Sad about not breastfeeding - Action on Postpar...

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Sad about not breastfeeding


I was diagnosed with PP when my baby girl was 2 weeks old, but looking back I think I pretty much had it from the day i delivered (traumatic delivery), a few days before I was sectioned I quit breastfeeding, apparently I was complaining I was spending more time with my breast pump. 4 months down the line and in recovery I am feeling so sad that ive let my daughter down by not breastfeeding, feeling guilty I gave it up even though I wasn't well. some days I have feelings that i want to start it up again but I worry about the medication I'm on affecting the milk. is there anyone with similar experiences or advice, can't help beating myself up about it :-(

7 Replies


I had my first baby in a May 2016, and was really wanting to breast feed and we finally cracked it at about 10 days where it wasn't painful! I was sectioned when she was 13 days old and admitted to a MBU when she was 15 days. I was kept in a room on the maternity ward where I gave birth from being sectioned! (Shouldn't have been tho!) As I was so unwell my husband was advised our little girl would need to be bottle fed. He knew I'd be gutted but was best for us both. I didn't realise this was how she was being fed until she was a month old- I was too manic to feed her but never had any bad thoughts towards her. My husband had to buy bottles etc as we had nothing (we decided we would stick with breast feeding so never bought any before we had baby). He bought Medela bottles which were great & the most expensive milk as he didn't have a clue!

I think it was hard initially when I found out and wanted to express but then I realised it wasn't good for my recovery. The meds I was on meant I could feed her but they were old style psychotic meds and I had awful side effects. I then accepted meds that I knew I couldn't feed her on. I could also get more sleep as staff helped at the unit and then family when I came home. I think too much pressure is put on mums to breastfeed and not on their own health. My little girl is nearly 20 months, has slept through since 6 weeks and cannot see any effects of not being breast fed. I now believe the mums health is just as important and when we do have baby no 2 in the future I defiantly won't put any pressure on myself. X

I can understand, especially if you still have milk


Hi Dani89

Thanks so much for your post, I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling guilty for having to give up breast feeding. There really is SO much pressure to breast feed, and I feel for you so much as you’re doing totally the right thing. Please please let yourself feel postive about your decision not to breast feed, if you can. It will mean you have more energy to give to your baby at a time when you’re recovering and need that energy, and it will hopefully allow your partner to take a more hands on role and help you at night.

I was on medication when I was pregnant as I’d had 4 psychotic episodes before having our daughter. I knew I couldn’t breast feed. I actually felt ok about this and I hope you don’t mind if I tell you why. For a long time I thought not being able to breast feed would be a great hinderance and that I really should breast feed and that was the ‘right’ thing. Then one night I had a chat with my mum. For the first time I told her that I really would like a baby, but, I said, I wouldn’t be able to breast feed. ‘Oh don’t worry about that!’ She said ‘there’s a whole generation of us who weren’t breast fed as after the Second World War mother’s were told it was more healthy to give formula!’ So my mum and loads of other children of her generation were never breast fed at all!

Now this had never occurred to me! And my mum is so healthy and robust and just able, that after that I felt much better! And my partner and I discovered it was lovely for him to be able to take an active part in feeding. You can both bond with your baby in a very special way.

I really hope you don’t mind my rambly story! It’s something I feel very strongly about as I think we’re told we ‘must’ breast feed. I know so well that I was lucky to have been told this by my mum, I know when you have a thought that you will breast feed and then you find you can’t that it involves so many powerful feelings and is so difficult. My heart goes out to you and I really hope you can be kind to yourself and really let yourself not feel guilty.

I found if I looked into my daughter’s eyes while bottle feeding her it was lovely (indeed I think this was something I was told to do as I couldn’t breast feed. I found it helped so much to look into my daughter’s eyes all the time while bottle feeding). I’m so sorry you have been feeling like this. Please be assured that you are in no way letting your daughter down, on the contrary you are looking after her and putting her needs first, even before your own urge to breast feed. You are being an amazing Mum and should feel very proud.

Take care and thanks so much for reaching out - sending you every best wish

Jen X

I also was feeling the the immense sadness and weight of guilt at stopping breastfeeding, especially since it came so naturally this time with my second baby. I felt very connected to my baby girl when feeding her. I was hospitalized and diagnosed with PPP when she was around 4 1/2 months old. I was reminded by my very supportive husband, mom, and clinician treating me of why I decided to stop breastfeeding. I came to the conclusion that the risks of breastfeeding while on the medication I am on is unknown or at least not well studied; however, formula is a tried and true method of feeding millions of babies for several decades. For me, the known was a better decision than the risk of unknown. I am still new to this PPP diagnosis (about a month ago) and I still have periods of great sadness with the decision not to breastfeed, but I ultimately believe the decision I made will allow me to heal more quickly (hormones stabilize) and be able to be the kind of mother I know I can be sooner. I know your experience is different and unique to you, but be assured that you are a wonderful mother, you will recover, and you and your baby will be well.

Hi Dani89

I had pp this time last year, & had to stop breastfeeding abruptly after 2 months of feeding my twins. I felt all kinds of emotions, sadness, anger, shame, guilt. But in time I realised as long as I could feed my baby, breast or bottle didn't matter. What mattered was a healthy mum to look after her babies & toddler. For me, stopping breast feeding helped me in my journey of recovery.

I hope you're ok & can take comfort in what the other people have said.



Can’t really add anything to all the wonderful support above but just wanted to say how much I feel for you. I’ve felt the same guilt and it does hurt. But it gets better, and I can look at my 5yo and see how well he’s done - breast milk or no!

Do look into some of the specialist BF support groups around - your baby is still young so reestablishing might be possible. But do check with your doctor - as everyone’s already said - healthy Mum is much more important than feeding method!

Thinking of you and wishing you and your baby a very merry first Christmas together!

Kat x


Hi Dani,

Please don’t feel you’ve let your daughter down, you really haven’t. I too felt very guilty that I didn’t carry on breastfeeding, it’s something I was very set on and had very strong (quite judgy I’m ashamed to say) views on. I think way too much pressure is put on mums to breastfeed, I put a huge amount of pressure on myself and think it was certainly a factor in me getting ill.

I fed my first son for 3 and a half weeks before PP hit. I fed my second son for 36 hours then started taking medication and switched to formula (no PP thankfully). I have two very healthy, sturdy boys who I don’t think have suffered in any way from being formula fed. I agree with others that it definitely has massive benefits too in that others can share the feeds.

As Kat has said, do look into trying to reestablish feeding if it’s what you want to do, but if it’s not possible or you’re concerned about being on medication (this is part of the reason I didn’t breastfeed second time around) please don’t beat yourself up about it - fed is best, you’re doing great and the most important thing is you being well.

Very best wishes and Merry Christmas,

Jenny x

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