Most people don't breast feed do they?

(146 Posts)
ElBombero Wed 09-Oct-13 23:26:12

Or do they?

As a mum do a DS who is EBF I am just utterly amazed at the reaction to me feeding him. It's like I'm mental.

Lost count of the times I've been told / asked
Is he getting enough? He's using you for comfort? Maybe a bottle of formula at night to help him settle, or and latest from MIL after DS put on 11oz in one week...

". Do you think BM is enough for him? He's growing so much..."
Errr yeah he's growing so well cos of the BZm

pookamoo Wed 09-Oct-13 23:31:10

Round here loads do.

Have you looked for a local support group? They are not just for people who are struggling. smile

pokesandprodsforthelasttime Wed 09-Oct-13 23:32:55

Most people do, at least at first. I think a lot of people give up in the first few weeks, and most don't make it to 6 months.

And it depends where you live, I live in an area where breastfeeding rates are low.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 09-Oct-13 23:34:18

People are obsessed with breastfeeding on here it really gets people going, but its the same with everything you do someone will think you are wrong! BTW I have three DCs and none of them have ever had a bottle and I fed them all til they were three, none ever screamed for a feed I was always on "tap"

ExBrightonBell Wed 09-Oct-13 23:37:23

It depends where you live, as some areas have very high bf rates and other areas are bfeeding deserts. Also a generation of parents from the 50s to the 70s approx had formula pushed as the norm, hence there being a large number of older women who know little about breastfeeding.

In the south-east where I live bfeeding seems the norm. I have family members in the north who are considered unusual by HV etc as they bfeed (it's more complex than a north/south split, this is just an example!).

MissAntithetic Thu 10-Oct-13 00:02:16

Except my two sil I am the only person I know who has, and continues to bf at 14 months.

It's like I'm a wierdo. Someone I know said "I never had you down as a hippy!'

ThePuffyShirt Thu 10-Oct-13 00:10:55

My own experience is that most women do breastfeed.

I know only 2 or 3 that didn't.

Llareggub Thu 10-Oct-13 00:13:35

Aside from my ex MIL, I don't know of anyone that didn't breastfeed. Most of my NCT group went way over 12 months. I've been breast feeding for 7 years!

Sunnysummer Thu 10-Oct-13 00:16:49

In my area it's the mothers who choose to start with formula who get a lot of odd looks - one of my friends couldn't feed due to necessary medication and felt like a pariah hmm

That said, it's amazing how many women then felt like they weren't making enough milk (or were told so by their well meaning family) and 'had to top up' from early on - I was lucky that I have a good friend who is a lactation consultant and was able to help, but I wish there was more education in antenatal and in hospital on early cluster feeding!

BrianTheMole Thu 10-Oct-13 00:16:57

Most people I knew did. I never got those kind of comments from anyone.

NoComet Thu 10-Oct-13 00:33:23

I FF DD1, she hated BFing and never got the hang of it.

DD2 BF forever and never touched a bottle.

DM BF me and FF my DSIS due to having to take medicatin following complications with the birth.

Of my friends most BF, some like me for many years and all tried to. However, I do know a lot of MC, NCT class attending mums. So not a representative sample wink

NoComet Thu 10-Oct-13 00:34:08

Medication (stupid iPhone)

namechangedjustforthis Thu 10-Oct-13 00:47:10

I work with newborns, I have worked with hundreds of them over the last few years and only 8 in total were breast fed! I fed all mines myself and have been shocked when I have a breast fed one in, I really thought it would be more than it is xx

whogrewoutoftheterribletwos Thu 10-Oct-13 01:02:42

DD is now 4 1/2 months. Am still ebf but feel like I'm getting some funny looks when out and about. As if it's OK when they're really tiny, but not once they grow a bit

NoComet Thu 10-Oct-13 01:16:25

Last time I BF DD in public she was 18 months old. Never got any odd looks, but then I wouldn't care if I did.

I think people sense not to bother.

TombOfMummyBeerest Thu 10-Oct-13 01:46:18

It seems to be 50/50 for me.

Some say "You're still nursing, at 14 months? Good God."

Others say "That's it? She's only 14 months."

mrsmartin1984 Thu 10-Oct-13 01:58:34

It does seem that most FF and the stats would I agree with me. Although it does depend largely on your social group and area.

That's why I go to booby group (or baps and babies as my OH calls it). It's nice to see others who understand. There are some sharp differences between FF and BF mothers. Firstly they always go on about how much their child has had and bloody HVs are the same. And I have no idea how much my DD has drank, never given a bottle. When they ask I just say "enough".

I shocked some parents mentioning off hand that my DD hadn't had a poo for 5 days. They all jumped on me, "go to the doctors", "no go to a&e", "give her some water". In booby club if I mentioned that everyone would go "well that's nothing my LO hasn't shat for x days/weeks"

Sunnysummer Thu 10-Oct-13 02:24:51

The [[ official figures for 2013] are that 74% of women start with breastfeeding but only 47% are still bfing by the 6-8 week checkup.

This is really dependent on area though - in Kensington it's still 87% by 6-8 weeks, in more deprived areas it can be as low as 20%.

Sunnysummer Thu 10-Oct-13 02:25:40

Oops! Link [ here]

Sunnysummer Thu 10-Oct-13 02:26:31

Or not. Not sure why I can't do it today, blame the small sleepless one! confused

JollyScaryGiant Thu 10-Oct-13 02:30:52
unfortunatedischarge Thu 10-Oct-13 02:34:48

Yeah, I think its that most people start and stop by 6 weeks... The sad thing is they've done it through the really shit bit and choose to stop or are told to stop just before it would start getting easy.

JollyScaryGiant Thu 10-Oct-13 02:41:19

I live in an affluent area that is regularly compared to the SE in terms of property prices, standard of life, etc.

In my experience of my peers, not that many people BF. We had a meet up of our antenatal group at 12 weeks. Three hadn't BF at all. They were all on baby 2 and had tried it last time. 5 had already switched to formula. 2 (other than me) were still feeding, but both of those quit prior to 6 months.

Only 3 mums with children of a similar age to DS were still BF at 6mo. Each time I was introduced to these mums by others by them saying "Ooo, such and such is still BF too!"

Apart from the LLL meeting I went to, I don't know anyone who fed as long as I fed DS (20mos).

It's bizarre for an area which comes out so high on quality of life indicators.

MrsCaptainJackSparrow Thu 10-Oct-13 03:01:48

I'm still going at 7 months although almost gave up after a few weeks after having thrush but I persevered as ds is a premmie and wanted to do all I could for him.

The girls I know that had babies around the same time gave up after about 3 months saying it was easier to ff.

I find it easier to bf! Getting up in the middle of the night and making up bottles seems a lot more hassle than laying next to ds and him latching on!

vichill Thu 10-Oct-13 03:06:47

I live in a okayish part of an overall crap area and it is quite rare.I would say most women know the spiel on why its best but don't get much support from partners and mothers. Typical working class area and sadly I think alot of men think boobs are there for them. ive heard mums of new mums associate bf with a kind of poverty and backwardness of a bygone age. Think they think its not "necessary" anymore and this is passed on to the next generation.

AveryJessup Thu 10-Oct-13 03:08:29

It felt like everyone was breast feeding when I ended up formula feeding DS after about 6 weeks of problems. Every single person I met seemed to have mastered EBF from birth with no issues so I felt like a complete failure!

It probably depends on where you live, maybe you live in an area with low bf but a lot of what we see is perception.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 10-Oct-13 03:17:02

I was lucky that I came from a family who had BF in spite of social trends, so working class 40s grandmother and upwardly mobile 60s mother so through all my problems I was constantly encouraged, it is so much easier in the end, BF babies look different, more toned, less chubby etc etc. It was a shock when I did encounter all that "top up with formula" " are they getting enough " etc guff. Neither expired from lack of milk and are now healthy adults who I just hope will continue the family tradition.

ElBombero Thu 10-Oct-13 07:38:30

Totally agree captainjack, how can it be easier FF?
Sterilising, measuring, warming, cost wastage? The crying whilst your doing all of the above hmm

Creamtea1 Thu 10-Oct-13 10:33:14

Totally agree - made to feel like a wierdo! Everyone presumes you are ff by default... I've had the hippy comment too.

soupmaker Thu 10-Oct-13 12:43:29

I mix fed DD1 until she was 4 months. She was EBF for 6 weeks. She had reflux and was very unsettled and I just don't think I ever got enough rest to be able to feed her. I also listened to too much "advice" about babies feeding every 3 hours, etc, etc. I was clueless and in hindsight didn't the support I needed to EBF. All my mum pals BF, including 2 with twins. However a lot of family have FF fed, including my thankfully ex-SIL who refused to even feed colostrum.

tiktok Thu 10-Oct-13 12:51:26

Rest will not have made any difference to your bf, soupmaker, but you are dead right about listening to rubbish advice and not getting support sad sad

cantthinkofagoodone Thu 10-Oct-13 13:01:44

Where I live I'd say that most FF after trying to and failing to BF or just deciding that BFing isn't for them. A few FF from outset but not most. I've never noticed a toddler bfing.

FWIW, I found FF a thousand times easier than BF. My baby didn't ever scream for milk because he was fairly predictable once he was FF and we always had spare ready made cartons in the house, just in case.

When BFing was so stressful, I was happy to wash, sterilise and make up bottles. It isn't complicated, you know how much your baby is taking etc. It's not all bad, the internet likes to make it strangely competitive.

TheFabulousIdiot Thu 10-Oct-13 13:07:55

most people don't breastfeed beyond a few weeks if not days.

Mintyy Thu 10-Oct-13 13:08:47

It is definitely a class thing. Ime almost everyone does breastfeed, I hardly know anyone who formula fed from the outset. But I move in very middle class circles.

LadyGoodman Thu 10-Oct-13 13:09:09

Personally i think people should and used to be judgey about it, i tried to BF DS now 22 months it was a bloody disaster which ended with much stress and tears and feelings of failure so firmly took my judgey pants off. Of around 10 people i know who have had babies maybe 3 have been BF'd to 6 months none past that and another 3 didnt even try.

It is not the be all and end all of bonding, child welfare and development but i dont underistand why the stats are quite so low these days.

NoComet Thu 10-Oct-13 13:19:36

Having done both BF is a million times easier than FF if you obey the new powder rules and 100 times easier (after six weeks using cartons) which 15 years ago were new and out of the question cost wise.

NoComet Thu 10-Oct-13 13:24:23

Oh bugger () in wrong place
It's meant to read BFing is easier (after six weeks) than using cartons.

Even with DD2, who knew how to BF from birth (believe me DD1 didn't) the first six weeks were painful and hard work.

It really annoys me that HV and the NCT pretend BF doesn't hurt if you do it right. IME it certainly does and women need to know that suddenly it doesn't and that moment is worth hanging on for.

SPBisResisting Thu 10-Oct-13 13:24:34

The comments presumably come from non parents too which makes it seem like there are more of them than youd expect. What I suppose im saying is that non parents are obviously non breastfeeders but they may comment on it too

redcaryellowcar Thu 10-Oct-13 13:31:45

Everyone i know from nct to old school and university university friends bf until at least 6m, some beyond, altjough less obvious after that as less frequent. The only two people i know who didnt are sil and one nct friend, although nct friend did for 2-4 weeks with each dc, think its quite usual where i live in south east
I did get ridiculous comments like you, but had decided that i wasnt really up for all the organising of sterelising bottles, fretting about how long it was safe to make up and keep milk, so stuck with breastfeeding until weaning, then found the endless spoons, small pots of mush and bibs a bit of a shock, but felt relieved i had avoided six months of organisung prior to this. Ds and i used toeave the house with a nappy and a pack

Dillytante Thu 10-Oct-13 13:35:06

Almost everyone I know did, but then I met most of my 'mummy' friends at a breastfeeding group. Presumably it's family making those comments, as I never had any negative comments except from my mother!

eddiemairswife Thu 10-Oct-13 14:14:11

I'm one of the older readers. When I had my 1st baby my only experience of babies was my breastfed brother, my best friend's 2 younger breastfed siblings and my uncle confiding in hushed tones to my grandma that his new-born son"wouldn't take to the breast". Consequently I thought that babies were only bottle-fed if their mums were unable to breastfeed, and I was amazed when the lady in the next bed to me in hospital said that she would put her daughter on the bottle as soon as she got home. We had just moved into the Durham area at that time, and I was apparently the only breastfeeding mum in the village. In fact when the doctor came to visit he asked why I had chosen to breastfeed, and I rather lamely replied, "I thought that's what you were supposed to do."

tiktok Thu 10-Oct-13 14:14:22

Starball, it's just not true that breastfeeding hurts - it's very common, but it is not inevitable. Infant Feeding survey reports 27 per cent of bf/mixed feeding mothers have breast/nipple pain.

As an NCT breastfeeding counsellor, I'm aware that positioning and attachment make a huge difference to comfort, but it's not the whole story....but to suggest that all women experience pain and and then 'suddenly they don't' is massively misleading!

In fact, women suffer a lot from this myth. They think that soreness is just something that happens and that one day it will just go....and the damage to their nipples may get worse and worse sad

Smartiepants79 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:21:51

Well I am the only one out of our antenatal group to have carried on feeding past three months or so.
I am still feeding at ten months.
No one has ever commented on my still feeding and I have never felt funny in public.

RubyrooUK Thu 10-Oct-13 15:12:21

I know lots of people who breastfeed/have breastfed but all of them have taken a year off work or gone part time or become SAHM.

I am the only person I know who has returned to full time work with a baby who only breastfeeds and won't take bottles. I have been forced to return earlier than in a perfect world (with DS2 at 6mo) and neither of my children will touch bottles - and believe me, I have tried and tried and tried. So they have both eaten solids during the day and then breastfeed all night (DS2 is averaging 10 feeds overnight currently).

Everyone I work with who has children either formula fed or bf for a short period so there is very little understanding that actually my child physically needs me there to get their main source of nutrition. So sometimes work will suggest I work 8-6 and then in the evening (normal in my very competitive line of business) and everyone is astonished when I tell them that my 6mo literally cannot cope with that arrangement. But I also don't want to starve DS2 till he takes a bottle.

I would love to meet other parents who combine full time work and breastfeeding a relatively young baby. Sorry, bit of a digression from the OP but yes, I know lots of breastfeeders in my personal life but very few in my professional life.

Sunflower1985 Thu 10-Oct-13 16:04:35

My local bf'ing groups are packed and new mums come every week.
A lot like me who didn't realise bf'ing could be so difficult. It would be interesting to gauge how many mums struggle initially with pain, mastitis, thrush etc but then go on to bf in the long run.
I'm finding if you do have difficulties you have to really want it to continue. Things like convenience or time spent with one method or the other isn't enough. Even baby health seems to be less of a factor as formula improves.
(My motivation is that warm fuzzy feeling I get when he has a good latch and feeds well)

PatoBanton Thu 10-Oct-13 16:21:05

I don't know, I don't tend to ask people. People have asked me so many times though. 'Are you feeding him yourself?'

I always have - ds1 till 16mo, ds2 till erm, 54 months-ish, and am feeding ds3 now who is 9mo.

I don't know what other people do - one thing is I am afraid they might think I was judging them. I only know what my closest friends have done in terms of BF. It's none of anyone's business though I always appreciate being told it's a good thing.

Patilla Thu 10-Oct-13 16:22:15

I bf DS until 14 months and am bf dd as I type. Dd is six months.

With DS I really struggled with recurrent thrush and mastitis and no support from professionals. Looking back I'm amazed I got through it but am pleased I did. We stopped when DS decided he didn't want his evening bf and it just felt right.

I've been much luckier with dd only having one bought of mastitis though we did a good job of me getting it and ended up at out of hours having had rapid onset of fever.

I live bfeeding it's so cuddly. That said when dd had bad reflux in the early days and was comfort feeding which then made it worse I'd have been tempted to give up if I wasn't so certain things would sort out and pass and that formula would not resolve everything. despite dm's well intentioned but ill informed recommendation to give up to give us all an easier life.

Most of my friends bf when i has ds apart from those with medical reasons. This time everyone in the baby groups seem to be ff crazily. We couldn't afford ff to be honest so it's good dd is a bf fan too!

Patilla Thu 10-Oct-13 16:23:25

Id like to clarify that I love bfeeding rather than live it.

Even dd doesn't feed that much now she is six months old

JollyScaryGiant Thu 10-Oct-13 16:23:35

I agree that you have to really want to continue if you have problems. For most people it is easier to give up.

First time around, I was utterly committed to BF. I have ginormous boobs and I feel like I've carted them around for years and therefore they better serve their purpose otherwise what's the point? We went through low weight gain, oversupply, nipple shields, exclusive pumping, colic, nipple vasospasms, bleeding nipples (for SIX MONTHS) and mastitis. But BF was so important to me that we continued.

(It really winds me up when people suggest that they quit because they had a harder time than I did. Some of them maybe did, but not many. They were mainly less committed to continuing than I was.)

Around here there's not much good support. There was even less when DS was born. Now I have another newborn (who feeds terribly easily, I am delighted) I see there are more groups but you still have to seek them out.

Sparklysilversequins Thu 10-Oct-13 16:29:57

Most women I know do or did. I actually only know one who didn't.

juneau Thu 10-Oct-13 16:32:25

Almost everyone I know started to BF and most then introduced formula and mix-fed from about three months (wealthy area in the SE).

I never saw the point of mix feeding though if BFing is going well and all that faff with sterilising bottles? I couldn't be arsed! BF truly is the lazy woman's choice grin

PatoBanton Thu 10-Oct-13 16:34:50

I'll back you on that Juneau smile

I know if I FF'd we'd run out of bottles in the same way we run out of plates.

nickelbabe Thu 10-Oct-13 16:37:07


"Summary of results

Initiation of breastfeeding

In England the breastfeeding initiation rate was 73.9% in 2012/13, which is similar to the annual percentage for 2011/12 (74.0%) and slightly higher than 2010/11 (73.7%), 2009/10 (72.8%) and 2008/09 (71.7%) (Table 1).

Amongst SHAs, the initiation rate varied from 59.3% in North East SHA to 86.8% in London SHA (Table 4).

Amongst the 147 PCTs that passed validation, breastfeeding initiation ranged from 40.8% in Knowsley PCT to 94.7% in Haringey Teaching PCT (Table 4).

Prevalence of breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks

The 6-8 week breastfeeding prevalence figures are based on the number of infants recorded by PCTs as totally or partially breastfeeding, as a percentage of all infants due a 6-8 week check.

When making comparisons over time, it is best to limit this to those quarters with high and consistent levels of coverage. There is evidence that the significant improvements in data coverage that were achieved in the early quarters of data collection affected the comparability of the prevalence estimates over time. This is because improvements in coverage have resulted in the inclusion in the statistics of a disproportionately higher number of women who are not breastfeeding.

In England the breastfeeding prevalence at 6-8 weeks in 2012/13 was 47.2% of infants due a 6-8 week check, the same as recorded in 2011/12 (Table 2).

In England the breastfeeding prevalence at 6-8 weeks in 2012/13 Quarter 4 was 46.8% of infants due a 6-8 week check, similar to the figure of 46.9% recorded in 2011/12 Q4 (Table 2).

Amongst the seven SHAs who passed validation, prevalence as a percentage of infants due a 6-8 week check varied from 31.9% in North East SHA to 50.7% in South Central SHA (Table 6).

Amongst the 125 PCTs that passed validation, breastfeeding prevalence as a percentage of infants due a 6-8 week check ranged from 15.7% in Knowsley PCT to 81.6% in City & Hackney PCT (Table 6)."

nickelbabe Thu 10-Oct-13 16:39:19

I live in the south east too, and hardly anyone I know breastfeeds exclusively, or at all, or did it for more than 6 months.
in fact, most of the people I see at group are FF before the baby is 6 months.

I have 3 kids and none of them ever tasted breast milk
I have no problem with anyone who chooses to bf or ff
Everyone is different

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 10-Oct-13 16:42:50

I was thinking about this yesterday and realised that the majority of women I know do or did breast feed

Bakingtins Thu 10-Oct-13 16:48:32

I think there is still a sharp class/education divide. Mother's income and educational attainment is a strong predictor of initiating and continuing to breastfeed. Peer pressure and social expectations must be a massive influence.
Round here I live on the border between a largely middle class and a largely working class area - which baby group you go to determines whether you are in the sort of group where nobody bats an eyelid at feeding your pre-schooler or you are the only BFer in the room and a total pariah.
The BF stats would make you weep though, a good three quarters start breastfeeding and the vast majority have given up by six weeks. Good breastfeeding support for every woman who wanted it in those first weeks would make such a difference.

MissPlumBroughtALadder Thu 10-Oct-13 16:56:34

Everyone I know breastfeeds, but then I live in a renowned breastfeeding-friendly city. My DS is two and I often feed him in public - no one bats an eyelid. Yesterday I fed him at his paediatrician appointment - doctor was delighted smile

nickelbabe Thu 10-Oct-13 17:06:43

but there is almost an expectation that you won't continue - DD had to go for a hip scan at 5 weeks, and the letter said "bring a bottle of drink for your baby"
we were worried that they would expect her to be taken away from us, maybe overnight, or that we weren't allowed in with her. so we rang and asked why. they said it was in case she needed to be comforted.

this wasn't a "catch-all" letter in case the child was older -0 it specifically said the scan was for newborns and had to be done prior to 6weeks.

cloutiedumpling Thu 10-Oct-13 17:14:24

That's great MissPlum. I've always felt awkward breastfeeding any of my DCs in public when they were over 6 months or so after receiving negative comments from a couple of people.

stargirl1701 Thu 10-Oct-13 18:04:42

Everyone I know tried to bf but few succeeded. The friends that did bf had no problems with bf from the beginning. Those who gave up had difficulties and struggled to find support. These difficulties are then compounded with guilt for giving up.

I didn't make peace with my bf disaster until I relactated. If I hadn't, I would not have attempted bf again, ever. It was the most incredible pain I have ever experienced, like razor blades scoring your nipples.

juneau Thu 10-Oct-13 18:12:31

Good breastfeeding support for every woman who wanted it in those first weeks would make such a difference.

This is SO true. I have several friends who swear blind that they 'couldn't' BF. I've never contradicted them, but there are very few women who simply cannot BF. What's lacking is good support. I was so lucky to have an active La Leche League BF support group when I had DS1. Those women, and a dear friend who came and stayed with me for 48 hours and literally showed me how to do it, made me into the EBF-er of two DC for two years apiece that I became.

ElBombero Thu 10-Oct-13 21:40:06

I agree there is definitely an expectation that you will give up. I get asked a lot... Are you still feeding him??? You give him a bottle yet??

ElBombero Thu 10-Oct-13 21:44:18

Where do you live MissPlum? Just our of interest? I happily feed anywhere, and it rarely gets noticed. I'm from NW but unfortunately don't think its common here...

I only know 4 people who have breastfed successfully, most try, some shudder at the thought.

I live in west yorks and in my area (which is predominantly low income/working class) very few women bf past 6 weeks.
My mother asked me a few weeks ago if dd was getting enough milk, she was 7mo at the time, wearing 9-12 clothing and on 98th Centile for height, 75th for weight. I was a bit confused and said well she doesn't exactly look starving to me! Yes but she's not chubby says my mum, no, I agree she's not chubby, but she is all arms and legs (exactly like me)

ouryve Thu 10-Oct-13 22:01:04

Eddiemairswife - you've stolen my punchline. I got the impression I was the only breastfeeding mother in my Co Durham Village when I have the boys!

And I felt conscious of a different approach in waiting rooms when the baby clinics were on. While other mothers all had their children facing outwards, mine sat snuggled in, facing sideways, so they could see me. As a recent incomer at the time, it seemed like a very big cultural difference.

DD totally refused to BF and I felt like a pariah giving her a bottle in public. Every single woman I know with a baby has breast fed for at least 6 months, most of them for significantly longer.

juneau your 'couldn't' is very patronising. I actually couldn't and that kind of attitude is what made me barely leave the house for the first few months of DD's life.

PolyesterBride Thu 10-Oct-13 22:40:44

I live in the NW too and you are right, round here, most people don't. It's really quite unusual. I have only seen someone breast feeding a baby in public (rather than at a breast feeding group) a very few times ever. Whereas when I lived in north London, there were mums feeding babies all over the place!

I think it is a very difficult thing to change - most people are most strongly influenced by their friends and family, so if they didn't breast feed, new mums won't either.

ceeveebee Thu 10-Oct-13 22:53:20

5 out of 6 mothers in my NCT group EBF until about 6 months and then it tailed off. I carried on feeding my twins until 11 months but not EBF, had some ff too. Am in SW London in a very middle class area.

But in the NW where I am from, I only know one person who EBF beyond a week or two, including both my sisters, my mum, my MIL, friends and other family members. My MIL was practically begging me to let her bottle feed my DCs at 1 or 2 days old. My dsis wouldn't even try as it made her feel "icky" (her word).

Friends from Japan were shocked that I stopped feeding as early as 11 months and quoted the WHO guidelines at me

It is all about culture, and this is very difficult to change.

Gonnabmummy Fri 11-Oct-13 03:03:43

No one seems to at all here sad I was shocked the other day when the four year old who lives next door to my dad came in and I was feeding. I didn't even think he would bat an eyelid but his eyes nearly fell out of his head!

MokuMoku Fri 11-Oct-13 03:30:53

In Japan, I think most women mix feed. I was put under a lot of pressure to give my daughter formula after she was born but I told them very firmly that she was fine on breast milk only and she absolutely was. Saying that, women in Japan tend to give breast milk for longer (in my experience) so it's not unusual for kids to be still breast feeding after 1 year. In the UK mixed feeding seems more unusual.

I honestly don't care how other women feed their babies as long as they are fed and happy. I had mastitis and got so many milk blisters it was unreal. My daughter is 2.5 now and still breast feeding even though I am 8 months pregnant.

I would never say BF is easier than FF or vice versa. I think families need to make the right choice for them and be supported for that.

nickelbabe Fri 11-Oct-13 10:52:12

whereas women in China don't BF at all.
there's huge scares about the quality and safety of formula over there and rather than give BF a go, they get friends and relatives to send them over.
but their parents were brainwashed into believing that formula was better, more advanced and more "western" than BF, so that's what they did.

PatoBanton Fri 11-Oct-13 11:17:46

Nickel I think we are quite close by, and there are a lot of BF mums in this area (well ones I know) but then it's a university city and so lots of educated, literary mners people about smile

But there are pockets of what I presume are less educated and more likely to FF mums as well. I was approached at preschool by a woman who asked me if I would be BFing my baby (this was 7 years ago when pg with ds2) and I said yes, I hoped to - and she gave me a look of absolute disgust, and moved further away from me and said 'Urgh, I could never do that' shock

It was apparently total anathema to her. She has since had twins, so I imagine that was hard work however she fed them.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 11-Oct-13 11:21:50

Nickel babe that is a bit simplistic 58 % Breastfeed at birth but that drops to 14% at five months and 2% at six months. The decline has been since the 70s, and marketisation, a combination of aggressive marketing (and quite probably corruption, it is part of Chinese society, doctors being paid to push particular brands of formula) and the fact so many women work, often in cities leaving babies with grandparents (if they are migrant workers they have no right to any government services for their children, nurseries, schools etc. in the cities) but you are right about food scares, formula is far from the only food to be adulterated, even toothpaste. The CCP are now pushing Breastfeeding hard and there are regular stories in the press, with, possibly staged, exposes of western formula manufacturers bribing doctors. At the school I helped pro Breastfeeding messages were blasted out over the loudspeakers at drop off and pick up, typically useless propaganda since precious few of the pupils were being picked up by parents, who were both out at work.

twatty yes my mum warned me that people expect babies to be formula fed chubby when Breastfeed babies are much more toned. I had comments that DD1 was thin, though she was average on the graphs and I had milk dripping everywhere because she loved to suck for comfort.

nickelbabe Fri 11-Oct-13 12:50:35

yes, it is simplistic - but the rate is very, very low. (I wonder when that 14% becomes that low - I bet it drops rather sharply even before the 6weeks)
i have a friend who is british but his wife is chinese, they live in china, and they bought 14 tins of formula last christmas when they came back to the UK, and she never had any intention of BFing.

nickelbabe Fri 11-Oct-13 12:56:38

Pato - I wish I lived in a university town. most of the people who live in this town have always lived here, iyswim (if you leave, you tend not to come back)

it makes me wonder why that woman even asked you how you'd be feeding your baby, if the answer of BFing would offend so much!

my mum didn't BF (well, apparently she did a little bit, but "it didn't work" and this was an important statement because the vicar's wife really encouraged her breastfeeding, but things were different then (and it appears I have a tongue-tie, so I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have helped - she wouldn't have known this, I've only just found out myself) - there was a huge change to convenience foods and clothing/nappies etc, which meant that if formula was readily available, the next best thing, and cheap enough for most people to afford, then why struggle on with the problems? and of course, the NHS at that time had started to become more medicalised, and they also were most likely brainwashed that formula was the best thing for mothers.
neither of my sisters BFed their (5 between them) babies, but I never thought to do anything else. my little sister expressed for her first because he was in NICU, but the whole experience put her off and she didn't attempt it with the other 2.

MoneyMug Fri 11-Oct-13 13:02:01

I don't know a single person that bf apart from my own mum. People think I'm absolutely mental for bfing. I bf my 2 month old and 2 year old but no one knows I still bf the 2 year old.

I think it's also an age thing. I'm 22 and everyone my age who have children, intended to ff from birth. The older people I know with children, intended to bf but switched to ff within a few days/weeks.

I remember reading somewhere that most people ff by 6 weeks. I wish I knew someone that bf. I hate telling people when they ask. But as the 2 month old needs regular feeds, I can't really hide it.

I think that bottlefeeding is a long-standing cultural thing in the UK & it's going to take a long time to 'normalise' breastfeeding, sadly. In no particular order: firstly, a lot of what we see is on TV or films, and there, an actress will be sitting with a baby with a bottle. So this looks normal. Secondly I believe that some men feel threatened by successful women, and in fact women in general, and they like to discourage breastfeeding. Thirdly, several generations of the upper classes were brought up to believe that BF was 'not nice' and therefore that 'nice girls' didn't do it. Fourthly, with the pressure on women to return to work, or the desire/pressure from their partners to involve them, it's damn easier to get DH up in the night with a bottle than to take on all the feeding duties yourself. Breastfeeding doesn't easily fit into the modern Western lifestyle for many people.

BTW I breastfed my twins & loved it. Such a shame that women and their babies miss out on this wonderful experience.

Taffeta Fri 11-Oct-13 13:15:40

I BF mine for 8 months each. Stopped when they started biting.

It's not a big deal round here ( SE ) but I guess I chose to live here as it is generally a friendly community ,not so much oneupmanship.

I tend to get more riled by people that imply that mothers that FF "give up easily" when they don't know the facts.

enormouse Fri 11-Oct-13 13:31:25

Cultural attitudes do differ quite a bit.
In the mostly middle class, white village in northern Ireland I live in now I was encouraged and supported a lot and ended up ebfing DS till he was 14 months and intend to do the same with DS2.
But I remember a few years ago my Indian granny and DM telling my SIL not to bf her twins as it was 'peasanty' and people would assume they couldn't afford formula.

Bunnychan Fri 11-Oct-13 13:44:08

A lot of people I know tried best feeding & gave up quickly. My SILs both tried & were convinced they weren't making enough milk as they tried expressing & very little came out. They were my first real experiences of bfing but when I fell pregnant, I developed a stubborn determination to succeed and god did I struggle at first. I remained determined and sought so much help but I'm so glad I did. However, my SIL think ff is the answer to any problem I have and everyone else is surprised I'm still going at 19 weeks. Sad thing is I am actually going to move onto mixed feeding soon because I'm returning to work. If I was a sahm, I would love to continue ebfing.

NotCitrus Fri 11-Oct-13 13:50:48

I found even in my hippyish over-educated London social circle, while all my friends tried bf, many found it too hard even with whatever help they could scrape up (quite a few got to 6 weeks in pain and then stopped), but what's been really interesting is how many people ask me "aren't you worried about people making comments/ don't you get people making stupid comments in public" - they are of course 100% supportive of bf or whatever is needed to get food into a baby, it's all those other bystanders they're worried about.

To be fair, having never even noticed bf happening in my life until a few months before I gave birth, I had been worried about people commenting and staring, until ending up with me and ds in a crowded GP waiting room and he was screamingly hungry. However awkward I was getting him latched on, the result was certainly much less staring and judginess than before. I think it'll take another couple generations to really increase bf rates - ds will see it as normal, and hopefully by then there will be more of a critical mass of both professionals and friends/family to advise on getting it to work. Currently there isn't - even in London I was travelling up to 2 hours to get to a bf group after being told I couldn't see the hospital bf adviser for four weeks!

As my antenatal teacher said, almost everyone can bf with the right support - but the right support means you've seen a baby bfing on average a couple times a day, every day of your life. We're nowhere near that!

I was lucky - had terrible time with latch and thrush and medical issues, stopped feeding for a couple days around 6 weeks, but then it was great with ds. Conversely dd was easy until 8 months when she became violent hellspawn and I've been wanting to quit for the last year (except in the middle of the night when it's the easiest option...)

I'm bfing my 3rd tt baby and this one also has lip tie, now 15months.

I can't say I've noticed odd looks but that is possibly because my eldest has ASD and I've developed the hide of a Rhino.

I went to see a LLL BFing Counsellor recently about the tongue and lip tie at a feeding group and she thanked me for coming in as it's great for the new mothers to see a feeding toddler.

She also thanked me for bringing ds in as she'd not seen a mouth like his before.

Gave me some information which on investigation means I have to find £400 to sort out his mouth which will take us several months to save up for if we have no emergencies.

So, painful breastfeeding and tooth dents in my nipple it is then sad

juneau Fri 11-Oct-13 14:12:38

AntoinetteCosway My point wasn't to bash women who can't BF, but to point out that lots of people who claim they can't, actually could if a) they wanted to or b) they had the right support. If all the women who claim they couldn't BF really genuinely could not, then our species would've died out. But there have always been a tiny minority who can't and presumably you are one of them.

I think a lot of women feel that it's better say they 'can't' rather than they encountered problems and weren't enjoying it so chose to FF, or never wanted to try, both of which are entirely their choice. It's a shame that so many feel they have to justify their choice not to BF IMO, but all these women saying they can't is misleading. In Sweden something like 99% of women BF, so in cultures where this is the norm it's clear that almost everyone can if they want to and if they're given the right support.

cogitosum Fri 11-Oct-13 14:17:33

The London rates could be high because of high Muslim population. Apparently the Koran states that babies have a right to breastmilk and women are expected to bf if there are no health issues. I bf ds and when some friends who are Muslims came round to visit him they commented as they find western women don't BF as much.

Often affluent families in the SE are affluent because both parents work, or the mother works in a job that requires long hours/not leaving the workplace for many months.

In addition, Mothers are likely to be older and a bit more 'set in their ways' and worked hard to set up their lives where they good control over them.

It is difficult for some of them to bring the unpredictability and demands of a breastfed baby into the mix, particularly in male dominated, competitive careers or values.

I think the word 'support' is very misleading tbh.

It often implies a value judgement that all a woman needs to do is make sure she seeks the right support or finds it. In reality, our culture and societal attitudes are not supportive and however much a woman might seek it it just isn't there.

What I mean about support is embedded cultural values more than anything, and the mother-baby dyad just isn't a priority for the way we run our economy.

PatoBanton Fri 11-Oct-13 16:16:51

I think the only reason I was so determined to do it was that my mother told me I could, should, would do it. And also it seemed right to - like my body was expecting to, right from conception so who was I to try and put a spanner in that process, iyswim?

I don't remember her ever saying so. Not directly - but she often told me that she had fed my sister for 10 months and me for only 10 days, and felt that we never bonded because of it and so, I suppose the message sunk in somehow. And luckily I could do it and found it suited my lifestyle.

A lot of people will not have that kind of family background (Mum did her degree in child psych and was hot on attachment theory etc) so to them it will just be what their Mum thought was best.

nickelbabe Fri 11-Oct-13 17:03:14

bunnychan - are you going back at 6 months?
anyway, you don't need to go to mixed feeding - if you are able to express (even small amounts at a time), spend lots of time now building up a stash for the freezer.
then when you go back to work, they have to allow you space to express (and breaks to do so), and somewhere to store your milk during the day.
expressing will help your supply during the day.
and you can also cluster feed at night/ in the evenings once you are working. some babies will hold on for the time you're out at work if the milk isn't there, but if you can express and freeze it, then you'll be able to continue much longer.
this is a useful video and there are loads more on youtube

nickelbabe Fri 11-Oct-13 17:09:11

Starlight - you're so right.
there just isn't the infastructure of help.
like you having to find £400 out of thin air to have a medical procedure done - that kind of thing should be freely available on the NHS (or through insurance if not in the UK), but the assumption is because formula is available, why should they provide the correct procedure?

it's insane.
it's not just breastfeeding that's affected by tongue or lip tie, it's speech, eating through life and dental care.
i have a tongue tie, and at 37, it's not going to get fixed.
i can't eat an ice cream without it hurting my tongue! (the licking pulls at my frenulum and hurts) and i can't clean my back teeth with my tongue.
other people can't sound certain words properly or move food around their mouths.
all because the medical profession don't understand how important it is.

Yes. That is the kind of support I need right now. The health system and our country to acknowledge that our continued breastfeeding relationship is worth £400, or possibly less if they can invest in consultants to do the necessary procedures more widely so those currently don't have a market niche.

DS is 15 months, well below the WHO recommended age for continued breastfeeding.

In our area we have one surgeon who is able to carry out tongue tie procedure on the NHS - along with the rest of his workload. He is increasing the size of his clinic as much as he can but still can't meet demand.

Unfortunately the MWs (although willing) cannot be trained to snip simple tongue tie (freeing up the surgeon to cope with more complex conditions) because there isn't a single NHS accredited qualification for doing tongue tie anywhere in the UK.

If anybody knows where their local NHS staff receive accredited training, please let me know because I find this quite mind-boggling if true.

ElBombero Fri 11-Oct-13 21:39:44

Aww moneymug you shouldn't be ashamed you should answer them and be proud. I'm sure deep down they will be envious

Bunnychan Fri 11-Oct-13 22:21:44

nickel LO will be 5 1/2 months when I go back. I'm a teacher and find my days very long & full on. I went in on a kit day in September & expressed during my breaks but it took forever. I think I'll get too stressed trying to express enough feeds at work. I have about 20 bags of frozen milk so she'll still get some breast milk & I intend to bf as much as possible when I'm at home. Sadly and I know this another kettle of fish, I feel uncomfortable expressing at work- despite working with mainly women. I think that would be more taboo than Breastfeeding at work lol! I will check out the links tho! X

mymatemax Fri 11-Oct-13 22:24:20

I think most start off bfeeding, at our maternity hospital bottles are not offered or available you have to beg to bottle feed your baby.

How long it continues varies hugely but I know a number who have continued for many months, not many beyond the first yr

I've never been officially asked beyond 6w whether I'm bf my baby, so I have absolutely NFI where they get their data from for breastfeeding rates. And that 6w question is about ebf, not "bf at all".

I think if the "bf at all" (ie ebf plus mixed feeding) rates were known, bfing women would feel in less of a minority.

JollyScaryGiant Fri 11-Oct-13 23:01:20

DS has a lip tie. I only noticed it after I stopped bfing him at 20mos. I don't know if it caused our issues with BF, but it can't have helped. Is it something I should be showing a GP or is it not an issue? He's only 2.5 so obviously I have little idea if it is affecting his speech or not.

Does anyone know where I can find stats for no. of mums who just bottle feed breast milk (exclusive expressing)?

MissPlumBroughtALadder Sat 12-Oct-13 08:53:20

ElBombero I'm in Bristol - actually a particular part which is an interesting combo of middle class and hippyish! Very rare to see a bottle fed baby here, and I am certainly not alone in publicly feeding a toddler.

tiktok Sat 12-Oct-13 08:59:20

Crazy afaik there are no official surveys of this - in international and national surveys (eg the UK Infant Feeding Survey) these babies are classed as exclusively breastfed. The international definitions of 'breastfed' would also classify these babies as excl breastfed.

You might find some smaller surveys which differentiate but I have not come across them.

I'm still surprised at the ignorance of some HCPs, even very newly qualified ones. DS became poorly after birth and was admitted to NICU, he was 3 days old and we'd made a good start bf, although my milk was only just starting to come in. NICU sister said he was only comfort sucking and needed formula hmm

Also more recently, a trainee HV said that 14 month DS was only 'comfort feeding' and that my milk wasn't of adequate nutritional value. If he wasn't getting breast milk he'd need cow's milk, so I just don't understand the logic of that.

In my own highly scientific study wink I was on a busy post-natal ward for 7 days after the birth of DS. 8 bed ward, I think I saw about 30 mums come in over that time. I was struck by just how many new mothers wanted to breast feed, but the lack of breastfeeding support (especially overnight) meant that many mothers, by the morning, asked for formula.

It's so tough after birth, struggling with lack of sleep, pain, roller coasting emotions and the weight of responsibility. And dad gets sent home overnight, staffing is down to a bare minimum. And we know how crucial those first hours are to establish breastfeeding. Saddest was the women who'd had c-sections, who couldn't physically get to their crying babies.

(I wasn't being nosy honest, small ward, sister didn't allow curtains during the day and anyway you can hear everything that goes on, even with them closed)

PavlovtheCat Sat 12-Oct-13 09:29:38

My friend is BFing now. Her LO is almost 2 weeks old. During a particular tough couple of days of her LO staying put on the boob for a lot of the day, she has been told the following things by health professionals (also friends who know best but backed up by the health professionals comments)
a) baby is comfort feeding - this is the biggest reason for the baby staying on her breast for longer than 20 mins! not hunger! or learning to latch correctly and feed, not that her milk had just come in and baby was getting used to it, comfort!
b) get a dummy
c) get your DH to bottle feed to give you a break (although expressing was suggested)

All this before the baby was a week old.

I am waiting for my friend to start doubting her ability to produce enough milk to meet her baby's demands.

I do know a few people who breastfed their baby, and only one person who fed from a bottle immediately, but most of those who nursed their baby themselves lasted much less than 6 months, ranging from a week or two to a couple of months. A couple fed for 6 months, I only know one person who did extended breastfeeding (apart from me - most people thought I was nuts, and continually questioned why I hadn't stopped already).

PavlovtheCat Sat 12-Oct-13 09:35:30

I meant to add, I think the understanding of the HV and their own personal advocacy of BF is of significant importance in supporting new mothers in breastfeeding; it's not easy (well, it is part of having a newborn, of course it isn't!) and it is not always something that mum and baby know how to do immediately so involves the new mum realising that it not working out immediately is ok. And, that baby does not need milk instantly, hence it taking a little time for the milk to come in.

I actually felt quite lucky that I needed to stay in hospital for a week following the birth of my DD. She was a little small at birth but perfectly healthy, but we stayed in transitional care where the midwives were amazing. I found it hard to get DD to latch well, felt embarrassed that I could not do it, and I was given so much physical, practical and emotional support that by the time I left, I was super confident in what I was doing. Every time I had a little wobble, I pressed my buzzer and a midwife was there, guiding me, day and night. Although I was initially encouraged to top-up to improve her weight quickly and to get her sugars stable hmm I was never ever encouraged to stop feeding her myself, it was never suggested. And I am sure that make a huge huge difference to how I felt feeding my DD. I fed her until 10 months, and fed DS until 16 months because of that experience.

Junebugjr Sat 12-Oct-13 09:52:48

Live in a nice area of what's classed as a deprived area. Despite that its about 50/50 here. Families also tend to stay in the same areas and villages too, with grandmothers, cousins etc more often within walking distance, so maybe bf expectation and knowledge is passed down. Among certain parts of the community, mainly young mums in the poorer areas, its considered a badge of honour as sorts to just pop babies out in a home birth, and then breast feed them. Feeding a very young baby with a bottle would definitely raise some eyebrows, as I found out when I bottle fed DD1. I bf dd2 til she was a toddler with no second glances at all.

WoTmania Sat 12-Oct-13 09:58:22

The initiation rates are fairly high now (although in some areas just going onto the breast once counts as BF initiated). The drop off rate between 1 and 3 weeks is very high and by the time they get to 6 months the rate is very low.

When I gave birth to my last baby the HV did bring a list of local breastfeeding clinics/support groups. However she picked out two (one run by NCT and the other LLL) and suggested I went to the HVs ones instead of these as HVs ones were more balanced in her opinion.

As it happens I could only get to the HV one and it was less of a support group and had more of a 1:1 social services appointment, where my tears at her incompetence and lack of help wrt tt was diagnosed by her as possible PND.

nickelbabe Sat 12-Oct-13 11:35:14

Bunnychan - that does sound crap.
Maybe as a teacher, you'll be able to do a lot of your marking and prep at home, so you can do work while you feed.
you might even find ways to reduce the amount of time you're out of the house, and you might even be able to express in the evenings for the next day. (reducing time out of the house might mean only one meal needs to be without you)
I found it a lot easier to express when I had just finished a feed, because my boobs were already working iyswim.
I did try to express when i was in the middle of a feed, but by that point, she was wriggling around a lot and kept kicking the bowl! grin

nickelbabe Sat 12-Oct-13 13:20:49

yes, our postnatal ward was quite good for support.
they actually had a policy that the hospital would not supply formula but you had to bring your own if you wanted to use it.
and they asked you if you intended to breastfeed, encouraged it, made sure you knew about skin-to-skin, encouraged you holding your baby rather than putting it in the (bedside) cot.
there was always a lot of staff around, even at night.
they talked mums through latching (without grabbing hold of boobs and saying "here, that's a latch")
and reassured me when I was panicking it wasn't right (that i would be successful).

but after discharge, nothing in support that you didn't have to seek out.
only comments from MW visiting was "are you bfing?"

cogitosum Sat 12-Oct-13 15:54:39

My hospital was amazing too. If you wanted to bf you could stay as long as you wanted to make sure it was properly established and dh stayed to (all new mums have their own rooms postnatally.

tiktok Sat 12-Oct-13 16:18:15

WoT official definition is that 'initiation' is this:

"the mother is defined as having initiated breastfeeding if, within the first 48 hours of birth, either she puts the baby to the breast or the baby is given any of the mothers breast milk

You can see a glossary of terms if you get this PDF‎

This is (or should be) the definition everywhere, so when stats for initiation are collected, they can be compared, 'cos it's important we are comparing the same thing.

JollyScaryGiant Sat 12-Oct-13 16:55:00

With DD I had a section so was in hospital Thur-Sat. None of our feeds were observed. I think they just assumed that as a second time BFer I'd know if there was a problem. IMO that's something that needs to change. All babies should be observed feeding by someone who knows what they're talking about.

JethroTull Sat 12-Oct-13 17:19:48

I really wanted to BF. Had my lovely baby boy via ELCS 3 weeks ago. ELCS didn't go to plan & my blood pressure was all over the place which resulted in me having very little recollection of the first day. By the end of day 2 I had no milk & had very little support from any staff on the ward. All of this has resulted in DS being unable to latch despite numerous midwives trying & 2 appointments with a BF counsellor. I've been expressing but keep getting mastitis. Last week I was in such a mess I cried uncontrollably for about 3 hours. Formula saved me from slipping closer to PND. I'm now expressing & using formula for 2 feeds a day.

If the NHS really want to increase BF numbers then midwives & maternity ward staff need to be more consistent with their advice. I was given so many different messages.

nickelbabe Sat 12-Oct-13 17:23:34

yes, that's exactly the problem - they really aren't given proper training, and the advice is spurious or out of date.
or just isn't there at all. (lack of staff time doesn't help)

you didn't fail, you were failed by the system.

it's great that you've been able to keep expressing.
do look at videos on the best way to express to prevent mastitis.
nipple shields might help with latch if your baby is now used to bottles.

and congratulations on your baby grin

JethroTull Sat 12-Oct-13 18:45:48

Thanks Nickle what a lovely post. I do feel like I've been let down. Thanks for the advice re online videos - am going to have a look right now.

WoTmania Sat 12-Oct-13 18:46:56

yes, thanks Tiktok, I know smile

Flatasawitchestit Sat 12-Oct-13 18:52:54

I think my hospital where I work our initiation rate is about 90% most months. I need to look into what it is when mums are discharged from our care

Nationally though I think by 4-6 weeks it's really low. Like 40%. I've my own theories on this but so as not to bore anyone I'll just say I think its down to not being prepared antenatally and also support. I'm working on the education part, but it's really really difficult.

Many HCPs really don't have a clue. I took ds for his first jabs at 13 months (usually given at 6 weeks) and the nurse had a tick box and asked me if I was exclusively breastfeeding.

I looked at her like this confused but she didn't understand and continued to wait for her answer.

When I replied I wasn't she ticked the box for no and that was that.

Incidentally I was ebfing until 6 months.

flat I'd love to hear your theories. I bet they aren't boring at all.

What else is mn for if not to air your opinions and test your theories wink

Sunflower1985 Sat 12-Oct-13 21:17:53

I recall antenatelly being asked if I intended to bf but then not given any information on how to do it. I didn't realise it wouldn't just happen and nobody thought to mention the possible problems. I only had the nhs classes and there was no information. I learnt how to bathe a baby - but not feed one!

I'm sure I would be ebf rather than mix feeding my ds now if I had known about latching and positioning etc

islingtongirl Sat 12-Oct-13 22:06:30

I'm exclusively bfing my DD who is 7 weeks tomorrow. I found the first 2-3 weeks v hard - didn't realise how much it would hurt etc but I have to say I found the breastfeeding peer support in my area (north london) excellent and far beyond what I expected. It is NHS funded, there was a helpline I called a number of times open daily, and another number for weekends and a drop in clinic at a different children's centre each day of the week. Without that support I don't think I would have continued past the first few weeks, but I am so glad I did. Things have been so much easier in this second month. I really think a lot comes down to support over those first few weeks, as others have said. As soon as I had the baby my hospital got me doing the whole skin to skin and the midwife asked if I was planning to bf. I said yes and she helped me get DD latched on for the first time. On the postnatal ward however I got very little attention/help and the first midwife I saw at home wasn't very encouraging, but the local support was great. Looking at the 8 of us in my NCT group, 4 of us are bfing. Will be interesting to see if we still are in a few months time, I hope to but am just starting to try and get DD to take a bottle of expressed milk once a day to get her used to bottles so I can go out once in a while! That's the only downside of bfing for me - you are rather tied to the baby unless you express. I don't mind now while DD is so small but it would be nice to have some flexibility down the road. Current plan is to bfeed for 6 months then start weaning. Will see how it goes.

rockybalBOOOOa Sat 12-Oct-13 22:09:36

I think it depends where you live. In my city most people who can do.

RNJ3007 Sat 12-Oct-13 22:23:18

I mostly know ebf mums! Extended bf too. But then, I go to Baby Cafe and LLL...

I fed my daughter to 15 months (badly timed nursing strike, sad) and am happily feeding my 8 week old son; even got a high five for feeding him in the moby wrap in Sainsbury's this morning!

PseudoBadger Sun 13-Oct-13 13:30:43

I've found that all my friends who have stopped breastfeeding have had incredible pressure from their mum or MIL and have found it easier to stop than constantly be harassed by them sad
I fed DS until almost 2 and a half and am currently feeding dd who is 6 days old. With DS I fed through undiagnosed posterior TT and it was honestly a painful nightmare; it was agony at the start and end of every feed, I had to hold him in latch and hold my breast as well for the whole feed. But I was damned if I was going to stop. Then suddenly it stopped hurting (but I still had to hold him and my breast for every feed until we stopped!).

Dd has so far been much easier; I've been pedantic with regards to getting the latch correct and although the last few days have been difficult due to breast engorgement and tiny mouth incompatibility(!) I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

But my mum or DP wouldn't dream of undermining my choice or not supporting BFing. MIL mentioned it occasionally but got told to do one pretty sharply....

Thanks Tiktok
I often hear of a lack of support for breastfeeding but I can tell you from experience at nearly 8 months of EE that there is no support for EE.
"Get a pump, off you go." Great.

tiktok Sun 13-Oct-13 14:38:04

Crazy, sorry to hear that......mothers who express for a long time are deserving of large medals, in my opinion smile

What do people say or do that undermines or criticises you?

GirlWithTheDirtyShirt Sun 13-Oct-13 14:42:04

I expressed for 3 months, at which point I was no longer producing enough milk to make it worthwhile so I stopped.

Most people I know breastfed and I was automatically ready with my story as to why I wasn't. I felt I had to justify my decision with everyone I met.

So I'd go with at least 90% of people in my circle breastfed.

Wow crazy. EEers truly have the worst of all worlds in terms of demands on them. Their very lucky babies don't though.

Tiktok I knew before DS that I would have little chance of BF even though I really wanted to. (Inverted nipples) At my first appointment with MW I asked about it and she said "it's breastfeeding not nipple feeding so don't worry about it." On the day he was born a MW asked what I had done to prepare for it. sad

I tried a nipple shield but it didn't go very well so I began pumping....and haven't stopped! HCPs didn't give me any info on it (good pumps, how many, how often, how long, storage, heating, being out-and about, cleaning) so I had to use a little formula in the early days as it was very much trial and error.

I've found American sites the most useful for info on EE. I think that it's seen as just something that bfers do occasionally for a break and that maybe there are so few who do it that they don't bother to offer help. I can understand why people don't EE. I have come close many times to giving up,but looking back it would have been great to have more support/info at the beginning.

Non-HCPs have been brilliant! People often hold DS while I express and DP is supportive. I get lovely comments from people, like yours smile thanks

I will be more prepared for when we have a 2nd DC. I do hope to bf, but if not I will aim for a min 3m EE. (Pumping has almost pulled out one side)

Thanks Starlightsmile

JollyScaryGiant Sun 13-Oct-13 16:30:58

I have huge admiration for anyone who exclusively expresses. I did it for a wee while when DS was a newborn (like a fortnight) and it is so time consuming. Agree that EEers deserve medals.

working9while5 Sun 13-Oct-13 16:33:52

Most people I know do/have.

Re the cultural side - article today (lighthearted) in the Torygraph about the 'Seven Stages of Marriage', illustrated with cartoon-style drawings. One 'stage' shows a young couple, the woman holding a baby and feeding it with a bottle. They are never going to show a boob being used for its intended purpose, are they? sad

ZippityDoodahday Sun 13-Oct-13 19:08:48

Most women ff IME. I bf. Human babies are meant to have human milk from their mother not in a plastic bottle from any Tom, Dick or Harry. For the life of me I can't understand why anyone would willinglp put their newborn on processed cow's milk. If done as a lifestyle choice then it's gross IMO. Socio-economics & all that jazz I guess.

mrscog Sun 13-Oct-13 19:27:22

Our of my friends (probably around 15 of us have at least 1 DC now) there is a 100% EBF rate until 6 months. I think social class and peer support (we've all helped each other in various ways) have a lot to do with it because it's in no way representative of the statistics.

ElBombero Sun 13-Oct-13 20:20:18

Just been to a local restaurant a saw a friend,
" aw wow, your BFing"
"Aw god is he up a lot in night then. I couldn't bear it, mine went on the bottle after a week"
"Feed him whenever he wants it, usually 2hrly at night"
"When you gonna do it to? Don't you give him any FF. You should try one at night... He'll sleep longer"

working9while5 Tue 15-Oct-13 08:20:44

Zippity what's your take on 'socioeconomics and all that jazz'?

Privileged women are now far more likely to ebf.

From my perspective having had disastrous experiences with bf but having doggedly stuck at it irregardless til ds1 was 2 and ds2 1 (in both cases supply drying up when pregnant again) I think people who don't get why people ff are unlikely to have struggled.

With ds1 I had the usual misinformation and lack of support from HCPs, tongue tie etc... he had various periods of supplementation because of severe failure tothrive.

With ds2 I 'wisely' decided HCPs were not helping after a fortnight of every single one giving me different information and decided I would go it alone, do biological nurturing and skin to skin and cosleep and let him feed, feed, feed.

I was 'reclaiming' the womanly art of bfing.

At 20 weeks he was on point of hospitalisation and I had significant PND and I began supplementing. I was literally lying in bed feeding with him three whole days a week listening to relaxation tapes and expressing to stimulate supply when he was sleeping and feeling increasingly desperate and confused as to why nothing was working to increase his weight.

Bfing may be natural but in much the same way that I am glad I have ventolin for my asthma and might havr died in another lifetime, it's good that there are other ways to feed babies.

I can't imagine having done it all with financial strain and maybe no partner and no community support. Though I am far from sure I should have kept at it in my own circumstances and I will not be continuing ebf withthis baby in the event of no weight gain.

Wow Working! Congratulations!!!

working9while5 Tue 15-Oct-13 09:51:50


Yup. MSc on hold. Tell me life with three is awesome?

SHarri13 Tue 15-Oct-13 09:58:08

I live in the SE, greater London/ Surrey borders and most people I know don't/ haven't BFed.

IsleOfIslay Tue 15-Oct-13 10:01:50

I have been the only person out of my group of friends who has BF. Some just didn't want to others started then gave up after a few days. We are still going strong at 7m. I love it tbh, the convenience the closeness. I am going to be sad when it becomes time to stop. I have to say I was surprised even amongst my friends and family of their attitudes towards me BF. I do it as subtly as possible but even still some get flustered and embarrassed!

BraveLilBear Tue 15-Oct-13 17:23:15

This is a really interesting thread. I live in a Yorkshire city where there have been massive drives to increase bf and as most babies are born in the teaching hospital there is quite a bit of support.

I have mainly ebf - have used formula a handful of times and DS is 12 weeks old today. Virtually all the mums I work with ebf for well over 6 months. One lost all supply after post birth complications and had to ff, another had had a breast reduction earlier in life so mixed fed her second (was told to not even bother with her first).

My DP though does not know anyone who has breastfed. He has a different social background to mine. All of his friends' wags gave up bf by 4 weeks. One lasted a total of two feeds before she was put off by the fact that her dad appeared one visiting time when her son waa hungry. My DP was bottlefed as were all his siblings. One of his work colleague's wife tried to bf but couldn't because one boob ' didn't work'.

My DP hates that I breastfeed because our DS 'only wants me' and hates that we don't get to spend evenings together as DS cluster feeds til 10.

I'm constantly being asked about feeding when we see his family - his gran keeps saying things like 'are you giving him a bottle at night yet?' This surprised me but then I read upthread about the formula fashion in the 50s and 60s - when she had her boys.

I have never seen anyone breastfees in this city apart from the one time I made it to a support group.

Life with 3 young-uns is the best. A bit chaotic and pretty noisy at times but visitors are in awe enough to ignore any lax housekeeping.

I had 21 months between my first 2 and thing that's the best ever age gap btw.

Starlight I'm 37+ with DC3 and your first paragraph there is just what I needed to read tonight.


BenNJerry Wed 16-Oct-13 07:02:49

I barely know anyone who breastfeeds. I am a young mum (23) and it seems that my generation are formula feeders. I know it's up to the individual mother, but it does make me a little sad that people my age don't even want to give it a go. A friend of mine wanted to breastfeed, but got mastitis after a couple of days and it put her off entirely.

I wanted to bf until 6 months. Unfortunately I had bad anaemia after a traumatic birth in which I lost a huge amount of blood. I was very very worn down and it affected my supply. I managed 12 weeks of ebf but DS just wasn't gaining enough weight. I then combine fed until my supply ran out a couple of days ago (DS now 4 months). I will definitely bf again if I have any other children.

(Oh and having done both I can say that DS certainly does not sleep longer on formula! He still wakes up twice a night and has done so ever since birth!)

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