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Lack of Support for Bottle Feeders?

(56 Posts)
toomuchfrizz Tue 20-Sep-11 05:18:50

I knew bf-ing would be hard but WOW it was tough. I persevered and persevered but the combination of a baby who wasn't great at latching on, the toe curling, stomach wrenching pain when she did and Mike Tyson strength hormones which knocked me for six I really couldn't manage it.

What I've found desperately upsetting isn't how I've "failed" my baby - on the contrary all I felt was relief - but it was the lack of information and support out there for a bottle feeding Mother.

What I want to know is am I alone in experiencing the lactation consultant who wouldn't give up trying to convince me to bf like a boob Hitler and the formula pack which states "Experts Agree Breastfeeding is Best" on it - both ramming home the pro bf-ing world we live in?

Please don't think that I'm not for bf-ing but I'd like to hear if anyone else felt let down by the lack of help and info for those who NEED to give up for one reason or another.

lilham Tue 20-Sep-11 05:29:13

You expect a lactation consultant to advocate ff? It's like asking a catholic priest on advice about abortion. grin if you want to talk about ff just ask other mums. You wil found most ff. In my mums group of 10, we started with 4 bf, now at 6mo we have only 2 left. When you go out and about, have noticed ff is the norm?

Catslikehats Tue 20-Sep-11 05:40:05

What sort of help and info did you expect?

Every baby book I have ever come across contains info on buying/preparing/storing/ bottles and how to feed a baby using a bottle, there are fairly explicit instructions on the cartons and it is hardly rocket science.

Of course a lactation consultant is going to try to convince you to BF that is their raison d'etre and like it or not breastfeeding is best. More people FF than BF so I am struggling to see what more support you would like?

chibi Tue 20-Sep-11 06:24:04

boob hitler



pinkytheshrinky Tue 20-Sep-11 06:35:29

Formula feeding advice is written on the side of the time - bf is best for your baby, why do you imagine a lactation consultant will tell you anything else. It is formula feeding, what support/advice do you need?

make the bottle feed the bottle burp the baby - job done.

Deflatedballoonbelly Tue 20-Sep-11 06:44:17

What kind of support do you need to feed a baby a bottle? A shelf for your elbow?


LoveBeingAMummyAgain Tue 20-Sep-11 06:47:36

Another who is wondering exactly what sort of support you need confused

azazello Tue 20-Sep-11 06:58:13

Do you just want someone to pat you and say 'there there dear, never mind' because you could try phoning the NCT breastfeeding helpline and talking about your problems with stopping.

Other than that, most people bottle feed and the instructions are everywhere.

azazello Tue 20-Sep-11 06:58:47

Oh and you should apologise for 'boob hitler'. Not nice.

StealthPolarBear Tue 20-Sep-11 07:06:41

Sorry you struggled to bf. You are wrong if you think we live in a pro breastfeeding world though - the NHS is pro-bf, and has to promote it at every opportunity precisely because we live in a country that sells bottles with baby dolls.

Sleepglorioussleep Tue 20-Sep-11 07:06:43

I get your point op, completely. Never mind the packet instructions-there are leaflets about bf and they hardly tell the whole story. As it happens, I speak from practical ignorance on ff, but when I've considered it I've been put off by the how much, which type and when questions that haven't been an issue with bf. And then the warm smiles and the "aren't you doing well to bf" comments that I've had so many times through my bf journey (6 years now) That is the most fantastic support and the best you get I imagine if ff a little baby in some circles is a cocked head "there there" type look. I advocate bf and I am aware that bf rates need to rise, but the casualties of this are people who for whatever reason cannot afford the immersion into bf that it requires for some to successfully bf. Op you have my support. Practically, I have heard advice given at health visitors clinic on ff, how is yours?

Dillydaydreaming Tue 20-Sep-11 07:10:33

Having a lack of support is hideous and even WITH support some women struggle to breastfeed.

I recently did the UNICEF Baby Friendly Infant feeding course which went through all the issues of breastfeeding but which also talked about support for mothers who either choose NOT to breastfeed or who find breast-feeding difficult and switch to formulas.

I'd disagree that we live in a pro-breastfeeding world but do agree that when you've set your heart on it that it can seem that way if it doesn't work out.
I usually make sure parents know how to make up feeds and check that they are happy with this.

There are lots of leaflets and instructions out there but it's a bit like giving a breastfeeding Mum a leaflet and saying "off you go", sometimes we need more support than that.

I'd say that you are still grieving for the breastfeeding and worrying about having to give your baby formula. Yes, ideally breast milk is best BUT you have given your baby a great start in life with the breast milk you DID give. Okay so it hasn't proceeded in the way you want but it's still a great start. Formula is a replacement, it's not going to be able to claim the same benefits BUT your baby is not going to come to any harm from it and in the school playground you won't be able to tell who had the breast milk and who did not.

Iggly Tue 20-Sep-11 07:15:52

Sorry but how do we live in a pro-BF world when the majority of babies are FF?

<leaves debate before she gets really annoyed>

lilham Tue 20-Sep-11 07:21:44

This reminded me about a mum I chatted to in a class last week. She is bf a newborn but find it very uncomfortable to feed out. Her partner is not helping by telling her to hide herself when she is feeding. angry I found we live in a pro-formula country. A lot of women feel uncomfortable to bf in public but no one does when they ff isn't it?

And the HV are great at supporting ff. Mine told me I need to get my DD to take a bottle. I dont think she's ever try giving a bottle to a bottle refuser.

pinkytheshrinky Tue 20-Sep-11 07:26:00

Actually I do think that azazello has hit the nail on the head, you just want someone to tell you it is ok to formula feed. Personally I think you should give it another go, even if the bf is partial the benefits still remain (to a lesser degree of course) it is always worth trying again.

We do live in this world where everyone expects support for just about everything - just get on a do it if that is what you want.

BF needs support because there is an art and technique to it - the same does not apply to ff a baby.

AngryGnome Tue 20-Sep-11 07:39:07

Agree with other posters that we don't live in a pro-bf society - although of course this may depend very much on age/whereabouts you live etc. In our antenatal group of 8, only 2 of us bf. And boob Nazis a pretty hurtful term.

From what I have seen there is a LOT of information out there on how to ff your baby. I wonder if what you are really looking for is support on moving from bf to ff? If you really want to breastfeed and it doesn't work out for you, then I know mums who have experienced tremendous guilt and upset about giving their baby "second-best".

HV's and the NHS will always push the breast is best message, simply because it is best - always for baby, not always for the mother who is struggling to cope. But that does not mean that formula is going to harm your baby in any way.

At the moment, the way in which you feed your baby feels all-consuming, but really in the long journey of mothering ahead of you it is so small. There will be many times in a child's life when parent's have to choose what is "best" for the child, and what is actually possible/feasible to do (eg. I am allergic to cats, so the "best" thing for my parents to have done for me would have been to get rid of our cat - but the cat was part of our family so it wasn't the best thing for our family to do. We kept the cat and my mum did extra cleaning to minimise the effect on me.)

I think you need to speak to someone about how you are feeling - a lot of women feel upset if bf-ing doesn't work out. There are ff support threads here, and in my area at least nearly all the babies in baby groups etc are ff so you might be able to find some other mums in RL to talk to.

I hope you feel better soon.

cantpooinpeace Tue 20-Sep-11 08:01:15

I had loads of help from MW & BF specialist, still couldnt do it after a week in hospital trying alongside the experts. When I saw a friend BF she made it look easy, baby was latching so easily compared to mine who never latched and stayed latched for more than 3 mins. I would still love to know the actual reason I couldn't BF.
I also experienced the BF specialist who was a smidge old school, no eye contact, demanding I tried all these different positions. When I told her I was going to FF (7 days in ) she asked what I would have done in the days before formula - I didn't answer but felt like saying my next door neighbour would have wet nursed for me and I'd much rather FF thanks. She also asked what pain relief and delivery I'd had as it affects the baby's feeding, I answered gas and air & normal delivery, I could see the disappointment in her face! Thank god I did have straightforward deliverys as if I hadn't I would definitely be beating myself up about that being the cause of my failure to BF.

I came across her again when having my son, needless to say I didn't try for as long or as hard second time round.

EauRouge Tue 20-Sep-11 08:14:55

If you've still got unresolved feelings about stopping BF then you could speak to a trained BF counsellor (NCT or LLL), they are trained in counselling so help you work through your emotions. You might find it helpful, a lot of mothers do.

And they are most definitely not boob hitlers wink

tiktok Tue 20-Sep-11 08:59:34

Trained breastfeeding counsellors do understand the emotional investment people may make in breastfeeding and their anger and disapppointment when it does not work out. They are not in the business of criticising or judging or persuading - so do give them a call to go through your feelings, OP, if you would like a listening ear.

They'll also avoid - unlike you - making a judgemental distinction between mothers who 'need to give up' (your words) and mothers who choose to give up, and mothers who decide not to start. I agree, all mothers need support in their mothering and that includes support with formula feeding if that's what the mother is doing.

Support does not mean 'feed how you like, it makes no difference'. Support means helping with information and affirmation to build confidence. I also disagree that ff is no more than reading the instructions on the tin - there are many questions that arise with the making up of powder (see this board), feeding responsively and safely, ensuring comfort and closeness when ff as well as coping with feelings about using formula when plan A had been to breastfeed. None of that is on the tin smile

lilham Tue 20-Sep-11 09:02:10

cantpooinpeace, most likely you did nothing wrong. I hope the help you got were good, because nowadays it's more likely it's not (judging from the experience my and other mums). In the old days, everyone would have bf, and you wouldn't be stuck with that unfriendly bf specialist, isn't it? You'd have the support of your mum, your aunts, your sisters, your grandma and even your neighbours, whom all would have bf. And like you said, if all this fail, someone in the village would be bf their baby and volunteer to feed yours.

As for your friend, some babies are just very easy to bf. Mine just latched herself correctly on our first skin to skin after birth. I didn't even know what I was doing since I was so exhausted after 2 days in labour. Hopefully it'll be easier for you next time.

pommedechocolat Tue 20-Sep-11 09:07:11

I would disagree that there is enough info on ff out there judging by the women I see making up feeds with those pots of powder and bottles of water.
Many, many people prepare formula incorrectly and it is dangerous.

tiktok Tue 20-Sep-11 09:10:08

Totally agree, pomme. Ff is not always easy or simple to do safely, rewardingly, enjoyably and without problems in the baby. It's a myth that bf is always the more 'difficult' thing to do smile

lilham Tue 20-Sep-11 09:17:15

It's the myth that ff is easier and makes baby sleep through the night. And the fact that ff is the norm and any behavior that's different in bf babies is believed to be in the wrong (eg re routines).

My mum choose to ff both me and my brother and we never even get colostrum. I've heard my fair share of pro-ff message grin

mamofK Tue 20-Sep-11 09:19:23

Oh God, not this discussion AGAIN - is anyone else not bored of our (i.e. women's) arguing/whinging over BF vs FF - it's a personal decision, no-one else's business and you shouldn't have to justify your choice to yourself or anyone else. Stop beating yourself up, move on and enjoy your time with your smallie x

tiktok Tue 20-Sep-11 09:26:36

mamofk - so you think someone who feels unsupported, unhappy, judged and criticised should simply stop beating themselves up and stop whinging?

That's very kind and supportive.

Surprised you did not say 'pull yourself together'...

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