Let’s put an end to this sorry tale.
My weekend of pumping yielded lower and lower amounts and as it went on I grew more and more obsessed. By the time D returned to work on Tuesday I was a mess. I tried to pump but got another 10ml. My parents arrived late morning and I just burst into tears as soon as they arrived. Albie had been throwing up since starting the Hungry Baby formula and he then chucked up again, big style 5 minutes after they arrived. I didn’t know what to do. I made a tearful phone call to the health visiting team and was told my health visitor would call me back with some advice. My mum helped me a great deal with Albie while my dad set about continuing to paint our bedroom. I expressed another paltry 10ml. Mid afternoon the health visitor turned up at the door and sat down to hear my story. She told me what I needed to hear which was essentially that “it’s fine to stop” and that there was no point trying to breastfeed to the detriment of my own health. Finally with her validation I was able to reconcile myself with this idea.
After expressing for the best part of three weeks, a bout of mastitis, broken pumps, the seemingly unsuccessful tongue tie snip and a good few days of crying, feeling constantly anxious and wondering if I genuinely needed professional help for PND, I’d had enough.
So I stopped. After 3.5 weeks with breastmilk most days (the first few days I’m told are the most important anyway), Albie is moving forward as a formula fed baby.
By Tuesday night I was smiling again. The weight was truly off my shoulders and since then I’ve been absolutely fine, I’ve even been taking Albie’s colicky symptoms in my stride. I’ve been out in the car with him on my own for the first time and felt a lot happier. I know there’ll be good days and bad days but after 3 good days I feel so much more confident in my abilities as a mother.
I applaud anyone that continues breastfeeding when it’s not easy for them, for any period. I also implore them not to do so if their own mental health is suffering. It’s great if you can do it, no pricy powder, or bottle sterilising and general faffing but if it’s hurting you, physically and emotionally, and you’ve reached out for help, just stop. Your baby needs a healthy, happy mother more than he needs breastmilk.
As an aside, the health visitor said we’d be better off moving Albie back to regular formula as Hungry Baby has other side effects so we’ve done so and his eating habits seem to be settling down into a more normal pattern since although he’s still a hungry boy. I’m putting it down to a super long growth spurt.