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Bad mother for not wanting to breastfeed?

(40 Posts)
Expectantmum Mon 07-Feb-05 14:07:05

Does it make me a bad mother for not wanting to breastfeed at all? I have thought about it so much since I fell pregnant (I am now 20 weeks) and it just doesn't appeal to me at all. To start with, again, I was born in 1974 and my mum decided not to breastfeed me and it has done me absolutely no harm at all. I am scared and nervous at being a mum for the first time, I want my partner to be involved as much as possible, but in reality, I just don't like the idea of breastfeeding. Am I wrong to feel the way I do? I do feel society dictates that you should breastfeed but surely its my right to decide whats best?

nailpolish Mon 07-Feb-05 14:09:25

no it doesnt make you a bad mother at all. and dont let anyone tell you otherwise.

a happy mummy is what is best for baby

congrats on the pg xxx

Lonelymum Mon 07-Feb-05 14:11:50

I think you should do whatever you want to and try not to worry about other people's opinions. To be honest, I breast fed all four of mine and came up against some prejudice there too so whatever you do will not be right for someone. This is a very contentious issue on Mumsnet - lots of heated arguments have taken place on this subject. I am not sure you know what you might have started by asking this question!

Of course your baby will survive on formula milk. The only thing I would say is to keep an opne mind about it because you might feel differently when your baby is born (but I am not suggesting you haven't thought long and hard about it now and come to the best decision for you).

StealthMouse Mon 07-Feb-05 14:14:23

If you don't want to do it - don't do it.

I felt exactly like you and I still didn't want to even when dd arrived. I don't regret it at all and I'm very happy with my decision.

Do what you think is right and don't let anyone 'bully' you into anything.

Expectantmum Mon 07-Feb-05 14:17:13

Oh dear, have I started all-out combat here asking such a question? . Forgive me, I am beginner at this just as much as anything else! Have been reading the post-boards for the last couple of days and thought I would give it a go!
I must say you ladies have certainly eased some of my worries.

I thought I might try the very first feed from the breast as I have been told that thats the most important one anyway, but as you say, its best to just decide at the time.

Can't wait to meet bubby for the first time, although petrified at the same time.

Thank you!!

Cristina7 Mon 07-Feb-05 14:17:19

IMO I think it's your right to make informed decisions. What is best for a baby in general (as in text book) is breast milk rather than formula, even if you only do it for a few weeks. What's best for you personally and as a family is for you and your dp to decide.

open Mon 07-Feb-05 14:17:21

One thing I would say, is read the information on breastfeeding and bottlefeeding and make an informed decision.

Do remember it is your choice.

skerriesmum Mon 07-Feb-05 14:24:32

This is completely your decision. I will just tell you my experience. Before I had ds I thought I would only breastfeed for six months at most, but I liked it so much and he did so well that I continued for over a year! To me it was one of the most enjoyable things about having a baby (some women continue well into toddlerhood but that's a different topic...) You won't know until you try. If after a couple of days or a week or whatever it still doesn't work out then of course make the switch.

HunkerMunker Mon 07-Feb-05 14:30:41

Just remember that it's easy to start breastfeeding and switch to bottles later, but harder (though possible) to switch to breastfeeding from bottles if you do change your mind. It's like anything though, until you actually try it, you don't know whether it's something you want to do.

As for your partner being involved, he certainly can be - there's plenty to do with a new baby (changes, baths, cuddles, settling, more cuddles , bringing you sustenance while you feed!).

But if you really don't like it and it's making you unhappy doing it, then don't.

(PS - halfway there - congrats and hope all goes well with the second half of your pregnancy)

Expectantmum Mon 07-Feb-05 14:30:45

One of my main concerns is that I will have to go back to work fulltime when baby is about 4 months, which means I will be away from hom about 12 hours a day. I'm worried that I will feel like when I am not directly feeding, I will be expressing! I know that sounds terribly selfish but I don't feel I would be getting any time to enjoy any other time with my child.

nailpolish Mon 07-Feb-05 14:35:31

i bf dd1 because i had the time and the motivation to do it. when dd2 was born there were lots of problems which led me to changing to bottle feeding when she was only a week old. it broke my heart.

i made the decision for the whole family its not just about you and your baby, although it would be nice if it was, but decisions have to be made in whats best for the whole family. its all about family life

please dont get too upset or worried about what to do, make a decision and stick to it, its hard not to but please dont feel guilty about anything if that decision is for the best.

my dd2 is now 15 wks and she is just as healthy and happy as dd1 was at that age, if not more so, and i regret the first week of her life when i cried all day and night and felt like a bad mother. you never get that time back

oh i really hope things work out for you, please dont feel pressured in any way

NotQuiteCockney Mon 07-Feb-05 14:41:25

Oh, Expectantmum, you don't have to decide what you're going to do at 4 months, when the baby's born! You can breastfeed for the first few months, then move to mixed feeding, or just to bottle. If you find expressing easy, then you can give only expressed breast milk. (You'd actually need to express at work to do this - I think employers in the UK are obliged to provide time and space for this?)

By starting to breastfeed, you aren't signing a contract saying "baby will only have breastmilk and no formula ever". And as HunkerMunker points out, moving from breast to bottle is easier than the reverse.

Expectantmum Mon 07-Feb-05 14:45:56

I really don't work in the environment where I can nip off to express a bottle every couple of hours - mores the shame, so you can see why I say that I would feel like I would be constantly feeding or expressing! I feel more at ease when I decide to bottlefeed, the thought of breastfeeding makes me anxious and nervous .

aloha Mon 07-Feb-05 14:48:02

My advice is not to worry about what will happen four months after the birth - and don't make decision based on it. By four months you could be mixed feeding - some breastfeeds, some bottlefeeds (I did this with my baby) and I expressed at work (only once a day usually, in the loos, for about 10-20minutes), or you could have moved over to giving formula. But you really, really don't know how you will feel until you actually have a baby. If you are thinking of trying breastfeeding in the early days, well I think that's great. Colostrum is very good stuff for babies. Any breastfeeding is healthy for your baby, and of course, lots of babies thrive brilliantly on formula too. I would say, personally, it's best to keep an open mind about most things to do with your first baby! And you might really love it.
Of course it is your right to decide what is best. Breastmilk has many advantages, but you are certainly not a bad mother if you don't breastfeed.

aloha Mon 07-Feb-05 14:50:46

Basically I'm saying the same as NQC! You don't have to express or feed all the time - why do you think that? Yes, newborns often want feeding very frequently, but you don't have to express at all if you don't want to. And by four months (which is really quite a long way off!) you may move over to formula or you may do some mixed feeding. There are lots of options in between ONLY ever giving formula and ONLY ever giving breastmilk. Honest!

Expectantmum Mon 07-Feb-05 14:55:45

Well thanks ladies - you've certainly given me lots to think about and I realise my options are far better than I realised!

I must get on with some work, or me worrying about what happens by the end of the year will be irrelevant when I get sacked for chatting with you lot. I'll be opening a new conversation "Sacked for chatting on Mumsnet"!! ha ha ha!!

Chandra Mon 07-Feb-05 15:11:45

Expectantmum, don't worry what would it happen when you return to work, I worried so much about the same and did not even got pass the first month. Taking the thing one step at a time makes them definitively easier. Good luck! and as the others have said, it's your decision

oops Mon 07-Feb-05 15:19:42

Message withdrawn

highlander Mon 07-Feb-05 23:22:02

it's all very well saying 'you may want to BF when your baby is born', but BF is too tricky and the NHS will not give you adequate support, for anyone to take it up with no prior knowledge. IMO, to BF successfully, you have to be 200% comitted to it, be aware of the pitfalls and how to deal with them and, most importantly, have a solid support team behind you. It's physically and emotionally exhausting, bloody painful in the first 10 days............. but very rewarding once you get going

Your DH will still have plenty time to bond with the baby if you BF. For example, my DH used to get up and do the nappy changes then hand DS to me for feeding. He used to take him for walks in the Baby Bjorn as well and they both loved it .

I think at the end of the day, there are advantages and disadvantages to both bottle and breast. Pick the one that your gut feeling says is best for you. Search the archives here on MN for witty ripostes for the criticism you'll receive (applies to breast and bottle!!)

Don't worry, there's a million things that some smart arse will criticise you for when you're a mum - it's part of the game.

Good Luck!!

HunkerMunker Mon 07-Feb-05 23:24:34

Highlander, that's not quite all the story. There are some fantastic midwives in the NHS and a lot of women do breastfeed successfully from the start, without pain.

Yes a lot of women have problems, yes a lot of the 'support' out there is rubbish, and that needs addressing (anyone want to write to their MP tonight at all, ladies?!), but not all women have problems, not by a long way.

SkiBunnyFlummy Mon 07-Feb-05 23:26:06

Bet you do want to when your baby arrives. I did, it just seems the loveliest thing to do to be able to feed your baby everything it needs without getting out of bed. I think nature takes over a little bit.

SkiBunnyFlummy Mon 07-Feb-05 23:29:15

But if it doesn't then you might get a bit more kip if hubby can give a bottle. But don't think that works that well though as I always wake up whenever baby wakes even when dp is in charge, I just lie there awake wanting to know what is going on if she is taking bottle etc.

mears Mon 07-Feb-05 23:31:20

are there 2 of these threads. I posted to Expectantmum but was that on another one? Anyway, EM you can breastfeed and still return to work without the need for expressing if that is your concern. You just bottlefeed when you are at work and breastfeed when you are home.

Flossam Mon 07-Feb-05 23:33:23

As others have said, I really wouldn't let the thought of going back to work stop you from giving feeding a go if that is what you think you would like. It is a rewarding experience. When I go back to work I will be doing 12hour shifts, and be out of the house from 6 - 9.30. I still hope to be breastfeeding by then though so I can come home and have a lovely cuddle while BF DS. Have you joined a ante natal group on here yet? You'll find lots of support there too from women going through the same stage of pg as you. Good luck with baby

Joolstoo Mon 07-Feb-05 23:37:14

I agree with nailpolish.

I didn't breastfeed my 3 either and have never felt, guilty, bad or inadequate.

However I would have to concede that breast IS best but it is certainly your right to choose.

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