scared to breastfeed(32 Posts)
I'm due my DC2 any day now. My DC1 is 15 months & I didn't even attempt breastfeed him.
Real talk now: how hard is it?
To give some context my DC1 was an angel, only waking for feeds & sleeping thru at 9 weeks so that's my only experience/expectation. How different/stressful will breastfeeding be?
Pain wise I didnt really have any problems. Bit uncomfortable but that was it. Cluster feeding is quite stressful, the baby will want to feed for 2/ 6/8 hours in one go this isnt because of a lack of milk its very normal but it can be quite tying as you end up stuck to the sofa or with baby in a sling. However I found the venefits of never having to sterilse, measure formula or carry bottles around made it worthwhile!
You could try breastfeeding for the first few days, the colostum that is produced in the first coupke of days has massive health benefits so you could breastfeed for a few days and then see how you get on.
With my ds I introduced a weekly bottle after four weeks so one night a week ds could be fed by his dad while i had a night off to sleep or see friends which worked brilliantly
I don't think breastfeeding itself will necessarily create a difference in sleeping through etc: I breastfed for about 10 months with each of my DCs, but introduced an 11pm formula feed when they were about 8 weeks, primarily so that DH could do this feed. DC1 slarted sleeping though shortly after, DC2 took a lot longer, to my annoyance!!
The thing that, for me, made a big difference to how well breastfeeding established was having really supportive community midwives each time, who helped ensure that the latch was right.
I will be completely honest, it does hurt a bit at first, both in terms of the "let down reflex", which is like a tingly/stingy sensation each time you start to feed, and just the physical effect of the baby suckling, but it pretty soon gets easier and pain free (and I found very satisfying!) The thing a good midwife/breastfeeding advisor can do is to help you work out what is just the normal level of discomfort, as opposed to warning signs of thrush/mastitis etc.
Well done on thinking about trying this, it is a great start for your baby, but don't beat yourself up if you find it isn't for you - as I'm sure you know from your DC1, babies do fine on formula!
It really depends on the baby and you. Your expectations should be set at:there will be a lot of time sat on your bottom with the baby, the nappies may smell different to bottle fed nappies, the start of feeds can hurt, be prepared to ask a lot of midwives/bfing support people to check it looks ok if it hurts (so you'll be showing your boobs to health care professionals, but that doesn't mean you have to flash at everyone). You can always do the first couple of days and see how you get on?
Impossible to say. I know women who've found it hard and women who've found it easy. Sleeping through has nothing to do with how the baby is fed.
Making sure your DP is onside will be very helpful. Check out your area for breastfeeding support cafes. Talk to your HV about it.
On the face of it there is no reason to suppose you can't perfectly successfully breastfeed. And remember, even if it's for a day or a week or a month, every breastfeed counts and you'll have given your baby something amazing.
I didn't find it hard at all despite the fact that I had a c section and that allegedly makes it harder - had to wait a good few hours for skin to skin with DS and was totally out of it our first night in hospital. Despite this he latched on easily. I had minor nipple pain for a few days and then was fine. 8 weeks now and I'm loving it, it's so convenient!
I'm not dismissing your fears as I have several friends who have found it really hard and I know not everyone has a good experience but it's not inevitable at all that you're either going to find it difficult or be in pain.
Oh and DS sleeps 5-6 solid hours a night, wakes up for a feed and goes back down for another 2-3 hours which I count as a decent amount of sleep. I have friends with formula fed babies who wake up every hour and breastfed babies who do likewise. "Sleeping through" has nothing to do with how the baby is fed - totally depends on the baby!
And also DS has never really cluster fed to the extent I've read about on here. His feeding pattern has been pretty set since birth. I have no idea why!
As others have said, the early days can be tough- lots of time spent feeding the apparently insatiable baby. The night your milk comes in will be a humdinger, just constant feeding! But, get through that and it gets much easier. I am so glad I persisted, as now I think I have a much easier time than formula feeding friends. I don't have to carry anything other than a muslin (nappy changing stuff too obvs), went out for a walk with the dog the other day, the boy got hungry halfway through so we found a quiet bench and fed, no fuss, no mixing up powder, just onto the boob in the dappled sunlight. It was a genuinely lovely moment. He's now 19 weeks old and I don't seem any reason for us to stop any time soon.
I would talk to your midwife about what support is available in your area, we have a breastfeeding cafe at our local children's centre which has been a great source of information and support for me. Also get your partner on board now, support from my DH has been absolutely crucial for me.
I have never had mastitis, cracked nipples or thrush, I did have some problems with engorged boobs and nipple pain as a result as the boy struggled to latch onto such humongous things! But that was mitigated with some judicious pumping before feeding to relieve the pressure, and now is totally resolved anyway.
I struggled with both of mine tbh. DC1 just wouldn't latch and lost a lot of weight and was jaundiced. We topped up with formula from day 1 but persevered and gradually cut down to 2 bottle feeds a day. I mix fed her until 1 year. After having DC2, I now think she had undiagnosed tongue tie.
DC2 appeared to be much better initially but mangled my nipples so badly the first 2 days, I was advised to just hand express for 2 days to let them heal. She had a severe posterior tt diagnosed and snipped at 10 days old. Later that week we had 2 days of her refusing the breast but just as we thought we were done with bf, she started again and we are again mix feeding with 2 formula feeds a day, otherwise bf. She's now 5 months.
The first month was really hard with both of them, but they both got there in the end. I don't regret introducing a bottle and formula in some capacity early on as it gives me the best of both worlds now. I had some friends whose baby just latched the first time perfectly and they never looked back. I would suggest you give it a go if you want to and just see how things pan out for you both.
After the first month I now find it a breeze and wonder what on earth I found so difficult - rewind to the first month and I didn't know what the heck I was doing. Constantly panicking about whether I was feeding properly but I'm so stubborn and pigheaded that I persisted through blistered nipples and bad latches until we both found our rhythm. All in all, you can always try breastfeeding and then switch to bottles if it's not to you, but it's a different kettle of fish starting on bottles and then never getting your milk in. Take advantage of local breastfeeding cafes/groups. There's a wealth of knowledge and experience out there because if you get it right, it's a wonderful experience. Good luck .
My biggest tip would be to buy the Lansinoh gel because you must must must heal your nipples as best as you can.
My experience with breastfeeding was awful until DS was 10 weeks old when he just seemed to "get it" (latching on) and we found our rhythm. Prior to that I had been so anxious about if he was getting enough milk, why was it hurting, when would it get easier etc etc. From that point on it was wonderful and I have literally just stopped bfing now at 1 year because I've been poorly.
But the main thing is that it has to be right for your family and you. I persevered because I am stubborn and I had got an idea in my head- looking back on that I wish I had been a bit kinder to myself and not expected it to be easy. I felt it was my fault it was so hard, when actually it was all just normal. Good luck
I think it depends on the baby and the level of support/information you have. Ds was born jaundiced, sleepy and tongue tied and bf was hard, very hard. My nipped were shredded and I was uninformed and ill advised. We started topping up with f as he was still losing weight at 10 days and was just feeding to sleep for 40 minutes then waking up screaming then feeding to sleep again. It got better after his tt snip but Tbh I never felt that he really got the hang of it and he was mix fed to 6 months.
Dd was totally different, born wide awake and ready to feed. She latched on nicely and fed well from day one. I had some cracking and soreness but after two weeks all discomfort was gone and dd was having really quick (but still frequent) feeds.
I personally found bf easier than ff as dd would only take warm milk so I would have been forever having to cool very hot milk or warm cold milk etc. Also because dd fed so efficiently it was quick to feed her. Ds was probably easier to ff.
Thanks so much for your supportive comments. As many of u have suggested, I'll try it & if I only manage it for a few days the baby will still benefit.
I'm not so worried about pain, more of a confidence thing that I won't know what to do &/or will upset the baby.
Unfortunately none of my friends/family had positive experiences with bf, so it's nice to hear your positive yet honest experiences.
I would definitely recommend trying to hand express in the shower from 39 weeks on. You won't really see much result but it's drawing the colostrum to the surface. It's great if by the time you give birth you're actually seeing a bead or two form.
It means that the first time the baby tries to latch on, it'll get an encouraging taste. And you'll smell of colostrum too. And it'll go hell for leather then, hopefully.
I had supply problems later on but he latched like a champ and the first few days were actually pretty easy, and I really think it was cos my colostrum was right at the top, ready to go.
(Btw they don't like you to try to do it before 39 weeks as expressing can occasionally trigger labour! )
Might be worth finding a breastfeeding mentor in your area, if you've not got any RL support.
Fucking hellishly painful for 4 weeks. After that fine.
And I didn't even have infections/bleeding nipples etc. I had a very easy time of it in all.
Hi, good for you for thinking about these things before the baby!! I have 12 week old DD and always knew I wanted to breastfeed, read books etc, but never really spoke to any real people about it! I really wish I'd known about potential difficulties before. DD had posterior tongue tie which we had snipped around a week old. Tbh the first few weeks were horrendous, my nipples cracked and bled and I got thrush. HOWEVER, I managed to find an amazing lactation consultant (who I will definitely see again with DC2 just for general advice/reassurance!) and that combined I think with DD just growing and her latch improving after the op has really improved things. From about 6/8 weeks we have been pain free. When it was tough it was really tough and when people told me i would look back on it and it would feel really far away I didn't believe them, but now I'm in a much better place it really is true! And I'm so glad I persevered. Things that helped me included expressing milk so I could have a break, and nipple shields when she wasn't latching. Before my next I will be stocking up on nipple shields again just in case! I think committing to trying for the first few days is a great start and then just see how it goes, get help if it's not going well but do whatever works for you and your family in the end!! Oh and breastfeeding cafes / support groups shop around though if you can, I found some awful but others really good! Good luck
Oh and no matter what we all say you'll probably still feel like it's all going wrong and you don't know what baby wants, but it'll all work out in the end!!
Ok thanks Elspeth, I'm just off to YouTube hand expressing! I'm 40+5 so I'm more than happy for it to start labour!
Thanks for the advice everyone. Sounds like hard work in the beginning but quite frankly everything is in the beginning? I'll aim for that golden 6 weeks & take it from there...
While we're being honest how bad do your boobs look after bf ? Mine are pretty saggy now & I currently have very large almost black areolas-the joys of pregnancy!
I think that depends on the person/boobs. Mine got a bit bigger (yay!) But are definitely a bit lower/more matronly looking. But I'm ok with the aftermath in general.
In contrast, my mate is always wailing about her empty boobs.
So no guarantees I'm afraid. It's a roll of the dice.
Breastfeeding doesn't affect your breasts, it's being pregnant that does that, irrespective of whether you breastfeed. And as the PP has said, it depends very much on the individual. I fed DS for 16 months or so, and mine are pretty much how they were before I was pregnant.
Well mine are pretty bad anyway so nothing to lose
Mine have gone very strange - darkened at the edges of the areola but lost pigmentation in the middle! Very odd looking..
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