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?

Writerwannabe83 Sat 05-Apr-14 14:56:20

Well I'm EBF and I'm getting pressure of various people/relatives to give bottles of formula. They are seriously pissing me off grin

It's ridiculous - you can't win either way!

Smartiepants79 Sat 05-Apr-14 15:00:54

Well it is a scientific fact that breast milk is the best food for newborn babies. Issues of colic and reflux etc don't change that fact.
Personally I BF my 2 girls until they were both 14 months. however they both had 1 bottle a day with their dad until they started to refuse them. And no, it did no harm at all and was a positive for my DH and gave me a break.
They never needed to get used to bottles as we never used them apart from that, they went straight to cup.
I do think it is important that breast feeding is promoted and supported as much as possible. We still have abysmally low rates in this country.
It is NOT the answer for all families and there are many circumstances when it is impossible but it should still be encouraged in my opinion.

RedPencilPot Sat 05-Apr-14 15:01:37

Who does this pressure come from? I ff my baby and never once felt pressure to do anything else!

Smartiepants79 Sat 05-Apr-14 15:02:19

I think better recognition of things such as silent reflux would be more appropriate than stopping promoting breast feeding.

stargirl1701 Sat 05-Apr-14 15:05:01

Too much promotion, not enough support.

WooWooOwl Sat 05-Apr-14 15:05:30

Some people see it as pressure, some people see it as support.

As many people want more support to make bfing successful, and educating people about it will encourage more people to do it and experience the benefits of it, I think YABU.

AnythingNotEverything Sat 05-Apr-14 15:07:24

I agree with smartie. I think parents ought to get a much more balanced view. Breastfeeding isn't always easy. In the early days it needs to be your priority to sit and feed the baby, but because we don't talk about how tough that can be, we also don't talk about how easy it can become after those first few weeks. We don't talk about reflux or colic and bf babies.

I think the one bottle of ff a day isn't recommended because it can (in some babies) lead to nipple confusion. I'm not sure I believe this, but I'm sure it can interfere will a new mum's supply and also her determination to continue on some of the tougher days. We don't have an open debate about this so it's really hard.

thebody Sat 05-Apr-14 15:10:46

Mm well I have been a parent your 24 years and fed my 4 how suited me. I bf for varying amounts of time and then went to ff/bottles/cups.

I never ever had a negative comment on bf, I had advise offered me from Various random people but as an adult I managed to sieve what suited me and what didn't.

I never felt pressure to either ff or bf I just did what suited us.

I am amazed at the angst over this. Not aspects of bf as it can he bloody tricky but the worry about what other people think.

Really do what suits you and fuck anyone else's opinion.

NancyJones Sat 05-Apr-14 15:11:39

Well breast milk is the best but that doesn't mean that formula is akin to poison as some people suggest.
There should be more support and tolerance for BF mothers and more understanding and tolerance for those who chose to FF. I never understand why people get so worked up about how other women chose to feed their babies. I EBF all of mine but I don't give a fig what feeding choices other women make.

stuckindamiddle Sat 05-Apr-14 15:14:04

marking place

WorraLiberty Sat 05-Apr-14 15:16:20

I FF all 3 of mine and I never got any pressure from anyone to BF.

Having said that, my youngest is now 11 so perhaps it was different then?

juneau Sat 05-Apr-14 15:21:42

I EBF both of mine and felt that for the first 3-6 months everyone was very supportive. After that, all I got was pressure to give formula or stop BF-ing! It's as if many people feel its almost indecent or something after the baby has started on some solids to continue to BF.

So I never felt pressure to EBF - that was entirely my choice - but I felt a lot of pressure to stop when others deemed it to be the right time hmm

Laquila Sat 05-Apr-14 15:23:25

It can't be denied that it has been scientifically proven, as a pp says, that breastmilk is the best food for babies. And with the greatest of respect, OP, you have no way of knowing whether your daughter would have been happier or healthier on formula.

However, the scientific evidence about beatnik being a better foodstuff fails to take into account that some mothers and babies have an incredibly hard time establishing breastfeeding - I know I did. I've only recently allowed my exhaustion and frustration to overcome my stubbornness, and have given the odd bottle of formula. It hasnt really made my life any easier, though, although fortunately it hasn't damaged my supply.

It's also worth noting (as an article on kellymom points out) that just because a baby accepts a bottle at one point in time, it didn't necessarily mean that will always be the case -"getting them used to bottles" isn't always possible.

I do think people underestimate the role that new-mother hormones, guilt and baby blues can play in contributing to the pressure that women often feel to ebf.

Laquila Sat 05-Apr-14 15:26:20

Beatnik = breastmilk, as you might have guessed!

MammaTJ Sat 05-Apr-14 15:27:29

I fed my 19 yr old DD for few weeks and found it a struggle. I had no support but no judgement either.

DD 2 loved BF and we were doing rather well but she was very ill, so at aroun 7 hours old she was literally removed from my breast and taken to SCBU. She was then collected ant taken to a hospital over 60 miles away that I was too ill to go to. When I finally joined her the next day and in the intervening period, I had tried to express. They told me the shock of her being so ill made my milk dry up.

DS was born by EMCS weighing 10lbs 5 ozs. I was in ITU for the first 24 hours of his life. When I joined him I said I wanted to try BF and got told that with him being so large and me do weak, it was not a good idea. The nurses had been giving him a lot of bottles while I was out of it.

There was never any pressure apart from the pressure I put on myself!

noblegiraffe Sat 05-Apr-14 15:40:53

No, I don't think there is. There is pressure to breastfeed, I think, but not EBF, and only really at the start.

Neither of mine had bottles and I don't know anyone else who didn't introduce a 'bottle at bedtime to get break' or similar, fairly early on, and then completely to formula sometime before a year.

As an EBFer, I was never asked by a health visitor at the checks or vaccinations if I was still bfing at all, let alone ebfing. No health professional seemed to give a shit, and neither did anyone else, except to ask when I was going to stop bfing.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 05-Apr-14 15:46:12

Where is the pressure coming from? I never felt any pressure to BF - and in hospital I had to battle with the night MWs to stop them from giving DS a bottle.

You shouldn't be feeling pressure to BF - you should be getting evidence based support, advice and treatment to help you to do so if you want to BF. Sadly this is rarely forthcoming sad and you need to seek it out.

WorraLiberty Sat 05-Apr-14 15:47:55

The only 'pressure' I've ever seen has been on MN

And even then, MN seems to reflect real life less and less these days imo.

JackShit Sat 05-Apr-14 15:56:13

YABU. There is no pressure to bf. MOST people ff and bf rates are far too low in this country.

When in hospital for 6 days after emcs I saw very many people come and go and I was the ONLY one bf. Every single other woman ff from the off and it wasn't questioned.

ff is the 'norm' still and this does need to be corrected through promotion.

Woobeedoo Sat 05-Apr-14 22:19:16

At my anti-natal class I was told that my hospital was pro-BF and would not under any circumstances offer FF to mothers. I wasnt too fussed by this as I planned to BF.

However after he was born my son was found to have tongue-tie so he couldn't latch properly, nor could he feed properly. I had one occasion where I was switching from one boob to the other for 4hrs and on another occassion, 6hrs - non-stop. My OH would find me holding DS, slumped over him, shaking and crying from exhaustion. Told the HV this, got cats bum face and asked "Would you like me to help you with the latch?".

I gave up BF'ing, bought a breast pump and formula and still got 'the face' at the next visit. I was made to feel the shittiest, crappiest mother alive for not exclusively BF'ing and could feel myself slipping into PND which thankfully and god knows how I managed to claw my way out of before I fell too deep.

HVs and MWs need to get with the times. Not everyone wants to or for whatever reason is able to EBF. They need to accept our wishes and support us.

TheFabulousIdiot Sat 05-Apr-14 22:24:10


Breast milk IS best, it's a scientific fact.

Most people I know, who wanted to breast feed, we're subjected to sustained attempts to scupper their breast feeding.

I DO think that health professionals should be promoting breastfeeding, but they tend to booby trap it with bad advice and stupid ideas.

So yabu to think that there is too much pressure. Most people don't breastfeed longer than a few weeks.

126stickscupsareace Sat 05-Apr-14 22:24:37

Do you mean pressure on mumsnet?

spatchcock Sat 05-Apr-14 22:24:48

I had my first baby in the UK. FF with no comments whatsoever, only sympathy when I was upset about being unable to bf.

Second baby in a country where there is a huge push to breastfeed. Got endless comments and questions from medical professionals, friends and strangers. Still getting them! I'm unable to bf for medical reasons so didn't appreciate the 'why not?' or the tuts that I inevitably got when someone saw me with a bottle. I don't feel like I owe strangers information about my medical history.

So probably not relevant to this probably UK-centric thread but just wanted to sympathise with anyone who does feel they're getting pressure because it's really not pleasant.

runnerBeanee Sat 05-Apr-14 22:26:14

Yabu. As other posters have said, breastfeeding rates in this country are abysmally low and it has to be promoted and reminded as best otherwise no one would bother, particularly as formula companies promote their brands so heavily...

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

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

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.

SaggyAndLucy Sat 05-Apr-14 23:16:28

Well I've not found this! The only pressure I get is from myself! Lucy is tube fed atm and im expressing for hours a day.
Even BF support have suggested I give up if I can't cope. I am so bloody minded that I just can't give up until the supply dries up or my nipples fall off!
I think there's a specific body of fanatics who press bf on others. You get this with everything. But most people are fairly sensible about it.

Suzyjane1 Sat 05-Apr-14 23:17:28

FFS. Don't get me started on the health 'professionals' who advocate BF above all else! One question for them- if the mother is slipping into a very serious severe PND, just how good is breast milk now??! Will there still be a mother to feed the baby?

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Sat 05-Apr-14 23:18:02

I also agree that guilt comes from within, no one can make you feel guilty if you don't let them. And no one pressured me to BF except myself. I was determined and it is why I have a succeeded at it, it was tough at first and I did get to a point where I thought "I can see how people turn to formula". But I'm so so pleased I didn't, the first few weeks of agony (emotional and physical) have been worth the long haul.

drnoitall Sat 05-Apr-14 23:19:33

Also to add.
I have ebf all 5 of my dc with no pressure to do so whatsoever, infact when feeding was hard ff was suggested by HV and midwife, I wanted to bf, no pressure.

What is the need to get used to a bottle? Cups, babies can drink from cups.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Sat 05-Apr-14 23:20:00

Suzyjane - BFing reduces the chances of PND, so your example is just anecdotal. Of course professionals advocate breastfeeding - why wouldn't they? It's best for every baby and like I said earlier it would be scandalous to change that just cos a few mums feel a bit bad about having to FF.

FunnysInLaJardin Sat 05-Apr-14 23:21:00

fwiw OP, YANBU. I was horribly pressured to BF in hospital as well as by the midwives pre birth. I did for a bit and hated it for various reasons. And no formula was never offered as an option

Armi Sat 05-Apr-14 23:21:37

Of course I knew it existed, what with not being utterly stupid and all, however I did not know I could just get DH to bring it in, given that the impression created by staff was that one EBF. Full stop. I honestly had no idea we could just crack on with FF because we wanted to.

If we are lucky enough to have another baby, obviously I'll know I can FF at will. At the time, post C-section, and befuddled with it all having never had a baby before, I put my faith in the staff.

FunnysInLaJardin Sat 05-Apr-14 23:21:54

btw breast feeding tipped me into PND both times

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Sat 05-Apr-14 23:28:05

Of course I knew it existed, what with not being utterly stupid and all, however I did not know I could just get DH to bring it in, given that the impression created by staff was that one EBF. Full stop. I honestly had no idea we could just crack on with FF because we wanted to.

See I think this is a good thing - BFing is the normal way to feed, but marketing from formula companies in recent years has made it seem like its abnormal - I love seeing breastfeeding being promoted as the norm, without a thought of formula being an option.

bobot Sat 05-Apr-14 23:37:43

suzyjane, I don't quite understand your post - why couldn't a mother with severe PND breastfeed? And why wouldn't it be beneficial for her and the baby?

Otherwise, haven't rtft, but agree with those saying "too much pressure, too little support". A lot of the Health Service's energy seems to be directed at getting across the message that breast is best - but then at the first hint of a problem healthcare professionals cry formula. It just sets women up for feeling they have failed, if they want to breastfeed and are then made to believe they can't.

Education for healthcare professionals and open access to lactation consultants is where the resources need to be directed imo.

OP, wouldn't your dd have been better off if her diagnosis had been made earlier? Why is it that you think it would have been picked up had she been formula fed? (I'm not being judgy, I genuinely don't know why that would be?) - I'd have thought her best outcome would have been for you to breastfeed on a dairy free / allergen free diet?

YANBU to think you're entitled to feed your baby however you like, YABU to think formula would have been better for her.

bobot Sat 05-Apr-14 23:39:48

This is useful in explaining why just one bottle a day does change things for baby:

And a breastfed baby doesn't really need to get used to a bottle?

Whathaveiforgottentoday Sat 05-Apr-14 23:58:06

I think lots of new mums put a great deal of guilt upon themselves and can therefore be very touchy about any comments and set targets too high for themselves. I agree with your OP about the pressure but do think it is often self inflicted.

Keeping things in perspective can help. I remember somebody saying 'its not like a GP asks you whether you were ff or bf when you go for a check up age 40 is it?' Also lets face it, the introduction of formula saved thousands of lives and whilst breast is best, FF is not exactly poison is it.

BTW - I EBF until about 14 months with both mine (took to breastfeeding like a duck to water!).

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Apr-14 01:34:54

When I had DS and struggled to latch him on and feed him, within 24 hours the Doctors were telling me to give Formula. No offers of help with the BF technique, no BF support, nobody thought to try and help me, their easy answer was, "Give formula".

So in my eyes I got the exact opposite of being pressured to EBF.

juniper44 Sun 06-Apr-14 02:13:28

I thought I was doing the best for my DD (now 6 months) by EBF but it turns out that, like me, she's lactose intolerant. My milk has been the cause of all of her pain and inability to stay asleep.

We saw a paediatric consultant and then our GP and since she's been on special formula she has been so different; no colicy symptoms and no explosive, painful poos. I feel guilty for having breast fed her when that is what was causing the problems.

At the beginning, I felt guilty for giving her the occasional bottle. I guess guilt is there inevitably.

nirishma Sun 06-Apr-14 02:19:55

Are you kidding me??? I so desperately wanted to bf yet even the bf 'support' workers were urging me to give formula top-ups! I think there is pressure on mums in general and in our vunerable post-partum hormonal state we lose the balls to tell everyone to do one.

I was threatened with a dietician, paediatrician, the works. Since starting formula and solids dd has jumped up the centiles in weight but is still 0.4th centile in length and following the curve beautifully. Before she was 0.4th centile in weight too and therefore looked perfectly in proportion. Now she justa has a massive belly and looks like a frog hmm

I do agree though being told to put baby to breast as a cure for mastitis by midwives makes me scream with frustration. Sorry to hear about your dc. Mine also had silent reflux as it happens but I found it was easily managed with a bit of carobel mixed with a few drops of ebm.

Of course it took til I was practically weaning her to find this out as fucking formula pushing health visitors were worse than useless.

Turns out I had oversupply and she was filling up on water/ empty calories.

I'm not bitter at all grin

TheRealAmandaClarke Sun 06-Apr-14 02:59:15

Sorry you and your baby had a hard time.
But IMHO YAbu. I think the reverse is the case.
Promotion of formula is far better funded than promotion of bf, and ff is far more prevalent.

Suzyjane1 Sun 06-Apr-14 05:35:02

FFS. Don't get me started on the health 'professionals' who advocate BF above all else! One question for them- if the mother is slipping into a very serious severe PND, just how good is breast milk now??! Will there still be a mother to feed the baby?

Suzyjane1 Sun 06-Apr-14 05:48:30

Oops don't know how that happened. Double post.. With ref to the question asking why a mother with pnd can't bf... Sorry I should have elaborated. Didn't explain properly. It was just that in my case, all the midwives were concerned about was me bfing my ds3. Breast is best.. Etc etc. They really should have seen how ill I was getting(after me telling them several times about some alarming symptoms, and history of having it with two previous births) and urged me to get medical help. I ended up in a psychiatric mother and baby unit for 7 weeks. Was put on lots of meds and I gave up bfing straight away. The benefits to bottles imo are that they fill baby up better, baby sleeps longer (lifesaver) and its easier to get baby into a routine.

Wuxiapian Sun 06-Apr-14 05:54:43

I FF all 3 of my children - 15 years, 14 months and 7 weeks and never had any pressure to BF.

I understand breast is best, but not at the cost of my sanity!

Somepercentagenotcool Sun 06-Apr-14 06:06:32

I do think forums like this one change your perception of breastfeeding. If you were to read some of these forums you would think that loads of women breastfeed their children for 2 years and more - in the same way that if you read the car seat section you would think most people have an extended rear facing car seat..... They don't!

In reality I don't think there is really any pressure to ebf after a few days/weeks, as thescience said, most people don't!

Suzyjane1 Sun 06-Apr-14 06:08:40

IsChippy, sorry but I find your post to be the height of ignorance! Statistics can be tweaked to suit. BFing reduces the risk of pnd?! For the record, 3 dc, pnd 3 times, BF two out of the three..

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 06:16:11

Most uk babies over a few weeks old are formula fed.

Formula feeding is the social norm here.

I think that one fact explains pretty much 99% of the angst about bf that you see on mumsnet.

OP - I appreciate that being told something you CAN'T do (exclusively breastfeed) is best for babies. But it's a bit rich to expect health professionals to ignore the evidence because it makes you and other women who can't /won't follow it feel bad.

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 06:17:42

Suzy - there is some research showing that breastfeeding can and sometimes does impact positively on PND.

GemmaPomPom Sun 06-Apr-14 06:27:59

I agree. There was a woman on here recently who was struggling to EBF and it was impacting her ability to bond with her baby. She said she felt like walking out on him, or something like that.

I suggested she give him a bottle, just for a break more than anything. Honestly, you would think I had suggested she give him a bottle of beer, judging by the reaction it got.

There is nothing wrong with giving your baby the occasional bottle of formula. Why are women deemed a failure for doing so?

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 06:37:13

Who says women are 'a failure' for giving a bottle? Those who go around putting words like that in the mouths of people who are trying to support breastfeeding are also responsible for that thought being in women's heads.

'There is nothing wrong with giving a bottle' - well not morally. But sometimes it causes unwanted complications with breastfeeding, which is the reason to suggest caution and not recommend it willy nilly in response to every feeding/postnatal glitch. It's also the case that EBF is associated with the best health outcomes - inconvenient but true. Means we can't go around insisting ' one bottle a day definitely makes no difference' because the evidence doesn't support this opinion.

Suzyjane1 Sun 06-Apr-14 06:50:15

MiniFingers, thanks for info but I'm sure that research could show that FF "can" and "sometimes" does impact well on PND.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Sun 06-Apr-14 06:53:11

Suzyjane - I'm sorry you had a bad time with PND but your case does not mean that it is a fact for all women who struggled to breast feed. And yes BFing does reduce the chances of PND, I'll find a better link but take a look at this

Please explain properly how stating facts is the 'height of ignorance'. I don't understand why people get offended by the suggestion that BFing is better than FFing. It is.

Suzyjane1 Sun 06-Apr-14 06:57:14

75% of all statistics are made up. However only 25% of people know that... Figure that one, BFing Fanatics!

Suzyjane1 Sun 06-Apr-14 07:02:37

"Please explain properly how stating facts is the height of ignorance"

The height of ignorance is assuming that results of research = facts. "Research" always has an agenda.

I think everyone is wrong, sort of. The problem is it's all subjective. These debates always result in 'in my case' answers. Those just don't forward the debate. Reading here you would also assume most people had nasty births. They don't. Statistically anyway. Some of this is just perception as no one knows what it's like til you do it. Frankly it can be a shock, and what you term 'bad' a professional says is actually 'good'. As well it might be if you've watched a 100.

Ultimately op you are ill informed IMO in this area. Not bu as I don't think that should apply in this debate.

GemmaPomPom Sun 06-Apr-14 07:22:23

EBF puts a huge amount of pressure on the mother. Particularly when it's not going well and you have other smug mothers who are doing it successfully.

WhosLookingAfterCourtney Sun 06-Apr-14 07:32:02

Gemma are you suggesting that by simply breastfeeding without problems, women are putting pressure on others?

Breast IS best, that's why the NHS promotes and encourages it over ff, it saves them money in the long run. Do what's right for you and your baby and stop taking other people's parenting decisions as a personal slight.

IsChippy, BFing probably is better than FF. Probably.


The mother wants to, and is physically capable of doing so, and emotionally strong enough for the difficulties it can pose. And if the baby is physically capable of latching on (without surgery)*.

Not just 'oh yes breast is best'. That's so facile and unhelpful. If bfing was easy FOR YOU then bully for you. It isn't, for a lot of women; in my NCT group of 8, only 1 has bf without struggling (two TT which needed snipping, one didn't work; one where the latch was only possible with nipple shields, one under supply (me), one who hated it, two with bleeding nipples and one persistent mastitis). That's hardly the romanticised, soft focus, 'just bring the baby to the breast' picture you're force fed pre-birth, is it?

I lost three litres of blood during delivery, struggled to bf in hospital with hugely conflicting and SHIT advice, then consultant calmly said 'well, your milk supply will be non existent until your body has made up the lost blood volume'. There's a medical fact for you as opposed to research which is commissioned and therefore biased.

No dipshit 'oh just try this hold' or 'have you tried expressing fifty bazillion times a day, because frankly, two hours sleep a day is too much' midwives even thought to check if I had a milk/colostrum supply to witter on about, did they? I didn't. I had a 10lb baby screaming for 2-3 hours without pause because she needed food.

The pressure to bf was HUGE, to the point of a midwife denying me a bottle of formula at 2am, because I 'wasn't trying hard enough to bf'.
If you haven't given birth very recently then I'm sorry, but you simply have NO IDEA of the pressure on women to bf. I'm pretty sure I have PND, and it's at least 50% down to how I was made to feel over mixed feeding.


*please don't try to argue that cutting a baby's mouth, then having to massage the cut daily after every feed to make the cut bleed/not heal is 'best'. If that's the only way you can force your baby to bf, then perhaps you ought to accept it's not meant to be.

TheRealAmandaClarke Sun 06-Apr-14 07:42:02

Some people are just so chippy about the fact that they ff that it's hard to discuss the issue.
Most pplwho do ff do so out of choice and some because they struggled with bf. better support and information can improve the bf figures and this would benefit babies.
But its like a taboo to suggest that bReastfeeding is the best way to feed most babies. It's a shame that our bf figures are so low. I don't see that changing while we're all stepping on eggshells.
I'm still pissed off that my ds had formula in his first few days. No need for it. I was vulnerable and i was bullied into it. Pressure to bf? No. I think there's still a lot of ff pushing tbh. The best thing (for him. God forbid!) would have been someone helping me express and fixing his tongue tie. Harder for me? Harder for them? Maybe. But better for my baby. That's not pressure. It's good practice. But no, much easier to tip a bit of formula into him and rush on to the next person.

GemmaPomPom Sun 06-Apr-14 07:43:16

Gemma are you suggesting that by simply breastfeeding without problems, women are putting pressure on others?

Not at all, but I feel there is so much pressure on mothers to EBF. This poor woman desperately needed a break, but people were encouraging her to keep going with the EBF when an uninterrupted night's sleep with her DH giving the DC a bottle would have done her the world of good.

I bf all mine, in case you were wondering.

Waltonswatcher1 Sun 06-Apr-14 07:46:46

It could be the breast feeding that saves a child's life . Your allergic dd could have died from the first bottle .

Lots of serious allergies are found through breast milk . This is obviously a milder form of the allergic substance .

My own dd came close to death at 9 weeks with allergies . Bottle feeding would have killed her.

As for pressure to feed , my area is totally geared up to support every choice - perhaps you had a bad experience .

Breast feeding is best , that's why it's encouraged .

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 07:52:19

Suzyjane - the assumption that all/most research is partial, biased and deeply flawed and that most reflects the interests of the organisation which has sponsored it is often trotted out in support of an attack on breastfeeding, which makes nobody any money. Oddly, this argument is never used to raise concerns about the research done by formula manufacturers. Or at least not on mumsnet.

The argument also never moved any further forward because claims that 'all research is biased' tend to be made by people without a good working knowledge of the ACTUAL specific research of which they speak.

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 07:56:02

And it's worth recognising ds the starting point of this discussion that

A) most breastfed babies in the uk are mixed fed
B) most could be exclusively breastfed if their mother wished it.

So nationally the problem isn't too many mums being pressured to exclusively breastfeed, it's too many mums who want to exclusively breastfeed being discouraged and undermined by poor support and advice.

TheRealAmandaClarke Sun 06-Apr-14 07:56:35

somepercentagenotcool great post.

TheRealAmandaClarke Sun 06-Apr-14 07:58:45

Yes minifingers agree with this.

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 08:00:09

I find the acceptance on this thread that it's 'normal' and 'ok' for large numbers of mothers - the majority - to be unable to breastfeed deeply depressing.

Can you not see that this is a cultural thing not primarily something which is intrinsic to breastfeeding itself?

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Apr-14 08:00:14

When I hit a point of desperation following DS's birth because he was screaming with hunger and wouldn't latch I agreed for the midwife to give him some formula. As I watched her feeding him I burst into tears and every part of me screamed, "This isn't right, why am I letting her do that?"
I was in a poor state in hospital, feeling very low and later that same day I asked for more formula. The Midwife said no and went on to say that if it was my intention to breast feed then offering bottles of formula would negatively impact on that, mainly in terms of affecting my supply. At the time I construed that as 'pressure to EBF' but in hindsight I know she was just stating a fact.

When I came home with DS I contined to really struggle with BF and some nights I felt so at the end of my tether and frustrated that I made DH make up a bottle of formula - I could never bring myself to give it though.

I work in a job where we have lots of training in BF and part of my role is to promote it and encourage it where possible - the problem I had was that had I switched to formula feeding I probably would have felt like a hypocrite and a failure.

A colleague actually said, "I hope you're breast feeding!"

DS is 16 days old today and we have only just cracked the technique and still have the odd bad day but I'm glad I persevered.

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 08:05:19

Re: ff sometimes helping with PND - yes this is true too.

Especially true in a culture where breasts are sexually fetishised and where there is widespread ignorance about breastfeeding and normal newborn feeding behaviour.

No wonder so many women struggle with it and become down.

Sadly the answer to widespread, culturally rooted breastfeeding challenges always seems to be 'use formula' and 'stop talking about breastfeeding' rather than 'let's make breastfeeding better understood and supported'.

So much for social progress.

lanbro Sun 06-Apr-14 08:05:36

In my family, out of 10 babies mine were the only ones ebf, or in fact bf at all. I felt no pressure I just did what I wanted, hard first time around but much easier with second. Formula was never mentioned by anyone. No comments from family and friends either, and as far as I know no negative comments towards my ff relatives. Only you can make yourself feel guilty but as long as you know you have done the best you can you should be happy!

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Apr-14 08:14:23

I once worked with a women with PND (in a professional capacity, she was the client) and I would visit her twice weekly. She had been prescribed anti-depressants by her GP but she refused to take them as she was worried the drug would pass into her breast milk and it would mean she'd have to give up BF. She said that BF her baby was the only thing that was positive and purposeful in her life and that if she had to sacrifice that she would sink even further. She had a lot of problems BF - baby had a tongue tie, he wasn't gaining weight very well, his latch was poor and she was having to use nipple shields but she was determined to carry on. I can totally see why issues with BF could progress to PND but I can also see how BF can be positive for mothers with PND. It just goes back to the same fact that everyone is different, generalisations shouldn't be made and all anyone can do is what's best for them and their baby, be that BF or FF.

BarbarianMum Sun 06-Apr-14 08:15:42

Not in my experience.

W ds1 the midwifes were urging formula within hours of birth even though I wanted to breastfeed and ds1 was latching on well. They wanted me to give him a bottle so he'd sleep and I could rest.

W ds2 I had it written on my/his notes in big letters that he was not to be given formula.
Given the hugely low rates of breastfeeding in the UK I don't see there is much societal pressure to breastfeed either. Quite the opposite in fact -try feeding a baby over 6 months old yourself and see the reaction.

Oddthomas Sun 06-Apr-14 08:16:29

I've had three. I've had one FF, one mixed fed and one EBF. All three times my experience with HCPs was the same, "how are you feeding baby? Okay, so you're <insert method here> do you have any questions about that? Is there any help you feel you might need?"

This baby is EBF and last week I was struggling with tiredness, a new baby, my other two DC, the house, and basically everything. I asked the HV for advice on switching to FF and she told me (in a nice way) that the first six weeks are the hardest but that it generally gets easier after that and I was so close to that mark (baby was 5wo) so why not keep going and see how I felt. It wasn't pressure, it wasn't "you must continue to EBF", it was a pep talk and she was right, it was just a wobble. A day or two later and I felt much better, I've carried on BFing. If I'd insisted "no actually, I want formula" she'd have helped me switch, she's been my HV since I had DC1, she does the drop-in baby clinic and all the development checks. As a result she knows most of the families around here fairly well, she knew I was wobbling rather than being serious.

I DO think that health professionals should be promoting breastfeeding, but they tend to booby trap it with bad advice and stupid ideas.

I think they also need to discuss the realities. When I BF'd for the first time I was shocked that my nipples were tender until they toughened up. I also didn't realise that let-down could be a bit toe curling in the first couple of weeks. I had no idea cluster feeding even existed let alone what it was. I had no idea what to do when my left nipple cracked after a few days of BFing. I had no knowledge of the symptoms of mastitis (thankfully something I didn't get) or how to deal with a blocked duct or engorgement. I didn't even realise I'd leak milk whenever the baby cried (and sometimes even when he didn't) or that they feed virtually constantly to begin with.

The picture of BFing given to me by the classes (NHS and Sure Start) we went to was that I'd serenely latch baby on, feed for a bit, and then he'd sleep until his next feed roughly three hours later whilst I wafted about the place in my nice floaty scarf (it aids discrete public feeding don'tcha know) burning eleventy billion calories a day without even trying.

I think if they discussed the realities of the first few weeks more alongside the information that in most cases it does get easier then there'd be fewer women give up BFing before six weeks. With my first, thanks to the classes leaving out the potentially off putting bits, I had no idea about the things I listed above so when they happened I struggled massively, I began to mix feed and I gave up completely by six weeks. This time around I expected them and forewarned is forearmed. I kept going and it has gotten easier, in terms of feeding this has been my easiest baby so far as there's no faffing about with bottles and kettles.

Where I live around 80% of women BF at birth. By six weeks only around 10% are still BFing. I think lack of knowledge and what to expect is a major factor in this.

Suzyjane1 Sun 06-Apr-14 08:17:06

MiniFingers..What planet are you on?! Seriously?! Re my comment about ff helping ease pnd.. It was more the point that it can give the mother a break, some much needed sleep and easier to get baby into a routine which can all aid with her recovery. Not anything to do with your absurd theory!! Weird.

Suzyjane1 Sun 06-Apr-14 08:20:35

Again, I have BF 2/3 dc. My point is that women should be given a break! Bf or ff. Whatever suits for whatever reason.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Apr-14 08:24:23

I completely agree oddthomas - the impression that is given of breast feeding is total crap in my eyes. Women are not prepared at all for the reality of it and how physically and emotionally draining it can be. I attended a BF session ante natally and it gave this wonderful impression that it includes mother and baby in a serene bubble of BF and bonding and that it's oh such a wonderful experience that comes naturally to both mother and baby. In the 2 hour session nothing was mentioned about how intensely difficult it can be. When I filled in my feedback form I told them this and said that by them generating this 'perfect BF experience' they were setting up mothers to fail and that there should be more focus on the difficulties to parents know what to expect and as a result don't switch to formula because their experience isn't what the antenatal class said it would be. I suggested they bring women into the group who have breast fed and let the talk to the group about their experiences in order to provide a more real picture.

PunkrockerGirl Sun 06-Apr-14 08:27:29

I FF both mine but they are grown up now and the BF mafia seemed less prevalent then. The only pressure to bf came from NCT group who were bat shit crazy I just ignored. I had terrible PND and bf was not an option.

herethereandeverywhere Sun 06-Apr-14 08:55:14

I wouldn't say that there is too much pressure. I would say that 1) the campaign to breastfeed generates unreasonable expectations of how easy it will be and skirts over any problems you may have and 2) the healthcare system in the UK is woefully inadequate when it comes to dealing with problems with bf. Examples from me:

1) I bought the 'baby only needs ebf from birth. Colostrum is enough. Giving formula will inhibit bf.
3 days after she was born and 2 after being discharged with 'bf being established' on my notes she was readmitted to hospital through A&E. She was dehydrated and too sleepy to feed. She ended up being tube fed formula up her nose.
2) Once the formula had got her out of the 'she might die' zone I continued with bf. This involved excruciating pain on my part as the only position the bf counsellors in hospital could trat me to feed my ultra fussy/ultra hungry baby in was sitting up. Sitting up on my broken down episiotomy wound. This was like being tortured for 2 months. trying to feed lying down meant we never got a successful latch.
3) I continued to persevere with bf. I got recurring blocked ducts. My GP had no idea what to do about them. I had to phone volunteer helplines and wait for them to call me back. The answer to unblocking was hours in the bath and untold pain squeezing out the blockage.
4) Sometimes (3) above was not successful. I got mastitis, several times. I knew when it was coming on and my GP had no clue what to do. I had horrendous symptoms over the weekend and couldn't face getting to a walk in centre as I felt too ill. No home visit available so I paid for a private GP who told me I shouldn't feed from the infected boob (the opposite of what's helpful!)

I have never felt so alive as the day I finally did the last bf and was free of all that sh*t. The first 4-6 months with my baby were not lovely. They weren't even nice. I look back on the time and see stress and pain. Part of this was recovering from a traumatic delivery. I persevered due to the breast is best campaign I got from all sides when frankly formula would have been so much easier. I looked upon DD as someone who wrecked my body and inflicted continuous pain on me.

Also a word of caution on the bf reducing PND. That might be the overall statistic but I'm unsure of the causal link, isn't it 'bfeeding mums are less likely to have PND'. I don't think you can jump from that to concluding that a mum with PND would be better off bf, especially if that's causing the anguish.

herethereandeverywhere Sun 06-Apr-14 08:59:12

I wouldn't say that there is too much pressure. I would say that A) the campaign to breastfeed generates unreasonable expectations of how easy it will be and skirts over any problems you may have and B) the healthcare system in the UK is woefully inadequate when it comes to dealing with problems with bf. Examples from me:

1) I bought the 'baby only needs ebf from birth. Colostrum is enough. Giving formula will inhibit bf etc etc.
3 days after she was born and 2 after being discharged with 'bf being established' on my notes she was readmitted to hospital through A&E. She was dehydrated and too sleepy to feed. She ended up being tube fed formula up her nose.
2) Once the formula had got her out of the 'she might die' zone I continued with bf. This involved excruciating pain on my part as the only position the bf counsellors in hospital could teach me to feed my ultra fussy/ultra hungry baby in was sitting up. Sitting up on my broken down episiotomy wound. This was like being tortured for 2 months. Trying to feed lying down meant we never got a successful latch.
3) I continued to persevere with bf. I got recurring blocked ducts. My GP had no idea what to do about them. I had to phone volunteer helplines and wait for them to call me back. The answer to unblocking was hours in the bath and untold pain squeezing out the blockage.
4) Sometimes (3) above was not successful. I got mastitis, several times. I knew when it was coming on and my GP had no clue what to do. I had horrendous symptoms over the weekend and couldn't face getting to a walk in centre as I felt too ill. No home visit available so I paid for a private GP who told me I shouldn't feed from the infected boob (the opposite of what's helpful!)

I have never felt so alive as the day I finally did the last bf and was free of all that sh*t. The first 4-6 months with my baby were not lovely. They weren't even nice. I look back on the time and see stress and pain. Part of this was recovering from a traumatic delivery. I persevered due to the breast is best campaign I got from all sides when frankly formula would have been so much easier. I looked upon DD as someone who wrecked my body and inflicted continuous pain on me.

Also a word of caution on the bf reducing PND. That might be the overall statistic but I'm unsure of the causal link, isn't it 'bfeeding mums are less likely to have PND'. I don't think you can jump from that to concluding that a mum with PND would be better off bf, especially if that's causing the anguish.

herethereandeverywhere Sun 06-Apr-14 09:02:07

Gah, sorry about that, laptop being temperamental. blush

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 10:00:20

Yes it can give the mother a break.

It can and often does ruin breastfeeding and make existing problems worse. Which is why I don't go around telling people with confidence that 'it's absolutely fine to give a bottle.

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 10:03:04

And I agree that for some mums breastfeeding embodies everything they find emotionally difficult about being a mum - the feeling of overwhelming responsibility in particular.

TheFabulousIdiot Sun 06-Apr-14 10:08:11

'however I did not know I could just get DH to bring it in'


Yet there I was being offered a choice of two formulas within hours of my son's birth by the hospital staff. Just goes to show how differently hospitals do things.

Befuddled with the birth and a baby in NICU I was still able to tell the doctor I wanted someone to come now and help me hand express.

TheFabulousIdiot Sun 06-Apr-14 10:11:41

Has anyone ever adequately explained what the breast feeding mafia is? Or a breast feeding nazi? FFS. Stupid words to use.

Sunnysummer Sun 06-Apr-14 10:27:43

We talk a lot about pressure to bf on here, but the reality is that only 55% of UK babies are receiving any breast milk at 6 weeks (per the 2012 Infant Feeding Survey, suggesting that for lots of the UK the pressure is actually in the opposite direction.

I think that sometimes all the guidance we get is meant to counteract that - but it means that people who already intended to feed can get a double whammy of messages, which can feel overwhelming.

On the other hand, I know that visiting some relatives in a fairly deprived area I felt like a freak for feeding my then-6 month old, one lovely cousin even told DH he should insist on his rights as a man to 'get his boobs back'!

cloggal Sun 06-Apr-14 10:40:27

fabulous different hospitals are very different in their approach and interpretation of guidelines, and mums too. Some mums don't feel able to bf in public when they get hassle for doing so. Some don't feel able to insist on formula. Daft? Maybe, but it won't be helped by just saying you were stronger than that, even if that's a positive story. When my son was in NICU I wouldn't have been able to insist on my own name, you have my respect for having your head on.

I think in general this thread has been pretty good. (A feeding thread on AIBU that has not gone totally crackers! Hooray!)
I think BF should be promoted but I think there are times when it is not the 'best option' as in armi's case, or humpty's and there should obviously be support for the mum who wants to try and still give her baby breast milk but with formula too, or safely switch to ff. I got support to do this and also a lot of crap from different HCPs. That's a fair amount of breast milk my son wouldn't have had if I'd listened to the 'ebf is the only way' MWs. There should be support for all mums with feeding regardless of their situation to try and promote positive discussions about feeding choices/options. We have people being dissuaded from feeding their child with breasts and bottles alike, whether from tuts at the local cafe, cats-bum-face HVs, or bad advice from MWs, when at the end we only hope for a thriving child. Why on earth should anyone judge, feel guilt or be unsupported when they are feeding their child?

cloggal Sun 06-Apr-14 10:41:29

Sunny shock

cloggal Sun 06-Apr-14 10:45:01

mini I completely agree with your last post - when all a baby does is feed and sleep, not being able to feed becomes for some synonymous with not being able to be the mother this tiny baby needs. Support, support, support is needed, even if this does not end in ebf.

parkin2010 Sun 06-Apr-14 11:04:08

stuckindamiddle Sun 06-Apr-14 11:14:41

herethere - I hear you! I've been watching this thread and hesitated to comment until now. I too had a nightmare with breastfeeding and my son dropped off the bottom of the growth charts completely at one point after languishing there for a couple of months. He was born an average weight but when he was next weighed at home at 6 days old (hospital forgot to weigh him at 72 hrs old!! angry ) he had lost almost 11% of his birth weight. I'd had an awful labour lasting over three days, instrumental delivery and a post partum haemorrhage and blood transfusion. Breastfeeding support initially in hospital seemed fine and I was helped to express colostrum. But the outcome a few days later with baby's large weight loss made me think I should have got more support.

I so so wanted to be one of the mothers for whom breastfeeding worked out. We'd needed IVF to conceive and I'd then needed an instrumental delivery, so I think both those things made me want breastfeeding to work out even more as it's natural. I wanted to be one of those who could breastfeed anywhere, including lying down. I can see how that would be very easy and convenient. But in my case I could only feed sat bolt upright in cross cradle hold with specific pillows to support baby. I was in incredible pain feeding but no one could work out why. Latch was apparently fine and thrush was ruled out etc. I tried biological / laid back nursing positions, as advised by breastfeeding counsellors but me and baby just couldn't get on with those. Lying down he couldn't latch propertly until about 8 months old. I developed RSI from the hours spent feeding in that position so then had physio appts to add to all the frequent visits to breastfeeding clinics for ongoing help. All the counsellors insisted I didn't need to be topping up with formula despite baby being tiny (below bottom centile!) and constantly hungry. I was prescribed by HV to wake my sleeping baby to feed at night to maintain / boost my supply so for months I set my alarm for 4am and sat bolt upright in bed feeding for an hour.

There was also immense pressure in my case from my DP. He wanted our baby to be BF as he was breastfed and he'd attended all the ante natal classes with me and had heard over and over how breast was absolutely best for both mum and baby. The issue caused a great deal of conflict between us which was very stressful and not what you want in your baby's early weeks and months.sad

In the end we topped up with formula due to weight gain from 6 weeks or so. The formula to breast ratio slowly changed though I did breast feed my baby twice a day until just before their first birthday.

My breasts only ever felt full
or leaked on a few occasions. I had definite supply issues, whether inate or caused by repeated poor latch.

I also feel, knowing so much more about it all now, that my baby had undiagnosed tongue tie.

Pumping after feeds, drinking fennel tea, taking all sorts of natural milk boosters and a prescription one (domperidone) - I did it all. Exclusive breastfeeding just didn't happen for me long term. Breastfeeding only became enjoyable months down the line once baby was down to a couple of feeds a day as on solids and feeding lying down worked.

Breastfeeding is mis-sold in my view. It's made out to be easy, convenient, Yes, it's natural and is 'best' but I also do wonder by
exactly how much on each of the various aspects. I found it utterly exhausting, painful, relentless and I felt a complete failure because I couldn't make it work, unlike most other mums I knew. Only a couple FF and that was because they also found breastfeeding difficult but gave up a few days in as no-one (themselves or anyone else) was pressuring them to keep breastfeeding.

No formula is offered at our local hospital as it's a certified UNICEF baby friendly one.

Sorry for long, rambling and cathartic post!

herethereandeverywhere Sun 06-Apr-14 11:39:48

stuck flowers

I just think of the hours and hours and hours I dedicated to bf and all the pain I suffered through it and think, wouldn't it have been better for me to spend the time enjoying time with my baby?

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Sun 06-Apr-14 11:49:08

humpty my birth was very similar to yours - I also lost 3 pints of blood and this did affect my supply. However no one told me that it was very likely to affect my supply until DD was weighed on day 5 and had lost 13% of her body weight (the MW actually said "you probably don't have much milk because you lost so much blood" - thanks for telling me now). I never want to feel as low as I did then. My MW told me to put her on formula but after research online I pumped endlessly for the next 2 days to increase my supply, and fed her any expressed milk I got out. She put on 7oz in 2 days and we have had a v successful journey ever since. I admit at one point the formula was so so tempting as I did have that "I'm starving my baby" mentality. But my sheer bloody mindedness made me carry on. So to say "bully for you" because it "went well" for me is v offensive. I am v proud that I carried on, and if that apparently makes other mothers feel crap because they didn't then that's their issue, not mine. If I had turned to formula I would not have felt guilty, and cried "you're making me feel bad" to successful BFers because it would have been the best option for me at the time.

This thread is about the "pressure" to breast feed, and it's clear everyone had different experiences, but I for one felt the pressure to FF and felt I did not get enough support to BF successfully. But that's anecdotal evidence and not representative of how HCPs really are.

Despite my initial difficulties I really do think BFing should be pushed onto new mums. It's the best food newborns can have, not BFing costs the NHS a lot of money so it's in their interest, and something needs to be done to counteract the millions of pounds that formula companies pour into marketing (I know its illegal to advertise infant formula but the presence of follow on milk advertising kind of cancels this out, after all we all know that infant milk exists and is available in shops to buy).

If, like people seem to be suggesting here, women weren't encouraged to BF simply because it made those who are unsuccessful at it feel guilty, it would be a very very sorry state of affairs. Like I said in a PP, no one objects to the encouragement of feeding kids healthy food, so why the controversy when BFing is pushed on us?

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Sun 06-Apr-14 11:50:25

PS in these threads is always a lingering double standard that BF can be slagged off/blamed for PND/blamed for problems with the baby - but if anyone slags of formula they're accused of being judgemental and all he'll breaks loose.

herethereandeverywhere Sun 06-Apr-14 12:01:57

Well if all my bf problems would have been solved with 2 days expressing I'm sure I'd feel as positive as you IsChippy. It's great you worked hard to resolve a problem but that implies others didn't try hard enough.

My personal view is that I tried too hard. My 'successful' bf was at the expense of my mental wellbeing and my ability to enjoy time with my baby.

It was bf 1, happy mum nil for me.

cloggal Sun 06-Apr-14 12:03:57

I think we should find ways of supporting mums feeding their babies, rather than making it a 'rivalry' - there's no reason for anyone to slag off either bf or ff. As I've said elsewhere some of us did both!

If we all channelled this obvious emotive energy into campaigning for support for mothers we would be much better off.

SaggyAndLucy Sun 06-Apr-14 12:06:22

I've been pumping endlessly for nearly 5 weeks at least 8 hours a day AND taking Domperidone. I still have to cut at least 1 feed a day with formula!
Everyone is different!

formerbabe Sun 06-Apr-14 12:08:42

There's only pressure if you let it get to you. Many new mums are unsure of themselves and seem to care what others think. I've seen ordinarily strong, confident women turn into quivering nervous wrecks.

TheScience Sun 06-Apr-14 12:16:57

please don't try to argue that cutting a baby's mouth, then having to massage the cut daily after every feed to make the cut bleed/not heal is 'best'. If that's the only way you can force your baby to bf, then perhaps you ought to accept it's not meant to be.

Humpty - what? Who does this? Both my children had tongue ties cut, as did a friend and a relative's (bottlefed) babies. I have never heard of trying to make babies' mouths bleed or not heal confused Both my DC cried for maybe 30 seconds, there was a small amount of bleeding (almost none for DS1) and then they fed and were fine. I do know of a 3 year old who had to have a tongue tie cut under GA for speech issues - that was much more stressful.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Apr-14 12:17:17

saggy - it fascinates me as to how some women seem to have no problem producing milk whereas others struggle.....there must be some physiological reason for it. That sounds exhausting doing all that pumping, do you use an electric one or manual one?

I'm 'lucky' in that I have a large supply of milk (boobs are constantly dripping) and I have to express just to get rid of milk because my breasts become easily engorged. I tried an electric pump but I just couldn't get on with it and though pumping wasn't something I'd be able to do but my sister recommended I get a manual one and it made the world of difference. I get about 4oz of milk per breast in about 15-20 minutes.

I was talking to one of my friends yesterday who had breast fed her son a few years ago and although she could feed successfully she was never able to express regardless of what pump she used - she said no matter how long she pumped for only a few drops at a time would come out. She decided it was too much hassle and I don't blame her smile

If breast feeding is supposed to be the only and natural way then surely some women wouldn't have these problems with supply? It just shows that breast feeding isn't always the easy and convenient option for some women. I can imagine in such scenarios it would be awful for the woman if she felt under pressure to BF.

chippy, herethere has said precisely what I would say. It worked FOR YOU. That's nice, it didn't work for me. I couldn't express by hands by manual pump, by electric pump, by dangling off the ceiling hoping it would fall out. It DIDNT WORK. Okay?
So that's one for whom it worked, one for whom it didn't. Fifty-fifty. Not 'a few freakish women who can't bf'. Please stop patronising me.

mini presume you were on the research team that proved that 'breast is best' then? How was the research carried out? What was the control group? Babies who lived on thin air? What was the research agenda, and who funded the research?

here I hear you! I cannot wait to give up the bfing I still do (every feed, but with ff top up). I don't like it, it's still uncomfortable, I hate knowing I'm not producing enough, it's not easy to do in public (I live in London, there are loads of 'breast feeding friendly cafes', but some of them don't have room for a pram - so not that 'friendly', and two others have full length plate glass windows onto busy roads. Not exactly discreet) without flashing people, and I don't like the exposure. I'm holding out until DD hits 4 months, but will stop then for my own sanity and to actually enjoy her. As you say, I find bfing interferes with my enjoyment of her.

TheScience Sun 06-Apr-14 12:22:55

If breastfeeding makes you miserable or stops you enjoying your baby, why on earth do you do it. Yes, there are some health benefits but really pretty small ones.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Sun 06-Apr-14 12:29:23

humpty when did I say it should have worked for you or use the word "freakish"? My point was that I'm not under the illusion that it's easy for everyone, it wasn't the least bit easy for me, but it doesn't change the fact that it's important to encourage women to BF. If you're reading that as "it worked for me it therefore should have worked for you" I believe that's you taking it the wrong way completely and letting your anger about it all manifest.

One thing I will say, bF does need to be encouraged but "sold" differently. I know its different in different areas, but where I am I went to a BF antenatal class and was told by the v enthusiastic MWs the following -
- BF doesn't, and shouldn't hurt (for first month felt like someone was stabbing me in the boob)
- BFing is easy
- it's practically impossible not to have enough milk
- you will be supported 24/7 no matter what (not true)
- you'll never be offered formula (DD was barely 24 hours old and offered formula)

I think their stance is to not put people off BFing, but there is a distinct lack of honesty about it, and I for one would have been better prepared of they'd said "it'll hurt like hell, but only for a little while, you might not make enough milk, but we'll help you combat that, and we don't all work off the same page so don't be surprised if a nurse offers you formula, it's up to you whether to accept it or not".

SaggyAndLucy Sun 06-Apr-14 12:38:31

Writer I never had any problems expressing or bf before. The day my milk came in this time I expressed 14 on its just gone down and down. I think the problem is, with dd not actually feeding there's no real letdown and the hormones just aren't doing their thing. sad
I have high hopes though. I am very well supported and am convinced that eventually, even if we have to wait till after her surgery, as long. as the milk lasts out, we WILL get her attached. smile <<hopeful!>>

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Apr-14 12:48:53

Great positive attitude saggy!

My friend had a baby a few months ago and due to some health problems the baby had it wasn't possible for her to attach to the breast and feed effectively. My friend was offered bottles of formula but she refused and instead started expressing and fed her baby via a Doidy Cup - she was adamant that at some point her baby would be well enough to attach and so didn't want her getting used to drinking from a teat.

Her perseverance paid off as 5 weeks later the baby was healthy enough to latch on and my friend was able to establish breast feeding. I was really impressed as I had always been under the impression that if BF isn't established from Day 1 then it isn't a skill that a baby can learn weeks down the line.

I hope you have just as much success as my friend did smile

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 13:08:14

The science - of course if breastfeeding makes you miserable you could also try to find out way and see if there's any way of happily resolving it and continuing breastfeeding.

Sheesh - imagine some ff mum whose baby wasn't settled on bottles just casually being told not to bother to try to sort it out but to just relactate instead...

TheScience Sun 06-Apr-14 13:21:50

Not exactly the same thing is it hmm

If you don't like something, it's uncomfortable, you hate it, it stops you enjoying your baby, you want to stop for your sanity and there is a perfectly adequate alternative available, then stop. No one is giving out medals for suffering.

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 13:40:49

Science - stop IF YOU WANT TO STOP.

Many women who are struggling with breastfeeding don't want to stop or to bottlefeed. They want to continue to breastfeed comfortably, and for most this is possible.

Breastfeeding struuggles are always seen to be a problem with the feeding method. Ff problems which tend to manifest themselves in a baby being sick, constipated, unsettled or unsatisfied with their milk tend to be seen as 'problems with the baby' rather than with the feeding method. If you read threads like this you'd be left assuming that ff is a perfect and trouble free way of feeding a baby. It's not.

HobbetInTheHeadlights Sun 06-Apr-14 13:44:55

Too much promotion, not enough support.

^ THIS from stargirl.

IME as soon as you hit problems your on your own.

I have to say I experienced oppose it OP family and friends even HCP on at me like mad to stop BF as soon as possible. Every issues was because I was still bf. The constant pressure was beyond annoying and didn't really stop till I nearly finished with third DC - then many of course had always been pro bf hmm.

I had friend who ff because of medication and underlying conditions and they got grief for not bf even from HV and MW who should have know better.

Does seem to be another way of beating up on new mothers what every they do.

Oly4 Sun 06-Apr-14 13:57:52

I was pressurised to bf by the midwives. I was told they don't support 'artificial feeding. One midwife told me you could tell breastfed babies because they 'purred with contentment' and you 'could just tell the type of mother who breastfed'. It was huge pressure to bf my daughter, who had horrendous reflux and colic. She was screaming all the time.... Not purring. I also felt pressure to bf from friends. I did manage to bf for three months before switching to ff (which I felt guilty for). I personally feel there is enormous pressure to bf and it's getting worse in fact. Formula can be a wonderful thing when needed, even if bm is still 'best'.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Sun 06-Apr-14 14:13:36

Personally I think YABU. I don't think there is a huge amount of pressure to BF at all. I think there should be a lot more BF support, but I think the biggest amount of pressure comes from oneself, in wanting desperately to do what one feels is the best for your child. But this in itself is only a small % of mums. A larger % don't feel any pressure to BF at all (and they want the best for their child too, I might add).

SaggyAndLucy Sun 06-Apr-14 14:24:37

Writer we are trying breast and bottle. I have a special needs feeder. cost £25!! As Lucy's suck is so rubbish we are working on sucking ANYTHING. I'd love to get rid of the tube.

herethereandeverywhere Sun 06-Apr-14 14:42:52

thescience now that DD is 4 I can see that "^If you don't like something, it's uncomfortable, you hate it, it stops you enjoying your baby, you want to stop for your sanity and there is a perfectly adequate alternative available, then stop. No one is giving out medals for suffering.^" makes perfect sense.

When I was a first time mum desperate to "do the best" for my baby, desperate to "do it by the book" and follow all the advice I had been given it wasn't nearly so easy.

Not to mention the physical challenge of trying to stop - everytime I tried to drop a feed I got mastitis. If you search on here you'll find my "I HATE BREASTFEEDING" thread where despite my best efforts I couldn't get away from it without it making me even more ill.

Just stop = easier said than done.

gemdrop84 Sun 06-Apr-14 15:01:30

I wouldn't say I felt any pressure to bf until dd was in hospital a week old due to failure to thrive. She had tongue tie and couldn't feed. I remember her screaming while I was trying to express as we could only feed her with a syringe. I would try to latch her everytime a feed was due but had little support. The midwife on duty took her, leaving me sobbing trying to express whilst extremely sore. The last night we were in a lovely midwife Louise took one look at me and offered a bottle of formula. She supported me whilst everyone else made me feel so terrible I wanted to walk out the hospital and leave dd there. It was a horrendous experience, I had no support whatsoever. Wish there was more support, would have felt less of a failure if I had. Also everyone was very quick to list the positives of bf, you lose weight, it's natural and best for baby etc. Yet no one told me the truth, I didn't expect it to hurt, didn't know about tongue tie. I expected because it was such a natural thing that there wouldn't be too many problems.

Bodicea Sun 06-Apr-14 20:14:44

I never felt pressure one way or the other. I struggled with his latch initially and stayed in the hospital two days to get it right - the midwife offered to give him a bit of formula whilst I was struggling which I gladly accepted. It still wasn't perfect when I got home and I got help from a woman to improve the latch and when I asked the midwife if it as ok to give expressed milk so soon from a bottle as I thought I couldn't she just said "breastfeeding Gestapo " with an eye roll. Every step of the way it was me pushing myself and the health professionals supporting whatever I wanted to do. I started mix feeding at 10 weeks due to nipple blisters. I am now mixed feeding at 5 months having dropped a feed each month I am on two breast feeds a day.Very happy with my care and support. Maybe I have been lucky.

DaveMccave Sun 06-Apr-14 20:25:28

You wish you'd given your baby with cows milk protein allergy a cows milk protein based diet so she could suffer more and be diagnosed and moved on to a plant based milk which is no way near as good as human milk? I really don't understand your thinking. I usually think people with babies who have cmpa and didn't breastfeed must feel severely guilty.

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 20:45:54

I think there is encouragement to breastfeed and enthusiasm for it, which will often be interpreted as 'pressurising' and 'guilt tripping' by mothers with ambivalent feelings about breastfeeding.

Hence the frequent comments 'I was made to feel guilty' . I suspect being 'made to feel guilty' often consists of having a midwife encourage you to keep breastfeeding when you don't want to, something she is supposed to be able to work out even though you haven't told her, (you haven't told her because you're hoping she'll tell YOU to stop breastfeeding first for the sake of your health, when she doesn't do this you're required to catastrophise about your experience of breastfeeding so everyone is clear YOU COULD NOT CONTINUE DOING IT)

And meanwhile women who haven't breastfed begin to suspect that breastfeeding is as hard as splitting the atom or climbing K2. It must be, as you hear such an avalanche of hideous disaster stories about it. If they know anything about breastfeeding in other cultures where most women breastfeed without significant difficulty they may wonder what it is about British breasts that make feeding babies from them so especially challenging and difficult .

findingherfeet Sun 06-Apr-14 20:55:48

Well I entirely agree, I've found there has been enormous pressure from health professionals (my children are 2 and a newborn)

I have and continue to breast feed but I feel utterly 'got at' and judged by the medical professionals I've come into contact with. When I was desperately struggling in early days with mastitis, a cracked nipple that had got infected and awful engorgement plus feeling totally overwhelmed and exhausted by the demands of BF a hungry newborn, I was actively seeking advice (not criticism) I was told humans are the only animals that substitute breast milk, in the wild baby animals die if they are not breast fed....what the actual fuck???!? I wanted support and advice not threats....

I've had a troubled journey with BF and although I have done so for a good amount of time, I feel that actually in particular with my firstborn, it negatively impacted upon my bond with her in the early days but I felt too scared to dream of giving her poison, sorry formula, which is quite frankly ludicrous.

And to add the only children I know who have asthma or eczema were breastfed.....grrrrr

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 21:23:11

That wasn't a threat and you know it. You knew formula wasn't poison because that's how the majority of UK babies are fed and you know they are fine. People make silly comments in passing by way of making conversation. At worst they are guilty of being clumsy and insensitive - but they are not bullying you or putting pressure on you.

Minifingers Sun 06-Apr-14 21:29:26

It makes me hmm to hear people who persisted with breastfeeding - but in retrospect wishing they hadn't - blaming health professionals for a decision that only they themselves could have made.

Ffs - own your choices.

Everyone knows formula is how most UK babies are fed.

Everyone knows formula isn't poison.

I don't believe in the existence of HP's who tell mothers that they must or should continue to breastfeed when the mother has made it clear that she doesn't wish to do so.

I think the problem is that mums can't accept their feelings or take responsibility for their own choices and are constantly looking for someone to dump their guilt on. Step forward health professionals.

stopgap Sun 06-Apr-14 21:33:58

Slightly off topic, but I'm in the US, and if you start breastfeeding they encourage you to introduce a bottle no later than 3 weeks, but it's assumed that will be expressed milk if you're already breastfeeding. I introduced bottles of expressed milk with both my sons at two weeks, and very few people I know has issues with pumping supply.

BumPotato Sun 06-Apr-14 21:39:07

I EBFd my DCs. First one was torture for first 2 weeks. At nine days my MIL made disapproving noises about BFing which gave me the incentive to keep going. From 2 weeks, til 13 months when DC 1 decided to give up, BF went swimmingly.

2nd time round I had a baby who loved to BF. Only her latch was fucking, fucking painful. She BFd til she was two. The little crap.

My SIL BFd her two at the start only and looking at it with hindsight, I prefer her way.

I think there has been in the past and possibly still but I never experienced it personally - I was advised to supplement with formula if it made things easier and have been totally open with midwives and health visitors about my intentions to do so again and no-one batted an eyelid.

The more I've thought about this, the more I think as long as the baby is being fed appropriately, who really cares?

and someone should really tell you how bloody difficult it can be to express. or was that just me?

badidea Sun 06-Apr-14 21:48:54

I don't think there is any pressure to BF at all. In fact, most health professionals I came accross always seemed amazed to know that I was bfeeding, they were so used to everyone using formula.

In addition, my inlaws were desperate for me to use formula as they hated the fact that it was only me that could feed my baby (they are fecking weird) as apparently they all wanted a shot too.

You do what you want to do, sometimes the gods conspire and you can't do what you want to do, in which case you do what you have to do.

I always wanted to bfeed, the gods were with me and I managed it. I've never really understood why (unless its a pain/medical issue) women don't like bfeeding but we're all different, but if you don't like bfeeding, stop, end of - no need for justifications or apologies.

I concur with minifingers.

findingherfeet Sun 06-Apr-14 22:25:23

I think it's only easy to make an informed decision, 'own it' etc when you have some experience of having a baby/BF but personally as a first time mum all I knew is I wanted to breastfeed successfully, I had absolutely no knowledge of how hard it could be/cluster feeds etc etc

Looking back of course I should have ignored the 'feed through the pain' bollocks and given DD a bottle if needs be while my nipple healed but I genuinely believed that in doing so it would have affected my supply as I was continually told. What rubbish! I was feeding round the clock, one feed out for some respite would have been fine and easily caught up on and I wish I'd been told it was ok.

I wanted to do 'right' by my baby and pathetic as it might sound I felt scared first time round to do anything other than what the health professionals told me.

Yes breast is best but it's also important that mum and baby are happy.

Siennasun Sun 06-Apr-14 22:32:09

There was enormous pressure to BF when I was having DS (now 18 months), starting in ante natal classes. Both NHS and NCT classes had whole sessions (about 1/3 of total) dedicated to promoting EBF. No mention of difficulties/complications that can arise with BF. the message was very clearly that BF is easy and if you can't/don't BF you are a bad mother.
After DS was born and wasn't able to latch on I fed him colostrum with a syringe but was then told by midwives that I had to stop expressing and start breastfeeding properly. I put up with 4 days of midwives watching me trying (and failing) to BF, and telling me to do it differently. Then I'd do that only for a different midwife to come round a few hours later and tell me I was doing it wrong again. It was soul destroying at a time when I was exhausted and emotional and less able to be assertive about what I wanted.
It was only after DS lost loads of weight and was admitted to children's ward and his health was at risk that they suggested introducing a bottle. I can't help thinking that my maternity department proBF policy (which means midwives aren't allowed to suggest bottle feeding) was harmful for my DS.
The 'breast is best' stuff is simplistic and unhelpful and smug BF is the ideal, but it's not best for everyone.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 06-Apr-14 23:01:12

I think lots of women don't want to breastfeed and I think that's absolutely ok.

Maybe if support was better breastfeeding rates would be higher, but quite possibly not, because many women prefer ff-ing. I certainly do.

So, I think we need to be honest about it, but a lot of the rhetoric around breastfeeding and how maaaarvellous it is can make it hard, when IMO, a women's rights over her body doesn't stop when she gives birth.

I have also read stories of breastfeeding martyrdom on here and been completely baffled as to why some women suffered so much to do something which, outside the research produced by those with vested interests, makes very little differences in the wider scheme of things.

Topseyt Sun 06-Apr-14 23:24:32

When I had my eldest (now almost 19) I felt there was enormous pressure to breastfeed, whether I wanted to do it or not. I didn't want to, as I felt more confident and happier with formula feeding (still available on maternity wards then).

I did give breast feeding a try for most of the first week. I felt under pressure to do so. All I achieved was a screaming, hungry baby who lost an enormous amount of body weight. My boobs swelled up so much that she couldn't latch at all, just simply couldn't get her mouth around. Expressing was also unsuccessful.

After a few days I became ill myself with gastroenteritis, lost a lot of fluid and my supply totally dried up. I bottle fed from then onwards and finally began to enjoy her. It was such a relief, and we never looked back.

With my next two children I bottle fed right from the word go.

I have to say that my only regret with regard to breast feeding was that I ever agreed to try it.

That is just my experience.

TheFabulousIdiot Sun 06-Apr-14 23:33:37

He OP lit the fuse and just f*** off, yeah?

Should have known better than to get involved.

BolshierAyraStark Sun 06-Apr-14 23:54:05

If you want to BF then do so, if you don't then don't-each to thier own & don't judge-non of your business is my opinion on this subject.

Laquila Mon 07-Apr-14 06:40:00

GoshAnne, what do you mean by those with vested interests?

mini reading between the lines, you are a HCP, and are annoyed at being blamed for women's feelings around bf/ff, right?

Well, since, as you've said yourself, bf/ff is an emotive issue, you might like to grind your axe elsewhere. I did not know that most UK babies are ff because part of the pressure exerted on new, and particularly first time mums is the implication in antenatal classes that you'd be the odd one out, the one 'lazy' mother, if you ff.

I'm glad you didn't feel pressure to EBF. I, and many others here, did. Saying that you didn't experience it does not change our experience, so stop trying to dismiss our perfectly valid views, because they aren't yours.

toomuchtooold Mon 07-Apr-14 06:58:59

I remember our HV wrote "artificial feeding" (=ff) on my girls' red books. I only noticed it at 17 weeks although she'd been putting it in each time and I sort of read it, was confused for a moment and then realised she didn't mean tube feeding or anything, I thought at first maybe she had confused us with another twin family, because some twins who are born premature come home and need to be tube fed? But not at 17 weeks? And then the penny dropped, and it was hurtful, because she's being all nice and polite to your face and then writing something nasty in the red book that you're going to be carrying around to doctor's appointments for the next 5 years. But it's a busy day with small twins and I forgot about it until 3 in the morning when I was giving them their night bottles that it came back to me. I didn't go back to the HVs after that, only the developmental checks. I'm sure there are plenty of nice HVs but I know it's not the easiest job and I wonder if some of them get into it because they just enjoy telling people off? Reading this thread it seems like you walk in the door, if you're BF they'll ask when you're stopping and if you're FF they'll tell you off for not BF! Can't win.

beccajoh Mon 07-Apr-14 07:06:44

I felt enormous pressure to breastfeed my first and I hated every fucking minute of the 7 months I managed to do it. It never got easier, she wanted to feed all the time, frequently over fed herself and covered us both in huge amounts of vomit. I wanted someone to tell me to stop but I got more and more depressed as people told me what an amazing mother I was for giving my daughter the best start in life. I really took it to heart and became horribly depressed and I was exhausted and crying every day, genuinely believing I'd be doing my daughter serious damage if I gave her a bottle. Still everyone banged on about how much my daughter loved me for giving her all this breastmilk. I didn't bond with her or love her until after I stopped. Breastfeeding wasn't free! Our food bills went up by 30% because I was so hungry all the time! I didn't lose any weight.

At 7 months DH said that enough was enough and told me it was time to stop. I cried with relief and made her a bottle. When my hormones settled down over the next couple of weeks I suddenly started to get feelings of love towards my daughter. I suddenly understood what the mother-child bond felt like. Breast might have been best for her but it took a terrible toll on my mental health and the early relationship I had with her. She's 21 months now and I still feel awful that I didn't love her like a mother is meant to do.

I've got an 11 week old baby boy and he had some boob for the first couple of weeks but has been 100% on formula since then. Whilst I was still breastfeeding him I could feel the gloom descending - more than mere baby blues - so I made the decision to stop before I became depressed again. I had to look at the bigger picture this time. My children and DH need me to be happy. I need me to be happy.

NoodleOodle Mon 07-Apr-14 07:10:09

I BF and oddly, the only person who commented on this was some person on the end of telephone in charge of administering the free milk I was entitled to. They'd changed the milk to 'baby' milk once DD was born, and I wanted it changed back and had to argue with the person on the phone that I was feeding my child, and that the milk tokens were still supposed to be for me.

That upset me. It was however, the only time I think I can remember it being mentioned by anyone.

I think most people I met imagined I was FF, I just didn't bother to tell them any different. Maybe I was lucky and just didn't talk to nosey people.

StatelyAsAGalleon Mon 07-Apr-14 08:19:53

The problem does not lie with the level of promotion, but with the level of support within the NHS.

The support is needed immediately and it simply wasn't there when I had DS. I struggled with a baby that wouldn't latch, until he was dehydrated and developed jaundice. The hospital breastfeeding "expert" sent me here advice on a post-it note, without ever clapping eyes on DS and myself. I spent five days in hospital, being screamed at by a midwife who told me "You need to feed your baby!".

Note: DS is almost three and this whole experience still upsets me deeply. I never managed to BF.

I think promotion of BF becomes "pressure", when you realise it's hard and that you have no support.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 07-Apr-14 08:28:33

I agree stately - the level of BF support I received in the hospital was pretty poor. The staff were always on hand, I can't fault them for that, but their answer to my attachment problems were to grab my breast in one hand, DS's head in the other and force them together. Not once did they try and teach me how to do it myself. DS lost 9% of his body weight in 24 hours, had early onset jaundice and became very lethargic - as a result he had to be seen by the Neonatologist twice, I was beside myself with worry. The doctors just told me to give formula and on two occasions of weakness I did.

24 hours later I made the decision to just go home - I got far more support and encouragement from my DH and I wanted to be with him. I know that if I'd spent another night in hospital they would break me and I'd end up with a formula fed baby.

Things improved when I was home but I still struggled for about 3-4 days and spent a lot of my time in tears and was in quite a bad place. Thankfully I received better support from the Community Midwife and the HV and things are now going smoothly.

There needs to be far better support to encourage mothers to continue breast feeding and a more realistic image of the BF experience needs to be put across so women know what to expect.

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 08:33:21

vested interests those pesky people with their interest in infant health. Outrageous.

Artificial feeding was, until very very recently, the term used in most formal medical recording of ff. now it's just termed "not at all breastfeeding" through to "fully breastfeeding"
It's not a judgement call, it's just the way it's documented by the mws and HVs in central records. The red books are often printed with these terms. don't take it personally. It's just a r ord of whether baby is bf or not.

Obviously there is "too much pressure" because that's what ppl are feeling.
There's also too much pressure to bottle feed, in lots of ppl's experience.
For best health outcomes there are certainly too few babies bing breastfeed beyond a few weeks.
What there lacks is the right support IMHO.

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 08:36:20

And I agree with ppl's about needin immediate support.
My personal experience was awful initially. The staff were too busy/ poorly informed. My HV was great but that was two weeks in so he'd already had formula (unneccessarily and not what I wanted). Thankfully I then fed him for as long as we wanted but it's a shame the start was so awful.

Odaat Mon 07-Apr-14 08:54:23

I agree that aftercare is paramount. I was sent home after haemorraging in labour, with little milk beause of it. The midwife informed me I would be behind with milk.

Roll on a few days and my dd is extremely hungry and I am told by hv to put her into formula asap.

The day before a hv had said he was feeding fine. (She obviously wasn't)

I was traumatised by my daughter getting so hungry due to lack of my milk and me persisting with trying to bf as I didn't know. It was just drummed into me to bf. So I persisted to the point it had a detrimental affect on my dd (she was v hungry)

I think if hvs had actually listened to the peobs I was having / had communicated with the midwives about my haemorraging they would have maybe suggested ff sooner, instead they just pushed the bf without listening to my concerns. It was same with the midwives in the hospital too.

toomuchtooold Mon 07-Apr-14 08:54:43

It wasn't printed Amanda, it was written. She was the only one that used the term and got very defensive when I called her on it. The only other time I spoke to her for any length of time was when she weighed my children at 6 weeks, got their weights mixed up and told me off for letting the bigger one's weight drop. Believe it or not some of them really are not good eggs, whatever you want to believe.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 09:45:44

Thanks for the flowers herethere smile

I agree that aftercare and support is lacking esp in hospital. Had my baby been weighed at 72 hrs as should have happened then the weightb loss evident of feeding problems would have been picked up and I could have been helped by being told to pump or have latch checked etc. Instead he wasn't weighed for another three days by which time he'd lost over 11% of birth weight.

minifingers - the women who've found BF extremely difficult have a right to be heard, as much as those who found it easy! The NHS support needs to meet the needs of those who need it and the guidance and recommendations should reflect the reality of breastfeeding.

There's a lot of pressure to BF in my experience. As I said, the hospital I have birth in is UNICEF baby friendly so formula isn't easily offered. All but one of the other mums in my NCT group breastfed with no problems until at least 9 months. The one that didn't wanted to but couldn't and was left feeling a failure and avoiding our get togethers as she didn't like being the only one not BF. I found the get togethers difficult too because they just highlighted how difficult I was finding something that was so easy for others.

An ultimate example of the bees pressure is the leaflet I was given at ante natal appointments and post natally in hospital which was a ' letter from my baby ' telling me that they wanted and needed me to EBF them because it was best for them in so many ways. If that isn't pressure then I don't know what is.

Raxacoricofallapatorius Mon 07-Apr-14 09:48:13

The language around parenting is very interesting and I think leads to people assuming offence where none is actually intended. Artificial feeding is a good example of this. It has been an accepted term for many, many years and isn't a judgement. Probably feels like it though. There are lots of examples. Failure to thrive, geriatric mother, poor maternal effort etc. I do think all HCPs need to be mindful of the language of they use especially when a mother notes her feelings. I could probably trawl through my labour notes and the red books and make a list of accepted terms which could be misconstrued but in reality, they're just the terms we've used for many years. Maybe that should be addressed.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 07-Apr-14 09:54:54

stuck - I can't believe that about the leaflet, that's awful!!

Rax - I agree. I don't see what is so nasty about writing 'Artificially feeding' - it's not a judgement, just a fact. Just as factual as if the HV wrote 'breast fed' on another baby's Red Book.

squishysquirmy Mon 07-Apr-14 09:58:06

Because its cheaper to pressurise women into breastfeeding than it is to provide the support that would actually help increase breastfeeding rates.

Odaat Mon 07-Apr-14 10:24:27

Yes squishy, all down to money...

TheFabulousIdiot Mon 07-Apr-14 10:31:24

"And then the penny dropped, and it was hurtful, because she's being all nice and polite to your face and then writing something nasty in the red book that you're going to be carrying around to doctor's appointments for the next 5 years."

But Formula feeding is Artificial. Completely artificial.

Why is is an issue to write the word artificial?

Laquila Mon 07-Apr-14 10:47:46

Formula feeding is undeniably artificial feeding, but I can see how that would potentially cause upset to a vulnerable, emotional new mother - I think I would have felt disapproved-of if that had happened to me

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Mon 07-Apr-14 10:52:39

No one ever pressurised me to ebf, an awful lot of people pressurised me to ff, presumably because it was cheaper and easier than providing me with bf support. As someone else said, you can't win.

TheRealYellowWiggle Mon 07-Apr-14 10:55:22

Had no pressure to bf. And when you keep going past the first few weeks, no comments on this being a good thing. And if you're still going beyond a year, slightly incredulous looks from doctors if you ask if a medicine is suitable for use when bf "but is he on a normal diet" etc.

TheRealYellowWiggle Mon 07-Apr-14 10:58:55

Also meant to say, everyone in my maternity ward was either ff or mixed feeding, so if there was pressure they managed to resist it ok.

ThefutureMrsTatum Mon 07-Apr-14 11:11:34

I have recently had DC3 and the pressure to breastfeed has been utterly ridiculous. When I had DC1 and 2 8 and 6 years ago, I had a horrible time trying to BF, one moment in particular that will always stay with me is having a midwife on one side and a breast feeding support work on the other, each pulling by boobs every which way whhilst sitting in my hospital bed on the post natal ward, DD screaming uncontrollably and me feeling like a useless shit. I gave up and FF.

so, this time around I chose to FF from the beginning, realising my children have grown up perfectly normally, haven't grown an extra head or anything nor are glowing translucency from evil formula! I have had no end of judgements and comments! On the post natal ward I asked for a bottle of formula, and I was told I would have to wait until shift change, that was an hour away! Next I was told by a different midwife that I was making a rod for my own back by warming the milk and she knows best as she's been a midwife for 31 years.

My DH's GM at a small family gathering (about 10 or so people) when DC3 was a week old, shouts loudly across the room when I produce his bottle "oh, you aren't feeding him yourself then, well that is very silly and selfish of you." errr thanks!

and finally, the dermatologist, yes a dermatolgist! Who was removing a mole for me when DC3 was 8 weeks, "are you not breastfeeding baby then if you've been able to leave him with husband for a couple of hours", seriously what has it got to do with anyone how I feed my child! The reaction and stigma attached I may as well have a bottle of pinot grigio shoved in his mouth.

Happy mum, happy baby, thats all anyone needs to be concerned with!

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Mon 07-Apr-14 11:55:09

I think there is pressure, I definitely experienced it. I'd had an overnight labour with complications, they kept me in the next night for observation, but they chucked my family out when visiting hours ended. So I was on my own, an exhausted 20yo with my first baby, who refused to latch, and some snotty nurse telling me that I HAD to breastfeed. It was hell.

At about 2am (so after the shift change) I was in bits, sobbing my heart out and desperately trying to feed DS. New nurse took one look at me and went and got a bottle of formula. She insisted I get some sleep while she fed him, did the same for the next feed, and I am forever grateful that she did. She was brilliant, told me that it doesn't matter how babies get fed, as long as they get fed.

I'll try to breastfeed the next one, but I have no problem moving to formula if it doesn't work. It did DS no harm, and I think a new mother's mental health is more important than what kind of milk you give your baby.

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 12:54:42

Yes I know it was written toomuch
My point was that "artificial feeding/ AF" is not a term she coined just to write nasty things in your red book.
It's the term that is/ was used in all the documentation about how the baby is being fed. The red book is just part of it, your copy as it were. Most of the records would be kept and completed elsewhere, and they're all standardised. The term is not hers, it's widely used in medical notes.
I understand that for you it was obviously a term you disliked, but she didn't make it up.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 13:12:54

I also can't see a problem with the word 'artificial'. Babies are being fed milk not naturally engineered for them - that is artificial, its not an insult by any means.

In my maternity notes it said "BF, mixed feeding, or bottle feeding with formula" so maybe it's different areas.

I don't usually partake in these threads as it's always the same - the double standard that BF experiences can be slagged off or scoffed at, but any criticism for FF is seen as being unacceptable; the many myths that come to light (a BF baby cannot be overfed for example); and the blatant way some people clearly judge themselves for their feeding choices but choose to manifest it by pointing the finger at BFers/HCPs etc. mini and fabulous have made some very good points on this particular thread

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 13:14:29

And I have no dout that there are bad ggs, everywhere.
But writing "artificial feeding" is not, IMO, an example of bad-egg behaviour.

I don't know why you think I "want" to believe anything about people.
I was just explaining the documentation/ terminology so you could see it wasn't a judgement thing from an individual, but just a common way of recording the feeding method.

Maybe the fact that it sounds a bit "loaded" is one of the reasons it was changed and seems now to be "breastfeeding" or "not breastfeeding"
Is that better?i don't know.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 13:16:54

It makes me hmm to hear people who persisted with breastfeeding - but in retrospect wishing they hadn't - blaming health professionals for a decision that only they themselves could have made.

^ Also this. In what other part of life would we willingly put ourselves through absolute hell on earth several times a day when there is an adequate alternative to what we're doing?! If it is sending you to the point where you're ill, who gives a shiny shite what your MIL says, own your choice, give yourself a pat on the back for the effort you did make and move on from it. Nobody likes a martyr

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 13:27:27

Yes Chippy

Writerwannabe83 Mon 07-Apr-14 13:55:17

I willingly put myself through it because I firmly believed breast feeding would work out in the end and I just had to keep going. Just because there's an alternative it doesn't mean it's an alternative that everyone wants to turn to.

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 13:59:00

I thought that chippy's point was that it was erroneous to "blame" other ppl for one's choosing to bf.
Not that ff would or should be a viable alternative for everyone.

findingherfeet Mon 07-Apr-14 14:00:47

I persisted because I believed I was doing the best thing for my baby not trying to be a martyr...

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 14:03:46

So - from the posts on this board I suspect the approach to breastfeeding many of you would like to see is this:

Women should be told breastfeeding doesn't work for lots of people. They should be told ANTENATALLY that it hurts and that it's normal to hurt. They should be told that they may get mastitis, thrush, etc etc. Midwives should be careful not to be too positive about breastfeeding or say much about the risks or drawbacks for the baby of mothers using formula milk as this will be interpreted as guilt tripping, pressure and bullying by women who don't wish to breastfeed or who can't breastfeed.

HP should tell mothers it doesn't matter if they don't or can't breastfeed as it probably won't make any difference to their baby anyway.

If a mother is struggling with breastfeeding HP shouldn't encourage her to continue, even if she has said she wants to, because mothers often find it hard to admit they don't wish to breastfeed and it's probably safer for the midwife to assume this may be the case.

Do a lot of people here have shares in Milupa/Wyeth or something.

I suspect some women won't be happy until breastfeeding has died out altogether.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 14:09:57

Don't - if you had told the midwife that you were going to breastfeed then you had to breastfeed the baby. If you had said that you were going to bottlefeed then you had to bottlefeed the baby. Babies need to be fed. You were in bed I assume, lying down. Why would it be harder for you to hold your baby in your arms and put him/her to the breast than to hold him/her in your arms and bottlefeed? I don't get it. Maybe the midwife was abrupt or came across as uncaring in her tone of voice, but the problem was her communication skills, not the fact that she told you you needed to put your baby to the breast.

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 14:12:22

Yes mini that sounds about right wink

I might have misinterpreted chippy'slast post but I'm not sure she was saying that finding

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 14:14:36

RealAmanda - yes that's what I was trying to get across

Mini - very well put, there's a great article somewhere which states how illogical it is to refrain from educating people on facts in case it hurts a few peoples feelings, I will try to find it.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 07-Apr-14 14:15:36

mini - I like your post above, it shows how bleak the picture is. It's sad to think breast feeding may die out but who knows.....I don't know why it's such a taboo. It is better than formula and it should be encouraged - it isn't something that should be hidden away for fear of upsetting someone.

noblegiraffe Mon 07-Apr-14 14:16:41

I has the midwives in hospital grabbing my boobs, expressing into a syringe, endlessly latching and relatching a baby who wouldn't latch properly, never mentioning formula even when it had been going on for hours.

I'm bloody grateful to them. Without their help I wouldn't have succeeded in bfing and I went on to feed DS for 17 months.

Other people seem to have had the same experience but not be happy. I don't know why that is, but it just shows that you can only comment on your own experience and your own feelings about it, not then try to extrapolate to how all women might feel about it.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 14:18:18

Sorry - just seen the rest of the message. So the later nurse lied to you about the evidence on feeding choices and health, and instead of supporting you with breastfeeding (which I assume you had intended to do) damaged your chances of doing it by giving your baby a bottle. What a champion for choice she was! hmm

So typical that basic poor care is presented as being an example of a HCP bullying a mother into choosing to breastfeed and 'good care' being the HCP who offers formula and fake assurances which she's not qualified to give.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 14:20:49

What's your vested interest minifingers? I have none. I've just given my experience of BF-ing this thread. My experience is just as valid as yours and anyone else's. You seem to think that I should have not bothered persevering with BF-ing as I did because it was very difficult for me.

For the record, I don't knowingly have shares in any formula manufacturer. (I do have an ethical pension and while I could specify for the investment fund to avoid investing in arms manufacturers etc I didn't have the option to avoid investing in formula companies.)

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 14:22:02

Noble - if you had said you wanted to breastfeed they were obliged to try to help you in this way (although it's a shame they weren't more skilled and sensitive in doing it). Some babies take days or even weeks to learn to latch on and in the mean time they need expressed breastmilk - it's better if they can have this while they are learning to latch on rather than formula. It's not good practice to give a difficult to latch baby a bottle of formula within a few hours of the birth if the mum has said she wants to breastfeed.

And you did want to breastfeed didn't you? They weren't forcing you to try - it was your choice.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 07-Apr-14 14:23:17

mini - I guess the 'good care' is the easy option for some staff.

When I was really struggling and doubting myself in the hospital I asked the Midwife for a bottle of formula and she outrightly said, "No." She did this because she knew how desperate I was to breastfeed. At the time I was shocked at her response and probably did feel pressured, but in hindsight I'm glad she said no because it meant I persevered with the BF. If she'd had said yes and presented me with a bottle I know I would have hated myself for it afterwards.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 14:24:18

What mini said, to a T! A good midwife would not offer formula to a woman who is trying to breastfeed. BFing isn't an easy thing to do but to me offering formula is implying that the mother has been defeated by her own breasts and can easily decline into a journey towards full-time FF, which the mother did not want in the first place, and is not the best option for the baby.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 14:28:22

I agree that there's pressure to FF too btw. I got that too, from relatives, because I was finding BF-ing so hard, while DP was v insistent that I continue to BF because he couldn't understand why I couldn't just do it as it shouldn't hurt (minifingers?!) and he was worried sick that if baby wasn't EBF for at least 6 months then he'd get eczema and asthma and I'd get PND and cancer when I'm older. He also thought that if baby had a bottle at all in the early days, even of expressed milk, that he'd never feed from the breast again. That was all due to info given at the BF classes run by NHS and NCT. They certainly weren't nuanced. He also seemed to view FF as lazy to some extent as he and his siblings had all been BF.

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Mon 07-Apr-14 14:36:52

mini I had fully intended to breastfeed. But it wasn't working. What was I supposed to do, keep struggling through exhaustion and tears while my baby screams? Formula was the right thing for me and my baby. I was not lied to, he's now a happy and healthy 3yo.

Breastfeeding doesn't work for everyone. The main thing is that the baby gets fed. Doesn't matter if it's breast or formula, as long as the baby is happy and healthy.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 14:39:02

Stuck - I don't agree that health professionals force mothers to breastfeed or guilt trip them into it. There is pressure - yes. But this is internal pressure coming from mothers themselves in response to the advice and information about breastfeeding that HCP are duty bound to disseminate.

You need to acknowledge that HCP are trying to talk to mothers about feeding choices in the context of a society where formula is culturally dominant and where sophisticated formula marketing is prolific and pervasive. It's very hard for them to pitch the message in a way which won't offend and upset a mother who is ambivalent about breastfeeding.

If you are offended by a persons words or actions it doesn't always follow that the words and actions actually ARE offensive. If you come to a situation with a HP with an agenda you are not revealing then you can't expect them to be able to meet your needs.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 14:42:35

I'm always a bit hmm when people say they have a FF child who is now 'happy and healthy', and they know a BF child who has asthma and eczema - well of course your child is happy and healthy, it doesn't turn them into zombies. And no where will you ever see something which says BFing prevents things like asthma and eczema - it doesn't, but it can mean if they do get asthma or ezcema it may be less severe if you BF. Anecdotal evidence is moot IMO, and kind of makes me laugh - I just picture scientists and researchers in their labs reading MN on their lunch hour, and going "Oh no! Suzy from Solihull formula feeds her baby and he is the picture of health, whilst Cathy from Canterbury breastfed hers and he has asthma. Bang goes my many years of research, breastfeeding isn't that good afterall!" confused

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 14:45:10

Don't - I don't know your breastfeeding history. All I know is that most (not all, but most) mothers who are struggling with breastfeeding in the first week, if they get skilled help, shouldn't need to use formula UNLESS THEY WANT TO.

If had you told the midwife you wanted to breastfeed her duty was to provide evidenced based care to give you the best chance of doing this. Giving help with expressing and cup/syringe feeding while the baby learns to latch on is the medically recommended approach to overcoming early breastfeeding problems.

You may have found the experience shocking or unpleasant but I'm afraid this is what midwives are obliged to recommend IF you have said you want to breastfeed.

noblegiraffe Mon 07-Apr-14 14:45:23

Mini, you need to read my post properly, I said I was grateful for the support I got and happy that it enabled me to succeed bfing my DS!

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 14:48:54

Don't - you are perfectly entitled to your opinion that how a baby is fed makes no difference.

But HCP have to give advice and information based on up do date medical evidence, not on the basis of anecdote.

You do appreciate this don't you?

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 14:50:17

Sorry Noble blush

I think I was knee jerk responding to the phrase 'grabbing my breasts'!

noblegiraffe Mon 07-Apr-14 14:58:50

grin mini. I wrote it that way because it seems I had the same experience as many of those complaining, but in my case it was the right approach and it succeeded in establishing bfing. Maybe the others see it as a bad thing because they went through it all and ended up formula feeding anyway.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 14:59:17

Stuck - either your dp is a bit thick or was deliberately distorting the information from the NHS breastfeeding session. I have observed many breastfeeding classes and you NEVER hear midwives talking in absolutes about the benefits of breastfeeding or of the potential risk to breastfeeding of using formula in the early days.

The midwife would have saiid something along the line of 'breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer', and 'giving a bottle of formula can damage a mothers chances of successfully establishing breastfeeding'. She may saiid 'breastfeeding shouldn't hurt'.

This is an entirely different message than 'if you don't breastfeed you'll get cancer', 'giving a bottle means you can't breast-feed' and 'breastfeeding never hurts', which your DP took away from the session (or maybe he didn't - maybe you chose to interpret his words in that way because it suited you to believe his attitude to breastfeeding was wrongheaded). But typical that you are insisting that is is the message given in the classes by the NHS/NCT.

MrsAtticus Mon 07-Apr-14 15:04:17

OP, I think asking why breastmilk is better is very much like asking why fresh food is better than processed, it's a no-brainer. However, I completely agree that where their are issues like the ones you were having, there needs to be a balanced approach, and I'm sure your child wouldn't have been harmed by a bottle of formula a day.

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Mon 07-Apr-14 15:10:33

mini, I actually do appreciate that, BUT I also don't put all of my faith in advice that is often conflicting. It worked for me, my child is fine, that's the important part. In noble's case, she was able to breastfeed, her child is also fine (I assume) and that's what's important.

Unless a child is underfed or malnourished, I don't see how it's anybody else's bloody business what they're fed.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 15:11:43

Noble - I think many women find breastfeeding physically and emotionally overwhelming and DON'T WANT TO DO IT. I think people in this situation are often desperate to find a way of bowing out gracefully, and bloody pesky midwives insisting on going to the ends of the earth to help and encourage them to do breastfeed - well it's not going to be welcome is it.

I suspect the bizarre number of accounts of extreme breastfeeding trauma on these boards is evidence not of the fact that breastfeeding often is intrinsically horrific, but of the desperation of many women who are culturally entrenched formula feeders to find a solid emotional justification for not breastfeeding.

Honestly - why can't more people just say 'I don't like it' and 'I'm not going to do it'. It'd be far easier for everyone and would free midwives up to help women who really want and need their help and who aren't going to bad mouth them afterwards and accuse them of bullying.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 15:14:07

Don't - childhood and infant nutrition will always be a public health issue, particularly when there is evidence that formula feeding results in increased rates of hospital admissions and GP appointments for babies.

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 15:14:46

mini I think you've done really well on this thread. Good points.

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 15:15:50

Apart from the bit with misreading nobles post grin

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 15:18:56

I agree with RealAmanda mini has put some excellent points across. I also agree that it is everyones business how children are fed when it has an impact on our health care service

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Mon 07-Apr-14 15:20:32

mini you appear to be rather rigid in your thinking. The simple fact is that some women can't breastfeed, whether the reason is physical or emotional or whatever, whether or not they intended to. And in that case, formula is the right decision.

Don't get me wrong, I think everyone should try (particularly given the ridiculous price of formula) but it's not a big deal if it doesn't work. This is why we have formula FFS!

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 15:25:10

Actually, the fact is actually that very very few women can't bf. nothing like as many as don't

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 15:26:36

The simple fact is that some women can't breastfeed, whether the reason is physical or emotional or whatever, whether or not they intended to. And in that case, formula is the right decision.

No one is disputing this, what is being disputed is the implication that, when people who want to breastfeed find they can't, rather than deal with their guilt they aim it towards a "pressure" that probably doesn't exist, it just seems like it does when a woman feels she has failed. What seems like pressure to one person is encouragement to another - which is fine, but it's not fair for people to be labelled 'Breastapo/bullies/bad midwives' because of that one persons perception.

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Mon 07-Apr-14 15:35:03

I did point out that everyone should try to breastfeed. It's just not a massive problem if it doesn't work. Because we have formula. That's the point of it.

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 15:39:23

But if they are "giving it a go" don't they deserve to receive support and information that's evidence- based? That's honest?

It'snot good enough to keep supporting the myths that continue about breastfeeding.

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Mon 07-Apr-14 16:06:43

Support should be improved, but there shouldn't be so much pressure that women feel guilty for not being able to or for choosing not to. Kinda like "breast is best, but don't worry if you don't manage to breastfeed. It's not the end of the world." Because it's not.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 16:28:21

Support should be improved, but there shouldn't be so much pressure that women feel guilty for not being able to or for choosing not to

But guilt comes from within - no one can make you feel guilty, thats something that you can chose to feel or not. Given, things can stir up bad feelings, which lead to guilt, but guilt itself is a purely internal emotion iyswim. And with regard to breastfeeding, how exactly do you strike the right balance between informing and not trying to guilt-trip? Guilt is also subjective, so to one person a "breast is best" poster can make them feel bad, whilst for another it wouldn't bother them.

I think a message like "breast is best, but don't worry if you don't manage to breastfeed. It's not the end of the world." is quite defeatist and sets women up to fail - when I was pregnant there was always a looming message that BFing is so so hard and you'll probably not crack it. It's everywhere, and I think HCPs need to convey a positive, yet reaistic, attitude

vichill Mon 07-Apr-14 16:48:57

I think minifingers won this one.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 07-Apr-14 17:03:23

I didn't feel any pressure to bf. what I did find was a lack of support to help me bf.

In hospital DS didn't feed for 12 hours because I couldn't get him to latch. I had an HCA who popped in once overnight and told me to 'just put him on'. DH repeatedly asked for help but we were told they were too busy.

Instead of having this newborn sleepy baby (as everyone tells you newborns are) I had a newborn who spent the first two days screaming because he was hungry. He lost 9% of weight in two days.

He hated latching, screamed and arched his head away every time. Eventually after a week I went to a fantastic bf clinic who helped me. By that point I was barely making any milk. I tried to feed and express every two hours for four weeks and still never made any milk! It never came in.

The midwives at the clinic eventually decided that because I'd haemorrhaged after birth my body couldn't make enough milk and recover. I was also eventually diagnosed with an under active thyroid, which if anyone knows, if untreated inhibits milk production.

It was the most stressful and exhausting four weeks of my life. I was so pale I was grey.

I felt like a failure because I felt like it was my choice to bf and I couldn't, so that choice was taken away from me. As it was DS ended up with a cmpa so was put on a milk free formula. FF was such a relief after everything, but it wasn't something I wanted to do.

I worry about not being able to feed DC.2.

Some of the posts on these threads always disappoint me, like some of us are making up struggling, as an excuse to ff.

PunkrockerGirl Mon 07-Apr-14 17:29:28

Thefabulousidiot If you've been on the receiving end of bullying tactics when feeling physically and emotionally vulnerable then that's probably why you might use the expressions. And whilst in the depth of PND I probably used are worse. (Advised by well meaning midwife to attend NCT group for support). I will say no more they were smug, judgemental, worthy, hairy-legged, sandal-wearing, pasta-knitting bitches

When ds1 was born I had 2 very close friends, our babies were born weeks apart. My ds was ff, their dc were bf. Their dc were, it seemed, forever at the doctors surgery with some infection or other. When I looked after their dc the routine inevitably involved giving them antibiotics from the fridge. Apart from some eye drops, ff son never needed antibiotics until he was 6.

I can count on one hand the times each of my ff grown up children have visited the gp (excluding injuries).

Just saying.

monkeynuts123 Mon 07-Apr-14 17:39:03

EBF means baby can't be left with other people for long periods of time, or even short periods of time, this means it does not appeal to mothers who like to go on honeymoons without their babies or long hen weekends when their babies are very small. EBF means baby is not a clockwork baby and this is inconvenient for some mothers who prefer baby to make a small a dent in their lives as possible. EBF babies do not sleep though, this does not suit mothers who didn't realise that small babies wake at night. At this point said mother sometimes gives up and takes one of two possible routes, 1. acknowledge they can't be arsed and they would be happier not EBF and nevermind how that is for baby, or 2. make up some cock and bull reason as to why they can't do it. There is a tiny minority of women who can't BF for legitimate reasons who would dearly have loved to and point 1 and 2 must wind them up a treat.

Zara8 Mon 07-Apr-14 17:42:43

Wow monkeynuts, what delightfully supportive advice. I sure hope you dole that out to new mums you know, I bet it goes down a treat hmm

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 17:57:20

"mini you appear to be rather rigid in your thinking. The simple fact is that some women can't breastfeed, whether the reason is physical or emotional or whatever, whether or not they intended to. And in that case, formula is the right decision."


I'm not in any way rigid. I acknowledge that for some women breastfeeding is simply not something they can find a way of doing. A small number for physical reasons, a much larger number for emotional reasons. But YOU have to acknowledge that it's a cultural thing - it's not intrinsic to breastfeeding per se. The truth is that the factors most likely to determine whether you find it emotionally feasible to breastfeed for more than a few weeks aren't your personality, relationship, and other children, but are your age, your ethnicity and your education.

And of course formula is the ONLY other option if you are not able or willing to give your baby your own milk. Only a doofus would argue with this point.

ikeaismylocal Mon 07-Apr-14 18:01:55

I felt the opposite, I EBF ds until he was 6 months and I still breastfeed him now and he is 15 months and I am pregnant.

People constantly said to me when he was around 3/4 months "poor baby, he must be hungry!" or they tried to give him banana or suggested a bedtime bottle feed.

Even my hv said I should give him porridge before bed. Ds was huge, rolls and rolls of chub on his legs, he was a very happy baby.

Now people keep telling me I should stop feeding ds, even my midwife said I should stop.

I was proud when ds turned 6 months and I looked at him and his huge chubby legs and cheeks but no one else was impressed or interested, no one else nitoced.

I can't see where this preasure is coming from.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 18:06:15

"EBF means baby can't be left with other people for long periods of time, or even short periods of time"

I beg to differ.

I went back to work when my exclusively breastfed baby was 5 weeks old. Only part-time mind, three 6 hour days a week. But I managed.

Most mothers around the world breastfeed. Many can't afford formula. Those that can't afford formula also tend to be those on miniscule incomes with no support from the state and larger families than we have here in the UK. These women HAVE to find a way of breastfeeding, despite having also to work in the fields and having physically very hard lives.

"I will say no more they were smug, judgemental, worthy, hairy-legged, sandal-wearing, pasta-knitting bitches"

Why is it acceptable to be so vicious and bitchy about other women? I didn't do NCT classes myself but I have helped organise NCT activities as a volunteer. If NCT groups consisted mainly of working class women would it be acceptable to describe them as a 'scruffy, tattooed bunch of Greggs sausage roll eating, faked tanned, ignorant bitch chavs?' Or are educated women fair game? The women I meet at NCT get togethers come from a range of backgrounds - but they are mostly educated. Hence most start off breastfeeding. Many, probably most who have babies over a few months old, mixed feed or bottle feed. A good number have experienced PND, which is why they attend NCT groups in the first place - because they're lonely and they need friends.

Shame on you Punk.

beccajoh Mon 07-Apr-14 18:15:12

Yes, honeymoons and hen weekends. That's why I didn't breastfeed hmm Nothing to do with blood loss, being horribly anaemic, recovering badly from a c-section and battling depression.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 18:17:49

mini - your attitude to those of us with less than perfect breastfeeding experiences on this thread is far from supportive and is pretty disrespectful. I know what was said at the classes. I was at them, you weren't. I'm not thick and neither is my DH. We both wanted what was best for our baby - a baby we'd waited a long time for.

Just to remind you, as you seem not to have read my earlier post, I breastfed my baby until a few days short of their first birthday. Not exclusively due to weight issues in the first couple of months. I wanted to breastfeed - I'd attended two ante natal breastfeeding sessions and had bought nursing bras and tops. I refused pethidine in labour as I'd learned in ante natal classes that it could make baby sleepy and feeding more difficult. So I'm not sure why you imply that I secretly didn't want to BF and wanted someone to give me permission not to. Not true. What I wanted was for breastfeeding to be pain free. Not too much to ask is it? And I did ask for help at all the BF groups across my town and the neighbouring one. Breastfeeding was the one aspect of becoming a mother that I hoped to do naturally and successfully. I needed if to conceive which made me feel a failure and made me determined to have a drug free water birth. That didn't happen as I ended up in theatre after labouring for 3 days with only gas and air, refusing an epidural due to increased risk of interventions which could also make BF harder to establish. So, yes, I did want to breastfeed successfully but reality got in the way of my intentions as it did with the birth.

There is ongoing research which shows that women with PCOS - which I have - can often have either an oversupply or an undersupply of breastmilk. It is also widely acknowledged by HCPs that blood loss during childbirth can delay or inhibit milk production. In fact, a few people on this thread who had difficulty breastfeeding had a PPH, again myself included. At the birth review meeting at my local hospital the midwife readily acknowledged that my haemorrhage could have been the cause of my baby's weight loss and my subsequent feeding difficulties. It's a shame the midwives caring for me during the days in hospital after the birth took no particular action based on the haemorrhage and the risks to breastfeeding that could mean. I wish I had known myself that PCOS and blood loss could affect breastfeeding as I'd have been able to push for the right help if I had.

If I'm lucky enough to have a second child I'll attempt breastfeeding again. I'd like to have a positive experience. I know a lot more about the possible problems I may face and how to deal with them. For a start I'll be buying a supplemental nursing system in advance - something I think could have helped me but that no HCP ever suggested and I was unaware of until recently.

I really hope you're not a HCP or a BF counsellor. You seem pretty judgmental.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 18:26:19

IVF not if!

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 18:27:56

"I know what was said at the classes. I was at them, you weren't."

What - the midwife told you that if you didn't breastfeed you WOULD get cancer?


herethereandeverywhere Mon 07-Apr-14 18:31:19

Great post Stuck.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 18:31:49

I'm not judgemental.

I acknowledge that some people have medical/physical challenges that make breastfeeding extremely difficult/unsupportable for them.

I've acknowledged that on this thread, yes?

Once again you seem to be translating what someone is saying into absolutes. It's not helpful.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 18:37:11

"I wish I had known myself that PCOS and blood loss could affect breastfeeding"

Most antenatal breastfeeding classes are two hours long AT THE MOST.

They focus on educating expectant parents about how breastfeeding works and signposting them to support postnatally if they need it.

I'm sure that ALL breastfeeding education acknowledges that some women will struggle with breastfeeding, and will need support. There are dozens of things that can make breastfeeding a struggle - tongue tie, mastitis, thrush, prematurity, PCOS, thyroid problems. Do you really think it'd make a difference for the midwife to go into detail about each and every one of these in the short period of time they have to educate about breastfeeding? What bit of the class do you think the midwife should have left out to focus on breastfeeding problems?

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 18:38:43

Mini I am thoroughly impressed by your contribution to this thread, in particular your measured responses.
Just saying.
It's been a good read. Must go and bath the DCs.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 18:56:03

No, ' you will get cancer if you don't breastfeed' weren't the exact words.

Exact words / absolute things that WERE said include:
- "BF babies don't get wind or constipation." Well mine got both. Horrendous wind and at best poo'ed every couple of days during the first three or four months, and with great difficulty. I now know that these were signs, along with other things, of a bad latch and insufficient milk intake. Again, no HCP at the time made this link, despite the baby's poor weight gain and my ongoing pain which I constantly told them about.

- "BF mothers get more sleep due to not having to make up formula and due to sleep inducing hormones released when they feed and can feed lying down." ??!! Totally. anecdotal evidence from even the most committed BF mums seems to be the opposite. I have friends who are still BF toddlers who still feed every two hours during the night.

- "BF doesn't hurt if you're doing it right. It may be uncomfortable in the first few days but that's all." Why then did BF hurt for me for months despite innumerable experts saying latch was fine and there were no obvious reasons for the pain?

There are no absolutes, I agree, so not sure why either BF or FF ever needs to be presented as being perfect / awful.

You seem v concerned - rightly so - about the global picture on infant feeding. Yes, if you're v poor with no access to clean water then formula really is dangerous but that's not the case in the UK is it?

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 18:57:59

Posted too soon. Re the cancer point, as I said it wasn't said absolutely but the context definitely overstated the extent to which BF could prevent cancer.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 19:03:23

I didn't expect the ante natal classes to detail PCOS and blood loss risks etc re BF, no. You misunderstand me, I'm sure not intentionally. I expected the midwives and other HCPs - both in ante natal and post natal in terms of the PCOS and post natal in terms of the haemorrhage - to be aware of and take account of such things. They had my notes and, in terms of the blood loss - were at the event! Or is that too much to expect?

Woobeedoo Mon 07-Apr-14 19:03:28


Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Don't want to make this thread all about me, but I have PCOS and had to move from breast feeding - DS born with tongue tie, his latch was shocking.

I moved to expressing milk and giving him that but could never produce enough for a full feed so had to do some formula feeds (whilst pumping every single hour).

I wish someone had said to me that PCOS can result in under supply - I wouldn't have felt so shit about myself. I know my emotions are down to me, but they weren't helped by my ultra-pro BF'ing HV who did a slitty eyed stare and pucker mouth when she saw the tub of formula.

And Mini, where exactly do you live to have a 2 hour breastfeeding antinatal class? My BF class lasted 40minutes. You were very fortunate.

PunkrockerGirl Mon 07-Apr-14 19:05:11

Monkeynuts. Are you saying that ff babies don't wake to be fed in the night? You are having a laugh.

Nevermind (sic) how that is for baby My ff children are fine thanks, see earlier post.

Are you normally this obnoxious? Maybe you should go and adjust your judgey pants before they end up gagging you (or on second thoughts, don't bother).

hotair Mon 07-Apr-14 19:15:12

well at least 8% of women in the uk have PCOS, so actually that is a prevalent enough condition that that information should be included, it's just a sentance. I've breastfed two children to 12 months and had significant over supply problems and no HCP has ever mentioned that this might be due to my PCOS, it would have been useful to know.
Similarly 20% of women who breastfeed to 6 months will have at least one bout of mastitis, so again it would actually be a good idea to discuss this.
When I had a preterm baby no-one gave me advice on how to reestablish breastfeeding with a tube fed neonate. While that might not be appropriate to cover in a breastfeeding antenatal class, someone should have been able to help me once it happened. Instead I got repeated lectures on breast feeding's importance, which I knew, that was why I wanted help to do it.
I actually think 2 hours covering the reality of breastfeeding and it's problems and how to overcome them would be so much more useful than 2 hours of waffle about how great breastfeeding is.

PunkrockerGirl Mon 07-Apr-14 19:25:56

Mini, that was my experience of NCT at that time. I can't change it. They were vile and I refuse to pretend otherwise. If others have had a more positive experience, that's fine. I was a struggling first time mum, new to the area and they couldn't have been more unwelcoming and judgemental if they'd tried.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 19:28:04

"both in ante natal and post natal in terms of the PCOS and post natal in terms of the haemorrhage - to be aware of and take account of such things."

Well not discussing these things with you as an individual is poor care. If you'd had caseloading care (ie from one midwife all the way through antenatally and postnatally) I suspect you would have experienced a more holistic approach to breastfeeding.

"Re the cancer point, as I said it wasn't said absolutely but the context definitely overstated the extent to which BF could prevent cancer."

Can you be a bit more specific? Did they say 'most' cancers are caused by not breastfeeding? (in which case they'd be over stating the role breastfeeding plays in preventing breast cancer). Or did they say 'breastfeeding could prevent a lot of breast cancer deaths? I don't think that's an unreasonable choice of words, given the latest reviews of the studies.

"Horrendous wind and at best poo'ed every couple of days during the first three or four months,"

Constipation is hugely over-reported in exclusively breastfed babies (I assume your baby was exclusively breastfed), mainly because stooling every few days instead of every day for fully breastfed babies once they're beyond the first few weeks is completely normal and not a sign of constipation except if the stool, when it appears, is formed and hard. The straining breastfed babies do before passing a completely liquid stool isn't constipation, even if they've been brewing the poo for five or six days or sometimes even more.

"BF mothers get more sleep due to not having to make up formula and due to sleep inducing hormones released when they feed and can feed lying down."

As you say, you can use anecdotal evidence in support of your views. Midwives advice on sleep and feeding needs to draw on the existing research evidence, which suggests that breastfeeding mothers do, on average, have better quality sleep than mothers who are bottlefeeding at night.

"BF doesn't hurt if you're doing it right. It may be uncomfortable in the first few days but that's all." Why then did BF hurt for me for months despite innumerable experts saying latch was fine and there were no obvious reasons for the pain?

"I now know that these were signs, along with other things, of a bad latch". But the midwife was right. According to you your baby had a poor latch and that's why you had persistent pain. The fact that this was difficult to diagnose doesn't put the original midwife at fault or make her wrong. It's completely sensible for her to say that pain is a sign that a mother's breastfeeding may need to be looked at by a HCP. If they told women that pain is common and normal and not necessarily a sign of a problem you can GUARANTEE that this would lead many women into a situation where they were struggling on at home with a tongue tied baby or with thrush for much much longer before seeking help.

"but they weren't helped by my ultra-pro BF'ing HV who did a slitty eyed stare and pucker mouth when she saw the tub of formula."

Or so you thought. in your anxious, exhausted guilty haze hmm

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 19:29:41

FWIW my NHS BF class did cover mastitis, as in, you can get it if baby doesn't latch properly or you don't feed enough, the symptoms and the solution i.e. don't stop feeding and feed more from the affected breast(s).

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 19:32:11

"Mini, that was my experience of NCT at that time. I can't change it. They were vile"

Your comment down the thread about the appearance of these women suggests you're not averse to a bit of vile stereotyping and judging yourself. hmm

badidea Mon 07-Apr-14 19:54:15

Just to say, I did NCT classes and I can honestly (hand on heart) say that I have never knitted a bit of pasta in my life, although I do wear sandals in the summer and I must confess that I did struggle to shave my legs in the latter stages of pregnancy (shocking, I know...)

PunkrockerGirl Mon 07-Apr-14 20:00:27

Mini. "So either your dp is a bit thick" - seems you too are not averse to a bit of vile judginess. Also, ff babies needing more gp appointments - mine never did (see previous post).

Writerwannabe83 Mon 07-Apr-14 20:05:44

I've had people pass comments to me about why I should offer DS some formula and the two main reasons seems to be:

1) He will sleep better at night
2) it means other people can feed him so you can go out more.

When I asked them which of their reasons are of benefit to the baby as opposed to me they just go quiet. It usually brings an end to the conversation smile

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 20:09:23

mini - your attitude to those of us with less than perfect breastfeeding experiences on this thread is far from supportive and is pretty disrespectful.

Really?! I think mini has come across very well! non-judgemental and states facts rather than hysterical rants like some people on this thread seem to have adopted. I can't stand it when posters attack others because they don't 100% agree with them.

myrubberduck Mon 07-Apr-14 20:09:54

op yanbu

The reality is that the decision to bf or ff is very very unlikely to make any difference to an individual child. I would have less of an issue with the way that bf is promoted in western countries if that fact (and it is a fact )was made clear.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 20:14:14

- "BF babies don't get wind or constipation." Well mine got both. Horrendous wind and at best poo'ed every couple of days during the first three or four months, and with great difficulty. I now know that these were signs, along with other things, of a bad latch and insufficient milk intake. Again, no HCP at the time made this link, despite the baby's poor weight gain and my ongoing pain which I constantly told them about.

My DD pooed every couple of days or less and she was EBF it's very normal whoever told you its constipation was seriously misinformed.

And if people wonder why it's anyone else's business who others feed their babies, please read this -
If that's not in everyone's interest I don't know what is

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 20:16:01

IsChippy - pot, kettle?

mini has done a bit of attacking herself, including of my DH.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 20:18:01

stuck TBF the way you worded what your DH said didn't come across all that well, if he really did sayings like "bF so you don't get cancer".

Retropear Mon 07-Apr-14 20:36:59

Hmm well Mini I'd never,ever leave a 5 week old baby so there you go.There are plenty of parenting choices we all make differently.

Re stats there seem to be an abundance of stats re parenting ie the effects of a not great diet,lack of pre school skills being taught,too much screen time,not enough exercise.Some you win and some you lose.

In this country bfing comes way down on my list re things to worry about as regards my parenting.6 weeks was waaaay more than enough for me and op yanbu.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 20:38:39

Punk rocker - I was making a point about the tendency of people to to talk in absolutes about things that simply can't be spoken of in such a way without utterly distorting the point. It happens all the time when people are discussing this issue. It's a way of exaggerating and creating straw man arguments.

As for your children's health and the point you are trying to make in response to my comment about increased NHS costs associated with ff - well my aunty smoked and lived an active life until her death at 84. blush

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 20:43:25

IsChippy - I was told the constipation info by every HV and BF counsellor I asked in my area - and that's a lot. Lots of misinformed people in my local health service then it seems. One recently got an honour from the Queen for services to BF too....

Yes infant feeding is a public health issue but so are lots of things that don't attract the same level of promotion of the risks and the alternatives to them. And now we're going to lay the cost to the NHS of ill health that BF might prevent at the door of those wanting to but struggling to BF...?

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 20:44:09

Retro - are you thumbing your nose at me and saying 'I formula fed but you went back to work when your baby was 6 weeks, so ner ner ner ner ner'.

The difference is that I'm not stomping about insisting it's absolutely fine for women to go back to work at six weeks and it doesn't make any difference to their babies, because that's what I had to do to pay the mortgage. I think it's not great for babies to be separated from their mums so early, and it certainly wasn't a good experience for me. However I'm secure enough as a mother not to have to rubbish concerns about women being forced back into work/choosing to go back to work, because I'm more interested in self-justification than in having a sensible debate about the issue.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 20:45:20

retropear congratulations you are clearly a better mother than mini and your post doesn't smack of bitterness at all

Again, double standards prevail.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 20:52:12

Yes infant feeding is a public health issue but so are lots of things that don't attract the same level of promotion of the risks and the alternatives to them

Such as? This would be a weak argument for not promoting BFing. Think what £40 MILLION could do for the NHS. And it's not about blaming individual mums, it's not that simple of course, if there were better laws about the promotion of formula and better support to BF then that would be a huge help.

Retropear Mon 07-Apr-14 20:53:31

But the point is in this country the benefits of bfing are pretty small so really not worth the pushing,stat twisting and scare mongering.I often think those pushing it don't feel secure in other parenting choices as to be frank there are so many other choices far more worthy of worrying over the pushing of bfing really isn't justified.Ie a diet high in veg is going to be far more beneficial-not seeing many veg pushin threads though.

It's weird that this choice some feel they can push but mums doing the same re other choices is frowned upon.

Just saying.

Retropear Mon 07-Apr-14 20:54:06

And if safe bottle prep was pushed more it would save millions.

beccajoh Mon 07-Apr-14 21:03:54

I wasn't given ANY advice about bottle feeding. Any HCPs I spoke to said they weren't allowed to give any bottle feeding advice, even if that bottle contained expressed breast milk, because rhthe trust was going for the silver UNICEF baby friendly award..

I had to rely on the internet (UNICEF PDF which instructed me to locate a safe source of water and boil it for X number of minutes, which gives you a huge clue as to its target audience) and latterly the tub of formula for advice.

Bodicea Mon 07-Apr-14 21:05:25

Hot air I don't know where you got that stat but in my experience as a sonographer who looks at ovaries every day 8% of women do not have genuine pcos. In fact I rarely see it. It is massively over diagnosed.

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 21:17:14

HCPs are "allowed" hmm and required to give advice about making up formula.
What is not considered good practice is encouraging formula to be given to a baby whose mother wishes to bf without very good clinical reason.

So if someone said that to you they were incorrect, sadly.

And the risks of using formula are not restricted to its improper preparation. Although of course poor hygiene and improperly prepad bottles will give rise to added problems.

TheRealAmandaClarke Mon 07-Apr-14 21:18:58

And I second the point that constipation is overdiagnosed, especially in bf babies.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 21:20:28

Bodicea, interesting. Genuine question, what is genuine PCOS and what is fake and overdiagnosed PCOS?

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 21:21:47

Feeling v concerned about all this overdiagnosing by HCPs tbh...

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 21:25:51

Helpful re BF and PCOS?

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 21:29:51

Bodicea - this midwifery journal finds the opposite i.e. that PCOS is under-diagnosed and affects between 5-10% of women.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Mon 07-Apr-14 21:30:53

But the point is in this country the benefits of bfing are pretty small so really not worth the pushing,stat twisting and scare mongering.

Why on earth then would the NHS want to push breastfeeding?! If there are so few benefits why waste time and money on encouraging women to do something that's not all that beneficial. They don't make money so they wouldn't have a hidden agenda.

Why on earth do people deny the benefits of breastfeeding when it's clear that human milk is the best for human consumption, and the fortified cows milk isn't nearly as good.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 21:34:18

Kellymom on PCOS and BF - lots of journal evidence:

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 21:35:42

Wrong link in last post.

Right one here:

PunkrockerGirl Mon 07-Apr-14 21:38:44

Mini, comparing nhs costs of ff babies with adults who smoke is just bloody ridiculous.

Retropear Mon 07-Apr-14 21:40:05

I think others push it far more than the NHS do and those in the NHS vary as to how much they do.

hotair Mon 07-Apr-14 21:40:23

Bodicea thats extremely surprising, as I've read that 14-25%, dependent on ethnicity, of young women have PCO on ultrasound. As an ultrasound tech rather than a gynecologist you are obviously not aware that the presence or absence of PCO is not the gold standard for diagnosis of PCOS and that it is massively under diagnosed in the UK causing significant problems for many women. The 8% figure in the UK is evidence based and I obtained that figure from here today, but have seen it cited elsewhere previously.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 21:41:08


I think you'd find it quite hard to make a case that the evidence NHS recommendations on the benefits of breastfeeding are based is seriously misleading ('stat twisting' seems to suggest that NHS bods are deliberately distorting the findings - can you explain why they would do this in relation to such an important issue as infant feeding?)

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 21:42:46

You misunderstand me Punk. Probably deliberately. I was making a point about your use of anecdotal evidence.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 21:44:14

Sorry - that point about the 'stat-twisting' was in response to Chippy's post.

Retropear Mon 07-Apr-14 21:53:02

Not NHS bods but posters such as yourself and other bfing zealots.

Retropear Mon 07-Apr-14 21:56:32

And re PCOS surely consultants diagnose it not sonographers.

It took a lot of investigations to diagnosed mine.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 22:03:14

"Not NHS bods but posters such as yourself"

Retropear - my sources of information about the benefits of breastfeeding come from three sources exclusively: NHS patient information, Royal College of Midwives textbooks, and UNICEF Baby Friendly (who do all the breastfeeding training and accreditation in the NHS).

I repeat on this site information from these sources without changing it, re-interpreting it, or putting my own spin on it. It doesn't stop you accusing me of 'stat-twisting' and 'scare-mongering'.

TheRealYellowWiggle Mon 07-Apr-14 22:09:45

What's a bf zealot? Anyone who disagrees with your opinion?

Retropear Mon 07-Apr-14 22:10:51

Sorry I disagree- you twist and skirt over the fact many numbers involved are tiny to begin with.

You and others do it a lot.

Try picking other topics, for a start as you care so much eating more veg would have a far bigger impact on cancer.

A good nights sleep is quite important health wise and I'm knackered so I'll leave you to your number crunching.

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 22:15:03

Can I just add, that I've been fiercely criticised for pointing out (usually in response to a poster insisting that it makes no difference to babies whether they are bf or ff) that breastfeeding appears to reduce the likelihood of SIDS as just one example of how it can make a very, very big difference to SOME babies how they are fed.

I've been told that this is 'scaremongering' and 'stat twisting' despite this advice appearing on NHS Choices and on the website of the Lullaby Trust, which is the UK's main SIDS charity. here

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 22:19:33

You are buggering off because you can't give a reasoned and coherent response.

Arguing that 'eating vegetables is much more important' - sorry, I don't get your point. Yes, of course eating a plant based diet appears to help reduce some cancers. As does not smoking. But do they cancel each other out? If we acknowledge that smoking causes more cancers than all the other lifestyle choices put together does that mean that there is no point in talking about anything other than smoking? Does the impact of a healthy diet in adulthood render all discussion of the impact of breastfeeding on cancers irrelevant? I don't think so.

StackALee Mon 07-Apr-14 22:27:46

"But the point is in this country the benefits of bfing are pretty small so really not worth the pushing,stat twisting and scare mongering."

In this country? Why 'in this country'

Compared to formula the benefits of breast milk are vast. Compared to breast milk formula is a substandard alternative.

It is bottom of the list after donor milk and other options.

What does being in the UK have to do with the benefits of breast milk Vs formula?

Formula is and will never be 'as good as' breast milk.

StackALee Mon 07-Apr-14 22:28:52

*is not

ElBombero Mon 07-Apr-14 22:30:41

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I EBF for 7 month and the pressure I was put under to give a bottle was bloody immense. Not many BFers here though .

Minifingers Mon 07-Apr-14 22:31:32

Stack, it's not unreasonable to point out that breastfeeding saves the lives of many, many babies in developing countries. In the West most babies thrive on formula and serious illness or death from formula feeding is rare.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 22:59:37

Yes the protective effect of BF against SIDS is true, especially at 2-4 months which is the peak age for SIDS. But baby sleeping in the same room as the parents until 6 months at least also reduces the risk of SIDS significantly but I don't see such a big push on that front with parents compared with their feeding method, and room sharing is a quicker win too. I'm not sure which of the two - BF and room sharing - has a bigger protective effect though.

stuckindamiddle Mon 07-Apr-14 23:01:48

mini - I agree completely with your most recent post!

Retropear Tue 08-Apr-14 06:58:53

SIDS is thankfully rare and considering the maj of babies are ff and thriving sorry the numbers of babies you're talking about are tiny so yes you're stat twisting and scaremongering again.

And no I didn't buggar off because I couldn't gave a reasoned and coherent response but because I and hoards of others have given reasoned and coherent responses over and over again which are ignored by some posters.It gets tedious.

Minifingers Tue 08-Apr-14 07:22:51

I'm not 'twisting' ie misrepresenting anything.

300 babies a year die from SIDS in the uk. This makes it the most common cause of death for babies between a month and a year old. Breastfeeding is thought to reduce the risk to a baby by 50%.

Minifingers Tue 08-Apr-14 07:26:09

Retro - nobody is ignoring your comments or anyone else's.

It's completely fair to point out that breastfeeding support is inadequate in the UK, and that postnatal care generally is patchy.

myrubberduck Tue 08-Apr-14 09:11:31

I think mini that other posters have been trying to point out to you, repeatedly, that the benefits of bf that are repeated ad nauseum ( such as correlation to reduced risk of SIDS ) are so very marginal. Let me give you an example. In my maternity notes there was only one piece of medical advice / information which was that bf children were less likely to die from SIDS or develop leukemia . That was it. That was the most important fact that whomever it was that devised the booklet thought new mums had to know. ' your baby is more likely to die if you don't bf ' basically. This is but one example of the kind of pressure the op and lots of other posters are talking about, although I suppose you would say that that kind of health warning is entirely justified in the name of 'educating' women so that they can make an 'informed 'choice. Unfortunately what this means in practice is scaring women into making the 'right' choice . Gets on my tits I tell ya.

zirca Tue 08-Apr-14 09:14:20

Scientifically, breastfeeding is best for you baby - fact. I do think there's not enough support/advice for breastfeeding mums though. CMPA can be picked up in breastfeeding babies, and mums can exclude dairy from their diets to compensate - but when bf starts to be tricky, my local midwives say, "Give the baby formula." Not helpful!

TheScience Tue 08-Apr-14 09:22:35

Not only can HCPs give out safe formula advice, but they should - especially if they are "Baby Friendly" as giving out safe formula advice is one of the Baby Friendly standards.

beccajoh - you should consider making a complaint about HCPs refusing to give you advice!

The NHS has lots of information about formula preparation on their website including leaflets to download if anyone needs advice btw.

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 08-Apr-14 09:26:01

From personal experience I would say that I have received a lot of pressure to breastfeed (currently 8 months pregnant), but I think it's largely down to the individual NHS trust and the individual midwives/health visitors etc.

As somebody who genuinely can't breastfeed, I do find it frustrating as when I politely tell midwives (when they ask why I'm not going to bf) that I won't be breastfeeding because I can't, they don't believe me and start saying that only a tiny percentage can't rather than won't. Well I am one of that tiny percentage and if they read my notes properly they'd know that. I have been asked if I will be bf at every single medical appointment I've had, well, not the ones with the consultant, but everytime I've seen a midwife, and it does get pretty frustrating. Then you get the "well you could express, or syringe feed colostrum..." No, I can't actually, read my notes, my breasts physically cannot produce milk or colostrum. hmm

The worst was a few weeks ago when I told one midwife I couldn't bf and she grabbed my boobs through my shirt and said in a very aggressive tone "you've got these haven't you?! What else do you think they're for?!"
As a survivor of sexual abuse I found this extremely invasive and inappropriate (and that's massively understating) and the thing that really annoyed me about it is that it's written in my notes that I've been abused (as some of the residual anatomical damage is relevant to pregnancy) and she had commented on it about five minutes previously! angry.
DH and I complained to the hospital and it's all sorted now, and we received a profuse apology, but that's not the point. As luck would have it, I've had a lot of time to deal with my issues and so it just made me angry at the time rather than shook me up for weeks afterwards, but that might not have been the case with somebody else. Even if you haven't been abused, I can't imagine anyone would take well to that kind of thing.

Also, I do not believe that bf is always best. There are a lot of women out there with medical issues or on medication which mean that breastmilk would be very bad for their babies, and so in their cases, ff is the best thing. It's just not right or accurate to say that bf is always best. Yes, in an ideal world it is, but we don't live in an ideal world. The whole bf/ff debate seems to really polarise people and it just doesn't need to.

Everyone has their reasons for their choices and I think a bit of live and let live on both sides of the fence would go a long way. I think bf and ff alike get pressure and nastiness, and I genuinely don't understand why people don't mind their own damn business and let each mother make her own choice. Personally I don't give two hoots how anyone else feeds their baby grin.

myrubberduck Tue 08-Apr-14 09:33:11

Let me give you anotherexample of what in talking about. My midwife had a nhs poster up in the wall right in front of the examination table which proclaimed a long list of benefits of bf. This include fewer ear infections, fewer gastric infections which is fair enough. However it also claimed reduced risk of obesity type two diabetes high blood pressure and higher intelligence all of which have been comprehensively disproved in recent years. Why is the nhs still making claims for bf that are either not true or unclear. Again it's to pressure mums into making the 'right' choice. Why? Because the debate within the medical profession has been hijacked by people who have an almost evangelical belief in bf as a cure all- leaving responsibility for the nations health on the chests of mothers .

myrubberduck Tue 08-Apr-14 09:41:14

Blimey stars that's awful! Please tell me that the midwife was disciplined!!!

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 08-Apr-14 09:47:23

myrubberduck, thank you and yes she was, very severely. Our consultant (who is lovely and very supportive) was furious when I told him so he stepped in too.

Minifingers Tue 08-Apr-14 12:02:02

"you're stat twisting and scaremongering again."

I'm not 'stat twisting' - I have given the exact figures and the stated reduction in risk supposedly afforded by breastfeeding. That means that every person who reads it can make up their minds for themselves how they feel about it - whether that feels like a significant factor or not.

There is nothing 'scaremongering' about this.

One baby this week died while being carried in a wrap sling. It has made all the newspapers.

A few years ago 4 babies died in an Infantino carrier and the company stopped selling it. It made all the newspapers here and in the US.

Is this news 'scaremongering'?

Is letting women know that there have been a tiny handful of deaths associated with using these carriers 'stat twisting'?

Is it 'stat twisting' and 'scare mongering' to tell people to watch their children when they are playing out because 5 children (approximately) are snatched and killed by strangers every year in the UK?

Is it 'stat twisting' and 'scare mongering' for the DOH to change the recommendations on making up infant feeds because of the deaths of 5 babies in Europe - not all in one year - from a rare bacteria e-sakazakii which has been found in batches of powdered formula (along with salmonella)?

6 infants died in China from melamine contamination in formula in 2008, and it caused a shortage of formula in the UK as massive amounts started to be bought and shipped to China for parents who'd lost faith in the locally made product.

According to this UNICEF report breastfeeding or giving breastmilk would prevent 361 cases of NEC in premature babies in the UK - a disease with a mortality rate of 15% to 30%.

Is drawing attention to baby lives saved by breastfeeding in the UK is 'stat twisting'?

Minifingers Tue 08-Apr-14 12:06:33

"However it also claimed reduced risk of obesity type two diabetes high blood pressure and higher intelligence all of which have been comprehensively disproved in recent years."

Actually you are wrong that they have been 'comprehensively disproved'.

There has been debate and there have been conflicting studies. The establishment has not yet reached a firm conclusion, particularly on the matter of intelligence. All the studies on intelligence and breastfeeding have been flawed by not having a big enough sample size of babies who have been long term breastfed. This is also a problem in most poor quality breastfeeding research - not enough control for dose. In a recent study which was trumpeted all over mumsnet as 'proving' bf is pointless (not actually the conclusion of the research itself - it said nothing of the sort, but it was interpreted here as saying this) babies were categorised as 'breastfed' if they were actually almost fully ff, as long as they had had at least one breastfeed at birth. hmm

cloggal Tue 08-Apr-14 12:14:53

Spoke too soon.
Why do all threads about this go the same way?
If we are all scratching each others' eyes out rather than pulling in the same direction - thriving, healthy children regardless of bf/ff - proper and full support for ALL MUMS will never happen. Sigh.

myrubberduck Tue 08-Apr-14 12:36:52

Well I am not going to play top trumps with you regarding what has an what has not been proved or disproved. Suffice to say that what I posted earlier is an accurate description of the current state of medical knowledge in my view.However Surely it is right however that the NHS ought not be telling expectant mothers that bf will protect against, obesity for example, if the evidence is unreliable, andm given that this is what is happening, surely one has to ask why?????

NHS likes to use the stick when it comes to bf because it is concerned that the carrot ( free, convenient, modest health benefits) will not be enough to keep a lot of women going through the cracked nipples and exhaustion etc. of the early weeks of bf.

It doesn't work of course. Most women still stop bf after the first few weeks just feel bad about it because of the 'information' they are given by their HCPs prior to birth.

StackALee Tue 08-Apr-14 13:37:37

Isn't there plenty of advice on the formula packaging?

noblegiraffe Tue 08-Apr-14 14:02:49

NHS likes to use the stick when it comes to bf

What stick? What penalties are imposed on women who ff?

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 08-Apr-14 15:11:09

NHS likes to use the stick when It comes to breastfeeding
What stick?
If the carrot is being informed about how and why bf is beneficial to a mother and baby, what's the stick?

myrubberduck Tue 08-Apr-14 16:19:34

Um the insinuation that a mother who does not bf is damaging her child's health... seems like a fucking great big stick to me....

But I am not at all surprised, given your posts up thread, that both of you would fail to appreciate this !

noblegiraffe Tue 08-Apr-14 16:30:25

The stick is an insinuation?

So the NHS shouldn't be allowed to point out the health benefits of bfing for mother and baby because the flip side is that a mother who doesn't bfeed may feel guilty for not bestowing those health benefits on their baby?

I don't think it is the fault of the NHS. It is not as if the posters read 'more ff babies die of SIDS' is it? That would be the NHS using a stick. But they don't. You just choose to twist a positive message into a negative one.

noblegiraffe Tue 08-Apr-14 16:34:05

The NHS also point out that eating 5 a day is good for your health and reduces risk of various diseases.

My DS is a fussy eater. He has no hope of eating 5 a day.

I don't go round berating the NHS for publicising the health benefits of fruit and veg and suggest that with their fruity posters and leaflets they are punishing me for not somehow force-feeding it to my DS.

That would be bonkers.

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 08-Apr-14 16:45:51

Um yes, bonkers indeed.

Accusing the NHS of "insinuating" that a mother who does not bf is damaging her child's health makes no sense. Its the same guff that ppl still come out with about smoking/ passive smoking/ smoking around children. It is not appropriate for information to be hidden that could significantly benefit people's health, especially children who can exercise no personal choice, just because it gets people who don't follow advice all puffy and defensive. If you think that bf has no significant benefit then don't do it. No problem is there. One can't possibly feel bad about doing something that makes no difference surely.
My DS received a small amt of formula at the behest of maternity staff. It was not my choice, I should have fought harder, but was a bit knocked out by such an awful birth and his subsequent injuries. Still, I can't deny that it would have been better for him not to have had it. The information shouldn't be kept quiet just because it upsets me, because it could benefit another baby if their parents understand it.

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 08-Apr-14 16:53:53

Btw I do get that lots of women have a tough time with bf. poor advice, tongue tie, family pressure, society's negative view of bf (especially in public), embarrassment......
I think its awful that some ppl have stopped bf when they really wanted to do it because the right support wasnt available. And I don't think ppl should feel guilty for their feeding choices.
But informing people about the benefits of bf and encouraging them to do it is not synonymous with making mother's feel bad about not bf. it just isn't the same thing.

KL07 Tue 08-Apr-14 17:24:29

There are plenty of people who freely chose to FF having never wanted to BF, despite BF being better for baby and mum. I'm sure they never feel guilty about their choice. There are also those who end up FF, whether exclusively or in combination with BF, not by choice

Guilt may well come from within as previous posters have said. I'm no expert but I reckon that it's also a response to feeling that you've done something bad (or even just less good) and when BF is widely acknowledged as being better than FF is it any wonder that those who 'fail' to EBF successfully (as opposed to electing to FF) feel some guilt, in cases, extreme guilt? Acknowledging that would be the first step to reducing the hurt and guilt felt by 'failed' breastfeeders when they hear over and over that BF is best. That's not to say that the BF message shouldn't be given, but just that it cannot avoid risking causing hurt to those who want to EBF but don't manage to.

Retropear Tue 08-Apr-14 17:34:00

The info(such as it is) shouldn't be kept quiet but it should be kept in perspective when comparing it to other parenting choices which have a far,far bigger impact on future health and development.

A diet rich in vegetables,a decent nights sleep,exercise,reading,limiting screen time,teaching key skills before school,modelling good behaviour,limited red meat......will all have a far bigger impact.

Bfing doesn't even ping my guilt radar in comparison.My dc are 10,10 and 9 now a few bottles of formula are of zero consequence.They've lucked out in plenty of other areas that are far more important.

KL07 Tue 08-Apr-14 17:35:58

I agree retro.

KL07 Tue 08-Apr-14 17:46:17

Where did the OP go btw?

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 08-Apr-14 17:58:11

I remember when I was really struggling to feed DS and was talking to my GP who said that the issue isn't necessarily getting women to bf, it was supporting women through it, which I agree with.

It's down to luck in hospital if you get help on feeding. Depends on the midwives, how busy they are and how informed they are. Like I said previously, I got an HCA who told me to 'just put him on'. They were too busy to help.

I had to research information myself about bf support until I happened to see a mw who referred me to their bf clinic. But I was never told in hospital that this existed.

I really hope I can bf dc.2. DH says he'll happily pay for a lactation consultant if it means I can feed.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 08-Apr-14 17:59:59

As part of my job I have to ask new mothers if they are breast or bottle feeding and I hate having to do it. I very often see this momentary dread in the eyes of the mothers who say they are FF - it's like they automatically assume they are going to be judged for it. The breast feeding mother's always have a smile on their face and an upbeat tone when they answer me though.

The whole thing is bizarre - I have no idea where it originates from but I do feel that in some circumstances FF mother's are made to feel bad about their choice, or they perceive themselves as being judged negatively.

When I saw my baby being given formula in hospital I absolutely hated it! I just sat there and cried my eyes out whilst it was being done. I absolutely know that formula isn't poison but at the same time I hated seeing it being given to my baby and I hated myself for allowing it to go ahead. Where does that level of hatred and anger come from?? My reaction really surprised/scared me!

noblegiraffe Tue 08-Apr-14 18:30:47

The info provided to pregnant women/new mothers has to be relevant to their situation. There's no point in telling a woman who has just given birth about limiting screen time, or presenting bfing as some sort of carbon-offset scheme (it doesn't matter if you don't bfeed if you tick the 5-a-day box later on).

Formula advertising is on all the time. In comparison, bfing info is only given to a narrow group of people in a very limited time period.

Unfortunately that narrow group of people is also experiencing a time of their life when they are potentially exhausted, hormonal and not especially rational. This may account for some of the overreaction.

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 08-Apr-14 20:49:29

But the information is in perspective when it's given. Facts are offered.
It really would make no sense to discuss all the other factors that impact on health during an antenatal class/ midwife visit would it?
Who would suggest that a new baby should have a diet rich in vegetables?
Information needs to be appropriate.
When a GP recommends someone stops smoking are they expected to offer comparative data on the death rate reduction of safe driving/ wearing a seatbelt? no. That would be ridiculous.
Really, what this boils down to is that lots of ppl just don't "buy into" the idea of breastfeeding. Human milk is still seen as a bit of a non food item. It's a bit yucky, so many people dislike seeing women breastfeed. Which is why a law has to exist to protect babies. There is actually a law in place with the objective of not allowing ppl to stop a baby from receiving its own mother.'s milk. It's lunacy. Is there any law that says a baby must be allowed to have its formula? No. Why? Because ff is not taboo. It's bf and bf babies bf that have the hardest time in the uk.
The formula companies have done a great job at selling their product:
It doesn't really matter.
"You're doing ok."

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 08-Apr-14 20:54:23

I honestly don't believe that ppl are "made to" feel bad. I think they feel bad for a variety of reasons.
I felt as you describe when my ds had formula in hospital. Not because someone had made me feel guilty about the formula, but because deep down, I knew it wasn't right for him and I felt powerless to stop it.
Many of my friends have ff. all of them so that they could enjoy some feeding fom or extra help with their baby. That's a fair choice to make but it's unreasonable to domain that you are made to feel bad just because the current facts that are known about bf are mad available. Or that a hcp tried to encourage a healthy choice.

KL07 Tue 08-Apr-14 20:54:42

But is the law working? It would seem not. So, what else do you propose?

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 08-Apr-14 21:00:31

Well yes it is working to a great degree.
What do you mean what else do I propose?
Now a woman can bf her baby in public. The point is that the law is required because we live in an anti bf society.
So a bit of promotional work around bf targeted towards ppl having babies (and therefore in a position to bf) is hardly "pressure" it's seen as such because of our negative view about bf.
I suppose I would propose more encouragement and support to help ppl bf. but that would upset too many ppl who don't want to.

KL07 Tue 08-Apr-14 21:10:45

A 'Gisele Bundchen' style-law as recently seen in at least one country...

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 08-Apr-14 21:12:06

Sorry, can't open the link.

KL07 Tue 08-Apr-14 21:15:06

The UAE recently legislated that all mothers must BF for at least two years. Only those with a genuine medical reason would get a wet nurse.

I know BF enthusiasts here in the UK who would support such a law being introduced here.

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 08-Apr-14 21:28:07

Ah yes, I had heard about that. The UAE has some pretty interesting legislation about women in general I think.
Now that would constitute pressure to bf. whether it slegitimate or not is a different question.
I think the uk clearly applies pretty close to zero pressure on the subject.

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 08-Apr-14 21:28:28

I think women are made to feel bad. As a neutral observer to these threads, I see a fair bit of it. I can also guess at least one or two names of posters who are always on these threads banging their fucking drums. So, I can see why some FF mums feel put upon.

stargirl1701 Tue 08-Apr-14 21:28:41

I went into bfing thinking it was just a case of nose to nipple and a wide gape. That's the info I got at my ante-natal bf class. Most of that class was spent talking about the benefits of bf. I knew the benefits. I needed to know more about bf itself. I watched the NHS Scotland DVD. Again, nose to nipple and gape. If sore, detach and reposition.

Reality was another planet. I felt like I was lied to.

It was agony. All the time. The cracks, the bleeding, the mess of my nipples was terrifying. Watching blood drip on my baby from one breast as I fed from the other was distressing. The ambulance to hospital was terrifying. I knew I had to be seriously ill to be getting sent to Dundee. The 24 hours of investigations to find out why I was so ill were terrifying. Watching MWs feed my baby formula was upsetting. Pulling solid green strings of milk from my nipples was scary and disgusting. The coming round after resus finding my room filled with people was terrifying. Watching my husband sob afterwards was heart breaking. All caused by my lack of knowledge about bf. Nothing that happened to me was covered by my bf class.

Throughout this, I still bf because I knew it was the 'right' thing to do. I didn't stop until I got home from hospital and realised I couldn't continue without having a breakdown. I failed. It felt like failure. It still does. I managed to relactate but I still feel like I failed DD. I didn't give her the best start to life. It's not what I planned for her.

Why paint such a rosy picture of bf ante-natally? It is fucking hard. It is harder here in the UK than most of the rest of the world because bf rates are so low. We don't see bf around us so we don't know what's normal. I had no idea I was so ill. No one in my family could help because mine is the first generation still alive to bf. Many HCPs give crap bf advice. I saw at least 20 different midwives as well as numerous doctors who all said the latch looks fine! It wasn't though. But, no-one could fix it for us.

DC2 is due in Aug. I'm scared to bf again. But, I've done my homework. I've read umpteen books, found a LLL meeting in the next local authority, I have the helplines in my phone. I have a pump. I have shields. I have Lansinoh. I have have wound shields.

Mostly, though, my plan is to refuse to leave the unit until the latch feels painless. They will have to physically drag me from the building if they want me to home.

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 08-Apr-14 21:28:58

Oops. Spelling.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 08-Apr-14 21:43:33

Well said stargirl - ante natal 'teaching' about breastfeeding is totally crap!!

Congratulations on being pregnant again and I hope you have a much better BF experience this time round thanks

stargirl1701 Tue 08-Apr-14 22:19:29


The NHS have got the easy bit of bf sorted - telling parents about the benefits. I'm sure 90% of the childbearing age group know bf is of great benefit. They can relax on this front.

The hard bit needs investment. Support for mums. Education not just promotion. Addressing the UK's cultural barriers to bf.

NHS Tayside had a stand running all week locally to promote bf. I kinda resent the money spent on that, tbh.

Get into homes. Run a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week clinic, ask local stores to have bf friendly areas that aren't in a fucking cupboard, get into secondary schools, etc.

People intensive, hard stuff. Not bloody posters and pens.

noblegiraffe Tue 08-Apr-14 22:24:13

I'm not sure you can actually teach someone to breastfeed effectively without a baby in their arms to feed. Every baby is different. Both my babies were absolute pains in the arses to feed for the first couple of weeks, but for utterly different reasons.

I'd never even held a newborn. Trying to teach me how to breastfeed from a purely theoretical point of view was a bit of a non-starter.

KL07 Tue 08-Apr-14 22:40:12

Too true stargirl. Staying with the example of other countries, the Netherlands has an amazing system of post natal support for all mothers that we should emulate if we're serious about improving BF rates. I'll find a link.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Tue 08-Apr-14 22:45:47

BF may be great but it puts a huge onus on the Mother to be there at all times. That is glossed over...

I bottle fed and found it wonderful to be able to skip out for an afternoon leaving Dh in charge, or to leave the baby overnight with grandparents whilst DH and I had a night away.

KL07 Tue 08-Apr-14 22:48:11

I agree another - BFing felt
utterly overwhelming and all consuming for me. That wasn't mentioned in the ante natal classes which just focused on how hassle free BF is, which it unfortunately wasn't for me.

SaggyAndLucy Wed 09-Apr-14 06:27:21

I actually think HCPs are pretty much damned if they do and damned if they don't when it comes to bf.
Especially MWs. Whatever they do/suggest will be wrong for someone. And people only focus on the negatives.
I've had nothing but help. It might not always have been the best help or advice but the people giving it were doing the best they could with what they had available. I get regular visits from bf support who are nothing but gently encouraging. They've suggested several different approaches to encourage dd to try bf, have provided several pieces of expensive equipment free of charge and have never flinched from the suggestion that I give up and FF.
This is all from an NHS trust which is basically on the hospital version of 'special measures'.
BF is not always easy and everyone has a different expectation.

TheRealAmandaClarke Wed 09-Apr-14 09:06:00

I agree support is lacking and so important
My hospital experience was awful all round and from a bf POV felt like the ward was run by cow &gate tbh.
But one MW, in the middle of the night when I was derranged tired and tearful, just took my baby and popped him on. It was a bit ungainly tbh, but she helped me to have confidence in my milk. I didn't even know her name and never met her again but I will never forget her and her kindness and her skill. It actually still makes me feel emotional when I think about it blush
The whole "having babies" thing puts the onus on women. It is emotional and traumatic at times and we need support
But I still think ff is pushed more than bf, overall.

TheRealAmandaClarke Wed 09-Apr-14 09:08:01

candy are you suggesting that you recognise some of the posters from RL?
Obviously I'd want the thread deleted if that was in relation to my identity.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 09-Apr-14 09:09:48

TheReal No, not from RL. I mean from these threads.

TheRealAmandaClarke Wed 09-Apr-14 09:28:15

Ok. (don't have to look over my shoulder now next time I go to baby clinic)
The thing is, that MW who helped me clearly felt it was important that mothers have confidence in their ability to feed. Many others would have said, (and did) that my baby needed a top up. He didn't. She was right and without her support and enthusiasm for bf I might never have been able to feed my ds, especially for so long. Another person might have considered that was pressure to ebf. But I think if you want to bf then it doesn't feel like that, it feels like support.
If you actually dont want to ebf then I guess any encouragement can be seen as pressure.
But I suppose they have to try because it's a good thing for babies and mums.
Thesore's very little criticism of formula companies for pushing their product. Ok, lots and lots babies will do fine with it, it isn't the "end of the world" most of us we probably ff.
But. There are problems with ff. and bf is better and I expect my MW and GP and HV to tell me that. As much as I expect them to encourage me to have my dcs vaccinated, or to have them sleep on their backs when they're little, or to give them vitamins or visit the dentist or not have sweets every day. It's easy to balk at any advice if it's contrary to your current practice at home, or your childhood experience.
When DH is told by the GP that he should eat less butter and Brie he can ever follow that advice or ignore it. I don't think it's fair to say there's too much pressure to eat better. Even though the poor GP mentions it with a concerned frown at every consultation.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 09-Apr-14 09:50:43

I agree amandaclarke

If a woman wants to breast feed she sees information about the health benefits as important and educational, and she will see encouragement to feed as her being supported.

A woman who wants to FF will see the exact same information and encouragement as being pressure.

The problem doesn't lie with the information being given - it lies with the perception of the woman hearing it.

KL07 Wed 09-Apr-14 11:26:55

I disagree. I wanted to breastfeed and did but with lots of difficulty. I felt pressure to continue regardless, because of the 'it's best' messages. What mother, believing breast is best, wouldn't do anything they could to BF their child and feel pressure if that proved difficult or not possible?

Writerwannabe83 Wed 09-Apr-14 11:57:43

I completely see your point kl07 - and like you said, a mother who believes breast is best will do anything they can to breast feed - but is the pressure you talk sometimes just pressure that women put on themselves as opposed to pressure from HCP's?

I know when I hit my bad place after DS's birth and had an awful time with breast feeding and had a bit of an emotional breakdown when I agreed for him to have a bottle of formula, it wasn't that I was made to feel like a failure by the midwives, but I felt like a failure because I so wanted to breast feed and felt I'd let my son down by allowing him to have formula. For about a week I was really low about breast feeding, the whole process was a nightmare and everyday I was in tears over it - I wasn't bothered or concerned about what HCP's would think of me if I couldn't persevere, I was more upset by what I thought of myself. I wasn't being pressured by external factors, but by my own expectations of what I wanted to do for my baby.

KL07 Wed 09-Apr-14 12:03:10

I can relate to your experience writer but our expectations of ourselves and what we need to do to do the best for our babies DO come from external sources IMO, at least they do with BF. I felt pressure because of all the 'breast is best' messages that the NHS and others direct at mothers. Even if it IS best, that is (unfortunately) pressure for those who want to BF but struggle or fail to do so.

noblegiraffe Wed 09-Apr-14 12:19:45

But the NHS and health professionals have a duty to inform us if one of two choices has better health outcomes for the baby. So, SIDs advice, healthy eating advice, these things shouldn't be kept secret just in case people feel bad.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 09-Apr-14 12:26:45

TheRealAmandaClarke I wasn't talking about you anyway. I think you've been very fair and measured on this thread.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 09-Apr-14 12:31:08

I agree noble

When I was in bits in hospital over the breast feeding, apart from one midwife who wouldn't give me a bottle of formula, the rest of the staff, including the doctors, were pushing formula on me. If anything I felt under more pressure to give formula than I'd ever felt pressure to BF.

Being told the benefits of BF and the fact that it is best is not pressure, it's just providing the facts.

TheRealAmandaClarke Thu 10-Apr-14 06:39:47

Yy writer and noble

Retropear Thu 10-Apr-14 07:26:30

A law pmsl.grin

We have far more need for laws re feeding kids a healthy diet,providing exercise and getting kids away from screens and onto books.Personally I don't see why if bfing needs to get pushed pre birth other parenting choices that benefit children far more shouldn't particularly when the outcomes can be directly linked(unlike a lot of research on bfing) and would have a far bigger impact on health as regards the nation as a whole.

Oh and re forcing mums to breast feed.It is a hideous experience for many.Providing a diet rich in fruit and veg for a baby/ child is far easier to do and doesn't involve forcing women to use their bodies to do something they don't want to do.

Women use formula in this country because we have a great safe alternative.We're very lucky to have the choice.

I actually think the pushing causes more damage than benefits. Sooo many parents think bm is some magic elixir of life and they have no need to follow other for more important health choices as regards their dc as they're covered by some kind of breast milk insurance. The message also infers bf is more important than any other parenting choice-it isn't. Sooo many studies point to the benefits of bfing being over inflated.Imvho and e after colostrum has been consumed(which the maj of babies get)switching to formula is one of the least important decisions I've made to date so far.

I worry far,far more re other things I don't always get right.We have priorities so wrong is this country.

noblegiraffe Thu 10-Apr-14 08:48:42

I'd been on MN a long time, seen an awful lot of dubious parenting opinions expressed, but not once have I seen 'I don't need to feed my DC a healthy diet/make them exercise because they were bfed'.

So I don't know where you get this idea that 'soooo many' parents think that way.

Laquila Thu 10-Apr-14 09:12:36

Retropear what are the studies that point to the benefits of breastfeeding being over-inflated? Thanks

Laquila Thu 10-Apr-14 09:14:46

Also, where is the evidence that says the majority of babies get colostrum, please?

TheScience Thu 10-Apr-14 09:20:29

The NHS keeps track - about 78% of babies are breastfed at birth/first feed iirc. You will probably find it if you google "Infant Feeding Survey"

Laquila Thu 10-Apr-14 09:29:40

Thanks Science

Fascinating - that's my productivity gone for the day!

TheScience Thu 10-Apr-14 09:38:22

It is interesting - iirc about 1/3 of babies are still breastfed at 6 months, although only 1% are ebf. Not sure if they collect stats on bf after 6 months though.

Laquila Thu 10-Apr-14 09:46:50

I'm amazed at the 1% ebf at 6 months - I wasn't expecting that to be sky-high but thought it'd perhaps be closer to 10%.

I'm not convinced about the breastfed at birth statistic, though - it apparently includes all babies who were put to the breast at all at first, even if it was just once. It took about 4 tries before my newborn got anything out at all, so personally that seems a bit misleading to me.

TheScience Thu 10-Apr-14 09:51:18

I know lots of breastfeeders, including a few who breastfed til 1-3 years, but none were ebf at 6 months - all had had formula or food by then.

TheRealAmandaClarke Thu 10-Apr-14 10:43:48

I'm not sure anyone was agreeing with the law enforcing bf retropear
And I still can't agree that that bf is really pushed tbh.
I definitely can't concurr with your view that ppl who ebf believe it negates the need to practice other healthy behaviours because he bf is some kind of "magic elixir"

I think it's such an emotive topic because of how we're conditioned to feel about our breasts.
There are pictures of "tits" everywhere. We don't own our own bodies really. Young teenagers are having boob jobs, sometimes on the nhs! It's ridiculous that we have this view of what our bodies are for.

Also, it takes a degree of commitment, to ebf to 6 mo and bf beyond that (and that can feel unfair)I've had to make some significant lifestyle considerations. I bloody love a drink I do. But that's obviously curbed when you're ebf, if not stopped altogether. Anecdotally, it would seem my DCs are more likely to have slept through earlier of theyd been ff or especially ff by someone else. my dcs are more "reliant" in many ways on me (dd still feeds)
I've postponed a dental procedure that I really want done, because I'm trying to let my dd have my milk as long as poss as per the who advice.
I have been lucky to actually like bf. but it hasn't been easy.
So I can see why it's an emotive topic.
I can see why ppl feel defensive
But I still don't think that equates to "pressure" I can't see that, objectively speaking, there is any.

KL07 Thu 10-Apr-14 13:12:20

I do find it sad that around a quarter of babies don't even get the colostrum. Even if you've no intention of BF, I think all babies should get this unless there are truly extenuating circumstances. It's not much to ask given the benefits IMO. EBF for 6 months + is a different matter though.

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