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For mums who choose to bottle feed - anyone tell you even one breastfeed is good?

(34 Posts)
mears Thu 20-Aug-09 00:02:55

Just interested. Lets not let this thread end up in breast versus bottle.

Do mums who choose to bottle feed get told that one breast feed is like a dose of medicine for babies immune system.

If they did, would that encourage them to do it?

Trikken Thu 20-Aug-09 00:08:48

I dont think it would have made a big difference to be honest, at the time of ds's birth I didnt feel breast-feeding was the right thing for me, I dont think i could have brought myself to even do it once, even if it was very benificial for the child.

OrangeFish Thu 20-Aug-09 00:11:13

I don't know mears, all people I know did or at least tried to breastfeed so the babies got more than one feed.

I have not known yet anybody who didn' know this after 9 months of being pregnant, so I suppose that if they really don't want to, telling them again abut this is hardly going to make any difference?

mears Thu 20-Aug-09 00:15:21

In my unit, the choice for feeding is not discussed antenatally. Baby is placed skin-skin at delivery. If the baby roots for the breast then the mum is asked whether she wants assistance to breastfeed. That does not commit her to breastfeeding in the long term, but I just wondered whether mothers on MN realise that a breastfeed in that immediate period, when the baby is looking for the breast as nature intended, does not commit them to breast feeding but is a huge advantage to the baby.

OrangeFish Thu 20-Aug-09 00:22:14

The thing is that when you get to the hospital, you have been talking to the community midwife for a while, probably read some books and heard a lot of women talking about the subject. So, yes, it may help, but I find it quite unlikely that they don't know about it already.

Trikken Thu 20-Aug-09 10:42:13

actually none of the midwives I'd seen talked to me about breastfeeding at all, just at the hospital when they asked me whether I was bf or ff. Had read quite a bit about it tho.

sweetkitty Thu 20-Aug-09 10:57:46

Interestingly that you don't discuss feediing at all antenatally mears.

At our 12 week booking in appt it's one of the questions, "How are you planning to feed the baby?" I think last time I got plans to breastfeed written in my notes.

Is there not a leaflet or anything given about BF and the health benefits of even just one feed.

I would love to see such a leaflet and one given to new mums about what is normal and what is not, things like cluster feeding, colostrum, mothers milk being adequate etc the number of mums I have heard say "my milk didn't come in" or "I didn't make enough milk" that makes me sad thats theres women out there who think that their bodies failed in some way, a leaflet about supply and demand and putting the baby to the breast frequently in the first 3-4 days would help.

Mears I think your question is interesting. I had an independent midwife who showed me a short DVD of biological nurturing a few weeks before my due date.

It had a profound influence on me and formed the basis for my birth plan. It gave me confidence and faith in my body , mother nature and human instinct. I think most new mothers are aware of how important colostrum is, just not why.

I think we need to move on from breast is best, to every feed counts. I also think the NHS are doing women a great disservice by catering to the lowest common denominator. They really went to town on the 'tests in pregnancy' leaflet so that mothers could make an informed decision. I think they need to produce something similar for breast feeding and then back it up with practical support

I agree with you - it is like a drug. I think the NHS needs to wise up to this and invest in it and treat it in the same way it would a drug.

5inthebed Thu 20-Aug-09 11:06:26

I was told about this the first time I was pregnant. BF was discussed in depth one of my antenatal classes (NHS not NCT). The MW talked briefly about it with my 2nd and third pregnancy. I only BF DS2.

mears Thu 20-Aug-09 14:10:04

sweetkitty - what I should have said is that women are not asked what their chosen method of feeding is antenatally. It is ensured that breastfeeding information is given and discussed particularly.

At delivery it is encouraged that the beby is skin-to-skin. If the baby looks as though it wants to latch on, the mum is offered assistance to breastfeed. It is at that point she will indictae whether she prefers to bottle feed. Some midwives are uncomfortable with that and will ask how they are planning to feed prior to that point.

I have seen some women 'allow' the baby to feed but still bottle feed. One feed itself is like a dose of medicine for the baby's immune system and I just wondered whether anyone here was offered that opportunity.

Disenchanted3 Thu 20-Aug-09 14:12:09

I had no intention of breastfeeding DD but did give her 2 feeds of colostrom soon after birth then used bottles.

sweetkitty Thu 20-Aug-09 16:32:14

mears - I understand now, what about babies who don't want to latch straight away, DD1 and 3 were like that.

I had wanted the whole physiological third stage/biological nursing with DD3 as with DD2 but I had the most horrendous afterpains and couldn't even do skin to skin or look at the baby as I was crying in pain (worse than labour), I asked them to cut the cord and take the baby off me, was very sad about that. She was brought back to me as soon as the cocodamol had kicked in though but she didn't want to latch until a few hours later after a good sleep, should add it was a homebirth as well.

I suppose what I am saying is if I had been in hospital maybe the opportunity of that first BF might have been taken away if I had had a long labour or was tired or whatever. I have heard some women say that the MW or DH gave the first feed as they were too tired/out of it still etc personally that would have killed me.

I do think the benefits of those first few feeds aren't widely known, most women I know at least tried to feed so the babies would have had some BM, what is interesting is the number who didn't at all with second babies, they thought that if they failed once there was no point in even trying the second time.

earplugs Thu 20-Aug-09 21:08:03

LazyJournos I couldn't agree more! Changing the focus to 'Every feed counts' makes women feel positive about whatever bf they have managed and not guilty and depressed over any feeds that they have not.

How may posts do we have with women beating themselves up because they have given 1 bottle rather than feeling proud over the feeds they have done?

If we really do want to change the bf culture in this country then encouraging even just 1 feed for those who may have no desire to continue must be a good thing?

mears Fri 21-Aug-09 23:16:53

sweetkitty - the sleepy ones who won't latch - the mothers invariably are asked how they plan to feed. I love the babies that get right on there with no assistance at all. Some women yank them off though and ask for a bottle sad

sweetkitty Sun 23-Aug-09 23:34:48

mears - that is probably the saddest thing I have heard about BFing, tiny newborns being yanked off their Mothers boob to get a bottle shoved in their mouths sad I know freedom of choice and all that but they could at least give a few BFs.

I had a lovely experience with DD2 after the horrendous one with DD1 (and I still remember your advice too), she came out, was lifted onto my chest turned her head and latched on, cord still attached

MillBill Tue 25-Aug-09 01:49:55

Sweetkitty, what you just said about freedom of choice and the baby being yanked off the breast...what about the baby's choice in that case? I agree about 'every feed counts'. I know that 'breast is best' but don't know all the facts as to why. I think that if we were armed with thorough information, we could make better choices. And the support needs to be there, to help if things go wrong. I think the government is not doing enough either, there could be more adverts about the benefits of breastfeeding - I've only seen one and it was crap.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Tue 25-Aug-09 10:03:14

Well my good friend hates breastfeeding. She has had 3 children and BF for progressively shorter periods (6 weeks, 3 weeks, one week) and said if she had another she would BF at least until her milk came in. She is aware of the importance of colostrum and as such will give her children that then stop when it gets unbearable for her, so I suppose, for her, that message has been heard.

sweetkitty Tue 25-Aug-09 21:31:26

MillBill - I agree with you, re the babies freedom of choice but you have to respect that some people simply do not not want to BF for whatever reason, while some of us find this hard to believe and many of us have spent days crying with pain whilst feeding as we were so desperate to BF and give our babies human milk.

thinkaboutthepepilepticdogs Tue 25-Aug-09 22:16:30

Trikken Can I ask why you felt that BF was not right for you? Feel free not to answer.

FWIW, I wanted to BF and was determined to BF for as long as I could but see each feed as a success. I felt very strongly though that, at the very least, I would give my DC a first feed to get the colostrom.

Just interested in why you felt so strongly. (Hope it comes across that I'm interested in a non-judgey way)

wellbalanced Wed 26-Aug-09 12:30:07

While preg i was asked if planned bf or ff, i wanted to try bf as knew every feed counted.
19wks on im still bf, i say to my preg friends, even if can only manage fewhrs/days/weeks its better then nothing and all but one, has/will try. Im not sure why you wouldn't espec 1st feed.

mears Sat 29-Aug-09 02:38:40

Why not one feed?

sausagenmash Sun 30-Aug-09 13:47:16

Interesting conversation. I had a very long, painful labour (42 hours, ouch) and my LO meconium aspirated and had an infected lung on one side and a pneumothorax on the other. We tried to get her to latch on straight away, but she was grunting and struggling to breathe, bless her, so she was whisked to NICU where she stayed for 2 days. She was fed on an IV drip in that time, although I did manage to express some colostrum for her. After that, we exclusively breast fed until she was about 10 weeks, and I could see she was getting hungrier and hungrier, she was dropping down the centiles on her weight chart, and I was shattered from trying to feed her every 2 hours. In the end, I caved with a bottle for her at bedtime. It worked a treat, but I really did - and still do - give myself a hard time about it, and do feel like a failed mummy for not 'being able to provide'. That first bottle I had tears streaming down my cheeks sobbing my heart out, but my Mum was hugging me all the while. She is pretty much FF now and is thriving, (now 14 weeks old), very happy, and only wakes once in the night for a feed. My guilt has led to a diagnosis of PND, which I am working hard to sort out, with the v gd help from my GP and HV. My GP says I have done brilliantly to do as well as I have, and reminds me that my baby is well and happy etc etc. I just wish we could all 'get over' that giving formula is NOT 'bad' and we are not failures. Ggrr. Sorry. Sort of rant over, but its been a very hard few weeks for me. Good luck to you all out there smile

MrsFT Sun 30-Aug-09 14:09:07

sausagenmash - I just read your post and it seems so similar to my situation. I had a traumatic labour (induction leading to emerg c section). My DD wouldn't latch on at all for weeks (despite all manner of BF support), so I had to express and top up with formula. She is now 16 weeks and thriving on formula alone since 5 weeks, despite me desparately wanting to BF.

I too was diagnosed with PND, which I partly feel is due to my guilt at not being able to BF. I do feel that whilst most of this guilt was my own, it was made worse by pressure from some mws. Luckily I now feel much better thanks to my fab GP.

Of course we are not failures but are mums trying to do the best that we can!

tiktok Sun 30-Aug-09 15:01:07

Interesting discussion, and it's an area where I am not sure what I think and keep changing my mind

You see, I really don't think 'one feed' makes a measurable difference, and to talk of it making a 'huge' difference to immunity is (surely) to exaggerate - what do you think, mears? The 'medicinal' effect of one single feed is going to be overwhelmed by the effects of formula given thereafter, isn't it? Somehow jollying women into this one feed needs to be done honestly, IMO. This means being clear about the effects of not breastfeeding, and supporting openness to giving bf a try, explaining how bf meets so many of the baby's normal needs.

Obviously, the 5 ml or whatever of colostrum is a nice thing for the baby to have, and the close contact and connection ditto, and we should be making it easy for mothers to enjoy a single feed if that is all they are prepared to do (for whatever reason - and these reasons may feel pretty powerful to her, and that's her business!). These early moments with the baby can mean special memories (as long as the mother does not feel pressured or bounced into doing something she really recoils from). But don't lets pretend it is a mega-deal health-wise, as it isn't....surely.

If the 25 per cent of babies who currently get no breastmilk at all were all to get one single feed, and one single feed only, then we would see no difference in public health outcomes at all. However I suspect that some mothers, supported to give that one bf, will continue to give breastmilk/breastfeed for longer, to their surprise...and that will make a difference.

Those who don't want to bf, and those who have a rotten experience bf and who then use formula, need to know that many of the non-milk effects of bf can be replicated with bottles of formula, and that in fact, it's important that they should be, from the baby's point of view. I'm meaning that mothers who use formula need to know it's important for the mother to give the majority of bottles, to feed in response to the baby's cues for feeds, to be skin to skin when she can or at least snuggled up, to talk and interact with the baby and so on. Lots of mothers already do all or some of this, and they need to be aware of how good it is that they're doing it. I am pretty sure it is healing for the mother who feels sad at not bf to know that feeding, however it's done, can be loving, responsive, life-enhancing and relationship-strengthening.

Heated Sun 30-Aug-09 15:09:26

See, I've wondered about this. I expressed for 3 months for ds1 and 2 months for dd2, but also formula feeding at the same time, and I really wondered if there was any point?

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