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Breastfeeding Information (lack of)

(9 Posts)
Stinax Thu 25-Aug-11 13:51:43

After only breastfeeding DS for 6 weeks, I was determined to be more successful with DD which has lead me to reflect on what went wrong 1st time round. My memory and what I've always told people was that he was a hungry baby and was never satisfied, I couldn't leave the house as he fed so regularly, it was painful etc etc.

I now feel sad that I didn't seek more support but then again, why as an exhausted young mother should I have to actively seek help and information about feeding. From research I have done myself I now understand the science of breastfeeding, I understand growth spurts and cluster feeding. I understand about how supply is effected. I know that the first 6 weeks are hard but if you ride them through it gets easier.

Why don't the HCP's offer you this info. The general message seems to be breastfeeding is best for your baby, FF makes your baby ill (I find that a VERY stupid thing to say without giving reasons). Yes it will be painful and inconveniant but keep doing it regardless, Oh and make sure baby is latched on properly and if she's not, just speak to your health visitor.

How on earth are women who haven't got the confidence to go to a group or access to the internet supposed to breastfeed successfully. Surely basics such as supply and demand should be explained as a matter of course.

BooBooGlass Thu 25-Aug-11 13:56:11

Ime, I have never been told that ff makes a baby ill. And tbh I had all the info I needed about breastfeeding in all the relentless leaflets given at antenatal appointments. BUT I found it easier I suppose as bfing is very 'normal' to me. I remember my mum feeding my little brother and sister, and was surrounded by mothers who breastfed. It must be very difficult if you're the only person youknow who has breastfed I suppose. I live in an area where the bfing rate is very high though, and I never felt I needed additional support.

Stinax Thu 25-Aug-11 14:06:56

boo I agree that having family/friends around you who've bf must be a real help. I find (positive) anecdotal evidence from other mums really helpful. I just didn't have any of that first time round.

I'm really glad you had such a positive experience, Hopefully I may be alone in feeling frustrated with the lack of information and other mums have had better experiences blush

fishie Thu 25-Aug-11 14:10:01

Stinax the HCPs don't know this info. I was given all sorts of ridiculously wrong advice and it was only because I was very stubborn that I didn't put ds onto formula. I was practically ordered to at one stage. They made me see a dietician! I was also told that giving formula would mean I would produce more milk.

Stinax Thu 25-Aug-11 14:50:58

I suppose the problem lies in the caseloads of HV's. I know mine are really busy. They would undoubtedly be the best placed people to support women with breastfeeding as they are probably the only HCP most women come into contact with but I very much doubt they have the time. On another thread someone pointed out that most of the best bf counsellors are volunteers. Maybe the Governemnt should fork out some money to put one at each baby clinic to reach those mums (like me when I was 19) who wouldn't otherwise seek help.

Incidentally Fishie, I was also given bizarre advice. I mentioned that expressing was going well and I was managing to get 3oz every day and was told this would reduce my supply confused.

fruitybread Thu 25-Aug-11 14:55:02

stinax, I totally agree about poor info being poor preparation for BF-ing. Growth spurts, cluster feeding and supply and demand (surely INCREDIBLY important for mums to be to understand, having seen umpteen friends feed 'top up' bottles of formula in the first few days, and get supply problems) -

I think you make a really good point about BF groups, or getting out of the house to get support. It's really not the easiest thing for some women, especially if they have had difficult births, or might just be feeling overwhelmed by it all.

I should say, my BF group was very local to me and was great - but I'm a farirly confident person, and had to walk 2 minutes to get to it. And had a very quick recovery after birth, so was in good nick.

It seems to be a contentious point that more could be done to prepare women for BF-ing advance - I've argued it before and been told something along the lines of 'oh, nothing can really prepare you, it's support after the birth that counts'. Surely it's not an either/or situation.

Stinax Thu 25-Aug-11 15:13:55

I couldn't agree more fruitybread. More support BEFORE birth would be great. I suspect help and support varies from area to area as well. I was offered breastfeeding classes and told between 28 and 32 weeks would be the best time to go. When I tried to book in when I was 26 weeks there was nothing available until after my due date. This wasn't the end of the world for me but I would imagine for some women who are unsure whether or not to breastfeed this could be the first step down the formula road.

I live in an area where breastfeeding rates at birth and at 6-8 weeks are well below the national average

flowerfairy Thu 25-Aug-11 16:18:14

Stinax you make lots of interesting points. I have bfed both my children ds (7yrs ago) and dd is now 6mths. Support 7 yrs ago was very limited in my area i wasn't particularly confident after the birth after a long hard labour and struggled until about 8wks before it really became established i then continued until 7mths, just through sheer determination. This time i was more prepared for the relentlessness of those first few weeks and there is an NHS bfeeding support group in my area who come to your home and you can ring anytime. I didn't doubt my feeding this time and within 3 weeks i would say we were over the worst of the latching issues. It was good to know that i could call them as i did have some difficulties with dd being fussy about which side and latching on.
I wish that there had been abit more support before birth, but i think MW are so busy and as above some HCP give different advice. MN has been my greatest tool for learning about bfing to be honest! Thanks all

stegasaurus Sat 27-Aug-11 20:57:06

I agree. I went to an antenatal breastfeeding session a few weeks before DD was born but either didn't remember it when I needed or couldn't put the theory into practice. DD didn't wake for feeds and I had flat nipples so we struggled. I was told to wake her for feeds every 4 hrs, which I now know was not nearly as often as she should have fed, and was told by midwives that she was latched on well but she wouldn't suck. My local breastfeeding support group has been great, but I don't drive and it is 2 buses to get there. I didn't feel confident taking DD on the bus for several weeks, especially not coordinating 2 timetables to get to the group on time. Also, asking for help is something I have always struggled with so it took a few weeks of going to the group before I got the help I needed, so breastfeeding was painful and hard work for 3 months. I came so close to giving up and felt really guilty about it, but later realised that maybe I should instead have felt angry that lack of help and support nearly led to me stopping. My health visitor was never any help at all even though I mentioned that we were having problems when she came to visit. I haven't seen her since that first visit though she said she would arrange to see us again soon afterwards.

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