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Confessions From a Mom Scared to Breastfeed Her 2nd Baby

by Ivy B

My first breastfeeding experience was riddled with trouble.  These are the confessions from a mom scared to breastfeed again.

I consider myself intelligent and sufficiently educated.  I knew the laundry list of stated benefits of breastfeeding.  But, I didn’t want to.  I was scared to breastfeed the second time around!

After troubles with my first, I almost decided against breastfeeding my second.

I wanted someone else to wake in the middle of the night.

I didn’t want to deal with the heartache I felt when breastfeeding didn’t work the first time.

I didn’t want sore nipples.

Ultimately, though, I gave my son the choice.

Confessions from a mom who was scared to breastfeed her second baby. What I ultimately decided about breastfeeding my son | www.sahmplus.com
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Scared to Breastfeed Again: My Confessions

I knew the laundry list of benefits of #breastfeeding. But, I didn't want to. #momlife Share on X

With my first baby, it took me about 8 months to finally throw in the towel, begrudgingly.  In retrospect, I should have given up sooner.  Everything I had known and believed about breastfeeding hadn’t prepared me for the fact that my daughter wasn’t handling dairy or soy in my diet.  And we didn’t figure that out right away.  The doctors kept blaming the crying and screaming on colic or reflux, but medicines and passing the 6 month mark never alleviated the hell we were living in.  At the time, I didn’t have knowledge food intolerance or allergies.  I didn’t realize I had food intolerances, so it never crossed my mind to suspect it for her.

My stubbornness and her troubles wreaked havoc on our home.  My daughter wasn’t happy.  I was insane.  My husband … I can’t speak on his behalf because I don’t know what was going through his mind.  I feel like our marriage was failing.  All he saw was me staying at home hardly able to get food on the table, struggling to clean anything, and unable to be any semblance of the wife he had married.

Once we switched her to Nutramigen, she began making progress with eating, weight gain, and sleep.  Quickly, we found some relief from completely terrible sleep and dealing with a baby who spent the majority of 24 hours crying and screaming.

We’re well past it now.  I recognize that being stubborn and not having tried formula sooner could have spared us a few months of the hell we endured.

Other Things That Contributed to My Fear of Breastfeeding

Aside from the dairy intolerance fiasco, other things made me nervous about breastfeeding, including:

People just didn’t get it – although I had some family and friends that breastfed their babies, there were plenty of others who acted as though formula was created for a reason.

It was uncomfortable breastfeeding in public – Still not really “normalized”, breastfeeding in public was odd.  Add a wailing, angry baby flinging her body around, and you never knew when you’d expose yourself to the world.

I felt like a milk factory – when I wasn’t breastfeeding, I spent a significant amount of time pumping and saving breast milk should my baby need it when I stepped away for a bit (had I known about the dairy sensitivity, I wouldn’t have bothered).

When we got pregnant with baby #2 in 2015, I began to realize I was still deeply affected by what we endured.  And, I didn’t really want to breastfeed again.

I didn’t want a baby attached to my breasts half the day, while the other half of the day I’m hooked up to a machine pumping more so that I can have a stockpile of boob juice.  I didn’t want to be a slave to milking.  I’m not cattle.  But I sure didn’t feel human the first time around because all I did was nurse, pump, nurse, eat, nurse, pump, nurse.  Surely there was more to life …

No.  No there wasn’t.  At least not that I can remember.  Wait … yes … doctor’s appointments.  Okay, that’s it.  And, I DID want someone else to get up for middle of the night feeds, because mama wants some sleep, dang it!  I’ll say it … I was feeling too old to pull all the night shifts again.

But when I thought about all the reasons I should be nursing, I felt that old familiar mom guilt.

And then I decided to attempt breastfeeding again

Ultimately, I decided to attempt breastfeeding during the day because no one was home to help me anyway.  Though, I chose not to pump.  Like I said, I didn’t want to be stuck in some milking fashion all day, feeling like I couldn’t do anything more because something is hooked to my boob.

At night, I wanted someone else to pop a bottle in that baby’s mouth so my boobs could get some rest.

I was hoping to break away from the baby to regain a snippet of my sanity sooner than later.  Still, I told myself to go straight to formula at the first sign of trouble.

If I were talking to my pre-mama self, I’m sure I’d be stoning myself to death.  I used to be so adamant that nursing was the only way.  Now, the only way is the way that makes everyone happy.

Although I was afraid to breastfeed again, I endured it because my son chose it and learned to breastfeed in a carrier so that I could more comfortably breastfeed in public.

What encouragement can you offer another mama who is scared to breastfeed?

FAQs About Scared of Breastfeeding

Why is breastfeeding so hard mentally?

The pressure, body changes, learning curve, and hormone shifts can pack a powerful emotional punch. Don’t sweat it, mama, it’s totally normal!

How can I overcome my fear of breastfeeding?

Talk to supportive folks, seek lactation help, and remember, fed is best! You’ve got this, even if it’s formula.

What happens if you decide not to breastfeed?

You’re not alone, and your baby will thrive either way! Choose guilt-free. Happy mama, happy baby, remember?

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Julie September 15, 2016 - 1:43 pm

I did a combination of formula and breastfeeding, because I just couldn’t keep up/handle it/whatever. I eventually was able to let go of the guilt for not being able to breastfeed 100% like some of my friends were, working pumping and all. We all have our individual journeys.

Ivy B September 15, 2016 - 1:47 pm

So true! Everyone has to find what works for them. I think the hard part is letting go of your ideals, especially if you’re stubborn (like me).

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Livi March 21, 2018 - 2:05 pm

breastfeeding can be a challenge! It definitely was for me

Felicia Life March 22, 2018 - 1:53 am

This gave me goosebumps as I was reminded of my own experience. Beautiful pic!

Sarah March 22, 2018 - 2:58 pm

I also had a hard time with breastfeeding! It’s nice to know that we mommas go through the same struggles. We should be more vocal so we don’t feel alone. Thank you for sharing!

Amanda Geist March 22, 2018 - 5:53 pm

I relate to this a lot. I was afraid to breastfeed my first mostly because I was still young and modest and I feared what others would say about me breastfeeding in public or even around family members and friends even in my own home, so I formula fed her. By the time I got pregnant with my second one 5 years later, none of that was a concern to me anymore. Instead my concern was more that I wouldn’t be able to physically do it. We got by, though, and he’s a happy. healthy 5 year old but so is his 11 year old sister who was formula fed.

Angela Milnes March 23, 2018 - 9:22 pm

Breastfeeding is definitely something that comes with challenges. I am so glad that you decided to share your story!

Ivy B March 24, 2018 - 4:57 pm

It certainly does – you’d think something no natural would just be easy LOL

Bri Adams March 24, 2018 - 9:00 pm

I had three babies all with different stories and formula figured prominently in the first two. I too was horrified to switch over to formula, like I had failed my child, was already a horrible mother, but the truth was I wasn’t making enough milk to sustain a baby that didn’t want to nurse. Finally on my third try it worked and I got baby that would nurse properly but he had an egg intolerance that I finally figured out so it was a little rocky at first too. Bottom line – I completely agree – whatever keeps YOU and your child thriving, not just surviving, is what you need to do!

Buheri March 26, 2018 - 9:20 am

I totally resonate with you.With my twins I really wanted to exclusively breastfeed for 6months. By month 4 I was worn out both physically and mentally,I just could not do it.I had to initiate formula which made me so guilty.Somehow we pulled through and my supply was going down by the day.Thank you for sharing and bringing back the memories 🙂

beth April 3, 2018 - 2:03 pm

Thank you so much for your story! Allergies are so popular these days. I was so much afraid of breastfeeding I almost gave up the idea before even starting. Not even thinking about allergies and so, just being stuck to the baby all the time, this whole being irreplaceable think freaked me out. My older sister was real help here. She talked to me a lot and gave me this book ‚How to make breastfeeding pleasant and easy’ by Susan Urban. After reading it I felt much more prepared and decided to give it a go. It gives you detailed answers but doesn’t lie it’s going to be easy. And it was not easy at all (he’s diary intolerant too) but I’m really glad I’ve tried. This bond you have feels more like blessing than obligation and after all I may feel even better with this diet too. We need more stories like this shared!

Mary Kent April 25, 2018 - 11:30 am

I had the same book and found it very helpful as well! I remember reading it twice, second time just before delivery. Although my story is different – my family is full of allergic and asthmatic stories so I was expecting the worst and… it is not that bad! Of course I had to make some adjustments in my diet (like skipping on tomatoes of any kind) but suspected much worse. So fingers crossed it stays that way.

Ivy B April 25, 2018 - 9:35 pm

I was truly surprised when my second baby had ZERO issues after the horror that was my first. I didn’t feel as though I was any more prepared and I’d never successfully breastfed the first, so it was pretty amazing.

The thing about babies, I suppose, is how much they can surprise you 😀

Chloe June 6, 2018 - 9:01 am

After reading your comment I decided to try and read Urban’s guide that you recommended. I came here to give other moms some feedback. I think it’s a great help. The guide is short so I didn’t have to read 200 pages to get to know everything I should know about breastfeeding. I love that it’s in the form of the e-book so I could read it everywhere on my phone. Very handy! So 10 stars out of 10 from me 🙂

Ivy B April 25, 2018 - 9:28 pm

I’d never heard of that book. No one ever recommended any books to me … I felt like I was navigating everything blindly … not that I would have had the time to read while dealing with the first born. It was a nightmare. And I completely agree, more moms need to share their stories so the rest of us aren’t feeling alone or like we’re doing something wrong.

Lisa Stewart April 30, 2018 - 12:32 pm

Hi Ivy B

it is a wonderful story, I recommend every mom who is afraid to breastfeed to read the story.
Thank you for your story share with us.

Ivy B May 2, 2018 - 8:11 pm

Aww, thanks so much!

Chenden March 10, 2019 - 5:49 am

Thanks for this lovely article. One thing a baby is blessed with is breast milk, after the mother’s care. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breast milk as the best nutrition for infants. Babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months, according to the AAP. After other foods have been introduced, the AAP encourages mothers to continue to breastfeed until baby is at least a year old, and as long after that as both mother and child are willing.

Angela Brown May 23, 2019 - 3:09 am

While going through the internet i found an article for choosing a baby bottle for acid reflux but the comparison chart section in the article made me confused… i am confused among Comotomo Baby Bottle and Dr. Brown’s Original Wide-Neck Bottle Newborn Feeding Set…WHICH ONE SHOULD I PICK?? has any one has any personal experience about these two??

Ivy B June 1, 2019 - 1:12 pm

I say, if you’re going to try bottle feeding, grab 1 each of several types of bottles you’re considering. There’s no better judge than your own baby, IMO.

Rene Deams July 5, 2019 - 9:28 am

Hi everyone. I am having a problem as I am having twins and still cannot organize breastfeeding. I am too much exhausted and I am feeling guilty. I am feeding with bottles but recently I noticed that my babies are having cramps! I need to do something with it! I have heard that there are some special bottles in order to prevent cramps. Who knows the best anti-cramp bottles? I have found some reviews on the site and would be glad to know your opinions, to get your advices. Thank you!

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I know there will be many difficulties and challenges but I am determined to do it. If it fails then it will also be a lesson for me.

Christine May 4, 2020 - 10:07 am

I can relate. I was curious as well especially when my baby experienced the reflux issue. It is a journey though, you got to learn a lot of things on the way. Actually, I never knew there were bottles to address

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