To say if you don't want to bf then fine but don't lie that you can't

(423 Posts)
Lily1986 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:21:42

A friend is ff her baby son. She tried to bf but gave up after a few days. Privately she told me that she didn't like having to bf and wanted her dh to share the load. To everyone else she is saying that she didn't produce enough milk and is seeking sympathy from others that her body wasn't able to provide for her baby. Really laying it on thick.

I really don't have a problem with how anyone chooses to feed their baby.

AIBU to feel angry at this friend trying to make people feel sorry for her?

I can imagine with 5...... shock

I could rarely sit down and do an entire feed without having to jump up and run after ds1 so it's hardly surprising really. I'd have ds3 latched on, and be post section legging it up the stairs trying to see what ds1 was doing. I didn't need a breast feeding councillor - I needed an additional carer 24/7

chipmonkey Mon 26-Nov-12 23:03:04

jimjams, one of my friends was the same. She didn't produce as much milk for her 5th as her others. And none of hers have SNs at all so she wasn't in your situation, running around after a child with autism. Not saying she wasn't busy, mind!

gimmecakeandcandy Mon 26-Nov-12 22:39:20

I wasn't trying to say you did have milk if you know you didn't, I just meant in many cases it is not the case iyswim!

I am. As my midwife said to me at the time 'hm well you could try spending a few days in bed feeding but I'm not quite sure how realistic that is given your life' (while watching ds1 climb the curtains and onto my shoulders). I just wasn't producing anywhere near enough.

I'd fed the other two so easily it was a bit of a shock to find it so hard with my third.

chipmonkey Mon 26-Nov-12 22:04:03

jimjams says she didn't produce enough milk and I believe her cos she is so saintly.smile

LivingThings Mon 26-Nov-12 22:01:17

DS would not latch at all (went to lactation specialists the works) no tongue tie just could not get it. I was bursting with milk and bulied bymidwives whilst looking after a baby screaming withhunger who they refused to give formula to. A lovely health worker got me a breast pump on day 4 and we never looked back. Looking back I should have told then to F off -they were cruel and starving a newborn baby for their statistics.

DD was a natural and I could of fed her for ages had I wanted to but frankly I didn't so after 4 weeks she went on to formula too. Thnakfully most people I know are normal and don't need to question people personal choices.

sunshine401 Mon 26-Nov-12 21:34:14

I ff all mine. Not because I had to because I wanted to and to get out of the night feeds grin
Anyone who asks me in RL (which was very rare when they were babies and never comes up now they are not babies anymore) I tell the truth. Simply.

Tailtwister Mon 26-Nov-12 21:14:50

There comes a point where tough decisions need to be made. If a baby is dehydrating and losing weight, the something has to be done. Whether that is topping up with expressed milk if available or formula, there is no alternative. In a good number of cases it's the only option. Of course, this affects nursing frequency at a crucial point where supply is getting established and a downward spiral of supply follows.

I have a huge respect for women who face these difficult choices. You can only make decisions on the information and situation the time. To carry a burden of guilt for simply doing the best you could is surely heartbreaking.

karma - snap. Was overflowing with ds1 and ds2 for the whole 3 and half years I was feeding them (especially at the beginning in both cases - had far too much). Dried up completely with ds3. I couldn't sit in bed all day establishing supply as I had a severely autistic 5 year old who needed looking after :shrugs:

fedupofnamechanging Mon 26-Nov-12 21:05:21

gimme, my supply was established - I didn't give up in the first week or so, before supply could get going and for my previous 3 babies I'd had more milk than I knew what to do with! But for some reason with baby number 4 it dipped. I have no idea why - I just know that there wasn't enough for her.

I breast fed ds1 and ds2 for a combined total of 3 and a half years. I breast fed ds3 for 4 weeks. Why? Didn't produce enough milk.

gimmecakeandcandy Mon 26-Nov-12 19:05:28

Karma but in most cases there IS enough milk to satisfy a baby, it is just bloody hard work and relentless getting milk supply established!

hiviolet Mon 26-Nov-12 15:41:54

I don't quite understand why people are fixating on perceived lack of milk as bring the only reason why women give up breastfeeding.

My nipples are so flat I may as well have tried latching DD into the back of my hand, for all the success she was having with the nipple. Poor little soul wasn't even aware there was a nipple in her mouth.

I got no help from the midwives, other than trying to shove her on, and let's face it, anyone can do that. My nipples were too flat for the dreaded nipple shields as well.

Fast forward five days and DD was dehydrated, jittering with low blood sugar and her weight was dropping like a stone. She was getting NOTHING. I moved immediately into formula.

Anyone who thinks I am overstating the problem in order to assuage my own guilt (I have none) or to garner sympathy is sorely fucking mistaken.

Saying 'it was impossible due to lack of milk and a starving baby' is unfair when it is not the truth.

And doubting whether someone is lying is damaging to those who aren't. You don't even need to say it, often your body language gives it away. To those of us who are going through it they don't need a single shred more stress.

As I said, there is no shame in not bf. People need to be honest about their reasons for not doing so though. 'I didn't want to' or 'I wanted my husband to share the load' are both fair decisions. Saying 'it was impossible due to lack of milk and a starving baby' is unfair when it is not the truth. Every damaging lie told about bf makes it that little bit harder for women to bf successfully.

This and the title of this thread assume the two are mutually incompatible. That not wanting to feed and not being able to feed can't happen at once and therefore if someone doesn't feed and says they don't want to then that can be the only reason.

I was told by lactaction specialists (who presumedly know more than most on this thread) that both my stress and lack of sleep was making it worse and reducing my milk supply. One of the things they had me try was having my husband take the baby for a while so that I could sleep and relax. If this is true and you are trying to breastfeed when you really don't want to then it would be no great surprise that it is less likely to work.

As for being honest. Many are criticised for not wanting to breastfeed. I did want to but I had two friends with little ones who got criticism repeatedly (in the name of breastfeeding support) because they didn't want breastfeed. I could see lying so people would just shut up if I was them.

Echocave Mon 26-Nov-12 15:03:51

In a perfect World, everyone would be able to bf because they would have all the support they needed, individually tailored for their character and their baby. But it isn't like that. Low supply can be a problem not biologically but because of the way the feeding is going.
And the feeding can go badly due to expectations and characters of the baby and mother plus social reasons.

Dd lost too much weight in hospital and topping up with formula led me into a cycle of bf, expressing and topping up with formula. So determined was I too cut out the ff that I put myself and dd through hell and was never able to give up ff in the end. Dd just got too impatient to bf and kicked up a stink until the bottle arrived despite my best efforts and loads of support.I mixed fed til 6 months and
expressed til 9 and felt shit about it. I felt rejected by dd and still do a bit but I still don't think anyone's responsible for perpetuating myths.

Sometimes, for various reasons, it's not a myth.

And OP get off your high horse

bubalou Mon 26-Nov-12 14:55:06

I haven't read all the replies.

I really, really wanted to breast feed - I did for a week but poor DS lost so much weight from not eating.

He had a tongue-tie and couldn't latch properly.

He went onto bottles fine & I managed to carry on expressing for another 4 weeks to try & give him what he needed.

elkiedee Mon 26-Nov-12 14:41:03

YABU to judge your friend in this way, and to express it how you did in thread heading. Not everything you say is unreasonable though.

Do you wish she had continued to breastfeed? I don't think wishing more women would breastfeed, and would continue to do so longer is unreasonable, but I think the phrasing of your opening post is a bit harsh - it would have really upset me when I was miserably and guiltily bottle feeding DS1.

I think most people can breastfeed with the right support when they had problems, but I think an awful lot of people don't get the right support when they have problems - it takes a lot of luck and effort to find the right advice.

I had a lot of problems and was pushed into giving formula with DS1 when he was a week old, and I felt terrible about it - I certainly wasn't lying. With DS2, I had a rocky beginning but worked incredibly hard to overcome the problems, and made sure formula top ups which I was pushed into giving by the hospital were only top ups, and phased them out. However, it was really really hard and I really wouldn't argue that everyone else should do what I did, I just couldn't bear to fail the second time. It was an obsession with me, and I'm sure there are records in various NHS places about how difficult and stubborn I was.

I feel sad when people choose not to breastfeed. I feel sad when people give up too soon. But maybe your friend isn't lying, and if she is, the reasons why she feels she has to are coming from other people (possibly including you).

fedupofnamechanging Mon 26-Nov-12 14:04:00

I would think that plenty of women produce some milk, but not enough to satisfy their baby and that they feel they are doing the right thing by ff, rather than have their baby be hungry whilst they attempt to increase their milk supply.

Other women will think it is worth holding out until the supply increases.

It's a value judgement.

FlangelinaBallerina Mon 26-Nov-12 13:57:38

PropertyNightmare forgive me for nitpicking, but it's not statistically impossible for all the women you know to have lacked milk. We've seen lots of percentages mentioned on this thread, and the valid point made that it may be a sliding scale. Let's conservatively assume 1%. There are usually about 700,000-750,000 babies born in the UK each year. I don't know how many are multiples. So let's say about 650,000 women each year in the UK give birth. 1% of them is 6500. I doubt you know more than 6500 women. The number you know will be comfortably inside the 1%. So statistically it isn't impossible that everyone you knew who said they didn't have enough milk was telling the truth. Very unlikely, but possible.

And the more I read people saying ff mums bear the responsibility for informing new mums, the more I think how silly it is. There are organisations out there entirely devoted to bf, and some of you want knackered women who are frightened of being judged and usually don't have expert knowledge to be responsible instead? That's ludicrous! Of course it isn't going to work. The responsibility for spreading the correct information belongs entirely with those of you who think there's a problem. You could start by sticking the boot into people who criticise ffers, as that's the reason why some people lie.

nickelbabeuntiladvent Mon 26-Nov-12 13:48:40

cory - you're right - i agree with you completely - if you had been told that it would be an idea to think about SNs then you wouldn't have felt so guilty about FFing.

nickelbabeuntiladvent Mon 26-Nov-12 13:47:19

Property - i think that the very phrase "milk not come in yet" might be one reason behind the problem.
women are usually told what it means, but if their DP doesn't understand what it means then they're probably convinced that means the baby if not getting any milk at all!
maybe the phrase needs to changed - call colostrum "post birth milk" and normal milk as "regular milk" (or similar)
then it can be explained better to DPs ("she's still got her post birth milk" sounds better)
(and sometimes to the women too - it can be a tricky idea to fathom)

chipmonkey Mon 26-Nov-12 13:19:41

Cory, I agree.
Much as it annoyed me when SIL lied about why she didn't bf, I don't believe she did anyone a disservice but herself.

I also think that there has to be a sliding scale of ability to produce milk.
I don't think it's as simple as saying 2% of women can't produce enough milk. Even from one baby to another, I'm fairly certain I produced varying amounts of milk and the baby him/herself will definitely influence things.
I have bfed five children. Ds2 and ds4 gained more weight in their first six weeks than any of the others. Same mother, same breasts, different babies.

cory Mon 26-Nov-12 12:55:55

"People like mine and OP's friends are doing a disservice to both bf and mothers like you."

Afraid you can count me out over this one. Over the 8 years before dd's diagnosis and the 8 years that have passed since, I do not recollect any harm coming to either of us through anybody else's muddled account of their own parenting difficulties. I've never had the slightest difficulty in listening sympathetically and accepting that people have different experiences and what happened to you is no guide to what will happen to me.

Otoh enormous harm has been done by suspicious people who have persisted in believing that if our experiences did not tally exactly with what they knew about, then we had to be lying. That was the attitude that nearly drove me into PND when I was trying to keep dd fed and things weren't working out. That was the attitude that later drove dd to school refuse, to self-harm and eventually to attempt suicide- because she knew people would think her a liar if her explanations of what was happening to her body didn't make sense to them.

PropertyNightmare Mon 26-Nov-12 12:25:55

Cory, I did not mean to hurt you and I am sorry if I have. I simply wish that people would be more honest about reasons for stopping bf. As someone telling the truth I can see that you have strong feelings about this. People like mine and OP's friends are doing a disservice to both bf and mothers like you.

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