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This is one of the saddest things I have ever read.

(38 Posts)
MadIsTheNewNormal Fri 03-Jan-14 07:22:53

Sorry it's the DM but it's worth putting your hatred aside for five minutes and reading it.

I am going to link this thread to the breastfeeding forum as well, because I think her husband makes some very pertinent points about the pressure/focus on her to BF by HCPs at the expense of her mental wellbeing. I do support BFing, I really do, but sometimes I feel that the current policy to really push BFing at all costs smacks of fiddling while Rome burns.

Obviously this poor woman was was so far into MH crisis that it probably made no difference to her ultimately, but I do feel that many women could perhaps be saved from a slide into PND if they only they could feel less overwhelmed by the guilt of struggling to succeed at BFing, and less societal pressure to BF at all costs. sad

selfdestructivelady Fri 03-Jan-14 13:44:10

I think poor mental health services are to blame I been crying to crisis saying I feel suicidal for weeks and self harming and seeing things . Eventually I took a overdose and you would think they would admit me at this point but I was sent home with enough meds to end my life.

Thurlow Fri 03-Jan-14 13:52:25

Poor family, my thoughts are with them flowers

I do agree to a point that there is so much focus on "breast is best" that it's easy to see how some women get so caught up on the idea that formula means failing their baby right from the start, and how that in turn can exacerbate PND to a dreadful degree. I would say that breastfeeding is pushed at the moment, especially in the media and NHS promotional material, more than anything else in terms of how you look after your baby in the first few months. I do understand why that is, but because it is pushed I can see how it becomes something women can fixate on it.

"Breast is best" is a great message. BUT it needs to be supported by care and support and professionals to help.

I don't know what the solution is because breastmilk clearly is the medically best way to feed your child (and I say this as someone who ff from birth, so I'm not pushing an agenda) but the current campaign/message clearly comes across as very draconian to some mothers.

AliceinWinterWonderland Fri 03-Jan-14 13:52:26

Of course, breast is ideally best, but sometimes it's not going to happen, and rather than demonising a mother and making her feel like shit because she is struggling, they need to either offer actual support (or get her in touch with someone that is capable of providing actual support) for breastfeeding or support the mother in the choice of formula feeding.

And yes, poor mental health services are not much help either.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Fri 03-Jan-14 14:13:54

I've commented on your thread in the bf section, but just wanted to add something else here in response to comments about pressure to bf.

This story is so very sad for Joe, her DH and their dd. Primarily it is about the failure to adequately treat her Pnd.

A choice to ff should always be respected. However, the last infant feeding survey showed almost 80% of mothers wanted to bf and wished they'd had better support to be able to continue. That support is not there and that is why only 1% of babies are ebf to 6 months in the uk.

The majority of hcps / their ohs have not themselves ebf their dc to 6 months and their training on bf can be very limited. For example, a friend worked on scbu as a nurse and said she had almost no training on bf at all.

So what happens is hcps say 'everyone should ebf to 6 months', then tick the box on their list. When even basic (and often highly surmountable) bf problems arise the knowledge is not there to deal with them and they often just recommend ff top ups.

Many hcps and our culture in General is not favourable to bf. I was treated as like an idiot by a consultant for not being willing to change my DS over to ff at 4 months to have an op. I got a second opinion from a more senior consultant and there was in fact absolutely no need to wean.

violator Fri 03-Jan-14 14:55:33

Support doesn't just come from health visitors, midwives and GPs though.
Day to day, night after night when you're the one losing your mind with tiredness it's those who live with you or are nearby that are your support.
Unfortunately, due to many of the demands of modern living, it's not always possible for a new mum to take to the bed and feed all the time, not everyone has a partner, or a partner who is actually around a lot of the time, or a mum who can help.

There is another element to this awful, awful, case which hasn't been mentioned yet. Antidepressants have been linked to suicidal thoughts and many come with a black box warning in the US.
Having been there, and had those terrible side effects, I really feel that anyone put on antidepressants should be watched very closely for this.
This isn't the first time a new mum with PND has taken her own life very soon after starting an antidepressant and sadly it won't be the last either.

Thurlow Fri 03-Jan-14 15:02:08

That's a good point about support, violator, and it is something about modern life which isn't always taken into consideration. I chose to ff from the start for that very reason - no family of friends nearby and a partner who was doing long shiftwork. I felt instinctively that I wouldn't cope if I was the only person responsible for feeding the baby, when I didn't have a partner who would come home every evening and make dinner while I fed the baby (as an example), I felt I would cope better by being able to take advantage of the times he was at home or my family were visiting because the baby was bottle fed.

Not everyone will make that choice. But I do think the way most people live nowadays i.e. not very close to family and friends who can help out, has an affect on the way breastfeeding needs to be promoted and supported.

MadIsTheNewNormal Fri 03-Jan-14 15:22:16

Thurlow you have just summed up exactly how I feel about this.

Hotbot Fri 03-Jan-14 16:25:41

Violator, re the point you made earlier , re pnd and bf, was exactly the same for me. The depth of do espalier and uselessness I felt was like nothing else in my,life, and I could still cry about it now, whether it be hormonal based or not. It was the same for my second child as well, tho I didn't get pnd with ds,.

violator Fri 03-Jan-14 16:48:45

Hotbot I'm unlikely to have another baby, but if for whatever reason I do, there is no way on this earth I will breastfeed. Been there, done that, got seriously ill, medicated, hospitalised, lost 5 weeks with my beautiful baby and the first 18 months of his life.
Never again will I put that kind of pressure on myself.

What waitingfor said. As someone mentioned on the thread, citing her own example, there is no support to bf,just pressure to tick boxes. Lots of people in this country have no idea how bf works and still tell new mothers they have to do it.

I come from a country where most women manage to bf, simply because it is seem as normal, people trust it will work, and it works (with exceptions of course). Curiously, we have a 90% c section rate and most women believe wholeheartedly that they could not have had normal births. Doctors there are clueless about vaginal births - in a similar way health professionals here are clueless about bf.

Iwasinamandbunit Fri 03-Jan-14 21:02:25

I am a long time user of MH services. They are so stretched now that it is very hard to become an in patient. Of four major incidences over twenty years I was hospitalised the first two times, the third time I had a crisis team visit me at home every day for a month and this time as I am currently unwell I am visited once a week.

I have been in a Mother and Baby Unit, there are not many places available. I guess I was very lucky as there was a space in a unit only about six miles from where I live. There were Mothers from two counties away as it had the closest beds.

I think BF does add extra pressure but this is more about the woeful lack of funding in MH services. There is also the slant that Mothers are so petrified of social services taking their babies away they minimise how bad they actually feel.

I just feel terribly sad and very sorry for her and her family.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Fri 03-Jan-14 21:12:52

I know what you mean about bf being seen as normal in some cultures, Schro. My dm is from a country like yours - 80% babies are bf iirc and everyone just does it. In fact they don't have the same level of formal bf support we have because they simply don't need it - your dm/DSis/sil/bf will all have bf and so bf support is out there and available in the wider community.

It is very sad that the nhs isn't able to support new bf mothers properly and that family/friends often don't have the experience to be able to do so.

When bf is going well some dm feel it can help make life easier - no need to get out of bed to make up bottles - just lean across to bedside cot, put baby to breast and feed. An independent sleep study (the Isis Project) has shown than ebf mothers actually get more sleep than ff or mixed feeding mothers, which iirc they suggested was down to the bf mother not needing to wake up completely in order to feed.

If a mother does not want to bf they should be supported and no one should even be thinking about judging. However, the Infant Feeding Survey shows most mothers want to bf and there would be far less pressure on new dm if the support was truly there to help them to do that.

ComplexAndDangerous Fri 03-Jan-14 21:22:30

I really didn't feel pressured by health professionals to BF and I'm sad this is the case for some. In my case, I wanted to BF but DS was consistently dropping centiles and refusing the breast and I was gently advised first to top up with expressed milk, then to top up with formula, then to mix feed - HV and midwives were always at great pains to say that I shouldn't blame myself and I had given DS a great start. I experienced more pressure and guilt-tripping from certain friends and family and sadly from some things I read on here (not aimed personally at me, but very clearly anti FF - the sort of comments where posters say "well most people can BF if they really want to")

However, I still feel that with better support I could have found a way to BF DS for longer. The midwives and HVs I encountered were kind but had NO CLUE how to help. I was too shy to go to BF cafes or advice sessions (surely can't be the only one who finds the prospect terrifying, yet it's all that my HV and MW could advise) The private BF consultants I saw were not helpful and often gave conflicting advice. I don't know how we work around that, but really we should be working to raise standards in BF support and invest in training BF counsellors properly, not just beating women up, as it seems is the case

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