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Why do you often see US women formular feeding before their breast milk comes in on those Sky baby channels??

(44 Posts)
tryingtobemarypoppins Mon 27-Jul-09 21:37:06

Have I missed a very important feeding fact!! Is this why my baby appeared to be so unhappy the first few days sad blush

tryingtobemarypoppins Mon 27-Jul-09 21:56:28


BlueSmarties Mon 27-Jul-09 21:59:19

don't do it noooooooooooooo.

Baby is grumpy coz baby is hungry, which will make dc suck like a vacuum cleaner and so will make your milk come in.

No idea why they do it in US - maybe for some peace and quiet? But any interference like this can really affect success of bf'ing.

Occassionally formula might be recommended for medical reasons - flush out jaundice, if there is a lot of weightloss in first week but this should be done as a top up to feed after baby has finished bfeed and should be done with cup or spoon to stop messing with ability to latch on. My experience is from 2 years ago so my info might be a bit out of date so anyone with knowledge please chip in.

GwarchodwrPlant Mon 27-Jul-09 22:01:10

Nothing you see on US TV is an accurate representation of real life especially with regards to child birth and breastfeeding!

Every pregnat woman produces colostrum before their baby is born, the removal of the placents allows brest milk to be produced and the action of the new born suckling helps to stimulte this further. Colostrum is all a newborn bay needs until your milk gradually begins to come in after about 3 days. The change over is gradual.

GwarchodwrPlant Mon 27-Jul-09 22:02:02

Excuse the typos- 'tis late!

CarriePooter Mon 27-Jul-09 22:04:54

They are an eccentric people. They make the fathers dress up as surgeons for vaginal births.

tryingtobemarypoppins Mon 27-Jul-09 22:07:18

I was starting to worry I had made a massive error with my DS!

pseudoname Mon 27-Jul-09 22:12:59

lots of societal reasons which have nothing to do with how breastfeeding works, I would say.

Babies like yours who are fussy in the first few days are usually fussy because they want to be feed v v regularly in the first few days. It isn't necessarily because they are hungry but because they also are missing being inside you and comfort at the breast is the next natural step for them. In addition, they want/need to smell you and feel your warmth so all these reasons are important for babies in the first few days besides food/colostrum.

Greensleeves Mon 27-Jul-09 22:14:07

it's the "fast food" culture - Americans aren't used to waiting for their grub grin

elkiedee Mon 27-Jul-09 22:28:18

Actually, I think it is an accurate reflection of what far too many women in the US and here end up doing, with the result that many give up bf early. It's what happened to me with ds1. Bringing Home Baby particularly interviews most of the couples a few months on, and most have given up on bf.

BlueSmarties Mon 27-Jul-09 22:32:36

greensleeves - do you mean they are prepping their little ones for the first big mac - v.funny!

andie40 Tue 28-Jul-09 12:29:44

Ok, sorry to put the cat amongst the pigeons here, but...I understood all my DS needed was breast milk till my milk came in, and as a result he screamed and screamed and the midwives refused to let me leave hospital as i had not established BF. I was only in labour 5 hours on the Monday and didn't get home till the thursday evening. The only way i got home was to put him on formula. After the first feed or two there was no collostrum. The midwives kept squeezing and pumping my boobs, but nothing. By wednesday, having help with each latch, i had got blood coming out then they blistered up...nothing coming out. So breast feeding failed for me. I was not aware i could mix feed or i would have done this and perhaps managed to exclusively BF after a few days. As a result of my so called failure my DS was dairy intollerant and struggled with formula for months.

With my DD i decided to mix feed for the first few days...give breast a go for 40mins every 2 hours and top up with formula that was quickly guzzled down. This allowed me to fully breast feed and have a contented little baby. I was able to drop the bottles when my milk came in on day 4 (again). I subsequently breast fed my daughter till she was 6 months old (every 2 hours i might add).

More and more people mix feed for those first few days to help satisfy their baby and establish feeding in their own home in their own time, especially if they "failed" first time round. If i hadn't done this, and some of my friends hadn't done this then they would have had unnecessary failed breast feeding attempts second time round as well.

If your baby is hugry...feed them..

pseudoname Tue 28-Jul-09 12:44:21

Andie, I am sorry you had such awful 'support' in hospital. It was bullying by some very misguided and under-informed MW; even if they thought they were doing it for the best. Sometimes the most dangerous are those who think they know what they doing but are doing it all wrong.

tiktok Tue 28-Jul-09 12:45:37

andie, you say "The midwives kept squeezing and pumping my boobs, but nothing. By wednesday, having help with each latch, i had got blood coming out then they blistered up...nothing coming out."

That is nightmare postnatal care. No one should be subjected to being squeezed and pumped - they were clearly ham-fisted, intrusive and ignorant - and then to have blood coming out of your breast

With good care, you might well have been able to fully breastfeed, comfortably and happily, both times.

Breastfeeding didn't 'fail' for you. The experience you had was the care system 'failing'.

tiktok Tue 28-Jul-09 14:52:57

Need to add: andie, you say 'more and more people mix feed for the first few days' and while I don't think we know for sure this is true, because the most recent survey we have (Infant Feeding 2005) shows that the use of formula in the first few days is slightly less common (only slightly) than it used to be, it is absolutely not a good thing at all, not as a general recommendation (in individual cases it may be necessary, I know).

The use of a bottle in the early days is associated with a massive increase in risk of cessation of breastfeeding. This is not pure 'cause and effect', I know, but there is no evidence at all that it increases breastfeeding or allows the mother to maintain it - quite the opposite.

andie40 Tue 28-Jul-09 15:51:49

Thank you for your replies i'm just going on my experience and those of my friends and other mothers i've met since my bad experience with my son 5 years ago.

Honestly several people i know this year alone, mix feed those first few days. Their midwives were very suportive about it. Also a friend of mine in Maylasia said she did this too and it's very common over there according to her. I've also been told that alot of asian women believe colostrum isn't healthy for the baby and they bottle feed for the first few days till their milk come in, then sucessfully breast feed.

I do believe it helps rather than hinders mothers to breast feed for longer. Maybe we're in the minority?? Maybe the statistics don't allow for mix feeding?

tiktok Tue 28-Jul-09 16:08:17

andie you may be spotting a trend that has yet to show up in the stats, who knows?

The stats do allow for mixed feeding - the better surveys in the UK and worldwide differentiate between exclusive breastfeeding, predominantly bf, partial bf.

It is not a good thing to introduce formula early as a general principle, and while there is a cultural belief in some parts of the world that colostrum is not healthy, the mothers who believe this need better information from their healthcare providers about how great colostrum is Yes, they may go on to breastfeed afterwards, but it reduces their chances of maintaining breastfeeding.

Teaching women not to withhold colostrum is part of health education programmes in many parts of the world (examples here:

What can I say? The research shows that introduction of formula reduces the chances of a mother building up and maintaining breastfeeding. This may not be the case in individual instances, but it's not something to recommend, put it that way

hercules1 Tue 28-Jul-09 16:18:23

With ds I knew no better and was told he needed formula as he was a big baby. It really mucked up my breastfeeding to begin with and I had no support on the actual breastfeeding. Fortunately I managed and he only had a couple of bottles and I went on to breastfeed exclusively once I'd left the hospital.

7 years later with dd I knew far more. THe midwives were very unhelpful when I refused to give formula ( I was the only one on my ward not mixed feeding due to poor help from midwives). Breastfeeding went really well and didnt give any formula until she was much older.

BlueSmarties Tue 28-Jul-09 18:54:18

this thread really highlights the poor postnatal suport women receive when trying to establish bf.

My experience with ds1 wasn't great - midwives happily made up formula bottles for every other mother on the ward but tutted and moaned very loudly if I asked for help lifting ds1 out of cot to bf - I'd had a GA C-section so wasn't in great shape. Also continually told if it hurt i was doing it wrong - what twaddle, of course it hurts, they've never been sucked for hours at a time before. Thankfully i ignored all advice and ds1 was a great bf'er after a week.

brettgirl2 Tue 28-Jul-09 22:35:16

I read all of the theory about exclusive bfing from the start and as a result dd nearly ended up in special care and I gave up bfing because I was scared half to death by it.

Next time, I fully intend to give some formula before my milk comes in. I will be far more likely to succeed that way, whatever the 'theory' says.

HoppityBunny Wed 29-Jul-09 16:31:35

A newborn baby's stomach is only the size of a penny, so you only need a few drops of colostrum each feed to keep a baby fed. A lot of people don't realise. And, newborns cry about absolutely everything at this stage. It's the shock of being born, it all too easy easy to misinterrupt the signs of unsettledness and crying in a baby etc. for hunger. I think.

HoppityBunny Wed 29-Jul-09 16:34:18

As long as the newborn is weeing and is doing a poo then it's fine, if this stops this then panic then and give formula.

Bibelots Wed 29-Jul-09 16:41:15

The American medical model for birth and first few days of a baby's life promotes doing everything as unnaturally as possible IMO.

moondog Wed 29-Jul-09 16:43:48

Well Brett, you are setting yourself up for it to go tits up [quite literally]. You need to know that.

Howdo yuo think people all over the world get on without formula?
Youdon't need to start off on formula in the vast majority of cases.It's normal for milk not to come in straightaway.

AnarchyAunt Wed 29-Jul-09 17:17:28

I thought frequent feeding in the first few days stimulated the milk supply? In which case giving formula to a healthy full term baby isn't necessary or helpful if full BF is to be established.

OP, I don't know your particular circumstances but if your baby was healthy, alert, weeing, pooing etc for the first few days then their 'unhappiness' probably wouldn't have indicated a need for formula.

IMO it is unwise to fiddle with the biological norm without good cause - I'm inclined to think that if colostrum is what there is for those first days, its probably exactly what is needed.

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