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Breast v Bottle

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07/07/2009 at 23:29

Hi!!

I gave birth to my little girl last week and had to spend a week in hospital.

My question to you all is - when you were in hospital, did you feel railroaded/bullied in to breast feeding v bottle feeding.

I had a midwife almost rugby tackle my baby on to my boob, causing me to have a huge graze across my nipple, this really did not help me in the feeling comfortable feeding my baby by breast.

Not to mention that my baby was struggling to feed due to all the gunk in her belly and nose as she was a c section birth and she also ended up having to have antibiotics as she got an infection, she could not latch/suckle as she could not breath!!!

One midwife really put me off - is this fair?? should they push as hard as they do in hospital to get you to breast feed, should they ask you if you want to have the breast feeding support team round, squeezing your boobs to try and get baby on???

I understand breast is best - but if you are not comfortable should you be pushed so hard to do it?

I know our hospital is going to stop supplying bottled milk in the next year or so, that is fine for most, but when I was in, the lady in the next bed was breast feeding her son for three days, he has a blood sugar level of 1.1 as her milk was not enough for him, he was in fact starving.

I hope you don't think I am an awful person for this post, I am expressing and giving my baby all the milk I can, but should I be made to feel inadequate for not breast feeding????

Sarah

08/07/2009 at 07:26

Hi Sarah,

I was lucky in that the breast feeding support team where I gave birth were fantastic, I'm still bf my daughter now at 10 months old.  The midwives were supportive and the bf counseller was great as I has problems at the beginning and she sorted them all out. Also in the first few weeks I had several bf crisis and felt like giving up and each time i phoned my miodwife and they sent someone round to my house that day to help me.  I realise that the support where I live is great and that not everyone is lucky enough to have this, at least 9out of 10 women at all the baby groups I go to bf and I think that shows that if the support is there then the % of bf women will be higher.

While I was in hospital the lady in the bed next to me did not want to bf, (she was on baby no 5 and said the afterpains while bf were worse than labour!) and the midwifes were nice to her too, they did say it was their policy to support bf and they could get the bf counceller to come and see her but she didn't want that so they willingly provided bottles and milk.

I think that it is the womens choice to bf and some people do not feel comfertable with it or just cannot do it and they shouldn't be made to feel bad for chosing to bottle feed.  The midwifes certainly shouldn't bully you into it as that is probably the fastest way to put you off.  I think it is right that they should encourage you to try but then should respect your decision.  a friend of mine put up with a lot of pain and a baby losing lots of weight for several weeks before they eventually realised her daughter was allergic to her milk and she would have been saved a lot of stress if she hadn't felt pushed into continuing.

I'll stop waffling now!  What I am trying to say is that at the end of the day it is your decision and so long as you and the baby are comfy, fed and happy then ultimately it doesn't matter whether this is by breast or bottle.

09/07/2009 at 10:45

Hi

I don't have a baby yet but last year my friend gave birth to her first at 9.45am, her baby latched on straight away so she was sent home and was home eating fish and chips at 5.30pm when I went round to deliver her dogs home.

3 weeks later her baby was hardly sleeping and crying all the time and hadn't regained birth weight. She had had the breastfeeding nurse around 3 times and the health visitor, neither of them had realised she wasn't producing any milk, neither had suggested trying bottle feeding. She was made to feel like she was failing her child, in the first week her baby had one poo and nobody seemed to think this was a problem. In fact she felt like she was being too pushy requesting their help so often.

She took it into her own hands and bought all the kit and started bottle feeding, the difference in her daughter was obvious. She got back to her percentile and has stayed there ever since. When her baby got oral thrush and started refusing her bottle my friend took her into the doctors to find out why, the doctor suggested she had PND!

She wanted to breast feed but couldn't but was made to feel terrible for bottle feeding. I think it's personal choice as some ladies can't do it. But I also think that some areas have more support than others, from bf support teams and midwives. I also believe they can make all the difference especially for new mums.

09/07/2009 at 12:32

The midwives I dealt with after the rugby tackling one were fantastic I have to say.  They supported me expressing instead of breast feeding, but I have to wonder how many new mummies are out there feeling like they are failing their babies if they are struggling to feed them.

I think there should be a support group for bottle feeding mummies, to be made to feel that they are not letting their babies down. My daughter is thriving, I give her my milk that I have expressed, it does not fill her up for as long and she ends up eating again after a couple of hours, so maybe I have not got the filling milk but I have the antibodies she needs.

If anyone wants to let me kow how they are feeling, please post, I dont think anyone has the right to judge a mummy on how she feeds her baby, as long as the baby is healthy and growing well

Sarah xx

09/07/2009 at 20:16

Hello,

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! Yes the whole BF thing is very emotive and I'm aware there's a lack of support. I'm still BF my 9month old, had major problems to begin with but I persevered through the pain and sleep deprivation and am so glad I did. The rugby-tackling midwife should be complained about in writing - she's done you and your baby a massive disservice. Not everyone wants to BF, I know it's the MW's jobs to tell you to as is quite right - I suspect the one who rugby tackled you probably didn't BF her own kids if she has any and probably resents having to encourage it in new mums since formula was fine for her own (have come across several MWs and nurses who feel like this). It could also have been a matter of someone having a really bad day on a busy shift where she didn't really have time to deal with you properly so just ran roughshod over you instead. There's a lot of ignorance amongst MWs, nurses and healthvisitors in particular regarding BF (my friend refused morphine during an op on her gallbladder last week cos she has an 8week old daughter who was 6weeks prem and is BF - and the nurses had a go at her for BF!).

Where I live in the Northwest bottle feeding is the absolute norm and sadly people here think I'm some sort of pervert for BF my son. I agree no mum should be judged on how she chooses to feed her baby, but I do agree that there needs to be more support for BF mums since they're very much in the minority (society has such a fixation with boobs as sexual objects - it's so pathetic!). When I go for a coffee with a friend who stopped BF to return to work noone bats an eye when she gets the bottle out for her babe (who's the same age as mine) but when I start feeding I've had people nearby get up and go to another table!

No mum who's BF should think that she's a better mum just because she's BF (have heard horror stories about some nasty individuals at NCT groups), in the same vein mums who have decided not to BF due to personal wishes/circumstances shouldn't feel guilty about it and should also not judge mums who have continued BF (have on occasion found mums in this situation worse for rude comments and dirty looks than mums who always intended to formula feed).

The fact is breast is best and formula does a perfectly good job too. Another problem is mums are told they must do one or the other - sounds like the lady whose baby wasn't thriving would have been much better off topping up with formula as well as expressing, then her baby would have had all the goodness of breastmilk and the backup offered by formula (plenty of mums offer mixed feeds successfully and some even manage to increase their supply so that they eventually drop formula altogether).

No baby ever turns round when they're older and say 'I wish you had breastfed me mum' - so long as you're feeding and loving your baby it's nobody's business how you choose to do that - people don't tell you how to clothe/house/teach your baby so why do they think they can comment on how to feed her?!!!

Enjoy every moment of your daughter and remember she's very lucky to have you as a mum xxx

PS your baby will be hungry more often as breastmilk is easier to digest than formula, it's perfectly normal for your baby to want frquent feeds (I know my son did!). It's one of the reasons some choose to formula feeds as it fills baby for longer but that's just stodge (like filling up on mashed potato and skipping your greens) the fact is that babies were designed to feed that way. As long as you feed on demand and your daughter is thriving it shows your milk is of excellent quality.

11/07/2009 at 16:07

Hey

Thank you for your post!!

I agree that breast milk is best, I am expressing and giving her my milk as well as formula, she 'feeds' on the formula while the boobie milk is like a cup of tea!!!

I disagree that bf should be hidden away, a good friend of mine is still bf her daughter and asked me if I minded her feeding her when she came to visit!! It may sound silly, but I felt bad that she had to ask me - I know she was just being polite, but please...I am for it - mum's who are asked to sit in the changing area or toilet to feed their young babies - That is just plain wrong!! Would anyone care to take their big mac and fries in to the nappy changing area and eat it??No??? Big suprise there!!!

I may not be able to bf my little girl, but I am all for anyone who can and wants to bf, it should not be a dirty subject.

When asked - I tell people, I tried, it did not work, I am doing what I can. Atitudes in this country need to change. BF is great, just not for everyone.

BF should not be hidden away as a dirty little secret but no one is better than anyone one else if they do not or can not do it

I am rambling now and I know it!!! Sleep deprived and need a cuppa

Love Sarah xxxx

14/07/2009 at 16:40

Sarah - i just had to add to your forum!!!! I was in a resturant one time with one of my girls and she started yelling for a feed, I plugged her in while we were waiting for our food, one of the female waitresses was sent over to us and struggling, she whispered that i "couldnt do that here" and "would i go to the toilet and feed?" HA! you can imagine my response, according to her i was "upsetting" the other diners, so i stood up and asked loudly if i was upsetting anyone by feeding my baby and i would gladly stop if i was doing so, the response was 100% NO - i was NOT upsetting anyone and they were all angry that i had been asked to go into the toilet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So i sat back down and carried on!!!!! We had our meal AND drinks for free!!! no supprise there then!!! LMAO you really do have to stand up for what you know to be right as you said, people wouldnt take their food into the bloody toilet and eat so why should you feed a baby in there!!!!! Having let off steam - LOL - dont let anyone tell you what you should or should not do, you tried, it didnt work out, hey oh! so what - theres an alternative - if midwives and people dont like it - TOUGH! you do what is right for you! I've been really lucky, i've fed all my kids - im currently expecting baby no.7 in Oct and will be BF again, yes its not without its problems but i can usually weather it out and we get on fine.

Good luck with your little one, use your own instincts and you wont go far wrong! all the very best xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

31/10/2009 at 19:18

Sarah, I haven't really looked at this section of the forum before so have only just seen this post. Your experience is almost identical to mine, had Abi by c section just over 2 weeks ago, she was so snuffly she wouldn't latch on as she couldn't breathe and I felt completely pushed into not doing anything other than keep trying her on the breast. She was getting really stressed and ended up losing a lot of weight, so we were moved to special care and she had to be tube fed. We spent 10 days in hospital because of an additional health concern and we have moved to expressing and bottle feeding, with formula top ups.

I felt totally brow beaten and still have all sorts of healthcare people telling me I should keep trying her on the breast at every feed, and keep trying to get her to do it. Maybe they'd like to come round at 2am and help with the expressing, sterilising and feeding while I try and get her to do something that gets her really wound up! What I have found worse was that leaving the hospital not breast feeding I asked over and over for advice on how much to feed, what sort of intervals etc as I was concerned about her losing weight again and basically got nothing. It seems that the nurses and midwives are so focused on BF that there's either a huge knowledge gap or they aren't meant to support anything else.

Happily now  she's putting weight on again and at 2 weeks is back up to her birth weight so I guess we aren't going too far wrong, but it's not been because of help and support from the people you'd expect it from!

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