to have this condition, she was probably hungry during the first two weeks but hey.. she is nine years old now.. so you must've done something right...I am sure you are a great mom and breast feeding doesn't have anything to do with that.. If you need to blame someone, you should blame the doctor, how the heck are you gonna know you dont produce enough milk if the baby seems ok..
     
  6. don't feel guilty, the 2 have nothing in common. . . here's my proof of why.

    My DD was breastfed almost exclusively for the 1st 6 months, she had an occasional formula bottle so Daddy could feed her.

    Just after birth, she couldn't get over jaundice because she wasn't eating enough apparently. . .
    I thought she as nursing fine but noticed she wasn't pooing enough, turns out 2 weeks later, she's still a little yellow and not gaining weight enough so I see a LC.
    FInd out she's not latching properly so not getting enough hindmilk or able to flush out her jaundice.
    She's 6 now {just turned 6 in fact} and off the charts for weight and height at 50" tall and 61 lbs :biggrin:

    We Mother's will always feel guilty about something, the thing is YOU TRIED, appluad yourself, a lot of women don't even get that far.
    Let it go now. . . exhale
    {{{hugs}}}
     
  7. I couldn't breastfeed either for ds1 - I had really horrible guilt for the longest time. This crazy dramatic nurse scared the hell out of me when my milk hadn't come in yet by the time we left the hospital, since all he was fed was glucose water -- she told me my baby was going to starve if I didn't get some milk into him immediately. OMG!!! I put him on formula right away and that is probably what set off bad guilt, confusion and just my inexperience in getting my baby to suckle properly. There were alot of tears on my part, since my SILs were all able to breastfeed for over a year and I felt like a total failure...

    But having said that, my ds1 today is stick thin, he hardly eats at all and he's turning 8 this year. So do not spend another moment putting yourself through guilt or regret, it's just not worth the turmoil/anguish -- the most important thing is making sure your daughter is thriving and happy right now. Since that experience, I also have a better compassion for new mothers. If they are able to breastfeed, I encourage them (with a little ache in my own heart) but for those that cannot breastfeed, I am careful not to cause anymore grief or heartache for them just by being understanding.

    Remember, an infant has huge amounts of reserve nutrients in its system after birth from the nutrients through the placenta, your beautiful child may have been a little hungry but she was OK and taken care of very well by you!

    Also, avoid that doctor. Specifically ask for your favorite paediatrician from now on.
     
  8. Oh no do not blame yourself, that´s just mother´s guilt. Some women cannot breastfeed at all (like my friend´s mother who has had both her breasts removed, cancer). Everything will be ok.
     
  9. nobody ever talks about how hard it is to get started with the breastfeeding... the fact that it is sooo painful and how you have no clue if the baby is getting enough food...

    most women have so little help/support/knowledge with respect to all of this.

    i was able to breastfeed my first but it was tears, pain, anguish before we got it together. the start was awful.

    now with my second - he is 10 days old - we have the same issues - his suck is poor, my milk is dwindling, is he starving???

    i love our pediatritian but he is ZERO help in this department. with both babies i have resorted to a lactation consultant/doula. the help in the hospital was also nul. maybe they are overworked??? anyway, even with the doulas it's a nightmare.

    you can only do what you can with the tools you have. you can't beat yourself up about it forever. if this baby has to be formula fed, so be it. i have done what i can - and you did what you could... what counts is a healthy child at the end...

    also, i was breast fed and i went through a heavy phase just before a growth spurt pre-puberty... maybe your little one is just preparing to grow?
     
  10. I also think one has nothing to do with the other. My first son was breast-fed for one month. He was a pretty big baby, but since he's been 2 years old he's been stick thin. He's now 16 and is 6'7". Second son was breast-fed for one week and he's 4 now and off the charts for height and weight. I just couldn't do the breastfeeding. I felt tremendous guilt whenever I would be out in public feeding the babies from a bottle. I thought all the mothers in the world would be looking down on me for giving them formula. I actually felt a sense of relief when they were over a year old and people stopped asking me if I was breast feeding or bottle feeding. Please don't feel guilty. I did and all it does is waste time and energy. Good exercise and healthy eating habits are the best things to do for our older kids, but sometimes genetics predispose them to being heavier. My youngest is just now starting to slim down, but when he was little, everybody thought it was their business to tell me how big he was. I never comment on the size of other people's children.

    Breast-fed babies aren't always thinner as they grow. My neighbor breast-fed her son until he was way past 2 yrs. old and he is a very chubby 7 year old now. I just don't know how much professionals really know about that. I do agree that breast milk is better for our babies, but I just couldn't do it. I think our kids will be just fine!:balloon: