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Educate me: why would you not want your baby to have the colostrum if no medical reason?

(239 Posts)
RainbowsFriend Sun 21-Apr-13 18:22:45

Just found out that a couple of my social circle are not attempting breastfeeding second time around, but will be going for bottles from day one. No medical problems/issues, just said it would be easier to have bottles and a toddler than breastfeed.

I didn't want to pry, and I respect their choice of course, but I'm really curious why you would not even express the colostrum to give your child - I thought it was soooo important for the immune system.

I admit I'm a bit biased as I still bfeed DD 22 months, and do use it as a parenting tool to a certain extent. We massively struggled at first as DD had a missed tongue tie that wasn't picked up til 5 months, so I know what it's like to have pain and struggle, and I remember from when our toddlers were little that these mums had to give up fairly quickly first time around and know how difficult it was. But why not express a bit of colostrum?

So please let me know so I can understand better?

YouMaySayImADreamer Sun 28-Apr-13 12:36:09

I have to agree with some posters that the op does sound like a slightly smug and self righteous rhetorical question. I dont see why youd need that information to 'help' people whove clearly already made a decision.

But anyway...i would imagine that a lot of people just wouldnt want to start bf at all especially as the first few weeks are noroiously hard with getting baby to latch properly, constant feeding etc and this all comes in the haze of having just given birth. So for some people, why go through all this, knowing youre not going to continue? Especially given that they have bf before so are making an informed decision based on past experience.

This is coming from someone who is ebf - i can see why people might choose not to a second time. I do think that some bf women have a dig at ff mums just to make themselves feel good and to affirm their own feeding decisions, perhaps even when theyre struggling with how hard they find it. Id imagine that since the majority of people ff long term though, this would be the minority of people experiencing this sort of nasty attitude.

Also when they do this, i dont think its fair for (some) ff mums to retaliate by invalidating the feeding choices of all bf mums with comments or anecdotes about the minimal health benefits or going as far as hubba did to describe us so disgustingly. I havent found bf easy, and have been upset about the effect i feel its had on the look of my boobs. And i have worked hard to get to the stage im at so i resent being told that theres no point from a health pov in what ive done. Retaliating in this way honestly makes them just as bad as those people who judged them for ff because they are attacking all bf mums, even those who havent passed any comment or judgement on anyone elses feeding choice.

littleginger Fri 26-Apr-13 23:36:41

PollyIndia I sound like such a suck up but wow well done on breastfeeding without a partner's support! As i said i dont know anyone who has breastfed so its nice to hear about those that got through what must be the most crappy 6 weeks ever.

MiaowTheCat ive never actually had any bad experiences like you but i know there are people like that out there ready to dish it out! I have the daily mail app on my phone but PURELY because other newsy ones are rubbish and it can be funny to read some of the daft comments on the articles. But my god some of them are so narrow minded and hate filled. There is a minority of people out there who are just horrible spiteful self righteous people and some of them happen to breastfeed. They are pathetic people and i wouldnt rise to it. Its only because their outspokenness on breastfeeding is a direct attack on your parenting that it incenses you. If it was another topic you would realise that they are just an idiot and ignore smile

Whatalotofpiffle Fri 26-Apr-13 21:51:08

My sister and I love bf and I am still bf a 26 month old. However my other sister is repulsed and the health benefits are of no relevance. She has never even considered it

WouldBeHarrietVane Fri 26-Apr-13 21:21:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BoyMeetsWorld Fri 26-Apr-13 21:18:54

Yes I think it probably is. But nonetheless one that makes the possibility of bf very unpleasant. & I don't seem to be alone in having it - I've come across a fair few others.

This time round, I was riding everything on expressing from the outset as would still like baby to benefit....but am feeling less sure reading all the stories of colostrum being so hard to express & trying to keep up with expressing taking over lives....

WouldBeHarrietVane Fri 26-Apr-13 21:16:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BoyMeetsWorld Fri 26-Apr-13 21:15:20

Queenie - I don't actually throw up, just feel very nauseous. Have had 2 good friends bf recently & obviously support their choice, but I've always had to leave the room when they were bf as it repulsed me so much - makes me all nauseous & agitated & shivery. Of course I always stressed to them that it was my issue, nothing to do with that they were doing!

When bf DS, I went to huge lengths to never have to bf in public - locking myself into some crazy places!!! & I always has to keep it as brief as possible or grew more & more upset.

I had no problem at all with latching on & it wasn't painful. Just hate it, passionately.

queeniebee Fri 26-Apr-13 21:10:02

BoyMeetsWorld - are you physically sick or do you just feel sick? Does even typing about it make you sick?

PollyIndia Fri 26-Apr-13 20:31:50

Littleginger, your description - bobobobobobo - angrypurplehead- bobobobobob - made me laugh a lot. Very accurate!! Sounds like you had a really tough time. I totally agree that the education just isn't there in terms of how much they feed, how painful it is etc. The most annoying thing in the world in those first 6 weeks was the people saying ' if it hurts, you aren't doing it right' yet also saying my latch was perfect when it hurt so that I cried with every feed. Which was a lot of crying. It definitely coloured my first weeks with my baby. He ended up being diagnosed with tongue tie.

I felt under pressure to formula feed in those early weeks from my parents who couldn't bear seeing me upset and from friends who ff or mix fed. I persevered because I am bloody minded and I couldn't believe it wouldn't click eventually. Plus I am on my own, so I thought if it did click, it would be way easier than ff... I guess it is, though actually all the bottle prep isn't as much of a faff as people say. i see benefits to both. And at the end of the day, people have to make the choice that is right for them.

In terms of the question at hand, I really didn't get what a lot of people did from the OP, that she was bashing formula feeders. I suppose I would also wonder why those that can, wouldn't want to try. But I would never criticise anyone for not wanting to continue as it is bloody hard. I don't know if I will have a second child (not on my own!) but if I did, I think I would dread breastfeeding.

Oh, and that hubba, is she Katie price? For some reason, that is exactly something I could hear her saying. So offensive, it is actually hilarious.

BoyMeetsWorld Fri 26-Apr-13 20:26:21

This comes across as a covertly smug and self righteous post to me.
What is there to be 'educated about' another woman's choice. They don't want to do it: end of. There are a million perfectly valid reasons why.

I'm another 'oddball' who feels physically sick at the thought and sight of breast feeding. No abuse or body issues in my past. Not ignorant, thanks. I did actually bf DS for 12 weeks - hated every second, it made me feel resentment towards him that I had to have him attached to my body, not closeness. Obv didn't do much good either as he decreased weight, I was thoroughly miserably. Was so happy when switched to formula.

V much want to ff from start with next dc but DH has this colostrum obsession too. Not sure why women should be bullied into this. Totally agree with a previous poster who said its not like you can look at two children & tell which was bf.

MiaowTheCat Fri 26-Apr-13 20:03:59

Good god - what a fake "wanting to understand" closet judgemental post. But we forget - formula feeding women are NEVER judged or harassed (tell that to the daft bint who was so busy hissing abuse at me she almost walked into the wall in a cafe for want of looking where she was going) and it's always always always just them being sensitive. Whereas we take seriously tales of breastfeeding women given shit for feeding in public - it never ever happens to those using bottles.

Newsflash - it does (see the aforementioned idiot who wasn't looking where she was going).

OK - so why didn't I decide to really go all guns blazing into determinedly breastfeeding baby number 2?

Number of reasons:

-A really shit time with DD1. She couldn't latch - in hindsight - she never would. It wasn't her prematurity... she had a tongue tie I only found myself when she started getting teething trouble and was chomping on my fingers. That, coupled with her being prem - we never really had a fighting chance. The only way we had a chance of making progress and getting out of an utterly hellish postnatal ward was when I switched to bottle feeding her expressed milk - and after a while of pumping every feed she took - I realised it was fucking stupid that I was spending every single minute of life with the baby we fought to conceive against all the odds chained to a breast pump... and then the piece of shit machine broke.

There was NO FUCKING WAY I was going through that with DD2. Priority was to get discharged from hospital ASAP both because my mental health wouldn't take a lengthy stay, and to get home to DD1 as well. I said I was open to trying breastfeeding - but she couldn't latch well, and was running into real problems with blood sugar that the midwife was trying not to look worried about but was obviously very concerned... so when she said "ok we'll get the breastpump out and you started on that" - nope, no way, not going down that road again with a young child to look after - and the look on the MW's face when I said "look she needs to feed - I'm fully aware of the benefits and negatives of both sides of feeding - give her formula" was quite marked (however hard she'd tried to hide it).

-The other major reason... I'd had a lot of hassle from some very unpleasant pro-breastfeeding women. Lots. I'd been hounded out of one mums' meet up group, I'd had the incident in the cafe (which would have really thrown a lot of women - I would have been very rattled by it if she hadn't lightened the mood by nearly walking into the wall), I'd had lots of passive aggressive huffing and tutting and a side order of general shit from MIL (funnily she was supportive of her daughter bottle feeding and reserved the barrage of judgement for me - daft woman)... when you've had that the brutal truth is it doesn't give you the warm fuzzy feelings for wanting to jump in and join in in subsequent pregnancies. Indeed I'll continue to argue that aggressive hassling of formula feeding women is totally counterproductive if you're aiming to get them on board for future pregnancies where they might have circumstances more conducive towards being able to breastfeed.

So yeah this time first sign of problems and I switched... and I switched with a clear conscience.

I also wouldn't consider a friend a friend if they were sitting around judging my choices and bashing me for not wanting to do the same thing as them by the way. One of my closest "mummy friends" (god I hate that term) IS a very very fierce breastfeeding advocate who's taken on big organisations about nursing in public... the friendship survives because I respect her way of feeding her child, and she respects my way of feeding my kids (and understands that there's a helluva nasty first experience bound up with it all as well). Pretty much everything I'd planned and envisioned with DD1 didn't go to plan - I refuse to tie myself up in knots about it when I have a thriving and happy daughter (and one slightly less happy daughter till we're back for round two of sorting out her reflux with the GP next week... but she's still thriving and growing - lengthwise before we start on the obesity thing - like a very expensive outgrowing clothes at a rate of knots - triffid).

As for the supportive communities thing - I think even if you're a formula feeder totally comfortable with your decision that you still need some... when it comes to groups of women who can chip in with what they've found to work for them in terms of things like bottle choice, when to move up teats and things like that - and yes, I think this can comfortably coexist along with an environment where women share painful experiences of (trying to find a good word to use here because I hate the success/failing vocabulary used) attempts at breastfeeding that for whatever reason provided them with the knowledge they used to choose formula feeding. The trouble is that any of these communities that DO exist regularly get some very very nasty trolling from a subgroup of breastfeeding advocates that do the cause no real credit whatsoever and are really counterproductive.

queeniebee Fri 26-Apr-13 19:42:40

Lalyrawr - how odd, is there anything else makes you feel like this? Or is it just breastfeeding?

Mrs Applepants - what makes you sceptical about the health benefits of breastfeeding?

littleginger Fri 26-Apr-13 18:40:57

Thanks, Wouldbeharrietvane, i dont think I've ruled anything out really. Just wanted to have a pop at the nhs antenatal classes smile which is actually completely irrelevant to the original thread topic!

Ah well bloodymindedness is what gets things done mselisaday

Tiktok, forgot to add regarding the health benefits that my googling did probably have a biased slant in order that i could read what i wanted to read at the time wink

I dont really regret that i moved onto ff as i felt it was the best decision for my family at that time. I cant really dwell on it as there is nothing i can do about it. I just regret that breastfeeding hadnt been easier grin

DuelingFanjo Fri 26-Apr-13 17:30:21

"I'd imagine its pretty hard to express colostrum"

I expressed from day one as my son was in special care. Wasn't that hard.
I realise the debate has moved on but just wanted people to know it's entirely possible.

WouldBeHarrietVane Fri 26-Apr-13 17:28:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MsElisaDay Fri 26-Apr-13 17:02:56

That's very kind, littleginger, thanks!

Although I'm not sure it was willpower so much as sheer bloody-mindedness. I just told myself I'd do it for another day, then another, then until he was a month old, and kept setting myself new goals.

I think that's the way a lot of people get through breastfeeding issues in general - aiming for small steps. Because if you stopped and contemplated what could be potentially months of pain and frustration then you'd be a lot more likely to give up...

littleginger Fri 26-Apr-13 16:38:48

MsElisaDay well youve done an amazing job! You must have some willpower and i envy you smile im glad your lo finally learned to latch on to give you a bit of a break from that pumping!

Tiktok i agree that there isnt a way to truly prepare however i do think that just being told the truth would help! It's like everyone knows that the arrival of a baby means sleepless nights and if you didn't before youre pregnant well youre told by someone daily until you give birth smile of course this doesnt prepare you fully for the experience of sleep deprivation but at least you arent shocked by it! At least you arent sat there thinking wtf why did no one mention this?

So i know the outcome for me may have been the same as i still may not have been mentally strong enough to get through the bad times but i do think it would have been easier. I was first time mum without much experience of babies who was expecting right in the middle of the festive period so i think my imagination did get a little carried away....i mean there wasnt even a halo on my little cherub's head wink but instead it was just boobboobboobboobboobboobboobboob- angrypurplehead - boobboobboobboobboobboobboobboob

Thank you for pointing out that a traumatic childbirth can worsen the situation. Ill bank that one along with the theory that inductions are meant to be more painful than natural. Might come in handy if i ever meet a gloater of easy birth / easy bfing! smile

In all honesty I dont know what id do if i was expecting a second child as it was only recently that i got over the whole 'never again!' phase smile

tiktok Fri 26-Apr-13 13:55:38

littelginger, I think you are right that it can be difficult to prepare for the reality of breastfeeding.

A diagram does not really do the job smile , because the most important 'learning' is done when the baby is actually there. Women in your situation where no one in the family or among their friends has breastfed are particularly 'green' and it's not their fault sad

The first week or weeks can be marked by the baby being on or close to the breast a lot. This isn't confined to bf babies (see many threads on here where women who are ff are also concerned about their babies' frequent feeding), but it's probably the case that bf babies do tend to need the breast more often in the early days. This can be especially the case if there's been a difficult birth (as yours was) because the baby wants the breast and the closeness of his mum for comfort as well as food and drink.

There's no doubt that there are health effects of bf/ff, and they are soundly researched, but the effects on any individual baby are usually
not predictable or visible. It makes sense that the milk of the species (humans) is the one 'for' the young of that species, anyway.

I don't think your experience is all that unusual - stopping bf early on is understandable because of the whole 'shell-shocked' feeling and the overwhelmingness of having the baby....and I don't know how women can be really prepared for that.

MsElisaDay Fri 26-Apr-13 13:42:25

Littleginger, just to say it is perfectly possible to express enough milk to keep up with a baby's demands. It's not easy, but it is do-able.
I did it for 10 weeks and would have kept going til 6 months if he hadn't miraculously begun latching on.

Like you, I was surprised by how hard breastfeeding was, and didn't think the NHS antenatal classes were adequate preparation.
If they'd been honest about how difficult it could be, and prepared us for some of the pitfalls that may lie ahead, then I may have been less disheartened when I struggled so much.
But instead, the message was just that, if it hurts "you're not doing it right" and to keep trying. I didn't know it was possible that a baby could refuse to latch altogether for not days, but weeks, on end.

I do, however, disagree with your point that there isn't much evidence behind the health benefits. The health benefits are proven, which is why I personally felt it important to ensure my DS got breastmilk even though I initially couldn't feed him from the "source."

littleginger Fri 26-Apr-13 12:54:31

I gave up breastfeeding after one week and never attempted to express before my milk came in but after seeing it ooze out after a feed (not the nicest way of describing it) i dont know how you would manage to express. I found it impossible to do even after milk had come in! Also i dunno if ypu could even express enough to keep up with the demand since baby wanting boob is relentless.

I wanted to breastfeed throughout pregnancy because of the health benefits. Tbh i felt really weird about it because i hadnt thought of my breasts like that before but i comr round and attended all the antenatal classes and did research on internet to be as fully prepared as possible re latch, positions, expressing etc.

Me and OH were shocked by how ridiculously hard it was! I dont know anyone who has breastfed before so was relying on nhs antenatal classes to inform me. All they did is draw a big boob on a whiteboard with a load of wiggly lines as 'milk ducts'. My LO had a perfect latch and didnt lose hardly any weight in that period when its typical of them to. Yet i gave up after one week because i was exhausted from traumatic birth and had about 2 hours of broken sleep in each of those days because of the screams whenever LO was away from the boob. OH barely held her because of this and i worried that they wouldnt bond. I hardly even saw him. I tried to express so he could feed her and 'bond' but that failed. So i gave up after one week but it felt like a year! I was so disappointed with the MW who did antenatal classes for not mentally preparing people.

All you ghear is that mums give up bfing because LO wasnt getting enough milk. I think it is more likely that people are shocked by how much their LO needs boob and presume theyre not producing enough milk because they were never told that this is what to expect!

Now that i know i have already decided that i wont bf past the colostrom stage if that with dc2. After feeling guilty about my decision ive done loads more research and have read that there is not much evidence behind the health benefits that are claimed.

Also my LO stopped needing feeds at night by 8 weeks and i know that this would never have happened if i breastfed. Mayve if there was more evidence to back up claims but there is not.

AliceWChild Fri 26-Apr-13 10:38:36

Merlypuss you didn't fail. Society around you failed for creating a difficult situation for you and not supporting you. You did the best you could in a situation not of your making. You certainly didn't fail.

tiktok Fri 26-Apr-13 10:33:49

sad Merlypuss....what a sad story, and one that shows good information and moral support can make a difference. You outline loads of things that should have helped, and didn't....clearly you sought a lot of help and it was lacking. TAMBA are good on breastfeeding and twins, and the NCT should have referred you to them if the counsellor you spoke to could not come up with much. You should also have been pointed in the direction of decent info about epilepsy drugs and bf - it is out there, but you have to know where to look.

Your story is one of struggle and challenge, not 'failure' - too many women end up personally 'blaming' themselves for not bf, when actually the experience of bf is complex and related to many social and cultural and physical constraints, of which you had many.

MERLYPUSS Fri 26-Apr-13 10:24:07


You know what. I dont think anything would've helped. My OH is asian and my in laws told me only 'village girls' bf'd. Brainwashed by milk companies to think if you can't afford to spend on formular you are poor.
My mum is dead and I have no positive role models re BF. She once told me it was abnormal/rude to bf in public (when I was very young) but she had massive boobs and was incredibly self concious of them.
My health visitor was rubbish an I am sorry to say that the NCT were a bit daft too having very little advice for bf twins. When I asked about the epilepsy point I was given photocopied quotes from books with no evidence. One that sticks in my mind was 'BFing for epileptic mothers is beneficial for mothers and babies' and that was it. How? I think being an older mum I kind of thought that I should know and not bother HCPs as they would laugh at me. I was told so much crap about keeping the boys things separate in case they got each others germs. They were drinking each other's wee inside me FFS and sucking each others hands in the cot. I suddenly had an epiphany and thought, you know what, if they have beeing feeding off my blood supply (full of drugs) a bit of breast milk isn't gonna hurt too much - the drugs were prob more concentrated when i was carrying. Re the germs when born I didn't bother segregating unless they were poorly.
Alas this epiphany came too late for me as I never really got the hang of bf to get really going. I just wish I was told the fact from the word go. That it could be bloody hard but would be worth persevering.
Five years on I still feel a failure.

Geckoandthemonkey Wed 24-Apr-13 18:22:54

'dc's' not ex's! Hahaha

Geckoandthemonkey Wed 24-Apr-13 18:22:03

Hubbahubba you sound like a nice person. I'm 6ft tall, slim, dare I say attractive young mum who has Bf both her ex's beyond a year without it interfering with sex, etc...
I hope your ex's grow up as ignorant as you are.

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