Breastfeeding - Do I, Dont I?: Hi ladies, I am currently... - NCT

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Breastfeeding - Do I, Dont I?

FirstTimeMam
FirstTimeMam

Hi ladies, I am currently 23, carrying my first child and have been thinking a lot in to whether to breastfeed or not. I am well aware of the pros and cons of the process and know that 'Breast is Best' for my little baby, BUT I am just forwards and backwards all the time. In an ideal world, I'd like to breastfeed for the first 3 or 4 months and then move on to bottle feeding (I'll have to return to work eventually so cannot depend solely on on-demand feeding). Is this frowned upon? I know the first few months are crucial to developing an immune system and also improving chances of certain problems but I don't want to do this if it means I will ruin the 4 months by then moving to bottle feeding. I want to be able to do this (I really do) but not for a long period of time. Do you think this is worth trying or do I just go straight to formula? Any advice is massively appreciated xx

19 Replies
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Absolutely it's definitely worth trying, it's made by your body to be the exact thing to nourish and provide for your baby, it's their own specific recipe and it's perfect for them. It recommended to breastfeed feed them for at least the first two years and they naturally wean themselves between 2 and 5 years but you can choose to feed them for however long you want to, that's your decision. I would choose breastfeeding everytime it's free, it doesn't require any bottles or sterilising of equipment and it's ready to go day or night without having to get up in the night and make bottles. Breastfeeding is also a great tool to have for lots of occasions beyond just for food it can help provide baby with comfort during teething, colds, tired, upset, hurt etc. It's so much more than just feeding baby.

It's not always easy though at first, the first few months is a lot of practice to get it right, and get your supply in sync with baby. It's a new skill for you and baby and you might need support to get it right. You need to learn what positions work for you and baby and how up get a good latch so that you don't get any pain and baby can get the milk efficiently.

It can feel like you're not producing enough milk sometimes but as long as baby is having weight gain and wet, dirty nappies then you have enough milk.

I went back to work at 8 months and baby just used to have water and food in the day and I'd give her a feed before I went to work and in the evenings and she was fine. So depending on when you go back to work baby might not need bottles during the day. As they wean onto food and water they need less and less milk from you.

Our little one had formula a couple of times when I've gone out in the evening as I don't enjoy pumping and she's been fine with that too,

Formula will provide your baby with everything it needs for sure and there's absolutely nothing wrong with switching to it if your want to, millions of healthy children are formula fed. It certainly will not undo anything you've done by breastfeeding, any amount of breastfeeding will be beneficial to baby.

People tend to have opinions on everything baby related from how you choose to feed them, dress them, name them so you just have to ignore anyone who frowns on you and make up your own mind of what you want to do. I tend to do lots of research and reading and pick what I think is best for my baby and then I know I can argue my case for what I choose and be confident in my choices.

I still breastfeed my daughter at 16 months and I love it she feeds to sleep at night and after being at work all day its lovely to snuggle up with her and I'll miss it when it ends.

FirstTimeMam
FirstTimeMam in reply to Seb9

Seb9 thanks so much for your detailed reply I really appreciate it. I definitely am going to give it a try and hope that I can pick it up as I’d love nothing more than knowing I gave my baby the best nutrients possible in the first few months 🥰

Yes I can’t lie and say I haven’t thought about peoples opinions as god knows everyone has them but to be honest as long as even 4 months would be beneficial, I’m happy with that.

Thanks again for your time in that message and all the best with you and your little one xx

I am 32 weeks pregnant and 30 with my first baby. I believe that our bodies were given breasts for a reason and it is a natural phenomenon that we should embrace. Everyone is different and you should not feel pressured. Not everything in life is easy or prefect but with the right support, perseverance and determination we can get through anything. Child birth is an amazing accomplishment and we are incredibly stronger than we think. Seek support from your midwife or private health professional. I am practicing hypnobirthing. I have bought formula as a back up and will most likely breast feed and express so that I can switch if needed to a breast bottle feed that way the transition is not over facing. If I have to use formula so be it. Stay strong, be positive you have got this either way. Do what Is right for you.

I'd say don't put pressure on yourself and see how it goes. It's good for you as well as for the baby (although it can be really stressful if it's not going well - don't wait to get help and support, chase it up asap) so it's definitely worth trying. Just see how you manage and take one day at a time xxx

I breast feed and express milk to bottle feed so my baby is used to the bottle. Then when your thinking of changing to formular start to mix in a little with the breast milk slowly making it less and less.

Breastfeeding for any amount of time is beneficial. It’s also an amazing feeling when you see your baby grow and it’s all your milk. Make sure you join some Facebook breastfeeding groups and see what support their is in your local area as there are often local groups you can join. Don’t put pressure on yourself and see how it goes. I wanted to breastfeed my first and thought I probably would until 6 months and ended up weaning him when I got pregnant again when he was 2.5 years. I was not expecting that but it just worked for us. I think it’s worth a go. Also I have never ever had anyone make any comment to me when feeding out and about. I don’t think people actually care. Also lots of places have breastfeeding rooms you can use in shopping centres, IKEA, John Lewis etc. Plus cafes are always a great place. Good luck with it all.

Hi, I had my eldest child at 18 and, I'm not gonna lie, I struggled with breastfeeding.... but I persevered and we managed 4 months. I've gonna on to have 3 more children and breastfed them all much more successfully until around 10 months when they moved straight pinto cow's milk (with the health visitor's blessing, they were already eating a varied diet and I gave the youngest 2 Abidec vitamins daily). Now im older (coming up 40 on Christmas day!😆) I'm so pleased that I managed to feed Kane for those 4 months, I don't need to feel guilty that he didn't get the benefits that only breast milk can give. Even though I felt like my boobs were out of control sometimes, leaking in response to anything emotional, be it happy or sad. It was a challenge and one that I'm so proud of my young self for accepting. Good luck with your journey and remember to seek support if you're struggling xx

If its your first child then you have nothing to lose by trying to breastfeed. I always said I wanted to try my best and I managed 2 months with my first child but in all honesty, breast feeding is definitely not for me and despite my efforts, I just didn't get along with it at all. I now know that with my second, they will be formula fed from the start! Everyone's experience can be so different so it's better you try than make a decision so early on! x

amazed
amazed in reply to NE90

Please give it another go with your second, after 4 Babies I can assure you it's a different experience with each one. I managed 4 arduous months with my first but my second was such a good feeder from the start that after the first month or so (nipples will get sore, my mum who breastfed 5 of us, suggests rubbing regularly with a dry flannel in last month's of pregnancy to toughen up) I ended up getting a lot out of the experience. It felt like my boobs knew what they were doing second time around too...First was definitely the hardest!x

NE90
NE90 in reply to amazed

I dont think I ever will. I just didnt enjoy it. Everyone is totally different. I didnt feel any less of a bond with my son when bottle feeding! It doesn't interest me at all and my husband is happy with my choices as well! I dont feel guilty about it now either as my son is doing extremely well and hit all his milestones when expected or even earlier, even as a 2 month prem baby. xx

I'm first time mum and planning to breastfeed and express. I know you have to breastfeed on demand for 6 weeks until your body supplies enough breast milk for the baby and settles. Then I will start to pump so my husband can feed now and again along breastfeed too.

Like others said don't put pressure on yourself. Do what is right for you fed is best after all.

I've had 2 babies and had difficulty breast feeding both times. With my first, I lost a lot of blood during an emergency section and despite me attempting to breastfeed and being told by quite a few midwives we had a good latch there was obviously issues. My daughter had really bad jaundice and would fall asleep after 2 minutes and we figured out my milk just hadn't come in due to blood loss and the poor thing was wearing herself out trying to feed with nothing coming out. We were advised to go for formula as at the end of the day baby needed to be fed and her attempts at feeding from me resulted in us both being unhappy and me having both nipples split and bleeding. It took me a while to get over it but I still got those cuddles and smiles and to see her grow and we were both much happier knowing she was getting fed. I even tried with a pump and hand stimulation to see if I could encourage milk production but still got nothing. I did this for 6 weeks even putting my daughter to the breast to see if we could get it going. With my second daughter my milk came in but once again I was told I had a great latch by midwives but was in constant pain no matter what position I put her in. When we had our 1st check at home she lost 12 oz and I felt awful because I'd kept putting her to my breast and although we had wet nappies bf was obviously not working. I put her on formula and bought a better pump and expressed as much as I could everyday and gave her that even though despite me trying everything from fenugreek, herbal teas and breastfeeding biscuits, expressing of a night as part of doing it 12 times a day I never got more than 2oz of my milk. I was exhausted and frustrated that this thing that should be so natural and seemingly easy I just couldn't do. She is now just formula fed but she is growing, is happy and settled and healthy. It does make me feel better knowing at least she had some milk from me, especially the colostrum but I will always feel guilty I couldn't fully bf my babies. However my visiting midwife gave me the best advice saying at the end of the day you both need to be happy and it's not the end of the world if you don't bf. It's more important that you are both happy and healthy so you can enjoy the early months together. If I have any other children I will always try to bf first but in my experience if it doesn't work out, it'll be okay.

It is honestly the hardest thing I have done. I was so ill in hospital and my milk was delayed so my little one was bottle fed during the nights in the hospital and BF during the day as well as I could. I was always worried about, whether he was getting enough drink, putting on weight, he would wake more frequently. I felt 'under pressure' by the midwifes saying "breast is best etc" but in all honesty "fed is best". My friend who had her daughter within a few days of mine opposite hospital bed, solely formula fed as she couldn't BF and her daughter had gaundice. The BF women kept asking her 'Not to introduce formula' or she couldn't go back, and then the hospital said "if you don't she won't live". Watching both our little ones now you wouldn't know any different. Her daughter started running around and walking 3 months earlier than mine. Both our kids look healthy, love food now they are eating etc. Sleep deprivation whilst BF was a tough one for me, my husband would let me do everything even though I was expressing milk as well. It's not a cheaper option than using formula - you should have pregnacare supplements or something similar, then there are the bottles (just in case your partner wants to try feeding), bags for milk storage, pump, haaka etc. I wouldn't go out anywhere as I found it more difficult to BF in public and was told on 3 occassions not to in stores even though I had my back to people in the cafe etc. When I finally moved to bottles at 5 months the 'relief' was tremendous. I knew exactly how much milk he was having, when etc etc. I only had 1 other friend who was BF and she found it really easy and produced too much milk, However, her little one wouldn't take a bottle when she went back to work. She took her to all sorts of places that said they could help/ encourage transition. Then she struggled to express during the times of the day in work that she needed to, rather than when they wanted her to. It's a hard one. Looking back, I battled between 'BF and bottle'. I was led to believe formula was evil and expanded in their stomach and made them more hungry etc. I left my little boy with friends/ family one day when I was trying to get more sleep and when I came into the room they were feeding him formula with a bottle even though I had BF him maybe 15 mins before they came. I was in tears. My Health visitor then said "well, that's why you're not producing enough milk, it's expanded his tummy and he'll never get as much from you as from formula ... your mistake". I didn't say they bought it with them. She had FF all 3 of her children (my friend) now all grown up and just left Uni.

Whatever decision it's up to you. Don't let it play constantly on your mind or worry you like me. Just remember 'Fed is Best'. Get some bottles, formula and maybe a 'perfect prep' machine just in case as a backup. At least you know you'll have options when you get out of hospital. I personally wish I hadn't BF. I feel like I lost 5 months of my son being a baby and enjoying quality time with him when I was always so tierd, drained, lack of sleep and in tears worrying etc. Best wishes

I think I'm the only one in my family that even gave breast feeding a go I managed for 6 weeks with my first have to say I was like the walking dead and I had an unsettled baby used to cry all night long, day times were fine but was like the devil at night. I switch directly to formula and I had a different baby I think she was starving the poor bugger. With my 2nd I just used formula I had no issues with her still dont shes nearly 13. I'm pregnant again would I breastfeed again? not really sure I might but I would combine with formula if I was struggling also my kids and fiance might want to feed I'll be a busy mam of 3 school runs and working I'll do whatever I feel fits me and my family. Try it if you want or not its totally up to you dont feel pressured or feel you failed if you dont its really not a big deal as long as baby is fed nobody really cares.

I've had 3 children One on way and I feel like you shouldn't pay attention to what people think your child will grow up well and healthy regardless I breast fed all mine But my last one was a nightmare my milk just wouldn't come people can say what they want about this but I just wasn't producing enough I tried to express and it was lasting hours for a tiny bit of milk I gave up around 4 month 1st child almost two years !2nd child around 8 month (bit my nipples of raw very hungry baby still is!)third around 3 month !oh and while I did breast feed my last I used formula as well gave up listening to midwife and she agreed with me that I have more experience than her with it all I think even my second I combined at one point!do you girl !

Thanks so much everyone for your knowledge and experiences. I change my mind every day to be perfectly honest with you. I guess I'll wait til the big day to see what happens. I'm 12 weeks 4 days today and still feeling sooooooooooo nauseous and tired- really really hoping the nausea clears off soon, it's been a tough 8 weeks of it now :(

Seb9
Seb9 in reply to FirstTimeMam

I think all you can do is make sure you're fully informed and make your own decisions. I'm a huge breastfeeding advocate, I think it's the most natural and wonderful things you can do for your child, giving it your antibodies and their own personal recipe just for them, but I also know it's hard work and that formula won't stop your baby growing up healthy, if you choose that instead.

Try not to worry about other peoples horror stories, it's a very emotive subject and a lot of mums who have struggled to get the right support or have been given bad information and been unable to breastfeed have a had a horrid journey which is such a shame as I really think although it's good to let you know it might be hard, it's not right to try and put people off just because it didn't work for you.

Look up support groups like La Leche League and Kelley Mom they can give you amazing support and information. I'm on a Facebook group called UK breastfeeding support which is amazing full of lovely supportive mums. The amount of mums who I've seen join the group and be supported has been amazing. People who just maybe had difficulty getting a good latch being giving ideas and finding out what works for them and not looking back. It's all about that support.

My advice, too would be to get informed about what is normal behaviour in those first few weeks, read up on the fourth trimester, cluster feeding, purple crying etc. All things that people think is because breastfeeding isn't going well but is just normal behaviour for new babies.

I also found the wonder Weeks app to be really helpful, it tells you what development baby is going through and when to expect harder weeks than others.

amazed
amazed in reply to Seb9

I agree, there are a lot of horror stories here from women who had traumatic birth experiences and then struggled to feed. Iwould suggest that although they need to share these stories and shouldn't be silenced, that it's not the most helpful thing that afirst time Mum can read. I'm not sure why there aren't more women trying to encourage you because many more mums (around the world) breastfeed successfully than use formula and obviously, in the not so distant past, there was no man made other option. We have been having babies and breastfeeding them (or having our friends or a wet nurse feed them if there were was no way to do it ourselves) since the beginning of our evolution, our bodies are made to do this. Yes, there are women who struggle and some who choose not to even try but the science is clear (I'm sorry to those who struggled and I'm not trying to shame anyone, please stop reading if I'm upsetting you) breastmilk has everything your child needs, formula doesn't, the latest research shows that immune protection suffers from the first bottle of formula as it destroys the protective bacterial layer in your baby's guts. I say this as someone whose newborn was taken silently away on his first night by the midwives on my hospital ward and fed synthetic colostrum because they 'thought I should rest' (it was 1999, I was 18, go figure)... but my personal experience doesn't change the evidence.

Every woman should try their hardest to breastfeed their baby because it's best for them and that's what being a Mum is all about. We might not be successful in this pursuit but we should try.

One of the things that can lead to successful breastfeeding is a natural (as unmedicated as possible) birth so it's unsurprising that Mums and babes who've experienced trauma right at the start of their journey can struggle more than those lucky enough to have had a relatively 'easy' birth experience. Good luck with your journey x

So I'm a first time mum with an 8 week old, I'm no expert but I'll share my experience and plan. The first few weeks are hard while recovering and cluster feeding and lack of sleep . Feeding definitely got easier after my milk came in at 3 days old and his feeds were more predictable, now at 8 weeks I can feel in my boobs when he will be due a feed, most of the time he is an efficient feeder and just gets the job done, other times he will be latched for awhile for comfort and still cluster feed - usually in an evening and that way he does some decent stretches of sleep which I'm greatful for. I express in a morning and he has 1 bottle probably 3-4 days a week with dad so I can either have a nice bath and do my hair etc or nap if it's been a rough night, he switches well between this bottle and breast and he is pacefed by dad.

Regarding plans, I introduced a bottle early although not recommended as I wanted to ensure he would take a bottle once I returned to work and if I wanted to go out or something happened etc. I'll be returning to work just before he is 8 months old. Currently I express about 6oz worth of milk a day (I could do more but I dont want too) and freeze in 4oz bags as that's what he takes in a bottle now and from guidance I've read that's the most he should have from a bottle at one sitting. Once I return to work he will have expressed milk during the day hopefully along with whatever food he is eating then (we will be doing baby led weaning so its very much up to him) and then mix of bottle and nursing him when I'm home until he is one. After one I'll wean him off milk during the day but I think I'll continue breastmilk either expressed or boob for night time until he is 2.

While pregnant I was just going to try for 6 months, it made me feel a little weird thinking about breastfeeding even though I knew all the benefits too it because its human milk for human babies etc. The first feed was the hardest, neither of us knew how to do this even after doing so much research in getting a good latch. If you choose to BF definitely spend the next few months learning and watching videos as much as possible because when you're tired and in pain from recovery having those videos about getting a good latch burned in your brain is what you need! - you dont want nipple pain on top of ever else! (Some discomfort is normal though thanks to cluster feeding -get yourself lanolin nipple cream it's a lifesaver! Doesn't have to be removed before feeding and also great for nappy rash and chapped lips haha). First few days just sit with your baby against your bare boob as much as possible and get to know each other and feeding- you don't want or need visitors during this time. In some ways I'm greatful we were in a local lockdown as I think I would have given up BF if not able to just sit relax and feed.

After I started seeing him gain weight, grow and thrive from my milk it just made me want to continue as long as possible. Its something nobody can replace or stand in for - it's just me and my baby and it's truly such a beautiful thing. I wont pressure myself though, if It starts to impact mental health then i wouldnt hesitate to switch to formula and I'm very much for a fed baby and happy mummy. It is all personal choice of course, but I'm so happy I tried with everything I had, I didnt buy formula (I did get bottles, steriliser and pump + silicone pump though as I knew I wanted to express).

Night feeds are the hardest but I couldn't imagine having to get up and make a bottle throughout the night! I just stick him on my boob, watch Netflix or play on my phone, he falls back asleep and back into his next to me then I go back to sleep. Takes on average about 35 minutes to change feed and back to skeep. Add on another 15-20 minutes for making up a bottle and allowing it to cool.

They only want this closeness, the breastmilk and these cuddles for such a short while. I won't ever regret doing it, but I may regret not doing.

Good luck in whatever you choose, that's just my experience and feelings but whatever you choose doesn't matter as long as it's the best decision for you both x

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