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...????

Souredstones Sun 30-Jun-13 21:57:08

Go into it with an open mind and don't set your heart on breast feeding because if you can't do it it will plague you.
My mum was a bf counsellor after having my older sister, had me and couldn't bf me and STILL feels the guilt 30 years on. She put too much pressure on herself.

I did the same with my eldest and the guilt of not managing it still plagues me.

Try it, if you manage, fabulous, if you don't, then hey, that's what formula is for.

Elquota Sun 30-Jun-13 21:58:43

You can't prepare physically for it being hard I suppose, so YANBU in that respect.

But I wish someone had mentioned to me that it might be very hard, or even impossible for a few women. I felt an awful sense of failure when despite trying everything and getting a great deal of help, it still didn't work. It would have been good to realise I wasn't the only one.

tasmaniandevilchaser Sun 30-Jun-13 21:58:58

I wish someone HAD told me how hard it was going to be! They can't win! grin

NatashaBee Sun 30-Jun-13 21:59:15

YANBu, although I do think its good that people understand it's not just a matter of popping baby onto the breast once every 3 hours, and can take over your life for the first few weeks.

maja00 Sun 30-Jun-13 21:59:17

People who struggled to breastfeed are disproportionately represented online because they are asking for help.

Personally, I found breastfeeding pretty easy. My mum breastfed 3, my sister breastfed, two of my friends breastfed fine. One friend had a rocky start due to a difficult birth/emcs and ffed from very early on, another mixed fed due to poor advice from midwives and then stopped within a couple of months.

The first few days/weeks you are getting the hang of it but I don't know of any real life horror stories.

MrGeresHamster Sun 30-Jun-13 22:01:06

I would say that breast feeding was emotionally hard and I hadn't considered that it would be. The fact you have a tiny vulnerable human being who is relying on you 100% for their nutrition, and everyone seems to be obsessed with their feeding and weight. You're right though that it would be pointless trying to prepare yourself, just don't be hard on yourself when the time comes.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 30-Jun-13 22:02:27


Breastfeeding can be a challenge, but like many things, it can be a case that you get out of it what you put into it. You put up with the sore and slightly difficult bits and in return you have an amazing experience. I had all the usual breastfeeding issues, and I loved it.

PicaK Sun 30-Jun-13 22:02:30

oh gosh that made me think. i was doing this to a friend recently. But more to say it's normal to find it tricky so don't beat yourself up if you don't do it perfectly instantly. I will think carefully about how i phrase it in future.

Sounds like you are doing good preparation to me. Bizarrely i found that some of the formula websites had some of the best breastfeeding info (i guess cos they have to) and i ebf for 18 months so no hard sell!

MediumOrchid Sun 30-Jun-13 22:03:10

Some people have problems, some don't, my dd took to it really easily and we had no real problems. The more you prepare beforehand though the more likely you are to succeed. Read some books, maybe go to a la leche league meeting. And know where to go for support if you have problems.

LookingForwardToMarch Sun 30-Jun-13 22:03:16

I think they should tell more people how hard it is.

I went into expecting it to be sunshine, roses and earthmother-tastic.

As a result I almost quit it because I assumed that I must be doing it wrong because I found it so hard.

I think being honest and telling women that yes it can be a nightmare but get better after some time would mean more realistic expectations and a better success rate.

But thats my opinion

TheYamiOfYawn Sun 30-Jun-13 22:03:32

I think that a lot of people found that their expectations of life with a newborn didn't have much in common with the reality, and the stories of doom are their way of making sure that if you have a hard time, you'll know that you are not alone.

Regarding breastfeeding in particular, it's hard to get the balance right. Plenty of people just put their baby to the breast and things are fine, but many people have problems at first. If you have a general idea of the common problems and how to sort them out, then you are more likely to be able to carry on if things do get rough.

Bue Sun 30-Jun-13 22:03:52

OP I agree. I'm a student MW and I see all the time that with the right support, most women who really want to breastfeed manage just fine. It might not be easy at first, but if you are willing to stick with it then you will get there. None of my friends who started out breastfeeding have given up early. I think maja is right - women who struggle are more likely to end up seeking out support on forums so you see a lot of the issues on forums like MN. I don't think it represents the majority, actually. (And I do really sympathise with those who struggle! It can be soul destroying.)

fengirl1 Sun 30-Jun-13 22:04:29

I think one aspect nobody mentions is the baby. One of my dds found it very difficult (tongue tie never sorted out) and the other just fed and that was it.

Stropzilla Sun 30-Jun-13 22:04:37

Ignore them. I utterly failed to bf DD1. It was the hardest thing ever and I didn't get to grips with it at all. Wasted a lot of time upset over it. It hurt and she kept falling off me.

BUT...DD2 was totally different. The minute she was born she latched on perfectly! It never hurt, never struggled to latch and it was simply amazing. I never realised bf could be so wonderful. I remember feeding in hospital the day after my c-section. Baby in one hand my spoon in the other eating breakfast AND I was on my mobile. I felt like uber mum!

Honestly I believe a lot depends on the baby. Don't let anyone tell you it's hard every birth is different and so is every child. People love to tell you the negative. Yes it can be difficult but you know, you're right. You won't know until you're there how it will be but I promise it's not worth getting worked up about. I wish I hadn't.

badguider Sun 30-Jun-13 22:05:18

It's the trying to whip me into a state of permanent anxiety that's really bugging me I think, rather than the subject matter itself. I'm naturally a 'one step at a time' person and generally deal with situations as they arise... but if people are asking me about my birth or feeding plans and I say 'oh i'm sure birth will be hard and i've read up on my choices but i'm not worrying about it too much beforehand, what will happen will happen' or 'i hope to breastfeed' or even when I tell people I'm going to be doing a few hours of work again from 3months, or that I'd like to get back to my running club one night a week within the first year then I feel I'm being made out to be hopelessly naive for not understanding how HARD it all is and not being anxious enough about it all...

cassell Sun 30-Jun-13 22:05:34

Yanbu - I think that bf rates would be higher if there was more focus on support in the very early days rather than bombarding pg women with info - like you say there isn't much you can do to prepare before the baby arrives.

However it's not always hard - I've bf both of mine, ds1 to 18mths and ds2 is 14mths now and still bf - not sure when I'll stop. With ds1 it took a couple of days for us both to get the hang of it (and the support of the bf counsellor on the post natal ward was helpful so if there's someone around do make the most of it) but it wasn't painful and wasn't hard. Yes I spent a lot of time bfing and it took a lot more time than I'd expected but it was v easy to go out and about right from the first week and night feeds were easy. ds2 latched on pretty much as soon as he was born and as I said hasn't stopped yet.

I've loved bfing and will be sad when I do stop. I would say go into it with an open mind and willing to accept support - mn (obv grin) is a great help as is the kellymom website but in the early days someone knowledgeable in person is helpful as it is a learning process for both you and your baby.

bumbleymummy Sun 30-Jun-13 22:05:40

I think it's more to prepare you for the idea of it possibly being more difficult than you think. It isn't always that easy at the start and I know some people who gave up very quickly because it wasn't what they were expecting and they thought they must be doing it 'wrong' or something.

QueenoftheHolly Sun 30-Jun-13 22:07:30

I felt exactly the same! but then I also got annoyed when NCT lady implied the pain of childbirth was all in the mind

So here's what I would say to you instead. Breast feeding - not that difficult! Not everyone will agree but that's my experience. I really enjoyed it which was the last thing I expected. Before i did it I thought people who said that were wierd hippies making a point. blush

Having a baby - overall loads of fun! Just very lovely. I thought that babyhood was something to be grimly endured, now after 6 months I think its been brilliant. Obviously tiring but certainly not something to dread.

I'm a little jealous, you only get to have your first baby once and its so nice :-)

HomageToCannelloni Sun 30-Jun-13 22:08:08

YkindofABU. Would you prefer people to tell you it's a cake walk and then feel like an utter failure when you DO find it hard. The truth is, it fecking hurts a lot of women for the first week or 10 days. A lot of women I think give up because they think that pain will continue. I found on the day it was worst, when my nipples bled a lot, and each feed took the top layer of scab off, and I had to grit m teeth when the dd's latched on WAS fecking hard. But on both occasions it got better almost overnight on day 10.

If no one had told me that was how it was going to be I'd have given up around day 8. But as it is I WAS told'and supported and went on to bf both dc's for over 2 years. Most people who persevere will also tell you what a lovely thing bf an be, and how easy long term.

Good luck with it, and I hope you manage to stick it out and get to the good bit, cause its worth it!

josiejay Sun 30-Jun-13 22:08:13

I think people say it with the best of intentions. As in, although it's very natural, it doesn't always come naturally, so you shouldn't feel that you've failed if you don't find it a breeze. Hormones and exhaustion can make it hard to think rationally when you have a newborn so it can be useful to think about that beforehand. But it can be clumsily put, which can feel very negative, I agree.

How fantastic that you are going into it in a positive frame of mind and yes, once you get established, if all goes well it can be the easiest thing in the world (much more so than sterilising bottles and measuring out formula IME).

As for the people who go on to pregnant women about how painful childbirth is, they also give me the rage. Pointless and mean.

PicaK Sun 30-Jun-13 22:08:18

Actually the best prep would be to make sure you have somewhere to sit at home with a place within arm's length to put a glass of water without having to bend down, stretch too far etc.

Buy some lansinoh cream, sellotape the number for the nct breastfeeding number to a kitchen cupboard for easy finding when sleep deprived and stock up on breast pads.

CalamityJ Sun 30-Jun-13 22:08:20

I've only spoken to one BF mum since giving birth 4 months ago who found it easy and I was really pleased for her. Everyone else I spoke to found it hard and that personally helped me get through to 4 months knowing it's not quite as easy as it looks in those you tube videos. At least you'll be prepared so if it's hard you know where to get help and if it's easy I'll be so pleased for you too. Agree it's actually pointless preparing because you don't know if your baby will 'get it' naturally or will have tongue tie or will be a lazy little blighter like my DD and refuse to open her mouth wide enough not to nibble I'd say hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Gwlondon Sun 30-Jun-13 22:09:48

Lol. You don't need the baby to be here to read a book about breastfeeding. You can prepare for it. Or at least decide who you would ring if you wanted to know something. You are lucky you know so many people who have done it, and perhaps that will be all you need. Some people don't know anyone who has done it. I knew two people.

BreconBeBuggered Sun 30-Jun-13 22:10:22

YANBU. There's no point whatsoever stressing you out about something you can't have any effect on in advance. Breastfeeding can be hard going in the early days, but so is bottle feeding. It's not always difficult, and once you get going it's way less hassle than faffing around with bottles.

23balloons Sun 30-Jun-13 22:10:38

I bf ds1and it was physically exhausting, he latched fine & fed no problem. the problem was he fed on demand practically every 2 hours day and night. I was a wreck and was a stone lighter than when I got pregnant 2 weeks after giving birth.

I was adamant I would not bf ds2 and didn't even try, it's only now I regret not trying as I think ds2 would have been easier as he doesn't have a huge appetite. Ds1is still hungry all of the time, it's his metabolism but I didn't know that at the time. I honestly don't think I would have got pregnant again if I had had to bf ds2 that's how bad I found it but obviously everyone's baby & experience is different. At least you are prepared for the worst & hopefully everything will work out for you.

spotscotch Sun 30-Jun-13 22:11:15

Another here who wishes that people had told me how hard breastfeeding was. I was expecting to pop my baby on and off we go. The shock of things not turning out that way was what contributed to me shamefully going out and buying formula, with no idea of what to do with it as I had not even considered for a second that I would need it, 3 weeks in sad

steppemum Sun 30-Jun-13 22:12:19

I found bf very easy. dc1 took to it like a duck to water, he was a pro, and my milk came in early and it was all very straightforward.
No cracked nipples, not all nighters etc. He sept well, went 3 hours between feeds form day one and went 6 hours at night form 5 weeks, he did cluster feed in the evening at times.
dc2 wasn't so easy, but because dc 1 was, it didn't occur to me to do anything except continue
dc 3 was fine.
I bf them all for over a year, exclusively till 6 months.

Many of my friends had similar experiences, but not all, some had to give up.
I rarely post about it, because it sounds smug and those who are struggling usually are posting for advice and don't want to hear stories like mine as they don't help.

The best advice I can give is assume you can, your body is made for it, and don't feel let down if you can't, thank God we live in a time of good ff.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Sun 30-Jun-13 22:12:49

If breastfeeding was sooo very HARD, surely we'd have died out as a species long before now? Countless millions of women have breastfed. Just ignore the people who go on about it. It's likely they found it tricky so they're just projecting.

It just depends.1st baby - no problem. I just popped him on in the delivery room and it all went like clockwork. The 2nd and 3rd were not such easy feeders. It depends.

It's worth remembering that as a nation we tend to look on the bleak side.

Enjoy your lovely new baby (and shut your ears)

LastButOneSplash Sun 30-Jun-13 22:13:28

Badguider, the one good thing is that people setting you up for the worst makes it all seem easier. I found pretty much everything baby related easier than people made out. Definitely the right way round. Would have been stressful to find everything harder.

Shootingstar79 Sun 30-Jun-13 22:14:59

I think people are just trying to warn you that it is more difficult than you imagine. With my first I hadn't really read up on it and thought it would be a breeze-'the most natural thing in the world'. I lasted 2 weeks before gigging formula then ended up mixed feeding until 10 months.

With my second, I was far better prepared, knowing how hard it would be. I fed her every 3 hours for the first two weeks in order to get my supply up so I didn't encounter the 6 week growth spurt problem as I had first time where I though the milk was running out.

honestly, the more information you have going in, the better. With my second I ended up feeding for 2 years and after the initial 6/8 weeks it was the easiest thing in the world. Just wish I had done the reading around that you seem to have done with my first instead of thinking it would be so easy.

good luck smile


ICBINEG Sun 30-Jun-13 22:15:01


It is like everything to do with having a baby, you don't hear from the people who had an easy time because they have no story to tell.

Lots of people BF with little or no problems. Lots of people give birth with little or no problems. But it is a big fucking deal for those people who did have problems with either, so you are likely to hear about it from them.

I think a "don't assume it will be plain sailing but don't try and fix it till it goes wrong" approach is probably the right balance....

Spidder Sun 30-Jun-13 22:15:24

It did hurt like a bastard for the first 4 weeks-with both. I felt more pissed off 2 nd time cos I'd assumed my nipples would have toughened up!

I did resent it mightily at times, when I was up yet again in the night or had yet another interrupted meal. I also had the midnight "I just can't do this anymores" a couple of times.


Once I/they got it, and wapping out a boob solved any problem, it outweighed the negatives and I kind of miss it a bit now. I also miss my boobs, but that's another story. wink

OvoLactoBaco Sun 30-Jun-13 22:16:07

I guess it is coming across wrong, but people who are saying this are probably trying to help. I still say the best advice I had before having DC1 was to expect bfing to be hard work - I think it's easy to assume it 'just happens' and is all lovely and bonding but it can be difficult, frustrating, painful and worrisome (sorry! grin ). My friend's advice about it being hard work to start with stuck in my head and helped me stick at it when it was taking a while for us both to get used to.

But on the other hand don't beat yourself up about it if it doesn't work out, IMHO it's not the be all and end all. Enjoy your baby!

Maryann1975 Sun 30-Jun-13 22:17:00

I don't know why women tell other soon to be mums about 'how hard it will be'. It doesn't seem fair, almost like setting them up to fail. Some things come more naturally to some and for a minority they won't be able to breast feed, but the majority, with the correct help will be able to feed successfully. I have had three children, the first, I had a few problems with breast feeding, but got through them by myself, the second was a breeze to feed and the third was so tricky, I was very close to giving up, but found help form the nct breast feeding councillor, and continued.
I think our culture has forgotten as a whole what babies are like. Babies do wake up during the night, they do need to feed often, they do like the comfort of their parents close by and it takes time to recover from pregnancy and birth. If society accepted this and went with babies lead for a while, then I don't think there would be so much pressure on mums and things would be far easier on us.

Be prepared by getting a book on breast feeding, (the food of love is fab, I can't remember who wrote it though), buy in enough supplies to last you. Batch cook some meals for the freezer so you can have easy meals) and find out where your nearest breast feeding councillor is, just in case you need some help in the early days.
It is not hard for everyone and Yanbu for being annoyed that everyone keeps telling you it is. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

Gwlondon Sun 30-Jun-13 22:17:23

Ps if you want to go to your running club within the first year you will do it no problems. If it is a priority for you, you will make it work.

CointreauVersial Sun 30-Jun-13 22:17:35

I never contemplated having problems with breastfeeding; I just always expected to be able to do it. Fortunately, barring the usual painful first few days, it was fine, and I loved it. I think my "belief" that it would be ok in the end, and a generally relaxed nature about things was what carried me through.

But my friend had awful trouble and felt guilty for a long time. I think she wishes someone had warned her, and told her it was ok if it didn't work.

OvoLactoBaco Sun 30-Jun-13 22:17:51

And everything Spidder said - especially the last bit grin

thebody Sun 30-Jun-13 22:18:34

Just see it as riding a bike without stabilisers.

I bf all of mine and always struggle in the beginning with sore nipples until the milk comes in.

If you get past this, leave nipples to air 😀 and power on through you will get it established. That's MY experience though and some have it far far worse.

As with anything parenting, suck it and see!!! []😜]]

Loa Sun 30-Jun-13 22:18:54

I think by prepare they mean know where good sources of advice are in case you do run into problems- as most folk are surrounded by people pushing formula as soon as there is an issue.

I do know people who bf with no issues at all - though I've been in camp were good advice made sure I could go on bf with first- and only 3rd DC was bf easy.

I expect it's like birth stories you only hear about the bad ones - I think its considered smug to talk about straight forward ones.

The pain wasn't that bad for me - got to 9 cm with first and not realized I was in labour because the pain was like my monthly period pain the GP assure me was normal hmm.

Thing is - if the pain is to much usually they can and do offer you pain relief.

If I were you I would stop talking to people about it! There's enough posts here to show that every has a different experience of BF and yours will be whatever it will be. However, i will give you my two penny's worth!! Read some factual information and then put the book aside. Consider staying a night in hospital even if everything goes well with the birth and get support from the Midwives and the Lactation Consultant so you can go home having had a bit of input which hopefully will set you on the right course. Good luck with everything - it might turn out to be easy for you and a wonderful experience.

thebody Sun 30-Jun-13 22:20:24

Sorry, 😜

neontetra Sun 30-Jun-13 22:20:46

YANBU - I never even wanted to bf pre-birth, so hadn't read up about it beforehand, but chose to when I had dd and after the first couple of weeks found it fine, great in fact, still do it now dd is 14 months! Only probs were the fact that dd couldn't latch on one side due to my inverted nipple (but this is no bother really - I have fed from one side only just fine). We also got thrush early doors, her in her mouth, me in my nipple, but again this is far less bad than it sounds. Good luck, and try not to worry - just Greer it as you meet it

TempusFuckit Sun 30-Jun-13 22:21:23

If you're after practical advice:

Lansinoh (nothing else touches it)
Good breastfeeding pillow
Good back support
A freezer full of food you can eat one-handed
Kellymom website in your iPhone favourites
Lots of cake, chocolate and water in a bottle
DVD box sets, hour long dramas for the early days, 20 minute US sitcoms once they get the hang of it (and/or catch up telly via remote control)
And advanced pupils - wrap sling so you can walk and feed at the same time grin

Don't let anything put you off. It will probably be difficult, but if you crack it, absolutely wonderful too. Good luck!

rockybalboa Sun 30-Jun-13 22:22:06

I think people are just trying to manage your expectations. With Dc1 I had never given any thought to anything other than bf'ing, learned about it in the NCT class, just assumed that he would know what to do etc etc. Wrong. Due to a combination of intervention filled induced labour requiring him to be tube fed in NICU/SCBU to start with and him possibly just 'not getting it' I had an absolute bitch of a time trying to get bf established. It was really really hard work, exceptionally stressful and I nearly sacked it off several times but DH encouraged me to stick at it and after 6w, we had it cracked. My sis had her DC1 a week or so later and he was one of those babies who just pops out (admittedly she didn't have the intervention ridden nightmare birth that I did) and latches on with no fuss. I was so jealous!!! So no, as I said to start with, I think people are just trying to make you aware that it can be bloody hard work. I agree that it doesn't really make sense without an actual baby to try on but a lot depends on the situation with your actual baby. I would much rather people had told me how bloody hard it could be as then my expectations of how much I was struggling would have been much less. Good luck, I hope you fall into my sister's category or get all the support you need post birth if not. Plus, for some people bf'ing just does not work. Having unrealistic expectations about how bf is the only way will only add to the inevitable mummy guilt if you can't make it work and have to ff. seen too many other
mums brought to their knees by a sense of their own failure and its not healthy.

badguider Sun 30-Jun-13 22:22:18

Thank you!! thanks

REally, thanks. This is genuinely the first time I have had anybody say 'it probably will be ok you know'....

I wonder if it's just a British thing.. we have to always be so pessimistic all the time... I prefer to just see what happens and deal with it when it does rather than worry ahead of time.

I found it very easy, too. I don't want that to sound smug but I think that you will generally only read posts on here (for example) from women who are struggling or finding it difficult.
It didn't hurt, I didn't have cracked nipples or mastitis. My DC thrived and gained weight properly.
One of them refused a bottle so I had to use a sippy cup for water/expressed milk but apart from that, no issues at all.

OddBoots Sun 30-Jun-13 22:23:06

I think part of the trouble is that women who didn't find it particularly difficult feel like they are boasting or being superior about it all so they keep quiet. The reality is that it is so different for different women like all of the pregnancy and birth stuff.

TartyMcTart Sun 30-Jun-13 22:24:12

Nobody told me it would be easy, nobody said it would be hard. I had it in my head that I'd try BFing and if I could do it - great! If I couldn't then it didn't matter. I found it a doddle with both my babies infuriating as my mum was keen for me to BF and I had to admit she was right!

My advice: Take every bit of "advice" with a pinch of salt and don't read any parenting books! The people I know who read every book they could also questioned every bit of parenting but those who didn't have just gone with the flow and found it a lot less stressful.

badguider Sun 30-Jun-13 22:24:32

Oh and DH does all the cooking here - i'd be happy to live on toast and cereal - so he'll be feeding me easy healthy meals and will be happy to have that to make him feel useful.. he has enjoyed feeding me healthy food in pregnancy.

Nishky Sun 30-Jun-13 22:25:23

Tbh - I wish someone had warned me- I might have succeeded then- BUT there are many stories of women who had no problems so you may well be one of those

Also many people have had difficulties and still done it.

FaddyPeony Sun 30-Jun-13 22:25:34

badguider, you're probably in that horrible run-up to your first baby stage where the birth and baby are the most bizarre concepts you'll ever try to get your head around. You are being told on all sides what to expect but experiences differ so you're not sure what to expect. Only that it will be VERY HARD. Or else that it will be AMAZING.

Can I suggest that you go out and buy some extremely gripping novels that have nothing whatsoever to do with pregnancy or babies - and spend the next ten weeks reading them? grin it might give you a bit of relief.

The only other thing I'd say is try to give your friends/the mothers you know a bit of a break. Women don't really get to talk that much about these things in most situations in RL - pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding - these aren't really seen as professional topics of conversation or as the 'big issues' or whatever - more like silly 'mummy wars' stuff. So really the women you're encountering are just talking about their own experiences, be they good or traumatic, in an environment in which they feel OK to do so.

Congratulations and very best of luck - you'll be fine.

Feelingood Sun 30-Jun-13 22:25:52

I think you've been given a balanced view.

Reading in a book that a baby can bf every hour is not the same as experiencing it.

I thinks for all the instructions/advice/support from the bf counsellors and groups - there is no one there at 2am / 3 am etc and that whiney pinned to the sofa time when you are feeding constantly between 5 and 9 pm.

Im not saying this with a negative approach to put you off - maybe just to say what you have heard is realistic but please remember we all have different thresholds for metal and emotional stamina - maybe this is why you feel at odds.

I find my toddler easy compared to my 7yrs olds but others grossly disagree it depends on your child and you.

Its all unique - take positive and take on board ALL info with an open mind. sounds like you have a lot of experienced support This is great.

I found bf just as successful with first as with second.

ThoughtsPlease Sun 30-Jun-13 22:26:02

I have breastfed 3 DC and found it pretty straightforward. If you were a friend of mine I would definitely tell you not to be anxious and not to anticipate that it was going to be hard.

I appreciate that it can be very different for others.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Sun 30-Jun-13 22:26:31

Yes I think it's a British thing. During my first pregnancy only 1 person said how lovely it was to have a baby. Everyone else was 'oh mke sure you sleep now - you won't sleep for the next 40 million years' etc etc etc. Jeeze.

Tigresswoods Sun 30-Jun-13 22:30:23

I was worried & like you expected to BF as I remember my mum & Aunty feeding. Do you know what it was easy. No one in hospital showed me, I just got in with it & it was the most natural thing ever. No soreness, DS gained weight, no issues at all.

However he did feed A LOT & the tiredness is a bitch.

You may find it all easy but at least you'll be prepared.

Loa Sun 30-Jun-13 22:30:53

The only thing I think it is worth mentioning to you is that there are growth spurts when the little buggers do seem to feed none stop - there is one around 6 weeks.

I found it helpful to know this - as I knew it wasn't going to go on forever and was normal.

I found a lot of mother I knew who tried bf gave up about then as they got given bloody awful advice - about topping up and tales about them not producing enough.

TempusFuckit Sun 30-Jun-13 22:34:08

Oh and actually, I personally think the difference between fucking nightmare experience #1 and blissful experience #2 was getting my latch checked several times - almost hourly - while still in hospital. Don't be afraid to ask for help, even if it's just to check you're still on track.

stargirl1701 Sun 30-Jun-13 22:34:53

I wish I had known how hard it could be. I read up on labour & birth but not on bf. I wish I had. I ended up with blood poisoning from infective mastitis.

Best tip: read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

maddening Sun 30-Jun-13 22:38:26

The hard thing is the sleep deprivation and relentlessness of it on top of recovering physically from birth and pregnancy with hormones thrown in - nothing can prepare you - and the "how are you going to cope with a baby comments" drove me mad - like any other new parent - you cope.

But it was also a great time for catching up on tv and watching whole series' that I never knew existed or never had time for as bf glued me to the sofa - and I look back on that time fondly - snuggling a baby (fucking knackered ) watching ER or whatever during a growth spurt.

You never know you might get one of those "mythical" ( and I say mythical as mine was a non sleeper unputable down baby smile) easy babies.

And when all is said and done there's a high chance like most others that you will want to do it again - so it can't be that bad!

Gwlondon Sun 30-Jun-13 22:38:38

As some people have said if you have a good birth there is not much to tell people about. Eg Gave birth quickly, no pain relief and made the doctor laugh in between contractions. Not much of a story! If you have a hard time you want to talk about it to help get over it.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Sun 30-Jun-13 22:40:03

I think one of the big things with BF is that those who have a nightmare tend to feel a bit bruised and traumatised by it. There is a big vocal group of people who (understandably) want to talk about it being tough.

Added to that, those who find it easy often get called smug.

I found bf a piece of cake. Week or so at the start with DD1 being a bit nervous. Knockers like Dolly Parton for a few days (would have happened even if I had planned to ff). Other than that, a whole world of easy.

You will probably be fine. smile And if you're not there are lots of people to help.

WhiteShakette Sun 30-Jun-13 22:41:35

Badguider, chances are it will be all absolutely fine. I think people are mostly talking out of their own experiences when they appear to be talking about you. Personally, I talk to no one about breast feeding, because while I was prepared for it being initially hard, it never occurred to me that I would not be able to do it at all, and that is what happened (I had primary lactation failure ie. no milk came in at all). The chances you will suffer from the same thing are tiny, and I never mention it in RL because I was so desperately upset about it for so long. For what it's worth, none f the rest of my NCT group had any problems with BF, and my FF baby, now a toddler, is in blooming good health. Good luck!

I fed DS1 - tiring, and cracked nipples, but fine and worth it.

I would gladly have fed DD, but she couldn't - I cried buckets, but I know it was just one ofthose things.

Feelingood Sun 30-Jun-13 22:45:51

thoughts please the point s it can be hard for some women, whether is the latch, tongue tie, sleep deprivation, a fussy partner, or the emotional dependance - you don't know, i think its its better to have a balanced view of possibilities to prepare mentally. i think this puts a women in better place to bf.

<throws moon google aside and scrunches up wafts skirts for comfy leggings>

candyandyoga Sun 30-Jun-13 22:50:11

Ah the naivety of a first time mum to be... ;-)

Breast feeding IS hard and it needs perseverance in the majority of cases. You have no idea yet of how hard it can be, why are you so whipped up about people telling you that?!

maja00 Sun 30-Jun-13 22:53:33

Some people find it hard candyandy, it's not true to say it IS hard.

Eyesunderarock Sun 30-Jun-13 22:53:48

Too much advice is always bad. Are you asking or are they volunteering it?
if it's the latter, just put up your hand and say 'I don't want to know'

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Sun 30-Jun-13 22:57:59

Candy - Nope, it was dead easy. Twice. Breast feeding can be hard. It can be easy.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Sun 30-Jun-13 22:59:35

By the way OP, I think you need this

HopHopHoppitySplash Sun 30-Jun-13 23:02:23

Birth won't necessarily be bad, mine was so painful but so exciting, I would genuinely look forward to labour again so it can't be so bad!! It's an experience, look at it as an exciting part of life you're about to have rather than something to worry about.

And personally I didn't find breastfeeding too hard. I think people often expect too much of themselves in the early weeks, and think baby is taking too long/not getting enough milk so on because of these expectations. If you just go with the flow and prepare to spend a lot of time on the sofa/in bed feeding and cuddling to start I'm sure you'll be fine. Don't pressure yourself smile Good luck!!

AnythingNotEverything Sun 30-Jun-13 23:02:47

It's so lovely to hear that bf can be easy. DS was so knocked out after birth he wouldn't latch, so I expressed for 6 weeks until moving to ff.

This time I want I ebf, but I've been really really worried about it. I'm prepared for it to be hard, but it's nice to know it might not be!

KatyTheCleaningLady Sun 30-Jun-13 23:03:57

Breast feeding was very easy for me with all three children. I was even able to supplement with formula. Not nipple confusion or supply issues. It was like falling off a log for me.

Funghoul Sun 30-Jun-13 23:04:50

My dd is almost 7 weeks and I assumed I would breast feed. I am in a fashion, although I'm expressing the milk and she has it from a bottle as for some reason she just never got on with feeding from me (not for lack of trying!). Don't put too much pressure on yourself.
I agree that too many people want to tell you negative stories about labour, breast feeding, sleepless nights etc to the point that I told people that if they've nothing positive to say then I don't want to hear it.
Dd is my 1st and I went (and go) into everything with an open mind and a supportive partner.

Ps labour wasn't that bad for me and the actual birth not traumatic! The room was calm with no screaming swearing or threatening of dp's balls and a lovely atmosphere to welcome dd into the world with. Just something that isnt so negative for you grin

maja00 Sun 30-Jun-13 23:08:07

I think Hop is really right about expectations - the people I know who found breastfeeding (and having a newborn in general) easiest/most enjoyable where those who had no expectations of routines, sleeping alone, regular feeds with gaps in between. If you can just go with it and expect to just feed, hold and sleep together for the first few weeks it's not such a shock.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Sun 30-Jun-13 23:10:36

Absolutely spot on there Hop

ClipClap Sun 30-Jun-13 23:11:36

YANBU - there's no point going in to these things expecting them to be difficult. As others have said, definitely best to keep an open mind. I was very much of the breast is best ill and it all came very easily, physically. However, for some inexpicable reason, I absolutely hated it (not down to pain or body confidence issues)! Came as a bit of a shock when I'd expected to love it so much. I gave up after six months.

Minifingers Sun 30-Jun-13 23:15:17

YANBU - people often big up the challenges of breastfeeding because they want to justify to the world why they've stopped doing it.

The majority of women stop breastfeeding within a few weeks in the UK, because it can feel a bit overwhelming at times and there is a widely used alternative available in an instant if they decide to stop.

But the reality is this: most women who really want to breastfeed CAN exclusively breastfeed, if 1) this is what they're determined to do and 2) they get decent and timely help if they're struggling.

Hope all goes smoothly for you.

NewAtThisMalarky Sun 30-Jun-13 23:20:11

It might be a 'British' thing - in that I was told by my midwife that women with paler nipples tend to find it harder going than those with darker ones. I went through a couple of weeks of agony, but it was worth it. I thought it would be easier with no. 2 - sadly it was just as painful.

Hopefully you won't have the same issues that I did, but if you do - it is temporary, nipples toughen up and it gets so easy it's ridiculous - and I didn't have the benefit of lansisoh which I believe REALLY helps!

BlueSkySunnyDay Sun 30-Jun-13 23:24:04

badguider - id just like to say it was the easiest thing in the world for me but I think part of the reason was because I was just intending to "give it a go" and if it didn't work it didn't. The whole getting up warming bottles in the middle of the night scenario seems like such a mugs game to me - roll out of bed, grab baby, latch on holding baby with one arm and a good book in the other hand grin I read lots of books while feeding!!

I did have a rather surreal moment the day after id given birth when a midwife told me I had "wonderful nipples" grin I can categorically say that's the only time another woman has ever said that to me.

I do know people who had a horrendous time and made themselves really really unhappy (and ill) over it and I do feel its because we are made to feel like we have somehow failed if we didn't breastfeed. No one who is worth knowing will make you feel bad if it doesn't work, just do what works for you

I never managed to express - I got stressed as the machine made too much noise and it just didn't work for me - was just a bit milking parlourish for me!!

DC 1 I fed for 10 months (until he started biting) and DC 2 for over a year - neither of them are going to give me a medal for fact they would be quite grossed out at the thought wink

Trying2bMindful Sun 30-Jun-13 23:31:23

Bf was horribly hard and nothing prepared me for the lack of support, lack of direction and downright shite from the HCPs i wrongly thought were there to help me.....
However I did work thought it and we are still happily bf at 13mo. BUT I shudder at the memory of the first 3 months, particular the first 6 weeks. The photos of my DS are a horrid reminder.... he looks like a famine baby. Thank goodness we could afford to pay for help and I found the local NCT bf cafe and my local LLL group invaluable. I would never have made it through otherwise!!!
The best things I did to prepare for bf was:
1. read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
2. Find out where the Nct bf cafe was and meet my Nct group there in week 1 (the dads drove us!)
3. to book a post natal doula to come in 2 mornings a week for weeks 3-7 (DH was overseas so I needed help in the absence of family. She was fab and recommended a LC to come visit)
I hope you are one of the luckily ones who takes to it like a duck to water. In my Nct group (8 of us) I was the only one who had serious problems requiring intervention. The others all got it to work for as long as they were interested. At 13 mo only 2 of us are still bf. we all made it past 3 mo, which I understand is very rare.

Good luck. Good luck. Good luck.

AppleYumYum Sun 30-Jun-13 23:33:36

It's not as bad as everyone says, yes it is a new skill for you and the baby, practice makes perfect, once you both get into the swing of things it is so easy and really a lovely thing.

I think approach it with the attitude that it can be tricky at first getting latch right (or in my case, getting my ds to even want to latch), cluster feeding no one warned me about, if you need help there is so much out there, kellymom I used a lot and was very informative, tictoc's advice on the breast feeding thread, I went to a local fortnightly breast feeding group (mainly for the cake!), analytical armadillo is great too. Look forward to it, they grow up too quickly and it really is the best start in life you can give.

cochonette Sun 30-Jun-13 23:33:46

Two sides to this - on one hand I think it's true that nothing can prepare you for the realities of what it's like actually having your baby and all the overwhelming changes to your life it brings.
On the other hand - if women stopped going on about how tough breast feeding is and that so many people have problems etc - and instead concentrated on making sure there was tons of support to help women to breast feed then many more would do it and there would stop being such a stigma of fear and scare stories around it.
Personally I enjoyed breast feeding and found it my best tool by far in dealing with a baby that wouldn't stop screaming and was a bad sleeper. But it was painful at first for a couple weeks and if I hadn't had my mum around telling me it was fine and I wasn't doing anything wrong I would have felt totally demoralised and a failure.

foreverondiet Sun 30-Jun-13 23:33:54

Its hard for some yet easy for others, was pretty easy for me. But have seen it being very hard for others, some of whom kept on going others decided just too hard.

No point in stressing about it, the one thing I'd say is that if its uncomfortable or you have worried seek help sooner rather than later.

Lweji Mon 01-Jul-13 00:04:25

At least they are not telling you how easy it will be, so that you could feel a failure if it doesn't work out. smile

I didn't find it particularly difficult, but I found it very useful to know about latching techniques and bf positions before DS was born.
Then, let down was initially very painful, but it got better after a couple of weeks and I really enjoyed breastfeeding, which I did until DS was 13/14 months.

Each mother-baby double is different, though.

Swanlike Mon 01-Jul-13 00:10:06

Haven't found it hard at all, apart from the first time and then I was still numb from the epidural. DD is now 5 months and I feel comfortable feeding anywhere. I'm intending to carry on as long as she wants to feed for.

I found it really useful to get the latch checked every time in the first couple of days when I was in hospital. When I got home afterwards I rested and spent m

Swanlike Mon 01-Jul-13 00:17:41

Time getting bf established and waited for a couple of weeks before any visitors so we could get feeding established. It took me a little while to get the confidence to feed outside the house but the more I did it, the easier it got. Hope that it goes well for you OP.

MrsMook Mon 01-Jul-13 00:27:29

I'm BFing DS2 (11 wks). DS1 was BFed until 13mths. Getting started in the first few days was a bit by hook or by crook, not helped by a difficult birth (which depleted his blood sugars). Then there was the common soreness and engorgement issues. By 6 weeks, it was all going well and the only issues I had beyond that were the two upper teeth grazing a bit, and bottle refual. But by and large, it was a very satisfying experience.

This time I have the confidence from having done it before which is helpful as I've been having thrush issues which at times has made me very sore, but seeking help from the HVs, and BFing club at the children's centre. I am confident that I'll pass through this and be able to BF him as long as I want to, and hopefully long past 6mths again. I'm trying to improve his technique which can on unfortunate occasions be like simulataneously sucking spaghetti and doggy paddling. Not. Nice.

I think that being aware of issues is useful and that BFing literature can be a bit too rose tinted for its own good. Like we're all well aware of the variety of experiences people have in pregnancy and birth, except for many people, BFing is more unknown. When I've had glitches along the way, I've focused on the convenience, laziness, and recycling of calories to keep me going for another feed or another day.

(PS DS2 birth: good labour, rough ending, positive chilled experience for most of it, ecstatic to have achived a VBAC. Natal Hypnotherapy Birth Companion CD highly recommended!)

PPS buy Lansinoh. Lots of it. A tube for your feeding sites and one for the changing bag. It's the best thing for avoiding glitches.

Giraffinalaugh Mon 01-Jul-13 00:38:25

Yanbu. You have heard from everyone how hard its gonna be but you are determined to do it and all you naturally want to think about is that.

What i never realised though was that wether you succeed or not has nothing to do with you sometimes..

My one piece of advice would be to have bottles and formula and everything you would need to ff just in case. If you never use it then brilliant.
.i was discharged from hosp on day 3 and ds had fed well but is tounge tied. Got home at 11 pm and by midnight he was non stop screaming til he was goibf purple he was that hungry. He would not latch on through no fault of mine.. his tounge tie meant he coukdnt sometimes. He was so worked up i felt like i was starving him and sent dp out in the middle of the night to get stuff . Just prepare for any scenario. Gpod luck!!

peteypiranha Mon 01-Jul-13 00:44:37

I found it easy.Baby born stick on nipple started suckling. Job done. Then just carried baby around in sling feeding and still went to the beach, meals, pub, met my friends etc. I fed wherever and will get my boobs out for all and sundry so made it v simple.It didnt hurt me, and I read no books, attended no classes or groups or even spoke to the health visitor. Dont listen to others, just wait and do your own thing.

Sunnysummer Mon 01-Jul-13 00:56:01

DS and I have been lucky so far - he's had a lot of other challenges, but the actual feeding has been great! Straight after the birth they put him on my chest, he wuffled around for 10 minutes, latched on and off we went! I appreciated BFing even more after he had to be on fornula for 2 weeks due to other medical issues, pumping and Ffing was such a pain and I missed the closeness and easy soothing of BFing.

The reason you don't hear more stories like this, though, is that lots of babies and mothers really do struggle with it - they are more likely to go online seeking support and help, and their challenges also make it feel very awkward to share happy stories without feeling smug, especially when so much is down to luck. As you've said, there is a limited amount you can do to prep, but reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a good and bf-positive start. And when your baby comes along, I hope that you are one o we lucky ones!

bedhaven Mon 01-Jul-13 03:11:39

Definitely hard, but not insurmountable!

CuriosityCola Mon 01-Jul-13 03:43:11

Yanbu as there is no point being stressed about it. There are so many variables out of your control. The type of birth you have can make a large difference for a start.

However, it amazes me how many people don't prepare for it. By being aware of problems and solutions ahead of time, can make the first few weeks much easier. I stocked up on some book including 'Food of Love' and 'The womanly art of breastfeeding'. I also had a good read on the feeding forum on here and read links to Kelly's mom. A lot of the same problems come up time and time again. Knowing the difference between what was normal and what was a problem also helped. For instance, I had a lot of friends give up because they didn't have enough milk.

YY, to being prepared for feeling 100% responsible. Pre reading up on breastfeeding I thought babies all just fed every 4 hours. Not that they should be offered every 2 hours during the day(plus more when cluster feeding and demanding it).

CuriosityCola Mon 01-Jul-13 03:45:36

As a side note. Labour and breastfeeding don't have to be difficult. Bf my first son was very very easy. Currently bf my 3 week old ds2 and it has been really tough (lots of tears). I have been lucky though as I had two relatively easily labours (the second one especially).

Swallowingmywords Mon 01-Jul-13 04:06:29

I remember when I was pregnant with my first and I only ever heard doom-mongering from friends, family, colleagues and professionals. I thought everything would be so hard, from an emergency c-section to unbearably painful breast feeding. It is for some, but I practically spat my babies out and feed them painlessly and easily from day one. So try not to concentrate on the negative stories, it really can be easy and good. Teenagers though...that's another story, that can be an absolutely shit experience.grin

Orangebirdonatable Mon 01-Jul-13 06:06:24

People love to tell you horrible things when you are pregnant. Just nod and smile. And ignore.
I had no problems breastfeeding either dc. I would go so far as to say it was easy. Fed dd1 until 31 months, dd2 is still going strong at 13 months. I don't think anyone told me it would be hard, apart fom one friend who told me to buy bottles and formula just in case.
Unfortunately, the advice gets worse after the baby is born. Good luck.

pianodoodle Mon 01-Jul-13 08:11:23


It's the same as people who try to scare you about the birth - totally pointless and unhelpful.

Plenty of unhelpful midwives and HVs out there too unfortunately saying things like "if your nipples are a bit sore you're not doing it right etc..."

I'm pretty sure it's just because not many people (that I know at least!) are used to having their nipples sucked every two hours every day and it takes a bit to get used to it lol!

I'd go on the assumption that everything's fine and then worry about getting help IF you have a problem.

I read lots of "instruction" leaflets on BF and some of the diagrams were confusing! When baby came out she poked around for a minute then helped herself without too much hassle so that was that :D

Never understood all the "nose to nipple" stuff either. I just naturally assumed I'd shove it in baby's gob and it does seem to work ;)

TiredyCustards Mon 01-Jul-13 08:17:07

Breastfeeding was a piece of piss for me after both emcs.

Just wanted to add my experience smile

scissy Mon 01-Jul-13 08:22:59

I think people are just trying to prepare you for the worst, but it doesn't have to be like that. Out of my nct group of 7 babies, I am the only person who didn't manage to establish bf (cluster feeding really doesn't mix with epilepsy it turns out). 3 found it easy, 1 had tt and 1 had found it difficult but managed to get there in the end (twins!) As others said though, you won't hear their stories because they don't want to sound smug. Just keep an open mind and hopefully you'll be one of the lucky ones who finds it easy.

kerala Mon 01-Jul-13 08:23:59

For me it really hurt at first. Really hurt. But got through that and its easy and brilliant. I think thats what the advice is trying to do prepare you for it being more painful than you may have been led to believe but stick at it its worth it. A breastfeeding book I read compared it to going to the cinema. You wouldn't decided to see a film, travel to cinema, park, queue up, pay for ticket, pay for popcorn, sit down just as film starts leave the cinema. Do the hard bit and get to enjoy the good bit. Very American pro breastfeeding book but that matched my experience!

CheungFun Mon 01-Jul-13 08:27:25

I wish someone hard forewarned me how shit it could be and then I might have stuck with it, but I ended up formula feeding DS because we just couldn't get the hang of it.

It's all very well promoting bf and telling pg women how it's so much cheaper, better for the baby's health and how you'll bond etc., but there's not much support when you leave hospital a few hours after giving birth and have one mw visit the day after you get home and another 10 days later. True I could have googled it, but I thought it was supposed to be natural and easy, and didn't realise so many other people experienced similar problems, I thought it was just me!

FirstStopCafe Mon 01-Jul-13 08:28:14

I have to admit that being forewarned about how difficult breastfeeding could be actually helped me through the first month. I knew it wasn't just me doing it wrong and that I should seek support to help. Maybe it made a difference that the women who had told me about it being tough had in the main bf for 12+ months themselves so I knew the difficulties weren't insurmountable.

I have to admit that if I'm asked now I do explain it was difficult, but also add how i worked through these difficulties and that I'm still exclusively breastfeeding now

MorrisZapp Mon 01-Jul-13 08:31:40

This is a no win situation. If we are warned about the difficulties of babycare then we take that as negativity, but if nobody warns us we're like Wtf why did nobody tell me.

I was told bf was marvellous, easy etc then sobbed with wretchedness every time DS refused to latch. One of the many contributors to my pnd.

Perhaps if we admitted how hard and how life limiting breast feeding can sometimes be, we wouldn't have so many demoralised women feeling like crap mums before the parenting journey has really even started.

Might help some men to appreciate exactly what their partners are going through too.

MorrisZapp Mon 01-Jul-13 08:34:39

I had tons and tons of support by the way, but it was still shit. Support only goes so far. HCPs don't get up in the night to feed your baby, nor do they have a secret baby language to make the wee one understand what to do. You have to do the work yourself.

MrButtercat Mon 01-Jul-13 08:40:57

If I knew how hard it was going to be I know I would have done it for longer.

As it was I thought it must be the wrong boobs so gave up,had no idea every one of my friends was having a hideous time.I may well have battled on for longer if I had have known that it isn't as easy as plonking a baby on a boob and that many struggle- oh and it bloody hurts!

waterrat Mon 01-Jul-13 08:58:05

I honestly think that the NHS should make it clearer how intense and - yes hard- it is in the first weeks. And how way it is once you have it cracked.

I had no idea how frequently a newborn would feed, three hourly?! A joke - sometimes newborns feed for three hours continuously! As someone else said it is emotionally knackering too - I felt overwhelmed that I was the only source of nutrition and life for my baby. And it was agonisingly painful ! I screamed while feeding.

But - 4 weeks in and it was easy painless and I was so glad I had kept going. I carried on for ten months.

I personally always tell people if is hard because I think if they know that the pain is normal and that it will get easier then they are more likely to perserve

You are unreasonable op -
We have really really low rates of bf in the UK and I think that is because people have no idea of the intensity of those first few weeks and are not prepared

OneUp Mon 01-Jul-13 09:01:49


I definitely wish I had been told how hard it could be. I think if someone had told me in the first few weeks it WAS going to hurt I would have been less worried I was doing it wrong and kept going. Saying that I think the midwife who helped me after birth latched my daughter wrong which didn't help as it made me very saw.

GrandPoohBah Mon 01-Jul-13 09:09:32

My experience of bf my 7mo DD has been very positive, and we're still ebf. BUT... One of my closest friends really struggled with BF. And I'd trawled around on the boards here for long enough to know that people do have problems. So while I had extremely sore nipples for the first week, while she cluster fed in the evening for the first 8 weeks, while I had a few seconds of sharp, toe curling pain when my milk started at the beginning... I knew that most of it was normal and it would pass. And it did.

I think your expectations going into it have a big part to play in how well it works for you; I expected to be stuck to the sofa, I expected it to be a bit sore in the beginning. And because I expected it, I knew it would pass and that helped me cope then. It's easy now, she feeds for 5 mins and is done - the only thing I have to contend is that she likes to pop off and have a look around halfway through - not a problem at home but slightly more so at Yo Sushi...

Oh, and if your baby loses weight immediately after birth and is regaining but hasn't reached their birthweight by the 'magical' arbitrary ten days, tell your MW that you're not going to supplement just yet. My mw started making noises about giving DD formula at 10 days, in the same sentence in which she said that they know it can take bf babies longer to regain their birthweight. I politely told my mw to fuck off that we'd carry on as we are for the time being. DD is fine.

(Oh, and I had an induced birth. That was fine too wink)

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 09:35:22

Useful preparation I wish I had done before the baby was born:

found out what support was available locally in case there was a problem (much easier to look up a few phone numbers beforehand when you have time on your hands)- if you never need them it will do no harm

read enough breastfeeding literature to recognise what A Problem looks like- again if you never need it, it will do no harm

planned a realistic schedule that allowed for the fact that in the early weeks breastfeeding takes up most of your time

devised some suitable entertainment (music etc) for those long hours in the armchair

Those things wouldn't have depressed me or put me off breastfeeding, but would have made life easier.

Fakebook Mon 01-Jul-13 09:51:15

But it is hard for most women the first time!

I gave up with dc1 for the first day or two until my sister forced me to do it. I remember crying and saying it hurts too much and it's not my fault I've never used my breasts before and dsis replying "yeah like I used to go rock climbing with mine!" I had to shut my eyes and just push through the pain for a few hours and by the end of day one I worked out how latching on worked and the pain had gone and I was feeding dd.

If dsis hadn't given me that kick to do it, I would have just given up and bottle fed. So make sure you know where you will get support from if you do face difficulty. Your mum will be perfect for this if she's close by.

jellybelly18 Mon 01-Jul-13 09:57:33

my baby fed every hour in the day for the first 6 weeks. I could have looked at this as a woe is me this is sooo hard but I just thought well this is what babies do and got on with it. I did have the odd moment when ff looked attractive but it was fleeting.

In some respects she could have been considered a nightmare birth / feeder ie intervention, induction, emcs, tounge tie so if i had have had a pop on and go baby first time I probably would been horrified by this baby!

As it is Im quite to with the flow. I don't like making plans because plans are made to be broken! I think you should go into bf as 'if I can do it I'll do it - if I Can't I can't' and don't beat yourself up - they're not going to starve.

WingDefence Mon 01-Jul-13 10:01:32

I can only add to the great advice you've been given above. With DS (now 4) I struggled massively, my milk seemingly never came in and I mix fed till 7 weeks before stopping trying to bf.

With DD (now 3 months/13 weeks) I bought the bottles and formula and was thoroughly prepared to move to ff at the slightest problem but she has fed like a dream since day one! I thought I'd just try to get as far as I had with DS but now I've done more than double the length of time and I'm still going.

Knowing that it can be awful is a good thing to know, so you don't necessarily think you're the only one struggling if it does end up like that, but equally, knowing that it can be a breeze is also great. And a mix of the two of course.

Every woman and every baby is different.

Oh and stock up on Lanisoh. Stick it on after every feed - don't wait for any nipple problems smile

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 !

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!

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.

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.

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

Oh my god.


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

I wish someone had told me.

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

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.

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

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)..

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.

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!

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

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.

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..

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

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.

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!!

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