Ugh, that type of fear mongering is my biggest pregnancy pet peeve. I had an epidural with my first. The L&D was great but my daughter had a little trouble breathing so she had to stay in the NICU for a week (it was scary but they assured me that they were just keeping her there out of an abundance of caution, so that they could administer antibiotics). Anyway, I was in the NICU every day trying to breastfeed but my daughter definitely got a lot of bottles (of both pumped breast milk and formula) during that first week. I was so afraid that my chances of bf'ing were ruined, that my daughter was going to have permanent "nipple confusion," that she'd never learn to latch, etc. Turns out, I had an easier time breastfeeding than anyone I've ever known to have done it. To be honest, I think the pumping may have helped my milk to come in as fully as it did and my nipples were less sore because we were allowed to ease into it. Plus, my daughter went back and forth from bottle and breast easily from the get-go, meaning that family could help and I didnt have to train her before I went back to work.
Anyway, my point is that some of these people that are trying to encourage you to bf are going about it the wrong way. They pretend like there are all these things that are going to ruin your experience, e.g. using bottles, pumping, etc, just because they don't want you to decide not to bf. The other thing that drives me crazy is when they act like it's not hard work or that it ever hurts. I'm sorry but, like I said, I think I had an easy time with bf'ing compared to everyone else I know and it's tough and it does hurt, at least for a while, even if you're doing it correctly.
I loved bf'ing and I'll do it again AND I loved my epidural and, lord knows, I'll do that again! My advice if you want to bf too is to accept that it's going to be difficult but that you'll get the hang of it if you keep at it and look for help if you arent getting anywhere. I would also starting washing your nipples/breasts with a wash cloth in the third trimester and applying lanolin to keep them moist. Everything I've read says that there's no need for this but I really think it helped to make them a little less sensitive.
Sorry to go on and on, it just drives me crazy when people make first-timers feel like this because I had enough to be worried about during that first week without having that load of bs too