Exclusive Breast Feeding too hard?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2004
Exclusive Breast Feeding too hard?
Tue, 03-27-2012 - 12:27pm


What do you think?

Neith of my two ever had formula and I worked full time out of the home. It was hard but not too hard and with the right dedication I think it's possible for a lot more people than currently do it. I think part of the problem is that there is very little support for women to continue to breastfeed if they know their going back to work. I'm blessed that my state requires employers to give you time and space to pump for 3 years after the birth of a child.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2007
Tue, 03-27-2012 - 5:26pm
I don't think its too hard. I do feel that it more often than not is a difficult journey for many moms, myself included. I wanted to BF my DS, however, due to a combination of issues, including lack of support, latch problems and low supply, I switched to formula to 2.5 wks. He has grown into an extremely active healthy 2.5 year old. This time around, I will have better support (we live with my momma now,lol) and more knowledge so it should go better, but I won't be ashamed or anything if I have to go to formula with this child as well.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Wed, 03-28-2012 - 3:49am

I think that for many BF'ing moms who find exclusive nursing too hard, the problem may not be that it's too hard in and of itself but rather it's many cases it's more an issue of poor BF preparation, poor postpartum BF support, or poor support for pumping at work, or insufficient maternity leave.

If they are not properly preparing to BF they may get off to a bad start with BF'ing such they problems come up that make exclusive BF'ing hard. For example, if they don't know to feed on demand and try to feed on a strict schedule that can lead to low milk supply and thus a need to supplement.

If they are not getting good postpartum support from an LC or other knowledgable BF support person such an LLL leader then they may either rely on a doctor or nurse to advise then who is insufficiently trained in BF support/knowledge and who end up pushing them into having to supplement with formula due to bad advice. Some doctors or nurses simply push formula supplementing as the first solution to many BF issues when better solutions would allow for continued exclusive BF'ing.

In some cases the mother herself jumps to the wrong conclusion that she needs to supplement due to being ill prepared for BF'ing and wrongly concluding her baby is not getting enough. For example, a mom might wrongly interpret normal fussiness in her baby as a sign of low milk supply. In some cases it seems some moms seem to feel it's better to play it safe then by sorry and just supplement if they feel their is any chance their baby might need it rather then consult a doctor/nurse/LC first. This is usually the result of mistakenly believing that there is no significant health risk to their baby from supplementing so why not. They also tend to not realize the potential that unnecessary formula supplementing can have causing nursing to end sooner then they desire, especially when it's poorly managed.

Even if a BF'ing mom has proper support to deal with BF issues, she may not have proper support from other around her or from her workplace. First, their is the issue of a mom's DH, mom, MIL, family/relatives friends, etc. not supporting them in exclusive BF'ing. If others around them are pushing the mom to supplement without good reason then she might cave in to them even though her doctor/LC has not suggested she do so and she is not completely convinced it's needed. Some moms just don't handle pressure from others well regarding how they care for their child too well. Second, with many moms having to return to work, if their workplace does not properly support pumping at work and is not covered by a state or federal law mandating they do so and they do not have sufficient maternity leave either then can play a big role in making exclusive BF'ing hard.

One final reason I feel needs to be mentioned as to why some BF'ing mothers wrongly claim exclusive BF'ing is too hard in general is that they either don't really have a strong commitment to BF'ing and are just somewhat lazy. Some BF'ing moms just find it much easier to hand off the baby to DH or some other caregiver and have then supplement with a baby. If they where willing to put in the effort they could make exclusive BF'ing work but they are simply to lazy to do so. Now I say this because some moms have later admitted laziness was the real reason they claimed it was too hard. I do realize that for some moms exclusive BF'ing even without any problems arising can simply be too hard energy-wise or psychologically for reasons other then laziness.


Community Leader
Registered: 04-18-2003
Wed, 03-28-2012 - 11:40am

charleen, I love what you said!


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-16-2004
Thu, 04-26-2012 - 9:38pm
I BF three kids without ever using formula. Sure it was hard. I think it takes a lot of determination especially if you work outside the home or don't have the proper support. I think it's harder than people let on. I don't think we tell moms the truth up front. Find an IBCLC and sit on the couch for six weeks because the baby is going to eat constantly. And you are probably going to have some issue you need help with at some point so get help fast, before resorting to formula.

Women always remark to me that it just didn't come "naturally" to them. That really irritates me. It's not something we're born knowing to do. Both mother and baby have to learn and practice, be supported and educated. It's something you have to really want, you can't put a token effort in and expect it to work.