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Help Me Help A New Mom With Never Ending BFing-Formula debate cycle. - Page 2

post #21 of 38

Hi pek64,

 

To answer your question: From the original post, quoted immediately below.  I think this is not just a nursing vs bottle feeding issue.  I think it has more to do with how overwhelming parenthood can be, especially if you haven't been around newborns much in your life.  I know I was around a ton of newborns and competent at holding them and changing diapers, but it was still overwhelming in so many ways when I had one of my own.  I'm just offering a little compassion for the OP's friend - and a possible way for the OP to get out of this swirl of conversations focused on feeding.

 

-Orm

 

I know she was very overwhelmed by the whole thing, she had a extremely rough couple of days with the newborn, she didn't trust herself to hold him/change him/felt incompetent,etc.  Breastfeeding took a back seat and they introduced formula because the baby "cried at night."

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Whoa! How did this end up being about babies crying in the middle of the night?
 
post #22 of 38

Simply tell her, "Do what you feel is right for you and your baby"

 

You both seem rather enmeshed with each other emotionally speaking. It is her baby. She is not neglecting or abusing the baby. She is feeding the baby in the way you are tacitly disproving she does not want to appear like she made up her mind in front of her.

post #23 of 38

I disagree with anyone who says that your friend's waffling is proof that she doesn't want to- she may genuinely not feel capable of doing it. When she already felt like she couldn't take care of her child, feeling like a failure at breastfeeding may be too much. I had a similar experience- we're now trying to try again, but it's very emotionally difficult.

 

It's possible that your friend genuinely doesn't want to breastfeed and just feels guilted into doing so, I'm definitely not saying otherwise.
But it's also possible that your friend genuinely does want to breastfeed, but doesn't feel capable of doing it.

 

 

Ultimately, I agree with the people who've suggested directing her to LLL or a lactation consultant. It sounds like you're getting very frustrated, so having her go to someone else that specializes in this may be a good idea. You can still be supportive, but then when she's in the "how can I breastfeed/can I just pump" stages, you can remind her about trying LLL/a lactation consultant rather than feeling like you have to play the role yourself.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Formula feeding has been mainstream for so long, I find it hard to believe that this is a response to social pressure, of any kind. It would take someone important to her to get her to consider something she's not really open to doing. That is most likely the boyfriend.

Honestly, this is not my experience at all. I never once considered formula feeding as normal, no matter how many lactivists I see say this is the case. My first memory is my mom nursing me (she nursed well past infancy), and I can't remember ever being taught that formula feeding is normal- at least not for newborns. When I realized that I needed to get surgery, I actually had a break down because I might not be able to breastfeed any children I was going to have, but I also couldn't put off getting the surgery, either. All throughout my pregnancy, I got treated to "BREAST IS BEST" propaganda- even after I told people that I'd had surgery and might not be able to produce anything, I'd still get lectured on the benefits of breastfeeding. Once the baby came, the first question everyone asked was "are you breastfeeding" and I had to explain why not when we say 'no'.

 

 

I can not think of ONE person throughout my pregnancy or after the baby was born that didn't assume we were going to breastfeed before finding out about the surgery. If I had really been given the message that formula feeding is normal/better/even EQUAL to breastfeeding- I wouldn't have had half the problems I did about not being able to. But my entire life I've been told repeatedly that Breast Is Best.

 

I agree that breastfeeding in public is not normal- it's almost never seen and people still face problems for it. But, in my experience, you're expected to breastfeed your baby and pump milk to be able to feed your baby with while in public. I'm so sorry that you felt pressured not to breastfeed, I know that some people are and am not saying otherwise, I've run into people online who are feeling pressured not to breastfeed by those around them, but your experiences are not everyones'. It's entirely possible that this woman has felt pressured to breastfeed by those around her.

post #24 of 38

I think she may just be trying to find her way... she may be having a bit PPD too.  I remember how much I questioned myself with my first.... especially when everyone has such passion about their opinions.  It took me 2-3 weeks to feel 'alive' again after having #1 and I didn't really have a traumatic birth or anything.  Anyways, just wanted to give another point of view.  Perhaps see if there is support you can give in other areas and just keep an eye on her in case she does have PPD.

 

Thank you for being a good friend to her.

post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post

 

 

I got treated to "BREAST IS BEST" propaganda- even after I told people that I'd had surgery and might not be able to produce anything, I'd still get lectured on the benefits of breastfeeding. Once the baby came, the first question everyone asked was "are you breastfeeding" and I had to explain why not when we say 'no'.

 

 

 

it's a shame people even ask-and how NO is just not good enough! -IMO

 

my previous comments was made because if you are in "crunchy" group of friends it is what you are sometimes subject to and that can add pressure to a situation 

 

regardless of the subject I always feel it is best to keep your mouth shut unless asked, works for most things

post #26 of 38

I feel like the breast is best pressure is a double edged sword because though most people suggest it they also scrutinize it. Weight gain, diaper counting, poop consistency, milk allergies, elimination diets,  mile stones, night waking, spoiling and so on. I have noticed that breastfed babies are constantly under the microscope to see if the mom is feeding the baby enough. So even though people seem to be more inclined to say "Oh you should breastfeed." they sure do not know the dynamic and facts behind it filling new moms with even more feelings of failure at every turn. I have known many women who genuinely feel they were unable to breast feed even though their description of it does not seem that way and I think it is an adaption to this behavior that everyone around us exhibits. There is a chance she will feel regret about not breast feeding but of my 15 friends who have had over 20 children I can count on my hand how many breast fed and even less who made it past the first 5 weeks. This is statistically impossible as 95% of them should have been able to breastfeed. But if you ask them all of them have elaborate stories and explanations about why they could not breast feed. We are not there yet as a society. We are not to a point where we tell the mom to do what is best and then give her the tools education support understanding and space she needs to succeed at breast feeding. Not all women are able to overcome the very real hurdles both physical and mental that breastfeeding represents. And though many of my friends voice their grief over not being able to breastfeed at the time not one of them listened to my advice ever. I have encountered rude women who FF and slam the "Breast is best" culture encouraging new moms to give up constantly maybe to help them feel better about their own decision. People can feed their babies how ever they want but the fact is breast is best but there are too many factors.
 

post #27 of 38
Quote:

Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post

 

Ultimately, I agree with the people who've suggested directing her to LLL or a lactation consultant. It sounds like you're getting very frustrated, so having her go to someone else that specializes in this may be a good idea. ....

I can not think of ONE person throughout my pregnancy or after the baby was born that didn't assume we were going to breastfeed before finding out about the surgery. If I had really been given the message that formula feeding is normal/better/even EQUAL to breastfeeding- I wouldn't have had half the problems I did about not being able to. But my entire life I've been told repeatedly that Breast Is Best.

 

 

I think that writing down the number for LLL or a lactation consultant and then giving it to her the next time this comes up is a great idea. Then you can go back to being her supportive friend. Just practice active listening. New moms get told what to do ALL the time, sometimes by total strangers, yet often they don't feel heard. Let her know that you hear her, over and over.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe'sMama View Post

I think she may just be trying to find her way... she may be having a bit PPD too.

 

I wondered about PPD, too. It's really a bigger deal that breastfeeding. I would focus on supporting her emotionally and turning over the nursing support to a pro.

post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

 

I wondered about PPD, too. It's really a bigger deal that breastfeeding. I would focus on supporting her emotionally and turning over the nursing support to a pro.

 

 

turn over the thoughts (IF you have them) on PPD to a pro too

 

she seems like she doesn't need more added when not all mothers have PPD-choosing not to want to BF doesn't mean she has PPD 

post #29 of 38
Weight gain, diaper counting, poop consistency, milk allergies (not to mention soy allergies), night waking, spoiling, etc are the common problems faced by ALL new parents, breastfeeding or not.

And one person's experience of being physically unable to breastfeed and feeling pressured or inadequate does not alter the accuracy of my remarks. We live in a society where a new mother is likely to exposed to subtle and not so subtle pressures to formula feed, rather than breastfeed. Even some of the remarks on this thread are more pro-formula than pro-breast or even neutral. Therefore, other than those closest to her, it is unlikely that this new mom is being pressured to breastfeed. Which brings the discussion back to the boyfriend (someone close to her) possibly pressuring her to breastfeed. And I suggested that a couple of times already.
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Weight gain, diaper counting, poop consistency, milk allergies (not to mention soy allergies), night waking, spoiling, etc are the common problems faced by ALL new parents, breastfeeding or not.

And one person's experience of being physically unable to breastfeed and feeling pressured or inadequate does not alter the accuracy of my remarks. We live in a society where a new mother is likely to exposed to subtle and not so subtle pressures to formula feed, rather than breastfeed. Even some of the remarks on this thread are more pro-formula than pro-breast or even neutral. Therefore, other than those closest to her, it is unlikely that this new mom is being pressured to breastfeed. Which brings the discussion back to the boyfriend (someone close to her) possibly pressuring her to breastfeed. And I suggested that a couple of times already.

 

They are but when this stuff happens to a breast feeding mom it must be something wring with her milk or parenting. When it happens to a formula feeding mom its the babies personality. I have had dr's do this too me. Tell me its just how babies are and then when I refuse their formula sample because I breastfeed they change their tune really quick and all of a sudden I was justifying my choices. I think all women who can should breast feed... all 96% of them. And though I appreciate the breast is best idea its really just something people say as they say it but offer no assistance, or accurate advice, and become super critical of every sound and diaper that the baby makes. We are not a breastfeeding culture period. We are trying to be and that's nice. But we are not there yet.

post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by LLQ1011 View Post

So even though people seem to be more inclined to say "Oh you should breastfeed." they sure do not know the dynamic and facts behind it filling new moms with even more feelings of failure at every turn.
 

I definitely agree with this, and your entire post. I saw some people act as though common problems don't exist at all- I don't know if they didn't know, or if they thought that not talking about potential problems would somehow stop them from happening. I can appreciate wanting to be positive, but not even mentioning the hurdles that can be part of breastfeeding seems like it's just setting people up for being blindsided if they do face difficulties.

 

I don't know if this is common for everyone or just my family, but I also didn't find out about the difficulties with breastfeeding that my aunts/cousins faced (low supply, latch issues, baby tummy troubles, etc) until after the baby came and I had problems- before the baby came, I only knew they were breastfeeding and never knew of any difficulties.

 

I imagine that a lot of people start breastfeeding thinking that it's supposed to be natural and easy, then they start trying and face the hurdles and are completely unprepared. You're definitely right that our society is not doing a good enough job of supporting new parents who breastfeed- just saying "you should breastfeed" is not enough.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Weight gain, diaper counting, poop consistency, milk allergies (not to mention soy allergies), night waking, spoiling, etc are the common problems faced by ALL new parents, breastfeeding or not.

And one person's experience of being physically unable to breastfeed and feeling pressured or inadequate does not alter the accuracy of my remarks. We live in a society where a new mother is likely to exposed to subtle and not so subtle pressures to formula feed, rather than breastfeed. Even some of the remarks on this thread are more pro-formula than pro-breast or even neutral. Therefore, other than those closest to her, it is unlikely that this new mom is being pressured to breastfeed. Which brings the discussion back to the boyfriend (someone close to her) possibly pressuring her to breastfeed. And I suggested that a couple of times already.

 

I hope you didn't intend this, but the sentence I'm bolding came off as incredibly dismissive and insulting. As I said, I grew up "knowing" that breastfeeding is what new parents do. This was not something that cropped up post-surgery, it's something I knew even when I thought I'd one day be able to. My mother breastfed long enough that I actually remember her doing so, my aunts breastfed, my cousins breastfed, etc. As a kid, I was around people who would casually start breastfeeding their child (not even just baby, breastfeeding past infancy wasn't unheard of or frowned upon) in a room full of other people without anyone blinking an eye, because, in the circles I was raised, that was normal and expected. I was aware baby formula existed, my mom fostered an infant for a while and used formula, but it was never presented as "better" than breastfeeding- it was only what she did because the baby wasn't hers and it wasn't appropriate for her to breastfeed someone else's child. Growing up, no one ever tried to lecture me about "breast is best", it was mentioned casually in a matter of fact "this is common knowledge" way. I learned that breastfeeding is normal and natural and what "everyone" does because it's what everyone around me did! It wasn't until I was pregnant that people would really try to push breastfeeding- and then it wasn't people who knew me well, and part of the reason I found it so frustrating was because it was always presented as "Everyone can breastfeed easily! No one has any problems!", which isn't true and does a disservice even to people who haven't had surgery or other health conditions.

 

After birth- both my mom and mother in law have offered advice about breastfeeding, like I said most people expect us to breastfeed to the point that I have to explain why we aren't, and no one has pressured us to stop trying or to just formula feed. Even people who know my partner is trying to induce lactation have been supportive. The closest I've gotten is warnings that diseases can be transferred through unpasteurized breast milk, so to be very careful with the donor milk we're using- but after assuring people that I am, that was it. Of course, given our situation, no one would have been surprised if we just formula fed from day one, either.

 

Like I said- I am not saying that this is true of everyone, or that it's true of most people, but it is true of some people. It may not be "likely", but it's possible. If that's true of this woman, then approaching it otherwise won't help her. Of course, that's NOT CherryBombMama's job, either. Like I said in my first post- directing her friend to an LC or LLL, or even a counselor if PPD may be a problem, seems like the best idea.

post #32 of 38
I apologize for coming across as dismisive. I do not intend to make light of your difficulties. I am sorry that you had such experiences. I am simply saying that your experiences are not common, and should not color this discussion. There is no reason to believe this woman has any unusual challenge not faced by hundreds of new breastfeeding moms. What is at the core of the issue is not her physical ability to breastfeed, but rather her desire to breastfeed.

As far as difficulties in getting started and telling the tales, most women I know who successfully breastfed for as long as they and the baby wanted to feel that breastfeeding is (overall) easy. The analogy that comes to my mind is riding a bike. Most struggle at the beginning, some more, others less, than average, but it is rare that someone takes to a bike and rides beautifully the very first time. Yet, when teaching someone else to ride, do they talk about the problems getting started? No. They say "Riding a bike is easy." Why? Because once you get the hang of it, it *is* easy (for most). I think breastfeeding is the same. Only later, when the newbie starts talking about the difficulties does the other person think about their own struggles. I doubt there is intent to mislead, or make anyone feel bad. It's just that the difficulties become less important once the benefits are being reaped.
post #33 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

I apologize for coming across as dismisive. I do not intend to make light of your difficulties. I am sorry that you had such experiences. I am simply saying that your experiences are not common, and should not color this discussion. There is no reason to believe this woman has any unusual challenge not faced by hundreds of new breastfeeding moms. What is at the core of the issue is not her physical ability to breastfeed, but rather her desire to breastfeed.
 

 

Agreed.

post #34 of 38
I'm still sounding harsher than I'd like, so I'm pulling out, for now. I'm just too overworked right now to participate well. I've said what I think, and I'm not going to try to clear up what seem to be misunderstandings about what I said. Either it's clear by now or not, but I don't have the time to polish my responses to make my points clear without offending, so I will simply wish the OP luck and move on.
post #35 of 38

I would be careful of sending her to LLL without having a good sense of what your local LLL group is like. I went to one LLL meeting and the judgment around formula was really offputting and offensive to me, even though I wasn't using formula, and also there were a lot of comments that made breastfeeding sound like such a Big Difficult Deal (combo-fed baby is constipated and the first suggestion is for mom to try an elimination diet? really?) If your friend goes to a meeting like the one I went to, I don't think it would be a positive experience for her. Similarly, I would look for recommendations on an LC before sending her to one, to make sure that she gets someone who isn't judgmental. 

post #36 of 38
It sounds like she has the baby blues. I went through the same thing. Just remind her that as long as the baby is thriving she is doing well. She needs to hear that more than anything.
post #37 of 38
CherryBombMamma, if you're still reading, what's been happening recently?

LLQ1011 -- do not pay attention to what doctors say about breastfeeding. My experiences lead me to believe that doctors are the *worst* sources of information about breastfeeding. To demonstrate the kind of breastfeeding advice I have gotten, over the years, from doctors, let me tell you this story.

I had a woman pediatrician tell me I could ask her breastfeeding questions because she had breastfed three boys. So I asked her how to nurse a baby discreetly in a restaurant. My husband wanted to go out for dinner, and I was a little nervous at that time (new mom, just barely getting the hang of breastfeeding, you get the picture?). She told me, " You take the powdered formula in a zip baggie, and put room temperature tap water in the bottle. Then, when the baby fusses, pour the powder into the bottle and shake well."
"But I'm breastfeeding," I told her. "I want advice on how to nurse discreetly, not how to give a bottle."
Her reply? "I know. I'm telling you. Put the powdered formula...."


That's just one example of a doctor's idea of breastfeeding advice. I have more. If you want real breastfeeding advice, tune out anyone who even mentions formula. Not that all are bad, but it's too time consuming to try to weed out the ones who are really formula supporters who maybe do a little breastfeeding from the breastfeeding supporters who maybe give a little formula. Sure, 100% breastfeeders are a little militant, but at least they won't spring formula on you at an unecpected or inconvenient time. In my opinion, it's worth it to let the more militant attitudes roll off my back, rather than face an unexpected push for formula. And, surprisingly, some of the things they mention that seem unimportant can surface, and you'll be ready with the info they provided.

Sillysapling, good luck with your child. I know when a disappointment is new that there is a strong desire to talk about it. That's normal. I just felt it wasn't really helping this dialogue. I'm sorry I said that so insensitively.
post #38 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies. 

 

I was supposed to see her a few days ago, she wanted me to pick up the pump I let her borrow, but I totally forgot and stood her up (by complete accident.) I've only texted her once since then. I'm sure she is doing fine, she was able to leave the baby with her boyfriend for a little bit and get some fresh air. I kept assuring her (earlier) that our first baby is so overwhelming, that whatever she chooses, her baby will still have a loving mama. 

 

Thanks for the advice guys!

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