Baby Hints & Tips

Expectations of Motherhood not quite what I thought

Lying in green grassI’m after some words of support… I’ve found motherhood so challenging. I had a great pregnancy but had a very unsettled baby and lots of issues breastfeeding-severe reflux needing meds, attachment issues, supply issues, cow protien/dairy allergy, breast refusal, three lots of mastitis, one needing hospitalisation. In the end I had to give up breastfeeding for my sanity as I was on the verge of a breakdown. But now all I do is feel guilty about quitting even though my little girl is 5 months. I’ve found that my expectations of motherhood are completely different to what I’ve experienced and as such I feel like I should be enjoying it more. I am seeing a dr for PND but I wonder if any other people felt like this and whether it passes? I feel guilty for not enjoying it more as I know time will fly and I will never get this time back with my little girl.

  • You didn’t quit breastfeeding you simply made an informed, mature decision to SWITCH to formula for your own and your baby’s health. And you made the right decision for you both. Not all women have an easy road with breastfeeding. The road is bumpy, rough as guts with blind corners and steep hills and struggling climbs. Forget about your expectations and live every minute with your gorgeous baby! I did and it’s the best thing I ever did. And congratulations for seeking help for PND xo Courtney
  • Since I became a mother 9 months ago to my beautiful son, I’ve realised that next to the overwhelming feeling of love you feel the next emotion is guilt. You will feel guilty for one thing or another for pretty much the rest of your life probably! And everybody around you LOOKS like everything’s perfect and that she enjoys every moment but behind closed doors I bet it’s a very different story. We all cope differently but none of us breeze through. I see a dr for PND also, some days are better than others, but it’s so common to feel how you feel. This time is fleeting, go and kiss your baby and keep reminding yourself that it’s ok for things to not be perfect or what you expect. Amanda
  • It is really hard to enjoy it when it doesnt go how u expected it would. I know from experience. We r given all these rosy expectaions about motherhood and how somehow, u will have this beautiful baby and ur body and mind flicks a switch and instantly u will be super human and breastfeeding will be easy etc.etc. NOT TRUE! THE MOVIES LIED TO US! how did i cope? 1. Get out of the house! As much as possible even just take a walk around the block. 2. Make friends with kids. 3. Try n find something that u n bubba can look forward to doing every day. Mine is nap time cuddles. Good luck! PND is hard to deal with but u can deal with it and u can function with help. Just had number 2 and i can say when u go into it with ur eyes wide open it is SO much easier. Jessica
  • Xoxo the fact that you are upset about the feeding shows what a great mum you are and how much you care. Just think, you can’t tell when you meet people whether they were breast fed or not. In the long run, it doesn’t really matter. Nareeda
  • Motherhood was nothing like I thought it would be. I knew it was going to be hard but not this hard. Just remember, all a child needs is food, warmth n love. It took me a while to bond with my LO. Such a horrible feeling but it does get better. I loving watching my LO explore the world now. Chatting, copying me, discovering new things. You are doing the best job you know how to and thats anyone should expect of you. Jess
  • Do not let yourself feel guilty!!! My son was born at 34 weeks. He breast fed so well. At 3 weeks old he developed e-coli septcemia & was on life support in intensive care. I lost my milk due to stress & guilt. When he was sent up to ward we tried everything to get my milk flowing but nothing worked & he refused the breast. It was too much hard work for me so I gave him the bottle knowing it was what he wanted & beat thing to help him get better quicker. So many people judged me because I gave in, I was apparantely not looking after him properly. Those who didn’t know what happened were the first to cast their vote. Like I said you tried & it doesn’t work for all of us. You are still a great mother. 1 thing my mum taught me, you are a woman first & formost & if breast feeding & it’s challenges are causing all this grief then put bub on bottle & spend a little time looking after you. Bub needs you happy & healthy. My son is now nearly 5 & doing so well. Biggest mummy’s boy & I wouldn’t have it any other way. They are little once so just enjoy it & do what makes life easier. Hope that helps. Liz
  • I know how you feel. I couldn’t breast feed either of my two babies at all, never got milk. Had a horrible birth with first, got bad infection needing hospitalisation and a very unsettled baby with reflux and who didn’t sleep longer than a couple of hours. I too ended up with pnd. It does pass, length of time varies for everyone,. Find some good support and a Mothers group, I wished I had done. The online avenues I tried to tap into for support were not good for as they were very critical and judgemental, which was the last thing I needed. You seem to be doing lots of good things, don’t beat yourself up! Carissa
  • Being a mum is hard, in every way imaginable, mothers guilt is normal but please don’t beat yourself up over breast feeding. At the end of the day all that matters is that your baby is fed, happy and healthy. It does not matter how she gets fed as long as she is. I live by the motto, if my babies make it to bed at night we have had a good day, if they wake up in the morning we have had a good night….. It will get better in time. And your daughter will not care how she was fed, she will just be thankful that you fed her! She will know that you love her completely and that’s all that will matter to her. You are doing great! Lenise
  • can i just say congratulations on you being blessed with a beautiful little girl. congrats on being a mum. i was borderline/mild PND when it came to my son weaning off b’feeding at 6-7 months (i think it was because i put so much pressure on myself to breastfeed that i felt like a failure when it came to the time that my son had had enough, but honestly, i had had enough too, i was just scared to make the decision in case i regret it later. the other half i think was due to hormones because my supply was rapidly dropping). my expectations to be a great mother was also up there but when i looked at myself compared to my other mummy friends, i felt inferior and i dont think i enjoyed my boy as much as i shouldve when he was little. can i just tell you that it is a good idea to go and talk to someone about PND, and even if it’s not, there is no harm in being honest and open to someone who may be able to advise and help you. that is a sign of strength being able to do that. dont be ashamed. it is a step forward. these feelings will pass. i also found taking vitamin b helpful with feelings of stress and anxiety. but talk to your dr before taking any supplements. also if you can, get yourself into some sort of mummy group. if your baby is unsettled alot have you thought of having her checked over at the chiro at all? that may help. good luck Emily
  • Don’t be hard on yourself! You have definitely done everything and kept it up a lot longer then I would have! As long as your baby is getting her food it doesn’t really matter how it comes, once you find that right formula and medication for reflux which is pretty tough it will settle and begin to calm down. Hopefully you have a supporting partner who can help, I find even just to be able to have a nice long hot shower is a blessing to help relax. Also do u have a family or child health nurse centre? They are pretty good to help u through your feelings if you be sure and tell them everything. Hope something in all these comments helps. Your doing great mum! Tiffany
  • Hey mumma! Don’t be hard on yourself. Love the moments with your little one, but dont feel guilty if being a SAHM doesnt make you feel like everything is amazing i know not every day is amazing for me! Also about the bottle feeding. Don’t be hard on your self the fact that you tried at all you should be proud. I didnt find breastfeeding hard with my second and i still weened him at 8 months so i could go to america with hubby for a wedding. He’s a wonderful, loving, healthy boy and my marriage is going strong so i think i did the right thing and i think so did you!!! Btw some mums find it easier to go back to work a few days a week so they can enjoy there time at home more! Jenny
  • It does eventually pass, although it took me quite some time to forgive myself for my own shortcomings and to let go of things that were out of my control. Then I had an other baby, and I blamed myself once again for things that were out of my control. Then again when I had my third child. I see it as part of motherhood. What pushes us to strive to do better tomorrow can go wildly out of control until we punish ourselves for not being perfect today. Try and get a counsellor as well as the GP for the PND. I think that talking to somebody and not only having them validate your feelings but also put them into perspective for you would be extremely helpful. I don’t think it’s what any of us thought it’d be before it happened, but learning to take care of things the best we can is how we can make the best of the situation in which we find ourselves. You need to learn to be kind to yourself and judge yourself less harshly. We’re all human, and we *will* make mistakes and there *will* be things outside of our control that set in motion events that take us to a place we never dreamed we’d be. Once you realise that your baby just needs your unconditional love and that these other things are just a blip on the radar compared to that, you’ll be on your way to where you want to be Sandra
  • I tried everything to breast feed but couldn’t and was devastated. I have come to terms withit now but can’t help feeling a little sad when I see someone breast feeding. Peta
  • First of all (( hugs)). Motherhood us a challenging time, with huge adjustments all around, then your hormones can play havoc with you.. I’d like to say good on you for recognising that BF is not the best option for you and your child. Every situation is different, and no one can say you didn’t give it your best shot. Instead you decided to do what is best fir your growing baby, giving them the best option you could for their development and your sanity. Do not feel guilty, it looks to me that you fought long and hard to hang on to the BF ideal, but you put your babies needs to get nutritious food before yours to BF. as for the PND, never feel you are alone, and do not be afraid to ask for help. I’ve been there too, and the hardest part was admitting that I was having problems. We all want to be perfect mums, but it’s damn hard work sometimes, especially while trying to keep the housework up to standard, and even more so if you are having feeding issues. You are doing a great job, well done mumma! Michelle
  • So sorry for u’ve been through. Please do not feel guilty. U know u cannot judge a book by it cover, so is pregnancy & parenting. Ur baby needs u healthy & happy, take care of u and all will fall into place Maria
  • wow you have had a tough time, no wonder you are finding it so difficult. One important thing I learnt when dealing with the post traumatic stress was feeling like things are hard or not going right and being annoyed/down about that, doesnt mean you are ungrateful for your precious child. You can feel both things. It is very draining Kristin
  • I hated breastfeeding and in turm hated myself for feeling that way. Although I haven’t had the issues you have, it was hard. I felt like I had failed my first when I quit. But, life goes on, and there is SO much more to being a good mum than just breastfeeding! It’s a drop in the ocean compared to the rest of parenthood. You tried, and dammed hard by the sounds…and that’s all anyone can do. I know its feels like a huge thing now, but I promise you one day you’ll realise how much it DIDN’T matter. I quit on my second daughter even earlier than my first, and it felt great! I knew she was going to be fine, and I finally had MY body back! It was a relief to quit without the guilt. Karen
  • Oh dear I wish I could hug you! I had the same feelings when I had my little girl (now 4). I ended up seeing a psychologist to help me adapt to motherhood – it doesn’t come ‘naturally’ to some and I found it very difficult to adjust. Hang in there and try to stop being superwoman. Be kind to yourself and watch your inner dialogue as well. It does take a little time to get your head around the changes but it is really worth it when you have that baby in your arms and they give you the most amazing smile and you know there is love. Please pm if you want to chat Venita
  • Being a mother is the hardest job in the world… You are not alone!! Breastfeeding can be one of the most difficult things to do. You can’t blame yourself at all, I know heaps of women that gave up before dealing with half of what you have been through so you should congratulate yourself and your constant efforts! Your baby will settle when you settle as they are very good at picking up on emotions. I wish you the very best and I think your doin awesome!!! X Chantelle
  • first thing, stop being so hard on yourself! not like you are given a handbook, let the past months go and try and relax and enjoy what you have now before it really is too late, when they are all grown up. I have three of my own and let me tell you, doesn’t matter how much I love my girls, I find parenthood hard still at times. Breastfeeding is just part of the bigger picture, don’t let it dampen the rest. Things happen, that are out of our control. Glad to hear you are seeing your Dr and being active in it. if you’ve got support from friends and family, use them every bit you can, have ‘me’ time to revive /refresh yourself. ! Stella
  • Breast feeding is not for everyone as much as ppl tell you it is. I had several issues feeding my first as he had colic and would cry day and night and attachment issues, I then a had a second son who had reflux and attachment issues I persisted for 6 weeks until I’d had enough . A good friend went to a great pediatrician that said breast feeding is a gift not a given! enjoy ur baby and if u have to formula feed just go with it do what you have to do to be happy a good mum is a happy one don’t beat yourself up your doing a great job and have been through a lot Alanna
  • I know how your feeling as I was unable to breast feed my little girl who was born 8 weeks early. I tried everyday four months and expressed until I ran out. He’s now 15 months old and is extremely healthy but I did feel guity for not being able to feed her. I went through a really dark time and was diagnosed with PND and see someone for it still. You just need to understand that you have done your absolute best and your little girl will still get the nutrition she needs from formula. You are a stronger person than I am for persevering the way you did and admitting you have PND. Just know you are not alone and try and enjoy everyday you have with your little girl x Julia
  • Don’t feel bad at all, I went through 10 weeks of hell trying to get my DD to breastfeed exclusively only for her to wean herself a few short months later when I got pregnant again. The bond is not going to be any less because you bottle feed I’m speaking from experience here If your stress is getting in the way of you enjoying these moments then let the cause of stress go knowing that whatever else you are doing what is best for your lil girl I can’t tell you the feelings of guilt that I have been experiencing just having another baby so soon after my first, I have not been able to give my DD the attention she wants from me all the time and I hate myself for it sometimes. Motherhood has been so far from what I expected, more miserable in some ways, yet more wonderful in others. You are not alone We are simply mothers, and while what that entails is all but simple, we do the best we can with what we have and what we can handle. Keeping mommy healthy in body soul and mind is just as important as keeping your bubs healthy and happy Emma
  • It gets easier I promise I found it hard for a longtime but it got easier. Don’t feel guilty you aren’t alone x Danielle
  • You are certainly not alone with those feelings. There is so much pressure put on mums to do everything perfectly and be smiling and loving every second. Don’t be so hard on yourself, if bubs is happier on formula and you are regaining some sanity because of it, then it sounds like you did the best thing for your baby. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and maybe join a mothers group or a PND support group, it’s a huge help to be around other mums going through the exact same thing. Bianca
  • Please don’t be hard on yourself. Motherhood is VERY challenging at the best of times and it sounds like you’ve had a really tough time of it. Be kind to yourself, try to forget what’s in the past and take one day at a time. You are doing the right thing talking to your Dr, and sharing here you will see that what you are going through is VERY common, and you are certainly not alone. Take care. Kylie
  • Give yourself a hug & congratulate yourself for breastfeeding for however long it was. You did a wonderful thing and put in a lot of effort. if you wanted to you could offer the breast for comfort after a bottle feed. It gives you a connection and closeness to your baby that might help you without the concern of volume for her. Lynne
  • I struggled breastfeeding for 10 weeks before someone advised my son was tongue tied!!! I resorted to expressing to ensure he was getting enough etc. Although many times kept saying I’m giving up. Once the tie was released I thought yay it will be so much easier!!! 3 weeks on I’m still expressing and slowly weening. You have done really well with what you’ve achieved even with the hurdles you’ve jumped over. There are plenty out there who have never had breast milk and they’re as happy and healthy than any bub that’s been breastfed. I’ve come to realise happy mum, happy baby! I hope your feeling better soon. Xx Nikki
  • You should never feel guilty for trying to do what is best for you and baby – you’re doing great Renee
  • I have to say… Way to go not giving up after the first few problems. Omg! Look, they way I see it is ur child is not lacking in love and a caring mother. Ur bubba has a loving home and a mummy’s trying it do the absolute best she can. U r a person not a superhero. And all u can do is ur best. Put aside the guilt, it will zap ur energy and focus on the fact that u can still hold ur baby when she feeds. U can still touch and cuddle her, look at her and she can do the reverse. The bond will still b there. And so will the love. Sarah
  • Oh i know ur story too well!!everything uv mentioned points to tongue tie and lip tie.Iv gone through exactly same thing.Reflux,colic,attachment issues,mastitis are all tongue tie symptoms.Pm me if you want more info.im so sorry its got to this point for u,i think im starting to show signs of pnd too from our horrible journey with it all Ashleigh
  • Nareeda i was gonna say the same thing, pick out of the population who is breastfed & who isnt & u cant. I had to stop bf cause of lactose intolerance & i felt guilty that it gave me a sense of freedom again after being tied to the couch feeding for so long. Pple will try & make u feel bad but if ur better for it than nothing is better for a little bub than a happy mum so dont feel bad. Ngala really helped me out when i was very close to depression, there are def pple out there that want to help Amber
  • Your story is like a duplication of mine!! My son is 16 months now. We have had nothing but problems with him and sickness etc. right now he is asleep in my arms after his first surgery to try and sort out sleeping issues/snoring and recurring ear infections. I have only really started enjoying things recently as my son has been able to interact with me more, it makes up for not being able to successfully breast feed. Give yourself time. It will get easier and more enjoyable. Hard to enjoy something when it feels like there are constant issues… Amy
  • You are not alone! I knew motherhood would be hard but it has been much harder than I thought. Similar to you my bubs had reflux (in diagnosed for 4mo as drs thought I was being “one if those mums”), unsettled, difficult to feed, clingy, won’t do day sleeps unless being held etc. some days I feel like I’m seriously going to lose the plot. My bubs is nearly 6m. But I have to have hope things will get better & try my best to enjoy the good moments. Good luck! P.S don’t feel guilty at least you have bf a red hot go. Kintara
  • This may not help but from one mother to another who has been there, your child will not remember this time and that is a blessing! I don’t know if that helps. It gets better and worse lol! Leanne
  • It will get easier. I had so much trouble breast feeding after having my little girl. It didn’t help that I had server preeclampsia before the birth but it lasted 6 weeks after the birth. I felt so guilty that I couldn’t feed her. I was in so much pain and every time the nurses tried to attach her I was screaming and so was my baby and my blood pressure was through the roof. To the point my ob was going to put me back in hospital after I was discharged . I cried everyday. No one knew except my husband what I was going through . I felt like everyone was judging me, I always got from random people. ” are you breast feeding and I’d feel crap. As long as your bubba is fed full and happy that’s all that matters. It will get better, hang in there Christina
  • I had PND as my son was little and I stressed he wasn’t getting enough by breast, don’t be too hard on yourself, you have a happy baby and you are getting help for PND that takes courage admitting you need help, alot if women would have given up before now, well done!! Kellie
  • Firstly pls dont feel guilty for not breastfeeding!! i did that with my first whom we had difficulty with being premature, but finally i got it in my head that, yes he was on formula, but he was happy and healthy and thriving and thats the main thing isnt it? definitely see ur doc re: PND too once you do these things everything else should fall into place Most importantly be kind to urself xx All the best Ali
  • I’ve been there your doing an amazing job! Motherhood is hard work and nothing really prepares you. I also have Cmpa bub and he would scream 24/7 the nurses said oh he’s just a wingey baby also had huge problems with bf. don’t feel bad wherever nourishes your baby being that formula or mums who can bf Katy
  • I had a lot of issues breastfeeding my daughter. Like you, I gave up for my own mental health after hospitalization. I felt guilty for so long afterwards but It did improve over time. It took awhile but I realised that it was necessary that I stop in order for me to be a good mum for my daughter. You have done amazingly well to persist for so long! Try not to stress about what has occurred over the last 5 months and just enjoy the time now Carly
  • You would not be the only one feeling guilty and you definitely shouldn’t! There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving up breast feeding. You are still meeting your baby’s needs. You have stuck it out longer than I would if I were in the same position. It is not worth what you are going thru at the moment. You are the best Mum for your baby and don’t listen to people that would make you feel like a failure, that, you are not. Enjoy your baby and be happy…. Annette
  • I breast fed my first for 8months. I breast fed my 2nd for 2 months. After stopping breast feeding after 8months with my first I felt so guilty for so long. But when I had to stop with my second, I did it because I was struggling so much, (very similar to you) I didn’t feel so bad because I knew I could be a better mum by bottle feeding. You sound like you tried so hard and you should be so proud of yourself for giving it a go. Nardine
  • you have done an awesome job have lots of cuddles during feeds, what we expect to happen and what does happen are to different things. I had great expectations with my first and it didn’t happen so this time I went with the flow and was ready for it kinda, my ds wouldn’t latch on so i expressed and then he got diagnosed with reflux put on medication an on AR formula and was told to enjoy the cuddles Carolyn
  • I had similar issues with my little one, being a mother is the toughest thing ever, and I know it can be hard as others around you seem to be enjoying it more or having an easier time. Please be assured you’re not alone, it DOES get better and it is SOOOOOOO worth it after the darkness fades! Good luck and take care of yourself! Alison
  • I just wanted to say that even though I haven’t been through anything that you have you did a great job to feed for 5 months with all those struggles. You should be super proud Aimee
  • Don’t feel bad you have given it your best shot and honestly bf isn’t for every child. Also went through lots of problems bf and had a baby that didn’t thrive on it and also low supply, I could only bf for 2 months.. Your being to hard on yourself, is your little girl doing well now?? If so this is best for her and you!! Stressed mummy doesn’t help baby, so if your happy now and Bubs doing well than that’s awesome.. This is what works well for you both head up, smile enjoy being a mummy! Rebecca
  • I had an awful birth and daughter ended up with sepsis and myself with infection and trouble with breastfeeding and had an unsettled baby. Im unsure if things went more smoothly if I would have enjoyed the first year more. But ppl used to say they loved being a mum and I never felt like that. I found the first 12 months very hard, just adapting to being a mum, someone relying on me 24/7. I would never change a thing and my dd is my world but I wouldn’t have said I loved being a mum, but now that she’s 2.5yrs I feel different and I can see how great it is being a mum. But don’t be too tough on yourself, being a parent is the hardest job in the world!!!! Sally
  • Hey Mama, you’ve done so well. If you need help with the recovery/grief of not being able to breastfeed for long, see a lactation consultant about babies latch and then look into an SNS system. You can feed baby formula via a tube on your breast, so its essentially breast feeding. Kimmy

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