Breastfeeding Fears

March 16, 2016

Without a doubt the one thing I am most worried about with regard to having the baby is breastfeeding. I’ve just got no idea how I’m going to do it, if I’m going to be able to, how other people will react to me doing it…the list goes on!

I’ve never had very big boobs, and to be honest I was pretty surprised when they got bigger in early pregnancy as I just didn’t think they would for some reason! I do worry that this means that I won’t produce enough milk to be able to feed the baby effectively.

Not only that, but I really don’t like the idea of having a baby sucking on my nipple. I just find the thought of it a bit weird. I’m hoping that some natural instinct will take over and I’ll get over it and maybe even enjoy it (is this possible? Do people enjoy breastfeeding or is it just a hideous experience that women don’t dare admit is hideous to avoid looking un-motherly?).

Then comes the fear of being shamed for breast feeding. Will I be one of those women who has their photo taken by a complete stranger while breastfeeding, which then gets plastered all over social media as an example of something ‘disgusting’? Or will old ladies in cafés tut at me for feeding my child?

I’m massively self-conscious so I’m not going to be brazenly getting my boob out in public and intend to cover up (this is not to suggest in any way that women who are confident about feeding their babies and do freely get their boobs out in public are wrong; I’m just too much of a wallflower to have the confidence to do it myself!) but I do still fear something like that happening.

Or conversely, what if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for us? I’ve lost count of how many friends have told me not to beat myself up about it if I can’t or feel I don’t want to, but I know I’d crumble if someone commented that I should be breastfeeding if I wasn’t. I’m not entirely sure why people seem to think they have the right to comment either way but it would appear that they do.

Mostly I’m just hoping that the right support is there when the time comes and I have a non-judgemental midwife/health visitor to help me through whatever happens and whatever decision make once the baby is here.

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26 responses to “Breastfeeding Fears”

  1. Becky Lyons says:

    I understand your feelings on this completely as I felt exactly the same. I had planned to do some sort of combination feed with a bit of breastfeeding if I could, expressed breast milk and maybe some formula at night times but Ivy’s early arrival has changed all that!

    I am expressing milk by a pump 8 times a day so she has milk to drink through her nasal feeding tube. I would much rather be breastfeeding than constantly milking myself! She won’t have the reflexes to do it until she hits about 34 weeks corrected and today she’ll be 31 so a while to go yet.

    I would recommend a great nipple cream if you want to try. I’m using the Lansinoh one, as its natural and doesn’t need to be wiped off before expressing or when baby will feed.

    Whatever you choose to do will be the right thing for you. Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and it might not work when I start trying but I want to try anyway. Equally there is no shame in not wanting to try!

    Good luck with whatever you decide.xx

    • Jules says:

      Thank you! I want to try but also don’t want to feel massively guilty if it doesn’t work out. Thanks for the nipple cream tip, I will add it to my ‘list of things it never occurred to me that I need to buy but will probably turn out to be essential’!

      Congratulations on the arrival of Ivy, it sounds like you will be an expressing pro by the time she is ready to try the breast xx

  2. Bec says:

    I hope this comment doesn’t come across as preachy or overwhelming, but as someone who talely struggled with breastfeeding at first but have found it to be the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, I thought I’d offer some reassurance.

    Firstly, I’m rather small of boob – I was an A cup before pregnancy – and have never had a problem producing enough milk, in fact at times I made too much! Size really doesn’t matter in this instance.

    I can understand how weird the thought of a baby suckling is to a non-mother, and there may be some mother’s who still feel that way, but honestly it’s not that strange! And after the first couple of months of struggling I have mostly enjoyed breastfeeding, although that’s not to say every mother feels the same.

    Re public feeding – I was really worried about this at first, but I have never had any issues. Think about how often a breastfeeding mother gets shamed on social media (not that often) compared with his often women actually nurse in public (all the flipping time!) Really, the media blows it out of proportion, most people don’t notice or care.

    Breastfeeding doesn’t work out for everyone but the vast majority of mother’s can breastfeed with the right support – but support is key. If you really want to breastfeed, find out about local support groups and try to visit before your baby is born. Finding out about local breastfeeding counsellors/lactation consultants is also a good idea as both generally have more training in breastfeeding support than midwives and HVs. But if it doesn’t work out, don’t worry! It’s very rare that people come up to you and say you should be breastfeeding. Unfortunately whatever you do someone will criticise – I had comments from people who thought my daughter ought to be having a bottle – but it’s really not that common.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

    • Jules says:

      Not preachy at all (maybe a little overwhelming, but that’s not your fault; I am generally overwhelmed by this topic!). Mostly I found your points to be exactly how you intended – reassuring. Thank you. I will find out about local breastfeeding support over the coming weeks before baby arrives. I’d like to give it a good go! Thank you for your comment x

  3. I have to agree with you. The more I read about breast feeding the more I think it’s more scary than labour. I’ve signed up to NCT classes which include a dedicated breast feeding session. My friend was able to have a 1-1 session with the breast feeding lady after her first baby was born & she gave her lots of useful advice, so I’m hoping the same is on offer if I need it. Like you I want to give it my best shot & hope I won’t beat myself up too much if it doesn’t work. I guess there’s no accounting for emotions when the time comes though. The other side of me keeps reasoning that women have been breast feeding for years so it can’t be that bad. Here’s hoping. X

    • Jules says:

      So good to hear someone else feeling the same! We’ve signed up for NCT classes too, with the same arrangement. Hopefully I’ll feel more confident about it all after that. Hope it all goes well for you! x

  4. I remember feeling a lot of the same things. I would say don’t put too much pressure on yourself, but suss out now where you think you’ll look for support if you do find yourself struggling. Our NCT breastfeeding class was good, but did paint a remarkably ‘easy’ breastfeeding picture! La Leche League have a great telephone helpline, but in the early days you’ll probably be wanting face to face help. Do you have a Baby Cafe near you? I found these really helpful (and a nice place to meet other new mums and grab a coffee), and local hospitals often run drop in sessions for breastfeeding as well.

    Do get yourself some Lansinoh as well – breastfeeding lifesaver!

    Best of luck with everything! #BloggerClubUK

    • Jules says:

      Thanks Katy, I will check out the Baby Cafes to see if there’s one nearby. Will definitely get some Lansinoh! x

  5. I had all the same fears as you when I was waiting for my little boy to arrive. I found it frustrating that it was something you couldn’t practise and no matter how much i read on the subject, it wouldn’t make a difference until i could actually do it! I did the NCT classes which others have mentioned and they were 100% worth it for the support network of mummies I made friends with however I agree about it painting a very pretty picture of Breastfeeding. My only words of wisdom would be to do what you can and what makes you happy. Remember that the baby has to learn to latch (it rarely just happens!). Find a breastfeeding group where there will be people who can give you help and advice. It is hard at first and takes a good few weeks for things to settle down and become easier.

  6. Ellen says:

    As other people have said I would try and find out about local support before you give birth so that you know who to ask if there’s anything you are worried about. Honestly I just got myself really clued up before he was born and I had the attitude that I would give it a go and if it didn’t work out then I wouldn’t beat myself up about it. I have been really lucky, it’s been easy for me.

    Breastfeeding in public really scared me, and I’m still not the most confident but it’s pretty easy to be discreet if that’s what you want to do. If it still worries you I would say the first few times you do it just have supportive people with you! Oh and Lansinoh nipple cream is a must for the first days! #BloggerClubUK

  7. The Pramshed says:

    Like you I was really worried about breastfeeding, more so that having the baby. Once the baby arrives get all the help that you can especially when you’re in hospital, from midwives, breastfeeding specialists etc…Keep trying to feed as much as you can. We had to express the colostrum at first into syringes as I couldn’t get our little one to latch, so don’t be scared to ask the midwives for syringes if you need to. The NCT breastfeeding class was good, but it made it look so easy, I would go to it as they are often run a BF specialist who will there to support afterwards. Go to BF cafes and groups where you can practice feeding. I was scared at first about BF in public, and I overcame this by BF with NCT friends which gave me the confidence that it wasn’t just me BF. No one else bats an eyelid. Also I bought a My Brest Friend pillow which I found so useful especially as I had a C Section so it prevented baby from laying on my scar. Take your time with it, don’t rush it, it’s a skill that both you and baby need to master, but once you’ve cracked it it’s so easy, and it gets easier as the baby gets older/bigger and can support their head more. I hope you have a great BF journey, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself, it’s important that you and baby are both happy, no matter how you choose to feed. Claire x #BloggerClubUK

    • Jules says:

      Thank you, Claire, I think this will be really useful advice when the time comes. I’d never heard of using syringes so I’m feeling more enlightened already xx

  8. Step by Step Mom says:

    I think you are thinking to much about it, just wait and see, some mother prefer breastfeeding others bottle feeding, nothing is right or wrong, what you decide is the right call, i’m decide to breastfeed and my baby is over 1 year old, and the thought about stooping almost make me cry, i wouldn’t trade it for nothing in this world. So stop worry just enjoy xx #BloggerClubUK

    • Jules says:

      Haha thank you but as the tag line of my blog suggests, I do tend to overthink everything! Will give it a good go and see how I get on x

  9. Bread says:

    Stress will make it harder.
    Fuck anyone who shames you for any of your decisions in regard to YOUR baby. My sister didn’t breastfeed either kid and their fine, my wife wants to breastfeed but if she can’t then that’s fine. It’s more important that your baby is healthy and well.

  10. My boobs never changed during pregnancy which turned out to be because I wasn’t able to produce enough breast milk to feed fully. I saw lactation consultants, tried natural remedies, medication, pumping and only ever made a tiny amount of milk. My daughter latched on perfectly and loved to be breast fed. It was never painful or uncomfortable. So I fed her what I could and then topped up with formula. I felt so guilty like I had let her down, but I fed her for 13 months. It was a beautiful bonding time for us and we both loved it. I also had the same issue with both my other daughter and my son. I fed them what I could.

    My sister chose not to breastfeed as to her it felt weird and she couldn’t get her head around it.

    My sister in law was like a cow, she produced so much milk and fed easily.

    We are all different, we all fed differently, but all our children are intelligent, healthy, active, social, well behaved children. So whatever you choose your child will be fine, so get rid of guilt and doubt and don’t overthink. You will know what you want to do and don’t second guess yourself. #bloogerclubUK

  11. Big hugs lovely and please try not to worry. I have small books yet they knew exactly what to do for Toby! Like you – and primarily thanks to stupid media coverage – I was constantly awaiting a negative comments when I breastfed, then when I stopped when Toby was 4 months old I was constantly awaiting judgement for that too. It didn’t come! To be fair, most people couldn’t give a hoot how you feed the baby. A few people asked “Are you feeding him?” which always made me want to reply “Nah, he’s got enough fat reserves”.
    Breastfeeding isn’t all a bed of roses, it was hard for me to start with and I had to wear shields, then after everything I stopped after 4 months because emotionally I needed more support in looking after a very difficult baby and that saved my relationship with Toby and with my husband.
    I hope I’m not making things worse! My point is that you can’t let media coverage, blogs, forums or anyone make your mind up for you and you won’t be able to preempt how you’ll feel or get on with it xx

    • Jules says:

      Thanks lovely for sharing your experience. You haven’t made it worse at all, I think what I’m taking from it is that I need to try to care less about what other people think and do what myself, baby and hubby are most comfortable with. I would like to give it a go and will see what happens! xx

  12. Oh Huni I was completely the same delivery didnt phase me but breastfeeding did. SO i read and read and read. I am not sure if it really helped or not but it did give me lots of opinions and experiences and the truth is we are all different. If you want to feed thats great, if you want to use formula thats great, if breast feeding doesnt materialise then don’t beat yourself up about it. A lot depends on baby too. There is a fair amount of support about if you want it. Don’t be bullied into anything. The size of your boobs makes no difference. Although if you do feed try and keep alternating as I got a it lazy and ended up with a favourite which was then bigger all the time was feeding. I stopped at 5 months as I went back to work at 6. If you get a pump try a medela swing, best thing I every brought. They are not cheap but you can usually hire them off the hospital so worth investigating as they make expressing so much easier. I second the use of lanison and use their pads too, so much softer than others Ive tried if you do breast feed. I am preparing to do what I did last time round but then baby may have other ideas – as long as they put on weight it honestly doesnt matter 🙂 xx #BloggerClubUK

    • Jules says:

      Thank you, I will give it a go and stock up on the items you’ve mentioned so I’m prepared! We start NCT classes in a couple of weeks so I will ask there too about breastfeeding support in my area xx

  13. BeBeWellness says:

    Breastfeeding in public really scared me, and I’m still not the most confident but it’s pretty easy to be discreet if that’s what you want to do. If it still worries you I would say the first few times you do it just have supportive people with you! Oh and Lansinoh nipple cream is a must for the first days!

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