MUMS***** If you never breastfed.....what may of encouraged you do so???

(156 Posts)
happylaws Sun 08-Dec-13 13:54:19

Hi, I'm a mum to a 16month old and never breastfed myself due to massive complications during my c-sec. I think about this all the time now I am training to be a health visitor and know how beneficial it is.

But the question I would like to ask to you all is what could health professionals do to make you reconsider and breastfeed? More support? More education? Frequent visits?

Thanks in advance



I didn't want to do it so I didn't

I don't get why it's such a big deal
I am an adult and if I don't want to do something then I won't do it
It has fuck all to do with anyone else how I fed my babies

sonlypuppyfat Sun 08-Dec-13 14:00:35

I breast fed all three of mine for years my youngest for three years I think its wonderful I have never made up a bottle or had to buy formula I must have saved a fortune. Oh and mine never had to cry for a feed while I fannied about with bottles.

MissMiniTheMinx Sun 08-Dec-13 14:00:59

Nothing, not even huge financial inducements. Never regretted my choice and have two bright, happy and healthy DCs that disprove the idea that bottle fed babies are fat, dim and sick.

dingledongle Sun 08-Dec-13 14:08:14

If I had had someone to show me how to do it. Not read a book a or talk about how to do it! If a midwife/HV had at down with me and my first child and helped her latch on etc.

I was told how to, suggested books but no one was there when DC was hungry and I could not get her to feed.

Consequently I did not breast feed my second DC as I did not know what to do!

I hope you get useful replies to your thread as it seems that more often than not people get in to the politics of breast/bottle feeding.........

IncreasinglyLazy Sun 08-Dec-13 14:08:14

Pisses I did breastfeed, but I totally agree with you!

ImAnElfJeSuisUneElf Sun 08-Dec-13 14:17:18

Nothing would have encouraged me because I absolutely didn't want to do it.

My aunt is an award winning breastfeeding counsellor for a breastfeeding charity, if anyone was going to encourage me it would be her. But she didn't - because she accepted and still accepts that it's not for everyone.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 08-Dec-13 14:17:32

dingle you are so right no one ever really see's anyone breastfeed so when it comes to feeding there own children they don't know how to do it.

DeepThought Sun 08-Dec-13 14:20:20

happylaws, it's great that you are training to be a HV and all that entails smile

Can I ask you to bear in mind that some members of Mumsnet are accessing using devices such as readers for visual impairment, and titles such as yours with * * * and . . . make it difficult for the devices to read

Thanks ever so much, and best of luck with your new career

WaitingForPeterWimsey Sun 08-Dec-13 14:20:33

Stats show most mums do want to bf - when they are interviewed something like 75% (iirc) of those interviewed who stopped before 3 months said that they wished they hadn't.

happylaws Sun 08-Dec-13 14:21:08

These are exactly the honest type of answers I need. Thank you ladies!!

I don't want to get into the politics of it all but I want to know how YOU think things could be improved. No ones opinion is as valuable as real women......and I think thats where we are going wrong as a health service half the time.

jimijack Sun 08-Dec-13 14:23:32

From early on in the pregnancy i decided I was going to and I did.
I read around the subject and sought help.

The bf "helpers" in hospital were utterly useless if I'm honest.

ImAnElfJeSuisUneElf Sun 08-Dec-13 14:25:17

Happy, in my most recent pregnancy, one of the things that did annoy me, was being asked by HCP, repeatedly, if I was going to breastfeed. Then getting the 'oh, I'm verrrrrrrrry disappointed in you' head shake and attitude, then the lecture about why I should, and how I was DEPRIVING my child.

As pisses says - I'm an adult, I've made that decision - respect it.

iliketea Sun 08-Dec-13 14:26:01

Hmmm - to be honest, it would have started if I hadn't been induced for nearly a week. Zero sleep for 6 nights and traumatic birth mean i could hardly bear holding my dd never mind breast feeding. And then the after-care in hospital was in no way breast-feeding friendly and only added to the trauma.

It may have been improved by a) better delivery unit care and b) a specialist midwife with expertise in managing the immediate effect of traumatic birth who could have spent time with me trying to process the info instead of the ward staff attitude of "get over it, you have a healthy baby" .

Also, I was scared we'd be there even longer if she hadn't fed- better care at home that didn't involve me having to get to a breast feeding group a mile away post c-section unable to drive may have helped.

If I had another, I would probably ff from the onset, like I did with dd.

tethersend Sun 08-Dec-13 14:26:40

I think not being treated like ill-informed children and having choices respected would help, actually.

Some people have all the facts and lots of support and choose not to breastfeed. I was one of them.

ImAnElfJeSuisUneElf Sun 08-Dec-13 14:27:17

Tethers put it better than me. smile

rabbitlady Sun 08-Dec-13 14:28:56

needs a massive change in societal attitudes to breasts.

encourage new mums to do what they think right for the baby, not anyone else.

purrtrillpadpadpad Sun 08-Dec-13 14:29:21

For me, it would have to be shopping vouchers. Totally.

BabyMummy29 Sun 08-Dec-13 14:31:31

Nothing - I find the whole idea disgusting. Bottle fed both of mine for convenience.

As for all this claptrap about breastfed babies being more intelligent - mine have 10 As in their highers between them, so it obviously didn't do them any harm.

Fairylea Sun 08-Dec-13 14:33:42

Nothing at all. Not unless I could have borrowed someone else's boobs so it wasn't me doing it.

Had no inclination to breastfeed either of mine and don't regret formula feeding at all. It suited me and meant dh could share night feeds.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 08-Dec-13 14:37:04

Disgusting shock how on earth do you think the human race survived what utter crap.

BabyMummy29 Sun 08-Dec-13 14:40:02

If I think it's disgusting then I'm entitled to my opinion whether you think it's right or not.

I can think of nothing worse than leaky boobs, breast pads and all that shit. That's what I mean by disgusting

Junebugjr Sun 08-Dec-13 14:40:13

For me, it woudl have been much better care while in labour.
Induced over a number of days, an just left to languish with no sleep and in pain, until baby was in distress when I had an emcs. DD1 screaming in pain whenever I touched her, coupled with not having any sleep for 2 nights during the induction, meant BF was impossible, I was too fucked to have the will to establish it. If HCPs bang on about wanting mothers to BF they should be first looking at the care in labour. If anyone had given any sort of lecture to me after te debacle which was my labour I would have felt like ripping their head off.
Dd2, much better care, established bf easily and carried on for over a year.
HCP's can not expect totally knackered and traumatised women to then have the necessary perseverance and will that establishing breastfeeding requires.

K8Middleton Sun 08-Dec-13 14:40:55

What tethers said. As a society women should have the resources to make an informed decision - whatever that decision may be.

I exclusively bf one and mixed fed another. I probably would have exbf that one too but for some really rubbish advice from a mw and lack of decent bfing support.

If we want to see bfing rates go up, we need really good, in person support for all women in the first two weeks post birth; excellent education and training for all HCPs who come into contact with women accessing maternity services both pre and post birth; putting breastfeeding support services in places where women are going to use them; more widely, early education, making it culturally normal are important.

But one thing that really pisses me off, is that it is seen as some how unacceptable for a woman to say "I didn't want to do it so I didn't" or "I tried it but I didn't really like it so I stopped". We are women and we have a right to decide what we do with our bodies.

Junebugjr Sun 08-Dec-13 14:41:53

Btw, if a woman wants to FF her baby, that decision should be accepted without question by HCP's and also other mothers.

BabyMummy29 Sun 08-Dec-13 14:46:15

I don't get it why women are asked why they didn't breastfeed as if there's something abnormal about them because they decided not to.

Do breastfeeders get asked "Why didn't you bottle feed?" - no, thought not.

KongKickeroo Sun 08-Dec-13 14:46:20

I don't think women should be encouraged to breastfeed.

I think those who want to, should be supported to do so with good quality and individual help.

Those who don't shouldn't be pressured. Even in the gentlest way disguised as "encouragement". It's still pressure.

I say that as someone breastfeeding a 9 month old who has never had a sip of formula. There are downsides to breastfeeding, and I imagine I would be feeling pretty resentful if anyone had "encouraged" me to do it, rather than it being 100% my own choice.

happylaws Sun 08-Dec-13 14:49:29

Thank you again ladies!!! I would NEVER get these type of honest answers from face to face mums. Thats why I refused to do a focus group or a questionnaire!!!!!

IF you are one of those mums who wanted to bf but didn't, antenatally would you prefer to go to an antenatal class on bf or have a visit to your home?

OneLittleToddleTerror Sun 08-Dec-13 14:49:54

Nothing. Because that's what I have always wanted to do. I know it's not a helpful answer.

ThedementedPenguin Sun 08-Dec-13 14:50:15

I was going to comment explaining why I chose to ff over bf. however people like sonlypupppyfat really put me off.

She was the second comment in and just sounded so up herself.

OneLittleToddleTerror Sun 08-Dec-13 14:51:03

No I mean I always wanted to bf. I don't think a HV should intervene. She should help if the mum wants to but struggling. That's it.

happylaws Sun 08-Dec-13 14:52:13

Your opinion is as valuable to me as is everyones!

Nishky Sun 08-Dec-13 14:54:29

I agree penguin

Although the bad grammar in the question put me off as well blush

Sittingbull Sun 08-Dec-13 14:56:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumofthemonsters808 Sun 08-Dec-13 14:57:46

I did not even try to and there was no pressure from anyone MW and Health Visitor just accepted my decision. Nothing they could have said or done would have changed my mind.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 08-Dec-13 14:58:48

I would love to know how on earth I am so up myself.

CoffeeQueen187 Sun 08-Dec-13 14:59:03

I ff all 3 of my boys and they're all happy, healthy and thriving smile

However, if I were to consider fb I would need some kind if councilling first. I have major self esteem and body image issues which scared me to death. I was terrified of feeding in public or around people and thought I'd be crap at it anyway so didn't bother sad

Nishky Sun 08-Dec-13 15:00:59

sonlypuppyfat read your post back- if you don't see it we can't help you.....

Sittingbull Sun 08-Dec-13 15:03:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 08-Dec-13 15:03:48

They seemed perfectly fine to me. But then I'm not rude.

tiktok Sun 08-Dec-13 15:11:28

Babymummy, of course you have a right to an opinion that bf is not for you (though I think your use of language is rude and tactless - and it would be the same if someone said that, to them, ff is 'disgusting'. You ask for courtesy and respect, but don't give it . )

You also say "Do breastfeeders get asked "Why didn't you bottle feed?" - no, thought not."

This question is asked all the time . I work with mothers in areas where there isn't much breastfeeding, and the breastfeeding that does exist tends not to last long.

These women are often asked why they didn't/do not bottle feed - their choice to breastfeed is sneered at, undermined, criticised and mocked. One woman I worked with was told by a 'friend' she would make her dd into a lesbian. I have loads of other examples of stupid things people say. Others are repeatedly told their babies are too old for 'that sort of thing.'

monicalewinski Sun 08-Dec-13 15:13:20

Nothing would have made me try.

I find the idea abhorrent and the very thought of it brought a physical reaction (nausea). I still cringe now when I think of it.

What made me rail even more against it was the 'encouragement' and people trying to 'convince' me to just give it a go - I didn't want to, I'm an adult and I don't need to be convinced of anything. Endless pushing of statistics/benefits etc etc does nothing more than put my back up even more and when the 'dangers' of ff are spoken about, or the insinuation that I am 'not doing the best I can for my baby' made me downright angry.

For me it was nothing more than psychological, people like me will never be 'brought round' and can actually become disengaged with an avidly pushy 'breast is best' hv.

I don't know if that helps at all, but it is honest!!

colafrosties Sun 08-Dec-13 15:14:02

I did breastfeed, but before the birth had no strong feelings either way (still haven't really)
Things that encouraged me to "give it a go"
- Did NCT antenatal course (mainly to meet others in a similar position) and on the course learnt more about breastfeeding
- DP really wanted to me to bf if I could, and I figured it's his child too so I would do my best
- All the others in NCT group bf'd, so I had support that way. I found it difficult at first as DS had tongue tie.
- Wanted to carry on despite early difficulties as I had spent so much on nursing bras, bf tops, electric pump, big nursing cushion that I felt it would be silly to give it up!
I didn't get have any particular pressure from HVs etc
My mum thought I was making life hard for myself by bf-ing! I think that helped in a roundabout way as it made me not want to give up as it was annoying me that she was criticising my choice!

biryani Sun 08-Dec-13 15:19:47

I couldn't, due to traumatic birth circumstances. I never thought it was an issue until I came on here!

Personally, I think the only thing that would encourage more women to breastfeed is for health professionals to get off their backs and stop infantilising them. Women don't breastfeed for many reasons, and in my view it is the job of health professionals to respect and understand the reasons rather than to peddle well-meaning but often inappropriate or useless advice.

In your shoes, I think I would aim to be friendly, approachable, supportive and knowledgeable. But please don't hector or patronize women or make them feel guilty about their choices.

Good luck in your new career.

monicalewinski Sun 08-Dec-13 15:22:14

tiktok the OP asked for honest reasons why those that chose to ff did so, and what would have changed their minds.

Babymummy said "because I find it disgusting" - this is her honest opinion and she answered a straightforward question openly and honestly.

If she had lumbered onto a bf thread and pronounced it disgusting then you would be justified in picking her up on it, but she didn't so it is unfair to have a go at her opinion, which she was invited to give.

I find bf disgusting - but this is me, and my opinion, which we were specifically asked for.

tiktok Sun 08-Dec-13 15:33:22

monica, I think you are confusing 'honest' and 'open' with 'tactless' and 'rude'.

I know that for some people, the bodily functioning of breastfeeding is something that repels them and this aspect overwhelms other, equally real, aspects of breastfeeding. Apparently, the desire to describe it in such terms overwhelms even common courtesy.

It's a shame. Because if we really want to avoid divisions and judgmentalism between mothers, we need to avoid describing something plenty of mothers do out of love and enjoyment as 'disgusting'.

'Cos that sort of 'honesty' doesn't enable good feelings to flourish, does it?

kingbeat23 Sun 08-Dec-13 15:36:15

I wanted to bf but physically couldn't. I got extremely upset by this. Cried for days, felt inadequate, beat myself up about it.

I was refused bottles for 4 days in the hospital, had no breast feeding counsellor, couldn't sleep for days and the general aftercare was shite. I desperately wanted to go home but they wouldn't let me due to my health.

Sometimes the question of why didn't you bf is no as straightforward as first thought and if my hv asked me in the first few months of childbirth id have been extremely upset.

TheQuietCricket Sun 08-Dec-13 15:43:37


I have massive boobs which I am very self-conscious of - no way did I want to be tied to having them further enlarged with milk for however long I breastfed. If I could have been promised a breast reduction on the NHS after breastfeeding I may have been incentivised to breastfeed for a short while. (I mean a serious breast reduction down by 6 cup sizes)

I needed to go back to work part-time very quickly and from researching the subject I discovered that it took many new mums longer than my short maternity leave period to even get breastfeeding established. Throw in juggling serious work meetings etc and the stress levels would have been very high, I opted for the less stressful tried and tested route. I don't recall my babies screaming whilst I "fannied around with making up feeds" as I made them in advance each day and reheated them in the microwave when needed. Less than a minute. The pro-breastfeeding camp's best advance ever was formula manufacturers having to change their guidelines about making up bottles in advance so that the possibility of a baby having to wait for a feed was more real unless you used ready made carton formula. I read up on the risks associated with formula powder not being sterile and decided based on my own risk acceptance profile that I'd keep doing it my way.

Our ante-natal class leader informed us that research had shown that breast fed children had slightly higher IQ's. Having done a lot of reading up on the matter of breastfeeding I knew that this "fact" had been overturned by subsequent research that factored in socio-economic factors relative to mums who actually did breastfeed.

The midwives in clinic seemed to think that breastfeeding could lessen the incidence of allergies/eczema/asthma. My reading into the matter indicated studies showing that symptoms may be alleviated but genetic tendency to allergies (family history of allergies) could not be altered by simply breastfeeding one's offspring. This factor is also ultimately borne out in my family much to the sadness of my SIL whose children have multiple allergies between them despite being breastfed, whereas I didn't breastfeed but so far my children don't suffer with them. My husband and I's genetic mix is different to that of my brother and SIL. It is this that is partly determining whether their children end up with allergies/eczema/asthma. She doesn't get this as she took only information from midwives/health visitors in making her decision and did not do her own reading up on the matter.

I realise that the advice given by HCP has to have a wide safety margin in for those of a fairly uneducated level but I truly believe that nothing could have encouraged me to give breastfeeding a try.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Sun 08-Dec-13 15:44:58

When you get to a certain stage of bf, iirc was about 4 months for me, IME even some hcp ask you 'are you still bf' in shocked tones!

I was completely incorrectly told I needed to wean for a major op when DS was 4 months (I didn't do it - got a second opinion) and the consultant made it pretty clear he thought I was weird to still be ebf.

Ebf to 6 months is rare - less than 1% of dc iirc, so I did feel quite isolated and would get surprised looks from other mums at groups etc, until I started going to a bf support group. This really helped me as I could chat to other bf mums and not feel weird.

Actually that would be my main suggestion to you, op, which is to let bf mums know about support groups - really helped me.

Bakerof3pudsxx Sun 08-Dec-13 15:47:06


I didn't want to do it

So I didn't

I have three bright healthy dc and no guilt

freckledleopard Sun 08-Dec-13 15:47:34

I breastfed DD for 2.5 years. However, I was astounded at the never-ending ignorance of the midwives and health visitors. I had DD at 19, was a single parent, but was also absolutely determined to do the best for her and therefore read everything I could get my hands on about breastfeeding (Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, The Politics of Breastfeeding etc). I attended a breastfeeding support group, trained as a breastfeeding peer supporter and learned as much as I could about the physiology of breastfeeding and natural parenting.

The health visitors, in contrast, were ignorant. They gave harmful advice 'give your DD a dummy, don't overfeed her', were ignorant of the WHO guidelines and were constantly asking whether DD was sleeping through, whether she was having three meals a day at six months old etc. Being bolshy and better educated, I contradicted them, quoted WHO guidelines at them and generally pissed them off!

The problem is, many women aren't as bolshy and determined as I am and in those instances, health visitors can do real damage by giving incorrect advice.

So, I suppose, in response to your question, I'd try to ensure that you do your research, find out about the physiology of breastfeeding and don't simply spout the standard claptrap that so many health 'professionals' come out with. Go and speak to La Leche and NCT breastfeeding counsellors. Read up about what's normal as regards breastfeeding. Find out about why so many people give up and do something to help.

monicalewinski Sun 08-Dec-13 15:48:37

tiktok I agree with what you are saying, and I would find it wholly unacceptable for someone to say "breastfeeding is disgusting" in any normal context - but in this particular situation, on this particular thread it is relevant and I think it's important to be honest about the sentiment, even though it is not particularly nice wording.

There are many women, I'm sure who would bf if they weren't conditioned not to (as is the case in this country at the mo), but there are a significant proportion who do feel strong revulsion at the idea - these people will never be 'convinced and that is just one aspect.

Rooble Sun 08-Dec-13 15:56:20

Nothing. I made an informed decision not to bf (take a relatively new and untested anti-epilepsy medication). I spent the majority of the first 6 months apologising for the fact that my DS was formula-fed to the million and one people who seemed to feel it was their business to ask if I knew how I was failing my baby.
Please be very careful how you support your new mothers. People can feel very vulnerable to criticism after their baby is born.

purplemurple1 Sun 08-Dec-13 15:56:32

I'm abroad and found the midwives, drs etc really straight forward about it all, they just asked would I be feeding breast or formula, and did I want support. I said formula and that was the end of it, because of this I tried breastfeeding.

And being told by the paed don't worry if bf doesn't work out or you don't like just go and buy some formula provided he is fed that is all that matters really. I think pressuring women into it is counter productive.

Bithurt Sun 08-Dec-13 16:14:18

When i first went to my mw she mentioned bf and i was totally against it. She gave me the leaflets and asked me to read them. She said it was completely my decision. By the time i had my son, i tried it for a few days and i really struggled to get him to latch on. I felt awful giving up and it didn't help when i told them they came with a list they had to go through like do i realise the benefits.

Even my mw was a bit annoyed at it when she saw it in my notes at the home visit. Given that though, if i was to have another baby i would try it again as i wish id tried harder.

2beornot Sun 08-Dec-13 16:16:58

I think that if a new mum doesn't want to bf then you shouldn't try to encourage them.

Much more focus should be on the mums who want to but can't get started or can't continue beyond a few days. If we get these women breastfeeding then what it might do is make breastfeeding more normal which in turn might make more people want to try in the first place.

2beornot Sun 08-Dec-13 16:17:55

Sorry, bf is normal, I mean more commonplace. Wasn't wishing to suggest it was abnormal!

jerryfudd Sun 08-Dec-13 16:42:15

Nothing could have persuaded me - felt similar to those posters here that have already been pounced on so won't use the "d" word again.

Have 3 happy healthy kids that are no worse off than friends kids that were bf. Feel no guilt whatsoever.

Thankfully neither mw or hvs ever questioned my decision. One female doctor did in hospital when I was recovering from my section as a result of a breech twin with some claptrap about my body fulfilling its natural role but I told her to do one and it was never mentioned again. Nobody however questioned why I didn't bf in rl.

I'm a grown woman of reasonable intelligence so would not have appreciated questioning of my choice by hvs and any type of pressure or continued coaxing etc would have resulted in my visiting less

Creamtea1 Sun 08-Dec-13 17:31:53

I am bf my 12 week old dd. comments such as the ones on here are why I have never fed her outside the 4 walls if my house and if she has needed feeding whilst out I will go to a toilet, parent room or to my car. I feel like a wierdo and it is other women who make me feel like that, I feel judged by them all as being wierd and disgusting for doing it.
That's my opinion.
I ff my ds and didn't feel any of that, felt totally normal and one of the 'gang'. No one I know bf then or is bf now. Just me the solitary disgusting wierdo!

WaitingForPeterWimsey Sun 08-Dec-13 17:38:06

Cream tea, have you got a local LLL group at all? Saved my sanity and it is nice meeting other mums who are also bf to compare notes with.

The majority of people won't think you are disgusting - most people try bf themselves for instance (almost 80% I think).

The group who think it's disgusting really are a minority.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Sun 08-Dec-13 17:41:29

I would agree with what freckled leopard said about HV info generally. I have never had a single useful piece of advice from a HV about bf. I think it's great you are determined to break the mold, op.

I was asked 'do you think you have enough milk' and other weird questions - very odd as my DS ws tracking his birth centile beautifully, so if I didn't have enough milk it would be a miracle that he was gaining weight through ebf smile

The bf advice from LLL and nct is excellent and their bf counsellors have a lot of training. I would attend a course run by them for hcp if such a thing exists.

monicalewinski Sun 08-Dec-13 17:44:06

Creamtea I am one of those group (who said disgusting) and I can honestly say that from my perspective it isn't my opinion on others that bf, it is my reaction to the thought of myself doing it iyswim. I would never project that feeling that I have onto others (and imo the one's that would are not very nice people), I would expect that most people like me are the same.

I don't have a clue about bf support stuff but there are always loads of links and groups mentioned on MN, so don't shut yourself away and feel weird because you're not.

MrsApplepants Sun 08-Dec-13 17:45:56

Nothing would have changed my mind. I wanted to ff. I could have done without the continual pressure to bf from HCPs and wish they had just respected my decision.

Bubblegoose Sun 08-Dec-13 17:51:23

I would've liked to have breastfed but have great difficulty doing so due to medical reasons. Despite this I did try and fail with DC1 and my 'failure' really cast a shadow over my first few weeks as a mother. I didn't bond with DC and felt feelings of dislike towards my poor baby.

I decided that DC2 (not born in the UK) would be different and resolved to start with formula. Well, you would've thought that I had decided to feed my baby arsenic. Every HCP I encountered grilled me on my choice. I really didn't want to go into my medical history each time so would simply reply "because I want to," which was met by grim stares or eye rolls.

I simply don't understand why anyone else other than me gives a shit as to how my baby is fed. As other posters said: I'm an adult and perfectly capable of deciding what I want to do with my body and my child. My children are healthy and happy and so please fuck off with your proselytising thank you.

jimijack Sun 08-Dec-13 17:52:20

Creamtea it's such a shame that you feel you have to hide away to bf.

I'm a gobshite and have had very few issues bf outside the house. That said, I am skilled in doing it sneakily so you would never know I'm doing it.

My baby is 11 months now and we both still enjoy it. Get asked ALL the time by friends and family.."isn't it time you packed that in now".
Did I mention I'm a gobshite? grin

BabyMummy29 Sun 08-Dec-13 17:54:31


I was neither rude nor tactless, merely honest (which is what the OP asked for after all)

The thought of having milk leaking out of my boobs and getting them out in public is (to me) disgusting.

You obviously don't agree, but as I said, we are all entitled to our opinion - whether others agree with it or not

Ephiny Sun 08-Dec-13 17:56:52

I absolutely agree, efforts should be focused on supporting those mothers who want to breastfeed but are finding it difficult. Not on preaching to 'encouraging' those who have chosen not to.

coffeeslave Sun 08-Dec-13 17:59:03

I really doubt anyone is saying "breast feeding is disgusting" in general. What those ladies are most likely saying is that they find the idea of breast feeding themselves abhorrent.

Me, I think breast feeding for others is great, knock yourselves out! But I wouldn't do it myself.

duchesse Sun 08-Dec-13 18:00:58

sonly I thought your opening comment sounded rather extremely smuggy as well and I breastfed (for 85 months in total over 4 children, 32 of those months exclusively).

I can only imagine how it came across to people who really struggled to breast feed and then formula fed. Insensitive and pointless would be the kindest descriptions.

MuffCakes Sun 08-Dec-13 18:04:09

I bf the first few feeds an that was that.

No one tells you about bleeding nipples, no one tells you you can buy nipple cream and shields and stuff to help.

Also I wasn't intending to bf, I did want to I wish I knew you could mix feed and it wasn't one or the other. I didnt want to be a milk machine with a babie hanging off my tit 24/7. I also didnt realise you could breast feed babies every 4 hours in a routine like ff.

I would of liked to be able to ff during the day and for someone to take over when I needed a break, and bf during the night feeds.

duchesse Sun 08-Dec-13 18:06:54

And I think "because I find it disgusting" is a perfectly valid reason not to breastfeed.

It's far more interesting to work out why people find this basic biological function disgusting than to take them to task for a perfectly valid opinion.

I maintain that it's far better to feed a baby formula (which is NOT, in any way shape or form, poison!) than to breastfeed resentfully. We have developed a suitable alternative precisely to palliate circumstances in which in more primal times babies would have died.

clairikins Sun 08-Dec-13 18:07:32

I met a lady at the local group who was absolutely against breastfeeding her first and wouldn't even consider it. Then her child ended up in hospital because she had feed it formula. Then she changed her tune. In society we are not allowed to say that bottle feed babies are more sickly because it makes "women feel guilty" even though it's true. And no one will feel as guilty as a woman who child has ended up in hospital due to her decision.

duchesse Sun 08-Dec-13 18:10:09

My last baby was exclusively breastfed for 10 months (by which I mean not even solids before that age), and breastfed until she was 2.5 years old, and she caught every bug under the sun and continues to do so, so that argument don't hold much water.

Some children are just more prone to illness than others.

CoconutRing Sun 08-Dec-13 18:10:13

I desperately wanted to bf my first baby. Sadly I had a traumatic birth with everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I was stunned and in pain, when the morning after my baby was born, a MW pulled my nightgown to one side, grabbed my breast and tried to push my nipple into my son's mouth. He wouldn't feed and I was made to feel a complete failure. I tried a breast pump and I was laughed at by the MW because I couldn't produce any milk. I decided to FF. I then had a procession of MWs and HCPs all trying to make me change my mind.

I don't feel that any HCP should encourage women to either bf or ff. Let mothers make up their own minds.

IMO, HV shouldn't try to offer their opinion on bf or ff. I feel very uncomfortable with HCPs that think that as soon as a woman is pregnant, she loses the right to think for herself or to make her own choices.

HCPs should be there to offer the correct help and advice - if a woman asks for it.

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 08-Dec-13 18:11:38

happylaws, we've sent you a mail.

We're going to be moving this thread into the media/non media requests.


HazleNutt Sun 08-Dec-13 18:12:24

I don't agree that bf mums are not asked why we're not bottle feeding, I get asked if I'm still bf'ing all the time. DS is 5. Months, not years.

What helped me was that I got practical help at the hospital, my boob grabbed and stuffed into baby's mouth. And supportive DH makes a massive difference - if yours is saying it must be your crappy milk's fault the baby is crying, it's certainly easier to switch to formula. so i think it would be helpful to educate men as well.

monicalewinski Sun 08-Dec-13 18:12:24

clairikins - "her child ended up in hospital because she had fed it formula".

What bollocks.

duchesse Sun 08-Dec-13 18:19:44

monica, I thought that!

duchesse Sun 08-Dec-13 18:20:48

Along with "utter made-up anecdotal tripe to give me some kind of vicarious authority upon which to base my opinion".

monicalewinski Sun 08-Dec-13 18:24:05

duchesse grin

Somanychanges Sun 08-Dec-13 18:28:10

I think there are two major factors. One and the most vital is how that person was raised and in turn how they perceived breast feeding.

For example, I was raised in a family of breast feeders so this of course was natural to me. I was very comfortable around people breast feeding and it was not even a choice between breast and bottle for me when my DC were born. I was naturally going to do what I had seen all the woman in my family do. And it wasn't easy my first baby was prem and I had all sorts of difficulties breastfeeding but it wasn't an option in my mind to bottle feed so I persevered.

The second thing which I am not sure can ever really be changed is hands on support. I was lucky that I had been around so many woman breast feeding growing up that I knew exactly what to do. But there are so many new mums that have no idea even if they have read a book or been to a class. Now hospitals chuck mums out within hours of giving birth and you cannot have established breast feeding by then.

Furthermore, when the HV comes around to visit in the following days more hands on support and time spent with the mother (if that's what she wants of course) would help. Well that's my opinion anyway.

Many of my friends have said they really want to breast feed but then have just given up at the first hurdle, either because of the first sign of pain or that they can't handle the amount of feeding and decide to give a bottle for longer periods between feeds. I am not sure anything could have changed their minds they just were not willing to make that temporary sacrifice.

I think breastfeeding is important and I wish everyone would do it. The bond between mother and baby when breastfeeding is like nothing else. However, I also respect that some people genuinely cannot due to certain medical reasons. Also there are those that obviously just don't want to and although I don't understand that myself, I would not judge them at the end of the day now that formula is the norm it's a choice people can easily make.

I am certainly against people being made to feel bad if they don't and when my friends didn't continue it didn't make me think badly of them. I think it's good you want to encourage breast feeding but please don't be one of those HV that are negative towards those who decide not to.

Bubblegoose Sun 08-Dec-13 18:40:35

In society we are not allowed to say that bottle feed babies are more sickly because it makes "women feel guilty" even though it's true.

I'm intrigued. Please show us the stats showing that bottle fed babies are "more sickly".

Actually fuck it - another made up anecdote will do. Am in need of a good laugh.

I wanted to, and managed 4 weeks. It was the most miserable painful 4 weeks ever.
I was sick of messing with my boobs and having strangers messing with my boobs. Nothing would make me reconsider.
I was upset, but I got over it.

clairikins Sun 08-Dec-13 19:36:18

monicalewinski gastroenteritis is practically unheard of in exclusively breastfed babies. FACT

Bubblegoose seriously? you seriously believe that formula is on a par with breast milk.Here is the NHS information on it. Clearly you haven't read up on the benefits of breastfeeding and how it's best for their health (and yours)

"Breastfeeding is good for babies. Breastfed babies have:

less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result
fewer chest and ear infections and having to go to hospital as a result
less chance of being constipated
less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life
less chance of developing eczema"

So yes formula feeding are more likely to make babies ill and they take longer to get better. Formula tries to imitate breast milk but it doesn't have any living cells like antibodies to protect babies from sickness. It's also far higher in iron which plays havoc with their digestive system.

Oh great. a BF/FF debate. Never seen one of those on MN.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Sun 08-Dec-13 19:41:04

There isn't really any need for a debate.

Individual ff babies can be and often are very healthy. I have had a lot of ill health and was ebf. My dad was ff and had one day off sick every decade. Anecdotes are meaningless though, because at a macro, population level, bf results in better health outcomes on average.

The only thing that matters are that people are happy with their choices.

DSs are 14 and 11 now and I never even think about it. Why would I?

stickysausages Sun 08-Dec-13 19:45:14

I breastfed, but we had a very shaky start due to baby being mucousy after birth & showing little interest in feeding. I was given little support in hospital (despite them being a unicef approved hospital) but they still kept us in for five days, obsessing about weight loss. We were ignored, until my husband complained & I got enough support to have a few good feeds & be allowed home.

Honesty would help too from the professionals, it was agony for a while when he latched, cracked bleeding nipples had me in tears & I thought it was going wrong. I now know this is normal!

KingRollo Sun 08-Dec-13 19:46:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NanoNinja Sun 08-Dec-13 19:57:50

I really wanted to bf. Really, really wanted to bf. But, I almost gave up while in hospital because I just wasn't given reassurance that the difficulties I had are normal. I.e. getting a latch takes work, building a supply takes time, amount expressed through pumping takes time to increase. It was a really good community midwife who visited regularly and gave me lots of support and encouragement that made the difference. And also having a supportive DH and a group of friends for whom bf is the norm.

Bubblegoose Sun 08-Dec-13 20:14:22

you seriously believe that formula is on a par with breast milk

Did I say that? I believe I asked for evidence that formula produces 'sickly babies'.

monicalewinski Sun 08-Dec-13 20:17:14

clairikins You are barking completely up the wrong tree FACT

(See, I can do that too - doesn't make people read my rants though, does it??)

This thread is not about the pros and cons of bf/ff, this thread is specifically asking WHY people chose to ff and WOULD anything have made a difference to their decision.

That has NOTHING to do with your responses. FACT!!!

(Capitals rock, I can see why you use them wink)

Bakerof3pudsxx Sun 08-Dec-13 20:18:06

Monica I was about to say that!

Hassled Sun 08-Dec-13 20:19:22

I didn't breastfeed my oldest two, and did breastfeed the youngest two. The difference was entirely down to the additional level of support and encouragement I got with the youngest ones. Someone showed me how to latch them on properly etc.

Sittingbull Sun 08-Dec-13 20:52:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

clairikins Sun 08-Dec-13 20:59:30

Monica Actually I was explaining how someone I knew changed their perspective on breastfeeding after her child was hospitalized in my original post. You started saying that it was nonsense that a baby could be hospitalized because he wasn't breastfeed. I thought this thread was about people changing perceptions. And I believe that if more was known about the effects of formula feeding had on babies they would think more about breastfeeding. You were the one I was talking bollocks, I am not.

clairikins Sun 08-Dec-13 21:01:15

Bubblegoose If formula feed babies are more likely to get ill doesn't that make them more sickly. Oh yes, yes it does.

SantanaLopez Sun 08-Dec-13 21:07:55

If you could have made my husband lactate that would have been great.

ThedementedPenguin Sun 08-Dec-13 21:08:03

clairikins if you don't mind me asking why was the child hospitalised?

clairikins Sun 08-Dec-13 21:09:57


cantthinkofagoodone Sun 08-Dec-13 21:18:28

The question was to ff-ers so if the bf-ers could go away, it will not be a debate.

I would have needed more support and knowledge about what was normal. I gave up at 6 weeks due to exhaustion and my mum encouraging me to do so. Dh wanted me to carry on but ds was feeding hourly all day for the last 2 weeks. Don't know what went wrong really

GinAndaDashOfLime Sun 08-Dec-13 21:22:37

Op please read this book, it is a great collection of stories from across the UK of bad advice given to women who wanted to bf but couldn't. Aim to do everything that the HVs in the book don't!

ugglyboots Sun 08-Dec-13 21:23:12

Honesty. It's hard work but gets easier and can be made to fit around life (by expressing, mixed feeding etc).

There's too much rosy idyllic nonsense around it. You think that if it doesn't work to start with or if you find it hard work or painful you must be a failure.

At the time having to give up BF seemed awful but not now. I have other things to make me feel awful.

Wessex Sun 08-Dec-13 21:24:09

I can understand that someone might be "disgusted" by the thought of breastfeeding. Most people are disgusted by one thing or another that other people do without batting an eyelid. There are degrees of acceptance amongst breastfeeders too. I have seen plenty of breasfeeding women on mumsnet express distaste at natural term breastfeeding.

I wonder if the people who are revolted by it are revolted by other people doing it. I mean I might say I found the taste/smell of formula disgusting (I do) but I am not disgusted by the sight of other people bottle feeding.But it is a very primal sensation and I can understand that some people might not enjoy that (for me the let-down reflex was one of the most amazing physical sensations of my life but I know not everyone enjoys it)

At the end of the day, do as you feel comfortable.

monicalewinski Sun 08-Dec-13 21:24:55


"You started saying that it was nonsense that a baby could be hospitalized because he wasn't breastfeed"

Actually I didn't, I said "What bollocks" in response to your post that said someone's baby nearly died because he was ff.

One of the big things that has come out on this thread (I presume you have read all the posts) is that hcp forcibly 'trying to encourage' someone to change their mind re bf has the opposite effect. I'm 100% convinced that if a hcp used "known about effects formula feeding had on babies" such as "THEY WILL DIE", this will achieve little more than piling more guilt onto a new mother.

The point that has come through clearest is some people just don't want to breastfeed - and a portion of these people will never want to bf.

The posters who said they were on the fence, or could have been persuaded said that increased support and help would have swayed their decision. Knowledge of the not so nice aspects about bf (cracked nipples etc) and advice and guidance on how to deal with this would have helped etc etc.

Someone merely spouting off about how you may harm your baby, or quoting studies etc makes no difference at all at best, can psychologically tip someone over the edge at worst.

clairikins Sun 08-Dec-13 21:32:05

actually I didn't say he "nearly died", I said he was in hospital. Yes I read the thread and yes there needs to be more support. I was pressured time and time again to formula feed my midwives. But because I understood the risks of using formula I was dead against it. I do not want to pile guilt on mothers, but I would like mothers to be aware of the facts. I believe the people who should harbour the guilt should be the health professionals who give little support and crap information

FeastOfPhteven Sun 08-Dec-13 21:32:59

I wanted to with my feisty but I had an horrific labour ending in EMCS and awful PND/PTSD. No help in the hospital from midwives once I gave the first bottle, not even to get some much needed sleep.

Second time around, wanted to breastfed, had ELCS and had help from a lovely MW on the first day. Second day I asked for help as still struggled with latching. MW grabbed my boob and my baby and shoved one onto the other, twice! Went to bottle after that.

Third time round, quite complicated and went straight to bottle because of issues I don't want to discuss.

jerryfudd Sun 08-Dec-13 21:36:00

For whoever up thread asked - I don't find other people bf disgusting, just the thought of me doing it. I've always known there was no way I would ever try.

Flatasawitchestit Sun 08-Dec-13 21:39:32

With my first I couldn't bare the idea of it but my second baby was known to be compromised and the nicu before I had her recommended it so I pumped for 6 weeks, fed via tube / bottle. By my third baby I was a midwife and knowing the health benefits for us both there was no way I couldn't do it. It wasn't about me, it was about the baby.

AureliaDarling Sun 08-Dec-13 21:40:19

I intended to BF but had emcs and received NO help from anyone. Spent first day with sleeping baby in morphine haze. In the middle of the night dd1 was hungry. I tried for ages and ages, got quite upset. Rang bell. Nurse brought back ff dd all happy and asleep. I was so exhausted I didn't care any more. My dsis came in the morning and tried to help. No luck. I sent dh to buy bottles and formula and never thought of it again. No-one in the hospital tried to help me. The HV was happy that dd put on weight and never suggested it either.

AureliaDarling Sun 08-Dec-13 21:46:51

And I was there for 3 days. Looking back it makes me cross. How can you be so holier than thou about BF when NOONE at all takes any time and trouble with you?

GrandOldDukeOfBabies Sun 08-Dec-13 21:47:18

Clairikins you might want to go back and learn GCSE biology - antibodies are not 'living cells'. I can't be bothered to comment on the other rubbish you are spouting, but your lack of scientific understanding as annoyed me. As you were ......

ItStillLooksLikeRainDear Sun 08-Dec-13 21:50:03

Failed miserably twice at bf. limped on with engorged breasts, bleeding & cracked nipples until I could not carry on or continue to put my family through it any longer.

Too much conflicting advice & not enough support. A breast feeding support worker came to see me with second DC. It was a Friday afternoon. I pretty much bawled all over her. She said I was doing it right, I was doing fine, carry on & someone would ring me Monday!

She left I cried some more. I called my friend and she came round & gave DD her first bottle. I couldn't have continued 3 more nights as a was.

ItStillLooksLikeRainDear Sun 08-Dec-13 21:50:48

... And no one did call me back on the Monday or in fact ever again.

alwaysneedaholiday Sun 08-Dec-13 21:54:33

I haven't read the last 2 pages, so not sure if this has been mentioned - apologies if it has.

Family/friend support was absolutely essential for me. DM assumed I would BF (I actually thought it was a pretty revolting idea), so I felt as if I should give it a go. DH was totally supportive, possibly so he could have an easier life!

MIL hadn't BF, but was always encouraging. Most of my friends at least tried.

If you can possibly encourage your ladies to get support from others, I think this will help them through.

I really don't think will all the support in the world I could have carried on. I was so miserable, and I had passed the point of no return. I wanted to put my breasts away and let them heal TBH.
Enough was enough.

SchroSawMummyRidingSantaClaus Sun 08-Dec-13 22:02:00

I'm mix feeding 6mo DS2, he was EBF for a few months but was FF at birth as I was told that I wasn't "allowed" to BF him because he was a bit preemie and they wanted to know exactly how much he was taking and when I asked for a pump, I was then told that you have to wait 60 hours after birth before you can express...

I watched my tiny baby be force fed formula because the MW wasn't happy with how much he had, even though his BM's were fine and he was previously very well. Obviously he threw it straight back up and I was ordered to do it again, I refused and was told I didn't care about my baby. That is the only time his blood sugars were off and it was because of that.

I told them that I would be attempting to BF when I left the hospital and they said that they do not condone it and wouldn't give me any advice.

Home MW's thought all of that was a load of rubbish and we established BFing (with a ton of problems that could have been fixed in hospital, including a tongue tie).

Everyone involved in maternity care needs to be properly educated on BFing facts, not their own views.

Another thing was about 2 weeks after DS2 was born, we needed to take him to the childrens hospital, he was EBF at this point and needed fed, I put a blanket over my shoulder and attempted to feed him and was given dirty looks, tuts and comments by 2 other women waiting. That should never have happened, if you happen to think the way I feed my child is disgusting then keep it to yourself. I wont forget how they made me feel, especially as I had to be moved to another cold room to feed him, they should have moved if they were so offended, this was Yorkhill childrens hospital and I was sitting with a 4lb teeny baby FGS!

There needs to be tons of education (and not just after you become pregnant, straight from primary school) that FF is not the only way to feed a baby and that it is totally normal.

I am out of date as this was 1999 but at ante natal classes it was not mentioned that BF would be anything other than a magical bonding time with your baby.

No mention of the horrors that could happen, the pain, the bleeding etc.

RoadToTuapeka Sun 08-Dec-13 22:06:48

I did want to, did NCT class which was helpful BUT I wish someone had said it can really really hurt from about day 4 to 7, and to bear with it! Also that it can be blooming hard work. I had reflux baby and he had an undiagnosed tongue tie for 6 weeks. I persevered and the only thing that encouraged me to keep on was the breastfeding cafe support run through the health visitors. When that moved to a location I would have had to drive to, I felt so sorry for the mums in my area who might not be able to get there. Lucky for me bf was well established by then so I was not affected. So keeping such services running in more locations that people can get to more easily would help imo.

Much more supportive shop/cafe scheme with sign/stickers saying bf welcome would have been great. Had more than one instance of people glaring/sighing at me & bf friend in a cafe.

With 2nd baby, I needed to see a lactation consultant as baby also had reflux & couldn't deal with fast flow. More times than I can count I was in tears swearing I would give up but free access to the consultant pulled me through. So, access to services like that would help other women I am sure.

whereisthewitch Sun 08-Dec-13 22:08:02

I breastfed my DD for 6 weeks but not exclusively, she got a bottle of formula before bed. I had not been showed how to latch her right so ky nipples were raw and bleeding. I dreaded feeds and felt nothing but resentment for her never ending feeding. After a week if agony I looked up How to latch on YouTube and got it right finally. My nipples healed but the damage to my supply was done. I stoppedafter 6weeks because in the end there was no milk left.

I really struggled with it, I wanted to give dd the best I could and felt id failed her already. It took a long time for those scars to heal. I'm pg with DC2 now and I think this time I will take it one day at a time. The thing that will put me off this time is having to look after a toddler too so sitting for 2 hrs feeding during a growth spurt, or feeding all night doesn't seem like something I want to do. Someone posted a thread somewhere else about how years ago a woman's family helped while she breastfed. I don't have support like that and i think that's a big part of the problem with lack of breastfeeding in modern society. Women who have just given birth, trying to establish bfing yet still expected tobe sole ccarers of older children and run a home. It's too hard.

I don't know what I'll do this time tbh, I guess I'll see when the time comes.

RoadToTuapeka Sun 08-Dec-13 22:10:34

Sorry to add, I had emcs with 2nd baby. Born on a Fri on a v busy weekend so staff were trying to help me establish bf with baby who was in SCBU for 4 days, was v hard tho as understaffed & bf consultant not available weekends! I couldn't get bf going for 3 days or so as a result & nearly gave up. So, better support for women in hospitals & recognition that cs mums may need even more support. Even.if god forbid baby is born on a weekend.

peacefuleasyfeeling Sun 08-Dec-13 22:13:32

Tried to post earlier but phone ate post, so this time will be more succinct. A nifty feature of my weekly antenatal class, which you may be able to emulate in your area, was the (also weekly) postnatal group, attended by the antenatal teacher, which would meet in a cafe to share birthstories and tales of life with their newborns. Those of us still pregnant were actively encouraged to come along to see what life with a baby might look like. There was no imperative to breastfeed, but it appeared to be the method most of these women had chosen. Had I been undecided about how to feed, I really think this may have swayed me; seeing lots of women, just like me, in a public place, doing something which seemed both natural and comfortable. Good peer-to-peer advice for dealing with hurdles and disappointments abounded in a friendly, supportive and lighthearted atmosphere. Because we had been through our antenatal group together (in most cases 20 weeks +) I had come to care deeply for and identify with these women. We still meet weekly 4 years on and most are still breastfeeding in one way or another, whether natural terming, tandem or new siblings. I suppose what I'm saying is that pressurising or guilt-tripping women, or introducing extrinsic motivators won't produce the results you're looking for; but perhaps providing positive real life contexts and a framework for ongoing support before the need to feed arises could have a positive impact? Good luck.

Rollermum Sun 08-Dec-13 22:25:28

I do BF and support was essential. Like a couple of posters I had a long and traumatic induction. My milk didn't come in for a bit and a call to La Leche League was great and confirmed my instincts to wait a bit longer.

In hospital midwives and volunteers spent quite a lot of time helping me find a good position. I have large noobs and the normal positions didn't work.

But it is not just initial support - at 10 weeks I askedy HV to check my latch again because sore nipples had returned. I also called LLL again.

Underlying this was having decided to try everything before giving up - this, and reading on the benefits and techniques beforehand got me through the initial pain and exhaustion and made me ask for help. My latch has probably been checked about 15 times - mostly in hospital (2 days post birth) and the HV since. The fact they all had badges saying 'ask me about breastfeeding' made me feel comfortable doing so.

Finally, yes I still feel awkward in public and think attitudes probably need to change. It needs normalising.

Rollermum Sun 08-Dec-13 22:26:46

Boobs not nobs!

Rollermum Sun 08-Dec-13 22:27:53

Oh FFS - boobs not noobs - that wasn't a bizarre out of context man-jibe.

catellington Sun 08-Dec-13 22:30:31


catellington Sun 08-Dec-13 22:30:57


catellington Sun 08-Dec-13 22:31:17


duchesse Sun 08-Dec-13 22:39:35

tuapeka, I think the hospital plays a huge part, definitely. DD3 was born in a hospital going for "baby-friendly" status. She was subsequently in nicu/scbu for a week on standard scbu protocol including a glucose drip and naso gastric tube as she was too ill to feed. The sc department had expressing rooms and all the systems in place to encourage mothers to express and feed breast milk to even very prem babies. Many babies were discharged breastfeeding from nicu, even ones that had been absolutely tiny on admittance. DD3 was fed the generous amounts of colostrum and milk I was producing through the NG tube, but she wouldn't feed directly from me as a) she had no need to and b)she was too ill.

Despite the fact that she was perfectly adequately fed through the NG tube and I could supply everything she needed, and the fact the hospital was going for baby-friendly status, several nurses were muttering about formula/ parietal feeds. Only DD3's paediatrician of all the staff was at all sensible. He could see that DD3 was distinctly bigger and healthier than the average baby in the nicu, and told the nurses to simply remove her ng tube and wait for her to be hungry. In the end she pulled it out herself (as well as the canulas-one in each hand) so she was flying solo by her own choosing. She took to feeding from me without too much trouble and only gave up reluctantly at 2.5 yo.

All this to say that had the hospital not been aiming for Baby friendly status, quite a few staff members involved in our care would happily and very needlessly and against my express wishes put DD3 onto formula. Had I been less bloody-minded (ie not 41 and her my 4th child) I might easily have given in to that pressure. The environment and help you get are so important. Help has to be sensitively given, non-judgmental, and responsive to what the mother is asking.

vichill Sun 08-Dec-13 22:39:38

The great benefits of breastfeeding are widely known but I would say the common problems and often painful start are not really discussed before the birth. Talk of cluster feeding, little chance of sleeping through, bleeding scabby nipples, engorgement will put off lots of women even starting but when/if they experience the crap side in the early days after going in blindly, they're likely to throw in the towel early anyway. Its a catch 22,give women the warts and all and risk them deciding on formula or just hope they can battle through and trust the milk will come, the baby will get better at feeding and the pain will go. its something you either think is worth the initial horror or not.

stopprocrastinating Sun 08-Dec-13 22:39:53

I love breastfeeding. I had a third degree tear, and three nights in hospital. It was during these days and nights that the midwives helped me with the latch. I didnt mind them grabbing my boobs.

For me, I never bought any bottles or formula, unless there was some medical issue why I couldn't breastfeed - I was breastfeeding. It was really painful and difficult for the first three months, but now ten months on and I love it. Formula wasnt an option.

My SIL is very shy, she had trouble at the start, and rather than pestering her HV/ Midwife, she switched to bottle. My MIL bottle fed and encouraged her daughter to bottle feed. SIL has since regretted it, and planning to bf the second child.

I think HV's could ensure that new mums never feel like they are bothering them..... and that they can be pestered for support. I don't worry about what someone would think of me, but SIL is more sensitive.

teacherwith2kids Sun 08-Dec-13 22:45:40

Time. 1:1, practical, personal time, where the help comes to you not the other way round (I couldn't drive first time round due to emcs, second time round because I was hallucinating through sleep deprivation and afraid that i would fall asleep at the wheel). Childcare at places that offer bf support - how could I attend the bf support clinic if my toddler wasn't able to come too?

OK, I didn't help myself. BF failed first time round after a house move 3 weeks after birth and a transatlantic move 3 weeks later. Second time, we moved 2 weeks before birth, and toddler had life-threatening croup during those 2 weeks. But had someone come to help me, and then after sorting out my latch the first time had come to check up a day or two later, and had recommended somewhere where babe, toddler and i could all go for support, we would have got on a lot better than we did.

superram Sun 08-Dec-13 22:59:42

I will get flamed for this, but I did breast feed. What would have put me off taking advice from you is that, as a health care professional, you don't know the difference between have and of.

Nothing would 'of' made me breast feed. Having support when my baby was actually trying to feed rather than just on their 'rounds' would have been helpful.

VixStarr Sun 08-Dec-13 23:02:25

While pregnant with my first I thought I was leaning more to ff. This was partly because during NCT the bf counsellor told me about the WHO guidelines on bf ( that is you are meant to ebf for 6 months and ideally bf for 2 years) and I thought feck that! As a first time mother/ 'accidentally' I mean poor planning on contraception getting pregnant this just exacerbated my fears of becoming a mum. I was terrified that I would be beholden/tied down in that way.

I do think that HV/midwifes should enquire how you may be planning to feed your child and then give relevant info. If that person wants to give bf a go - give a realistic picture ( problems with latch/growth spurts= more suckling/tongue tie/oversupply/strategies to deal with people who make unhelpful comments) and most importantly stress that if it doesn't work you tried and you and your baby received benefits that can't be measured. this is what my mw did and she gave me this sheet of paper that I could stick up showing me that if I bf for x amount of time - then this benefit could be possibly attained. That piece of paper kept me going and also showed me if I did stop that at least me and the baby benefited - that it wasn't a waste of time.

The second reason that I bf was my mum. Her support was invaluable. She fed me, did my housework, helped me look after DS1 etc so I could just sit and work my supply up. You have to be prepared to sit down and just let the baby suckle and I think that if I was rushing around doing x, y ,z I would have just got frustrated with bf. I am very lucky that I have my mum and fab support. I think that professionals need to recognise that many don't have this network available to them. I think many just assume and think that by just putting a bf support group in an inaccessible area that it will solve that problem. But really you need someone not just to troubleshoot your bf problems you may have but just support you on an everyday basis.

VixStarr Sun 08-Dec-13 23:05:07

But where on earth would Hv get that type of money from?! So really you are back to square one

ClaudiusMaximus Sun 08-Dec-13 23:12:34

Would have
Should have
Could have

Not of.

NipLash Sun 08-Dec-13 23:23:45

Proper, educated support, not myths and shoving of nipples into mouths. Checking ALL babies for tongue tie soon after birth.

I BF both of mine, my first for 15 months, second is 15 months now and still going strong, despite horrific problems with both. What I've written above would have made all our lives easier.

clarinsgirl Mon 09-Dec-13 00:10:13

I bf both DSs (still bf DS2). I think I was incredibly lucky first time around as DS1 was emcs and I was in intensive care for 2 days. I have very little recollection of that time but I do remember the wonderful midwives bringing him to me to feed.

IMHO here are the main barriers to breastfeeding:
1. The utter shite and inconsistent 'information' peddled by HCPs and well meaning family and friends.
2. The insistence on the necessity to bf and push towards it rather than a focus on ensuring good, clear consistent information is available for mums to make their own informed choice.
3. The marketing of formula milk companies suggesting that ff is the 'natural' choice.

The situation would be improved if HCPs were better educated, stopped preaching and started listening.

There needs to be some clear, simple factual information readily available to new parents explaining what to expect if you bf/ff and the benefits.

I think if properly supported, properly informed and not judged or coerced, more mums would chose to bf and would bf for longer.

Honest answer, after trying to feed DS before giving up and moving to FF, would be someone else BFing for me.

I'm going to attempt to BF with DC2 just because of the benefits and the lack of cost, but I am honestly dreading it and would rather not. Suspect I will only do it long enough for DC2 to get the colostrum and then change to FF (with a huge sense of relief). I don't think there is anything anyone could say or do to change that.

GrandOldDukeOfBabies Mon 09-Dec-13 06:30:17

There seems to be a lot of people
Who bf coming on making assumptions about why people ff. The OP asked about people who didn't bf at all, not people who love bf!! I was not brain washed by advertising, suffered lack of support from HV, MIL, DH etc. I made an informed choice and don't regret my decision. Yes, I agree support is what is needed to get those women who want to bf but may give up, but some women, believe it or not, are happy with their choices. My SIL ebf and is on her knees with tiredness. I eff and felt well rested and happy, felt my relationship with DH got stronger as we were a team, DD is the happiest most contented baby I know and I'm very happy with my choice to ff.

colleysxmasmillofcheer Mon 09-Dec-13 07:49:26

First time round was a disaster despite being in hospital for a week. The ward was really busy and I felt I was constantly asking for either help or painkillers (emcs) It was so busy neither came particularly timely.

After 4 days of saying i was worried about the latch and trying shields, cup feeding and everything else we hadn't had a wet/dirty nappy. panic descended along with talk of ng feeding. We tried a bottle and that was enough to get ds to stop sucking his tongue which I think was the problem (although noone ever confirmed that)

This time round it would be support in terms of signposting to information on medication and bf. Despite asking the "are you going to bf" question noone has been able to answer my query or even point me in the direction of where to find the answer. In terms of support Mn has been better at this than all the midwives I've seen and maybe that's the crux. Most of my care is done at the hospital out patients where I haven't seen the same midwife twice so there's noone following through on the care.

Mishmashofstyles Mon 09-Dec-13 09:35:04

I think women face tons of pressure to use formula, and the only way to successfully breastfed is to be really stubborn and contrary.

Mishmash I found it the other way around, loads and loads of pressure to BF, had to be stubborn in order to FF.

jerryfudd Mon 09-Dec-13 10:11:25

I ddint have any pressure to ff at all - I just didn't want to bf so am grateful that I had the option of ff

Rollermum Mon 09-Dec-13 10:12:55

It seems that in the face of HVP pressure women need to be firm

Rollermum Mon 09-Dec-13 10:17:47


Re be contrary I think it happens for FF and EBF. For people to go straight to formula they need to be firm in the face of HCP who advocate BF.

But many who start off BF have a slide into FF when they face problems. An element of determination here means finding support etc to carry on.

HCP can affect this - eg advising to 'top up' with formula when Mums are clear they want to BF.

NotmyusualNN Mon 09-Dec-13 10:34:33

Just echoing what others have said but I believe that the first step to success is correctly identifying and differentiating between mothers who may wish to try bf but are struggling and those who have no inclination, perhaps due to medical reasons, and for whom constant "encouragement" would be seen as harassment and likely to result in avoiding seeking help for other issues due to fear of The Lecture.

I recently wrote on another thread about my childhood abuse experiences and how I have an absolute aversion to bf as a result. The descriptions on this thread of women having their boobs grabbed in order to help makes me feel sick with fear. I don't need extra counselling to encourage me to bf or to be made to feel that I am the one at fault, rather than the abuser at the root of the problem, for continuing to be affected in this way. I would like to be supported as a mother in all aspects of parenting and be able to have an open discussion with HVs without judgement or having to justify my stance. I would like the resources pushed on me to help convince me to give it a try to instead be diverted to the women who need and want the help - this thread proves there is huge disparity between those who have asked for assistance and not received any support and those who have the bf message pushed constantly despite having already made up their minds. There will never be 100% bf rate in new mothers but the numbers can be increased if help is directed through the appropriate channels to those who need it.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Mon 09-Dec-13 10:49:53

Colley, for questions about medication and bf excellent info is available from a specialist pharmacist who has done a phd on medication passing into breastmilk. Her name is Wendy Jones and she runs the Breastfeeding Network's 'Drugs in Breastmilk' line.

There is also a special medical textbook called Thomas Hale's 'Medications and Mother's Milk' - your local La Leche League group should have a copy and their helpline will be able to tell you where you can access it.

monicalewinski Mon 09-Dec-13 10:52:25

YY Not

"the first step to success is correctly identifying and differentiating between mothers who may wish to try bf but are struggling and those who have no inclination, perhaps due to medical reasons, and for whom constant "encouragement" would be seen as harassment and likely to result in avoiding seeking help for other issues due to fear of The Lecture"

That's it in a nutshell - the hcp need to ask, and then listen. There is no listening done, just a series of tick boxes - if they listened to the response they could go 3 ways:

1. Ok, you want to ff and that's that - what do you need to know about ff? Any questions, just ask.

2. You're not sure? well, how about going along to x/y/z group of mums who can let you know all about their experiences with both types of feeding. Are you not sure because you have fears? Is there anything I can do to help address those fears?

3. Ok, you want to bf - well this is all the info (the good and the bad, not just a bunch of 'benefits'); if you ever need a question answered, don't be worried about bothering me, that's why I'm here.

etc etc

If we were treated like adults and listened to, life would be so much easier!

Lifeisaboxofchocs Mon 09-Dec-13 11:12:11

My DM did not breastfeed my siblings and i. She has passed away now. So i will nver know for sure why she didnt, but knowing how glamerous and organised she was, i dont think it probably fit in with her personality.

my siblings amd i have very strong immune systems amd have done very well, academically and professionally.

i bf both mine. It has made me sad for my DM that she never experienced the awesomeness that is breastfeeding.

clarinsgirl Mon 09-Dec-13 19:44:11

Grandold - bf mothers get shit advice too. We are not discussing the rights and wrongs of breast feeding, just how more mums may be encouraged to do so. Of course there will be mums who make the informed choice not to and that is fine too. Sadly in my experience that is not the norm, many mums feel pressured and get conflicting and poor advice. I stand by my post and my view is still valid even though I bf.

Rollermum Mon 09-Dec-13 20:21:49

Monica is absolutely right. I got 'The Lecture' even though I said yes, I planned to BF. That did make it feel tick box-y.

Orangeteddy Tue 10-Dec-13 19:29:17

I intended to bf but DS struggled to latch and lost 12% of his body weight in the first 3 days. Midwife told me they would take him back to hospital unless i gave him formula to get his weight up.

I bought a breast pump and started expressing instead but found it difficult to keep up when DS just wanted to be held all the time so eventually turned to formula.

HV didnt seem that interested tbh in how i was feeding as long as DS's weight was ok. So whilst i didn't feel any pressure from her, there also wasn't any support. No one ( mw, hv, breastfeeding support from hospital or NCT) mentioned tongue tie. I read about it on here and it was eventually confirmed in DS when we paid for him to be seen privately. Unfortunately by that time he was too used to the bottle teat to go back to breast. However, if tt had been diagnosed and snipped in hospital, i may be bf now still.

I know there are bf support groups but when you are recovering from an EMCS and can hardly walk in the first few days let alone get out the house, you really need the support to come to you.

I agree with not putting pressure on mums to bf but i do think there should be better support for those who want to try to. The NCT course i went on made it seem so easy whereas more recognition of the potential difficulties and how to overcome them would be far more useful.

Nishky Wed 11-Dec-13 06:38:02

orangeteddy I agree with you- my dd was admitted to hospital at 7 day due to weight loss. I wanted to bf but knew nothing at all about it and was just flummoxed when it didn't work.

If there had been support I may have got through. Or if Mumsnet had been available I may have done it!

theyoniwayisnorthwards Fri 13-Dec-13 19:51:28

I think it would help to normalise breastfeeding by having pictures and examples (not cartoons or diagrams) of real women doing it, Publicly. My mother Breastfed but found it hard and kept telling me not to worry if I couldn't but I read everything I could during the pregnancy and was determined. Breastfeeding is really hard at first and then becomes dramatically easier but I had no idea what was normal, how often a newborn feeds or what normal weight gain is for bf babies. I wish that had been spoken about before baby was born. The second time I was less anxious and it's easier.

Recently in a shopping centre and saw a very 'cool' looking young woman, nice clothes and hair, surrounded by friends and laughing and she whipped out a boob completely unselfconsciously and fed her baby. Sad as it is, that made me feel better about feeding mine in public that day, which made me think about how important it is to normalise it with example. I feel embarrassed sometimes feeding in public but I fake nonchalance and I hope I'm helping to make the sight of a woman nursing unremarkable.

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