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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!!!

Signet2012 Sun 30-Jun-13 18:36:29

You do what you want to.

I bf and still do at ten months. I love it and took to it easily which I'm thankful for.

Had that not been the case I wouldn't of had a moments hesitation before giving a bottle of formula.

There are pros and cons of each.

Only you can decide what you want to do.

The best thing you can do is speak to as many people as you can, read as much as you can, ultimately wait and see how you feel after the birth Then go from there.

meditrina Sun 30-Jun-13 18:37:51

It's wrong if you feel pressured.

But if you look at the reasons - even if only in terms of health and cost - it is an extremely strong case.

Dackyduddles Sun 30-Jun-13 18:38:49

Jolly good. If your just saying. No idea why you are telling me?

Tbh you are bu. I suspect just trying to start a fight and y'know, it's nicer to debate something. Fwiw the only pressure is what you put on yourself. Chill a bit eh? Got a long way to go yet.....

MrsHuxtable Sun 30-Jun-13 18:38:54

Because it offers short and long term health benefits to babies that last into adulthood and it's the professionals' job to promote what is best for your baby.

That doesn't mean you have to follow their advice but surely you understand why they have to give it. There are many, many pregnant women who do not know the benefits of breastfeeding and think formula is just as good.

Many women have good experiences with breastfeeding and I think you can't claim they all have miserable babies.

noblegiraffe Sun 30-Jun-13 18:41:18

I'm exclusively bfing an exceptionally happy baby who settles wonderfully and I am very relaxed. Baby's temperament is usually unrelated to feeding method IME.

Bunbaker Sun 30-Jun-13 18:45:10

As a healthcare professional a midwife has to advise you on what is best for you and your baby. Your friends' experiences are merely anectdotal. Yes, breastfeeding is hard to start with, but once you have mastered it, it is a lot less of a faff than sterilising bottles, making up feeds, worrying about heating bottles when out and about etc. And it is free.

That said, I wouldn't judge anyone for not wanting to do so - as long as they are making an informed choice, and not one out of ignorance

IceNoSlice Sun 30-Jun-13 18:46:20

Can I suggest you have a bit of a read on here (try the breast feeding and bottle feeding topic) for past bf/ff debates. You will see a lot of the points of view put forward there.

I would also suggest finding a flame proof coat as this topic always gets heated!

bigkidsdidit Sun 30-Jun-13 18:47:12

Because the NHS wants everyone to breastfeed as it has health benefits for the baby and for you so in the long term saves money as well as improving everyone's health

BeanoNoir Sun 30-Jun-13 18:50:28

I think part of having kids is accepting that if you allow yourself to, you are going to feel judged about many of your parenting decisions. You need to access all the information you can and then make an informed decision.

I don't think your decision should be based on thinking breastfeeding meaning miserable mums and babies though. That's completely different to my experience of it.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sun 30-Jun-13 18:51:28

Because it offers short and long term health benefits to babies that last into adulthood and it's the professionals' job to promote what is best for your baby.

Bollocks. My dd1 was breastfed for 10 days, after which I stopped for my own sanity. I hated it and she began to cry whenever she came near me. It really got me down and I wish I had been brave enough to say 'No, I don't want this'. She's the healthiest kid I know and had her first cold at 13 months.

Dd2 breastfed for seven months. We both took really well to it and I really enjoyed it with her. Don't know why it felt so different to dd1. However she's had colds all her life and is the snottiest kid I know. Her diet is also much fattier and more carbohydrates than dd1's. Don't know if it's linked.

These days there's so much argument for and against breast and bottle that it really doesn't matter. Both have their pros and cons. You really have to just do whatever you feel most happiest and most comfortable with. Just make up your own mind and don't listen to people that want to pressure you into their way of thinking.

Because it has massive health benefits for you and baby....also, saves money, for you and for the NHS due to long term health benefits which will cost the NHS to treat later in your child's life and yours.

Why would you expect them not to try and get you to at least try it.

I agree with noble, the temperament is not just down to the way you feed at all. My LO is very happy always smiling and laughing and has been breastfed for 12 months.

Surely it's worth a try?!

Ra88 Sun 30-Jun-13 18:52:17

I am 10 weeks and had this at my first appointment too . I may be flamed but o well!... I have no intention of BF , none at all, but when my midwife asked I said I will decide when baby comes along , just to shut her up because they may not realise but they do put the pressure on.

this is my second child and my dd was FF , she is very clever, confident, healthy, beautiful and growing very well !

BeanoNoir Sun 30-Jun-13 18:54:07

You don't seem to have very mixed views from your op. but you do seem like you need to think of breastfeeding as a bad thing. Is it really that clear cut that all the unsettled babies and miserable mums you know all breastfed, and all the people you know who formula fed have had happy babies and none of them have felt down at all??? You don't know any exceptions?

MrsHuxtable Sun 30-Jun-13 18:54:16


You are talking "bollocks".

Just because your DD is healthy doesn't mean the research is wrong. You know, there are lifelong smokers who don't get cancer and it is still a very real risk. It's a really stupid argument.

ThirdTimesABrokenFanjo Sun 30-Jun-13 18:54:29

because its much much better for the child and the UK has an appalling bf rate?

this feels like you want a bunfight though

twinklyfingers Sun 30-Jun-13 18:55:47

I wouldn't get hung up on your friend's babies being settled or unsettled, I have known the opposite, I think it's just different personalities.

My issue with hcp attitude to bf is that, possibly in an effort to encourage more people to bf, I don't think they give enough info about how tough it can be in the early days and this leads to be people getting stressed when its painful, takes hours and hours etc. People then think these things aren't normal then opt for formula. I'm not saying this is the only reason people ff, but I do think this type of situation is one where hcps could help more.

Of course no one should feel pressure to bf or continue to bf - I didn't, I wanted to bf. I also told myself if it was too tough I would stop and not put that pressure on myself. After yourself, it doesn't really matter who puts pressure on you as it's your body and your baby - you decide.

Longfufu Sun 30-Jun-13 18:56:13

You need to do what is right for you really, I personally feel the health benefits to mum and baby means it's worth giving it a try, and seeking help when needed because quite frankly it is difficult.

I found BF very difficult (One of my nipples is inverted) but I was given a leaflet which basically told me the benefits for each week that I Breastfed and this spurred me on to bf for 3 months (I know for many this isn't very long but for me I'm proud that I tried and did this long). DS 2 is due soon and I'm going to try again.

This topic gets very heated so I'd get your hard hat on grin

MrsHuxtable Sun 30-Jun-13 18:56:40

Anyway, I'm backing out of this discussion now because it's all a bit pointless. There are enough threads on this already.

If women don't want to breastfeed, they don't need to but don't blame the HCP for giving out information.

Bunbaker Sun 30-Jun-13 19:00:03

"My issue with hcp attitude to bf is that, possibly in an effort to encourage more people to bf, I don't think they give enough info about how tough it can be in the early days and this leads to be people getting stressed when its painful, takes hours and hours etc. People then think these things aren't normal then opt for formula."

I agree twinklyfingers. DD used to cluster feed in the evenings and I felt that I wasn't feeding her correctly. I wish someone had told me at the time it was normal.

RescueCack Sun 30-Jun-13 19:00:20

Because it's normal. It's what is supposed to happen. Obviously, for the situations where for whatever reason it doesn't work out, thank God for formula - it beats starvation. But really, you can't HONESTLY say you don't understand the pressure from health professionals, can you? Given that the pressure from manufacturers has done such a number on us all thinking it's an irrelevant and equal choice.

I'm not trying to be rude, but having formula fed 2 and breastfed 1, it wasn't until I understood about nutrition and the reasons why humans now eat the way we do that it was obvious. I don't feel guilty about FF my first 2, because I didn't know any better. Your midwife is trying to arm you with facts now, rather than when you are shattered and trying to get a newborn to latch on at 3am.

BeanoNoir Sun 30-Jun-13 19:00:53

I think it's such a heated topic because, in addition to people who formula feed feeling pressured to bf, people who breastfeed can also feel pressure to justify why they're doing it. So everyone ends up feeling a bit attacked. Tbh I don't think ops like this help, it's made me go a bit defensive about bf and it not making me miserable or my dd unsettled. Which has kind of steered me away from answering the question asked in the op.

But, yes, I'd imagine a midwife will always try and let you know the health benefits of breastfeeding, both for mother and baby.

blondebaby111 Sun 30-Jun-13 19:04:02

I might actually delete this thread if I can, I was just honestly saying and no I don't have any exceptions, every mum I know that breastfed found it harder but that's just my opinion, I wasn't breastfed and I hardly had a day off school sick and I'm rarely ill now yet my brother was breastfed and was just the opposite. I think most of these statistics are made to make the health proffession seem right, they never give u the statistics for ff babies do they.
Dackdoodles, yes I do have a long way to go, I'd never have guessed and I'm rather chilled thanx shock

Bunbaker Sun 30-Jun-13 19:09:01

I think most women find it hard to begin with. I found it extremely hard.

I could feel my uterus contracting when DD fed. I was back into my pre-pregnancy jeans when she was 3 weeks old, thanks to breastfeeding.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sun 30-Jun-13 19:09:42

Sorry MrsHux but I speak from personal experience, I'm not making it up. Dd1was hardly breastfed at all and is never ill. Dd2 was breastfed and has had so many colds she's actually been ill. Sorry if I buck the trend. I can't agree that it has proven health benefits because for me, it doesn't.

However it was nice at the time and everyone should at least try it once.

twinklyfingers Sun 30-Jun-13 19:10:49

Ok OP it's fine if you don't want to bf. We don't care if you do or don't.

But don't take your anecdotal evidence and spout it as fact about bf and ff. The actual facts and evidence on this are very clear if you'd care to do the research.

If you do some research youll see why it is recommended. Lower risk of hospitalisation from gastroenteritis, lower risk of bronchiolitis, some longer term benefitss for mother and baby. Free and in some ways easier.

Ilove do you not get that a lower risk does not equal no risk? That one negative "result" does not disprove the theory. Some people who have never smoked get lung cancer and some people who smoke don't. Does that mean smoking doesn't cause lung cancer?

MrsHuxtable Sun 30-Jun-13 19:15:16

Ilove you just make yourself sound more stupid than you probably are. You're repeating again that you're talking about your own experience, not proven statistics. You might be right in your case but one anecdote does not equal evidence.

Breastfeeding is right for some mothers and wrong for others. Statistically though, it does offer mothers and children some protection from a lot of health issues. And that's a fact!

Unless HCP and scientists in the whole world are in on some sort of conspiracy because they want women to breastfeed. hmm

SugarandSpice126 Sun 30-Jun-13 19:16:58

Blondebaby that's because breastingfeeding can be extremely difficult, but that doesn't mean you should stop straight away. So in that way, of course it's a lot harder than getting a bottle of formula.

Anecdotes (eg I wasn't and I'm never ill, or I was and I'm always ill) are never a good means of measuring, because there is no way of comparing how the same child would cope with AND without, because you only have one life! Every child is different, and might be more prone to some illnesses or have a particularly good immune system anyway. And there is no great conspiracy of "made up statistics"...

meditrina Sun 30-Jun-13 19:17:59

In UK, the water supply is safe; electricity generally works; and most people are literate enough to read the instructions to make up formula feeds of modified cows' milk safely. We are therefore lucky that the differences are slight, indeed outliers are overlapping.

But if you want to play the odds, breast is healthier and cheaper; and it's a heck of a lot less faff.

TotallyBursar Sun 30-Jun-13 19:18:05

Really? hmm

We all know anecdotes beat the shit out of science.
Seriously I don't care what you do but you have a lot of choices to make from now on for the health and wellbeing of your child.
You can't make an informed choice if you can't understand the studies and information that build the argument on each side - the hcps you speak to are valuable in delivering the information and NICE guidelines to people that can't be arsed or aren't able to educate themselves about their choices.

Also 'you never see' yes you do, if you look. The hcp will be giving information based on clinical study - their agenda is increasing health outcomes and quality of life which, adjunctively, will save the NHS millions of pounds leading to better investment in other areas, ergo more positive outcomes.
You said in your op you don't understand - did you ask the MW to expand on her position so you could? No. Just came here and moaned about agendas.

mamapants Sun 30-Jun-13 19:19:20

Why would you want it deleted because people have only answered your question telling you their personal experience.

I've breastfed for 11months and counting and my baby is famous for being smiley and happy.
I would always advocate giving it a go because after the first 3 days it has been so easy and convenient and lovely as well as being the healthier option so well worth a go in my opinion.
Its worth knowing the benefits and a bit about the difficulties you might experience at the beginning.

MoominsYonisAreScary Sun 30-Jun-13 19:20:10

I absolutely hated it for the first 8 weeks this time around, I have never been so miserable than I was at times, it's only because I'm so bloody stubborn that I carried on. He actually started sleeping rthrough and feeding less at that point but he was my most demanding unsettled baby up until that point.

My ff ds was the most content happy newborn, although he didn't sleepthrough until 2, he's also the least sick so far.

You just never know, they are all different

eragon Sun 30-Jun-13 19:22:45

WHY not breastfeed? before formula was invented it was the only safe way to feed a baby.

its true your baby will live and grow on both, but formula isnt always needed for the vast majority that are given it.

meditrina Sun 30-Jun-13 19:23:13

Oh, and breastfeeding reduces your breast cancer risk. The studies vary in what reduction can be expected, but a conservative estimate would be about 5% reduction per year bf - an optimistic one is 10% after 6 months.

WinkyWinkola Sun 30-Jun-13 19:23:59

Ilove, I've not read research about breastfeeding preventing colds.

Reducing the risk of cancer, cot death, gastroenteritis yes. But not colds.

Hello everyone
Just spreading a little peace and love around this thread
And reminding folk of the guidelines

Exhaustipated Sun 30-Jun-13 19:24:22

OP- they do give you the statistics for FF babies- the stats you read are comparisons between BF and FF babies.

I know this subject has been done to death but I just wanted to let you know that I have breastfed both my babies and they have settled easily and slept well as very young babies. So your friends' experiences are not universal.

Anyway, it's to to you. But if I had the choice between the two, even if BF wasn't healthier for the baby, I would choose BF every time. Once you're in the swing of it it's just so easy smile

Talkinpeace Sun 30-Jun-13 19:25:56

Such a first world question.

Go back 200 years or move to another continent and then realise how mollycoddled we are

4athomeand1cooking Sun 30-Jun-13 19:25:57

I didn't breast feed DC4 not because I thought it would e better to bottle feed them.( I know breast is best) but because the afterpa

Exhaustipated Sun 30-Jun-13 19:26:10

By that I mean if they were equally as healthy... !

WinkyWinkola Sun 30-Jun-13 19:26:31

And I feel pressure from the formula adverts that are everywhere, the products in the supermarkets every time I go to the baby bit etc.

Honestly, there really isn't much out there about breastfeeding to feel "pressured" about.

It's bollocks. Just make your decision and stick with it and don't bleat about guilt etc because it is your decision.

Ashoething Sun 30-Jun-13 19:27:45

I really wanted to bf but couldn't due to inverted nipples-sorry tmi!-but actually in defence of the op every single one of my friends who have bf have kids who are sleep refusers at age 3 and are constantly ill! My ff kids are never ill and are great sleepers.

Now am aware this is anecdotal but it IS my experience...

4athomeand1cooking Sun 30-Jun-13 19:29:00

I didn't breast feed DC4 not because I thought it would e better to bottle feed them.( I know breast is best) but because the afterpains were so terrible and I couldn't cope with the additional pain of feeding. I decided that a happy mummy on stronger medication was better than a sad frustrated mum.

I personally have never felt pressurised by anyone but myself. And that has been a lot in the past

Exhaustipated Sun 30-Jun-13 19:29:40

Oh, and I have never ever ever been made to feel under pressure to breastfeed. Ever. I wonder how common this experience really is? Did your midwife bring this up with you? At 12 weeks pregnant?

PurplePidjin Sun 30-Jun-13 19:33:30

For the same reason it's better to cook your own food from scratcg.

It's possible to eat only microwaveable ready-made food and be strong and healthy. But there are more nutrients and fewer chemicals in homemade even though it might be more of a struggle to make.

Oh, and golden rule - never compare someone else's outside to your inside wink

mrscog Sun 30-Jun-13 19:34:30

Well if we're going on anecdotes, my DS was EBF for 6Mo, and I'm still feeding him now at 16 months. He was very settled and content, slept through from 5 months and didn't get a cold until he started nursery at 12mo and started being exposed to bugs that I wasn't.

Obviously proves everything hmm

Just feed your baby however you like - due to the UK being very clean FF is much safer here than in a poorer country, but the reason there's 'pressure' (I never experienced any) is because it is the norm for nature and therefore gives the best health outcomes for mother and baby across a population.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sun 30-Jun-13 19:35:07

*Ilove, I've not read research about breastfeeding preventing colds.

Reducing the risk of cancer, cot death, gastroenteritis yes. But not colds.*

So dd1 probably has more chance of having the breast cancer gene that killed both her grandmothers but dd2 has less chance. Riiight. Think there might be a bit more to it than what milk she drank for the first few months of her life.

Meringue33 Sun 30-Jun-13 19:37:18

Just curious but before formula was invented were all babies miserable and unsettled, ill and bad sleepers?

ouryve Sun 30-Jun-13 19:40:22

Why breast feed?

Because that's what they're for, isn't it?

LizTerrine Sun 30-Jun-13 19:41:32

Because its a massive public health issue.

I've fed one grumpy, colicky bugger of a first baby*, and am currently feeding a laughing, friendly, delicious bundle of a second.

*Now a charming toddler smile.

meditrina Sun 30-Jun-13 19:41:41

If you have BRAC genes, it probably diminishes the importance of all other factors to negligible, and I'm really sorry that's in your family Ilove

But for those who don't have such a dreadful genetic legacy, bf is one of the actions with the most marked protective effects (for the mother who bfs, that is, not the infant).

Ilove have you read about any of the ones other than cancer?

Meringue as I understand it before formula babies were breastfed, wet nursed or given pretty unacceptable substitutes. I'm glad we're now in a position in this country where there is an acceptable substitute

ThirdTimesABrokenFanjo Sun 30-Jun-13 19:44:55

the statistics are made up blonde? grin 1/10

PurplePidjin Sun 30-Jun-13 19:46:42

Also, maybe the bf mums you've met are confident in their choices and honest about how tough parenthood really is? The ffers might be feeling defensive about their choice - what with all this breast is best stuff around - and therefore concentrating on the positives more when in company hmm

Ilovemydog, MrsHuxtable is quite right - you are only talking about your experience (nobody ever suggested you were making it up!) The fact that bf'ing didn't affect your own children's health is completely irrelevant as far as the overwhelming evidence that bfing is best goes - it just means that it didn't work for you. Breastfeeding isn't a guarantee that your child will reap the bf benefits, it just increases the likelihood.

OP, As for ff babies being contented - BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA, good one smile I think BF'ing absolutely SHOULD be promoted, but you should never feel pressured. I wonder if you were just feeling a bit sensitive about it and therefore saw the MW's helpful advice as being 'throwing it in your face'?

twinklyfingers Sun 30-Jun-13 19:48:35

Ilove have a look at what meditrina said up thread.

Ashoething Sun 30-Jun-13 19:49:36

Well if we are going to talk about the olden daysgrin-I am sure pre ff that many babies were handed over to wet nurses or simply died if for whatever reason the mother couldn't bf. Plus I am sure then mothers didn't say oh well I cant possibly leave my 3 year old because he is a bottle refuser!

doublecakeplease Sun 30-Jun-13 19:50:59

I was put under huge pressure to bf despite telling staff i intended to ff. Various reasons which i won't bore you with. I was brought a pump hours after having an emcs and told that my baby needs me to express. I am usually a confident woman but i was extremely vulnerable. Turns out that meds i was taking transferred to my baby and made him seriously ill.

My experience doesn't make me want to shout that bf is bad, for lots if babies an mums it is great BUT it does make me question why it is forced so much. I think that so much emphasis is placed on bf being best that some of the negatives are overlooked.

I don't think that the op was after a fight - as a New mum she probably hasn't seen theprevious threads and fights on here and she was asking a question. Isn't it best that she arms herself with info either acquired here or from books, friends etc?

Op - it is a minefield. Do what is right for you.

Ashoething Sun 30-Jun-13 19:52:34

Ps-I am not defensive about not bf. As I already said I wanted to but couldn't as I do believe its best for babies. However their is most definitely a bf militant mob on mn who refuse to believe that not EVERY women CAN bf and who are vocal in making their views known. So I like to make my own views known toogrin

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 30-Jun-13 19:56:41

Breastfeeding is the normal and natural thing to do, so why wouldn't you do it?

FF is expensive, BF is free.

What's not to like?

FaddyPeony Sun 30-Jun-13 19:57:57

OP, you can't throw a strop just because people are giving you information you've asked for.

The reason that health professionals recommend that you breastfeed is because it is a public health issue.

You are not forced to take up their advice. You can feed your baby however you wish.

Isn't that great!

However, the statistics aren't made up. Sorry.

rascal1979 Sun 30-Jun-13 19:59:05

The midwives will expect you to use a car seat to transfer your baby home. Will you see this as pressure? They expect it because it is the safest for your baby. Just as breastfeeding is safer for your baby.

Everyone has the right to an informed choice but unless the information is provided you can't do this. I get fed up with people moaning they are pressured when they are simply being given information.

Babies are supposed to need you. Fact. It is societies unrealistic expectations of what a baby need and what you should be doing that causes so much unrest and stress for new mums.

rascal1979 Sun 30-Jun-13 20:00:35

Ashoestring the number of women who are physically unable to breastfeed are negligible.

MummyOfSunbeam Sun 30-Jun-13 20:02:15

I adore bf at ten months and the relaxed, happy steriliser-and-schedule free life we have is made so easy with bf. it is the most amazingly joyful, smooth, practical thing for us.

I am amazed to hear about your experience OP - my LLL friends' babies and my baby are all bf for months and SO chilled and are all so happy, while in my experience the formula route put lots of stress in a couple of my friends - they told me a lot about it and both said they wished they had gone bf route but they didn't get support sad sad . But maybe it won't be like that for you. I agree it is different for everyone.

Bf does give benefits but VERY few do it to six months - apparently only 1 percent in Uk? So the vast majority do t do it and are fine. But I am overjoyed we can because my dd and I find it magical. Prob some of the loveliest moments in my memory. Hard for the first two weeks though! (One thing I wd say is the LLL womanly art of breastfeeding book in my labour bag was a godsend! Doubt I could have worked it out otherwise!)

Branleuse Sun 30-Jun-13 20:02:25

because its generally got a shitload of health benefits that formula doesnt.

im surprised you didnt know

doublecakeplease Sun 30-Jun-13 20:05:08

See Ali (didn't mean to single you out, lots of people share your view, yours is just the last post i saw) i think its that type of blase attitude that makes people think that bf is normal and so the only way (maybe because of our social view of what 'normal' is in all of general life)

My experience wasn't normal but i don't want to have to justify how i feed my baby because of it. And what's not to like? Lots of people could do you a list but i didn't like the fact that it almost killed my child.

Again it doesn't make me preach that ff is best - but it was best for my child

Serialdrinker Sun 30-Jun-13 20:10:32

Do what you like, no one actually cares. Actually for your pfb and those with a pfb around you might care/ and judge. Get to number 2 and no one gives a shiney one.

I have had a similar experience to dog in that I fully bf my first, the most sickly kid ever and combined fed number 2 who's fit as a fiddle.

What I don't know is how much MORE sickly number 1 would have been if I'd combined/ bottled fed. At least I know I did my best and will never beat myself us over not bf with what ifs.

The evidence is there do as you please with it.

FaddyPeony Sun 30-Jun-13 20:11:28

Here's the thing about babies.

They are not easily explained in terms of how they are fed.

Some babies decide to be unsettled, colicky and wakeful from the word go. Then, at 8 months or a year or 2 years, they become little angels. They eat and sleep well and are easy. With a child like this, the mother usually feels like a dog's dinner in the weeks and months after childbirth. This is hard. However, she feels more rested and happy at a time when the child has limitless energy and needs lots of stimulation. This is good.

Other babies decide to be placid, angelic, sleep-throughers from a ridiculously young age. Then, at 8 months or a year or 2 years, they become little hell-devils. They tantrum by day and stop sleeping well at night. With a child like this, the mother usually feels more rested and happy in the weeks and months after childbirth. This is good. However, she feels run ragged at a time when the child has limitless energy and needs lots of stimulation. This is hard.

There are other variations on this, of course. But I wish that somebody had told me this in the early days. Feeding your baby formula or breastmilk does not give you an automatic ticket to an easy baby. Either way. And despite whatever anecdotes you hear.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 30-Jun-13 20:13:19

I used to go to a BF support group you could tell which women hated it they were SO BLOODY TENSE no wonder the babys wouldn't latch on and relax for a lovely feed. I think the problem is that no one has the time to sit and show a woman how to BF

MummyOfSunbeam Sun 30-Jun-13 20:14:13

And - other posters have listed w heath benefits and stats etc but - in addition to the sheer JOY if it (see my previous post) how AMAZING is it to know you are giving your child something so precious? One midwife in hospital said to me, after she saw how much I was embracing bf, 'and every day you do it it is a gift that will help your baby even when she is older, even adult (!) some protections still last' and it is just SO wonderful to be able to do something that can potentially help like that. (I recognise it isn't a panacea but wow it is still extraordinary)

I didn't know if I would bf or not. I am so glad I did. I am passionate about t now - not just for baby but for mum. I wish all women who want to do it had awesome support to help hem because it is AMAZIng.

And that is before I even start on how it helps one adjust to motherhood. And reduce chances of PND - stats show that too!

NumberTwoDue Sun 30-Jun-13 20:17:20

Do what's right for you, OP, but don't post on a thread that all the bf babies you know are "miserable babies who rarely settle" because all you'll do is put the back up of every mum who chose to bf her baby (including me - my wee one is lovely and slept through from eight weeks, if you'd care to add me to your scientific research).

Also, the MW has a list of variables that she has to bring up as a duty of care, so don't get p'ed that she's doing her job - we're all bloody lucky to have these choices in the first place, let alone having a hcp available to explain/discuss it with us on a one on one basis.

4leafclover Sun 30-Jun-13 20:17:46

I am really unsure as what to do, I'm 22 weeks with dc3 and I have said that I will breast feed but now I am so undecided sad
My reasons for this are as follows..
I didn't breast feed ds who is 8 and he is so healthy it's unreal, he very rarely gets a cold, but dd aged 6 was breast fed for 6 months and she basically lives in and out of hospital constantly sad she has got the worst immune system I have seen in a child.
But I'm stuck as what to do because I know this could just be a coincidence so I don't want to rule out breast feeding just yet.
My mum has breast fed all her 7 kids (youngest was breast fed for 3years) and some of us get ill all the time with general illnesses and others haven't even been ill since being born.

I have been asked time and time again from health professionals from the beginning and I just don't know what to do hmm

KingRollo Sun 30-Jun-13 20:18:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MummyOfSunbeam Sun 30-Jun-13 20:18:55

Sonly I agree completely! There should definitely be more support so more women can have one to one, patient help w latch if they want it. It really does need to be gentle and relaxed for the mum.

I am so grateful that I had that from several people - being in hospital longer due to. Section had the massive benefit if five days bf education - and it took me all of hat plus two sessions with lactation consultant and three midwife visits, to be able to do it. Now it is as easy as breathing but acquiring the skills was NOT easy and without tht help I couldn't have done it and relaxed into it - so it is terrible that here isn't that kind of support everywhere.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 30-Jun-13 20:23:01

Mummy thats what happened with me I was in hospital all week with my first and I was ringing that bell all the time!

perplexedpirate Sun 30-Jun-13 20:24:25

Because your body is public property as soon as you get pregnant. hmm
I had breast surgery that meant it was physically impossible for me to breast feed, they still did the hard sell on me. Which made me feel just great as I'm sure you can imagine.

KingRollo Sun 30-Jun-13 20:30:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

weakestlink Sun 30-Jun-13 20:31:41

I FF DC1 as I didn't get any breastfeeding support and everyone just told me he was lazy hmm and didn't want to feed. They fed him formula in the hospital and that was that. It was such a faff and we spent a fortune on ready made formula!

I was determined to try and breastfeed DC2 becuase I felt I had missed out first time around. I actively sought out help and it was hard to begin with but I fed him for 9 months.

I hope to breastfeed DC3 due any day....

For me it's simple - breastfeeding is free, ready made and doesn't require any washing up! What's not to love? It's totally portable and you can do it anywhere. You don't need to even get out of bed at night!!!

If a RL friend came to me with your question I would suggest they give breastfeeding a try for a couple of months before going for formula. I found the first 6 weeks hardest and I think combining both would have messed up my supply. After a couple of months I think you would have a pretty good idea if you want to continue or not.

It's hard to make your choice unless you have actually given breastfeeding a good try.

missymum Sun 30-Jun-13 20:31:51

Because babies are designed to be fed on milk from a human mother, not milk from a cow. However , when breast milk can't be provided , whether that's personal choice or something else, then formula is safe and very adequate for a baby's nutrition. But it is not ever going to be as beneficial healthwise. Think you need to do some reading OP, you sound v naive

Mintyy Sun 30-Jun-13 20:34:38

Yes, op, I think you are right and should ask for this thread to be deleted.

I believe it's the case that any breastfeeding is beneficial, so if you feel you want to mix feed after the first few days then why not do that?

I personally don't think it's the case that bottle fed babies are more settled. I have known plenty of ff and bf babies and can't really identify a trend either way. My bf babies were both very easy and I do think it's easier to bf at night than it is to actually get up, go downstairs and make a bottle of milk.

lurcherlover Sun 30-Jun-13 20:54:10

It's funny that we are bombarded with adverts from formula manufacturers and no-one ever complains about the pressure that's out there to ff.

doublecakeplease Sun 30-Jun-13 20:55:00

Missy - she's doing her research. Of course she is naive - she's in early pg with her first baby so of course she's not read all of the info needed to make her as wise as you are. Honestly - some of you give women a bad name. Op asked a question because she needs info and support as a first time mum.

perplexedpirate Sun 30-Jun-13 20:55:51

That's the thing, Kingrollo. I did explain, several times, and at every appointment. I felt like a stuck record, and I wouldn't have minded so much but it was clearly written in my notes!
Didn't matter, I got the BF lecture every time, and many more times on the maternity ward as well. sad

Smartiepants79 Sun 30-Jun-13 21:08:33

Breastfeeding is difficult. It was hard and took weeks to get right.
However I don't regret a minute.
Both mine have been very settled babies. Sleep like logs with no wind or digestion problems.
Both went for at least the first five months with not even a sniffle.
BUT that is just my experience.
There is nothing wrong with FF, you must do what is right for you.
I would definitely recommend giving it a good go. Even a week or two of BF can be very beneficial for the baby.

Ginderella Sun 30-Jun-13 21:22:15

I hated the thought of breast feeding, so I didn't do it. My DSis loved it and fed her DCs for months. I was bullied by midwives and HVs (the "breast nazis" as they were known) to try and get me to breast feed my DS. One midwife wouldn't take no for an answer and grabbed my breast and pinching my nipple and said "come on give it a try". This was nothing less than assault.

Every woman should make her own mind up. Babies will thrive on breast or FF.

WinkyWinkola Sun 30-Jun-13 21:39:40

"So dd1 probably has more chance of having the breast cancer gene that killed both her grandmothers but dd2 has less chance. Riiight. Think there might be a bit more to it than what milk she drank for the first few months of her life."

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme, are you being obtuse?

I have absolutely no idea about the chances of your dds getting breast cancer because of their genetic make up and how they were fed as babies.

The reduction of cancer risks in bf'd babies is a statistic. Not based on an detailed analysis of individual cases like your dds.

Andanotherthing123 Sun 30-Jun-13 21:54:11

Ginderella I had the breast grabbing experience in hospital too - the bloody irony was that me and my son were doing just fine on our own. I couldn't believe how pushy she was!

I've bf both my sons with no formula for 11 months each time. I do it because I hate preparing food of any kind and having to make up formula seemed like a bit of an effort...plus I had a great excuse to sit down for ages, and as you'll gather, I'm basically quite lazy laid back.

Monka Sun 30-Jun-13 22:01:37

My midwife has never asked me how I plan to feed the baby and I am 34 weeks. I never felt under pressure to bf even at the NCT classes I attended with the special bf session. It's up to you as a mother. I intend to give bf a try and have bought a breast pump, pads, nursing bras etc and its been useful to know there is support out there if I want it but will see what happens when the baby arrives.

WinkyWinkola Sun 30-Jun-13 22:23:24

No midwife has ever asked me how I intend to feed either with all 4 of my dcs.

Amazinggg Sun 30-Jun-13 22:29:34

The pressure is extreme. And shitey when there's no support to do it - only pressure, pressure and some more pressure - with a hefty side portion of judgement.

Ffs. If you want to bf, lovely - but don't deny that at present, the NHS has its priorities wrong as far as encouraging women to breastfeed goes.

And really - it was the pressure, that in the end, caused me to give up trying. And the total lack of support in the 48 hours post c-section.

And, actually I'm pretty sure that there are stats that show ff infants to cry less, sleep for longer periods and be more alert sooner. From one of these millions of threads posted each week...

Can I claim my prize for ff-ing being compared to 1. smoking and 2. not using a carseat? Bingo!

Ashoething Sun 30-Jun-13 22:33:08

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Talkinpeace Sun 30-Jun-13 22:35:35

pressure to breastfeed
option to buy safe formula milk
and remember how darned cush your life is

early breast milk : the first week or two : has far more to do with gut flora, antibodies, immune system and other long term components of a healthy baby than just food

hence why I used to donate milk to the SCBU

"Can I claim my prize for ff-ing being compared to 1. smoking and 2. not using a carseat? Bingo!"

I was waiting for that and bingo there it is. If you read my posts properly I was comparing the wilful misunderstanding of the risks involved not the actual actions.

"Some people who have never smoked get lung cancer and some people who smoke don't. Does that mean smoking doesn't cause lung cancer?"

Explain to me how that is comparing formula feeding to smoking please. Because I'm actually quite angry about being cast as the fucking bad guy.

lurcherlover Sun 30-Jun-13 22:39:20

Amazinggg, I completely agree that the lack of support is a big issue. It's ridiculous that there is a waiting list of a month in my area to have tongue-tied babies snipped - what are those mums meant to do for a month? Feed in agony every time? Hardly surprising a lot give up and use formula. All babies should be checked for tt before they leave hospital and snipped if necessary.

But, but...I can't agree that the NHS shouldn't raise awareness of bf, and promote its advantages to pregnant women. The number of women (well, the number of people really - men too) who really believe that breastmilk and formula are basically the same is frightening. I work with educated, intelligent people, and I've heard them say some really ignorant/untrue things about bf ("it has no benefits after the first 2 days"/"if you eat a bad diet formula has more nutrients"/"if I bf there's no way my baby will ever sleep through the night" etc, etc). And even people who know about the benefits often only know about the big ones - the lower risk of cancer etc. They don't necessarily know that bf is better for babies' oral development and can help their teeth come through correctly, or that it makes certain areas of babies' brains grow bigger. After all, if the NHS doesn't push breastfeeding, who will? Formula manufacturers spend millions of pounds pushing their products. I actually think children should learn a bit about the basic science of breastmilk in schools.


Is that aimed at me? I probably deserve it. Am just sick of clever closes thinking that they can take an example used to illustrate a logical argument and gain points by claiming that the person using it is comparing the contents of that argument with the one in question.
And yet if you read.the.words it's really quite clear that that's NOT what's happening. Oh but no, the opportunity to score some points is just so tempting.

Ashoething Sun 30-Jun-13 22:45:47

Apologies olivia but I said repeatly on.this thread that I wished to bf but physically couldnt and one poster still decides to post a nasty comment disputing this.Was my bf dp specialistl midwife lying when she said bf was'nt going to work out f or me?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 30-Jun-13 22:47:30

Stealth don't let it get to you. Some people will use any means they deem appropriate to defend their position, even when no-one is actually attacking them.

Oh erm sorry not me at all (well not mainly)

Ashoething Sun 30-Jun-13 22:49:52

Some wonen CANT bf-whats so hard to grasp about that?

Nothing at all - fact grasped before I came onto this thread. I'm sorry you went through that, and glad you had plenty of support.

"The midwives will expect you to use a car seat to transfer your baby home. Will you see this as pressure? They expect it because it is the safest for your baby. Just as breastfeeding is safer for your baby."

Amazinggg, do you have a dictionary to hand? Look up the word analogy. Things may become clearer.

Ashoething Sun 30-Jun-13 22:58:03

That comment was not aimed at you stealth.I was indeed v lucky as had bf counsellor and was kept in hosp for 10 days to establish bf.After a week at home I still gave up because bf midwife said so and my dc had lost weight.I did the right.thing for my dc and wont be made to feel guilty for it.Baby wearing is not for me.

shufflehopstep Sun 30-Jun-13 22:58:43

I think you're either unlucky and have a very bossy midwife or you are reading things into what the midwife is saying. I never felt pressured either way. Obviously they recommend breastfeeding over formula but nobody says that formula feeding is bad - just that it's second best. I chose to bf but when I was struggling, the mw in hospital asked if I wanted to try formula while I expressed to try to get my milk to come in. My DD was mix fed until 7 weeks when I finally managed to overcome the issues and she was then bf until about 2 weeks ago. She's now 13 months old and has yet to have a day's sickness and sleeps through the night.

If you're after anecdotes, I was bf until I was 10 months old and have rarely been ill in all of my 36 years. A couple of the usual childhood diseases and a few colds and that's it. DH and DSIL were bottle fed and have both had a myriad of health problems all through their lives. DH was actually off sick for almost a year a few years back with heart problems which were triggered by a faulty stomach valve. Who's to say whether these things are connected? hmm

I also have to agree with noblegiraffe; a baby's temperament bears little relation to the feeding method.

looseleaf Sun 30-Jun-13 22:59:30

Do also bear in mind allergies are reasonably common which is worth having at the back of your mind whichever way you feed your baby.

I breastfed happily but didnt realise DD strongly dairy intolerant and just thought motherhood was extremely stressful as she was sick a lot etc. I breastfed for 2.5 years as was so hard to stop and still hope it did some good but if only I'd known to cut out dairy from my diet. It upsets me!

DS is similar but I cut dairy from my diet so he's thriving rather than finding life hard as she did sad if I eat dairy his poos contain dried blood (sorry tmi) and he comes out slightly spotty.

If it was formula maybe if have tried a different one and realised, I don't know.

Sorry, a bit irrelevant in a way but it was so important to me when we'd had no allergies in the family before I wanted to mention it as an extra thing to be aware of whichever way you feed your baby!

Fair enough. Apologies. I just knew someone would fail to read that post about smoking properly and use it to score points. Because it happens every time. Despite the fact it is about evidence based advice and policy in general.

doublecakeplease Sun 30-Jun-13 23:00:20

Ashoe - i totally get your frustration. Lots of people on here believe that bf is essential and will not accept that some women can't.

Support is a major issue. DS was in scbu then on a ward for quite a while so i had lots of 'help'. This included my aforementioned comment about being forced to pump. Also:
DS came home briefly when we thought he was ok. We were woken by bf coordinator at 8am who demanded that a just fed DS was women to feed because she needed to see him feed. She was sent packing but tried to book in for 3pm the next day as uf u could guarantee he'd be being fed then

Some scbu nurses 'allowing me' to demand feed whilst i was there (18 hours most days) and some insisting on topping him up with tube feeds

Being tweaked t see if i could 'produce properly' even though DS was using nipple shields so you could see my milk

Bf coordinator rubbing seriously ill DS on the leg and telling him 'we know mummies milk is best' after i tearfully told her that the consultants had asked me to stop feeding him because my meds had made him so ill.

Smerlin Sun 30-Jun-13 23:03:21

I would be interested to know how many women in certain third world countries can't breastfeed. Surely the number who truly can't must be tiny as everyone has to persevere through the difficult stages or their baby will die. Obviously we are lucky in the UK to have a choice but surely that choice should be reserved as a safe last resort for those who truly can't bf rather than used as a lifestyle choice. Mammals are designed to be fed on milk of their own species- end of story.

I am pg with my 1st so no idea of how hard bf will be for me but I will try my damnedest as I know it's best for my baby. I am glad formula is there so my baby will thrive no matter how I get on but I certainly hope I do not have to use it.

charlottehere Sun 30-Jun-13 23:05:20

Do what you want nd ignore if you can.

loopydoo Sun 30-Jun-13 23:14:13

As a soon to be student MW and previous bf peer supporter, I can honestly say it doesn't take statistics to explain that human mums should breastfeed human milk to human babies...

However, because formula substitutes were introduced, mums now have the choice. The NHS promotes breastfeeding because they know that it's the best way to feed a human baby but if you are not comfortable (for whatever reason) breastfeeding, then you can choose not to. It may seem to you as if some HPs may be putting on the pressure (and I'm sure some are but in their minds it's best for your baby) but at the end of the day, you can do what you want - without feeling any guilt.

I actually wrote in my birth plan that I didn't want to bf yet, when I was in the recovery room after a GA for a CS, they had already put her to my breast and she was suckling away happily. I was immediately cross they had done it against my wishes but my DH encouraged me to stick at it and see how it went and I'm really glad I did.

You might feel differently nearer/after the birth or you might still want to ff/mix feed. Nobody will mind smile

Ashoething Sun 30-Jun-13 23:23:42

Smerlin do you have a wedgie from.those judgy pants?.Do you really NOT get that some women cant bf no.matter how hard they try and it is not a lifestyle choice? heres hoping you establish bf witb no probs EH?

Bodicea Sun 30-Jun-13 23:49:28

My midwife gave me the whole Speil about bf but I didn't feel pressured. I said I hadn't decided yet but would prob give it a go and if I didn't like it I wasn't going to persevere. She didn't judge me at all and seemed to agree that was a good attitude. Done a bit of research into it, still not sure it's as amazing as it is cracked up to be. Most studies don't appear to take into account the IQ of the mother and the environment baby is brought up in. One large scottish study did take it into account and found that was that was added to the equation the difference between bf babies and none bf was negligible in IQ. Still prob will give it a go but seriously dont get these people that beat themselves up about it if it doesn't work for them .
I believe that mantra. What works for mum works for baby xxx

lurcherlover Mon 01-Jul-13 00:04:46

Bodicea, I'm not sure what studies you've been reading but actually those by respected bodies always take into account factors such as the mother's IQ and social background. BF still shows as being the healthiest option.

It is a bit sad that in the 21st century we should have to work so hard to convince people that a living substance which is tailor-made for a human baby and packed full of antibodies, and which their body is expecting to be fed and therefore is primed for (a baby's immune system is pretty crap at birth, but that's because nature assumes he/she will be receiving breastmilk which will support and maintain it) has more health benefits for them than the milk of another mammal with added vegetable oil and sugar, freeze-dried in a tin. Formula is the safest alternative to breastmilk, but that does not in any way make it equal.

And I hate that mantra "what works for mum works for baby". Utterly meaningless. Heroin works pretty well for some mothers. Social services take a dim view of it. And before anyone jumps at me, no, I am NOT equating giving your baby formula to giving it heroin. I'm simply pointing out that happy mum does not automatically equal happy baby.

I am NOT anti-formula. I've given it to my own baby. I am anti people thinking it's as good as breastmilk, and choosing to dispute solid, scientific evidence that proves it's not.

TheFallenNinja Mon 01-Jul-13 00:10:55

Everything else aside, it's a choice. You make it.

Miamiami Mon 01-Jul-13 00:21:12

Its sad that BF is stuffed down your throat like religion sometimes is. I believe in freedom of choice.
FWIW BF babies I have seen do not look like they are thriving as much as the FF ones I see.
I also do not believe in extended BF. Its the mothers who keep it going too long to satisfy some need they have. In other words they have ishoos.
Do what you want to do OP. It is your choice to decide.

lurcherlover Mon 01-Jul-13 00:37:28

Miami you are either a troll or woefully ignorant. Bf babies don't thrive as well? Dear me, however has the human race lasted this long?

I thought about addressing your extended bf comment, but I can't be bothered tackling such close-mindedness.

Miamiami Mon 01-Jul-13 00:56:12

lurcher I am entitled to my opinions.

WinkyWinkola Mon 01-Jul-13 05:39:26

Bfing is stuffed down your throat, Miami? By whom? And how, in your entitled opinion?

I'm genuinely curious because in my experience, I've never heard anyone, including health professionals, talk much about it at all.

I just see formula ads and products everywhere. Formula ads that until recently , were not not at all honest about their products. And, in some countries, continue to lie to peddle their wares.

Op, of course it's up to you how you feed your little one. Informed choice is what it's all about.

It's just that an awful awful lot of people are uninformed.

WinkyWinkola Mon 01-Jul-13 05:52:41

And Miami, you're actually not entitled to an opinion if the opinion is based on nothing but ignorance.

Your comment about extended breast feeding being all about women with "ishoos" is one such example of total and utter ignorance.

Educate yourself a bit would you?

Swallowingmywords Mon 01-Jul-13 05:58:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Swallowingmywords Mon 01-Jul-13 06:02:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolkaDottery Mon 01-Jul-13 06:13:36

Hmm nobody ever tried to force breastfeeding on me.

My 9 mo was EBF for 6 months despite it being hard work to start with. She slept through from 8 weeks and is the most settled, chilled baby around!

There are so many benefits, cost and health the big ones. People who choose to ignore scientific studies and go on anecdotal evidence are a bit deluded and lack intelligence.

Some people can't BF, but they are a very small minority. Some people don't want to BF. It is fine to FF if that is what you have / want to do, the stuff isn't poison, your children will be fine. Please don't make up crap about it being better though based on your own children / friends children.

Smerlin Mon 01-Jul-13 06:29:42

If you actually read my post carefully Ashoething, I actually say that I am glad formula is there in case I or anyone else for that matter can't breastfeed.

Yes there are some people who can't bf and I may well be one of them but I do think that you should at least try given that in many countries it is in fact the only option. Some people on this thread can't bf even though they may have wanted to but others are treating it like a lifestyle choice in advance.

babyhmummy01 Mon 01-Jul-13 06:33:49

blondebaby haven't read all your thread, but wanted to tell you my experience. I am 33 weeks and have said all the way through that I am not going to BF. I have medical reasons for this as I should be on mega strong pain relief that crosses the barrier but it is no one's business but mine and DP's. I also have severe depression and anxiety which I am worried the stress of BF will trigger it off.

I am not gonna give you any advice on whether to BF or FF - but I will tell you to stand your ground. My MW has been brilliant, in fact all HCP's I have seen have been, no one has asked why or made any comments. I have stated I am FF and made it clear that its not up for discussion and no one has batted an eyelid.

Make your decision which ever way and tell them that it is end of discussion.

BF may be better but it is not the ONLY option by any means.

withjamin Mon 01-Jul-13 06:45:07

IME - based on running an NCT drop-in/coffee morning and counselling many new mums, both BF and FF it does sometimes happen (fairly frequently, actually) that the FF mums seem to be more relaxed, better rested and less wound up. BF can be very stressful, and it takes a lot of practice and faith in the process, so yes, I can see why you would think that FF mums and babies would seem happier.
But what you maybe can't see is the potential for years of agonising about not having been able to/been supported to/dared to BF that develops over time - (anecdotal evidence alert) when their DC get repeated tummy bugs, are stouter than their peers, or any of the other thousands things we worry about - all those things BF is supposed to help with.
Sure, you need to make your own mind up but I think they may be trying to give you an informed choice, even if that makes you uncomfortable.
<retreats behind sofa for rest of day>

"Its the mothers who keep it going too long to satisfy some need they have. In other words they have ishoos."

oh utter utter bollocks.

noblegiraffe Mon 01-Jul-13 07:39:13

A study came out this month where they did MRIs on the brains of babies who were ebf, mix fed and ff. Ebfing enhanced brain development over mix feeding and mix feeding over ffing. And they accounted for socioeconomic class.

As for extended bfing
'The study also looked at the effects of the duration of breastfeeding. The researchers compared babies who were breastfed for more than a year with those breastfed less than a year, and found significantly enhanced brain growth in the babies who were breastfed longer — especially in areas of the brain dealing with motor function.'


Bunbaker Mon 01-Jul-13 07:39:57

"Its sad that BF is stuffed down your throat like religion sometimes is. I believe in freedom of choice."

Isn't the point of being able to make a choice based on having access to all the facts, and therefore making an informed choice? How are you going to assimilate the facts unless you allow the midwife to inform you? It isn't preaching it is advice, just as doctors advise people to give up smoking/cut down alcohol consumption/take their medication regularly etc.

babyhmummy01 Mon 01-Jul-13 08:09:50

How are you going to assimilate the facts unless you allow the midwife to inform you?

I agree with what you are saying bun BUT there are MW's out there who do get preachy and judgemental - my friend struggled massively to BF and instead of supporting her the MW, HV and BF support worker made her feel like a complete failure as a mother because she gave up. BF was making her very ill, she was stressed, depressed and bloody miserable and resentful. For her the move to FF was necessary. Not all MW's are happy to impart the facts and let women make their choice.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 01-Jul-13 08:30:46

morning everyone,

Me and my hubby are TTC number one and due to medication I take for an on going health problem it is a very real possibility that I will not be able to breastfeed - and I'm devastated.

I'm a huge BF fan and although I'm not pregnant I can't bring myself to think about the day where I will have a baby and will be giving it formula sad

I know that BF can be extremely hard and I have come across many mothers who are at breaking point and I am very supportive if they chose to switch to artificial feeding but I really don't understand a woman who doesn't even want to try it.

Breast feeding is the most natural thing a woman can do and gives her baby the best start in life. The health benefits for mother and baby are immense and breast milk is tailor made to suit the needs of the baby; the importance of the fore milk and hind milk, all the antibodies and nutrients the mother can pass on to her little one - it is amazing in my eyes. And all the research that has been done on the effects of breast feeding and bonding is also very interesting.

In my local hospitals or any health care environment they are not allowed to advertise artificial feeding or supply bottles/teats to parents. I also think formula feeding is no longer allowed to be advertised on the TV either.

I'm really hoping that when the time comes I am able to breast feed - I would even consider coming off my medication in order to do so.

It just really upsets me that I might not be able to do all the brilliant things for my baby when the time comes sad

Whether you can or you can't breastfeed (and please do get advice and a second opinion on that as I am sure you are planning to) you will be able to do loads of brilliant things for your child. While I am a big fan of breastfeeding for all the reasons I've given earlier on in the thread, it is such a shame when it ruins the first few months for women and babies who wanted to breastfeed but couldn't/didn't. Breastfeeding is one of the amazing things you can do for your child. Also any breastmilk you can give is brilliant - my friend claimed she "failed" at breastfeeding having only done it for two weeks. Those two weeks were the most crucial and she had given her baby a wonderful start.

Writerwannabe83, look here for information on drugs and breastfeeding. When the time comes, hopefully you will find a way.

Champagnebubble Mon 01-Jul-13 09:24:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Champagnebubble Mon 01-Jul-13 09:39:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

No on things like this there isn't a right or wrong. There are courses of action that lead to higher risks of poorer health for the mother and baby though. That is at a population level, however at an individual level, specific circumstances need to be taken into account. That is not in the slightest bit controversial.

BTW a couple of decades ago women were strongly encouraged to feed to a schedule rather than responding to their babies cues. This led to supply problems fairly quickly for many, including my mum.

MyNameIsButterfly Mon 01-Jul-13 09:48:55

I knew since I got pregnant b that I want to bf my baby because it's better for the baby. I had no clue his horrible it is first weeks. DC had first feed after she was born and then didn't latch on anymore. midwives kept asking me do I want to give formula, eventually I had to give one feed worth formula but then I continued trying. It was frustrating for both of us, she was crying and I was depressed but we hit hold of it. I had mastitis twice. I refused to take antibiotics and feed trough the pain. It wasn't easy but now we both love bf. It's so easy and lovely and special feeling. Emotional benefits for both of us are and have been massive. I think everybody who chooses to give up or not to try is missing out. It s not easy at the beginning but it's amazing. and she had been sleeping trough since week 7

sheeplikessleep Mon 01-Jul-13 09:50:17

I'm 32 weeks on Thursday, expecting DS3.
I can't remember having had one conversation with anyone this pregnancy about breastfeeding. Midwife hasn't mentioned it once and to be honest, I haven't given it much thought. There certainly hasn't been any pressure.
I know it can be different in hospital, postnatal ward.
But to be honest, there is a grey area between being informed about the benefits of breastfeeding and support to enable it to work and pressure per se.

Teaandflapjacks Mon 01-Jul-13 09:57:58

I am going to duck in and out quickly to offer blonde a third option - you can obviously mixed feed too. What I mean by this is give you baby a 'dream feed' at about 11pm at night with formula and BF other times. This gives you some flexibility with your baby, and others can help feed them for you. You can of course also do this with expressed milk. I don't think nipple confusion is a real thing (again having done a lot of research on this topic) - you may need to try different teats to make it work though (for the bottles). And there is the need to get your milk supply worked out - but this can be achieved out with support, and something to do anyway. I know a lot of second time mums who have done this mixed with a dream feed and swear by it. I think the formula tends to leave babies full a bit longer - so they will then sleep better over night. This also means when you wish you stop BF then the baby is ok with bottles already and the wind down of your BF is easier. This is exactly what I intend to do after doing heaps and heaps of research, and discussing with my Gyn, midwife and two other doctors, alongside friends etc.

It is right and proper you are looking for advice on the topic - and I will add that BF is for some women stupidly hard at first, and other very easy. You really don't know how it will play out - and you should be prepared to battle through it a bit to 6 weeks, which for most people seems to turn a corner. That said, a new Mum, who is at her wits end, no sleep and thinks she will break - FF is a very good and real option to help her out. There is a place for all these things in life. And yes we should all feed our children home cooked organic meals cooked from scratch etc, but that is also not the reality for most of us. We all do the best we can, and as women I think we should support on and other in that, without judgement. smile


MummyOfSunbeam Mon 01-Jul-13 10:31:17

Miami wow ... Try picking up a research journal or looking at some facts or going to la Leche before pronouncing sweepingly on stuff you really are uninformed about.

Incidentally my 9 mth exclusive bf dd has been walking independently since 8.5 months and the doctors day she is three months ahead on most milestones. She is also a delightful thriving smiley loving baby. Not thriving? Yeah right. She has also been non stop on the 80th percentile for height and weight seamlessly since birth (the red book). All with joyful relaxed breastfeeding.

Layl77 Mon 01-Jul-13 10:35:01

By breastfed babie are honestly the healthiest kids I know. Have great diets and haven't had antibiotics or anything. Purely my own experience but there you go. Of course it's healthier as its designed for them! Some animals have severely different health outcomes if not fed mothers milk - it makes sense!
They were very happy too!

MummyOfSunbeam Mon 01-Jul-13 10:37:51

I am ducking out if this thread because if the ignorance from so e posters - i was so careful to be supportive in my posts but it is MIND BOGGLING that some people think formula is actually healthier. The facts are out there. I am around bf babies all the time and the joy and health of these little people is amazing to see. I am leaving this thread because it is SAD to hear such hostility to something so precious. If anyone is reading this and thinks 'oh bf babies don't thrive' (utter bollocks) and think they won't bf after all please look at the facts out there and decide for yourself.

As I made clear it is not just for baby - bf has been amazingly wonderfully helpful to me too, as a ftm.

Dackyduddles Mon 01-Jul-13 10:51:04

Miami isn't wrong in that feeding does become as passionate a discussion because feeding boils down to individual experience. You should see sleeping and routine threads for passion too as people get very evangelical when something works for them.

However it's done we all do the same thing, feed a baby. That all said bf is better. In every study I've yet seen. Question those that don't too, often the study is paid for by a feeding firm eg cow & gate so hardly going to say its own product falls short is it?

Think, read and do what suits your own circumstances.

lozster Mon 01-Jul-13 11:16:29

36 weeks and sitting in ante-natal clinic! Can honestly say I have been offered information but no pressure. I was unsure but attended the couples breast feeding workshop and got loads of helpful info about what to expect - pace yourself in first six weeks, what to expect in terms of sleep patterns and cluster feeding. The reaction of other people I have told about the workshop has bewildered me - others mums have said its weird to go as a couple as its just about the woman, my mum has said 'urgh I wouldn't bother with that, my mil has said 'you won't be doing that will you?'. And these are the reasons why you get a push for from the nhs, because there are so many pushes against! My hospital also provide a support group and home visits from a counsellor. I'm prepared to accept that all may not go to plan but I do want to try.

midori1999 Mon 01-Jul-13 12:50:11

I always find the idea that women feel being given information regarding breastfeeding is 'pressure', but all the formula adverts on TV, in magazines etc aren't 'pressure'.

Having given birth to 6 children already and currently 25 weeks pregnant with DC 7, I have never felt any pressure to breastfeed. In fact, had I been more pressured, I may have actually succeeded in breastfeeding the first 3 as I had wanted to, bur, no, I was simply told to switch to formula. In fact, many women are told to switch to formula at the first sign of any problems and if anything, I think there is more pressure to FF after the birth from health professionals.

I've never been asked at any of my antenatal appointments (there are many, I am high risk) about my feeding choices. Not once. It shouldn't even be a question really, breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby, so it should be natural to assume all women will do it unless there is a reason they can't or don't want to and that's no one else's business.

Pyrrah Mon 01-Jul-13 13:06:52

I breast-fed DD until she was 3.5 years (did not start out with that intention, just sort of happened). She's always been a very happy, healthy child.

I had a hell of a job getting going - a massive haemorrhage, severe anaemia and the meds I was on meant that my milk didn't come in for nearly 10 days. As a result I supplemented with formula and bought a hand pump so that I could express milk less painfully than DD's desperate attempts.

I had a long chat with the midwives afterwards, and suggested to them that the classes on breast-feeding that they were running were all a bit too rosy. If I hadn't had a close group of friends, 90% of whom breastfed, to tell me that the first 3 weeks are generally grim and then you suddenly 'get it' after which it's generally plain sailing, then I would have been totally miserable and felt a complete failure.

Some people do have a lovely time from the off, but far more women have a toe-curlingly painful first week or so.

They agreed that they would try and find a way to present a more realistic approach.

Most hospitals in the UK either have or are trying to get 'Baby Friendly' status. In order to get this, they have to openly promote breast-feeding.

People who FF may feel attacked, but I can definitely say that people who BF get just as many judgemental comments - especially if you go over a year.

FWIW, I've read an awful lot of 'Mother's Manual' books from the 1800's which are fascinating. Most don't suggest introducing solids until the child is around a year old, and all suggest breast-feeding for as long as possible and aiming for 2 years.

This is not only for the possible contraceptive effects, but because it was seen as better, safer and more nutritious for the child. So extended breast-feeding is not new. In places like Mongolia, breast-feeding a child until their milk-teeth have dropped out is seen as totally normal.

I don't mind what anyone choses to do with their child, but there are good reasons why hospitals and midwives are promoting breast-feeding, especially when the UK's stats are so woeful compared with many other nations.

noblegiraffe Mon 01-Jul-13 13:08:40

That formula-feeding is seen as the norm is obvious from studies that show breastfeeding 'boosts IQ' or 'protects from cancer'.

It's never formula 'slows brain development' or 'increases risk of cancer'.

lurcherlover Mon 01-Jul-13 13:13:40

Indeed, noble, I've often thought that. If bf is the norm (as it should be seen as), studies shouldn't talk about it "lowering risk" but about ff "increasing risk". They don't say "not smoking lowers your risk of lung cancer", do they?

Layl77 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:47:28

So a horse fed its mothers milk is unhappy or fails to thrive or it's mother gets stressed out and therefore makes its young unhappy? No! Actually anyone looking to buy a horse to breed or race will not touch one that hasn't been fed mothers milk as its that important.

workingonitagain Mon 01-Jul-13 14:01:00

with ds1 igave up after a week and was never able to express any then said no with ds2 im expecting dc3 and i wish i had the willpower and stamina to stick with it this time but feel the whole idea terrifies me and for the sake of being able to cope with 3 dc(and i know it usually only difficult for the first few weeks but it also the most difficult time too in every other sense) i think im going to say no again. about the midwife pressure i always felt that its more of the guilt and disappointment that i never completely given it all that makes me feel bad when the mw asks me about it and i think its easy to turn it around and feel negative about the person who is bringing up a sensitive subject. i have no doubt that bf is always the best tho

lurcherlover Mon 01-Jul-13 14:06:20

workingonitagain, if you want to give bf a try this time, you could contact your hv and ask about bf support services in your area. There should be infant feeding co-ordinators or bf peer supporters who will help you in hospital and do home visits to see how bf is going and to help you get established. Bf support groups are great too - it's really good to talk to other bf mums in your local area.

Even if you only gave baby the colostrum whilst still in hospital and switched to formula when you came home, it would still have given baby a brilliant start. smile

Hullygully Mon 01-Jul-13 14:09:47

Because breastfeeding is best

the end

You're only 12 weeks pregnant! Wait until you have delivered and decide then as you may well feel differently. Once you have been through childbirth you are going to feel far less protective of your body and more able to share it with your baby. I apologise if that sounds a bit lentil weaving, but it was certainly true for me. The idea of Bf-ing used to vaguely horrify me, but once dd arrived it seemed entirely natural, and actually a wonderful way to bond. I ebf for 10 weeks, before moving onto mixed and finally ff. That is what worked for me.

Even if you have absolutely no intention on bf-ing please consider giving your baby the colostrum. It is so very important for your baby's health, and a couple of days feeding isn't a big commitment.

Rulesgirl Mon 01-Jul-13 14:18:30

Basically breast is best because its what nature intended...not milk from the tit of a cow which is meant for calves.

The health benefits are obvious....its a human and you give it human milk.

The health benefits to the mother are also very important.

curryeater Mon 01-Jul-13 14:22:10

The difficulty with the "choice" idea is that it is a million times easier to give up breastfeeding for formula, if or when you want to, than the other away around. New mothers are very tired and perhaps stressed and these are crucial days and weeks for establishing breastfeeding, unfortunately, when they might be all at 6s and 7s for all sorts of reasons - but they can't just put the whole issue on the back burner as they might sensibly do with painting the dining room or something like that.

The knowledge of this urgency may translate into "pressure" but although that is a mistake, you can see how this could happen. The sad truth is that the chance can go away if not grabbed at the right time.

MrsOakenshield Mon 01-Jul-13 14:28:24

um - I've never seen formula advertised - in fact, I thought it was illegal to advertise it? I've only seen ads for follow-on milk.

The best thing about bfing is - it's free. FREE! FREE! FREE!

I think the real problems are lack of support and inconsistent support and advice for HCPs, once baby is born. It seems that I am lucky in my area that tongue tie is usually picked up at birth and sorted within a week - shocked to discover this isn't the norm. The poster who stopped bfing after much support and advice - that is how it should be, IYSWIM - I have a feeling that a lot of women stop due to lack of or poor advice.

noblegiraffe Mon 01-Jul-13 14:30:53

Follow-on milk is formula. It's formula that's supposed to be designed for babies over 6 months old.

Babies over 6 months old didn't need their own special formula in the past, until advertising formula to babies under 6 months old was banned. Follow-on milk is just to get around that ban.

Hullygully Mon 01-Jul-13 15:06:25


bebsy75 Mon 01-Jul-13 15:23:33

Even if you don't want to carry on, just do it for the first 3 days. The colostrum milk during those first 3 days can not be replicated by any formula and is amazing for your baby.

I did both after 6 weeks but always preferred breast because I'm inherently lazy and breastfeeding is easiest once it's established. No washing up, cheap, on tap.

Just give it a go, even if it's for 3 days.

Miamiami Mon 01-Jul-13 17:42:12

Cow and Gate, SMA, Aptimal and all the FF companies have every right to advertise. I have never minded seeing their advertisements at all. I have no time for anyone who is obsessed with trying to get other women to do what they think is right. Again I emphasize freedom of choice.
All the information one needs is available should they wish to read up on anything. I did not want to breastfeed my child til they were 5, therefore I did not read up on it. Again I emphasize freedom of choice.

RJM17 Mon 01-Jul-13 17:51:37

I am sorry but this thread has really annoyed me!! There should not be pressure on mums to BF it should be individual choice!! I have said I am going to do a mixture of the two and the amount of people who have tried to convince me to just BF is unreal!!
People need to realise it is the mums baby, the mums boob and therefore the mums choice!! Everyone should just back off and let each individual make their own choices.
Sorry for the rant but it really annoys me when people try to tell others they are wrong and should do it their way!! X

Miamiami Mon 01-Jul-13 18:07:56

RJM17 absolutely, this thread is totally full of PO. The women who think they know it all should listen to themselves, and mind there own bloody business quite frankly.
No one of a sound mind would even try to coerce a grown woman to do something she does not want to do. Reminds me of religious freakery.
Awful, just awful. Again I emphasize freedom of choice.

Miamiami Mon 01-Jul-13 18:08:49


Miamiami Mon 01-Jul-13 18:11:20

I wish I had told evangelical midwife I encountered to Fuck Off!

RJM17 Mon 01-Jul-13 18:12:22

Miami totally agree its like trying to make someone believe in god if they don't!! It's a personal opinion!! Everyone needs to realise we are all grown women and can make our own decisions based on our personal choices, circumstances, feelings and surroundings. Not everyone is the same and you wouldn't start telling everyone that they have to have a natural birth then get on with their work!! But guess what that is what nature intended us to do!! Doesn't make it right nowadays tho!! I just think people need to remember that changes are made and science has brought is some fabulous things including formula milk so that we have choices!!! X

Champagnebubble Mon 01-Jul-13 18:34:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Miamiami Mon 01-Jul-13 19:08:47

Thank goodness I am not alone in this <thought I might be>!
Thank goodness for choices!
I object to being told what to do, I am a grown woman ffs, so please don't even try to convert me to anything.
I was lectured so much with my first baby and it was woeful, I really, really resented it. It was like being back at school!!
Please BF ladies/obsessives get off your pulpits and do something else <QVC or something like that perhaps> grin because believe or not, there are a lot of women who don't want to hear you preach grin
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I feel soooooo much better now grin

lurcherlover Mon 01-Jul-13 19:10:29

Those who think that formula companies have a right to advertise should read The Politics of Breastfeeding by Gabrielle Palmer. It effectively explains the very serious reasons why they shouldn't be allowed to.

lurcherlover Mon 01-Jul-13 19:12:41

And Miami, clearly you don't believe in "freedom of choice" because you think bf babies don't "thrive" as well as ff ones, and that extended bf-ers have "ishoos". If that's not judgmental, I don't know what is...

Erm, purely anecdotal but I did a quick straw pull with my friends and the conclusion was our MW's asked us at our booking in appointment if we had thought about breastfeeding and gave us a dvd to watch. No pressure from our health board!

So what are MW's doing/saying EXACTLY that is so much pressure? ignore image in head of a Mrs Doyle type

WinkyWinkola Mon 01-Jul-13 19:15:49

Do you really emphasise freedom of choice, Miami?

You describe women who bf for longer than 6 months as having "ishoos". How ignorant is that? Hardly encouraging freedom of choice now, is it dearie? Standing in high and mighty judgement of those who are different to you more like.

How dare you suggest I have "ishoos"? Should I tell you to eff off for being so rude, presumptuous and evangelical about ff?

Man, there are some really divvies about.

WinkyWinkola Mon 01-Jul-13 19:17:20

And Miami, nobody is trying to convert you to anything. Apart from understanding the basic science that proves breast milk is the best option. You can feed your baby whatever you like. Nobody cares but don't be a Luddite.

ishchel Mon 01-Jul-13 19:33:36

my two girls were breastfed from birth and they both are in excellent health.

what I mean is:

This is not a place for anecdote. Every one has one. they prove nothing.

this is about trends in health outcomes in robust, peer-reviewed research which consistently find that breastfed babies are admitted to hospital less frequently for childhood illnesses and when they are, they on average stay for shorter times than formula fed babies. They also visit GPs less frequently, on average, for childhood illnesses.

The paperwork within the NHS support that. Paperwork doesn't have feelings or motivations. they just tally stuff.

One woman's 'pressure' is another woman's 'encouragement'. Maybe some open minded discussion and reflection may help the OP and others come to a hypothesis on why she feels 'pressure' rather than 'encouragement' to breastfeed out there can help bring her to a place where she can make up her mind one way or another on what is the better choice for her.

Teaandflapjacks Mon 01-Jul-13 20:47:45

I suspect a lot is to do with the environment around us, what our friends do and how well we are supported. It is fairly clear to anyone that a well networked/supported mother, with supportive partner will generally find BF less trying than someone who has the counter opposite. It is also true that BF can be very hard at first - and if you want to succeed to have to stick at it, but even with the best will in the world, for some women it doesn't work out, and there is no shame in that.

It is also quite clear that when a baby is breast fed it has the additional protection of anti bodies to ward of infections during the period he/she feeds.

It is further more quite clear that some women go to the edge with this, even beyond, and spend months in a state no-one would wish just to try and breast feed - when FF may well have served them and their baby far better in this instance. And bloody good job these days we have such a choice.

It seems to me that even during the pregnancy we have a lot of this with things like not to drink alcohol etc and so on. So for example i have chosen not to drink at all during pregnancy - this is solely my choice, nothing to do with anyone else and how they approach their pregnancies, likewise with my general diet during pregnancy and so on. And the same with FF vs BF - I have friends who have done both, some BF till 3 years of age, and naturally support either of their choices. We all of us have a very long way ahead with our babies, and will have to make countless choices as they grow. To me it isn't like we win some kind of award for doing everything exactly by the book - natural birth, BF, everything organic etc, and then various school activities to help them learn quicker/faster. Surely a large proportion should be ensuring our babies our loved and safe and fed and clothed and warm. The rest - we just muddle through and do our best.

showtunesgirl Mon 01-Jul-13 20:51:54

I never understand these threads.

People always talk about these BF Nazis. What do they look like? hmm

shufflehopstep Mon 01-Jul-13 21:51:48

This is a ridiculous thread. If you say breast is best (which the science proves it is) you're obviously a bf nazi, pressurising people and saying formula is the work of the devil. You can't win. A lot of people seem to be very defensive.

When people explain the positives of breast milk, it isn't pressure, it's information. Formula isn't bad. Lots of people in white coats have spent years analysing breast milk and tweaking cow's milk so that it matches it as closely as possible. It's obviously fine to feed your baby formula but it's just cheaper, quicker, less faffy and more beneficial health-wise (because of the antibodies contained in it) to cut out the middle man.

If someone has said that to you, they're not putting pressure on you. You still have the freedom to choose to do whatever you want. Lucky you. There are lots of places in the world where mums don't have that choice.

Miamiami Mon 01-Jul-13 22:25:11

I was pressurised about BF, by a several midwives. I am not going to argue. I don't agree with extended BF, so shoot me. I stand by what I said. Its nobodys business if you BF or FF.

lurcherlover Mon 01-Jul-13 22:32:16

But don't you see you're contradicting yourself? On the one hand "it's nobody's business"/"I agree with freedom of choice" and on the other hand you've said very firmly you think extended bf is wrong. If you really believed in freedom of choice and "nobody's business" you would accept other women's right to extended bf as they see fit and wouldn't be passing judgement on it here (which is surely none of your business, going by your own argument).

By the way, the World Health Organisation recommends that all babies should be breastfed for two years or longer. That's all babies, not just third world ones. Clearly they don't think extended bf-ers have "ishoos".

Hullygully Mon 01-Jul-13 23:05:35

Miamiamiiii it's also your choice to smoke fags, drink yourself to death, mainline cocaine etc etc but I wouldn't recommend any of them.

The notion of choice has got nothing to do with what is best.

Breast is best, that's why it's encouraged. Choice is irrelevant.

And if you/op is secure in your choice, why the hell do you care what anyone else thinks anyway?

lozster Mon 01-Jul-13 23:22:35

I think as with birth it's worth keeping an open mind, getting more information and seeing how it goes. I have come round to the idea based on a few facts that surprised me:
1) that a new born baby will move itself towards a breast as it wants to feed - I've seen it for myself on OBEM. Mylene Klass who was adament she wouldn't breast feed prebirth, describes this too in her celeb baby book as being the reason she ended up breast feeding 2) A baby's stomach is the size of a grape so it doesn't need copious amounts 3) the first six weeks will be hard as a latch may be difficult, milk comes in, baby cluster feeds but it will get better 4) that mixing bottle and breast isn't a halfway house it's confusing 5) that the baby shouldn't chow down on a nipple they should take a huge mouthful of boob so it shouldn't hurt 6) that bottles should be prepared one at a time to avoid contamination - once breast feeding is established this will take longer than a breast feed

The above are random but were surprising info to me. I'm still prepared for it all to go wrong but after going to the couples breast feeding workshop I do feel more positive.

Shellywelly1973 Mon 01-Jul-13 23:34:47

Ive skimmed through this thread...

I think the reason many women i know stopped bf is the reality of it. I've bf 4 dc, Im expecting my 6th dc. I will start off, just as i did with the others&see how i get on.

The pressure to go back to work, pay the morgage, deal with family, exhaustion, PND, school runs, SN dc... etc etc are factors that influenced how long i bf for

lurcherlover Mon 01-Jul-13 23:38:17

Good for you, lozter. It can hurt in the early days - I think most women have nipple pain at first. I had pain for the first 2 days with my second baby, which surprised me as I thought as a "seasoned" bf-er I wouldn't have any. The latch was fine, it just took my nipples a bit of time to get used to it again. This is normal, but I'm not going to lie, it did hurt. Lots of lansinoh and some painkillers helped and then I was fine. I'm not trying to put you off, but sometimes I think bf workshops push the message too much that "if it hurts your latch is wrong" - persistent pain (more than a couple of days) does indicate a problem, but it's normal for it to hurt a bit at first. I think being realistic about it is better as it helps women understand what's normal.

perplexedpirate Mon 01-Jul-13 23:52:19

'Choice is irrelevant'.
And there we have it. sad

showtunesgirl Tue 02-Jul-13 00:37:40

perplexedpirate I think you've misunderstood what Hullygully was saying.

It is a scientifcally undisputed fact that breastmilk is preferable to formula as the primary food source for a baby under six months.

This doesn't mean that choice is a bad thing but it is true that formula is not as good as breast milk. It's an excellent near-substitute but it is not like-for-like.

Weegiemum Tue 02-Jul-13 00:55:15

The pressure on me (especially with dd1, now 13) was to ff. I lived in a remote area (within uk) with an old fashioned culture and all-bar-one midwives after dd1's birth suggested "just one bottle". My HV said at her first visit "you'll never feed a big baby like that on your own, get her on a bottle now" (she was 9lb12oz at birth! - and honestly only lost 3-4oz, and had regained her birthweight by 10 days).

I'd read a lot, as had my (medic) dh, and luckily one of my only friends to have a baby before me had bf for 2 years. I was also bloody-minded, no HV was telling me what to do!!

So I tried (and, thankfully, succeeded) and fed dd1 for 12 months, ds for about 16 and dd2 for 2 years.

Because ... Despite any anecdote, including mine, the scientific evidence is that Breast is Best, even in a highly developed country like the UK (we see that from the Netherlands and Scandinavia, which have much higher bf rates and lower infant illness than we do).

I hope that now, in the area I was in when I gave birth, that new mothers are given more encouragement to make an informed choice.

(And just as an unscientific anecdote, I suffered severe PND with all of my dc, including hospital treatment. And I know that one of the things that got me through was that my bonding was poor, but I was feeding them in the best way, and that aided my recovery. It wasn't exactly "happy mum, happy baby" but it worked - and I wasn't the only mum I met in hospital who felt this).

lozster Tue 02-Jul-13 02:07:42

I think the breast feeding counsellor who ran the workshop was actually pretty balanced and realistic. She handed out Lasinoh samples too! Thanks to mumsnet and Dooyoo I already had my full tube packed in my hospital bag! I'm quite prepared for all of this to go tits up (sorry couldn't resist grin) but feel there is enough support available to give it a good go. I feel I owe it to my baby, myself, the nhs who provide support and my employer who is stumping up for maternity leave presumably because my baby needs me, to at least try. I've got to an age where I'm happy and grateful to be having a child after lots of intervention. Because of this, I feel less ownership of my body than when I was younger.

perplexedpirate Tue 02-Jul-13 07:57:11

I understood that, show, but as a choice for an individual mother and child, it may well not be the best course of action.
You only have to look at the amount of threads started on here by new mothers distraught that they can't breastfeed. They are made to feel like they have failed their child from day one. Who needs that when there is so much else to cope with at that point?! It's one choice, in a lifetime of choices.
I totally agree that parents should be given the facts about breast feeding (and I personally wish I could have bf, would've saved a fortune) but this constant bombardment, which is what I experienced, is very hurtful.
Personally, my choice to ff was down to my physical options being limited, but there are hundreds of reasons why a woman might choose not to bf.
I think that should be respected and that choice is very relevant for the wellbeing of the whole family.

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 08:13:36

The questions was:

Why Is bfing so pushed?

The answer is: Because it's best

Obviously the corollary is: best IF POSSIBLE

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 08:14:45

If people that choose not to bf for reasons other than inability, eg lifestyle choices, then if they feel like failures it's hard to understand.

If you don't have the courage of your choices/convictions, make other ones.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 02-Jul-13 08:29:05

It seems like the Formula-Feeders are showing far more hostility to the Breast-Feeders than the other way round.

The area in which I work has very low breast feeding rates. A high proportion of mothers leave the hospital having initiated breast feeding but by the time the baby is 3 months old only 6% are still being breast fed.

There are many factors that stop mothers continuing and usually it is because of how difficult it can be in those early weeks. It is so important that mothers are giving breast feeding support before the birth and continuing through those first few months.

My sister has got 2 children. The first one she BF until he was about 11 months old and she said it was wonderful. With her second she could only manage for about 3 months due to the fact her toddler kept wanting her attention. As somebody has said, there are lots of influential factors that can make a mother discontinue. She said that whilst breast feeding her partner was brilliant and so supportive and that is what helped her carry on.

In my opinion I don't think there is any pressure to BF - all the professionals are doing is providing relevant and very important information as to what is best for the baby. And why wouldn't they??

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 08:30:54

It's like saying it's mean to give people info about lung cancer in case smokers are upset.

Info is info.

What you do with it is up to the individual, but it's important to have the correct info to make an informed choice. This time the correct info is: Breast is best.

Irritating to see that Amazinggg hasn't been back to explain where I have compared formula feeding to smoking.
That is one thing that really gets my goat, people twisting your argument, having a go and then buggering off.

perplexedpirate Tue 02-Jul-13 10:33:11

I'm not being hostile, really I'm not. I'm just giving my personal experience, which was a ridiculous experience as the choice was out of my hands anyway.
I just think that to see a woman formula feeding and assume its because she doesn't know the benefits of breast feeding shows disrespect for that women's choices.
Of course women should be told the benefits of breast feeding, and sharing a room, and all the other stuff we have learn first time round.
To then use that information to push a woman into a decision that may not actually be best for her and her family is, in my opinion anyway, disrespectful and counterproductive.

curryeater Tue 02-Jul-13 10:36:38

"To then use that information to push a woman into a decision that may not actually be best for her and her family is, "

- goes against training
Anyone who is doing this is not doing their job properly

Don't forget though, that the OP didn't appear to really get the difference

FaddyPeony Tue 02-Jul-13 10:54:12

The people who work for the health services recommend that mothers breastfeed because they are obliged to do so by the government as part of their job.
The government wants mothers to breastfeed because if enough women who can breastfeed do so, ultimately millions will be saved in costs.
It isn't personal though. You're not forced to do it.I didn't do it for as long as is recommended and i also used formula when it suited me.
But do you see why the advice is to breastfeed?

rallytog1 Tue 02-Jul-13 11:42:57

I do think there is an issue with regards to the training some bf counsellors, peer supporters etc are given.

I was all set to bf dd. I had a session with a bf midwife at my house, read extensively, found out about local sources of support and attended a bf workshop at my hospital. I felt that I was as prepared as I could ever be to understand the potential problems and issues but to persevere nonetheless. What I wasn't prepared for however, was major additional surgery following my emcs, where I lost most of the blood in my body, nearly lost a major organ and almost died.

Unsurprisingly, after all that, my body was less than cooperative when it came to milk production. Despite hardly being strong enough to hold my daughter or remember my own name I persisted with trying to bf in hospital for three weeks. After three weeks I wasn't even producing colostrum, never mind milk, and even the lactation consultant and specialist midwife advised me that I was hampering my own recovery and failing to bond with my daughter because of my determination to bf. Reluctantly I went on to formula and I have to say that for me, in my set of circumstances, it was exactly the right choice.

I felt that the support from the midwives, infant feeding co-ordinators and lactation consultants at the hospital was second to none. They gently helped me to try different things and were really encouraging.

However, I can't say the same for the peer supporters who'd barge in at all hours, not even ask me about my situation and proceed to give me a lecture about the importance of bf. When I explained our situation and stated that we were taking action and that it was all under control, you'd think I was talking martian. It just did not seem to compute and I got another lecture about how important bf was. I know they're volunteers, they provide a valuable support to many and it's all well meaning, so I don't want to be critical, but it really did feel like pressure. I remember just crying my eyes out one day because I'd spent so much time talking to uninvited peer supporters that I hadn't been able to follow my expressing schedule (and yes, there was a 'do not disturb' sign on the door - they just ignored it). It honestly felt like harassment at times.
We've since written to the infant feeding coordinator at the hospital to tell them about our experiences in the hope that others in a similar position will get better support.

So in some circumstances, for some people, there is undue pressure. I certainly wouldn't categorise telling a healthy pregnant woman about the benefits of bf as pressure though!

perplexedpirate Tue 02-Jul-13 11:51:45

Advise to breast geez is one thing.
This thread is about pressure to breast feed.
Different, innit?

perplexedpirate Tue 02-Jul-13 11:52:24

Breast geez?! Lordy, I've never done that!
Feed, obvs. wink

please please feed that back! I trained as a peersupporter (not maintained that other than unofficially) and one of the first thing we were told was that peer support was for women whose breastfeeding was going ok but had the usual concerns about eg "how do I know how much he's getting", "how can I feed while out and about" etc. Not appropriate in your situation at all. Glad you had decent support from the professionals & you managed to switch to formula ok and I hope things were well from then on?

curryeater Tue 02-Jul-13 11:59:47

rallytog, that sounds awful. I am so sorry, yes, that does sound like harrassment.
I am a trained peer supporter and I was worried on my course that some of the others being trained really didn't seem to get that our job was to support women who had chosen to breastfeed, and were asking for help with it. It was explicitly stated several times that we were not supposed to be persuading anyone to do anything. (Apart from anything else, of course, we are not medically trained and shouldn't be going anywhere near telling women what to do for that reason alone - though there is a whole host of other good reasons).
I am sorry that the peer supporters you had didn't seem to get that message. I wouldn't say though that they weren't given it. I have seen the message being given and being ignored, or argued with.

curryeater Tue 02-Jul-13 12:00:25

x-posted with Stealth!

TarkaTheOtter Tue 02-Jul-13 12:14:49

Agree curryeater not trained to tell women what to do, nor insured to do so. We were told (at peer supporter training) that we shouldn't even really be giving "advice" but helping women find the information they needed to reach their own decisions and sharing our experiences.

curryeater Tue 02-Jul-13 12:21:19

Right, Tarka
But we are different from MWs and drs, etc. who are HCPs and are trained to give advice - and the advice is: breastfeed if you can. And imo it is good advice

Yes, it's a coaching type thing, not counselling, and not advising. It's being there, and helping women make their own decisions. Of course if you spot something wrong you need to advise but that should go as far as "you need to see your GP/MW" - exactly the sort of advice you'd give a friend. You're promoting it by the very fact you're there, breastfeeding/fed, normalising it, and allowing women to talk about their experiences. IMO no peer supporter should be telling women about the benefits, unless specifically asked, and even then should be making it clear it's their own experience only.

rallytog1 Tue 02-Jul-13 12:56:17

Thanks StealthPolarBear, curryeater and TarkaTheOtter - I am hopeful that my experiences were not representative of peer supporters more generally. At the time, the hospital was having some kind of assessment around its breastfeeding work, so I suspect that perhaps some people were being a little over-enthusiastic as they knew we'd be interviewed about our experiences as part of the assessment (luckily for them we refused to take part in the end as I was too exhausted to talk to yet another person about bf!).

Overall I am really pro peer supporters - I just hope that at our hospital they can be supported a little more to behave in a slightly more appropriate way.

All is now well thanks - DD seems to be thriving on formula so I'm beginning to feel less guilty about not bf and just feeling glad we live in a country where we have choices and alternatives.

SuffolkNWhat Tue 02-Jul-13 12:59:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Miamiami Tue 02-Jul-13 16:46:12

Aha my point is proven. You see when someone shoves religion down my throat and I tell them what I know/ think, they get soooo angry. Its sooo predictable. Same story on this thread hmm Already called a divvy and a luddite. Lovely!
lurcher I don't care if women want to BF their child until its 18. I said before its not what I choose to do. Personal choice.
Hully if I want info on anything I will ask for it, I do not want/ do not need it shoved in my face.
I don't care if anyonr is a BF martyr, just stay away from me grin

Miamiami Tue 02-Jul-13 16:46:48


You said you don't agree with extended breastfeeding. Which commonly means you extend that to other people.

Otherwise you'd have said "I don't choose to"
"I don't agree with" tends to mean "I disapprove"

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 17:12:18

So should we ban ALL health information and recommendations then Miammiii?

RJM17 Tue 02-Jul-13 19:56:46

Why is everyone jumping on miami we both disagreed with this thread and yet for some reason you have all decided to attack her and her views. Think this is uncalled for and everyone should just leave it now and agree that everyone has their own opinions and views on everything!!
Think this thread has become less about the OP's question and more about what people think about each other x

everyone has their own opinions and views and they tend to come on MN to discuss them. It's not compulsory.

lurcherlover Tue 02-Jul-13 20:15:43

Miami said that extended bf-ers have "ishoos", By which I assume she means either they want to keep their children as babies and not let them grow up, or that they're perverts. Either way, lots of us feel pretty strongly that she shouldn't be saying that.

WinkyWinkola Tue 02-Jul-13 20:19:56

Why if you bf are you a martyr?

Miami, you really don't like women who breastfeed, do you?

I'd say it is actually you with some pretty massive "ishoos"

The only negativity I've had from people about how I feed my baby has been from those who ff'd their dcs.

They seemed to really care that I bf'd. And were quite insulting about it even though I'd not said a word.

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 20:25:08


that is a very odd post.

If someone says X, and people disagree, they will say so. That is not "attacking" and if lots of people disagree and say so, it is not ganging up, it is more likely that the poster has an erroneous view.

You can't disagree with breast is best. It is.

And if you say women shouldn't be given that info, then logically, no one should be given any info about any health issue.

Surely you can see that?

RJM17 Tue 02-Jul-13 20:37:53

I can see what u are saying but think the whole idea of this thread was for the op to get info and that seems to have been forgotten with all the issues people have with each other.
I personally come on here for info or advice or a bit of hand holding not to argue with people. And just think this thread has been taken over and the poor op forgotten in all this xx

Waas it? what info did the OP want?

lurcherlover Tue 02-Jul-13 21:02:10

The op didn't ask for any info. She asked why there was "pressure" (her word) to bf.

She has been given the answer: because bf is better for babies' health than formula, and therefore society in general benefits from as many babies being bf as possible.

Apparently some posters choose not to believe these facts.

Amazinggg Tue 02-Jul-13 21:31:52

There is some disingenuity here though - obviously 'breast is best'. That is why information is, and should be, provided. However, I think it's important that it is provided in a way which empowers the mother, so that it is not experienced as pressure . A lot of posters seem to dislike the idea that advice regarding breastfeeding is experienced by some as pressure - why are you questioning the valid experiences of the OP and other posters? I too experienced the advice during pregnancy as pressure, despite fully intending to bf. I think there are genuine issues around how information is presented, that results in women becoming nervous, pressured, defensive and ultimately less likely to succeed.

And as I said in my previous post - oh how I wish that funding and resources were directed to post-natal support for breastfeeding as opposed to information and advice during pregnancy - which at the moment, for many NHS staff and expectant mothers, means not support but the very opposite. I recognise the feelings the OP has and can't understand why so many of you have reduced it to a 'breast is best' thread yet again

Any chance you can point out where I compared ff to smoking? Not mentioned them in the same post, but compared them.

WinkyWinkola Tue 02-Jul-13 21:38:21

Wish the op had been more explicit about how the pressure was applied.

Amazinggg Tue 02-Jul-13 21:50:32

Isn't it enough that she experienced it as pressure? I think it's a serious issue. It's not good enough to say 'breast is best' when it's clearly not working. Why not listen to the mums who don't want to bf and empathise, rather than condescend. If there is an issue with how information is presented, then IMO increasing the information isn't enough - a change of strategy is what's needed. No pregnant woman should feel pressured into anything, the whole business of making a child is pretty overwhelming as it is. I experienced a lot of pressure to bf, despite being set on doing so. Several different staff, several different occasions. Lots of pressure, and in the end - no support.

SPB - I cba scanning all the way back - on app - but don't be defensive - it just amuses me how it always happens on threads mentioning ff, someone starts using analogies about smoking or similar. Every single time. Several posters on this thread have done it, ostensibly as a way of demonstrating choice, but also pretty obviously offensive to anyone who used formula?! Not sure why you'd talk about it in the same breath as formula if you weren't hugely scornful as a minimum of formula.

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 21:55:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 02-Jul-13 21:59:47

I agree with you WinkyWinkola,

It is the FF mothers who seem to have more anger in them towards BF mothers than the other way around. I don't understand it.

In my eyes, artificial feeding is a convenient choice (unless the mother has medical reasons why she can't BF) which is fine if the mother really doesn't feel she can cope with the demands of BF (for whatever reason).

As part of my job I attended a 16 hour training session on BF (spread over 2 days) and a large part of it looked at reasons why women choose not to commence breast feeding, or why women start doing it and then stop. It was really interesting looking at all those factors and it was fascinating to listen to other people's views and experiences.

When my sister had her first baby who she BF for about 11 months, our mother was really quite cruel to her about it - said that she thought BF was disgusting and would always frown upon her when she did it. Absolutely unacceptable in my eyes. I still can't get my head around it.

I just don't understand why a mother would choose not to breast feed before the baby has even been born? What thoughts lead to that decision?

Is it considered dirty or wrong in their eyes?

I'm obviously very pro BF with my job but I am always supportive of mothers who have to stop doing it (for whatever reason) and would never make a mother feel bad for FF.

I do think there is some negativity attributed to FF though as when I do Baby Clinics one of my routine questions (if I haven't met the family before) is, "Is she bottle or breast fed?" and I find that if the baby is FF the mothers will either answer quietly, or look at the floor when they say it - almost like they are embarrassed to admit it. It is awful really so I do my best to pep them up and remain light hearted and cheery as I'd never want a mother to feel she wasn't doing right for her baby.

But I do wonder what goes through the women's minds - why are they embarrassed if they think that what they are doing is ok? Maybe too much pressure is put on women....I don't know?

Either way, breast milk is advised for many, many reasons but it doesn't work for everyone and what matters at the end of the day is that there is a healthy, happy baby and a mother who is enjoying her new addition.

x x x

Or if you're looking for a way to deliberately twist words and take offence. Cheers for clearing that up.

Amazinggg Tue 02-Jul-13 22:08:27

Not sure why you're being snarky SPB but if it makes you happy please don't stop wink

If you'd bothered to read what I wrote its because usually when I try to use a the argument about no one debating that smoking causes cancer, yet people are happy to argue based on anecdote that breast feeding does not hold any benefits over ff, some one comes on to berate me for comparing ff to smoking. Which is not what I am doing and I don't think I can make it any clearer. It is an analogy. Tbh it's really quite upsetting.

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:15:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Amazinggg Tue 02-Jul-13 22:17:49

Lol at upsetting! It upsets you that you can't be offensive?!

The whole purpose of that analogy is to make formula seem really bad for health. I'm sure you could think of a better analogy to bang home that formula is nutritious, but not as nutritious as breastmilk. Maybe you could say it's like apples are good for you, but no-one denies that a fruit salad is better?

Or would that not work, because you really want to bang home how evil formula is?

I cba discussing this tbh but you're kinda making me. Just consider for a bit why it's so important to you to be able to use your favourite analogy on threads about bf, and if you're offending people because you like doing so then continue, but if you are interested in engaging with other posters then consider binning that one.

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:18:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ok. If you believe that I can't convince you otherwise. No I can't think of a better example of widely accepted evidence based policy. I give up. If you read any of my other posts, sure you cba, you'll see I am not offensive about formula and haven't made an exception for this thread.

Apples are good for you but no one denies a fruit salad is better?
Personally I've never seen any health advice relating to fruit salad. I have for smoking and breast feeding. Must depend on where you live. Anyway you have clearly decided I am offensive despite my efforts to explain.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 02-Jul-13 22:33:11

Hi champagne,

Thanks for telling me the thoughts you are having. The more I can learn about how potential breast feeders are feeling (i.e why they are unsure about doing it) then the better I can do my job. I think that professionals need to spend more time with mothers prior to the birth to explore their feelings on breast feeding, address any concerns or misconcpetions they have (if any) and do their best to answer any questions. Talking to women about the reality and practicality of breast feeding is so important in order to encourage women not only to start doing it but to also continue for as long as they can manage.

It isn't enough to just give them details about research studies and scientific data as I'm not sure that would solve anything if the pregnant woman is unsure as to what to do.

I think women want to be talked to, not talked at. I think that pregnant women need to feel that their anxieties and doubts about BF are understood and respected and unless a woman feels she is on a level relationship with the HCP (as opposed to the professional coming across as the 'teacher') then I don't really think the discussion about feeding will be of much benefit.


Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 22:37:12

It's very simple

Breast is obviously best

People that don't want to bf (not can't) don't want to feel bad for their choosing to ff

So they feel defensive

And say others are attacking them

Because they feel guilty

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:37:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Amazinggg Tue 02-Jul-13 22:37:55

SPB, it's interesting in the context of this thread because so many posters are saying it's information provided during pregnancy, that is valuable and important to help mothers be more likely to want to and be able to breastfeed. The OP and others, experience some of this information-giving as pressure - despite the fact that I'm sure none of the NHS staff involved meant to put pressure on, they inadvertently did. It's not about the intention, it's about how it's experienced. If you are interested in helping others to breastfeed, you should listen to me and the other posters who felt pressured and try to understand why. It speaks volumes about your attitude that you'd rather bicker about why you're entitled to use your smoking analogy, rather than listen to me trying to explain how it feels to someone who has used formula? I wish I had been able to breastfeed, I wish the pregnant posters all the best that they will be able to and enjoy it - I think you and I disagree on the best way to help people do so.

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:37:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 22:38:23

What would you do champagne if formula didn't exist? Not have a child?

Miamiami Tue 02-Jul-13 22:39:38

This thread is dire.
The pressure I was under to BF was enormous, and I did try and I did fail, and at the time it made me feel awful that I failed. I am leaving this thread now as it is bringing up bad memories for me.
I wish women got more support. I was lucky in the end as a different midwife told me not to upset myself. That was a midwife who did a home visit with me after I had given birth. That midwife I will never forget til the day I die. She was the loveliest person and gave me back some faith in myself.
OP do what you feel is best for you x

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 22:39:57

amazinggg people have gone to a lot of trouble to talk about the difference between can't and won't

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:39:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Amazinggg Tue 02-Jul-13 22:41:23

Hully do you think that repeating 'breast is best' will help more women decide to bf? Honest question.

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 22:41:38

No one really wants a sensible discussion do they? Miammiiiamai and champagne etc. You just want to say "I felt" "poor me"

Well, it's a shame you felt bad for WHATEVER reason, but that doesn't equate to a logical or reasoned argument.

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:41:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:42:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 22:42:18

amazinggg I don't care if women bf or give their babies boiled turnip.

I am interested in logic and sensible meaningful debate.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 02-Jul-13 22:42:47


Take a look at this website : http://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/

If you haven't seen it already, it may help you make your decision.
The more information you have the better informed your choice will be.

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:42:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 22:43:00

I'm not being condescending champagne, I'm saying that a feeling doesn't = an argument.

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:43:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 22:44:17

The 'breast is obviously best, comment is the one that I disagree with BTW

champagne - you can't "disagree" with the truth

You might not like it, but you can't disagree with it

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:44:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lurcherlover Tue 02-Jul-13 22:44:28

Amazinggg, I don't see why you are getting so upset.

Stealth's points are about evidenced based research.

Smokers don't debate that their habits are increasing their risk of cancer.

I don't debate with my dentist when he points out that my laziness regarding flossing and fondness for Haribos is increasing my risk of tooth decay and suggest that that isn't true.

No-one would debate that not wearing a seatbelt in the car increases your risk of injury in the event of a crash.

So why debate that formula increases the risk of some illnesses, in both mother and baby? That is Stealth's point. It has nothing to do with saying formula is as bad as smoking. She is making the point that people seem happy to accept scientific evidence for some habits but not for others - in this case, ff.

Champagne, it is obviously your choice how you feed your baby. To address some of your points: it is messy, although leaking varies enormously from woman to woman. But in terms of convenience, when I feed my baby at night I don't even have to get out of bed. I can leave the house for hours and hours and not worry about running out of milk, or sterilised bottles. I never have to wash up bottles, or run a steriliser, or worry about what temperature the kettle is. I never run out of milk or have to trek to other supermarkets if my local one has sold out of my preferred brand. I think bf is pretty convenient, really. My husband can't do any feeds, it's true. He could if I expressed, but to be honest, feeding a baby is the easy bit once bf is established. I get to sit on the sofa and watch tv - there's plenty he can do in terms of nappies, bathing, taking baby for a walk in the pram so I can nap... In terms of medication, the vast majority of medicines are safe for bf (certainly most over the counter drugs, antibiotics, the mini pill etc) and safe alternatives can be found for most of the ones that aren't (eg there are appropriate antidepressants). You can drink some booze too. And I'm not sure what you mean about being restricted by timings? I just feed whenever.

Anyway. You have to weigh everything up and make up your own mind. For me, bf is hugely empowering: I love seeing how big my baby is getting on just my milk alone. I love knowing I'm giving her the perfect food for long-term health, and helping my own health at the same time. I love the headrush of happy hormones (oxytocin) I get when feeding her. And yes, I'm pretty lazy and love that for 6 months, I don't have to do any washing up, food prep or food shopping for my baby.

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 22:45:07

what don't you agree with champagne?

That breast is best?

But it is.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 02-Jul-13 22:50:03


Your post about your experience of breast feeding put a huge smile on my face.

How heavenly and lovely it sounds smile

x x

Champagnebubble Tue 02-Jul-13 22:52:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 22:54:39

you are hopelessly illogical

good luck anyway

Hullygully Tue 02-Jul-13 22:55:17

And I haven't been hostile, I have politely pointed out the illogicality of your position

you just don't like it

RJM17 Tue 02-Jul-13 23:53:58

I have to agree with champagne I have lots of personal issues with breast feeding. The main being that I am very self conscious about my own body and don't want to feed in front if people. I am also very concerned that by doing all the feeds my DH won't get to bond the same way with the baby as he can't do any. We have a large group of friends and the majority of both families are male so therefore there will be lots of men in our house visiting once baby is born and I can't think if anything that would make me more uncomfortable than feeding baby in front of them.
Therefore I made my own decision that I would formula feed. But I also want baby to get the antibodies from my milk so agreed with DH that I will do the early mornings no night times feeds as breast feeds as we are likely to be alone then but all others will be FF.
However when I discussed this with my midwife she said no that is not a good idea you should just BF and asked did I not want to do what's best for baby. Other people have also tried to convince me telling me to cover baby and breast with a blanket!!
I feel that this is trying to push me into something I don't want to do even though I am trying my best! So yes I do think there is pressure and I'll be honest this thread has done nothing to convince me that there isn't a lot if pressure put on mums. X

lurcherlover Wed 03-Jul-13 00:11:20

RJM, your midwife probably suggested that wasn't a good idea as it's not really a realistic model of how bf works. It is very much a supply and demand-based system, and relies on the baby being put to the breast at very frequent intervals (at least every 2 hours in the early weeks, and often more frequently like this). The truth is that only offering the baby the breast in the morning and at night time, and not during the day, is unlikely to ever get your supply going enough to make sufficient milk. Once supply is well established it's possible to drop to a couple of feeds a day and still have milk for those feeds - but this only happens after you've been exclusively breastfeeding for a while. Plus, babies feed differently from a breast than from a bottle. At the breast they have to actively suck, and no milk is released if they don't. A bottle will drip milk into their mouth without them actively sucking. For this reason, babies who are offered both often come to prefer the bottle as they don't have to work as hard at getting milk out, so they may then start to refuse the breast.

I really wouldn't worry about your DH "bonding with the baby". Babies are designed to be fed by their mothers, and they bond perfectly well with their fathers and other caregivers in other ways.

See how you feel when the baby is here. It's really hard to picture it now, because you're thinking about an abstract baby who isn't actually here yet, so all you can think of right now is that bf means getting your boob out in front of other people. When the baby comes, you might feel very different. My second baby was born by c-section, and I remember while they were putting the spinal block in in theatre I was leaning over so they could do it and my hospital gown fell open at the front. I felt embarrassed and quickly covered myself up. But as soon as dd was born and we were in recovery, I did skin to skin and wasn't bothered at all about my breast being on display (I could have done it discreetly, but I just genuinely didn't feel bothered). It was like as soon as the baby was there, my breasts just became about feeding the baby, and I didn't feel embarrassed. It's hard to describe. I would feel embarrassed exposing a breast in public, but I have never felt embarrassed about breastfeeding in public (and it is perfectly possible to feed very discreetly without using a blanket - I never have any flesh on display at all).

lozster Wed 03-Jul-13 04:08:15

Champagne, RJM - I am ancient and 36 weeks preggers with a baby I took 7 years to conceive. I say this as I think it influences how I feel about my body (ive had good use to date of it (!) plus it now been fiddled with on a regular basis by large groups of people so I've probably developed a tougher skin) and what i know about bf. 7 years ago my thoughts would have been along the lines of 'its a bit icky' too. I think by the time your little one pops out your feelings about your body may have changed a little.

I urge you to go to any classes or support groups you are offered to do some fact finding. You are absolutely entitled to your own opinion and to make your decision based on this but I think what raises heckles of people on here is disputing facts that are, in so much as anything can be, scientifically proven. As a famous scientist once said 'you are entitled to your own set of opinions but not to your own set of facts'.

I can only share my experience of the workshop I went to in the northwest. The message was everyday you can feed helps then a big information share on the benefits, the problems you may experience, how to actually bf and what to do if its not working out. I did not perceived this to be pressure, just an information share.

RJS - thanks for sharing your concerns. I can relate to them and the counsellor touched on some of them at the workshop I went to. I think that some of the issues (milk coming in, leakage, mess etc) you are going to face anyway even if you ff from the off. Your body thinks you will bf so it's going to kick in with all of these responses until it gets the message that you aren't taking that route! In terms of convenience - once you are set with bf you can respond much more quickly to a hungry baby. The advice currently is to make up one bottle at a time to minimise contamination so at 2.00 am once you've realised your baby is hungry they will have to wait while you make a bottle up.

On the visitors/need to feed in public I have some trepidation too! I think before I managed to get pregnant I though of pregnancy/birth as being a messy old business but one that you could draw a line under when you left the hospital with a lovely baby to show off. Now I know some more about the whole birth process I have in my head an idea of stages of recovery. So I'm thinking that my life will be chaotic and my body in various stages of pain/recovery for at least six weeks post birth. There's unlikely to be a time that comes quickly where I have a beautifully dressed perfect baby to present and trying to establish bf is just part of that. If it means that I am in my bedroom rather than entertaining then so be it but actually, I think you will work a compromise out with your partner so you get privacy and the relatives get a look in.

So I guess what I'm saying is remain open minded as pregnancy and birth will change so much of how you feel about many things.

Guessing amazinggg will vanish agai having called me nasty and still refused to answer my point because she cba.
There is a place for helping women breastfeed and there is a place for debating evidence based advice. I would like to do both if thats ok with you.

Cheeseatmidnight Wed 03-Jul-13 07:42:58

I bf and had a happy settled baby - am now feeding a toddler.

My sister has 4 and hated the idea.

It is a very personal choice - just make this clear if you feel pressured, and ask them very politely to give you the information so YOU can make the decision

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 07:51:34

RJM - as has been said, breast feeding only works and becomes established if the baby is put to the breast for at least 10 times a day in the early weeks. If frequent volumes of milk are not being expelled to a baby then your brain thinks no milk is needed and so stops producing it. It works on a supply and demand basis.

If there are men in the house and you don't want them to see you feeding then go and feed upstairs. The baby getting its milk is the priority, not the visitors who might be left wondering where you are smile
My sister used to disappear for hours when she was BF her little ones!!

There are many, many things a dad can do with the baby - feeding is not the only way in which a baby bonds with its parents.

I don't mean this to come across as judgemental in any way but if my hubby said he didn't want me to breast feed because he'd feel left out I'd tell him to p*ss off, grow up and stop being so bloody selfish grin

He knows my feelings on the matter though so he wouldn't even dare suggest it smile

LizTerrine Wed 03-Jul-13 08:42:07

This pernicious myth about fathers not being able to bond if the mother is breastfeeding is just so damaging. And (very mildly) offensive to men like my DH, who have bonded just fine, thank you.

Bunbaker Wed 03-Jul-13 09:04:22

I agree Liz. I don't care whether anyone chooses to bf or formula feed, but using the excuse that it allows the father to bond is just feeble.

Besides, I don't particularly think that feeding your baby is that bonding anyway. Just having a cuddle is though, and anyone can do that.

This is so true and only seems to have developed in recent years - the fathers not being able to bond idea, I mean. My DH bonded with our two sons perfectly well even though I bf both for a year. His favourite thing was getting in the bath with them when they were very small - they loved their time with Daddy!

Oh, and he did all of the shopping, cooking, organising whilst working full time whilst I was a SAHM for seven years.

midori1999 Wed 03-Jul-13 09:25:43

On the subject of Father's bonding... I exclusively breastfed DD until 6 months old, she never had a drop of formula, I didn't leave her to go out until she was 5 months old, excepting maybe the odd trip to the supermarket and although she has a few bottles of expressed milk, she was a bottle refuser for a few months because once I'd got feeding established and already had a good freezer supply of milk, it was so easy just to feed her I didn't bother with expressing milk or giving bottles any more at all. DH giving expressed milk at night certainly didn't work, it took forever, I'd be awake anyway and then I'd end up breastfeeding DD back to sleep... I am also still breastfeeding DD now at 2 with no plans to stop. However, she is and always has been, a real 'Daddy's girl'. There are, of course, times when she will only want me, but there are also times when only daddy will do and she will happily sit cuddled up on the sofa with him and watch something on TV or read a book, do a puzzle etc and when he is not here she constantly asks for him.

midori1999 Wed 03-Jul-13 09:30:26

Also, I remember when I had my first baby...

I was 19 and I can remember trying to decide whether to try breastfeeding or not. I wanted to give it a go, but it felt very weird to me. I just couldn't really get my head round the idea of a baby 'sucking' at my breast. It didn't even occur to me that I might have to feed in public. I can remember my partner's brother and his wife visiting and going off into into the corner of the other room away from them so I could try and feed the baby, because it just felt so alien to me.

Now I am much older, have had many more children and am totally comfortable with breastfeeding in front of anyone and anywhere. However, it's a lovely excuse to bugger off upstairs when you have annoying visitors or fancy a nap or rest... 'I'm just going upstairs to feed the baby....' grin

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 11:19:32

Some of these posts make me quite sad actually. Like I said before it is obviously true there are known health benefits of BF over FF. But I have a very close friend who struggled massively with BF. Baby kept losing more and more weight, she was distraught. This went on for over a month, and she was very much on the edge of reality by this point TBH. It was her dear midwife and HV who suggested that in her case FF may well be a better option. It was because of unknown health issues at that time with her child (which are personal so i wont post about). The point was after all of that she felt truly guilty for being unable to BF. And this was heartbreaking to watch TBH.

I see it all like this - yes breast feeding is the best option, but a, you can mixed feed (i.e. dream feed at 11 by bottle), or express and bottle and b, if it doesn't work then FF is perfectly fine. Because not that far away our children will be eating, and unless we have some very exceptionally dedicated people on here, won't we all be using convenience foods to a certain degree? and foods that are known to be unhealthy - like chocs, crisps, cakes, sweets, even fruit juice now? and so on. So obviously we all know that organic, from scratch meals provide all sorts of health benefits - but we wont be doing that every day (or at least I won't!) grin.

A further anecdote - my DH was in intensive care for a few weeks when he was born, my MIL milk did not come in, he had to be given formula then. She was able to BF her second child no problem. He is fine, and as a FF person he gets very cross about women being pressured sometimes over it. He is like 'er I am fine', and he also gets a bit confused about the smoking analogy. To link smoking into BF vs FF is a bit strange really - FF does not give you cancer, with a life expectancy of 5 months once diagnosed now does it. Having witnessed cancer at first hand I find it very sad people would use that to explain about BF being better. It would be better to point out the antibodies protect against common illnesses really, which is true, but if you baby gets a cold then they will be ok (if you FF that is) so it isn't the end of the world.

I just think all the way from the minute we know we are pregnant there is a 'right' way considered the gold standard (no alcohol, specific diet, natural birth etc) and this kind of pressure to some is overwhelming, and certainly can't help in areas like pre natal depression, and PND. Shouldn't we all just support each others choices? It would be considered very odd indeed if we all had a pop at someone for feeding their child crisps, fizzy drink and cake at a kids party for example. Can't we all just be a little bit kinder to each other and congrats to all expectant mums.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 11:42:10

Oh for goodness' sake.

For the 5 millionth time



The analogy goes thus: If you shouldn't give out health info eg that breast is best, in case ffeeders feel bad, then you shouldn't say not somking is best in case smokers feel bad


Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 11:43:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 11:50:05

hully really not sure why I am getting caps from you because I disagree with the benefit of using that with analogy here. You can use that analogy for anything - IMO there are clearly better ones than smoking. Like using one about peoples weight and health link I also think is not useful here, or drinking, or eating non organic food, or living in densely populated highly polluted areas, or not getting enough exercise, and on we go.

As analogies for explaining benefits of BF the smoking one is pretty bizarre at best. The benefits are more antibodies from mother to child protecting child from a range of common illnesses. This is entirely diff from explaining that smoking gives you lung cancer, a pretty much incurable illness that sees you dead in 5 months for the most part - which is what i said.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 11:51:39

I don't think there's pressure at all. If you give birth in a hospital they will be practically throwing formula at you.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 11:53:35

<gives up>


Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 12:00:52

Champagne this is why I want to mixed feed - my DH works away all week, so i am on my own, in a country that is not my own 'homeland' as it were, and when he is back at weekend I will need him to help me out with the 11 O'clock feed - it is practical for us and means I know come thursday night or friday night I can get a break. BF isn't always the right choice. I think it is great we live in a place now where we have the option TBH. Actually I know a lot of mums who mixed feed - mostly with their second child and they all wish they had done so with their first one too. You may need to try a few different types teats on bottle to find the right one for your little one though.

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 12:05:05

Hully It's not that i don't get the analogy (as an ex smoker - i really do get it believe me) it's just that I think your point gets lost when you use that on it's own as why people should be given info on BF being better, which is a shame as I think you are just trying to help,

MrsHoarder Wed 03-Jul-13 12:09:30

Champagne If you will be on maternity leave and your DH at work then you will probably find you do nearly all the feeds anyway as you are the only person in all day and your DH can't have a lie in the next morning. Plus when DS does wake up early DH would get him for me to feed cuddled up in bed so we could both drop off again it really wasn't a problem.

There's plenty of practical and bonding things fathers can do for ebf babies: baths and nappy changes spring to mind.

Tea I tried mixed feeding and it isn't as easy as it sounds. As soon as you miss even one bf your milk supply adjusts. I wanted to do 1 or two ff a day, but actually what happened was I ended up having to give a ff top up after every bf, as dd wasn't getting enough from me. Your boobs don't produce full feeds once you start to mixed feed. In the end I had to switch to ff as doing two feeds every feed time was ridiculous, and also dd started to give up bothering with the boob, as it was comparatively hard work.

If you want to mixed feed, also express, that way you keep your milk levels up.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 12:24:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 12:28:14

Being told that breast feeding is better for the baby and mother should always be given - not to do so would be negligent.

And why on earth wouldn't professionals pass on this information? As professionals and parents we all want what is best for the baby so providing the information is vital.

As part of my job we are in no way allowed to be seen to advertise or encourage FF - we aren't even allowed to have posters or photocopied information on our persons if there is any kind of endorsement by a FF company - i.e, if there is a Cow and Gate logo in the corner.

I think that when information is given to moms-to-be they shouldn't just be told about why breast milk is better but also given leaflets and website addresses for them to research into it themselves. Sometimes reading things on a computer screen seems much less 'pushy' then being told face to face. The Baby Friendly Initiative - by Unicef - is a wonderful concept and the website is brilliant for giving information and supporting mothers.

The way I see it is that there is so, so, so much information out there that shows how breast milk is best and details all the amazing things it does for a baby, whereas I haven't seen any evidence/research that shows artificial feeding is just as good.

Like I said, there are plenty of reasons why women either can't breast feed in the first place (health reasons) or they have to stop earlier than planned (usually for the health of the baby) and I sympathise with all of them and understand it - but I really struggle to get my head around the idea that some women are against it and don't even try.

But, saying that, as has been said before, a lot of women who have said they aren't going to breastfeed usually find that when baby is born all their previous thoughts go out the window and before they know it, baby is on the breast. I think it must feel like the most natural thing in the world to start breast feeding your baby after it has come into the world smile

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 12:40:36

at Worsester thanks for that info - I had thought that through so I have been prepared and got a pump in advance from another Mum. I can also rent or get a prescription for an electric pump here which i will do I think, from the pharmacy. Ideally i would get the feeding established, and the bottle feed with expressed milk in place, before moving to FF for the night feed was my thinking. I was also thinking to express a bit extra and freeze it. I know some women who had no issues with supply, and some that did not was looking at erring on the side of caution. I know it sounds like a faff to some - but I am a bit worried being on my own with baby for the main stretch of the week, partic not having my Mum close by, and if I know I can at least get DH to help me a bit when he comes back at weekends it saves my sanity a bit. smile

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 12:41:50

Writerwannabe - I agree that the information should be provided. I think this thread has hit a bit of a rut because it is undeniable that the way the information is presented by some NHS staff is experienced as pressure. So many posters are determined to say it's not pressure, it's information. In my experience it was pressure. And I so strongly feel that the way to increase bf rates in this country is to vastly improve postnatal care. The majority of women plan to breastfeed, then the majority of them fail to establish it properly. That is what should be looked at and discussed - not banging on about 'breast is best' which makes so many women who are undecided or plan to ff, switch off. Refocus money and effort on supporting women to bf and rates would shoot up I think. I'm sure it must vary a lot by region and hospital, but there was just zero support for bf-ing after I'd given birth by CS. I think in the attached midwife-led unit there is more support, which is great, but in my local hospital all 8 of us on my post-CS ward tried, and failed, to establish bf before checking out. That's what needs to be looked at, not piling on the pressure. If you didn't experience pressure then it doesn't mean that many women do. Pressure, and no support.

noblegiraffe Wed 03-Jul-13 12:53:56

Tea, just bear in mind that you may not be able to express. I bfed my DS for 17 months, ebf for 6 months and wasn't able to express, even with an electric pump. For some women, only a baby can get the milk out! For others, they can't express enough for full feeds.

The bfing boards also have plenty of women who started mix feeding and ended up ffing due the the mix feeding messing up their supply, or causing the baby to refuse the boob in favour of the bottle.

It's good to plan, but unfortunately with bfing, lots of different things can happen to bugger up plans, so being aware of potential issues is important.

When baby arrives, the breast and bottlefeeding section on here is brilliant for help and support, whatever you choose to do.

doublecakeplease Wed 03-Jul-13 12:54:32

It's the 'breast is best, end of' shit that really gets my back up. Its not always best and it shouldn't be 'end of'

Where do women like me fit in if that's the end of it?

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 12:56:13

" If you didn't experience pressure then it doesn't mean that many women do. Pressure, and no support."

so many of my friends have stories of how they were offered very little help in hospital, how they were offered formula top-ups either in hospital or advised to use them by midwives once home. If there is any pressure then it's implied pressure months before the baby arrives. In my experience once the baby is here the pressure suddenly becomes 'you're starving the baby, you need to use formula...'

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 12:57:42

"it's the 'breast is best, end of" - yes, but breastmilk is best. it's better than formula so it is best. There's nothing above it. That's a truth.

TarkaTheOtter Wed 03-Jul-13 12:58:05

tea what I found really helped me at the weekends was when dh did everything but feed. The feeding was the easy bit so having dh do all the settling/changing/winding meant I got a really good rest.

I think the reason people are so negative about mixed feeding is that for a lot of people it is unsustainable and we know people who ended up fully ff earlier than they would have chosen because of the negative effect on supply. I personally don't know anyone who mixed fed past 4 months. It does depend in how long you think you would want to bf for though.

If you do want to mix feed then you have to be strict with yourself and stick to that one feed at 11pm. There will be some nights when your baby has a growth spurt when they will then wake at 12, 1, 3 etc hungry and you need to give them as bfeeds to build your supply. I think the temptation is to think they need more than bmilk and to give them an extra bottle and this will prevent your supply from increasing.

Sorry that last paragraph is really poorly explained

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 13:01:58

YY Social, that's what I experienced. Zero support whilst I was high as a kite on painkillers and semi-conscious other than someone wandering in every so often waking me up and saying 'have you fed that baby recently'? (But not helping me hold him or pass him to me, I couldn't sit up without help and was in obscene amounts of pain) - before shaking their heads and wandering off again. Then, yes - appearing with a bottle of formula and I resisted several times, saying it would be fine and please could they just help me, but no. It's quite upsetting to write about, and yes Hully I do feel guilty. Does that vindicate you? Would you like to shout 'breast is best' at me again? Feeling guilty and crap about my experience makes me motivated to post here about my opinion on what would have actually helped me. I'm not 'getting defensive' - I'm frustrated at the posters who think shouting at ff-ers is the way forward.

MadeOfStarDust Wed 03-Jul-13 13:03:46

I mixed fed and it was wonderful -

BF all day, one FF at around 10/10.30pm baby slept til 5.30/6am (unless a growth spurt and then they sometimes woke at 2.30/3am for a BF .. I did that for just over a year with both of my girls.

doublecakeplease Wed 03-Jul-13 13:09:01

No social, formula was better than my breast milk so its not end of. You can't discount mum like me just because we don't fit your argument.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:09:22

I come across many women who tell 'horror stories' about the way they were treated in one hospital after having giving birth. Some women were sent home after the baby had had only one breast feed and the mother's then really struggled when they got home and had no support which led to them switching to FF. Other women said that because the hospital was desperate for the bed they were told to just, "Give the baby a bottle" and then sent home without having even being helped to breast feed once.

In the County I work in they are now trying to cut costs in the Midwifery Department and it is in the pipeline that once a baby has born the midwife will no longer be doing home. The idea is that if a woman is having problems she will have to make her way to wherever the midwife is based - just what new moms want to do.....not!

Me and one of my colleagues are looking at putting some sort of support system in place in order to help the mom's at the very early stages of breast feeding. We are thinking of asking the hospitals to let us know when a breast feeding mother has been discharged and then we will then make phone contact the next day to ask if they would like a home visit to support them with their feeding. Sometimes they may just have a few questions or worries that can be dealt with over the phone - it will be totally up to them.

Health Visitors don't routinely have contact with the baby until it is about 12 days old and that is quite late to be offering breast feeding support if the mother has been struggling since Day 1. If the mother hasn't had any support then there is a good chance she may have given up before the HV gets to her which is a real shame .

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:17:22

Doublecake, your experience wasn't normal so I can see that it wasn't best for you. All things being equal though breastmilk is better for a baby than formula. I too had a baby in special care and I fought really hard to breastfeed.

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 13:21:45

Thanks to Made, Stark and Noble posting back to me. I will definitely be moving over to the feeding forum once she is here. It's a good point about getting DH to do all the other stuff - TBH he is great with that anyway and mucks in quite happily. I am looking at a c-section due to her being footling breech - this makes me think my milk will take longer to come in? Does anyone have experience of that? I also have a week discrepancy between scan date for EDD and my date - so I would be asking them at 38 weeks and a bit by their dates for c-section, but 39 weeks and a bit by mine. I don't know if that impacts anything either. I still want to try and express etc and see where I get to with it. I have found by being really clued up and reading LOADS and people giving me their experiences with it all has helped me enormously - so thanks again! smile

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 13:22:22

grr I mean Tarka! sorry!!!

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 13:22:35

It's not useful to keep saying breastmilk is better than formula. It's just not <facepalm>

I might start going on the weightloss threads and keep posting 'eat less' and the complex relationship threads and say 'just leave' and the drinkin ones and say 'just stop after one' and threads where people are struggling to stop smoking and say 'just stop'. Who knew life was so simple and clear cut, eh?

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:23:26

I think that in terms of 'Breast is Best' - which as professionals we aren't allowed to say anymore - means that breast milk is better for the baby IF it goes successfully.

Breast milk is better for the babies health, the mother's health and meets the baby's nutritional needs better than artificial feeding - but, that is only the case if breast feeding is effective.

If breast feeding doesn't go well it can lead to lots of problems for the baby: jaundice, failure to thrive, weight loss, increased sodium levels, dehydration etc and at worst can result in the baby being admitted to hospital. In order to try and prevent things getting to that level we would consider the option of supporting mom to FF or advise they offer top-ups. Some mothers are devastated about it whereas others are so desperate to help their baby they will put a bottle in its mouth as soon as they can. It is all very individual.

When we come across the above health problems with the baby we try to encourage mothers to continue BUT we also know when the baby's best interests are not being met due to unsuccessful breast feeding. We try and help the mother to solve any breast feeding problems and do all we can to get BF back on track, but for some women it just doesn't work out the way everyone wants it to.

As I have said before - in an ideal world all babies would be breast fed, but life doesn't work out that way and for some mothers and babies it just doesn't make sense to pursue something that isn't working.

All that matters is a happy and healthy baby smile

AmberSocks Wed 03-Jul-13 13:24:01

where is this pressure to breastfeed?i bf all of minebecause i wanted to,because its natural and normal,and because i enjoy it.I never felt pressured,no one ever really mentioned it.

AmberSocks Wed 03-Jul-13 13:25:44

the way i understand it,the health benefits are more to do with potential,you might have a fully formula fed child who is healthy and never ill,but they would of been even healthier if they were breastfed,just as you may have a sickly bf child,they would of been worse off if not breatfed at all,all babies are born with different immune sytems,for different reasons.

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 13:26:52

grin at Amazinggg

AmberSocks Wed 03-Jul-13 13:26:55

i hate the breast is best thing,breast isnt best its normal,formula milk isnt poisin but its not what is biologically expected and its not normal and it increases risks of all sorts of things.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 13:28:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 13:29:13

Tea - I did all the reading, all the classes and all the research. I was fully committed to bf-ing and couldn't.

Top post-c-section tips: make sure you are shown a comfy feeding position. Take all the painkillers they offer you cos once the pain kicks in, it is harder to get on top of it. Have the baby on your breast literally without stopping unless you need to sleep. Use the bell and ignore anyone who says to leave the baby in the bedside crib - the best place for him is on your breast.

I wish I could turn back the clock for myself but I can't. I was so much in pain, so vulnerable that all the reading and preparation in the world in the end meant nothing sad the world was spinning and I couldn't stay awake... not a midwife to be seen overnight, only hopeless healthcare assistants. I begged for DS to be put on me, they swaddled him then put him on me - wtf?

doublecakeplease Wed 03-Jul-13 13:29:42

But if you read my posts Social you'll see that i was pressured massively, even after my son's diagnosis that his life threatening condition was down to 'maternal use of labetolol whilst breastfeeding'

Imagine how it feels to read 'breast is best end of' in my situation.

I commented on this thread because the op asked about pressure. I was pressured.

rallytog1 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:30:52

As a pro bf mother, I find the "breast is best - end of" argument is actually really upsetting.

In my circumstances (outlined on a previous page but in short, I nearly died after serious complications with an emcs and my body subsequently refused to make even a drop of colostrum), breast was patently worst. My DD would have starved if I hadn't faced facts and formula fed her, which I did with the full support of the hospital infant feeding co-ordinator and midwives.

I fully agree that breast is best in situations where the mother has a choice between bf and ff. However, to hear people say breast is best in all circumstances is actually pretty hurtful - I already feel terrible guilt and as though I failed DD through my inability to bf. To be constantly reminded that she may be missing out, even in some small way, is very upsetting.

We need to find a way of gently encouraging people to bf without resorting to arguments and what feels like pressure (even if well intentioned), and also need to find ways of promoting bf in such a way that it doesn't affect the mental health of those who are unable to do it.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:35:50

Well said Raleytog1 x x

GlitzPig Wed 03-Jul-13 13:37:09

This is one of the most depressing threads I can remember reading. Are there honestly people who are this stupid? It's like watching Father Ted trying to explain the difference between 'small' and far away' to Dougal grin

OP, you have had an answer to your question-there is pressure to breastfeed because that is what's best for your baby. If you are not able to breastfeed, then use formula. Breastfeeding is the best thing, but formula is fine. HTH

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 13:38:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

midori1999 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:38:44

champagne regarding division of labour. As a Mum who has both FF and BF, I didn't really find much difference in the amount I did with a new baby. I had a lot of problems while getting breastfeeding established and I will admit that in the first few weeks I did find it so much harder than FF, but I was pretty unlucky and had my second bout of mastitis by 3 weeks in. It started getting easier after about 4 weeks for me and now I just can't imagine ever wanting to FF again, even if it was just based on convenience and I FF when guidelines said you could make up a days worth of bottles in advance and keep them in the fridge, none of this making them as you need them.

I didn't really do anything much in the first weeks with DD except feed her, cuddle her and change the odd nappy. DH did any bath times, held her in between feeds so I could sleep, he did all the housework, dinners, school runs for my other DC, just everything really. I didn't have to do anything much at all and breastfeeding also meant if I was shattered I could lay down to feed. It doesn't sound like much, being able to lay down and feed instead of sitting up, but it really makes a huge difference when you're that exhausted.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 13:41:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 13:45:49

Pressure isn't an effective way of getting people to do things that are good.

I want DS to eat fruit and veg, and meat. I don't pressure him into it, I'm gentle and encourage, or make it an easy and attractive choice. I want DH to take the bins out. I remind him politely, not bang on about the consequences if the bin overflows and stinks. I want my friends to make the effort for our friend's birthday who's moved away and is depressed - I have spoken to each, listened to them and their reasons why it's difficult to get there, and helped them work out ways of getting there. I want my students to revise for their exams. I give them resources and time and space, and ensure their parents will support them at home.

If we're doing analogies.

MumnGran Wed 03-Jul-13 13:48:03

( with an apology for being long winded, but this subject just makes me soooo cross on behalf of new mums^ )

I would echo a previous post which seems to be from a health professional .... what matters is a relaxed happy contented new mum, because that will result in a happier relaxed baby! if you want to breastfeed...go for it. There are lots of major positives for doing so. But ........if you are struggling and want to quit ....quit. If you are struggling and determined that you want to work through any issue then hats off to your determination ...and keep at it! Whichever ....distraught and exhausted new mothers should not be considering themselves failures if bf isn't working. If you want to move to bottle feeding, then that's OK.You need to do what feels right for you and your little one, because guidelines are just that: guides not rules!!

Back in the dark days (!!!) everyone wanted to get babies onto bottles and midwives usually gave the first one while new mums slept the first night after birth. shock
BF comes into fashion and, whatever the health attributes, it will go out of fashion again at some point.

I have seen young mums desperately trying to do the 'right thing' ( confused ) because "all the books" and "all the health people" say they should. Not just bf, but every aspect of caring for new babies seems to be defined and structured these days. Really, the powers that be ( and well meaning advisors/family ) need to give new mums a break*
It is simply amazing how many worried new mums start to develop confidence in themselves when they are given permission to think for themselves. When you say "what do you think would be best for your baby? what does your instinct tell you?" then new mums begin to blossom. Learning to trust yourself is something that is given little emphasis nowadays, but matters most of all!!
Very little beats a mums instinct ....and the best thing to do IMHO is to do whatever feels right for you and your baby Certainly your baby will feel much happier if Mum is feeling confident and relaxed.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:50:48

"BF comes into fashion and, whatever the health attributes, it will go out of fashion again at some point."

no - it has nothing to do with fashion. Breastfeeding rates have been severely impacted by pushy formula companies, by bad advice and by society and the way it views breasts.

There are girls growing up now who have been socialised into thinking breasts are not for feeding. Fashion has nothing to do with it.

Though I do agree with some of your other points.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 13:51:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GlitzPig Wed 03-Jul-13 13:53:26

Champagne, why is it low? The OP has asked a perfectly valid question, which people have been happy to answer with facts and information. Some posters have disagreed with the facts. This is a stupid thing to do.

Health policy isn't actually created on the back of a fag packet, nor is it swayed by individual issues. It shouldn't be. To use the smoking analogy again, the fact that you CAN get lung cancer WITHOUT being a smoker, doesn't mean we shouldn't highlight the increased risk of getting lung cancer if you are a smoker.

The fact that some women are unable to breastfeed their babies, for whatever reason, doesn't alter the fact that breastfeeding is still the best option for the vast, vast majority of babies whose mothers could/can breastfeed them. It really is that simple. I haven't seen anyone here say that formula is poison-it's clearly not. It contains calories and nutrients, and babies who are formula fed will grow and be fine. But it still isn't the best option. Sometimes it's the only option. But if the choice is between breastfeeding and formula feeding, the breastfeeding IS the best option. If the choice is between formula feeding and nothing, then formula, obviously, is the best option.

NappyHappy Wed 03-Jul-13 14:03:08

@ Writer. Ive 3 boys all ff.
Ds1 I hadnt a clue what I was doing and tried to bf him but he swallowed loads of mucous on the way out and didn't feed from me or have formula for the first 24 hours or so of his life, he was barely awake. The ward was heaving with new Mums and I got shouted at by the MW to make him take formula as she didn't want another baby in SCBU. When we were finally let home after he had 10mls of formula he got Colic and was a very sicky baby. Even now at 5yrs he is still a bit sicky.
Ds2, after reading up on here I managed to bf him in hospital and it was nice. I was lucky there was little pain. When we got home I couldn't wake him and we were both stripped off together to see if that helped. It didn't and I couldn't pump anything so syringe fed him formula. He came round after about 24 hrs so I mixed fed him for 2weeks. Ds1 was a very demanding child and DH was at the start of his illness so I couldn't get bf properly established with him.
Ds3, was on each breast for an hour each in the hospital and screamed when I took him off to try the other. When we got home later that day I'd had him attached to me and again screamed when I un-latched him. I then had to sort the other boys out (ds2 at this age was 11m) and get them ready for bed. I went to bed mot long after as I knew I would be up all night with all 3 of them. By this time my nips were black and ds3 was still screaming when I either adjusted his latch or put him on the other breast. It was as if nothing was coming out so I tried to hand express and it didn't work. By this time the other boys were waking up at various times in the night so I gave up and gave him formula. It didn't help getting comments like 'ds3 sees more of your tits than I do' which I thought was very sad. If DH was more supportive and helped me with the boys I would have stuck to it with the last 2. Ds3 is now 10m and I do still think about trying to re-lactate now but I think its too late.


However, I never felt pressurised to bf by the NHS. I do wonder though what would have happened with ds1 if I had help. I did get the MW grab my boob though after he was born! shock

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 14:04:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MumnGran Wed 03-Jul-13 14:05:57

by society and the way it views breasts
...and sadly this (and other motivators) will become the driver again at some point in the future, thereby tempting women back to formula as the preferred option. For now, there is extensive pressure to breastfeed for all the known reasons. There will, in a decade or three, cease to be such a major drive.

Perhaps instead of saying "fashion", I should have said it likely to be a changing pattern.

I am not saying this is a good thing. It just 'is'.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 14:07:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 14:09:11

Thanks Amazinggg - that sounds terrible BTW!!! thanks I am kind of relieved to be giving birth in Germany TBH as the healthcare here is very diff. to the UK (it is much better funded basically which then has all the knock on effects).

I personally think some health policies are formed by pharmaceuticals and government together BTW - swine flu injections anyone?! Not always based on science (margarine anyone?). And I still think that you un-make your point by lumping the analogy of lung cancer/smoking advice with BF. What people are trying to say is that the baby will get extra antibodies etc from breast milk, not that FF is harmful. Much like your body will get extra antibodies from eating super-foods - organically- and cutting out convenience foods but if you can't afford that, then less convenience the better etc.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 14:09:20

apparently, in America, they have come out with a new brand of doll for girls where instead of the doll coming with a bottle for the feeding, it comes with a 'breast'. Well, it comes with a sort of 'bib' that has the image of a breast/nipple on it, which the girl then wears when she wants to feed her dolly. she then puts the baby across her chest so it's face is on the bib where the nipple is.

It is basically to let girls know from a very young age that breasts are for feeding babies with, not as solely a sexual aid for men smile It wan'ts young girls to know that bottle feeding isn't what is 'supposed' to happen and that breast feeding is the natural way to feed a baby.

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 14:13:51

Writer that sounds really great - we do live in a highly sexualised society these days. Living Dolls is worth a read for anyone so inclined. Where I live now in Germany it is much less so - and nudity is far more common here (like on adverts, TV etc) but without being sexualised, IYSWIM.

GlitzPig Wed 03-Jul-13 14:16:15

No Tea, breastfeeding is the standard that formula is trying to match-FF gives your baby less antibodies than BF. There's a advert at the moment for follow on milk that starts 'breastfeeding is best for your baby'-FF companies wouldn't be saying that if it wasn't absolutely undeniable.

Not smoking is the normal measure, so smoking increases your risk of lung cancer.

I have no idea what your margarine reference is I'm afraid, and really don't want to start a debate about vaccinations-they have a whole board for bunfights threads on that.

midori1999 Wed 03-Jul-13 14:18:32

mumngran I would like to think that in 20-30 years, in the UK, breastfeeding will again be seen as the normal way to feed a baby and the majority of women will do it without question, because that is what their Mum did, their siblings did and what they have always expected to do. A bit like the situation in Norway now.

Women are already 'tempted back to formula' the majority of women FF or mixed feed. FF is seen as normal in our culture and women who breastfeed exclusively are actually pretty rare.

Also, not sure when the 'dark days' you refer to are, but certainly when my Mum has us she didn't want to give bottles, despite formula being extremely popular then. (in the 70's) She was in fact, forced to give formula after midwives telling her she didn't have enough milk and then thought that at around 6 weeks her milk was drying up. Same story with all four of us and in fact, the same story for many women who had babies at that time. Women who wanted to breastfeed... sad Luckily, we now know a lot more about breastfeeding and how it works, which should enable more women who want to to breastfeed, but more support and information and a shift in cultural norms is needed for that to happen.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 14:19:25

You can get them on eBay - I just had a look smile

I think they are brilliant and would definitely buy one!!!

I had to go and visit a new mom a few months ago as part of my job and I got the shock of my life when she opened the front door to me as she had her baby attached to one breast and the other one was swinging free grin. She was a well endowed woman so both me and everyone in the street got a good view of them smile

It didn't bother me as I see breasts and babies feeding on them most days at work but it put such a smile on my face to see her being so care-free. She was so open about it and obviously had absolutely no hang ups whatsoever about her boobs being on display for all to see smile And why should she anyway??? They are for feeding not ogling. grin

GlitzPig Wed 03-Jul-13 14:20:15

Champagne-are you new to Mumsnet?

MumnGran Wed 03-Jul-13 14:35:59

midori " when my Mum has us she didn't want to give bottles, despite formula being extremely popular then "

Exactly. The dark days!!
I fought to express for weeks while PFB struggled for life in PICU. Then ebf 2DD's against advice, until finally drying up (despite every effort to maintain). I raised my DDs to believe that bf is normal, natural and the best option.
So, yes, I passionately believed in bf at a time when it wasn't pushed by professionals, just as there are mums now who passionately believe in formula being their best option, now.

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 14:42:48

@ glitz that is what I had written though -

What people are trying to say is that the baby will get extra antibodies etc from breast milk, not that FF is harmful.

Not eating convenience food full of additives is the normal measure - so you will get more antibodies etc from eating a better diet (based on what you say with normal measure etc).

I just think this is a better way to make the point - smoking gives you a much higher risk of cancer, and other health issues. FF does not give a baby a higher risk of cancer. BF gives certain health benefits which should be clearly explained to mothers, but if they can't for whatever reason FF will not endanger their child. This to me seems like the most sensible approach.

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 14:44:10

also - you said all health polices are based on scientific facts - when that isn't the case TBH. sadly.

GlitzPig Wed 03-Jul-13 14:56:14

Tea-I think it needs to be clearer that breastmilk as the standard means that babies aren't getting extra anything-that is just the normal stuff that breastmilk has in it. So formula, logically, contains less good stuff than breastmilk. I'm not saying for a second that it is harmful, but it isn't as good as breastmilk-even the formula companies agree with that!

I absolutely agree with your statement 'BF gives certain health benefits which should be clearly explained to mothers, but if they can't for whatever reason FF will not endanger their child.' and really don't think we're a million miles away from each other in viewpoint!

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 14:56:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GlitzPig Wed 03-Jul-13 14:57:49

Re health policy-I do think that scientific evidence is the reason behind key changes or new policies. Do you have any specific examples I could read up on where that isn't the case?

choceyes Wed 03-Jul-13 14:58:46

I've never felt any pressure to BF. Infact after DC1 was born the midwifes and the HVs pushed formula to me as I was having difficulty breastfeeding. Couldn't help me with the latching on (they did try, but they didn't have a clue), and encouraged me to use formula. I expressed and mixed fed for about a week, and then got rid of the formula altogether and expressed exclusively till DS was 10 months. At no point did anyone encourage me to keep trying to latch DS on or any other help with getting him to feed.
Didn't feel any pressure to BF my DD either. The other ladies on the ward were happily given top ups of formula or formula for all the feeds. I think I might have been the only one exclusively breastfeeding.

I always wanted to breastfeed (was happy to pump and feed too) so maybe that's why I didn't feel any pressure as it was something I wanted to do anyway. Perhaps women who are ambivalent towards it or are in the process of making up their minds, or who'd rather FF, feel the pressure when a HCP says that breast is best?

GlitzPig Wed 03-Jul-13 14:58:58

Champagne-was a bit surprised to be called on the use of the word stupid, and wondered if you'd be introduced to the delights of AIBU yet wink

GlitzPig Wed 03-Jul-13 14:59:33


Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 15:27:19

@ glitz brew or wine (I wish!). we are basically arguing the same point at each other - lol.

re health policies, there are mostly are all based on the latest research - it is just in some cases (like when they over bought the vaccines for swine flu and then were like - er what do we do now, but then if there had been an epidemic and there wasn't enough...) they pushed them a bit. Sometimes the pharmaceuticals lean heavily on them - so that certain drugs are used over others and such like, and this can have a real impact in some areas I think - partic in terms of cancer treatments etc. Like for me - I have an under active Thyroid and a condition called Hashimotos. In the UK my levels for Thyroid were considered ok - in Germany they were not considered ok. They sent me on to check for certain antibodies to check for Hashimotos- but this is costly. They mis-diagnosed me with some fairly serious illnesses (including ME) in the UK, before in germany it was picked up immediately. I was at one stage given strong anti depressants to help my 'anxiety' - which i kept saying i didn't have - and i took them for like a month before stopping them as I knew that was not my problem. It worries me a bit therefore with some of the policies - if my partner was not so supportive and unconvinced of what i was being told i could still be on medication that is totally unhelpful, and not pregnant, since the condition left me temporarily infertile or unable to carry a child to term.

Re. the marg comment - it was just that studies on margarine aeons ago which were against it were ignored and passed it was a food - and then pushed that we should eat that not butter etc, when in fact it was known to be full of certain types of fat our bodies can react badly too. I also think the healthy eating policy they have a bit odd, since we now know that upping protein & veg and not eating as much complex carbs is better for us (not none - we do need carbs) - partic with childhood obesity epidemic, www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/eatwell-plate.aspx - yet this has not been updated - it is things like that really that lead me to question government policies sometimes, and then if i have a policy relevant to me I will just read up on the latest research and figure it out - I think it sounds like you do the same. grin

FrancescaL Wed 03-Jul-13 15:34:03

Of course you should do what you want. There are advantages to breast feeding, but none of them outweigh having a happy and comfortable Mum.

I do think that breastfeeding should be supported, and in particular there should be public awareness campaigns to make it clear that breastfeeding in public is totally acceptable.

However, I think those who feel unable to breastfeed for whatever reason should be supported and not judged by their HV/midwife.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 15:36:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 15:38:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

midori1999 Wed 03-Jul-13 16:09:20

"just as there are mums now who passionately believe in formula being their best option, now"

I think that is the problem tbh. FF is definitely better overall in some situations. Even if it isn't, that is still the Mother's choice. However, it's not really disputable that from a health perspective, breastmilk is far superior to formula milk. If it wasn't, formula companies wouldn't be doing their absolute damnedest to replicate it as closely as possible. That doesn't mean formula isn't a perfectly acceptable alternative, of course it is in countries where we have access to clean water and facilities and in the UK we are lucky enough to have that.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 16:23:52

<picks up the baton from glitzpig>

There aren't "other views" champagne

breast is ALWAYS best if possible because sodding breast milk is best for the sodding baby

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 16:24:30

For a start, formula milk can't replicate the long chain fatty acids found in breast milk. That's just one thing.

Bunbaker Wed 03-Jul-13 16:32:52

I think the issue here is that in terms of nutritional content breastmilk is better than formula milk, not how you get the milk into the baby.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 16:33:06

Here you go:

Comparing Formula and Breast Milk
By Sharon Perkins and Carol Vannais, RN from Breastfeeding For Dummies
One of the major issues to consider when deciding how to feed your baby is the quality of the food itself. Perhaps you've heard that breastfed babies get hungry sooner than bottle-fed babies. Does that mean formula sustains babies better than breast milk? Maybe you've read that formula contains more protein than breast milk. Does that mean your milk is somehow deficient?

A lesson from Little Miss Muffet
You may remember the old nursery rhyme about Little Miss Muffet, sitting on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Looking at curds and whey is a good place to start as you examine the differences between breast milk and formula.

Most baby formulas are derived from cow's milk (although dairy-free formulas are also available). When milk — from the breast or from a cow — is digested, it breaks down into two byproducts: curds and whey. The curd is white and rubbery, and the whey is liquid.

When cow's milk breaks down, the curd that forms is hard for human babies to digest. Breast milk, on the other hand, forms more whey than curd, and the curd is softer and more easily digested. Because the baby can digest breast milk more easily than cow's milk, he's less likely to decorate your favorite sweater with spit-up.

Formula makers are striving to make their formulas contain more whey and less curd, so they can be digested more like breast milk. Some formulas, like Nutramigen and Alimentum, are made of hydrolyzed protein, which is already broken down, so they are more easily digested than standard cow's milk or soy formulas. In all cases, breast milk is still the gold standard that formula companies are continually trying to match!

Custom-made nutrition
Formula and breast milk look very different; formula is creamier and looks richer than breast milk. This may lead you to believe that formula is more nutritious for your baby, but that's not the case.

One of the amazing things about breast milk is that your milk is specially formulated to have the right composition for your baby, and to contain exactly the right amounts of nutrients. Bottle-fed babies receive the exact same nutrients every time they eat. Breast milk, on the other hand, continually changes in composition so that your baby gets what he or she needs at any age.

Considering colostrum
The first liquid the breasts produce (starting a few months before the baby is born) actually doesn't even look like milk. Colostrum, which is yellow and thicker than breast milk, is a great example of how your body custom-makes the right nutrition for your baby. Here are some of its benefits:

Colostrum has a high concentration of antibodies, especially IgA, an antibody that helps protect the lungs, throat, and intestines.
Colostrum helps "seal" the permeable newborn intestines to prevent harmful substances from penetrating the gut.
Colostrum is very high in concentrated nutrition.
Colostrum has a laxative effect, which helps the baby pass the first bowel movements (and prevents newborn jaundice).
Colostrum is low in fat, high in proteins and carbohydrates, and very easy to digest.
Within a few days after delivery, your body begins to produce mature milk that takes over the work of giving your baby the necessary ingredients for healthy growth. Colostrum is still present for around two weeks; the milk produced during this time is called transitional milk.

Comparing ingredients
Breast milk contains more than 100 ingredients that the formula industry simply can't duplicate. For example, breast milk is full of antibodies that protect babies from illness and help them develop their own immune systems. Some other key differences between the ingredients in breast milk and formula include the following:

Formula has a higher protein content than human milk. However, the protein in breast milk is more easily and completely digested by babies.
Breast milk has a higher carbohydrate content than formula and has large amounts of lactose, a sugar found in lower amounts in cow's milk. Research shows that animals whose milk contains higher amounts of lactose experience larger brain development.
Minerals such as iron are present in lower quantities in breast milk than in formula. However, the minerals in breast milk are more completely absorbed by the baby. In formula-fed babies, the unabsorbed portions of minerals can change the balance of bacteria in the gut, which gives harmful bacteria a chance to grow. This is one reason why bottle-fed babies generally have harder and more odorous stools than breastfed babies.
Feeding frequencies
Breastfed babies often want to eat again sooner after a feeding than bottle-fed babies, which may lead you (or an outspoken relative) to conclude that you aren't producing enough milk, or your milk isn't rich enough.

Breastfed babies eat more often than bottle-fed babies because the fats and proteins in breast milk are more easily broken down than the fats and proteins in formula, so they are absorbed and used more quickly. This means that breastfed babies often have fewer digestive troubles than bottle-fed babies. (Fats in formula aren't as well absorbed, which is one reason why bottle-fed babies have more unpleasant smelling bowel movements.) However, it also means that if you choose to breastfeed, you can expect to be on call for feedings every few hours. (A bottle-fed baby, by contrast, may be able to sleep longer between feedings.)

An important consideration for breastfeeding mothers is the length of time your baby spends nursing on each breast. A baby receives thinner breast milk known as foremilk (with a lower fat content) at the beginning of a feeding, and thicker milk (with a higher fat content) after he has been nursing for several minutes. This thicker milk is called hindmilk. Allowing the baby to completely empty the breast ensures that he gets an adequate amount of hindmilk. Hindmilk has a sleep-inducing effect, resulting in the relaxed look your baby may have at the end of a meal

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 16:33:52

^^ It's not something one can have "different views" about.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 16:41:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 16:43:33

Are you doing this on purpose?

You can't have a different view about breast milk being better. I don't care what you do, feed your baby gin for all I care. But stop talking rubbish.

The op asked "why is there "pressure" to breastfeed and I am saying why.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 16:49:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 16:51:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 16:54:57

" Accept that I have a different view to you and be done with"

But that's like saying that Nelson Mandela is white and it's just a different view that you have and so it can't be argued with... isn't it?

You don't think breastmilk is better than formula
nutritionally and medically it IS, fact.
Having a 'view' means nothing if that view is actually incorrect. You can't say something as a statement of fact when it's not actually a true fact.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 16:57:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 16:59:27

I don't think Champagne is denying that breast milk is better, she is just saying that there are also other options and that for a mother to take one of those other options doesn't mean she is neglectful towards her baby.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 17:02:40

ok, fair enough but all things being equal breastmilk is better for a baby than formula. Period.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 17:08:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 17:08:32

I think in terms of health benefits and nutritional benefits everyone on this forum agrees with that smile

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 17:12:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lurcherlover Wed 03-Jul-13 17:17:14

The confusipn arises because "I have a different view" can be interpreted as "I have a different view and it is that breastmilk isn't better than formula". Which clearly is an erroneous "different view", because you can't argue something that is factually incorrect.

There are some women - who've had breast surgery, or are on certain medications, say - who cannot bf. For them, it's obvious that their options are either donor bm or formula. There are other women who choose to ff, for social reasons (so DH can do feeds, because they don't want to bf in public, because they're going back to work, whatever). They of course have a choice and if ff is what they choose, fine. But it's wrong to ignore the facts and then claim that that choice has no potential health implications for the baby.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 17:28:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 17:31:09

Everyone has the freedom to make the wrong choices, that is certainly true. We can agree on that

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 17:34:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 17:35:17

Me provoking people!

The bitter irony

Oh thank you for finally accepting it is an analogy. Wasnt sure you understood.

Oh and youve just compared feeding a baby to taking the bins out. By your own logic.i personally think that argument is stupid but it is your argument

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 17:39:35

I think women just need to ask themselves why they don't intend to breast feed. I'm guessing that usually it is to suit their needs or their lifestyle?

That is the concept I struggle with as I think that when babies are born their needs should always come first and as parents we should give them the best start in life that they can possibly have irrespective of how inconvenient it might be for us.

Some women can't breast feed for health reasons and others have to discontinue BF for health reasons (theirs or their baby's) and in these scenarios there is absolutely nothing wrong with FF. It will not do any harm to the child and a woman should not be judged for taking this route if that is their only option.

However, I do believe that if a woman is able to breast feed then they should always give it a try for the baby's sake.

Pseudonym99 Wed 03-Jul-13 17:44:22

The best way to keep the HCPs off your back is to tell them what they want to hear: "Yes, I will BF". That way they can type into their computers that you will be breastfeeding, and their computers will be happy and their targets will be met. Your medical record will also be seen in a more positive light when it follows you around the health service. If you don't want to lie, then just refuse to answer the question.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 17:45:24


Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 17:46:31

Absolutely was to writer

I disagree. I think women should do what they want. However most women arent stupid or selfish and when it comes to their baby the vast majority want what's best. Where some women don't, services and society have a role to play in removing the barriers they feel are in their way (eg a fear of feeding in public or feeling that their baby's not satisfied by their milk). But ultimately if a woman knows the facts and has all support available to her and still decided that bf is not for her, fine. Why I am passionate about this is because:

- many women (me included) do know have all the relevant info
- society and our culture in general is not supportive of breastfeeding
- healthcare and other services are often lacking

When the above are all perfect I'll completely accept that women have free choice.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 17:47:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 17:53:12

Champagne - you will make whatever decision is best for you and whatever that decision turns out to be, you will still have a healthy, happy baby at the end of it smile

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 17:57:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 17:58:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 18:02:30

How to get that info to those people out there is the tricky bit, disseminating facts without pushing a right or wrong

So what? Just say" breast milk is better for your baby but neither is right or wrong you choose?

er, right

Champagnebubble Wed 03-Jul-13 18:05:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 18:06:52


My advice is don't worry about it until the baby is born smile

You don't have to make a decision and stick to it so just keep an open mind and see what happens. Don't let yourself get stressed or let anyone on here get to you. Like you said, you have got a long way to go yet and many things may happen that may influence your decision.

Just enjoy your pregnancy and don't let issues like this distract you or weigh you down.

When your baby is born you may get this huge desire to put it to the breast and if so, brilliant. On the other hand you may not, and that's fine too.

Just put it to the back of your mind - I'm sure over the last few days you have heard enough about it to drive you mad - and simply let nature take its course once little one arrives smile

GlitzPig Wed 03-Jul-13 18:37:40

This thread is hypnotically awful. I keep trying to leave because I'm not getting my point across except to Hully but I can't.



No-one has been personally attacked, and there are of, course, many reasons why women can't breastfeed. But that STILL doesn't make formula as good as breastmilk.

I wish all expectant mothers, both on and off the thread, all the best for their pregnancies, and for chubby, jolly snuggly newborns.

Now I really really have to go grin

Bunbaker Wed 03-Jul-13 18:52:37

How do you change people's attitudes towards it. I know plenty of women who think that breastfeeding is just ick.

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 19:38:20

Why are so many people so aggressively defending the fact that breast milk is nutritionally better than formula? confused has anyone said it's not?

Perhaps someone could give a list of acceptable reasons to formula feed, that would be helpful. So I know what to say on threads like this in the future. I and others have spilled my guts explaining just why, and the posts from Hully, Glitzpig and SPB are just so rude and simple it really makes me pretty shocked.

I agree there should be support for breastfeeding because it is superior nutrition for a baby. I also agree that there is currently pressure which by the stats, is clearly not effective.

Hully, what purpose do you think you're serving on this thread other than repeating the same thing over and over quite smugly ignoring the fact that no-one is disagreeing with you?

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 19:39:53

They need to get people on the TV breast feeding!!

There are always loads of Soap characters having babies, how about they portray them breast feeding instead of giving them a bottle?

Just like nobody is allowed to be seen smoking in Soaps anymore, nor should bottle feeding be seen. grin

Breast Feeding should be seen as the cultural norm, but sadly it isn't in England and until breast feeding is OUT THERE in the public eye, then it never will be I fear.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 19:42:01

As I said before, amazingggggg, I have no interest in what anyone feeds their babies, I just can't bear the illogical debate.

The op asked why BF was "pushed"

The answer is because it is best for the baby

People started saying things like "yeah but no but choice and different views" which is irrelevant and rubbish

That is what I am arguing against.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 19:42:30

Acceptable reason to bottle feed = because it is deemed to be the best decision for the mother and baby.

And ill ask yet again where ive been rude. And youll tell me you cba to read back. I have said im upset by what youre saying about me. Your response was ha. Take a look at yourself...

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 19:45:24

And Hully is right, the reason BF is pushed is because it is nutritionally better and it does have health benefits that FF doesn't.

The fact that something is considered better is always the reason it will be 'pushed' and in my eyes, the better option should always be encouraged.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 19:46:54

Yes, where have I been rude?

Saying things you don't want to hear does not equal rudeness

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 19:47:43

Hully - I don't think it's irrelevant to question whether pressure is the correct way to get women to breastfeed.

SPB I'm ignoring your posts now as you're not engaging in a discussion, you're just intent on I dunno what but you seem to have a vendetta against me.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 19:48:54

The op didn't ask whether "pressure" was effective

she asked why "pressure" (as she perceived it) was used.

Can you see the difference?

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 19:49:11

Writer - deemed by whom? Can the mother make this decision herself?

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 19:49:21

You are ignoring Stealth because you can't answer her, that is very childish

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 19:49:50

amazing - how about every single scientist on earth?

That do you?

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 19:50:41

Why is it used then Hully? I assume it's used because people think it will make women more likely to choose bf. It's hardly a massive tangent I'm on to suggest that there might be better ways to increase bf rates.

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 19:51:08

Oh god fine. Someone quote her and I'll bloody answer

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 19:52:32

Hully that post about scientists made no sense in the context there

<frantically trying to answer everyone before I'm accused of being childish again>

doublecakeplease Wed 03-Jul-13 19:53:25

Tv shouldn't be allowed to show bottle feeding? Excellent way to bring shame on us ff parents - nice.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 19:54:00

You said "deemed by whom"

I answered "by scientists"

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 19:55:10

You can say "I know that breastmilk is best, I accept the evidence but I don't want to because of X reason"

But you can't say "It is my right to choose between the two" as if the choice is equal

It's that that is irritating and wrong

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 19:55:43


If the mother has tried breast feeding and finds it doesn't suit her and her baby then yes, of course she can make that decision. She may get advice from MW, HV or GP but ultimately the decision will always be the mothers.

When it comes to caring for a new baby, the mum's mental state and frame of mind is very fragile and it must be taken into consideration. If the mother is struggling to breast feed effectively and she feels low and is not enjoying her new baby then I would fully support her if she chose to switch to FF.

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 19:55:50

Hully it was in relation to Writer's post at 19.42 so didn't make sense

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 19:57:38

Double Cake - my comment about BF on TV was only meant as a joke, I meant no offence so genuine apologies if I caused it.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 19:57:47

Anyway, I'm off now, I'm even boring myself...

Teaandflapjacks Wed 03-Jul-13 19:58:31

mmm maybe it is a cultural thing because I am a bit confused as to why it is not seen as normal. Here in germany (well east germany) it is a lot more live and let live really - women here BF in cafes, parks, wherever - no-one bats an eyelid about it, or to what age in fact people chose to feed to, likewise no-one judges FF either - there is support here for whatever you want really. Also kids and babies are welcomed in restaurants etc here, which is one of the reasons I like living here, it is very family orientated, and not so sexualised etc etc. I still think this whole thread and debate is rather like saying you should feed your child x y z and not a b c later on to some degree - since we all know certain foods are much more beneficial - but we just do the best we can. Likewise with BF - we all know BF milk is nutritionally better, but that can't be the only factor, partic with women who have medical reasons etc. It isn't the only reason a baby thrives - they need love, affection, security, a safe (smoke free) living environment etc, these all play a vital role too. It's no good a mother forcing herself to BF when she is losing the plot. Some women simply do not have the support around them to follow it through. Or a woman who is suffering from PND and unable to feed properly and really needs help, or someone who just wants their body back after a truly shocking pregnancy (friend over here actually) - she had to work a few months after the birth PT with her business, with a toddler, and had no choice in the matter (to work)- for her FF was the only option that worked without her losing her sanity after a shocking time of it. And that's why good job we have a safe alternative, so that our babies can be fed safely. In any case - this is for about the first 6 months or so for most women, give or take. We have long roads ahead of us.....

Good evening everybody
This was always going to be a heated thread
<sprinkles peace and love everywhere>

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 20:00:09

But Hully

I gave my pfb baked beans on a baked potato tonight. I should have cooked the chicken I'd defrosted but I truly couldn't be arsed.

That was a choice I made, right there, which had a negative impact on his health. A tiny tiny one. But by your totally binary logic, a wrong choice. As a mother, I'm constantly making 'wrong' choices - it's ok, because with each, I'm doing the best I can do. It is my choice to ff. I would support any woman who wanted to, in a climate which as others have identified, makes it such a poisoned chalice of a 'choice'. Hard to choose bf, hard to choose ff. You say you've nothing against ff-ing but you are making it so clear that it is and I quote 'wrong' to make that choice.

doublecakeplease Wed 03-Jul-13 20:01:16

Wonder if one of you staunch promoters is the bf 'counsellor' who make me feel like utter shit after 3 weeks of watching my baby fighting for life.

Its views like yours that give bf a bad name amongst those who need proper bf education. I live in a fairly rundown area where lots view bf as a 'hippy dippy' or upperclass thing to do.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 20:01:20

"Heated" Olivia?

Lukewarm at best

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 20:02:24

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Hullygully Wed 03-Jul-13 20:05:30

This really is the last time

I don't have convictions. I am simply repeating ad nauseum that the reason bf is strongly promoted is because breast milk is better for the baby and therefore if people CAN bf, they should.

I have no further interest than that.

Hang em on swaddling boards and douse them with vodka for all I care.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Jul-13 20:06:05

I agree with a lot of your sentiments TeaandFlapjacks - some women just don't have the support around them to maintain breast feeding.
Breast Feeding is extremely hard and tiring and it is never as black and white as just saying you are or aren't going to do it.

With all the good will and strong intentions in the world, sometimes breast feeding just doesn't work for some mothers and they should not be judged for that or made to feel substandard because they have changed to FF.

Life isn't perfect and no mother should ever be made to feel she isn't doing what is best for her baby. The love and security a baby receives from it's parents are far more important, in the grand scheme of things, than the type of milk they are being fed.


GlitzPig Wed 03-Jul-13 20:12:51

Just a gentle reminder of the actual OP here-the question was

'Why is there so much pressure to breast feed?'

The answer that people are giving is 'Because it's better than formula' which doesn't seem popular, but is true.

It's not wrong to formula feed. It IS wrong to say formula is as good as breastmilk. Because it isn't. Do whatever you like-I certainly don't care. But don't misrepresent the facts.

Amazinggg Wed 03-Jul-13 20:51:48

Oh ok.

I was contributing to the 'why is there so much pressure' bit - I thought it was obvious that breastfeeding was better than formula feeding.

doublecakepleaseWed 03-Jul-13 20:01:16

Wonder if one of you staunch promoters is the bf 'counsellor' who make me feel like utter shit after 3 weeks of watching my baby fighting for life."

That is so awful. Im sorry sad I hope your baby is ok now

Futterby Thu 04-Jul-13 00:16:45

Why can't we all just get along? Won't anyone think of the children?!

Seriously though, feed your kid whatever you want. Nothing wrong with ff. Nothing wrong with bf. Bf is nutritionally better but that can't be the only factor included in the decision you make about how to feed your lo.

Case closed.

Oblomov Thu 04-Jul-13 04:50:19

Breast is best. Everyone knows that. It is a fact.
I was not pressurised to bf. actually the opposite. On PN ward they kept insisting on formula. Bf support was dire.
I found it very hard. But liked it a lot, once I got going. But I also ended up mixed feeding.
I agree with the poster about children being hard. Some are easy, then difficult toddlers. Some are hard, then easy toddlers. We all end up looking haggard !! smile

lozster Thu 04-Jul-13 05:12:11

'I live in a fairly rundown area where lots view bf as a 'hippy dippy' or upperclass thing to do'

Hmm - a look at the statistics on who does and doesn't breast feed is quite telling about what the barriers are. I find it quite sad that those who can probably least afford to ff are most likely to. We are not so very different to third world countries really...


I think the nhs/government tackles health issues by sharing information in the first instance. Based on my knowledge and the workshop I attended and commdnts on here, this isn't a bad idea as there are big knowledge gaps. In terms of changing attitudes and behaviours, it could be more effective to have more positive role models and focus on the link to body image.

Bunbaker Thu 04-Jul-13 06:29:54

"I live in a fairly rundown area where lots view bf as a 'hippy dippy' or upperclass thing to do."

^^ That is the sort of view that needs changing. How can this be done?

And why is something that is so natural so hard to do? Do most other mammals struggle as much as we do?

doublecakeplease Thu 04-Jul-13 07:52:20

Thanks stealth - he's fine now but tbh she almost pushed me over the edge. 3 hours after being told to stop bf because my meds had put him on the verge of a coma and she was still pushing the 'breast is best'

I've said all along that i agree with bf for those who can and WANT to but the people who i referred to as thinking its upper class etc are more than likely tuned off to the demanding, my way is right crew. TELLING someone that bf is the only correct way to feed a baby will automatically turn some off it.

If some of the women who've posted here are those trying to educate and promote then i fear a further lapse. Some of the high and mighty, judgmental and pushy posts have really got my back up and I'm a grown, educated woman armed with research. Imagine how others with less experience feel.

rallytog1 Thu 04-Jul-13 08:48:34

Well said doublecakeplease - so glad to hear your LO is ok.

It sounds like you and I had very similar experiences at the hands of people who were supposed to be supporting us. I really hope some of those who've been so vociferous on this thread can take a step back, realise how they're coming across and perhaps think about modifying some of their language and tone when talking about bf. Only then will more people feel encouraged rather than pressured to bf.

maternitart Thu 04-Jul-13 09:22:07

I agree that statements like "it's natural, how hard can it be?" are unhelpful.

To answer OP, my baby sleeps through the night, has 4 feeds a day, is big for his age and very happy. He is ebf. I'm not sure whether he'd be any different with formula tbh. I think most of it is pot luck, although it is very useful having boobs to offer as comfort when needed.

The other advantages apart from health are that it's free, convenient, you get a rush of "feel good" hormones, less crying if you feed on demand, and it helps you lose weight (I weigh less now than I have in 15 years). You don't have to worry about whether you should increase the amount of formula you're giving or offering water etc.

The drawbacks IME are you either need to be with baby all the time or express milk which is a bit of a faff, leaky boobs, pain and discomfort in first few weeks, some stress over whether baby is feeding enough/ too much/ long enough especially during growth spurts. You also have to be careful with drinking enough fluid and eating well to avoid feeling crap.

Whatever you decide to do, do it because its right for you and your baby, not because your friend experienced x or you live in an area where bf/ff is looked down upon.

NannyPlumIsMyMum Thu 04-Jul-13 09:35:54

There are lots of factors that affect a child's future wellbeing - bf is just one of them.

Some people bf and then go on to wean their babies on to lousy diets setting up poor health and dietary habits for life .

There are lots of socio economic factors affecting a child's health.

Yes bf does have benefits but its important to get it into perspective.

Go with what is best for your family.

noblegiraffe Thu 04-Jul-13 09:40:30

Encouraging bfing is important in the NHS because it offers protection against infection (baby) and cancer (mum), thus saving the NHS money.

How would people like the NHS to 'encourage' bfing, if not by pointing out the health benefits? Obviously practical support needs to be given at the right time too, but the OP seems to be talking about during pregnancy.

midori1999 Thu 04-Jul-13 12:25:39

"I agree that statements like "it's natural, how hard can it be?" are unhelpful."

Whilst I agree that it's unhelpful for people to say this, we only find breastfeeding difficult in the UK because of our cultural expectations of what a baby behaves like and also because it's extremely unlikely that our Mum's, Aunts, siblings, friends etc have actually breastfed. It's just not something you see often in the UK and if women need support they have to turn to health professionals (many of whom won't have breastfed themselves and probably don't know much about it) or volunteers.

I was speaking to one of the midwives recently who had worked in Africa for a while, I forget which country. She said that when she said to several local women that in the UK a lot of women struggle to breastfeed, the women simply couldn't understand it or what could be difficult about it. Obviously it is their cultural norm to breastfeed.

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 12:40:41

midori - I think it is like the "dad's can't bond" argument, another justification for not doing what you don't want to. Of course some women can't bf, but the vast vast majority can if they want to.

MumnGran Thu 04-Jul-13 13:05:28

Let me tell you what is wrong about presure to bf. Implied, imposed, imagined ..... or projected by vehement support and the constant reiteration that breast is best.

It reduces women who want to feed and genuinely cannot to feeling as though they are failing their babies and being second class mothers.
Can you imagine how that feels, when you have tried desperately to feed ....and failed your baby?
Do you think it matters to that woman that umpteen African mothers can feed like falling off a log? or do you think it may make her feel even more of a failure?
Do you really suppose that saying ff if you want but we all know breast is best doesn't just take whatever fragile sense of self worth that woman has ....and trample it into the dust?

Do you not understand that every time women jump up and down on the soapbox of breast milk being nutritionally better, you destroy how some women feel about themselves when they have had no choice but to ff.
I understand that you know there are lots of women who choose to ff and you think that choice is second best, backed by science.
Your opinion is not going to change theirs by one single jot. They will argue with you here from now until kingdom come.

But for the fragile women who may have visited this thread, they have simply had themselves classed yet again as failing their babies.

Please ......until you have futilely tried to pump for weeks, because your baby is too sick to feed, or suffered from retained placenta preventing milk generation because of hormones, or any other of the myriad reasons why women who dearly wanted to feed and could not ....... please climb off the soapboxes.

MumnGran Thu 04-Jul-13 13:07:32

Losing the smugness wouldn't go amiss either

Voodika Thu 04-Jul-13 13:13:17

When you look at a group of ten year olds can you tell which we're breast fed? No.
Do what you like and with confidence because that is much more important for babies, a happy healthy mummy.
I've done both, both have huge merits, both have negative points and like every single decision with children you have to work out what is right for you and them.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 13:13:32

Hully there are lots of benefits of ff-ing, do all of them count as 'justifications'? Yes breastfeeding is superior nutrition, but I have found ff to be massively convenient for so many reasons. I will ff again if I have another child. I'll also do lots of other things that would get big ticks and crosses on the big parenting bible that doesn't actually exist. I will SAH, BLW, I cook every meal from scratch and provide my child with all sorts of stimulating activities. Overall my children will be fine. Breastfeeding isn't the be-all-and-end-all and I have no idea why you are intent on making it a win-lose battle. It's just one aspect of parenting which I don't want to do. Yes it's natural, but so are lots of other things we can avoid in the modern world if we so wish. Formula is miraculous stuff. And babies are pretty damn tough, unless you are making up bottles unhygienically then they will be fine.

- my child sleeps very well (stats support this)
- I was able to rest and recover from my C-section with complications while DH fed DS
- we have shared care of DS completely, which I find to be a feminist and freeing choice I am able to make
- I have avoided the pain and messiness of bf
- I lost all my baby weight quickly from running around after DS - bf-ers often claim weight loss as a benefit of bf-ing but IME it's having a small child that helps!
- I was at risk of developing PND and I believe not bf-ing helped me avoid this. Not sure if the fiercely pro-bf posters think this was a decision I should have taken, but I think it was a decision I had the right to make and will make again.
- I made up 24 hours worth of bottles in advance, carefully and with sterilised equipment, and stored them in fridge. If you don't want to do this then use ready made cartons. Baby hungry = baby fed pretty much immediately, on demand.

Check out fearlessformulafeeder - interesting blog.

ExpatAl Thu 04-Jul-13 13:16:16

I'm with you Amazinggg apart from the 'feminist' thing. Breast feeding has nothing to do with feminism.

midori1999 Thu 04-Jul-13 13:27:49

"Please ......until you have futilely tried to pump for weeks, because your baby is too sick to feed, or suffered from retained placenta preventing milk generation because of hormones, or any other of the myriad reasons why women who dearly wanted to feed and could not ....... please climb off the soapboxes."

How do you know the history of those you think are 'on their soap boxes' on this thread? You don't, obviously.

WinkyWinkola Thu 04-Jul-13 13:30:08

Is how you feed your baby a feminist issue? Really?

WinkyWinkola Thu 04-Jul-13 13:31:14

FearlessFormaFeeder blog? Fearless of what?

I have only ever encountered hostility for ffers about how I fed my little ones.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 13:34:10

Yes, how you feed your baby is a feminist issue confused seems pretty obvious to me!

It's a whole other debate whether choosing bf or ff is the more feminist choice though. Obviously supporting women to make the right choice for them is most important on an individual level.

MumnGran Thu 04-Jul-13 13:34:42

I may well not, but I have made two assumptions ....

firstly, that those who have experienced such difficulties are usually the last to be judgemental and "soapbox prone" when it comes to the subject. They have more empathy.
secondly, that if those standing on their soapboxes had experienced such issues they would be megaphoning it along with the rest of the script that says it can be done "if people really wanted to".

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 13:35:11

FFS Winky, look at the blog before you sneer.

Or are you more interested in making snarky comments than contributing to the discussion?

WinkyWinkola Thu 04-Jul-13 13:36:19

If stating breast is best and giving out information to women who might not have understood the scientific facts in this isse means you are standing on a soap box, then how do you regard doctors recommending vaccinations or eating healthily eating?

Are they on soap boxes too?

Is one to tiptoe around whispering about the science in case some one is offended?

I've been very offended by ffers who CHOSE to be obnoxious about my bfing my 10 month old. So if you're talking about soap boxes then it is they who are guilty of it, yelling self justification all the time.

WinkyWinkola Thu 04-Jul-13 13:37:09

Sneer? Who is sneering? Defensive aren't you?

I merely asked fearless of what?

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 13:40:23

Didn't a HC professional upthread say they were told not to use the phrase 'breast is best' now? So you're incorrect if you think that is part of the NHS strategy.

And I'm sure I have read in the past that the phrase itself was coined by a formula manufacturer to make it seem more like an equal choice, although that seems counterintuitive! So you're playing into your own enemy's hands there a little by continuing to use the phrase.

MumnGran Thu 04-Jul-13 13:44:39

Oh please. There is a somewhat obvious difference between providing information, access to vaccines etc, and incessantly reiterating that formula is second best and women ff are choosing a second best option.

I think soapboxes probably fit into the same category as 'if the cap fits, wear it'. If one feels the need to defend the soapbox concept, one may indeed be on one.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 13:45:21

MumnGran thank you for your posts x

WinkyWinkola Thu 04-Jul-13 13:45:53

Enemy? grin Wtf are you on about? Madness.

And I don't for one second believe women who use formula are "stigmatised" by their peers. Not when the majority of babies are fed with formula in this country.

midori1999 Thu 04-Jul-13 13:46:35

mumngran, perhaps you shouldn't make assumptions then?

WinkyWinkola Thu 04-Jul-13 13:47:03

Sigh. Okay. Stating facts means standing on a soap box. hmm

MumnGran Thu 04-Jul-13 13:48:08

They aren't causing me any issues.

WinkyWinkola Thu 04-Jul-13 13:48:41

And mumandgran, if I chose not to vax my dcs, the GP would certainly start telling me the scientific facts wrt the advantages of protecting them. It happened.

Phineyj Thu 04-Jul-13 13:49:17

Amazinggg, I very much agree with your post of 13.13.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 13:57:30

I see it as sort of like a liberal vs Tory standpoint (bear with me)

We would all like to see bf rates increase. Ok.

Tory view: 'it's simple! People should be educated and then they will do the right thing. People need to take responsibility. Society needs to change.'

Liberal view: 'How can we erase the barriers to bf? Let's put funding in place to assist women where they say they need support. Let's listen to the issues and address them. Let's not judge individual choices or circumstances.'

grin <liberal>

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:16:40

why are women "pressured" to bf asked the op

Because breast milk is best for the baby

Everything else is a different debate.

amazing your post of reasons why ff is so great is...oh never mind

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:17:11

But one thing that stands out is that all your reasons are about the mother's convenience, not the baby's best interests.

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:18:57


If someone CAN'T bf, they can't. No point feeling like a failure. And no point saying stop talking about it, it's upsetting. Don't bloody read then.

noblegiraffe Thu 04-Jul-13 14:20:44

I think this debate is a feminist issue because ffers feel that they are being got at by the message that bfing is best for baby and judged for not bfing. Bfers have to put up with 'icky' 'feed your baby in the toilet, not where I'm trying to have lunch' 'smug' 'your baby would sleep better with formula' 'isn't that baby on a bottle yet?' 'denying father bonding experience', and the full force of the formula companies not insubstantial advertising budget.

Basically, whichever way you feed your baby you can't win. And it's women that suffer this.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 14:24:23

Yy noblegiraffe.

I'm just going to link that blog again because I've even reading some of it just now since I remembered about it and linked it - it really is a good read and not dogmatic in any way. If it makes anyone currently posting in a lecture - y way on here think twice about doing so on future threads about infant feeding, so much the better.

Read me please

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:25:12

It's a feminist issue that society makes it difficult for women to do the most natural thing in the world and feed their baby with the best thing for it. The really feminist thing to do therefore is to bf and not let society win.

rallytog1 Thu 04-Jul-13 14:29:20

MumnGran thank you for articulating so brilliantly what many of us are feeling.

Hullygully I have no argument with any of the evidence you cite or points you make. However, I get the feeling you've never had to admit defeat at bf despite being desperate to do it. If you had, I think some of your posts would have been worded a little more gently. No, those of us who've failed to bf don't have to read these threads - but until you've experienced the wracking guilt and feelings of utter, utter failure that comes with it, you won't be able to understand why so many of us feel compelled to participate in threads like this to share our experiences.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 14:34:20

It's an interesting debate Hully. I think formula has freed me to be able to share parenting more equally with my male partner. DS has been cared for, cuddled, fed, rocked and soothed by DH as much as me. I have been able to spend days and nights away from DS, not bound by natural biology. Breastfeeding is natural, yes, but it is hugely limiting to the woman. I have bonded just as much with DS as any breastfeeder, he is rarely cared for by anyone other than me and DH, but we are equal parents. I see that as pretty feminist. I see it as massively anti-feminist to say that despite DS's needs being met, it should always be me who feeds him, me who spends hours feeding him and me who can't be away from him. It does make te job of parenting much more equal and the woman can return to work or other activity more easily. What's more feminist than that? By your logic, each month when we have our periods, we should be allowed to remain home and bleed freely. Tampons are massively 'convenient' but not as healthy as letting the blood run freely. They aren't the 'natural' option but I thank heaven we can use them. Anything that means we are less hindered by our biology is good. Of course, if women want to bf then society should support that, but I am making the case that ff can be a feminist choice.

Junebugjr Thu 04-Jul-13 14:35:05

As other posters have said, apparently it's better for the baby and mother health wise, I'm not sure I've seen this in practice with my two though!
Mainly bottle fed DD1, who seemed happy and content most of the time if a little neurotic, she put on weight slowly the first few weeks too, despite bottle feeding. Great health wise, has only been ill once and she's nearly 5.
Exclusive bf dd2, who was much more contented than her sister, and put on weight hand over fist. She Has had very bad eczema and food allergies though, which I was surprised at.
One side effect of bf I did like was losing weight very fast after she was born no matter what I ate.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 04-Jul-13 14:35:07

rally - do you not think though, that it would be easier for women like you who have really tried and failed to hold their heads up knowing they did their best, if there weren't thousands of women who say 'oh I tried but I couldn't breastfeed', when what they actually mean is that it was easier to give formula so that is what they decided to do?

I have NO issue with people choosing to FF on an individual level (the actions of the formula companies and the impact in the 3rd world concern me greatly). What I do have an issue with is people who rather than just saying 'this is my choice', make a big hoo-ha about how hard BF was and in doing so undermine and diminish the efforts of those who really do try.

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:38:11

rally - believe it or not I have no interest in upsetting anyone, why would I?

I understand the topic is upsetting for some, but I'm not even really arguing about that, I am arguing about the illogicality displayed because it really irritates me.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 14:39:19

I agree with you on that AliBaba - it makes me sad when I meet women at baby groups etc who are ff-ing and feel the need to explain and justify it, telling people how they struggled to bf. It makes me sad because I used to do it, ff-ing makes you feel judged. It's clear from MN alone that the only acceptable ff-er is a failed bf-er sad

midori1999 Thu 04-Jul-13 14:39:44

"DS has been cared for, cuddled, fed, rocked and soothed by DH as much as me. I have been able to spend days and nights away from DS, not bound by natural biology. Breastfeeding is natural, yes, but it is hugely limiting to the woman"

Amazinggg that's obviously your experience and your opinion, but based on never having breastfed. So how do you know that breastfeeding is 'hugely limiting' to the woman?

I actually find breastfeeding less limiting than FF, much less so, there are so many things you just don't have to consider or worry about when breastfeeding and it certainly hasn't stopped me spending days or nights away from my child if I feel the need to.

Also, aside from the feeding, DH has taken an equal share in parenting our DD and has done just as much for her as I have, which is presumably why they are so close, she is very much a 'daddy's girl'.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 14:41:00

Hully by your own admission you don't care about posting comments which you know are upsetting people. And you don't care about the intricacies of the issues, only repeating your black-and-white 'breast is best the end' mantra.

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:41:15

why do you think that is amazingg?

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:41:45

my question was about why is the only acceptable ff a failed bfeeder do you think?

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:42:58

If people get upset, they get upset. It's their issue. I get upset about a lot of things, but I wouldn't ask people to keep their opinions to themselves because the topic upsets me.

Illogical again.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 14:44:31

What do you want me to say Hully? That every mother, regardless of circumstances, should try to bf? I guess that's an ideal situation. I won't be bf-ing my second though, does that count as unacceptable or is it ok cos I've already failed once? Why does a woman actively choosing to ff bother you?

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:46:29

I don't care what you do, just be honest about the reasons.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 14:46:35

Hully that post is going on my shitsheet. You don't care if you upset people - ill be giving you a wide berth on here. Not that you give a hoot I appreciate, but I have laughed and agreed with your posts around the site in the past and as a frequent namechanger for years have found you an amusing poster. But I had no idea of your hugely dogmatic views on bf.

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:46:45

And don't talk nonsense about "pressure" etc

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 14:47:19


Happy now?

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:47:54

I feel like spock.

talking to you is like a parallel universe amazinggg, one where all logic has been left at the door.

Amazinggg Thu 04-Jul-13 14:48:22

Am really quite upset and leaving thread now. Thanks to those with whom I've had an interesting debate. MN shouldn't make me this upset,time to get a grip and find something else to do I think.

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:50:18

oh for goodness sake

ExpatAl Thu 04-Jul-13 14:50:31

I think it's strange to use terminology such as 'breast is best' because breast is just the way it is - it's nature at its finest. I find the debate odd. Some women/babies (really not many) don't manage it and it's very upsetting for them. Thankfully there is a substitute that is more than adequate. Feeling shy is not a reason not to do it. Lots of my friends take themselves off to bf so as not to do it in front of a crowd. If some women really researched the composition of breast milk I'm sure they'd rethink their position. It's a remarkable thing.

Midori your point about African woman all breastfeeding isn't really painting the full picture. Many of their women are simply too malnourished and poorly themselves to produce milk. A huge number of their children die every year. I think there are lots of ways to point out how bf is the natural way to feed your baby but using African woman as an example is not the way to do it.

noblegiraffe Thu 04-Jul-13 14:55:28

Feeling judged isn't the same as being judged. I've seen comments about mothers 'smugly' breastfeeding their babies around ffers, like the mere act of them breastfeeding is a show of their superiority, instead of them simply feeding their baby.

Let's face it, after a few weeks even, the majority of mothers will have given their baby some formula, so judging just won't be happening.

I'm ebfing a 5 month old. I am in a tiny minority now. Trust me, I'm not judging ffers when I'm feeding my baby out and about, I'm trying to be as discreet as possible so as not to draw attention to myself.

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 14:56:35

It's clearly a very emotive and mad issue...

MumnGran Thu 04-Jul-13 14:58:58

If someone CAN'T bf, they can't. No point feeling like a failure. And no point saying stop talking about it, it's upsetting. Don't bloody read then

Perhaps the answer then, when the OP actually asks "Why are you made to feel like its such a crime", is simply to say 'because empathy appears to be non-existent in the approach of vociferous advocates'.

midori1999 Thu 04-Jul-13 15:02:58

Expat that is a bit of a generalisation, don't you think? Africa is a rather large place and issues that are present in some countries aren't in others. I wasn't referring to all African women, I was referring to those the midwife had spoken to, who clearly didn't see what the problem was.

I would imagine if you questioned women in Norway, where they have very high breastfeeding rates and it is almost a given that women will breastfeed unless there's a specific reason not to and advertising of formula is banned, that they would feel similarly, but the midwife I was chatting to wasn't in Norway....

ExpatAl Thu 04-Jul-13 15:13:07

I know Africa pretty well Midori. No, not much of a generalisation. Some are better off or better provided for. The fact that they were being seen by a midwife puts them in this category. But as you said, Africa is a big place so there are for more woman who don't have access. Where they differ is that because it's seen as an entirely natural pragmatic thing, another woman in the village will take over bf if she is able (which can bring its own problems).

ExpatAl Thu 04-Jul-13 15:16:21

Anyway, don't know why I'm rowing. I totally agree that it's a good thing to see it just as a cultural norm - no biggie.

ExpatAl Thu 04-Jul-13 15:19:39

How many woman truly can't MummGrann? Not many.

Champagnebubble Thu 04-Jul-13 15:36:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MumnGran Thu 04-Jul-13 15:43:28

I know of three recently...and that's just in my limited contact with new mums. One who simply 'dried up' after the first 7 weeks (despite all efforts and advice taken on how to raise levels), one who could not maintain supply by pump for a premie, and subsequent efforts to re-establish failed, and one placenta accreta where hormones from the immovable chunk of placenta are preventing milk being produced.

Extrapolation would suggest there are sufficient numbers to have some level of consideration for.

DuelingFanjo Thu 04-Jul-13 16:00:26

"some posters have been expressing the same extreme views that BF is the only right option over and over again for days and cannot accept someone might have another view that FF is right for them"

People have only been expressing an opinion based on fact that Breast Milk is superior to Formula. It's an undeniable fact that this is the case. This is why people donate breast milk to hospitals, so that babies who can't get breastmilk from their mothers can still get the benefit and don't have to resort to Formula.

It is true that some people choose to skip trying to breastfeed and go straight to formula without even wanting to try breastfeeding.

it is true that some people try breastfeeding and give up.

It is true that there is a small percentage of women who do not make enough milk but the percentage is tiny.

'Choosing to FF is not a second rate choice' - Breast milk is second rate to Formula, Fact. If you choose to just use formula then that is your choice but you have to accept the scientific fact that the feeds you are giving your child are not as good all round or as beneficial as breast milk.

Many women don't choose to go onto formula, they are booby trapped into it or they really can't medically breastfeed which is sad.

If YOU choose to formula feed then fine. but it's still not ever going to be the same standard of nutrition as your breastmilk.

Champagnebubble Thu 04-Jul-13 16:03:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 16:08:36

what if the choice is right for you but wrong for the baby?

WoTmania Thu 04-Jul-13 16:11:44

Going to confess that I haven't RTFT - but.....you may feel breastfeeding is being 'thrown in your face' but we live in a culture where bottlefeeding is the norm and advertising is frequent (not of infant formula but bearing in mind they have the same logo and the follow on ads include phrases like 'when you move on from breastfeeding, rather than if, and have a woman looking unhappy in a dark room bfing then happy in sunlight FF) having it brought up an AN meetings is just helping balance it out surely?

You can get the info together and make up your own mind what will be better for you and your family. That may be breastfeeding, formula feeding or mixed feeding. Most breastfeeding support groups will be happy to go through the options with you.

Champagnebubble Thu 04-Jul-13 16:13:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 16:15:31

It wouldn't champagne, not factually.

Champagnebubble Thu 04-Jul-13 16:16:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Thu 04-Jul-13 16:19:02

You do know that you and the baby aren't one entity don't you?

Your interests are not necessarily the same. The baby wants you there 24 hours feeding it on demand. The fact that you might choose not to do that for whatever reason, doesn't make it the right choice for BOTH of you.