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Do you think breastfeeding is more sucessful if the mother is relaxed and laid back?

(36 Posts)
rasputin Tue 18-Aug-09 21:26:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pasturesnew Tue 18-Aug-09 21:31:30

I don't know to be honest. I am not convinced the body is actually all that linked to the mind, I think it can get on and do its own thing even when the owner is stressed. I say this because I was so surprised at recovering from emergency surgery for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and conceiving easily despite being very miserable.

Many, if not most, women are stressed after birth so it would not be helpful to believe that they were less able to bf, even if this were slightly true, I would always tell a friend in this position to try anyway and not beat themselves up about being stressed, it can otherwise be a downward spiral.

pushmepullyou Tue 18-Aug-09 21:35:09

I'm a rather anxious first time mother with a third degree tear smile.

I had a lot of pain and nipple bleeding to begin with but never really considered not ebfing.

I think it is because I remember my little sister being bfed until 2, which normalised it and meant that I had confidence that DD and I would both get the hang of it and it would stop hurting fairly soon (took about 5 weeks altogether).

Also I am far too tight to pay for formula if I don't need to grin.

TheCrackFox Tue 18-Aug-09 21:35:36


A lot of the time it is luck of the draw. The most important thing is decent support.

NotEvenTheTrees Tue 18-Aug-09 21:38:46

Nah tis support.

Had a very long labour, episiotomy, manual rotation, eventual em cs. Jaundiced baby, poor postnatal care, severe anaemia, trouble with latch and mastitis, very anxious, unhappy, PTSD.

Bfing, exclusively for 7 months and still feeding now at 2.3yrs. In fact, the stress and anxiety made me more determined to bfeed.

pushmepullyou Tue 18-Aug-09 21:39:50

Oops just realised I got so carried away thinking about me I never answered the question blush.

I think that direct physical problems not withstanding, confidence in your body's ability to feed your baby and the transient nature of nipple soreness etc. ca be very helpful, and not necessarily incompatible with general stress/a neurotic personality wink

rasputin Tue 18-Aug-09 21:41:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

treedelivery Tue 18-Aug-09 21:47:00

I dunno.

I think if we worry alot, then confidence can get a firm hammering in the early weeks of bfing. As it can with any new baby experience, bfing or otherwise.

I hear 'with a bottle I see what he is getting' and 'he had 6oz and went to sleep so he was definately hungry'

So maybe these examples are examples of worries that preyed on the mind of the bfing mum, but were then got rid of by feeding by bottle [usually formula]

What I hear is a tendancy to jump on bfing as the probable root cause of all baby strife. Rather than an assumption that this is life with baby - does that make sense?

So a baby isn't sleeping 'through' at 6 weeks, must be the bfing. If the baby was bottle feeding I guess other things would be looked at.
But maybe if we were more relaxed and said 'this is my baby, she is not ready to sleep through. She is not <<insert name>>'s baby who is different. Mine is not wrong, just different'. Maybe this approach would give us more peace of mind.

But I would reject the argument that bfing difficulties are the product of an anxious mum - absolutely. I am a totally laid back bfing mum, who had no end of strife feeding dd2. And I am a midwife - so there you go smile

[dd2 dairy intolerant dontchaknow] Had I not been 100% sure of my bf ground I might have formula fed many many times, to try stop the screaming.

TheWorstWitch Tue 18-Aug-09 21:55:50

In general, no.
In particular , yes.

Generally speaking I'm not a very laid-back person and I had no problems with breastfeeding on teh whole.

However, I remember how awful it was the first time I fed DD in public: she cried when she latched on / if she managed to latch on, my nipples hurt and I failed to breastfeed her. In retrospect, I don;t think she was getting any milk as I was so tense and uptight.
So, on this particular occasion, yes.

IsItMeOr Tue 18-Aug-09 21:56:54

I think you may be onto something there treedelivery. I hear feeding being blamed for everything, especially poor sleeping.

DS slept very poorly from 6-13 weeks. The only thing that comforted him was breastfeeding, which we did for around 10 hours each day. It seemed bad (ie wrong) at the time, as all my antenatal group friends were feeding much less and getting out and about more. Then I realised that at least something did comfort him, and how much worse would it have been if we hadn't had that. So I enjoyed putting my feet up and caught up on some tv. I missed all that cuddling time when he grew out of that phase smile.

A bit of a ramble! I am an anxious person by nature, but that's possibly linked to my perfectionism, so I would have found it very hard not to keep on with BFing, knowing that it was best for DS.

KristinaM Tue 18-Aug-09 21:57:18

i agree with thecrackfox

i dont think "stress" as in being worried makes any difference. i think bf is a lot harder if you and/or the baby have problems eg reflux, cracked nipples, mastitis, painful stitches, high demand baby etc etc

problems like this make feeding more difficult and mum can get tired/stressed. the stress is the EFFECT, not the cause of feeding problems

supporting mothers and babies can help with the problems and reduce stress. telling mums to " relax" DOESN'T HELP

PinkyRed Tue 18-Aug-09 21:58:20

I'm really anxious and with dd1, had a traumatic birth. I bf'd till she was one, now bf'ing ds1 sucessfully so far. I agree with a previous poster that it's more about the support you get.

rasputin Tue 18-Aug-09 22:00:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pushmepullyou Tue 18-Aug-09 22:10:38

rasputin, yes I suppose I was fairly relaxed about bfing specifically, but am not particularly relaxed generally. I think even (or perhaps especially) my best friends would be hard pushed to describe me as a laid back person grin

BalloonSlayer Tue 18-Aug-09 22:12:08

I am a VERY anxious person.

Last week I bought myself a "mood ring." I discarded it two days later as it had reverted to permanent black (anxious) and I have no wish to wear a black ring grin.

I was too up-tight to express milk. Just couldn't do it. I tried all the tricks - photo etc - but it just wouldn't come out.

I managed to BF DS1 for 18m. Stopped because I had DD. Breastfed DD for 27months. Am now on 23 months for DS2. Because of the lack of success of expressing, this has always felt like a kind of magic. On the rare occasion one of them has puked up a whole feed I have looked at the results with awe, having never really clapped eyes on my own milk. This awe-filled moment occurs just before I've thought "oh no, I'll have to feed 'em again now. What with???"

Despiet apparent BF success, there was never a mouthful to spare and they were all slender babies. Could not augment feeds with formula because DS1 had dairy allergy (unconfirmed till he was 6 months, but I knew.)

EldonAve Tue 18-Aug-09 22:12:12


Lotkinsgonecurly Tue 18-Aug-09 22:19:28

I think you need confidence in your ability to bf and a want to carry on and do it even if it is difficult at times. I think being self confident makes you then more relaxed to BF.

However support is critical, other mums who are BF or have bf is key. I found the local BF clinic quite helpful at times even if it was to rant over how hard it was at 4 in the morning.

I didn't ever use formula for either child, however if we have no 3 I won't be afraid to use formula occassionally if necessary. Think is combination of factors not just being relaxed.

Good luck

blueshoes Tue 18-Aug-09 22:23:36

I am not a laid back person, crash cs and NICU/SCBU baby. Bf-ing went like a breeze (no pain ever) once the medics left me and dd to it.

Same with ds, elective cs.

Both extended bf-ing.

So to answer the question, no.

logrrl Tue 18-Aug-09 22:25:12

oooh interesting
DS is almost 20 weeks. I would say that BF has been the easiest part of adjusting to being a Mummy. Not BF was never an option even though I had a few early supply issues, a week of bad colicky crying, a few other little niggles like burny nipples etc and pretty slow weight gain in DS. Every woman of any meaning in my life has BF her baby, so I didn't consider any alternatives and I therefore didn't worry about BF, even though I was demented with worry about EVERYTHING else, to the point of shaking with anxiety for about two weeks after DS was born (natural birth, no pain meds, very calm). Similarly, my DH hadn't considered that I might do anything different and has been very proud, positive and normalising of the whole thing. So, to sum up (God, I can ramble), I have been fairly relaxed about BF but not about anything else, and it's went well. Infact, the BF has been the only thing to cling to some times when I've thought "I can't do this parenting thing". I have no idea how or if this answers your question....hmm

BertieBotts Tue 18-Aug-09 22:25:58

I think you have a point but I think that most problems women have with breastfeeding are completely unrelated to stress, so you'd have to take those situations out of the equation.

If bf is going well anyway, I think the mums who are more anxious and don't have the support or resources (including Mumsnet etc) to reassure them are more likely to stop for reasons such as not being sure how much milk the baby is getting, or thinking they are "too" hungry based on things like feeding patterns or night waking. The more relaxed mums are less likely to think or worry about these things I think.

PinkyRed Tue 18-Aug-09 22:28:12

Rasputin - I had a v supportive partner, but I meant the practical hands-on (literally) support I got from the nurses and midwife at hospital. I was in hospital for a week with dd1, and had some fantastic women working there who really helped me, so by the time I left to go home, I'd kind of got the hang of it.

treedelivery Tue 18-Aug-09 22:31:20

Really interesting this. And it is really important to say that even if anxiety does effect any form of parenting that does not imply blame. The anxious/concerned/wondering/struggling/ one can't be blamed.

That's the idea of trying to equip women with knowledge of how bfing works, having the knowledge of why it works might impart a sense of confidence in the process, and perhaps help remove anxiety that the bfing isn't 'working' when its our time to do it. Though all the knowledge in the world can not tell us, at 4am, why the baby is nearly blue from screaming. And that is what we want isn't it? To know why so we can fix it.

That is sometimes called 'anxiety' or 'over anxious' but actually it's just caring. With my baby, I had to step back and say I'm sorry you are crying, but the feeding is non-negotiable. We eventually got to the bottom of it - dairy. I'm sure all my hcp's believe I am over anxious and all the rest of it, but I was right. The kid was miserable, and isn't anymore.

No such thing as an over anxious mother, just a mother who hasn't had her anxieties addressed.

In general, in all parenting, I think it is a shame for them, if a mother cannot enjoy some aspects of their kids for sheer worry. That is a shame.

treedelivery Tue 18-Aug-09 22:34:02

So many commas. blush

Must eat and fuel brain.

kitesarefun Tue 18-Aug-09 22:37:16

I think it's support that matters the most too.

Not just from midwives / HV, but from family, friends, DH, mumsnet, etc.

I had amazing support at hospital from the infant feeding team. And then from my mum who breastfed 4 children, my sister who breastfed all hers, and my DH who helped practically (cooking, cleaning etc) in the early days when I seemed to spend hours and hours of my time feeding DD.

rasputin Tue 18-Aug-09 22:38:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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