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breastfeeding and mental health

i'm 33wks pregnant, may have to b induced in the next few wks as i'm suffering reali badly with SPD. Wen he/she comes into the world i want him/her to have breastmilk, i want my baby to have the best start in life. Only thing is i'm a sufferer of OCD and BPD so i fear that havin my baby latched onto my breast will cause me problems with my mental illnesses. I've thort that maybe i could just express my milk and bottle feed the baby breast milk as apposed to formula milk. I've heard so many things though, my CMW says it wud b fine but to try give babys 1st feed on the breast then midwives at hospital say i must feed from the breast for at least 6wks then outreach workers at breastfeeding support groups say baby has to b on breast for 6months. I'm stuck! I seem to have no help just alot of ppl judgin me, tellin me wot to do not realising or payin attention to my mental state. Can anyone help me???

4 Replies

Is confusing all these different agendas. Is my first but I looked into this too so that my partner could spend some time with the baby n I could get a break. From what I understand, nhs recommend introducing a bottle at 6-8 weeks because the baby might find the bottle easier n not manage the breast anymore if introduced sooner. This is what I plan, but it's important to me that I can do both. If I were you, I'd go with your CMW's advice, give it a go when the baby's born, see how you feel. Is important you do what's best for you both at the time. Not breast feeding can affect how much milk you produce, but from what I understand, pumping would help with that anyway. I found my local breastfeeding group very much thought only breast for at least six months too, but I think everyone needs to find what works best for them and their lives; a balance.


U have to do what feels right for u....if you don't want to breast feed but still want baby to have breast milk then express....simple as that, if u feel that u want to try it when baby is born then try if not then don't, don't put pressure on yourself and don't let anyone make u feel pressured, your baby your you said they are not taking your issues into consideration, so u have to, hope it works out the way U want xx


Good luck when bubba get here! Not long, to be honest for anyone I am believe there is no right or wrong answer, but only to plan for all opportunities, and try everything. That way youll find something that works for you and bubba, but stay strong to try everything. It is after all your right to find what works for you. Good luck!


If you want to go down the expressing route, you should know up front that a breast pump will not stimulate your mammary glands as effectively as a suckling baby, so you may find that you're unable to produce enough milk to feed your baby with breast milk exclusively, and that over time you just dry up. (Then again, it might all work out fine--every woman's body is different.) It's also really difficult to get colostrum out with a breast pump, because there's so little of it anyway, and it's so sticky that it tends to just get stuck in the pump, so you'll probably want to hand express the colostrum to give to your baby and then use the pump for extra stimulation. That said, it's important to recognize that formula is not bad for your baby (unless he or she turns out to be one of a small percentage who are allergic, in which case your doctor will advise on alternatives), but rather breast milk is good for your baby, so even if you have to combination feed or are only able to give breast milk for a short while, you're still doing something really good. And far more important than what your baby eats is the the bond you form with him or her, so if attempting to provide breast milk is compromising your mental health, then it's time to get out the formula and not beat yourself up about it--happy parents have happy babies. If you decide to attempt the breastfeeding without breastfeeding thing, do try to line up the support of an expert who isn't judgemental and is willing to respect the boundaries you feel are necessary for you. Expressing is difficult, especially when you don't have an already established milk supply, so you'll want help. Any good lactation consultant or midwife should in principle be able to advise, as they help women who can't put their baby to the breast, e.g. because it's in an incubator, all the time. Also bear in mind that one of the benefits of breastfeeding is the physical closeness between mother and baby that it promotes, so if it comes down to be a choice between attaching to yourself to a breast pump for hours every day or cracking open a tin of infant formula and doing skin-to-skin with your baby, the latter option may be better for both of you. Or, if your issues make skin-to-skin difficult for you, it's just as beneficial for your baby for someone else, e.g. Dad, to do it.

A doctor friend of mine told me about a study she'd read in which it seemed that a mother's intention to breastfeed turned out to be a better predictor of health outcomes for the baby in later life than whether or not she succeeded. So although we know that breastfed babies tend to have better outcomes, it may not be a simple matter of that just being down to the milk itself. It might be that the sort of women who care enough to give it a go also make other good decisions on behalf of their children. At any rate, it sounds like you care deeply about your unborn child and are going be be a great mother. Good luck with everything!


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