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Very undecided and conflicted on how to feed. Info please?

(21 Posts)
BreastOrBottle Sat 18-Jun-11 18:17:51

When I had DC1 I FFd because to be perfectly truthful I had zero interest in BFing and found the idea a bit off-putting for various reasons which I don't want to go into. I was a first time mum and completely overwhelmed so eliminating a choice gave me one less thing to worry about.

DC2 will be here by the end of the summer and I'm really conflicted on what to do. On the one side I want to try it because it's the other side of the coin so to speak, FF last time so try BF this time and see what the other side is like. Makes my children sound like experiments! On the other side I'm reluctant because I have all these worries and doubts. Not sure if that's the right phrase. Misgivings?

I know for a fact that I'll be met with great support from some family/friends but scepticism from others and that I shouldn't listen to it but we all know how that theory works differently in reality. Some friends/family don't especially hold with breastfeeding and a few think it's smug and not for our sort. I want DH to be able to bond and with DC1 he says that he found feeding to be a lovely bonding experience, he was also able to do more than his share of the night feeds which took a lot of strain off me because I was doing most of the day care while he was at work.

I'm worried about things like mastitis and thrush and blockages and cracked nipples. I read a book on breastfeeding and the chapter on these really freaked me out. Is it actually like that? Am I going to spend large parts of my day bleeding from my nipples or feverish with mastitis? The book made it sound really common and an accepted part of breastfeeding!

I'm really nervous about public breastfeeding too. I know you don't flop the whole breast out or whip your shirt off and sit there half naked, I know you can use a blanket or scarf, but I'm still apprehensive and I'd be mortified if anyone said anything negative to me or stared in a way that made me uncomfortable. I can't see myself BFing in front of my parents or siblings when we get together each weekend or in front of my in-laws or at playgroup or wherever.

This post is getting so long, if you're still reading them I'm sorry for your poor tired eyes smile

Once breastfeeding starts how hard is it to stop? What about expressing into bottles rather than giving it direct from the breast, is that a viable option?

I'm so torn, I'm probably going to get told to just bottlefeed as I'm obviously too indecisive or something. What I really need is some good honest advice about the reality of breastfeeding or just feeding expressed milk, the good and the bad, warts and all. I plan to take a class, I've booked a place, but it still doesn't beat personal stories.

NB: this is not a breast vs bottle debate.

Thanks in advance to anyone kind enough to share their experience with me.

HarrietJones Sat 18-Jun-11 18:28:18

I bf dd1 , ff dd2 & bf dd3.

So far my overall time of bf (13m+8m& counting) I've had mastitis twice. Second time I knew & was on antibiotics after a few hours. I've not had any one be off with me ( I didnt know anyone else who bf when I had dd1). I have had a few problems with cracked nipples this time but dd3 has tongue tie and that's v easy to sort.
It is more restricting but most babies take a bottle if you want them to. The first 6 weeks are hard but then it gets easier.

What I remember from ff was all the washing /sterilising/ preparing and I know see babies at babygroup crying while mum makes up a bottle and it's v easy to 'whip out a boob!'

Is there a bf group nearby you can visit & talk to people before baby is born? My local group is welcoming to pregnant women.

VeronicaCake Sat 18-Jun-11 19:08:44

I don't know what you should do, but you really don't have to make a commitment now. You can start bf-ing and see how it goes. If it isn't for you then stopping is not especially difficult (though you need to taper off slowly to stop yourself getting engorged and your baby may need some time to adjust to bottlefeeding).

My experience was that the first few weeks were very hard. My nipples were sore initially, and doing all the feeds was very tiring. I didn't have mastitis but I did get blocked ducts which were very sore. For me it didn't start to get easier until around 8 weeks when DD stopped needing to feed all the time, and I don't think it became so I easy that I didn't need to think about it until she was 3m+. But from that point on it really was a doddle and we are still going strong at 13m.

Bf-ing was harder and easier than I thought it would be. Getting feeding established whilst still recovering from the birth and the deluge of hormones afterwards was hard. But feeding in public and being able to comfort DD when she is tired and upset has all been dead easy.

For your DH I would say that feeding is only one way to bond. DH and DD could not have had a closer relationship and yet DH didn't feed her at all until she started on solids. He cuddled her soon after the birth whilst I was having stitches and it was obvious from an early age that DD found him just as comforting as me.

Going to a class sounds really sensible. But do keep in mind it is not a big monolithic decision. You just need to take one feed at a time and see how it goes.

FDTLuckyMumma Sat 18-Jun-11 19:12:14

Don't get too stressed worrying about it.
Bit painful and tricky to get the hang of but easy and lovely when you do.
Dh bonded beautifully with all mine and I bf all.
Why dont u try it And if it doesn't work out then ff?
Btw don't be afraid to top up in early days with formula if you need to ( just don't tell the bf police wink)

crikeybadger Sat 18-Jun-11 19:13:25

Hi there,

I've breastfed my three boys because for me as once you get the hang of it, it's easy, cheap and very portable.

There's nothing smug about feeding your baby the way us mammals are meant to and you don't have to be a certain 'sort'. grin

I have never had thrush, a blocked duct or mastitis. Of course it's good to have know about these things and how to prevent them, but not everybody has a hard time of it.

I know that many people want their DHs to bottle feed for bonding reasons but I never quite got this. There are loads of other ways he can bond with the baby- playing, holding, cuddling, bathing, nappy changing and by doing all these other things he can help you out while you feed the wee one.

Re, feeding in public- there are lots of ways you can feed without flashing your boobs and tbh, once you have a baby in your arms that just needs feeding, you may not care anyway. I was the the most prudish person pre babies, but will happily breastfeed in front of anyone and anywhere. Most people don't really notice what is going on around them....when was the last time you saw someone breastfeeding in a restaurant or park?

Some women have successfully expressed every feed and given it in a bottle, but it is hard, hard work with all the sterilising and pumping etc. If you can, it's much easier to feed direct from the boob and express the occasional bottle (usually from about 4-6 weeks) if you need to.

If you want more info have a look at for starters and see how you go.


Northernlurker Sat 18-Jun-11 19:19:14

I've breastfed for a total of 39 months over three dcs and only had mastitis once - that was with my third child when I got too casual about feeding from alternate boobs.
Expressing then bottle feeding - well this is possible but it's an awful lot of very hard work and a bit daft really when your boobs will do the job without all that pumping and sterilising.
Public breastfeeding - again in my 39 months I had no negative comments and tbh it's hard to miss my bosoms!

Breastfeeding is a wonderful, wonderful thing that I would recommend to anyone and it is the best way to feed your baby. It also has benefits for your own health.
You need to get your family on side though or simply tell them to shut up. You will not succeed at breastfeeding with a chorus of dissent in the background undermining you.

RitaMorgan Sat 18-Jun-11 19:20:11

I found breastfeeding very easy really. A bit sore for the first week but not painful - I'm breastfeeding my 10 month old still and have never had cracked nipples, mastitus or anything like that. Some people do encounter serious problems, and breastfeeding is a learned skill for you and the baby, but lots of women experience no significant difficulties at all.

DP and DS have an incredibly close relationship - from the very start DP carried DS in a sling, bathed him, took him out, rocked him to sleep, changed nappies. Feeding isn't the same as bonding.

I've breastfed anywhere and everywhere - and although I was quite shy and very discreet at first I am much less so now grin and have never had so much as a comment/sideways glance/tut. If you're very worried you can always use a breastfeeding cover, but actually people rarely even notice you are breastfeeding - it just looks like you are cuddling your baby.

With breastfeeding every feed counts, however many. Even if you only give your baby the colostrum feeds in the first few days you have done a wonderful thing for him. Even one single feed after birth is good for your baby's health, and helps to ease their entrance into this big scary world! Just take one feed at a time - you can always change your mind and bottle feed in a week, 6 weeks, 6 months. If you start off bottle feeding, changing your mind and switching to breastfeeding is much harder.

unfitmother Sat 18-Jun-11 19:21:32

If you start BFing you can always chage to FF if you change your mind.
It's trickier the other way round.

PenguinArmy Sat 18-Jun-11 19:36:28

I figured I would just give it a go, not honestly thinking it would work. If I wanted to switch to FF then I could easily go out and buy stuff.

BreastOrBottle Sat 18-Jun-11 21:40:14

Thanks so much for all the responses, you've all given me lots to think about smile

lilham Sat 18-Jun-11 22:01:52

I agree with everyone that you should just give BFing a go. It's easier to switch to FF. But once your milk dries up, you can't go back isn't it? I'm sure you know about the benefits (to the baby) of BF. Even if you only manage a week or a month, it'll still be worthwhile. And not everyone have horrible experience with BF. I might be very lucky, but I was never sore. Except for engorgement when my milk comes in, and when my DD dropped the night feeds. But that's easily solved with a bit of expressing. My DD is 12 wk and I've fed in various cafes and never had any comments. If you really want to try, just make sure you know how a proper latch should look like, various holds, and get a tube of lansinoh.

As for my DH, he gets to bath my DD and also put her to sleep at night. (She usually gets cuddled to sleep).

Emzar Sat 18-Jun-11 22:07:23

My son is 8 weeks old, and to be honest, I've found breastfeeding a challenge. It's been painful for various reasons, and although it's got better, it's still not easy. But, despite that, I've found it one of the most rewarding, lovely things I've ever done, and I would do it again.

I don't want to put anyone off, but I wish I'd been told about the potential problems before my son was born. It wouldn't have stopped me doing it, but it might have saved me some stressed nights in tears and feeling a failure for not being any 'good' at it. I'd say absolutely give it a go, but carry on reading up on it so you've got the info behind you, and find out before your baby is born what local support is available. Like others have said, if it turns out not to be for you, you can always switch. smile

TotallyUtterlyDesperate Sat 18-Jun-11 22:50:15

I think the point is, for me at least, that bf is a skill that you and also your baby have to learn how to do. Some women and babies find it easier than others. I struggled a bit with DS1 as he was very sleepy and didn't seem to know how to suck. But I persevered and DH was a great supporter. DS2 was much easier as he was born sucking like mad on his hand and then just transferred across to me!

But I fed each of them in the end for a year and was so happy about it all, particularly when things settled down after a few weeks. I had a few weepy moments with DS1, but we soon settled down. I know that other women sometimes find it much harder than I did, but the key I think is finding the right help and not listening to negative people.

My DH did not feel at all left out when I was bf - he did other things with our two boys - especially bathing and lots of cuddling.

My lads are now 18 and 21 and I must admit that I still sometimes miss those breastfeeding years! Hope they grow up to be great dads themselves!

Good luck, whatever your choice - just enjoy your baby. They grow up so soon smile

TK24 Sat 18-Jun-11 23:26:14

oh give it a go! you have nothing to lose and such a wonderful experience to gain! if it turns out it's not for you or your baby than that's what the formulas are there for. But i would definitely recommend you try it. I love every second of it, he's 7 months now and only feeds in the mornings or when he's overtired or upset, but if i hadn't had to return to work (and as a result started to dry up) i would never had stopped so soon!!
I had plenty of negativity esp fom mother-in-law but i just ignored it, my partner was supportive so that was all the approval i needed from anyone.
I can't really explain why i loved it so much, i think the bond between us was just so strong from feeding and i feel like i really gave him the best start. Aside from that it's cheap, convenient and the healthiest option! As for public feeding i just waited until we had latching on down to a fine art (about a week!) before venturing out, then i knew i could be discreet no matter where he got hungry.
The most important thing is to relax about it though. while i was pregnant i knew i wanted to try but was also very aware that it's not for everyone and i wasn't going to beat myself up over it if i couldn't bf or even if i just didn't like it. Formulas do no harm at all and it's no reflection on anyone whichever option they choose.
Best of luck either way!

FetchezLaVache Sat 18-Jun-11 23:38:49

DS is 14 months and I'm still BFing, I absolutely love it and DH has a brilliant bond with him, from whipping his shirt off and giving him skin-to-skin when he was minutes old and just generally mucking in! I've never had mastitis, blocked ducts or cracked nipples, but I did get very sore nipples for a couple of weeks when we were getting used to it. I found it very hard at first, in fact I couldn't believe anything natural could possibly be so difficult, but we got there and it's been totally worth it.

As for BFing in public, I was certain the first time I did it that I'd be glared at from every direction and asked to leave, etc, but what actually happened was that a middle-aged lady went out of her way to give me a really supportive smile. I've had lots of that, but most of the time nobody really notices, I don't think. I tend to wear a fairly loose-fitting top with a vest top underneath- if you pull the vest down and the top up, you can feed very discreetly and nobody sees a thing.

Why not give it a try? You could always move to mix-feeding if that feels more comfortable. Best of luck!

Sidge Sat 18-Jun-11 23:51:03

I breastfed because I'm quite lazy. I couldn't be arsed to faff about with sterilising, bottles etc.

I NEVER had cracked nipples, mastitis, pain or bleeding. I did have a toe-curling letdown but that eased after a few weeks. I breastfed DD1 for 9 months, and DD3 for 13 months. I expressed exclusively for DD2 for 9 months.

I had to exclusively express for tube-fed DD2 - it was an absolute bind and far more hassle than direct feeding. Only to be done if absolutely necessary.

Public feeding was honestly not a problem; I quickly learned how to do it efficiently and discreetly and only once ever was challenged for feeding (and I shot them down in flames politely but firmly.)

Why don't you start breastfeeding and see how it goes? It's easier IMO to start bfing and then switch to ffing than the other way round. And every breastfeed counts, even if they only get the colostrum.

hellymelly Sat 18-Jun-11 23:58:52

I've been bf for six and half years and I've never had mastitis. I have had a blocked duct,that was resolved within a day or two,and I've had a minor cyst,but that can happen to anyone. I did have a painful and tricky first six weeks,but after that it was easy peasy and I imagine far less hassle than bottles. Formula seems a bit barmy to me when you have milk right there,easily accessable on your chest,but then I am lazy! Also formula is bloomin' expensive,I'd rather buy my baby tiny cute outfits. I wonder if you are over-thinking this? Its hard to make this sort of choice in advance,why not just try it and see how you go? Give it a few weeks though,as the beginning can be the tricky bit,and then once you are used to it see whether you want to carry on.

japhrimel Sun 19-Jun-11 08:13:35

Every feed counts. So if you only breastfeed for 3 days, that's still really good for your LO compared to not even trying it.

Breastfeeding is tricky at first - it's a learnt skill for both you and the baby and can take a while to crack, especially if your LO struggles at first. Once you crack it though, it is so easy and it's just lovely.

I do think you need to realise that there might be issues, but that's partly because the way to avoid many breastfeeding issues, especially the physical ones like cracked nipples, mastitis, etc, is to be proactive. Get lots of help with your latch, use Lansinoh loads in the early days, don't let your breasts get engorged or have things pressing on them (ill fitting bras, tight clothes, bag straps, etc) and you can avoid so many problems.

I've breastfed for 6 and a bit months now. DD had loads of issues at first because she had fluid on her lungs and stomach when born, got an infection and was in SCBU being tube-fed for 3 days. But she was exclusively BF with no top-ups by about a month old and we haven't looked back! In the first 6 weeks, I got blocked ducts a lot (mostly because I started off almost exclsuively expressing for her and it's not great for emptying your breasts effectively) and I got thrush once after having to have antibiotics because of my C-section scar. I haven't yet had mastitis and my nipples never properly cracked despite the marathon feeding sessions as we got bfing going. I put that down to me having had to get so much help in the very early days.

It's amazing for soothing her when she's fractious or hurt. And I love that it's so easy with no faff!

I feed her everywhere and have only had positive comments.

Dad's can give bottles of expressed milk after the first few weeks (you don't want to give them from the start unless you have to). And they can help out with so much more.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sun 19-Jun-11 11:05:07

From reading these boards it,s really easy to get the impression that everyone has problems bfing. But lots of people don't, but there isn't really a thread in that is there? grin

I'm another one, like those above, who has had no issues. The first week i had some soreness in my nips, but that went quickly. The only other slight issue was sensativity when i fell pg again...when dc2 arrives i will prob be tandem feeding them and ds.

Having a new bf relationship in the offing is exciting for me. But i know i'm not guaranteed another easy ride. But i do know where to get help if i do have any problems (here, nct, bf group) and to get it asap.

Agree with others, give it a shot. Each bf is a benefit and you can see how it goes. Good luck!

MavisG Sun 19-Jun-11 11:12:38

I think it's harder than ff at first (for me mostly because I just wanted a break from the intensity of always being the one to feed him and he fed aaaaaall the time) and easier than ff a few weeks later - no screaming while you prepare the bottle, no getting up in the night, just have them in bed by you. I'm still bfing now my son's 2 1/2, not saying you'll want to go on this long but you can see how you feel and if you do want to continue into toddlerhood you'll find it's an instant soother for upsets, hurts, tantrums, a quick way to get them to sleep, never mind the continued health benefits to you both and extra cake-eating capacity for you.
Good luck whatever you do, enjoy your baby.

Elasticsong Sun 19-Jun-11 11:30:46

Just wanted to say that exclusive expressing is not an easy option by any stretch of the imagination!
For a load of reasons I'm not going to bore you with, I wasn't able to BF my daughter and exclusively pumped for 14 mths. It can be done but is not a decision to be taken lightly, however you choose to feed your baby!
Good luck with your decision and, if you do decide to EP, please get in touch if I can help...

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