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What my dh's grandmother told me

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

We went to my inlaws for Thanksgiving and my dh's grandmother was talking to me about nursing and feeding the baby. She said when she had her kids (would've been in the late 50's and early 60's) that the hospital told her that her breastmilk was nothing but water. She said she leaked constantly and that made them want to test it and they told her that she had to use formula because her kids wouldn't survive on her milk because there was just nothing to it. I told her that I never heard such a thing and that seemed crazy. I wasn't sure what to think of that. I told my dh and he said the hospital probably got something if they pushed formula. What does everyone else think of that? 

post #2 of 23
Wow, that's awful! But not unheard of sadly, from that time period.
post #3 of 23

mecry.gif

 

I leak all the time and have bf'ed six children. My mom was told she couldn't make enough milk for me, but she did go on to nurse my little sis for 1 year.

post #4 of 23
If they tested what she was leaking, it would have been foremilk. That is, I believe, mostly water and lactose, designed to keep the baby's interest while the 'meal milk' is being made. Then there's the hindmilk ('dessert milk'). All important, and all different. One cannot make an accurate assessment about all three from just one. That may not have been known in those days. Now we know about all the types of breastmilk, and the importance of each!
post #5 of 23

My grandmother, who raised 4 children during the same time period (50s and 60s) was told by the doctor that she couldn't breastfeed.  She doesn't know why (or maybe she does - my mother, who related the story to me, doesn't know why).  So she raised her four children on homemade formula made from evaporated milk and corn syrup.

 

She has been nothing but supportive of me breastfeeding my dd.  In fact, when she saw an offer I made on facebook to donate milk to another mom (through Eats on Feets), she told me how proud she was of me.

 

I had a lot of trouble beginning to breastfeed (flat nipples, no latch, shallow latch, cracked nipples, significant weight loss, jaundice, etc) and our nursing relationship only survived because of the help of a wonderful IBCLC.  I wouldn't have had that help if I'd done it in the 50s.

post #6 of 23

what do i think of it? 

it's sad that she missed out. it's sad that she was forced into formula. it's sad that doctors and nurses are so sadly misinformed and misguided, and just... lacking in common sense.

we are mammals. one of the key components of being a mammal is nursing your baby. 

duh! to the doctors and nurses who *still* don't get this.

post #7 of 23
My mom started nursing my brother, then had mastitis and was told to wean because of the infection. I don't think she even tried with me because of that. So sad. I'm still nursing my 20 month old and I'm about 7 weeks pregnant. I'd hate to know what drs would have said about that in the 70's and 80's!
post #8 of 23

My grandmother told me a very similar story.  She said that her doctor encouraged her to nurse her 6 babies for the first 3 weeks, but then said she needed to wean because her milk had turned from "whole to skim" and wouldn't be enough.  She said she always felt like a failure because of it :(  The longest she nursed any of her babies was 6 weeks.  Whenever I talk to her on the phone she always asks if my 28 month old is nursing.  When I say yes, she says "Good for you!  That's the best for him."  Amazingly, her sister nursed her only child for almost 5 years.  I think that adds to my grandmas feelings of inadequacy :(
 

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver'sMom View Post

My grandmother told me a very similar story.  She said that her doctor encouraged her to nurse her 6 babies for the first 3 weeks, but then said she needed to wean because her milk had turned from "whole to skim" and wouldn't be enough.  She said she always felt like a failure because of it greensad.gif  The longest she nursed any of her babies was 6 weeks.  Whenever I talk to her on the phone she always asks if my 28 month old is nursing.  When I say yes, she says "Good for you!  That's the best for him."  Amazingly, her sister nursed her only child for almost 5 years.  I think that adds to my grandmas feelings of inadequacy greensad.gif

 

I think it's terrific that she's being so supportive!! It can be so difficult when someone who was discouraged from nursing turns around and repeats that with their relatives.

That praise goes to all who give support and encouragement to others when they were treated the opposite way!
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver'sMom View Post

My grandmother told me a very similar story.  She said that her doctor encouraged her to nurse her 6 babies for the first 3 weeks, but then said she needed to wean because her milk had turned from "whole to skim" and wouldn't be enough.  She said she always felt like a failure because of it :(  The longest she nursed any of her babies was 6 weeks.  Whenever I talk to her on the phone she always asks if my 28 month old is nursing.  When I say yes, she says "Good for you!  That's the best for him."  Amazingly, her sister nursed her only child for almost 5 years.  I think that adds to my grandmas feelings of inadequacy :(
 

like, how did the doctor "know" that the milk turned from whole to skim? did he try it himself? so SAD. but your grandma is a hero in that she is encouraging you!!

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

like, how did the doctor "know" that the milk turned from whole to skim? did he try it himself? so SAD. but your grandma is a hero in that she is encouraging you!!


Exactly!  How on earth would he know?  Plus, how does something that is perfect and working great (healthy, chubby baby, etc), suddenly stop working just because the baby has reached a certain age?  Very sad.  My own mother had her children in the 70's and 80's, and even then, her doctors criticized her for breastfeeding and one even told her, "fine, if you want to look and act like a gorilla, go right ahead!"  Luckily she saw that as a compliment and nursed me and my two siblings anyway.

post #12 of 23
It makes me wonder how much trust we can put in the medical community, when the history of medicine is littered with stories like this. I wonder what will shock people in 50 years...
post #13 of 23
My grandma told me a similar story. In 1948 her doctor had her express some into a cup, told her it was too watery and that she had to supplement with formula after every feed. She said that it was so overwhelming that the nursing didn't last long.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtjunker View Post

It makes me wonder how much trust we can put in the medical community, when the history of medicine is littered with stories like this. I wonder what will shock people in 50 years...

 

Not related to breastfeeding, but I read an article in a Parenting magazine that stated up until the late 80's infants going in for surgery were not given anesthesia, only a paralytic drug so they would not move. As doctors didn't believe babies felt pain the way adults do. 

post #15 of 23
My DH's grandmother said something pretty similar. When DD1 was born she told me to watch out because her milk "turned to water" around 5 months after her 1st baby was born. I asked what she meant and turns out that they baby's growth slowed and that's the reason the dr gave her. She was instructed to switch to formula or her baby wold starve.
post #16 of 23

And how did the world survive before formula??
 

post #17 of 23
They didn't buy formula. They made formula then. It was milk, water and corn syrup. It had to be boiled and put into sterilized bottles. It certainly wasn't convenient.
post #18 of 23
My grandma told me all about making formula! She said her oldest was colicky and so the doctor adjusted the "formula" -- ratio -- all the time.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtjunker View Post

It makes me wonder how much trust we can put in the medical community, when the history of medicine is littered with stories like this. I wonder what will shock people in 50 years...

circumcision...

post #20 of 23

frankly people still think that after one year your milk is way less nutrias, yet i have seen detailed studies that say it is nearly the same, and this is not from anti extended nursing types, but rather LLL leaders and midwives. so the mis info is still out there.

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