to be a bit tired of being told how HARD breastfeeding is going to be?

(137 Posts)
badguider Sun 30-Jun-13 21:54:28

I have always assumed I would breastfeed, my mum breastfed me and my brother who was 7yrs younger so I have clear memories of her doing so.
Most of my friends have breastfed, at least for the first few months, and one is an extremely extended breastfeeder and peer-supporter (though she lives the other end of the country frome me now).

Yet now I am less than 10 weeks from giving birth, all I seem to get on online forums, and in the ante-natal groups (the nhs classes and my ante-natal yoga/birth prep class) is 'prepare for how hard it's going to be'... I don't really know HOW to prepare for how hard it's going to be... I mean, you can't really learn how to do it till you've got a baby and a nipple in your hands can you? I've watched some youtube videos...

It's almost worse than the 'birth is going to be the worst pain you've ever experienced in your life, it's so bad you can't even imagine it' messages...

All around me are people saying that everything is going to be so awful and so hard... like it's their duty to make sure I am never less than 100% anxious at all times...????

southlondonlady Mon 01-Jul-13 12:11:40

Badguider - I hated all the negative comments when pregnant first time too, it really got me down. I think people do it because, if you do end up having an awful time, its good to know that you're not alone and there's support out there. However - you just might enjoy it! I loved having a newborn, spent the first couple of weeks snuggled on the sofa eating drinking reading on my kindle and watching DVDs. Later got out to cafes, picnics, mum and baby cinema etc, it was great. I'm pregnant again now and can't wait to have a little baby again.

Wrt birth it may go well, it may not, not much you can do about that really. Similarly with bf, just approach it that if it works it works, if it doesn't it is your decision whether to battle on or give up. It can indeed be v intense (my baby fed for 10 hours out of 24!) and difficult for some, but not everyone.

The best advice I had was to prepare by stocking up on lots of nice food, drink, easy reads and TV shows and expect to stay in your PJs for at least the first couple of weeks.

Good luck and do be excited, being a parent is amazing.

Oh and no reason why you wouldn't be back at your running club within a year if that's what you want!!

BeCool Mon 01-Jul-13 12:08:40

Everyone has different strengths & needs - I was very good at letting all else in my life go and just focus on BF & being with baby for the first few months. For me that was what maternity leave was about - being free to abandon myself to the ride and change.

Friends amazed me how they managed to work freelance/from home with a very young baby. Though this seemed impossible to me, they rocked it.

CityGal29 Mon 01-Jul-13 12:04:16

You'll be fine you're well prepared. It was easy for me and everyone I know on family and out has bf for at least 6m lots to 1yr, 2yr +

Ignore the panic you have people to talk to, moan to, ask questions and support of. As long as your DH is supportive and encouraging you'll be fine wink

HabitualLurker Mon 01-Jul-13 11:57:39

Well, the vast range of responses here tells you how it is - some women find it a piece of cake and some find it really hard.

Being a cautious glass-half-full sort of person myself I was prepared for it to be difficult (especially since my mum kept banging on about how wonderful and lovely the whole experience was) and had armed myself with the knowledge of evening cluster feeds, mastitis and tongue-tie.

As it happened I did find it easy, and honestly not painful at all. Maybe a little uncomfortable at first (newborn's small mouth = latch that sometimes ends up on the nipple rather than areola = ouch!) but the tube of lansinoh I bought remains pretty much untouched.

Good luck - chances are you will be fine! Enjoy the chance to veg on the sofa for a month or so whilst others bring you food and drink..

My main advice is to RELAX.
It can be sore at times, if baby isn't latching properly, and before your nipples get used to it.
It is extremely time consuming in the first few weeks - I had days where I barely moved from the sofa to keep up with DS's feeding demands.
Trust that your baby is getting enough - if you're getting plenty of wet nappies and baby is gaining weight (even if it is slow to start with), then you're doing fine.

Hullygully Mon 01-Jul-13 11:41:44

It's not hard at all

But it is VERY time consuming

I think that's what people need to be prepared for

MummyOfSunbeam Mon 01-Jul-13 11:40:35

OP - haven't read whole thread, but just to offer a positive take here - we have LOVED bf! Absolutely joyful and really really easy after we worked out how.

But! I think the reason it worked so well for us is that I had been warned that getting it established and learned could be challenging. I didn't watch videos - you have done much more prep than I did! - but I did pack the la Leche book Womanly Art of bf in my labour bag, and nipple cream in case of initial pain. It did take me two weeks to learn it properly BUT It was beautiful right from the start - I have photos of me lying feeding her in hospital and my smile is massive - it felt like holding sunlight in my arms.

The only tip I had in advance was this and it helped so much - feed on demand even if every two hours for the first three days. That sets up the breast prolactin receptors = milk quantity! I have always had masses as a result whereas friends who didn't feed round the clock at the start, and in fact fed on a thrice-a-day schedule from day zero, had supply issues especially after four months.

But enjoy! I envy you the bliss of bf a newborn. It can be amazing!

MotherofDragons82 Mon 01-Jul-13 11:38:47

As others have said, I definitely had the opposite problem.

I was the first in my group of friends to breastfeed, so my only real experience of it was hearing how easy and simple it was from my mum, who breastfed three children to six months.
At ante-natal classes, the message was that 99 per cent of women can breastfeed and, if it hurts, just latch the baby on again (if only it were that simple).

Therefore, when I had terrible problems breastfeeding, I thought I was doing something very wrong. My mum, who had had only easy breastfeeding experiences, told me that I should stop as it "wasn't working" and the midwives were no help at all.
The only reason I'm still going now, at eight months, is due to support from the bf pages on here, and one angel of a bfing co-ordinator who gave me confidence in the early days when I felt I'd failed.

I wish, wish, wish that my antenatal classes had been more honest and prepared me for what was to come. Naive as it sounds, I honestly thought that bfing was going to be putting the baby to the boob every three hours or so, for about 20 mins at a time.
If I'd known about mastitis being so common, I wouldn't have panicked when I got it three times. If I'd known my flat nipples were going to be problematic, I'd have been prepared to have to "pop" them out. And, above all, if I'd known how hard it was then I'd have expected it to be hard, and not worried that I was doing something dreadfully wrong.

When I was told that 99 per cent of women could breastfeed and one per cent couldn't, I thought I'd figure out pretty soon which I was. But it seems to me that it's not so black and white at all. For around three months, I couldn't breastfeed - and then, suddenly, I could.

All you can do, IMO, is get some breastpads and Lansinoh cream in (you really don't need anything else!) and then, when your baby arrives, try it. If feeding is easy, brilliant. If not, there is so much expert advice on these pages. But at least if you're aware it may not be easy, then you know where you can turn.

badguider Mon 01-Jul-13 11:17:18

cheesestraw don't be worried about me - it was one night (i hope) and it wasn't only about breastfeeding, it was after two evenings socialising at big events (drinks and nibbles things) rather than with close friends and it was the first time I've been out so much with such a big bump (even though i'm 31 weeks i've been quite small till now) and EVERYBODY was going on and on about birth being awful, breastfeeding being awful, babies being like a ball and chain and about how i'd never ever do anything i wanted again and was being naive to think i'd be able to get back to work properly (am freelance with my own business) or back to any of my sports clubs. I think (hope) it was the alcohol talking but people really seemed to enjoy telling me how awful everything would be (those with children were the worst).

I do NOT have anxiety issues - that's what's making everybody else lay it on so thick.. the fact that i'm so 'what will be will be' and 'one step at a time'... It makes people want to go on and on.... I certainly won't be talking to my MW or GP about it - in fact I would quite like to forget about birth/feeding/newborns for a bit and stop all the bloody PREPARING... I think I'm going to just be me for these last two months I think and forget about all the fretting other people want me to do (which will probably require me to avoid any more parties/pubs but that's ok)..

shellandkai Mon 01-Jul-13 11:02:21

Forget what people say on forums in person etc i personally think its easier easier breast feeding than bottle, no having to warm milk up or cool it down, no having to make bottles, no sterilizing bottles, it's so much easier when baby wants feeding you can do it there and then.

Ok the 1st week or so can be abit hectic and demanding but I'm sure that goes for every baby no matter how they are fed.

I'm actually planning on expressing from the start this time (baby number 2) and I'm pretty dreading it (I have good reasons due to me struggling to get ds off the breast) but don't let anyone or thing get to you honestly and good luck smile

KarlaPilkington Mon 01-Jul-13 10:52:37

For SOME women it is very hard and they don't make it, for some it's a walk in the park. I found it very easy to breastfeed after the first couple of weeks. In fact I think it was probably easier than bottle feeding as I didn't have to clean any bottles, go out and get the formula etc. I just whipped out a boob.

There are a few things that you can do pre-birth to make your life easier. I did loads of prep for the birth, but found that I hadn't done any prep for what happens next. Being prepared and organised is the way to make your life easier, so BF is easier. So if I were you I would be making sure that you have lots of things at home (food, nappies, breast pads, Lasinoh or other breast nipple cream, breast pillow). Try and freeze food before you give birth so you can relax and feed. Get the in-laws to cook and freeze for you. If you have a book on what to do with baby, start reading it. I had "What to expect in the first year" and read a couple of chapters in advance. Read up on breast feeding, get the things you will need, clear things out of the way so you can concentrate on feeding and nothing else.

At the end of the day, it may take a couple of days to get the feeding right and your boobs may kill for a week, but this is short lived. In the beginning, whilst you are establishing BFing it may feel hard and tiring, but it will get easier. It's hard work upfront and you do have to make an effort, but it will be worth it.

One thing that you will find after you have had baby is that many mums like to share horror stories and stories about BFing and sore boobs etc. They like to be the biggest martyr in the room. It makes them feel like supermum. Take it all with a pinch of salt.

shufflehopstep Mon 01-Jul-13 10:51:51

I don't think people mean to stress you out. The idea of telling you is to stop you worrying if things don't go according to plan. The problem is it has the opposite effect. I think it's up to you to make your mind up not to get stressed and just take people's advice as it's intended.

The two things I wish somebody had told me about were:
1) breastfeeding doesn't always come easily (certainly didn't for me although I persevered and cracked it in the end and I loved it),
2) (tmi alert) you pretty much have a very heavy 6 week long period after giving birth. I expected about a week or so of flow similar to a heavy period. I'd bought some Boots maternity pads for my hospital bag and thought they'd be fine - they weren't. DH was sent on an urgent shopping trip when DD was just a few hours old to buy me heavy duty incontinence pads because they were the only thing that worked!blush

Crowler Mon 01-Jul-13 10:51:01

Oh my god.

Breastfeeding.

It was so bloody hard. And painful. And CONSTANT.

I wish someone had told me.

CheeseStrawWars Mon 01-Jul-13 10:48:44

Badguider, I'm worried about you. I don't think it's normal for you to be losing sleep over through worrying about breastfeeding. Even if breastfeeding doesn't work out, for whatever reason - and it will probably be fine, but even if it isn't - there's always formula to fall back on. Your baby will get fed. It will all be fine. BF is preferable, but if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. It sounds like you have some anxiety issues going on - have you spoken to your GP/midwife about it? I really would talk to them about how your concerns are affecting you.

Charleymouse Mon 01-Jul-13 10:41:04

Badguider I gave birth at home twice with only paracetamol for pain relief.

I have BF all of my DCs DD2 is still BF at 3.8, I also tandem fed DC1 and DC3 then DC1 and DC4.

What I have concluded is that you all you can do is try your best, somethings will work out well and be a breeze, other things might be harder than you imagined.

I worked myself up into a frenzy and even delayed having children until my mid 30s as I was so frightened about it all.

Chill out and remember if I sit here and tell you how easy it will all be I will be called a smug, yoghurt, knitting lentil weaver. If I tell you how hard it will all be I will be a prophet of doom and gloom setting you up for emotional trauma.

It will be what it will be, you can however inform yourself as to how things might be so you can be prepared for all eventualities.

All you can do is try your best. Good luck, and remember if you prepare for the worst it can only ever be better.

tasmaniandevilchaser Mon 01-Jul-13 10:41:01

Bad guider sorry to hear you're having a wobble, I think it's very normal. I've just had my second DC and during the pg I definitely had a few moments! Shame I'm not one of your friends, I always tell pg friends how lovely it is to have kids, how worth the hassle they are! Aftervhearing all the portents of doom, bet you'll be bowled over at how great all baby related experiences are!

Layl77 Mon 01-Jul-13 10:30:56

It might not be so hard at all if you prepare yourself reading lots about what is normal for a breastfed baby, positioning etc. I loved it !

I found breast feeding easy but very very painful for the first 4 weeks. I think this is why most women give up. I have a high tolerance for pain but it was 10/10 for the four weeks and I thought it was never going to get better. I dreaded feeding time, but it DID get better and i'm so glad I persevered.
Reading on baby sites the advice was that if it hurt then baby wasn't attached properly... This is not the case in my experience.
Get a tube of lansinoh nipple cream in preparation and it will help loads with the soreness.
I suppose it's hard not being able to do the things you want because you have to be there to feed but if you can express milk too then that's a big help too.
Good luck smile

dubstarr73 Mon 01-Jul-13 10:24:33

It is hard for teh first few weeks.I went into it open minded,i never knew anybody who breastfed.But to me i never had problems,no mastitis or engorgement problems really.

I think it would be more useful to give practical tips.You will be a milk cow for a few weeks till it settles.They will have growth spurts and you will be absolutley starving.I couldnt believe how much i ate.
And just feed on demand,i think there is to much clock watching and expecting them to be routine at a few days old.

Just go wiht the flow and it should make it 100% easier

BeCool Mon 01-Jul-13 10:22:42

PS - the thing with BF, even if it is hard for a few early weeks - once you and your baby get into the swing of things, it is incredibly easy and opens up many many options for you.

Take each day as it comes.

BeCool Mon 01-Jul-13 10:19:10

YANBU - I too got very tired of being told how hard everything would be!! You are your own person, and will have your own experiences. When in late PG I just quite bluntly stopped people when they started to tell be horror/hardship stories about PG/birth etc. In no way are these stories useful to you.

I would say, ignore. Focus on getting a support network around you to support you in the early days. For me BF was amazing, natural and relatively easy (I did it for 14m & then 16m) - I had some nipple pain issues for a couple of weeks both time, but nothing that was too dreadful.

Everyone has different experiences. But it is perfectly 'normal' to have a lovely time BF.

I got so sick and tired of all the negative stories and statistics that PG women are bombarded with. There is a huge fear factory/industry aimed at PG women, which is a real shame. Remember, although many new Mums do have issues with BF, we would certainly not have progressed so well as a species if BF was widely dreadful and problematic. The stories re difficulties & problems are the exceptions - but they are headline grabbing. "I fed my baby easily and beautifully" is not newsworthy.

Also be aware of the "industry" currently with its sights on you. BF itself does not make anyone ££££. But feeding the anxiety new Mums feel and inflating the problem some people encounter with BF do - ie people will look at you so buy this Shield/cover. Feeling anxious about BF in public? - here buy this top/dress. Buy this book/pillow etc etc. There is a huge industry with vested interest in feeding new Mums anxiety.

I suggest you stop reading all the books and stories - you know what you need to know now. Cultivate your network of wise/older women to support you. Focus on being relaxed and fear free (you might find some hypno-birthing relaxation exercises really helpful - I did). And go for it.

Best of luck.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 01-Jul-13 10:16:17

Actually I wish someone had told me it can be hard.

At my Nct class it was all about letting the baby find their way, they magically latch and ta da! They feed!

I wish! DS wouldn't latch and I had no milk supply. I didn't realise until he lost a lot weight and was screaming in hunger.

Have all the support info ready just incase. Make sure at hospital the mw teach you how to get baby to latch. If it works for you then great, but things don't always go to plan.

maja00 Mon 01-Jul-13 10:08:56

If it was that bad then why would people go on to have 2nd and 3rd babies? OK, giving birth wasn't the most fun I've ever had but having a newborn was amazing, I loved it. I loved breastfeeding. I'm pregnant again and can't wait grin

Branleuse Mon 01-Jul-13 10:05:36

i found breastfeeding a pretty easy, 3 times. I dont know why people always presume its going to be difficult. Most issues were fairly easy to overcome.

badguider Mon 01-Jul-13 10:02:55

Well, after a weekend of socialising visibly pregnant and therefore attracting all the unasked for comments of... 'breastfeeding is so hard', 'birth will be worse than the ninth circle of hell' and 'you'll never be able to do anything you want to do ever again'... and the worst ones which are all the 'you have to PREPARE for all this hellishness' 'have you PREPARED enough?'..

I spent all of last night tossing and turning and totally unable to sleep as I just couldn't relax.... sad sad I have taken on the advice of the books I have to read before the birth about birth and breastfeeding, and my birth class place is where the LLL meet so I know all about that, but honestly if it's all that awful I don't see how any more I do now will help... It's too freaking late to get un-pregnant!!! angry

I know some people on here said it's not that bad and can be quite nice to have a baby but real life people all seem to be fixated on the hellishness.. anyone would think they regret having their children (and god knows why most of them have a second if what they say is true) sad

I think I'm going to have to decline all social invitations from now on except for nights in with our very closest friends as I can't hide the bump anymore and I can't be doing with all this.

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