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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...????

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.

GailTheGoldfish Sun 30-Jun-13 22:19:01

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.

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