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I really really don't want to breastfeed.

(83 Posts)

I am 38 weeks with DC1 and really dont want to breastfeed. I understand the many benefits of doing so and feelvery guilty about feeling this way. But I find the idea of doing it very distateful. I know its natural etc etc and I dont find it wierd when other women do it, but its the thought of doing it myself I find repulsive if im quite honest. I am also worried about the demanding side of it, it seems to be almost constant in the first weeks and it just seems overwhelming not to mention the pain side of things.

Deep down I know that formula feeding is what will suit me and my mental wellbeing. However I do of course feel very guilty about feeling this way and I darent talk to anyone in RL about it- all the midwives are very forceful about breasttfeeding and all the girls from my antenatal are intending to breastfeed.

Does anyone else feel this way or am I the only bad mother to be around?! wink

Londonmrss Wed 03-Oct-12 17:54:50

If you don't want to, then don't! I plan to breastfeed, but if it's too difficult, I won't beat myself up.
To be honest, I feel the same about giving birth though. Like it's just so far removed from anything I have ever thought about doing that I can't imagine it. I'm 37 weeks though, so it's a bit late to say that! I think it's interesting that things like giving birth or breastfeeding are things we have to 'get our heads around' as it were. I mean, we are mammals after all- I wonder if we are overthinking it. I wonder if this is what fanjo means? 'Repulsive' is quite a strong word to use. You may find it feels like the most natural thing in the world- or you may still feel as you do now.
I would keep an open mind if you can, but don't beat yourself up about your decision. No one else can tell you what is right for you. Your body, your baby, your life, and no one has the right to judge you, nor should you feel guilty for any decision you make. If you choose to formula feed, your baby will still thrive and be loved. My mum chose not to breastfeed me and I turned out just fine.

showtunesgirl Wed 03-Oct-12 17:55:53

OP, do whatever you feel is best for you.

But the small but I am going to say is that you may well have heard horror stories about BF as I don't think the people who have had it go well necessarily talk about it that much as it's kind of a non-event.

I didn't find the first few weeks of BF overwhelming, I found being a new mother overwhelming and there was very little pain indeed. If you ask around, you'll see that this is the experience for quite a lot of people.

And FF does not make you a bad mum!!!!

BonaDea Wed 03-Oct-12 17:59:13

The MWs at my hospital are all very forceful about it too to the point that, even though I am planning to bf, I feel that I am getting preached to, so god knows what they would be like if I said thanks but no thanks.

As everyone above has said, your baby has to be loved, fed, and safe and frankly you being in a state is not going to help any of that. Do what you feel is right.

Orenishii Wed 03-Oct-12 18:01:13

I'm due in 2 weeks and really want to breastfeed but have always been squeamish about my nipples. If I am completely honest, BFing freaks me out a little too! But I'm going to give it a go, only because I really want to get past that squeamishness and get to the wonderful-hormone-relasing-bonding bit. Maybe I'll never enjoy it - who knows!

The will has to be there though, OP and there's no sense putting yourself through it if it isn't. You'll just be making the two of you miserable. Don't beat yourself up before you've even started. May I suggest a gentle suggestion of being open to it the first time - as you really just don't know how you'll feel when your baby is placed on your chest that very first time - but know that there is nothing to feel guilty about if you choose to ff.

sw11mumofone Wed 03-Oct-12 18:16:41

You've had plenty of people here support the way you feel but i'll add to it anyway as the more support you get hopefully the more you'll realise you have to do what feels right for you.
I felt EXACTLY the same as you. I went to my NCT classes adamant that I wasn't going to breastfeed and if anyone made me feel bad for that I just wasn't going to go back. My husband was totally supportive. The NCT girls were so supportive and even backed me up against the NCT teacher who tried to talk me round.
I absolutely don't think its weird and shame on anyone judging you for that. I felt everything you've described and knew ffing would make me a better mother.
The midwives in hospital were fine. I put it in my birth plan and only had to tell them once.
Then when I got home my husband did half (if not more!!!) of the night feeds. His opinion was that my day job was harder than his - and he runs his own company!!
So - stop beating yourself up about it, I think you know you've made your decision, and just enjoy it all. Your baby will thrive on formula. And if you do change your mind down the line, then that's fine too!
Good luck!

OP - you mentioned your concern about breast feeding and it's effect on your depression and your concern about PND. I, too, have a long history of severe depression, but am quite sure that BFing has actually made my mood better than it has been in the 18 years since I was diagnosed, and has completely resolved the associated chronic insomnia I had for years. However, I was absolutely adamant that I was going to breastfeed from the get-go and I think if you don't have this mind-set, FFing is definitely your better option as, if you hit even small problems to begin with, BFing is Hard. Work. and you need a pretty steely resolve to get through even just the hourly nightfeeds, or evening cluster feeds which are even more frequent not to mention sore nipples, mastitis, thrush, blocked ducts... On the other hand, with BFing now well established, the idea of faffing with bottles and powders and water seems like even harder work to me!

And in terms of pressure from other people - I went to a mother and baby group today and there were about 15-20 of us plus babies. I was the only BFer. I felt like a hippy! grin

PS I also don't believe BFing does anything to help you lose baby weight, as it also makes you want to eat your body weight in cake, so you can blow that theory off if someone tries to spout it at you as a benefit!

lurcherlover Wed 03-Oct-12 20:37:31

OP you must do what you want to do. But, the only thing I'd say is, try to wait until after the birth to decide for sure. I wanted to breastfeed, but I was in the mindset of "I'll give it a go and if it doesn't work, no big deal" - I wasn't against formula by any means. What surprised me is how much I wanted desperately to breastfeed as soon as he was born. It was like some primal urge in me - part of the same urge that made me not want to put him down (I'd feel panicky when anyone else was holding him, even my dh! I think it's a cavewoman thing!). For me, breastfeeding just became something I had to do, and I honestly hadn't expected to feel like that. It might not happen to you, of course, and if it doesn't, that's normal too. But just have an open mind for now and see how you feel after the birth.

Two more things: one, I never had pain, so don't assume it's automatically part of it. And two, if you're worried about PND, the evidence is that bf helps (the theory being it's because your body is primed for bf after pregnancy and expects to do it, so if you don't your hormones can go a bit haywire). That's not pressure to bf, honest - just make sure you've got lots of support, however you decide to feed.

JennerOSity Wed 03-Oct-12 22:17:41

Hi OP - if you like the idea of the health benefits but hate the idea of the feeding, you could always express for a few days to pass on some anti-bodies and wotnot, then go to formula for the rest. That way you could assuage the guilt but not at the expense of your sanity.

Just an idea - but don't feel pressured, bf'ing can be tough and if you did find it hard doing it under duress ain't going to make it any easier by any stretch of the imagination. You just do what you feel is right.

FWIW I bf my first but a close friend went straight to formula and of the two of us I was the one who got the most grief for my choice - no-one batted an eyelid at my friend. Personally I don't think any mum should get grief for either choice.

HTH

Teapot13 Wed 03-Oct-12 22:23:43

If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. You don't need to justify this decision to the midwives.

I would just say, though, that when the first baby comes we all find ourselves doing things we never would have thought possible, and for some of us this includes breastfeeding. I'm not saying you should force yourself to try if you don't want to, but have some skin-on-skin and see how you both feel.

neontetra Wed 03-Oct-12 22:30:16

I would echo what others have said about waiting and seeing. I felt exactly like you, only intended to bf while in hospital as was scared of mws, and then switch to formula. But once I started, every instinct in my body screamed at me to carry on. And I am so glad I did. I find it easy and lovely, the opposite of how I imagined.

perfectstorm Wed 03-Oct-12 22:42:33

I really, really wish I had formula fed DS. Would have been a great deal better for us both. There is so much more to being a mum than how you feed, and miserable breastfeeding can turn the first months of a baby's life into hell. Breast is not best if the effort to feed stops you relaxing into being a mum and enjoying your baby. Don't second guess yourself here - your instincts are valid, those are your breasts.

perfectstorm Wed 03-Oct-12 22:43:16

(I agree that you should let yourself wait and see, though - hormones will kick in, and you may end up completely wanting to!)

RubyrooUK Wed 03-Oct-12 22:46:49

You are not a bad mother OP, ultimately it is your choice. Do what makes you happy.

Although it is worth saying I am the most squeamish person alive. Felt repulsed at the thought of a child sucking on my breast. Cue huge hormonal surge at birth and I wanted to breastfeed and carried on and on till 16mo. Don't feel nearly so squeamish about feeding upcoming DC2, but still a bit; I'm sure it will fade.

Why not wait and see? The midwives in my hospital really didn't care at all how people fed so don't worry too much. And if you do want to formula feed, go ahead.

I did what was right for me; do I care how other people feed? No. Good luck with your baby!!!

Purplecatti Thu 04-Oct-12 09:17:50

It's your baby and your body and your decision.
I've been asked how I'm going to feed my baby when he pops out and I've said I'm giving breast feeding a go although I feel seriously weird and squeamish about it. All MWs were really nice and said give it a go for a day or so and if it isn't for me then to go on formula. I may find it OK but if I don't then the baby will have had a good start with antibodies and stuff.
I would advise giving it a few goes even if you plan to use formula as at first you'll give out colostrum which is really good for babies.
I don't believe in bullying people into doing what feels awful, there's no point. You'd end up with an unhappy and stressed mother and a fretful baby.

canistartagainplease Thu 04-Oct-12 09:32:53

Then don't, you've done the research,arn't freaked out by other mums,and know what you know (feel) about yourself,so just get on with feeding your child. You dont need permission.

sammyleh Thu 04-Oct-12 09:38:43

The idea freaks me out too... I'm a bit weird with my boobies anyway and feel a bit sick at the idea of a baby feeding from them. Couple that with forceful midwives and I ended up arguing with one of them. She told me 'it's a no brainer really, you should breastfeed your baby' to which I politely told her to do one and I would not be pressured into anything. I think sometimes you have to be firm with yourself and let your thoughts be known, I'm so glad I did because now I've told my midwife that I intend to formula feed unless the baby goes straight for the boob, she's really backed off.

Don't let anyone make you feel like you're a bad mother for any decision you make with regards to feeding, it's a very intimate and personal decision that NOBODY has the right to interfere with xx

I FF my DS from birth (my milk never came in) and it actually worked really well for us. He was a very happy and healthy baby, and it was lovely to be able to share his care equally with DH (I think it set a good pattern too, we have always shared parenting equally since then).

And if it makes you feel better, my SIL just had a baby in France, and she was the only woman breastfeeding on her entire ward -- FF is still much more the standard here. Does that mean all French women are bad mothers? I don't think so.

I've suffered from depression too and I totally understand that feeling of needing to prioritise your mental health. I hope all the support on this thread has convinced you that you're doing the right thing smile

Sparklesandglitter Thu 04-Oct-12 10:08:28

I felt the same way I was adamant I would not breast feed but planned to express. Once DD arrived I decided to try BF. we had issues in the first couple of days which made me upset as I couldn't BF. we have now settled on Mixed feeds, we BF first thing and at bedtime but FF the rest of the time. I miss cuddles when I FF but would not feel comfortable BF in public and love that DP can help. With the exception of 1 horrible midwife all the HV and MW have been supportive, DD is doing so well and I will mix feed as long as I can. Basically keep an open mind but remember FF is not poison and if anybody says otherwise ignore them!!!happy mummy happy baby, good luck!

Sparklesandglitter Thu 04-Oct-12 10:13:27

But just so you know, bottles are much more of a faff than breast especially at 2am and when you are going out for the day!!!smile

JennerOSity Thu 04-Oct-12 10:52:17

Just to give you some more food for thought there was a programme on this recently can watch it on BBC iPlayer here:

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b010fq6q/Is_Breast_Best_Cherry_Healey_Investigates/

It is a very balanced programme with a good mix of takes on the matter and I personally felt it gave a good account of both choices without being preachy, so it could be interesting to watch as a way to make you feel more assured about whatever decision you decide on.

Ameliac28 Thu 04-Oct-12 12:06:01

I'm exactly the same as you, I don't want to do it either and won't be but feeling guilty about not so I brought myself a breastpump and I'm going to give that ago even if it's just a week or two then I won't feel so bad, but don't worry at the end of the day it's your choice x

hopeful92 Thu 04-Oct-12 14:00:24

You shouldn't feel guilty for not wanting to breast feed, at the end of the day it is your body and your baby and you are entitled to feed it in any which way you desire. If breast feeding doesn't feel right for you then what is the point in forcing yourself and making yourself feel uncomfortable?! Formulas these days are much better than they used to be and, although they obviously can't quite have the quality of nutrients as breast milk, they come damn close!

Just a suggestion, have you thought about using a milk extractor, then you could still be feeding your baby some breast milk, and just top it up with formula?

Give it a go though is all I would suggest, if you truly don't like it and don't feel comfortable the first time you give it a go then you don't have to try again, but then at least no one can say you didn't try!

Good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy, and don't worry about feeding! Do what you feel is natural for you.

Aworryingtrend- when I was pregnant, I also knew I didn't want to breast feed, and used to totally try to justify why to the midwife. She simply said 'all roads lead to Rome' and she is right. So long as the baby is getting fed who cares?!?
Ignore anyone who tries to make you feel bad.

When they are 4/5/15 it doesn't make a jot of difference if they were bf or ff smile

Rainbowbabyhope Thu 04-Oct-12 16:39:25

I agree that it is a completely individual decision and no one should feel guilty no matter what they decide to do regarding breast feeding or bottle. My experience with it is somewhat unique - with my first pregnancy, I too was totally undecided about breast feeding, although was open to giving it a go but certainly would not have felt guilty if I had decided no too. But then my DD was stillborn so when my milk came in I had no baby to feed and no decision to make. I was totally taken aback by how strong the urge to feed was even though I had no baby to feed - in fact I sat there weeping and in pain for days wondering how anyone can resist the urge to breast feed their baby. The urge was so strong I nearly fed my pillows! It took me completely by surprise so I would definitely say that you should not rule anything out.

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