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Oct 23 / Caro

Feeding Fears

Breastfeeding is important to me. The problem is, I think I may have allowed it to become too important to me, to the point that it’s already stressing me out before I even have a baby to feed.

Much as I want to breastfeed, I’m also afraid of it. I’m not afraid that it will be hard work. This is a baby that we’re discussing, of course it will be hard work. I am afraid though that it will be physically demanding and that it will hurt. Breastfeeding advisors and midwives are quick to tell women how “it won’t hurt if you’re doing it right”. But what if I can’t do it right? It may be natural, but I’ve never done it before. It’s not like it’s something you can set aside for a few days and then come back to and try again. I have to get it right from the beginning, or risk failing altogether.

That’s the real crunch: I’m afraid that I won’t be able to do it – either physically, psychologically or practically (if, for example, the baby has to go to special care). And then I’m afraid of how that will make me feel. I’ve read enough women online berating themselves for being unable to breastfeed in the way that they’d hoped. Although I always think those women have nothing at all to blame themselves for, I know that I will be exactly the same should I find myself in their position. Only I’ll also have the additional guilt that will persist long past weaning and on in to adult life constantly wondering if diabetes will strike, and if it does could I have prevented it? I know that, for now at least, the connection is unproven either way, but I won’t be able to suppress the “what-ifs? If something were to happen.

I have to rely on my trademark tenacity and determination, and my refusal to succumb to failure if at all avoidable and hope that it’s enough to gt me through. I’m still afraid, though. Afraid that it won’t

Honestly, it makes a change to worry about something that isn’t my blood sugars and whether the baby is going to be OK. But I’d much prefer to be worrying about nothing at all.

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