there is way too much pressure to EBF?

(362 Posts)
ArtFine Sat 05-Apr-14 14:53:39

Just that really.

I've had a difficult journey with BF, and when I look back I know it would have been better and much more healthier for my baby (forget me) if I hadn't breastfed. She has CMPA and other allergies (and had awful silent reflux etc), and this would have been picked up very early on had she been bottle fed, and saved her a lot of pain and tears. hmm

Why is there so much pressure to EBF? Why is it always assumed that breast milk is THE best?

What's the harm for example in giving one bottle of formula per day so that babies get used to the bottle?

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Sat 05-Apr-14 22:26:24

Because it's the best milk you can give for your baby, it's literally the perfect food for them and formula has many potential dangers (not being made correctly etc). It's a very emotive subject because it's so personal to new mums, no one would complain about fruit and veg being pushed as better options than less healthy food, but they do about BF/FF. Like a pp said lots of promotion but god awful support I don't know anyone who attempted and/or succeeded at BF who at some point didn't get told to give the baby formula by a HCP.

I don't think we can stop educating about the best options for our children just to spare the odd persons feelings.

TheFabulousIdiot Sat 05-Apr-14 22:27:08

One bottle a day will effect supply, that's the harm.

However, if you want to give one bottle a day what's the problem? Was there a brestapo midwife in your bedroom?

I findit really odd when people moan that they can't get formula in hospital. Take your own. My son was offered formula within seven hours of his birth.

TheFabulousIdiot Sat 05-Apr-14 22:29:32

I also don't understand the cmpa thing, surely the last thing a cmpa baby needs is formula?

cloggal Sat 05-Apr-14 22:36:20

YANBU.
But as a couple of posters have commented, ebf mums get told to offer formula, just as much as mixed feeders or ff get told to ebf.
Not a lot of support for anyone making the right choice for their baby, whatever that is in the circumstance.

movingmovingmoving Sat 05-Apr-14 22:38:04

Why do you think CMPA and reflux would have been picked up earlier if you had FF? In my experience BF provided me with access to a heap of extra support eg BF groups, lactation consultants etc who picked up tongue tie (although reflux was only picked up by a sleep consultant at 5 months).

Lots of reasons why BF is preferable to FF but it doesn't mean you should be made feel guilty for FF if this is what is right for you hmm

I for one had lots of trouble BF but was never ever told to give formula by a HCP and for that I am grateful as sometimes a bit of encouragement is needed to get through a rough patch.

Wizardsleeveoh Sat 05-Apr-14 22:43:55

ChippyMinton I'm successfully breastfeeding (DD is 2 weeks old) and not a single HCP has mentioned ff, so they do exist.

Breast is best, point blank period. I'm not bothered how other mum's feed ther babies though, as long as people leave me to bf my baby without being told "Wizard, don't you think you ought to give it up now?" Or "Why don't you combination feed..give yourself a break".

I love the closeness I feel while breastfeeding and they look so cute when latched on.

StampyIsMyBoyfriend Sat 05-Apr-14 22:54:54

Breast IS best,from biological pov.

But I think the 'pressure' is self inflicted guilt by ff mums.

Make a decision & sod everyone else.

StampyIsMyBoyfriend Sat 05-Apr-14 22:57:00

Just to add, I ebf for 7 months & our doctor couldn't have cared less. Likewise in hospital, mums ff & it was accepted.

Where is the pressure!?

I'm in Ireland. DDs were born in US, where expectation was that you would BF. I was shocked at how few of my family and friends BF. So over here, there seems to be very little pressure to BF. Which is a shame.

velocitykate Sat 05-Apr-14 22:59:06

I don't think anyone would dispute that in the main, breast milk is the best food for babies. I also don't think that anyone would dispute that breast feeding rates in this country are very low and that it therefore needs to be promoted. In my experience, no one makes you feel guilty for breast feeding or not. You are the one who chooses whether or not to feel guilty and let's face it, being a new mother is probably the most guilt inducing occupation there is. If you want to breast feed and can, great. If you want to breast feed and can't then the chances are you have been let down by crap advice although there are some people who genuinely can't breastfeed.

No one else owns your guilt. You do. You do your best and if it doesn't work out then don't feel guilty.

Incidentally, FF is not always a bed of roses. I had MRSA mastitis with my first. When she was two weeks old, I started a course of antibiotics which weren't compatible with breast feeding so I gave her formula. She was sick after every feed, windy and constantly starving hungry most of the time. I would have to feed her three times at night to get enough to stay down for even two hours sleep. I was glad to get back to breast feeding

CelticPromise Sat 05-Apr-14 23:02:57

No-one should be made to feel guilty about their choices. Mothers are very good at doing that themselves.

I think that ff is ingrained in our culture and its important to try to make bf the norm and address myths. There are a great many myths that go around and are believed about bfing, one or two appear on this thread. But bf is a really complex thing and if a mother stopped because she geeky she could not continue it doesn't help to be told she could have, actually.

We should be educating women about their feeding options so their choices are informed. And encouragement of bf needs to be offered along with support.

Armi Sat 05-Apr-14 23:03:48

I felt under great pressure to BF when I had DD. For 48 hours after her birth I felt I was continually pummelled and pulled about by anyone who came within half a mile of the maternity ward. DD could not grasp the concept of latching on. I manually expressed colostrum and did a lot of pacing about being, as my hospital notes said, 'rather tearful'. The final straw came for me when I was hooked up to an electric breast pump (both breasts at the same time) in a public lounge and milked like a cow as other women shuffled in to get their breakfasts. I was greatly distressed by the whole thing and pleaded to be 'allowed' to FF. At no point had FF even been mentioned to me as an option.

My 'tearfulness' had been because I could not feed my baby. If someone had said to me, 'Look, we know BF is the best option, but it's not worth haunting the wards endlessly weeping about it, just give the kid some formula' I would not have felt as if the world was coming to an end.

I still believe BF is the ideal but that women should be able to discuss FF with midwives instead of being made to feel a failure and as if they are wanting to feed their child arsenic.

Psycobabble Sat 05-Apr-14 23:04:23

I didn't feel pressured and I wouldn't have listened anyway ! Got to be confident and happy in your own choices ! Formula fed mine and no regrets. Each to their own

cloggal Sat 05-Apr-14 23:04:31

Stampy, I bfd (pretty poorly, but I did!), mixed fed and ff - at each stage I had nonsense from relatives/HCPs regardless of what I did. There's shit on all sides of this if you happen to unluckily stumble across it. And yes, breast is best but not in every circumstance, and I'm confident I made the right choices for my child with what I had at my disposal. So whilst I don't agree with you that there is no pressure (there was a poster last night being pressured to give up BF!) I do completely think this is true:

Make a decision & sod everyone else.

Couldn't have said it better myself. We should get MN to get t-shirts made.

Somepercentagenotcool Sat 05-Apr-14 23:05:18

Breast milk is the best for babies, there is no disputing that fact -and I say that as someone who breastfed for 3 weeks max.

I think there is an expectation that you will breastfeed for at least a few days, but after that I don't think the HCPs (at least the ones I have come across) really care.

I had big breastfeeding anxieties for feeding my second, after a disastrous first experience (bad latch, loads of pain, total shell shock that it wasn't just as easy as baby finding nipple and away you go -thanks NCT workshop). Both times, my HVs basically said 'if you want to go onto formula, just do it, that is what it's there for' and god was I thankful for that! At my 6 week check I sheepishly told my GP that I had breastfed for 3 weeks and she was really chuffed!

I agree there needs to be less talk, more actual support for breastfeeding and more money invested in this. When I was at my absolute lowest with my first, the last thing I wanted to do was leave the house to get myself to a 'breastfeeding drop in' place I was ufamiliar with, with a load of other breastfeeing mothers i didnt know. the lovely woman from the NCT helpline couldnt tell me anythjng i didnt already know. But perhaps if I knew that someone totally dedicated to breastfeeding advice could come out to my own home and help me it might have helped, maybe not?

CustardOmlet Sat 05-Apr-14 23:05:49

YANBU I also felt the pressure to ebf, from midwife and childrens centre. It would never have been frowned upon to use formula, but I never received any support or advice about mixed feeding, which would have been nice since DS had struggled to gain weight, and was terrible at latching. He screamed all most constantly until I started to top up with formula, and even then I felt embarrassed and like I had failed to provide for my DS properly.

sonlypuppyfat Sat 05-Apr-14 23:07:15

Why on earth should a baby get used to a bottle? I had free stuff on tap.

CoffeeandLotsofCake Sat 05-Apr-14 23:07:37

To be honest I felt the only person putting pressure on me to bf was myself.

I bf my daughter for the 1st 3 weeks and eventually stopped when the midwife told me i should. I was sore, bleeding and not producing very much milk. dd was not gaining and a very unhappy baby.

Looking back no one once said anything about my switch to ff but I made myself feel awful!sad At the end of the day it was better for me and baby and she is now a very healthy happy 8 year old!

CelticPromise Sat 05-Apr-14 23:08:03

I think perhaps bf groups don't really sell themselves. I'm a peer supporter and have supported many mixed feeding mothers, but I guess sine mums might feel a bf group is not for them.

niceboots Sat 05-Apr-14 23:08:37

What's the harm for example in giving one bottle of formula per day so that babies get used to the bottle?
I don't get the "so that babies get used to the bottle" bit confused It's not a requirement for any baby to get used to having a bottle, unless it needs to because it's going to get formula.

I'm sorry you had such an awful time breastfeeding and that your baby had reflux and CMPA . I had terrible problems in the beginning, so I really do sympathise.

The state of breastfeeding support offered to mums in the UK is criminal and it's such an emotive, and often very painful, topic that it is very difficult to talk about it honestly and straightforwardly without raking over people's wounds sad Would it really help you to give you the answers to your questions? I don't think it would.

If you could find a sympathetic and pragmatic breastfeeding counsellor type person, it might be useful to you to go over what happened and your feelings with them and have a debrief.

CelticPromise Sat 05-Apr-14 23:10:40

SomePercentage the area I trained offered home visits to mothers, but we did try to limit them to where they were essential because we were all volunteers pushed for time.

TheScience Sat 05-Apr-14 23:11:48

I've not felt any pressure to EBF to be honest - only 1% of babies are EBF to 6 months, while a 1/3 of babies are still breastfed, so that's a lot of people mix feeding or just formula feeding.

I think there probably is some social pressure to at least try to breastfeed/do the first few feeds and let the baby have colostrum, for good reason - but really when the vast majority of people don't EBF there can hardly be said to be "too much pressure"!

I just fed my babies how I wanted.

TheFabulousIdiot Sat 05-Apr-14 23:12:29

"At no point had FF even been mentioned to me as an option. "

But you knew formula existed right? You knew that you could get someone to buy you some and bring it in?

Giveme5minutes Sat 05-Apr-14 23:14:15

I've ff 4 baby's.

I mixed fed 1 baby.

I'm EBF my 9 week old baby currently.

With dc2 i got a few comments about not bf but i didn't care as i didn't want to bf. Never recieved advice, information or an opinion with the other dc.

Each to there own. I couldn't care less how someone else feeds their baby!

drnoitall Sat 05-Apr-14 23:14:31

Yabu.
I ebf my dc and have always felt pressure to ff. the times I've heard "Ohhhh you're not still feeding are you?"
When babies were only around 6 months old.

Midwives have offered formula too.

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