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How would you know in advance that you won't be able to breastfeed? Have worried myself (ridiculously, I suspect)

(18 Posts)
LoveInAColdClimate Mon 19-Sep-11 08:19:53

I am pregnant with my first baby, as is a colleague. We were discussing our plans/hopes and I said I really wanted to breastfeed. She said she would be FF because she can't breastfeed. It's also her first baby. How do you know in advance that you won't be able to breastfeed? Have managed to worry myself that maybe the same applies to me but I have forgotten to give the midwife some vital piece of information so I'm blissfully unaware blush. I know this is probably really daft but have always wanted to and assumed I would breastfeed (I was breastfed until I was 2 and I know my mother loved it) and am now angsting. TIA.

pinkyp Mon 19-Sep-11 08:24:02

There's very fee reasons why you can't breastfeed - years ago before formula it was the only way! Alot of people now 'choose' not too. Perhaps she has false boobs? Or some breast issues. Did you ask?

VivaLeBeaver Mon 19-Sep-11 08:24:24

She might have had some sort of breast surgery in the past or be taking some sort of medication that means she can't b/f. Or she may not want to b/f but is telling you that she can't as she is worried about being judged for choosing formula feeding.

bigkidsdidit Mon 19-Sep-11 08:25:29

she might have had a breast reduction? Or perhaps has a health issue that she doesn't want to discuss with you - I'm not clear but I think some viruses transmit through breastmilk.

hester Mon 19-Sep-11 08:27:18

There are some medical conditions that make it either impossible or inadvisable to breastfeed. They are rare.

It is also possible that she has decided she can't bf because nobody in her family has, and this has resulted in a kind of family myth that 'we can't breastfeed'.

Since neither of these apply to you there is no reason to think you can't bf smile. Most of us can: bf is often tough at first, but I found it a fantastic experience once I'd got the hang of it. Like your mum, I carried on bf till my dd was nearly 2.

Good luck!

LoveInAColdClimate Mon 19-Sep-11 08:28:48

I didn't ask because I didn't want to seem nosey but then went away and worried instead - I should have asked! Yes, I suppose it could be that she just doesn't want to - she did say she didn't mind as it meant her DP could share feeding and she'd be able to go out without the baby sooner (which I was slightly taken aback by!).

So having not had breast surgery and not being on medication, there shouldn't be anything stopping me BF? That was my understanding pre-discussion with colleague but then became panicked!

LoveInAColdClimate Mon 19-Sep-11 08:30:17

Oh, thanks for further replies, x posts! Thanks, everyone, feel much reassured.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 19-Sep-11 08:31:24

Yep, you're right. A very, very tiny percentage of women can't breastfeed at all, but with adequate support and barring any medical issues, you're extremely unlikely to be one of them.

The only woman I know who could never breastfeed at all despite lactation consultants and domperidone and whatnot had had a breast reduction.

pinkyp Mon 19-Sep-11 08:33:24

There's no reason why you won't be able to bf, make sure you get lots of support and help for the first few weeks as there the hardest. It gets so much easier x

hester Mon 19-Sep-11 08:39:37

Oh, and just to add that angsting about everything is very much a symptom of pregnancy. Especially first pregnancy. If you weren't worrying about this you'd be worrying about something else smile

organiccarrotcake Mon 19-Sep-11 08:57:58

I've met several women whose mother and Grandmothers didn't BF because they were told they "didn't have enough milk" or something equally banal, so they assumed they couldn't either. Digging deeper it (not surprisingly) turned out the mother/GM was put onto 4 hour feeding schedules and therefore their milk supply wasn't stimulated properly, so they stopped producing milk. But it had got into the family history as a "fact" that women in their family can't BF How their GM and women going up the generations who were born without formula being available wasn't considered smile I've yet to meet anyone who comes to me with that story not be able to actually BF perfectly successfully.

Another mum I met recently who was pregnant with her second said that she couldn't BF because when she had her first she didn't make enough milk, and this she knew because she didn't leak. Her mother nodded in agreement, and said that she told her this because when SHE'd had HER she leaked copious amounts of milk and therefore she knew that her daughter just was one of those girls who didn't make enough so she told her to put the child onto formula. I explained that it was perfectly normal for some women to never leak a drop, yet make enough for twins, and the pregnant lady was amazed - and very relieved as she was really upset about what happened the first time. Her mum was a bit miffed that I'd contradicted her, but I couldn't help that sad

Your colleague may be wrong about the fact that she can't BF. Or, she may be right - without knowing why she thinks this it's impossible to know. It may be that it's something that she wouldn't want to share, so it might be worth considering suggesting to her that she comes onto here with her reason for not being about to BF and see if there is a way around it. That way if she wants to do so anonymously she can. If she chooses to tell you why she believes she can't, you might know otherwise and be able to give her the option to BF, should she want to smile But that way you don't need to actually ask.

LoveInAColdClimate Mon 19-Sep-11 10:44:47

Thanks all - MN is a font of knowledge! I think this may well be displacement angst as am currently on semi-bed rest and have a scan tomorrow following bleeding and cramping (am 14+5) so I think I am focusing on "how will I feed the baby when it arrives" not "will the baby be ok" to give myself something more positive to think about...

hester Mon 19-Sep-11 12:21:10

Oh, I'm really sorry to hear that. I had bleeding and cramping up to 20 weeks and it was so frightening. REally help all goes well for you tomorrow.

LoveInAColdClimate Mon 19-Sep-11 13:00:22

Thanks, Hester.

Stormwater Mon 19-Sep-11 13:05:03

Also, just to add to what others have said, it may be that you'll have no problem with breastfeeding at all, it won't be painful, and the first two weeks may not be a struggle! Some people have problems, but far more just take to it easily, and don't find it hard - hopefully you'll be lucky like I was. So don't worry too much, just remember that if you are having problems there is almost always a way to fix it, so make sure you ask for help if needed.

Trillian42 Mon 19-Sep-11 14:01:55

Like Stormwater said, it's not difficult for everyone. While pregnant, I had a well meaning friend who gave me a long talk on why not everyone can BF and how even though I might want to, not to be upset if it didn't work out. Another male friend did similar as his wife had difficulties. I worried myself sick for the first few weeks as a result even though DD seemed to know what she was doing!

Iamjustthemilkmachine Tue 20-Sep-11 00:06:22

OP how are you doing? Good luck, i also bled at 8 and 12 wks. I also really wanted to bf, my mum and granny only did it for a short time so i was worried, then my hb ended in an emcs and a huge loss of blood. At hospital the bf consultant said annaemia often makes bf difficult, ds lost a lot of weight (he was huge) and on day 3 there was no sign of my milk, we were put on a strickt feeding/cup top up/ expresing regime and on day 5 the milk finally flowed.
It was really stresful but i had amazing support at hospital. Bf is a skill, and there are experts out there, use them.OP how are you doing? Good luck, i also bled at 8 and 12 wks. I also really wanted to bf, my mum and granny only did it for a short time so i was worried, then my hb ended in an emcs and a huge loss of blood. At hospital the bf consultant said annaemia often makes bf difficult, ds lost a lot of weight (he was huge) and on day 3 there was no sign of my milk, we were put on a strickt feeding/cup top up/ expresing regime and on day 5 the milk finally flowed.
It was really stresful but i had amazing support at hospital. Bf is a skill, and there are experts out there, use them.

Iamjustthemilkmachine Tue 20-Sep-11 00:07:50

Oh no, this phone does that sometimes, sorry!

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