Q: My baby is already a year old. I am still feeling guilty that I didn’t breastfeed. I tried and tried and tried for 17 days after she was born, but she just refused to breastfeed. I had several nurses, my mum, my sister-in-law and my husband helping me with this problem, but even they couldn’t get her to latch on. She would fling her head back and forth and scream at the top of her lungs any time her face was brought near my breast. After over two weeks of this, I finally gave up and started bottle feeding, which she loved. I do want to try again with my next baby. Is there anything that I could have done differently?”
A: Thank you for your question. My initial thought is to return your question with a question. Why feel guilty when you did what you thought was the best for your baby at the time? If I were with you I would ask you if you wanted to talk about it. It sounds as if you do. It sounds as if you either want reassurance that you did the right thing or that you want condemnation that you didn’t persist with breastfeeding. I won’t give you either, but I will try to help you prepare for your next baby.
You say: “After over two weeks of this, I finally gave up and started bottle feeding, which she loved. I do want to try again with the next baby.” I can interpret what you say in several different ways, and I may not be correct in any of my assumptions. You may be saying “I don’t want to go through all the anguish again this time unless it is going to work,” or you may be saying “my first baby bottle fed and loved it, so should I feel guilty if I bottle feed this one from the beginning?” or yet another interpretation could be “did my first baby suffer because I breast fed my second and didn’t succeed with my first”? I feel it is important for you to talk freely about what you really feel, before you prepare for your next baby.
You may wish to talk freely via babyworld, and you are most welcome to contact me again. If you would prefer to find a counsellor, doctor or other health professional to talk to, you may find this helpful.