(Closed) Can anyone breast feed?

posted 8 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 32
5708 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

@lucyh2bee:  I am (at this point) emotionally prepared if I can’t breast feed, but it is something I want to do.

I think I’ve prepared myself for the possibility becuase my mom couldn’t breast feed either. She tried, and she would throw up every single time from whatever was going on with her body, so I was formula fed. She didn’t even try with my brother, she went straight to formula.

There are many women who can’t for many different reasons. It’s just the way it is, and it makes me sad to see how many mothers get hit hard if they can’t BF.

Post # 33
230 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I had a friend who could breast feed but had to supplement with formula because she just never produced enough milk with her first. Her second she couldn’t breast feed, and her 3rd she soley breast fed.


My sister started labor naturally, but ended up to have pitocin to keep her labor going and ended up having a C- Section. It took a little longer for her milk to come in but she is currently breast feeding successfully. I think she was supplementing at first before her milk production finished up. She always says, “You have no idea how hard it is to make this stuff!!” haha. 


Post # 34
8066 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I’d be interested to see statistics, but I know problems are very common.

I don’t have much knowledge, other than what happened to my own mother.  She was fine breastfeeding me, so I never received any formula that I’m aware of.  She didn’t tell me about any huge complications or problems so I imagine it went pretty smoothly.  She had a manual breast pump and was able to use that as well.  She was able to BF my brothers (twins) but had to supplement some for them because she wasn’t making quite enough for both of them.  I don’t think she went to any trouble to try and increase milk production, so maybe she could have increased it if she had tried/known.

I really don’t have a problem with formula, you do what you need to do.  I just really want to BF because I don’t want to pay for formula!!  In addition to the other benefits, obviously.

Post # 35
2203 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

No, not everyone can. There are a few different medical issues that make breastfeeding/pumping near impossible. However ( and please no one flip out) I have not known one single person IRL would could not BF/pump they just got frustrated and quit. But never said ” Oh I just quit because it was too hard/too much work/ I didn’t want to” they always come up with an excuse and that actually is very irritating. NOT because they quit. I mean if you don’t want to then that’s what formula is for and you have to make the right choice for you. It’s irritating because it’s a lie and then it gets repeated ” Oh my sister/friend/cousin’s milk just didn’t come in! Happens all the time!”. Then come time for someone else to BF and it’s not going that great the first week and the lie pops back up ” Oh this happened to so-andso- your milk must not be coming in like hers” and then she stops because she thinks she’s a failsure and then repeats the ” My milk didn’t come in” thing. 

As someone who is very comitted to breastfeeding, pumping and the community that helps encourage these things it’s SUPER discouraging to me. The number of women who literally can not produce any/enough milk is not that high. BFing/pumping IS hard and not for everyone. But IMO if you want it badly enough, stick it out, have TONS of he,p and support, are commited and #1 have no medical condition ( Insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) is what pops to my mind as one of the issues I’ve come across most as a medical issue making it difficult/impossible) then you should be able to breastfeed and/or pump with some measure of success. But again only if that’s that YOU want to. It’s not for everyone and there should be zero shame in stopping or heck no doing it at all if you don’t want to. 

Post # 36
3454 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I wrote up my full story in a thread here, but the short version is that I never was able to produce more than 8oz of breastmilk per day, despite doing everything everything EVERYTHING to help increase supply. The supply simply would not increase. So I dragged on for months pumping that meager 8oz and formula-feeding the rest until I finally screamed “ENOUGH” and allowed myself to quit. And when I posted my story, it became clear from the comments that my problem was not unique at all. Many, many women have the same issue.

@BrandNewBride:  I think you’re right about the wet nurse thing back in the day. It’s not that people actually hired and paid someone to feed their baby, but rather anyone you knew who had a baby and produced more milk than needed would just help you out!

Post # 38
1533 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

A very small % of women physically cannot produce enough milk (something between 2-5%, from what I’ve seen quoted). The vast majority end up having problem for other reasons:

-not getting a getting a good latch EARLY

-being convinced to supplement

-nipple confusion from bottlefeeding  etc

More than likely, your ability to breastfeed will depend on how determined you are to do it. If you are serious about it, I suggest you start reading & getting to know your body. I’ve been reading Breastfeeding Special Care Babies by Sandra Lange: Its written more for nurses/midwives/lactation consultants but the majority of the book covers all the basics and has a lot of interesting tricks. It’s only at the end that they focus on the ‘Special Care’ portion of it so don’t let the title turn you off.

Post # 39
1236 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Success with nursing is entirely possible (and much more likely) if a mother has access to the right help from a trained professional such as an IBCLC, a supportive “village” of family and friends and enough maternity leave to ensure that bf’ing is established before she has to return to work.  I honestly believe that it’s not biology that upsets nursing, it’s the external factors AKA “booby traps” that get in the way.

And I know I’ll probably get slammed for this but it’s also about advocating for yourself and your baby and sometimes it just comes down to wanting it and trying hard enough.

@mixtapehearts: This. Exactly this.  

Out of the nine mothers in my coffee group that used formula, I would take an educated guess that only one couldn’t feed due what I would say was IGT and one couldn’t feed due to severe tongue and lip tie.  Thats’ not to say that their choices werent valid but it wasn’t what I would call “medical” reasons that necessitated formula and they could probably have pushed through with better support and advice and had they so wished to.

Post # 40
504 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012


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Breastfeeding is HARD, but I do believe it is possible for the vast majority of women to do successfully IF they want to. It really has to be a priority in order to succeed. I’m still breastfeeding my daughter at 13 months. I only supplemented for two days right after she was born when my milk came in late after my c-section. I have hit so many bumps along the way, I honestly never thought it could be so challenging, and I was mentally resigned to not being able to breastfeed for as long as I wanted to. My daughter started teething at 3 months and had weeks where she refused to eat except at night; I had multiple bouts of mastitis throughout the first year when my milk nearly disappeared, and periods where I had to pump almost hourly throughout the day. I kept at it because breastfeeding was that important to me. I also worked full time for the first 5 months. 

My mom breastfed me, but her milk dried up by the time I was 3 months old and I drank cow’s milk from then on. (Very bad, but we lived in a third-world country where no formula was available. I was also occasionally ‘wet nursed’ by my aunt.) Throughout the past year, she kept asking me “are you still breastfeeding? Has your milk dried up yet?” because to her, it was like common wisdom that you would dry up at some point before your baby was done nursing. They didn’t know as much about how to maintain your milk supply, and how hard you had to work to continue breastfeeding. I learned that I have to pump a LOT in order to maintain my supply, and I donate the extra pumped milk to other moms.

Post # 41
2748 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@lealorali:  A lot of cultures share the role of breast feeding when a mother cannot produce the milk so I assume people back in the “olden days” did the same. 

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