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Friend is "topping up" her 6-week old bf baby - how can I help?

(138 Posts)
HaventSleptForAYear Fri 25-Jul-08 14:31:56

Am really stuck about how to give advice to bf friends without interfering.

Saw a friend recently who has been following a famous "routine" involving a bottle at 10pm (formula) and bf the rest of the time.

She now seems to be losing confidence and takes formula out with her "in case he's hungry". BF is still sore for her.

I BF DS1 with difficulty to start off with and have told her about this, but am worried that within a few weeks she will have given up and will then will feel bad about it (she has hinted at this).

Am really wary about interfering but feel sad if I can't help her out a little.

Any advice on giving advice ? (at a distance, will be over the phone)

Twiglett Fri 25-Jul-08 14:33:13

stay out of it because it's nothing to do with you

QuintessentialShadows Fri 25-Jul-08 14:35:23

What do you think she should be doing?
What help is it you think you can offer?
Other than a sympathetic ear for her to sound off to?

PuppyMonkey Fri 25-Jul-08 14:37:38

Support her whatever she decides to do?

electricluluarella Fri 25-Jul-08 14:40:50

hmm.. tricky one. i would gently suggest, if she raises it, that she could speak to a BFC or peer supporter if breastfeeding is still sore after 6 weeks.

wait for her to raise the topic of feeding with you

and whatever happens, just support her

theyoungvisiter Fri 25-Jul-08 14:42:20

I think if she expresses worry about her supply or asks your advice then you can tell her the truth - that topping up can impact on your supply and it's safer not to do it too much if you are keen to continue as fully bf as possible. You don't have to be judgemental about it - just give her the info.

But otherwise I agree - if she doesn't ask your advice then you have to stay out of it and let her decide.

QuintessentialShadows Fri 25-Jul-08 14:50:02

I let my dh do the 10/11 pm feed, with formula, so I could have a rest. I went to bed early. Baby would wake around 2 am and 4 am, and 6 am. For breastfeeds. I struggled to have enough milk. My HV adviced to not do more than 20 minutes on each breast regardless, and to top up with formula after. Even for a small baby, he would often take quite a lot of formula after having both breasts. My breasts were sore for a long time. Baby was latched on fine, there was no trush. I would also take formula out with me "just in case" for the first two -three months. The main thing was a full baby.

This took the pressure off me. My HV said sometimes a mum who was stressed out with breastfeeding became so stressed it affected supply. And a tired and frazzled mum stressing over milk supply could experience the same. So, her advise was early sleep, formula for evening feed, and the odd top up, and NOT TO WORRY if this meant that breastfeeding stopped as bottle feeding was ok too. This relaxed me, and as a result the supply increased, by two and a half months baby rejected formula and he was Exclusively breastfeed for another 12 months.

YOu sound judgey in your post. I am sure you dont intend to. But you have to realize that it is good that you have your experience, but everybodys experience differs.

The best you can do is to listen to her, support her whatever she does, try not to interfer, other than urge her to talk to her health visitor, and a breastfeeding councillor. smile

vlc Fri 25-Jul-08 15:16:59

QS - your HV was wrong about stress affecting supply. It's great that you relaxed for whatever reason and things worked out for you, (congrats on getting back to full bf, BTW) but you were really lucky.

Your HV's bad advice would damage bf for far more women than it would help.

Misinformation does not become truth because of one person's anecdotal experience. When you take the experience of many, many women, the odds are that topping up leads to full ff, and great sadness and regret for more women.

Lizzylou Fri 25-Jul-08 15:21:19

I BF both DC's for 6mths and with both of them gave them FF for their last feed.
It was giving them this one bottle which meant I could carry on Breastfeeding, I'm sure I would have given up otherwise.

tiggerlovestobounce Fri 25-Jul-08 15:26:55

If she is still sore then she might appreciate you letting her know about breastfeeding councillors. Not sure what else you can do that wouldnt risk sounding intrusive.

madcol Fri 25-Jul-08 15:31:18

Give advice about the soreness NOT about the top-ups.

QuintessentialShadows Fri 25-Jul-08 15:41:21

VLC, or anybody else for that matter Google it. It is not misinformation.

It is just that the "breastfeeding brigade" tend to hush this down.

vlc Fri 25-Jul-08 15:41:48

Give her the truth about top ups.

That some women manage to continue doing this and bf.
But for more women it ruins their supply and ends bf completely.

She needs to take a decision about what outcome she would be comfortable with. You say she has hinted she would feel bad if she gives up bf. Reassure her that she can take action now that would prevent this, and direct her to where she can get advice to build up her supply.

And tell her that you are there to listen whatever she decides.

vlc Fri 25-Jul-08 15:44:03

Sorry - it's still misinformaton, QS. Although if you have any scientific paper that proves otherwise, please link us?

Who are the "bf brigade"? hmm

princessglitter Fri 25-Jul-08 15:48:35

I breastfed a lot more than twenty mins in each side in the beginning. Just feed whenever they cry was my philosophy, as the more they feed, the more milk there is.

Sometimes I would be sat feeding for an hour and then twenty mins later she would want feeding again.

electricluluarella Fri 25-Jul-08 15:51:56

tiktok has posted a lot of stuff that rebutts the stress affects breastmilk argument, and i know who i would listen to.

breastfeeding brigade <<makes a change form mafia!>> tend to challenge this sort of thing, as it is misinformation on the whole.

yousaidit Fri 25-Jul-08 15:54:43

Haven'tsleptforayear, I'd agree with a few ther posters on here and suggest stay out of things, simply because it can be a touchy enough time for some people with a new baby and feeding can be a raw subject. I struggled to bf my dd and in the end had to ff, and was absolutely sick of people telling me what had worked for them and why didn't i try this that or the other: especcially since i was dealing with the mw abnd hv and hadn't asked for anyone elses opinions, it just seemed that with a new baby i was a notice board for everyone to stick their personal opinions on to, although you have good intentions to help your friend, feeding is such a persional issue i'd say stay out of things and just be there for her when she's needing to chewe your ear off!!

vlc Fri 25-Jul-08 15:56:48

tiktok has posted previously on this;
"The milk ejection reflex ('let down') can be affected by huge stress, but it is temporary and will not affect supply in the long term."


"This effect does not normally last for more than a few hours (though I have come across one case where it lasted 24 hours, when the mother had a sudden bereavement)."

I wonder if the human race would have made it this far if stress really did affect supply. I'm pretty sure our ancestors would have been more stressed than us. It would be a severe evolutionary disadvantage if this were true.

tiktok Fri 25-Jul-08 17:21:02

QuintessentialShadows - your HV is poorly informed and she should not be giving mothers that advice about stress, timing of the length of feeds and topping up. You got away with it and continued to bf. It's notable that along with this rubbish advice, your HV was quick to reassure you that bottle feeding was ok - I expect she had learnt that most women would not continue bf under her 'regime', so she would need to say this.

I can assure you most women would not get away with it in the way you did.

LOL at the idea the 'breastfeeding brigade' are in some sort of conspraracy to keep quiet about 'the truth'.

I can give you plenty of research that shows how robust bf is in the face of stress.

OP - your pal needs to know you are there for her to share information. How about saying 'you said to me you would be sad to use formula all the time - would you be interested in some info to help you avoid this? I only want to help....' and take it from there. She should not be sore after all this time. Maybe share helpline nos. with her?

None of that is interfering - it's being a friend.

Pannacotta Fri 25-Jul-08 17:51:05

Agree with tiktok, I think its fine to offer support and share info, given the circumstances.
Lots of new mothers dont have the time/energy to do research and also lack confidence in breastfeeding, esp if they are being undermined by HPs.

"Breastfeeding brigade", not sure thats a very helpful/pleasant thing to say QS...

QuintessentialShadows Fri 25-Jul-08 19:15:36

I am not here to argue, I gave my experience, based on information from my health visitor, and after consulting Ammehjelpen which is equivalent to the NCT breastfeeding councillors in my home country. Their website Ammehjelpen cites maternal stress as one of the reasons a mother may not have enough milk.

I find it very sad and unhelpful that many people who are speaking up for breastfeeding also are so against topping up, and discrediting any view that a mothers stress can have an effect on the milk production. The end result is to feed a baby? And create a happy mother baby relationship? By insisting stress can not affect breastfeeding, the result could be that a stressed out mum is not getting the support she otherwise might get to establish breastfeeding. The moment my hv started introducing ways to reduce my stress, my milk production got better.

Everytime I open my mouth on a breastfeeding thread in support of a struggling mum, saying topping up may not be so bad, I am jumped on by "the breastfeeding brigade" and booed off. It is like throwing a bone to starving dogs.

By any means if you wish call it anecdotal, discredit a foreign national breastfeeding councilling organization, I am done on this thread. smile

Twinkie1 Fri 25-Jul-08 19:17:42

Don a hat and go and arrest her - how dare she decide how to feed her child herself without someone interferring and judging her!!

If she asks for help give it - if not stay out of it.

Mawma Fri 25-Jul-08 19:26:19

Hi haventsleptforayear, i know where you are coming from, I am one of those mothers who gave up at 5wks and regretted it, i think you want your friend not to be the same as me. Your friend prob would listen to your advice but still do what she feels is best for her. You could always advise about breastfeeding co-ordinators in your area to find out why she is still sore, maybe attachemnt etc you could always offer your support in saying "thats good giving him at bottle at night and feeding by yourself at all other times". I had no encouragement when i fed dd and felt it best to give up after a few problems. If your friend is pointed in the right direction she will make the best decision for herself and baby.

tiktok Fri 25-Jul-08 19:26:29

QS - all I am saying is that there is no evidence that stress will impact long term on a mother's milk supply, and in fact, the evidence we have shows the opposite.

I have not made this up. I am not talking about my opinion. I am using the evidence that's out there which shows this quite clearly.

I am not discrediting a foreign bf organisation - Ammehjelpen is a good organisation, but they are not going to be immune from error. I'm afraid I can't read what they are saying about this as I don't read Norwegian.

I have not booed you off - stay around and find some evidence to back up your stance.

Stress does have an effect on the breastfeeding relationship - of course it does. But it's a strange 'solution' to top up, when we know that topping up undermines breastfeeding and impacts on supply...mothers who experience this may well end up feeling more stressed. Would it not be more sensible to find other ways to reduce her stress?

Just asking....

QuintessentialShadows Fri 25-Jul-08 19:35:50

It is not a stance. I am a regular mumsnetter who has breastfeed two babies till past a year old. All I can offer is my experience. But it is hard because of course I cant back it up with science, did not think I was expected to. This is a regular forum and not La Leche or NCT online breastfeeding support, I am answering as a fellow member. I realize I shall just shut up. I have hidden this topic so wont be able to enter this futile territory in the future. smile

Now I am off to answer as many silly posts as I can so I wont see this in active convos.

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