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I'm BFing successfully, why won't my friend stop suggesting formula? Grrrrr!!!

(25 Posts)
YanknCock Thu 15-Oct-09 18:23:13

I'm sure this has been done to death, but it's new for me....

DS is 7 weeks old and is exclusively breastfed. I know I'm really lucky things have gone so well. No cracked/sore nipples, no thrush, no mastitis, only one blocked duct that went away quickly. He's already slept through the night a few times, and he's gaining weight and having plenty of No. 1 & 2 in his nappies.

So WHY WHY WHY, every time I talk to my friend, does she ask about formula? I've not been smug about breastfeeding, I have no problem with the fact that she chose to bottle feed (she said she didn't like breastfeeding). Her boys are happy and healthy, and that's great, but it doesn't mean I have to do everything the same way!

I try to avoid talking about feeding with her because she always says 'so you still don't want to give him formula' or 'why don't you want to give him formula?' and when I tell her 'I just don't want to' or say 'I find BFing more convenient/less expensive', or give other non-contentious reasons, she keeps arguing the case for formula, and eventually gives up with a sigh, as though I'm somehow unreasonable for BFing.

I'm really getting sick of it, just needed to get that off my chest. Next time I'll rant about BIL and SIL who think everyone should wean at 3 months because they did!

BubbaAndBump Thu 15-Oct-09 18:35:08

Interested in what her case for formula over b/f is? Why's she got a problem with it?

kitkatcadaverqueen Thu 15-Oct-09 18:37:21

yank congrats on still b/feeding

I'm tired so I'm probably going to overstate this

OK! by doing this thing differently you are making her question whether she made the right choice. It happens with parents too, if we make a different parenting choice to them we are tacitly saying that they did it wrong.

You have actually hit the nail on the head in your last paragraph. If you agree with them about weaning at 3 months then they will feel more justified that they did the right thing by their kids, if you disagree then you make them rethink the descisions they made and potentially make them think that they might have made a mistake. Lets face it. If you thought you had made a descision mistake about your gorgeous babe that could have health implications later on how would you feel?

That is the reason why parents, friends etc all hope that you will do what they did, they look a you and think , that yank she's smart and made the same choice as me, my descision has been reinforced. OR they think that yank is smart but she didn't make the same descision as me, oh dear.

You are making them doubt themselves. Theres not much you can do about it. If they really get snotty that you aren't weaning at 3 months / formula feeding then google the WHO virgin gut theory. BUT expect them to be very upset.

good to see you on mn anyway, and goodluck with the f/feeding friend

ilovemydogandmrobama Thu 15-Oct-09 18:40:53

Maybe she wants to justify her decision to f/f?

Maybe she's curious about your decision and she didn't consider it to be an option for her?

Some people will try and find fault with things they don't understand.

ShowOfHands Thu 15-Oct-09 18:49:39

It's tough but it's a combination of justifying her own decision and trying to relate to you. If she genuinely doesn't know any of the more 'contentious' reasons why bf is the first choice for those that are able and choose to do so, then perhaps she is just aching to talk to her friend on common ground and wonders why you won't consider it.

She doesn't sound malicious or critical but genuinely perplexed as to why you haven't considered it and it's probably borne of her own positive experience.

I recommend co-sleeping all the time to people who aren't getting enough sleep and it could be construed the same way. The official advice on best practice is to put babies in cots but I recommend it nonetheless as it worked for me and had great benefits. She may see it the same way if she is less aware of or not focussed on the disadvantages to ffing.

YanknCock Thu 15-Oct-09 18:59:35

Her reasoning seems to be the following:

-Bottle feeding is more convenient (her opinion)

-Someone else can do the feeding, get up in the night, etc.

-Formula is more satisfying (her opinion)

-Formula will make him sleep longer

-Formula will make him gain weight faster

-Child benefit covers the cost of formula (so she reckons cost should not be an issue)

I know she tried BFing with her first, 'hated it' (her words) and went straight to bottles with the second. Kitkat, I do suspect it's partially as you say, that convincing me to FF would validate her own choice---which is exactly why I try to avoid the topic with her, I don't want to push the fact that I'm BFing in her face for fear she'll think I'm judging her. I'm not! I NEVER mention the health benefits from BFing (which is the first and foremost reason for me), mainly because I don't want to seem like I'm saying she doesn't care about her boys' health. FFS, I'm trying to be so fooking sensitive about it!

Tryharder Thu 15-Oct-09 19:07:16

I think she sounds jealous! She doesn't want you to bf your DC because she didn't bf hers and either consciously or subconsciously feels guilty about it.

TheIggorcist Thu 15-Oct-09 19:08:58

I think you have been very measured and polited with your friend - which is, of course, how you would like to be treated yourself. If she keeps bringing it up I think you can't be expected to continue listening - either tell her it's a closed subject, or start telling her about the real benefits of bf. But most importantly, don't let her succeed in undermining you!

CarGirl Thu 15-Oct-09 19:09:56

Can you just that either you or your dp have allergies and bf is the only thing that may help prevent them either starting or kicking off?

That was one of my reasons for putting up with a very difficult start to bf with my girls!

ShowOfHands Thu 15-Oct-09 19:11:43

I honestly don't think she intends to be that malicious as she seems to see ff as a good thing (which it is insomuch as it's feeding your child, it's just not the optimum way of feeding). She's not criticising bfing (not that you've said) but extolling the virtues of ffing.

Perhaps she sees those benefits that you list above. And then also sees you being a bit tired maybe or she just wants to reach out and offer advice to a friend or is recommending something that worked for her. Perhaps she truly doesn't know why bfing is better and either you put up with it, say firmly that you don't wish to discuss it, or you tell her the facts about why bfing is the optimum choice.

DawnAS Thu 15-Oct-09 19:19:07

Hi there,

I'm FF my DD and I'd like to try and (sort of) give her side. I think everyone on here is absolutely right and she is trying to justify her reasons for FF.

In my case, I was unable to BF, as some women are, but my reasons are due to surgery that I had to have that damaged my breasts and therefore I didn't produce any milk. But that shouldn't matter, the important thing these days is that we should have a choice.

But, those of us who FF through necessity or choice, do feel very penalised by various health professionals for doing soand also by friends and family who may have successfully breastfed. Eg. I went to Sainsburys to do my shopping, which included the Formula for my baby. They were running a promotion at the time where if you spent £50 you could have a petrol voucher. Mine came to £56 and the cashier queried with a supervisor why the voucher didn't come out. It turns out that it was because I'd bought babymilk and that was excluded from the deal. I was surprised but not one to make a scene, I didn't mention it. Strange that alcohol was included though... hmm

I am lucky to have had very nice HVs who have not questioned me FFing even before they knew about the medical issue.

So, sorry about the waffle, but even I, always feel the need to explain to people why I FF and feel inferior in some way, because that's how society makes us feel.

I think you're doing a bloody marvellous job and don't let anyone tell you any differently!! grin You made your choice and your "friend" made hers. As long as both babies are healthy and happy, it shouldn't matter.

By the way, my Dsis weaned her baby at 3 months, so I totally know where you're coming from. He's 5 weeks older than my LO who is now 18 weeks and I intend to wait until 6 months with her, but I'm getting a lot of grief from family and friends... wink

Keep up the good work hun and tell your friend to back off!!


TheIggorcist Thu 15-Oct-09 19:25:30

shock at Sainsburys! This story make me think that it would great if we could all support other mothers, and by "support" I don't mean "try to make them be identical to you".

littleducks Thu 15-Oct-09 19:29:49

(its nothing to do with sainsburys, formula is not allowed by law to be sold at a discounted price or included in a promotion)

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 15-Oct-09 19:31:12

Message withdrawn

YanknCock Thu 15-Oct-09 21:16:10

I think ShowofHands is right, my friend really doesn't mean what she is saying maliciously, but she IS critical of breastfeeding in a way that I find pretty unhelpful. Before DS was born, I told my husband I wanted his encouragement to persist with BFing, even if I found it difficult. He's been great about it, but I obviously forgot to tell everyone else how committed I was to BFing. This friend is the most vocal about it, but a few other people have suggested formula top-ups (including BIL/SIL). FIL even asked if I 'was making enough milk'. I've got a great HV who reckons I just need to put my hands over my ears and go 'la la la' every time.

Just tonight, I was talking to this friend and mentioned baby was wanting to eat all day. She said it was probably a growth spurt, and I agreed, and then of course she said 'if you gave him formula it would be easier to know how much he's getting'. ARRGGGGGHHHH. So I just said 'well he's gaining weight and has plenty of wee and poo in the nappies, so I don't need to know' and changed the subject.

I do think people who FF, whether by necessity or choice, get a pretty hard time too, which is why I don't add to it by banging on about all the benefits of BFing to this friend---but if this keeps going I might have to start.

Starlight, I do take your point that perhaps I've not really made all my reasons for BFing clear enough. She has asked me questions like 'do you like BFing?' in a very skeptical tone (as though I'd be mad if I said 'yes'), and I've said honestly it's not a matter of 'liking' the act exactly, more that I like all the benefits of it IYSWIM. It doesn't hurt and hasn't caused me any problems, and I can't imagine faffing around with bottles if I don't have to. I'd be open to a honest conversation about it, but as I've said, I'm afraid she'd think I'm judging her choices.

TheIggorcist Thu 15-Oct-09 21:23:26

She does sound quite blinkered, IMO. Make sure you balance her input with that of some mothers who do bf - preferably in RL as well as MN! Maybe a bf group in your area? I went to one and it was a great support, and still friends with women from it two years later.

Longtalljosie Thu 15-Oct-09 21:29:17

Hi Yank.

I think you're being a lovely friend, but your friend hasn't been backwards in coming forward on her reasons for FF, so why not reciprocate?

Just say "I enjoy it", and if that doesn't work, say "I like the idea that the baby has the benefit of my immune system", or even "breast feeding is important to me".

There's a difference, I think, between you lecturing your FF friend on the benefits of BF - and defending your own choice if you keep on being questioned.

But I think others are right that people want their own choices reinforced.

CornishKK Thu 15-Oct-09 21:36:09

I'm SO jealous of someone who can breastfeed successfully Yank, keep at it and ignore the friend!

There are some benefits to FF but I'd give them all up immediately to have the opportunity to BF my PFB.

I know I feel guilty about FF (despite not having a choice) because I know it's not what is best for my baby. I try to justify the benefits of FF to myself all the time - I wonder if your friend subconsciously is doing this?

EdgarAllenPoo Thu 15-Oct-09 21:38:21

how about 'its liposuction for free'?

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 15-Oct-09 22:24:57

Message withdrawn

EdgarAllenPoo Thu 15-Oct-09 22:40:50

you can weight whilst having liposuction too...just not as much. it's ike having an extra doughnut alowance..but taking it double...

chipsticksmammy Fri 16-Oct-09 09:32:08

Yank, dont worry about the rant. I'm from a part of the country where breast feeding is a single digit %.

I'm the first to breast feed on both sides of my family and my friends. All the well meaning comments do come with weird stares every time I get my boob out for a feed. I just ignore them.

I've also just had surgery for mastitis and DD had a bottle for 24 hours due to it being an emergency and the drugs they gave me.

DD has been all over the place since then, no poo, sore crying, not sleeping. Its seen the end of all of the anti-bf comments I had last week when my relatives were telling me to give her a bottle and give it up!

If she ends up on formula I will be sad, but it will be my choice. You dont have to justify your choice, but I know how hard it is to keep batting away the comments.

One thing I found when someone asks me about it is to start the sentence, 'The Health Visitor / Midwife says...' Seems to keep most people quiet!

Keep your chin up and keep feeding your gorgeous baby the way you want to.

ProcessYellowC Fri 16-Oct-09 09:59:26

Do you think she even realises how negative she's being?
I'm just wondering if perhaps you could say that BIL/SIL are going on about weaning early, and that you are getting a lot of anti-bf comments (generally - blame the wider world for her comments) and that it is getting you down a bit...?

merryberry Fri 16-Oct-09 10:19:34

but i did like own personal benefits were that i got a lovely hormone high after each feed, and a cast iron excuse to sit on my arse and not cook every evening. can you sell her similar?

Cometrickortreatingwithme Fri 16-Oct-09 11:17:11

Congratulations YC. I have a similar friend who seems obsessed with me putting DD on a bottle or at least give her expressed milk.

I told her that the one time we tried dd on a bottle of ebm she hated it and she told me to ignore her screaming because if she was hungry enough she would take it.

She can't get her head round the fact I like feeding dd.

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