Are you still nursing?(9 Posts)
DD is 13 months old. I've been asked this twice in the last week alone, with the underlying assumption that the answer would be 'yes' (which it is) and it got me thinking...
We've recently returned to NZ (i.e. in the last couple of months) and so it's here that I've been asked this question. I B/F DS until 13 months (this was obviously while living in the UK); DD is now that age and I've no plans to stop.
Breastfeeding seems to be much more widespread here, more normal, i.e. the default way of feeding, and it goes on for longer (hence me being asked if I am still nursing when DD is virtually a toddler). I was breastfed (70s baby) so it was the norm for me.
NZ is a western, first world country, like the UK. It's just sort of got me thinking about why two countries which are similar culturally might have such different perceptions towards breastfeeding, and different rates, etc. AFAIK maternity leave here in NZ is not as good as in the UK, so the reason of going back to work and needing to give up doesn't really explain it.
I know a lot of British women say they can't or couldn't breastfeed and I suppose I wonder why there is a much higher failure rate there. Does it come down to support?
I really don't know. DD was born in the UK and we moved here when she was 9 months old, so B/Fing was well and truly established by then, and so I have no experience of the NZ post-natal system, etc....
Apparently 90% of women who stop bf by six weeks would have liked to continue for longer. As the vast majority of them would have been able to, had they had correct support, i believe for many people not bfing is not a choice.
It's catch 22. While bf rates remain so low there remains tons of misinformation in the general populace. That undermines women's attempts to bf, and perpetuates the low rates of bf.
Hcp's aren't much better.
So yes, imo, it comes down to support.
Part of it is being in a place where the cultural norm is to do something. I bf both of my first dc til well after a year. All my friends who had had babies bf too and so I had not only actual practical support and people to ask, but it was not a question of "are you going to bf?" with any surprise expressed when I said that I was going to give it a go. And I certainly didn't know any more about bf because of them- I was very very poorly informed! But I also had people giving me pillows and things when I went to their houses and some early advice which prevented mastitis. I compare it to when I was 16 and a teacher asked me if I thought i'd go to university. I don't think I had any plan or desire for any subject at that point, but the question surprised me and made me realised that I hadn't questioned the idea, it was just what you did, wasn't it? a kind of subtle peer pressure/influence.
I stopped bfing first time at four weeks because of poor weight gain. Now I'm bfing Dd at ten weeks and struggling but have had to very actively seek out appropriate help. The advice here can be very poor as the 'correct' people so often have such poor understanding. I've been given advice at 3wks by a paediatric registrar both that I should only be feeding three hourly and that was why baby was losing weight because breasts not refilling and baby not hungry enough. She also said I shouldn't express to increase supply because I should 'leave the milk there so it is there for her at the next feed'. I tried to explain how bfing actually works (I am also dr but more junior) but she was having none of it. Thank goodness I wasn't stupid enough to follow her advice. I saw exact same dr with ds and did follow her advice because I didn't know any better leading to unwell baby and the end of bf. I most definitely didn't want to give up. In addition going into hospital with underweight baby the only choice we were given was 'which formula?' an awful, humiliating and unnecessary moment which still upsets me. I didn't even know a bfing counsellor would be able to suggest other things first.
Sorry that got a bit randy but cathartic! In short- crap advice!
Yes I am and DD is 2 next month
It is down to lots of things - for me it was a mind set that nothing could deter me
I had that too ruby. I think that mindset was possible for me because at least four people I knew well had bf and so given me the idea that actually there was no reason to think anything would deter me. Esp because one of them had mastitis and all sorts to contend with and bf. A bit of " well if she can..." that coupled with professional help from midwives and voluntary bf counsellors. It takes a village....
He he - yes, I had that mindset as well. Thankfully, since it was a real struggle with DS and there were points when I really wanted to give up. I also had to actively seek out advice and support and took myself off to NCT breastfeeding groups - support from actual Mums/BF counsellors was so much more helpful than HCPs/midwives.
It's also my personal opinion - not backed up by fact - that if you have a birth that is anything other than straight forward (and let's face it, most are), breastfeeding seems to be more problematic.
I was induced with DS and so had an epidural. His heart-rate dropped towards the end, so he needed checking when he came out and when he was eventually handed to me, he was all wrapped up, we had no skin-to-skin (even though I knew this was important it was't until afterwards with the benefit of hindsight that I realised how much it was) and he didn't feed for hours. When he eventually did, he just couldn't seem to latch on and we subsequently took weeks to get b/feeding properly established.
Contrast this with DD whose birth was extremely quick, no intervention, no pain-killers - she was put straight on me, went right for the breast and milk came in practically the next day. Never a single problem. Obviously it was second time around so bound to be easier, but still... And when I hear of people who struggle to get BFing established, there's pretty much always a story of a non-straight forward birth preceding it.
I always think when friends are giving birth that my one piece of advice, assuming they're planning to breastfeed, would be to have skin-on-skin straight away and put them to the breast immediately. But of course I never do say anything, as a). no-one wants advice and b). there's so much perceived pressure around breastfeeding that I would never dare add to that, even if it's 'to help'.
Which is, I suppose, just another way that breastfeeding is undermined in societies where it is not the norm. In a country where it is, you wouldn't hesitate to say something like this to a new Mum-to-be. It would just be part and parcel of the support network around her.
OP I agree with the problematic birth bit. DS1 shot out and I ended up with a third degree tear. I was taken off to theatre for stitches. Even when I came back nobody suggested feeding him, and I was in too much shock to even think about it. He was 12 hours old when he had his first feed, and we never really got bfing established. Gave up after 2 weeks.
DS2 was put to the breast straight after birth, as it was in my birth plan, because I had researched it by then. Totally different story.
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