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why is there so much pressure to breast feed??

(588 Posts)
blondebaby111 Sun 30-Jun-13 18:34:01

Just that really??!!! At my first midwife app it was thrown In my face abit when I said I wasn't sure yet if I would but I'd feel more comftable doing both. Why are you made to feel like its such a crime. I'm only 12 weeks so have alot more appointments where this will be brought up.

I have friends who have breastfed and have had miserable babies that rarely settle, they are completely flustered with it and some verge on pnt because of all the pressure. Yet the friends that haven't breastfed or done both seem to have happy babies, they are a lot more happier in themselves and generally just so relaxed. So my views are mixed on this.

I don't want to start a debate but I just wish we could all make our minds up without midwives frowning or thinking its bad if we choose not too....just saying!!!

V difficult with dd1 gave up at 7/8 weeks. Felt awful.

Easy with dd2. Apart from the fact that she didn't sleep for more than 2 hours in a row until at nine months I went cold turkey on bf with her. She then slept through the night and I slowly reversed by sleep deprivation lobotomy.

If I have a third it will have a 7pm bottle from day 1 and I v much doubt there would be any bf at all going on past week 11/12.

Both my bf made me miserable in different ways.

Writerwannabe83 Fri 05-Jul-13 18:55:50

It is so nice to read all these threads - all wanting to help each other instead of arguing, lol smile

I was always determined about putting in some kind of post-natal support for the women in my catchment area and now I feel even more strongly about it.

As soon as I get into the office on Monday I'm going to contact the Breast Feeding Co-ordinator and get the ball rolling!!!!

lurcher -- we tried, I think last year or the year before, to get MN to do a campaign for postnatal care. We had long threads of women supporting it but it didn't go anywhere. I imagine they see it as a nonstarter.

midori -- I respect your experience, but it seems to me that if we take the line that we should rely on evidence and data, not anecdote, then we need to look at whatever data we have on why women stop BF, which sounds like it suggests lack of postnatal support as a primary factor.

noblegiraffe Fri 05-Jul-13 14:15:20

I have successfully ebfed two children, but I think I could very easily have failed in different circumstances.

With my first, I had an EMCS and DS wouldn't latch on. I really struggled. However, as I had an EMCS I was in hospital for several days (ended up a week due to DS infection). It was a Baby Friendly hospital and every member of staff was trained in breastfeeding. Every time I tried to feed, I rang a bell and someone came to help. I got support expressing into a syringe and feeding that way, and an excellent midwife eventually managed to get DS to latch on. I was told how to spot myself if his latch was incorrect (dimples, clicking noises, correct jaw movement) and was supported to correct problems myself. Formula was never mentioned. After three days I was no longer ringing the bell.

With my second, 3 years later, I had an ELCS. The hospital seemed busier and support less available, but I knew what I was doing with the latch as I was experienced. DD also had problems, but I knew to express into a syringe. MN also was a great source of information. DD was very sleepy and I knew I had to wake her to feed from MN. She lost too much weight but the midwives supported me in feeding her without sending us to hospital as they said it was obvious I knew what I was doing, and that DD would get there, she was healthy, alert and eating, just sleepy and not eating regularly enough. We were monitored with weight and signed off when she regained birth weight.

It could have been different. When DS wouldn't latch I could have been told to give formula. When DD lost weight, I could have been told to give top-ups, I could have been sent to hospital and had my confidence undermined.

But both times it was fine. I was very lucky with my hospital and midwife care.

Wuxiapian Fri 05-Jul-13 14:13:50

You make the best decision for you!

I so wanted to breastfeed both my sons - it lasted 1 week with my 1st and 3 days with my baby.

I have to say, my eldest is very, very rarely ill and no problems with baby so far. A girlfriend's bf baby has recurring ear infections.

This is a very small sample pot, admittedly.

I'm now pregnant again with DC3 and, again, will attempt breastfeeding, but won't feel guil if it doesn't work out.

All the best! Do what you feel's best for you and baby when the time comes.

ExpatAl Fri 05-Jul-13 14:13:10

With what I read on this site about women leaving hospital often the same day they give birth I'm not surprised ff is popular. Here in Belgium you don't leave until your baby has started gaining a certain amount of weight and so you have the support actually in hospital and then with the MW support visiting you afterwards.

midori1999 Fri 05-Jul-13 13:56:43

I'm not sure how I can be 'judgy' when I have FF myself... hmm

I do accept that help on antenatal wards can be a problem, our hospitals both have very good infant feeding advisors, but they are over stretched. Currently we are hoping that peer supporters will soon be able to go into the hospitals to help new Mums get BF started if they wish to breastfeed. Some hospitals already do this. The obvious advantage of this is, although the help a peer supporter can give is limited, they will be there for the sole purpose of BF support.

You're right, of course, about the reason women no longer respond to texts or calls when they have stopped breastfeeding, which is a shame, as part of the role would be, for example, to try and give help and support with mixed feeding or support in drying milk up, avoiding mastitis, where to go for help if that happens etc.

Amazinggg Fri 05-Jul-13 13:41:53

Midori - it was literally the first 48hrs on the postnatal ward that scuppered my chances of breastfeeding - I think that peer counsellors should complement an already robust and comprehensive in-house support system. If a peer supporter had wanted to visit me and texted say 2 days after I'd got home, I probably would have ignored it - I would be too ashamed to respond and explain I'd moved to FF. And fwiw you do sound quite judgy of this - like it was an easy decision.

midori1999 Fri 05-Jul-13 13:21:07

I don't think it's as simple as providing better post natal support tbh.

I'm a peer supporter and in my area new Mums are offered a peer supporter both antenatally (and they will probably have met one of us at the infant feeding session of their antenatal classes) and then within a few days of coming home. What we find is that after the initial contact, many Mums then do not respond to texts etc and then it's later found out that was because they had switched to FF. The peer support service here is quite extensive in that we have been trained to check and asses a latch, so can visit new Mums at home and give them help with that. It would also include things like going out with a new Mum if she was nervous about feeding in public and wanted support and support by text or phone too or only if the Mum prefers that. There's no doubt the service does help some Mums, but I think the majority don't want support when things don't go really well or they feel their baby is demanding, they simply want to switch to formula. That's obviously their choice, but I think until there is a shift in cultural views, breastfeeding rates are unlikely to increase massively.

Amazinggg Fri 05-Jul-13 13:10:07

I would sooo be up for an MN campaign for better postnatal care focused on bf.

But it's £££ isn't it... not sure now's re time politically.

I just find it personally really difficult to sit back on these threads where 'breast is best' is endlessly spouted without any call to action other than bombarding pregnant women with more information - translated by a good many as pressure. It's like being shoved towards something then the pushing stops and so do you - when what would be more useful would be hand-holding throughout. No to pressure, yes to support.

lurcherlover Fri 05-Jul-13 13:05:36

Is there a potential Mumsnet campaign in this? Could we harness the power of Mumsnet to persuade the Dept of Health to take action? Anyone from MNHQ reading??

Wow, that sounds amazing!

Here in France, women tend to stay in hospital much longer after even straightforward births -- my two SILs stayed in 5 days, until BF was well established. They had private rooms, their partners could stay much longer. At night the nurses were willing to take care of their babies so they could rest, and they would bring them for feeds. They had BF support workers.

Needless to say my postnatal experience in London was not quite so rosy!

It's actually not rocket science on what really needs to be done to improve BF. It's better postnatal support. But there's no money or political will to do anything about that, so instead we all get distracted with these debates about BF and FF and just tear each other up. We should all be directing this energy at the people in power and making them actually do something about it. Not just more brochures but actual support!

Amazinggg Fri 05-Jul-13 12:54:03

According to La Leche League the Netherlands have a similar rate of women who start off bf, but a much better continuation rate.

Found this interesting article (on an expat website) on Netherlands maternity care, which says:

"There is a logical explanation for the short post natal care in Dutch hospitals; kraamzorg. This is a maternity care assistant and the envy of many a woman outside of Holland. This type of maternity care is pretty much unique to The Netherlands. For at least a week after the birth professional help is on hand. During a home birth the maternity care assistant supports the midwife and after a hospital birth the maternity care assistant is on your doorstep within hours of leaving hospital. If your baby is born at night expect an overnight stay in hospital as the kraamzorg service is not available after hours.

Kraamzorg duties range from care for the new mother and infant, light household duties, guidance on breast feeding and baby care and looking after other family members (such as other children). For expatriates away from their support network this assistance can prove invaluable."

envy

MrsOakenshield Fri 05-Jul-13 12:41:27

yy to postnatal support. There has to be a reason why so many women stop so soon. And there has to be a reason why countries such as (I think) Holland and Denmark, which have (again, I think) fairly similar social make-ups to Britain, have a majority of women breastfeeding for much longer. Sorry, that's an awful sentence!

x-post

Agree again! Evidence is not strategy.

I totally agree, Amazinggg.

This is why I think you really need to start differentiating within the target audience, and within local populations.

The idea to have more antenatal education seems to me like a shop spending all its time getting customers in the door, completely neglecting them once they're inside, and then wondering why nobody is buying very much.

If we're going to focus on data, not anecdote, then it doesn't matter if there are some women out there who don't want to BF because it's icky, what matters are those 83% who have bought your message but then have problems implementing it. That's where you need to focus.

Amazinggg Fri 05-Jul-13 12:20:28

The point being, these women wanted to bf, they had initiated it, they had tried to make it work but had failed and were using formula. If they had chosen to use formula and were happy with it, all well and good - but they had wanted to continue bf but didn't have the necessary support.

Making it about how breastfeeding is superior to formula, and pumping funds into educating women about it, isn't working. It might be a truefact but it's not an effective strategy.

Amazinggg Fri 05-Jul-13 12:17:33

"National surveys find that three- quarters of mothers who give up breastfeeding before 6 months say they wanted to continue for longer. The reasons given for ending breastfeeding early by the great majority of mothers relate to problems, such as insufficient milk or pain during feeding, which would be avoided or solved if they had received better support."

I declare an interest as someone who works in statistics - but really, the numbers tell you exactly where money and time should be spent. Not on antenatal education, but on practical help and support for new mothers from day one.

Champagnebubble Fri 05-Jul-13 12:09:59

Hully, thank you smile I am sure you are a nice person, I absolutely didn't mean to offend you. Went to a midwife appt this morning and she mentioned BF and I had to smile. She probably had no idea what I was grinning at grin

Amazinggg Fri 05-Jul-13 12:06:13

From the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative link

83% of women in England breastfeed at birth. By six weeks, it has fallen to 24% (exclusive bf) and at three months, to 17%.

Please, Writer and anyone else with power to effect change - focus your efforts on postnatal support. The vast majority of women want to, intend to and start off breastfeeding. All the pressure/education/informing of the tiny minority of women who don't intend to bf, is time and money which statistically (and strongly in my experience too) should be spent postnatally.

rallytog1 Fri 05-Jul-13 12:04:53

In the current economic climate I'm surprised the message about how much money you could save by bf isn't being emphasised more. If you showed someone how much it costs to ff for six months I think that would be a compelling argument for many people - just imagine what you could buy, or what debt you wouldn't need to incur etc etc.

I am shocked by how much money ff is costing us. We don't have a choice in our particular set of circumstances but I think it would be an encouraging message to those who do have a choice.

Oh, and YYY to more support and education for dads. I was really lucky in that DH was extremely supportive of my efforts to bf but I know others who didn't get that same support at home.

Yes, no offence to anyone, but I don't really expect the NHS to be so organised as to implement a multi-group strategy. But maybe local groups could, or external networks?

It would even be helpful for groups trying to allocate scarce resources. Let's say you're a support group working in a particular area, focusing on a local population. Hopefully you could access enough data to determine that 80% of the women you are targeting are, for example, Group A. So you can focus your scarce resources on antenatal education. Whereas if most of the women are Group C, you can put more resources into developing postnatal support.

Or maybe it could help collaboration -- you could work with other people in a local area and divvy up the groups, so one of you targets Group A people and another targets Group D, etc.

lurcherlover Fri 05-Jul-13 10:59:55

Dreaming, I think you're on to something there with your approach of differentiation depending on the mother's circumstance.

It would, however, require a certain amount of pragmatism I've not really seen in the NHS. For example, at my baby weighing clinic, we used to undress the babies on changing mats on tables. There was an incident in the authority (not even at this clinic) where a baby fell on the floor, so now, we have to put the mats on the dirty floor and kneel down to undress our babies, because woe betide it should happen again. It's not occurred to them that they could just put signs up reminding people to please not leave babies unsupervised on the changing tables. The NHS is rather fond of tarring everyone with the same brush and treating us all the same, so whether it's capable of introducing an individualised approach or not...

Hullygully Fri 05-Jul-13 10:52:38

It isn't because I found it easy, amazingg, I don't think well, I did it so so should everyone else.

I was just answering the original question as to why people are encouraged/ "pressured"

I do know some people can't or struggle for all different reasons.

Amazinggg Fri 05-Jul-13 10:44:11

Noble - it comes down to motherhood and femaleness in general - everyone judges everyone else and you can't do anything right.

I figure the little ones come out as perfect, heavenly beings and our job as mums is just not to fuck them up too much.

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