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Fed is best?

(45 Posts)
Blueskies32 Sat 19-Nov-16 21:29:51

It is coming up to my little lo's first birthday (first baby). I had a great pregnancy and not too bad labour, no concerns when he was born. We had to stay on the ward for 5 days as they though I might have pre eclampsia in labour (I didnt)

I struggled to breast feed and later had a posterior tongue tie cut privately (never checked but instantly helped). I spent 4 nights with a screaming jaundiced baby on an open ward with high turnover and inconsistent help

A HCA finally suggested formula on day 4 (my brain was fogged would have happily given earlier)

He had seizures on day 5 which would have happened anyway (we now know probably familial) and he spent time on NICU, everything came back normal and he seems to be developing normally now thankfullybut was v traumatic time

I have ended up happily ebf for 9 months but I feel a lot of guilt about the harm he may/could have experienced in that first week from effectively being starved

The reason that i am posting is that i had a link to 'fed is best' article recently on my Facebook and it brought back lots of memories, I agree a lot with the message it conveys (if a little scaremongering) and needed to write this as a sort of cathartic thing and for anyone else in a similar situation, it's not a plea to just give formula immediately but (aibu?) don't let it be the be all and end all, and if persevering please make sure glucose and bilirubin are being checked

I still expressed so my baby had some milk. I will never forget though how he was awake and screaming 4 nights solidly until he had formula and feel resentful that this happened.

Just needed to vent, if this helps just one person (ie you can stil give formula and go on to ebf with help) then I'm glad I posted.

MrsMook Sat 19-Nov-16 22:01:52

I think there is too much scaremongering that giving any formula in the early days will prevent breastfeeding from becoming established which can be counterproductive.

DS1 had a difficult birth resulting in low blood sugars, needing regular feeds that he was disinterested in. My milk was also slow to come in as I had a lot of recovery. I took a "by hook or by crook" approach. Some of those early feeds were from me, or formula by cup, but we went on to EBF after about 10 days for over a year.

Any breastfeeding is positive. Sometimes formula is necessary even when breastfeeding is the intended route. The focus on EBF and lack of support to mix feed in the face of difficulties will go some way to contributing towards the significant drop in the numbers of people that start breastfeeding, and stop before 6 months.

Dobbyandme Sat 19-Nov-16 22:14:57

My milk dodn't come in until day 5 with DD so we used formula top ups. Ebf since day 5, now 15 months and still breastfeeding.

If you want to combi feed early on or formula feed and then move to breastfeeding it can be very helpful to get expert advice on building and maintaining supply.

But of course it's possible for most women. I say most as I know that there are women who were/are desperate to breastfeed and can't, and I think those women deserve acknowledgement.

There are many benefits to breastfeeding, but there are also many benefits to formula feeding as well.

I am very pro breastfeeding, but I believe that whatever you feed, if you feed with love that that trumps the lot.

splendidglenda Sat 19-Nov-16 22:42:18

I took prepackaged aptamil bottles in with me and made sure my babies were fed those during the first 48hrs alongside my colostrum. When my milk came in after 48hrs they breastfed beautifully. So no problem at all. The staff were quite judgy but they're probably gonna be judgy whatever you do or don't do x

Blueskies32 Sun 20-Nov-16 20:42:39

Thanks for your replies. Of course plenty have a good bf journey but if there is a reason why baby can't feed (such as unchecked tongue tie in our case, and bearing in mind I was in a huge renowned teaching hospital) then it seems so so wrong to me that we are not encouraged to feed our babies any which way, if they are clearly as hungry as my lo was. I'm sure all hospitals are different with respect to checking for tonge tie etc but mine was shit for us!

Oh and I was told about wet nappies 'he must be ok' but having not had a baby before I don't think I knew what constituted wet enough.

Anyway I'm going to try not to feel guilty any more and leave it to rest now. THanks

LifeLong13 Sun 20-Nov-16 20:54:56

"Fed is not best. Fed is minimal" debate on the pro breastfeeding groups BOILS MY FUCKING PISS! angry

I am a supporter of women, I will always advocate for a woman to make the best decision for her and her baby. Whether it is this formula or breast!

I HATE that some women are made to feel the way you did. Having a child is the scariest life experience I think anyone will have. Whatever happens you have a child and you spend your whole life thinking am I doing the right thing. Many women are bullied into thinking they MUST breastfeed. And to make matters worse it's usually other women bullying them.

I have left pro-breastfeeding facebook groups over this whole "fed is not best- it's minimal" argument and the outright hatred that spews from the nipple nazis. My daughter is 15 months old and is still breastfed. That's my choice. And I have respect for all women. No matter whether they do one, the other or both.

thisisbloodyridiculous Sun 20-Nov-16 21:32:09

I won't be able to breastfeed because of the medication I take so find it really hard to take when pro bf'ing people go on and in about it and imply anyone who doesn't bf isn't doing the best for their baby. I desperately wish I could have the chance to try but I won't be able to & that's hard enough to take on its own without other people heaping on the guilt. sad

Bloopbleep Sun 20-Nov-16 21:45:25

I couldn't BF with dd as I didn't produce any milk. At all. I had a mw in hospital squeeze out three drops of colostrum but that was all that I ever produced. 3 drops. Even the hv didn't believe me. It broke my heart that I couldn't and if I naively tried to impart my story online in defence of ffers I was told it would have been kinder to let the baby die than ff (yes really!) I felt extreme guilt for years over this. When we came home from the hospital we had no bottles or formula as we expected I'd BF. I'm hoping this time is different but I will be prepared this time and will have no issues giving dc formula from the start if necessary.

LifeLong13 Sun 20-Nov-16 21:46:31

Please Don't feel that way thisisbloodyridiculous. It's a single choice out of the 100s of choices you will make in your child's life. No one has the right to behave in a way that makes you feel like thatflowers

LifeLong13 Sun 20-Nov-16 21:48:27

Bloopbleep this is why I hate these pro breastfeeding groups; because they're woman bashing arses whom have no ability to be emphatic for another situation. Good luck with no2 whatever you do flowers

witsender Sun 20-Nov-16 21:49:56

Darling girl. And ridiculous. BF is great, but not as great as happy, healthy mothers and babies. Do what you have to do and be proud.

thisisbloodyridiculous Sun 20-Nov-16 21:56:54

Thanks lifelong and wits when I think about it on my own I know it's reasonable and fine and a nonissue but when you're expecting it seems bf is one of those topics everyone talks about online and IRL quite often - so the anti-ff brigade have plenty of opportunities to slate ff!

NeedsAsockamnesty Sun 20-Nov-16 22:40:03

I think we should all just keep our thought to ourselves about how per people chose to feed their own babies.

Because it's fuck all to do with anybody other than the babies parents.

No battle between the two methods no judgement for a decision no nothing other than advice when asked for it

gunting Sun 20-Nov-16 22:51:46

I had a similar situation with my son. We tried to establish breast feeding but due to an undiagnosed tongue tie it didn't work.

Day 5 he was badly jaundiced and sent back to hospital. He's been on formula since that day and I've never felt guilty about it.

A friend works in a children's ward and cared for a baby who has permanent brain damage from jaundice so

lightcola Sun 20-Nov-16 23:00:25

THIS!!!! I saw some breast feeding propaganda in the hospital waiting room that other day that said breast feeding releases a happy hormone in your body which makes you a happier and calmer mum. This angered me so much. I was anything but calm those 3 weeks I breast fed, it was awful. The best decision I made for ME and my son was to bottle feed. He is now a bright, happy, hardly ever ill 3 year old.

I also get angry when mums say they feel like a bad mum, or they've failed when they decide to stop breast feeding- so am I a bad mum in your eyes?

DustyCropHopper Sun 20-Nov-16 23:12:52

Reading some of these have brought back guilty feelings I have harboured for 11 years. I failed to succeed in feeding any of my three.
Ds1 was a stressful failed induction, strapped to machine watching my babies heart rate drop below 60 bpm for 9 hrs before having an emergency c section. He flatly refused to breast feed, wouldn't latch on, low blood sugar, jaundice etc. I gave up and bottle fed as no milk came in and I just wanted to hi home with my baby. Still tried at home but 10 days in me said feed a baby how ever it can be fed (had syringe fed tiny amounts of colostrum).
Ds2 tried to latch on but his tongue kept staying on the roof of his mouth so he kept pushing the nipple out. Tried every angle and nipple shields, the works. In the end had to bottle feed by aiming teat up to the roof of his mouth over his tongue from the side and bring the bottle round.
Dd I refused to let them bottle feed, cup feed etc I was so determined to bf. She ended up being admitted to the children's ward at 72 hrs as she was sleepy and unresponsive and had lost a lb in weight. We had been on a mw led unit after the initial 24hrs post c section.
Fed is best but doesn't stop you feeling like a failure!

LifeLong13 Sun 20-Nov-16 23:17:19

Please don't any of you feel like failures! You fed your babies!

Beth2511 Sun 20-Nov-16 23:18:50

my daughter was breastfed for 8 weeks when I got double mastitis it was damn hard to get to that point so I was proud of myself but still felt a failure.

then I hadon't my son 7 weeks ago and as some of you may have read he was very poorly with sepsis. he never once latched on to me and it took an hour to get 10ml formula in him until he was tube fed at 2 weeks old for a week. all the maternity based nurses and Dr's kept going on about expressing so I didn't lose my supply at the most traumatic time of my life, thankfully the main childrentrance wards nurses kept reiterating that the only thing they wanted was a fed baby, one way or another! they stopped me feeling like a complete and utter failure for the second time.

fed is best and there are far worse things you can do to a baby than feed them formula

Archedbrowse Sun 20-Nov-16 23:20:15

It's so so hard.
I feel my first weeks with DD1 were heavily marred by our struggle to breast feed. I look back and only see unhappiness on both sides, and don't have any good memories of those first 'precious' weeks sad. It's only when DH said 'look you're always crying she's always crying why don't we try formula', and I felt relieved at having 'permission'(in my own guilt induced state of mind) that we turned a corner. Both of us were so much happier after.
That's our experience. Others will have a different experience.

It's such an emotive subject, and so hard to tread the line with people struggling to bf between sharing that experience without seeming to say 'give up' which I'd never say, but also want to convey that for some people it's worked out better going on to formula.

UterusUterusGhali Sun 20-Nov-16 23:29:17


I am a militant lactivist and counsel bfing women as a job.
And I have begged women to give their babies formula.

It's not poison.
Babies need food. They don't care where it comes from. HCPs don't care. They want a well baby.

I always ask women in your situation to view formula as a medicine. The baby needs it to get over their jaundice/weight loss, or you need it to give your nipples a break/your mental health.

ColdCottage Sun 20-Nov-16 23:48:55

I agree, a number of my friends ended up not BFing after a few weeks as no one supported them (suggested) combination feeding. They plan to try this next time to take the pressure off the BFing side so they can take their time and work that out whilst still feeding their child.

I was lucky after a 2 day labour my milk was in when DS arrived and we were able to BF from the start and didn't need any formula but I think at the time I'd have really wanted to stick with BFing or donor milk (which is in short supply and as my friend found out not easily offered to everyone) now I'd be happy to use formula in needed.

I think the hot, loud wards and the "helpful" but often forceful midwives (due to them seeing it daily, not for lack of care) plus the hormones make those first days so hard.

minifingerz Mon 21-Nov-16 00:04:23

No, fed is essential and the bare minimum. Breastfeeding is still best for babies in the sense that it's optimal. And it's possible for most women, as evidenced by very high rates of continuing breastfeeding in other countries.

It's hard for UK mothers. They are bombarded with information encouraging them to breastfeed and then left in the hands of an NHS and health professionals who sometimes simply aren't able to support breastfeeding properly: cue dehydrated newborns, desperate mums, breastfeeding grinding to a halt within days or weeks. It's hard.

Mrsfrumble Mon 21-Nov-16 00:09:21

This thread brings back some pretty awful memories of DS's first few days. We were stuck in a hot, noisy ward at UCH because he refused to feed; I had plenty of colostrum, but he couldn't latch on. He just had no clue! With the help of a lovely midwife I managed to get a few mls into him by syringe, but on the second night he was screaming and I broke down. A not-lovely midwife tried jamming his head against my breast while he screamed and I sobbed, then told me DS must be starving and his health was in danger. I asked for formula, and she bought me some along with a consent form listing all the "risks" of giving formula to newborn. When I questioned on her on whether it was "worse" to give him the stuff in light of what it said on the form, or wait until morning and try breastfeeding again (DS had given up and fallen asleep by then) she shrugged and said "it's not my baby", and then walked away.

Fortunately the next day a wonderful SALT, who'd been sent our way because DS had a suspected cleft palate (he doesn't) got him to latch with a nipple shield, and we breastfed exclusively and happily for 18 months.

That was 6 years ago and I wish I'd complained. I'm so sorry you had a similarly bad experience OP.

minifingerz Mon 21-Nov-16 00:10:40

"It's not poison"

UNICEF estimate that maybe 1 in 10 breastfed babies may benefit from supplementation in the few days after birth (usually formula as donor milk isn't widely available for full term babies).

At my local hospital five years ago nearly 50% of breastfed babies were being supplemented with formula before discharge. That level of supplementation is not necessary and is the result of shit breastfeeding support and general ignorance about breastfeeding.

minifingerz Mon 21-Nov-16 08:20:09

Would add, I think it's really sad that so many women have seized on the 'fed is best' slogan because it's actually nonsensical and unhelpful. It's being used as shorthand for 'it doesn't matter how a baby is fed as long as it is fed' by many people - which is another way of saying that breastfeeding is unimportant.

This message is drowning out the real issue behind so many of these stories, which is that postnatal care for breastfeeding mothers is inadequate on a fairly grand scale, and the lack of expert support for breastfeeding is harming both mums and babies, sometimes quite seriously.

'Fed is best' is unhelpful when it's being used to minimise the importance of expert and timely intervention with difficult breastfeeding.

This ^^ is a really good blog exploring the issue of babies becoming seriously dehydrated/hypoglycaemic because of inadequate breastfeeding.

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