to be a bit tired of being told how HARD breastfeeding is going to be?(137 Posts)
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...????
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.
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.
I wish someone HAD told me how hard it was going to be! They can't win!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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...
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 ) 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.
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.
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.
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 :-)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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