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FTM with breast feeding aversion...do I turn to exclusive pumping?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi all!  I am 5 months pregnant with my first and I am having a problem feeling comfortable with the idea of breast feeding.  I have 4 friends who all have babies who breast feed, and it doesn't bother me to see them do it.  However, just thinking about doing it myself makes my skin crawl.  It is making me crazy as I want my baby to have breast milk and I know that breast feeding helps us bond and keeps milk supply up.  It has gotten to the point where I am considering exclusive pumping.  I am researching everything I can about breast feeding and exclusive pumping in order to educate myself as much as possible.  I have 4 months to get prepped!

 

Has anyone else had this issue? Anyone exclusive pumping because of this reason? I feel terrible and just keep hoping that once my son is born some magical thing will happen where I will lose this aversion.

 

Any tips or advice?  Thank you in advance!

post #2 of 24

Hi Mamehal,

 

I don't know what will happen to your breast feeding aversion.  It's possible that it'll go away sometime between now and when you first try to nurse your son - we find ourselves, as parents, doing plenty of things we probably thought we'd never do.  There are no guarantees.

 

If the aversion doesn't go away, exclusive pumping is one option.  That would get your son breast milk.  It is a lot of work, and may work out to a lot of stress on you and times when, because you're pumping, you can't stop and respond to your baby.  Depending on the reasons for your breast feeding aversion, you may find pumping induces exactly the same skin-crawling reaction.

 

In regards to bonding - Bonding is a complex social interaction between human beings, and when we talk about breast feeding and bonding, we usually mean that the activity of nursing itself helps form a strong emotional connection between mother and child.  It's not the *milk* that bonds you to each other, it's the fact that the frequent physical contact between you is expected to provoke a certain reaction in the human heart.  If your skin is crawling the whole time, you're probably not going to feel bonded as the result of your feeding experience, but holding a baby, cuddling a baby, bathing a baby, feeding the baby by bottle, and watching the baby sleep might well provoke the reaction you're looking for, and even if you didn't have the aversion problem you're talking about, nursing the baby might not.  People are complicated, and their emotional reactions aren't a simple matter of "A causes B."

 

There are a lot of different opinions about formula on this board, but mine is this:  It's a perfectly decent way to feed a baby.  In the vast majority of cases, there are no observable, meaningful, differences between breast fed and formula fed infants.  Unless you have a reason to suspect your child may have unusual genetic dietary sensitivities, formula is fine.  For some women, formula feeding is what allows them to have close, uncomplicated, early relationships with their children.  If you're feeding with formula, who cares what happens to your milk supply?

 

Feeding, like all parenting decisions, has to be approached with consideration to what works for you and your family.  If breast feeding doesn't work for you, don't beat yourself up.  Do something that does work.  What's best for other people is not relevant.

post #3 of 24

I had always wanted to breastfeed if I had children, but to tell the truth, during my first pregnancy I was all nerves and wasn't sure how I felt about the actual act itself. But from the moment I put baby to breast, it felt like the most natural thing in the world - no problems. I know it doesn't happen that way for everyone, and I certainly wouldn't beat myself up if it didn't. Both of my SIL tried breastfeeding and decided it wasn't for them.

 

Pumping can be quite difficult - I would encourage you, if you do feel that exclusive pumping is the best option, to find an exclusive pumping support group where you can get support and advice from women going through the same.

post #4 of 24
The thought of it made my skin crawl too, but I did it anyways. The first two months of BFing were really hard, but it got better. We're now about 5 months in and I strongly feel it was worth it.
post #5 of 24
I think you are getting ahead of yourself. Enjoy your pregnancy, I am assuming you are feeling and doing well thus far, just enjoy. When baby does arrive you will then feel whatever way you will, whether it is a will to nurse or to avoid it. It is wonderful that you are reading and becoming informed. I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding and .....I am nursing my 3 year old. To each her own though, you will be guided by your maternal instinct one way or another. Enjoy your pregnancy and best wishes.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

thank you ladies for your input!  :)  It is all really good advice.  Maybe I am getting ahead of myself, I just want to make sure I am prepared.  But I guess I'll really never know how I will react until the baby is here and I am in the moment! 

post #7 of 24
Ive only been bfing for almost 7 weeks, but id say that if it is something that is important to you, even with the aversion, you can at the very least try it. If it isnt for you, then maybe pumping or formula would work better. I was nervous about it myself because im not particularly fond on my boobs being handled (poor hubby lol), and i was worried about some weird sucking sensation, but honestly, its been fine so far. I mean, we hit some bumps already and it is a TON of work, but i think its easier than pumping would be. Im dreading when i have to pump once i go back to work. My SIL had a baby about a month before i did and she was bfing, pumping, and supplementing with formula (baby was in nicu for about a week). Anyways, he had trouble latching, and she had trouble pumping, so now she is just formula feeding and they are all much happier and less stressed. My point is, just do what works best for you and baby, but i do encourage you to at least try smile.gif and i was researching things months ahead of time too...cant hurt to be informed and prepared! Good luck!
post #8 of 24

You won't know till you give it a try.  A lot of moms are nervous and have a lot of various fears about it not working out.  Breastfeeding itself releases a chemical that promotes bonding.  I'm wondering if that's what helps keep moms who have trouble to keep trying.  The fact that you are comfortable around it, is a great thing :)  

post #9 of 24
A breastfeeding aversion is a physical hormonal reaction during breastfeeding, and I think it happens most often with toddlers and not infants. I wouldn't assume you'll have one, and there's no way to know until you're physically breastfeeding. You don't like the idea of it but when you're holding your new tiny baby you might feel very differently. I'd just give it a try and see what happens.
post #10 of 24

The cool thing about breastfeeding is that you're not locked into it once you put baby to the breast for the first time. Do what works, try it at first, and go with the flow. I find that when I'm pregnant (which I am right now) I tend to latch onto things to worry about. For me it's the delivery and childbirth experience, as well as not getting GD. Try not to let yourself worry too much about something that you really can't do much about right now. It's really hard to imagine what it feels like until you do it. It's likely nothing like you've ever felt before, at least that was my experience.

post #11 of 24

Many women report getting a breastfeeding aversion while they are pregnant... although these are normally women who are actually nursing a child! Still, it's possible that there's something in pregnancy hormones that slows your interest in breastfeeding.

 

It really is better to get the milk straight from the tap for various reasons. For one, the fresher any food is, the more nutrients it has! Also, pumping and then feeding bottles seems like an excessive amount of bother when you have the option of just plugging the baby in.

 

I'd say wait until you have the kid before you decide what to do. And if you want to prepare yourself while pregnant, I suggest reading a book or two about breastfeeding so you'll have some tricks up your sleeve when you start out. I suggest Dr. Jack Newman's book. He's a frank, practical sort of person.

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by squiggles View Post

Ive only been bfing for almost 7 weeks, but id say that if it is something that is important to you, even with the aversion, you can at the very least try it. If it isnt for you, then maybe pumping or formula would work better. I was nervous about it myself because im not particularly fond on my boobs being handled (poor hubby lol), and i was worried about some weird sucking sensation, but honestly, its been fine so far. I mean, we hit some bumps already and it is a TON of work, but i think its easier than pumping would be. Im dreading when i have to pump once i go back to work. My SIL had a baby about a month before i did and she was bfing, pumping, and supplementing with formula (baby was in nicu for about a week). Anyways, he had trouble latching, and she had trouble pumping, so now she is just formula feeding and they are all much happier and less stressed. My point is, just do what works best for you and baby, but i do encourage you to at least try smile.gif and i was researching things months ahead of time too...cant hurt to be informed and prepared! Good luck!

I agree with all this (my poor hubby, too ;)).  But, I'm 11 months in and still going strong.  The thought of BFing was a bit odd to me before my guy was born but I knew I was going to do it - I was BF and breast is best, after all.  So funny I felt this way because it seems so natural now.  I also thought I'd never be a person to breastfeed in public - then flew with my guy a few months ago and didn't hesitate to pop him on during takeoff.  I think you may very well be surprised at how you feel once the baby is born.

 

As far as exclusively pumping - it's HARD.  I pump a lot for work and such and I have no idea when I'd have had the time to exclusively pump with a newborn.  I'm sure it's possible, but I'd also be researching formula, just in case.  Also, having the breast available for comfort nursing (e.g., during the 'witching hour') early on is ridiculously useful.  I too never thought I'd comfort nurse (nursing is just for sustenance, right?), but man how that changes when you've got a baby you adore who you can't seem to settle, then BOOM, boob does the trick.

post #13 of 24

You don't know until you try.  My 21mo is still going strong and will ask for "booby time" both when hungry and when looking for comfort.  DH used to panic when she'd cry and yell "give her the boob quick!" because he knew it was instant comfort and quiet for her.  Pumping is a pain in the ass and unless you have to for work, it's far more hassle than nursing.  I stopped pumping around 9mos when DD was able to go 4hrs while I was at work and just wait for me rather than get a bottle.  I NEVER pumped nearly as much or drained my boobs completely like she does nursing.  And for the weird fears while preggo, I hated kids and the idea of having them until about 5 mos before I got pregnant.  But even during I had a hard time conceiving how I'd ever feel connected to a baby - I never talked to her in my belly, never felt bonded during my pregnancy....but the second she came out and I laid my eyes on her and held her to my skin (not even caring what sort of goo was on her and now touching me) it was this freaky instant connection.  So just wait til your LO is here, it changes everything.

post #14 of 24

Sassy-excellent point that I forgot-pumping and nursing are different amounts.  

 

Baby can pull out more, unless perhaps there is a latch or tongue tie problem maybe, but in general they pull more vs a pump.  Checking the LLL web or the book the womanly art of breastfeeding has a lot of info about pumping/nursing.  A lot of working moms pump, but they also have baby nursing the help keep supply up.

post #15 of 24
Giving birth is an unreal, transcendent experience. I've had two hospital births with epidurals but the rush of emotions and bliss after baby has been placed on my chest following hours of pain and work is indescribable. I think there's a very good chance that once you experience the relief and joy of giving birth, the aversion will be dwarfed by this feeling and you will be able to give BFing a try. I encouraged my 2 year old to wean during my pregnancy - nursing felt "icky" and hurt a lot. I also did not want to be touched - especially by DH. Pregnancy is an extremely sensitive state and your feelings about many things will change once you have your body back. BFing didnt appeal to me before the birth of my first daughter but I felt strongly that I should try. We had difficulties and I did actually exclusively pump for ten weeks before I could charm little miss on to the breast. I don't want to discourage you but EPing is incredibly hard. There's nothing like the private hell of a crying, hungry baby, leaky full boobs and having to pump. My high quality double pump wasn't emptying my breasts and my supply suffered. I had to supplement.
With DD2 (13 days old today) we're having some latch issues and possible tongue tie. I've got sore nipples and a fussy baby but it's still nothing compared to pumping.
I wish you luck on your journey. I honestly think once you hold baby, your feelings about nursing will likely change. If they dont, you can certainly try pumping but be prepared for it to be a ton of work and not very rewarding. Formula is always a reasonable option too. Wait and see how you feel, then make your choice from there. Good luck!
post #16 of 24

I don't think you are not getting ahead of yourself...true, you probably will feel differently when the baby gets here but it's a lot easier to PREP now than RESPOND later.  Some ways you can prep:

 

+ Get the phone number of a lactation consultant from your OB or ped NOW so it's handy.

+ Find out about renting a hospital grade pump.  In Baltimore it's about $50/month but insurance should cover the first 6 months and they are worth it.

+ Consider having a med-free birth which helps with initiating breastfeeding.

post #17 of 24
I remember thinking something similar before I was pregnant. I thought there was no way I'd be able to tolerate breastfeeding bc I didn't like my nipples being touched. (I think partially bc my ex-husband didn't know what he was doing. . . ) It turned out to be a non-issue. It was uncomfortable in the beginning, but now I'm amazed at how comfortable it is (except when she wants to suckle in her sleep - that is uncomfortable.) It is good to be knowledgeable and prepared (read books, rent pump, etc.,) but try not to obsess. It is easy to build up worry and fears, especially when there is a big unknown. Your anxiety can create and/or inflate problems that you don't really have. As others have said, enjoy your pregnancy!

On another note, pregnancy makes your nipples more tender and sensitive. Maybe this is the cause of your aversion? If not, do you know the cause? (Bad experience, abuse, discomfort with body, etc.) Maybe this could be addressed directly through counseling,
meditation, etc.)

Personally, I think it is worth trying to overcome it. I find pumping way more uncomfortable than nursing (and a hassle) and I think that, though formula will suffice in most cases, breastmilk is far superior in countless ways.
post #18 of 24
When I was pregnant, I secretly hoped my baby would wean after about 6 months (very naive!). I also had an aversion.

I just love being able to do it now. I am my baby's life force, which is amazing. I'm not saying it's always fun. But I was afraid it would feel sexual in some way, which made me feel weird. For me, it doesn't feel that way at all. Now my baby is 11 months old and believe me, sometimes he bites as he explores his teeth and it's no fun, but it's also not the end of the world. And it's difficult sometimes to be stuck laying beside him to nurse. But I found things to make it positive: watching Doc Martin and The Office on Netflix, catching up with Grey's on Hulu Plus (all on my phone with earplugs so baby is not disturbed), reading What to Expect the First Year, meditating, emailing on my iPhone, etc. And sometimes, just staring at my beautiful baby as I give him the best nutrition ever.

Also, about pumping: FANTASTIC that you plan to do that! But keep in mind that mom's BM changes with the baby's needs. Also, there are extra antioxidants that can only be exchanged when baby nurses from the breast. So, the more BFing you can do, the better.

Be well.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Sonja; I don't have a solid reason for being so repulsed by bfing. I was one of those women that didn't want kids ever when I was younger(I was my Sister's birth coach when I was 14 and helped raise my niece for a couple of years at that time, so I was over babies until I was about 30) However, meeting Mr. Right and being in my mid-30s has definitely made the Mom hormones kick in! I am comfortable with all of the other aspects of my pregnancy, including labor and delivery, except for breast feeding. Since I have never done it I can't describe how or why it happened, just that whenever I think about it I have an extreme physical reaction against it. It really is like having bugs crawling all over me. I am hoping that all of that goes away once my son is born. I did talk briefly to a lactation consultant at the hospital and she says that she is available anytime if any problems arise once he is here.

I truly appreciate everyone's advice. smile.gif It is hard to not worry about this one thing that has been hardest for me. But I know that until we are in the moment I don't know what will happen.
post #20 of 24

I'd say to just try it and see how it goes. Take it a day at a time. Don't give up after the first nursing session, as it take a few days (or weeks) to get the hang of it and even if you decide to switch to pumping, having nursed the baby in the beginning could mean a better milk supply than if you started out pumping. 

 

Also, if you have any unresolved history of abuse, therapy/counseling may be something to look into. Some women who are abuse survivors have a hard time with the idea of breastfeeding but for some of them, it is a very empowering experience.

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