Breastfeeding may well be a natural part of the whole new-parent learning curve – but it can prove to be a tricky skill to learn for both mum and bub. As one new mum discovered recently, breastfeeding just doesn’t come easy for everyone and working out what to do next can be the cause of a lot of stress and upset.
When she reached out to our community of helpful parents for some guidance on the matter, she got a lot of love, support and practical advice in return. Here’s what they had to say:
#HELP! I’ve been breastfeeding my baby girl for 4 months now, but I’m really not enjoying it like I thought I would. It hasn’t been very difficult, but I feel trapped at home because I don’t like to feed in public, and my baby won’t take a bottle, so I’m the only one who can feed her. On top of that, I have started to feel very anxious and stressed about it each time we feed. And I think my baby can tell, as the feeds have been less settled lately. I feel so overwhelmed by it all, and I’m seriously considering switching to bottles, to give myself a break. Which makes me feel terribly selfish and a complete failure. Can anyone tell me this will get better?
Happy mama = happy baby
But 4 months!!! For 4 months your body made food and fed and sustained your baby! That’s an amazing effort and you should be proud you got there. I couldn’t breastfeed my babies for that long and while it sucked, they were fed and Mummy was happy. If it is stressing you out and making you anxious then it’s 100% ok for you to seek alternatives! You’re doing a great job. I’d also recommend a chat with your GP to get some help with your anxiety xx – Ebony Barnes
Easy for people to tell you it gets better and to stick it out, but you need to do what is best for you and bub. For some mums it DOESN’T get easier. And the pressure to feel like you have to breastfeed makes everything worse …
If it is causing you stress and anxiety that is transferring to baby then don’t feel bad for considering switching to bottle. You and bub deserve to both be happy, content and most importantly ENJOY being together. If that means not breastfeeding then go for it Mumma! – Emma Wietschorke
You’ve done a wonderful job! Pat yourself on the back for being a great mama and then do whatever it is you need to be an even better one by being a happier one! Nothing wrong with formula or bottles or making that choice. A happy mum equals a happy baby! Try not to let the mum guilt, or others’ judgements rule your life xx – Claudia Jordan
It’s better that you are happy and healthy mentally than struggling through breastfeeding. If it isn’t for you then it isn’t for you. Try find a bottle that bub will take first if you can. Try different teats to find the right one. You are not selfish or a failure, but it wouldn’t hurt to go see a Dr in case your experiencing really bad baby blues. – Michelle Ford
Fed is best (of course!)
Not enjoying breastfeeding? Then switch to bottles! There’s no rule that says you must breastfeed if you don’t want to. I breastfed my first until 11 months and really enjoyed it, I love breastfeeding. I’ve had to stop bf my second at 5 months for medical reasons and you know what? He’s growing up just fine (plus I have more freedom 🤷♀️) – Paige Campbell
Okay, I am a huge believer in fed is best … I breastfed all of my babies and for some up to 28 months, but I am also the first to acknowledge that breastfeeding is not for everyone …
I would say that it sounds like you would be more comfortable bottle feeding and that is perfectly okay, in fact it might be best for both you and your baby…
Give yourself a break and stop worrying what others will think …
Your baby will be more relaxed if you are more relaxed yourself and it really does sound like you need to make the change to bottles ❤ – Bobbie-Jo Beresford-Murray
Do what you feel is best for your peace of mind. I have had 3 children all breast feed but stopping at various times. However I really enjoyed the bonding it brought to me. If you’re not enjoying this time then you can either express and get hubby or Nannie to feed her (then she won’t smell your milk ) or put her on formula. You have given her 4 months ! That’s fabulous! At the end of the day a happy mummy makes a happy baby. Please don’t feel guilty; you have lots of decisions to make in your child’s life, this is just one. Fed is best no matter which way. Enjoy your baby – it goes so very fast, believe me!! – Alison McSweeney-Jones
Hey Mama, it sounds like you need to be supported; breastfeeding in public can be a challenge but there are a lot of things you could do to make it easier – nursing covers, muslin cloths – I wear two layers so I lift one up and one down. Know your rights – you have a legal right to feed your baby anywhere, any way you want. I feed in public to help normalise it for other mothers; because it’s just a normal thing you do! You are doing a wonderful job, sounds like a confidence issue and very normal but there are some amazing breastfeeding groups on Facebook that can empower and support you in your journey; I recommend The Australian Breastfeeding Project: Breastfeeding information and support – Shalini Nestor
Feeding in public can be overwhelming if you don’t do it very often. There are lots of strategies like nursing covers, specific clothing that covers most of your breast or positioning your pram in front of you that can help make you more comfortable, or finding some other breastfeeding women you can go out with in a group as a confidence booster.As babies get older, they get bigger too so they cover much more of your chest area so not much can be seen, and if you feed in front of a mirror you can see that others don’t really see much anyway.
I completely understand the feelings of isolation, my bub would only feed well at home so I didn’t go out for long periods either. It was hard but I’m so glad that we got through it. Feeding through teething and especially sickness has probably kept her out of hospital a few times. Still feeding now at 2.5 years old. Hang in there, Mumma, there are some amazing Facebook support groups like The Australian Breastfeeding Project: Breastfeeding information and support. – Anwen K-h
You can read all the helpful advice given, on the original Facebook post here:
#HELP! I've been breastfeeding my baby girl for 4 months now, but I'm really not enjoying it like I thought I would. It…
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