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#181 of 209 Old 12-13-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BugMacGee View Post
Why the heck would BF'ing moms care about the risks of formula. Why are moms who are already BF'ing the audience?
BF moms are part of the audience. Knowing the risks of FF would help them keep breastfeeding, instead of concluding -- esp. after a difficult start, which happens to many women -- or any sort of rough patch -- that it's just not worth it, and that FF is just as good.

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Isn't the point of breastfeeding promotion to try to get more moms to BF to begin with?
I did mention that undecided (i.e., pregnant) moms are another part of the audience, but there are other targets too. I could have been more complete. (See songbh's list upthread.) But I stand by the main point of my last post, which was/is clear and moreover, has been stated by me and many others dozens of times now.... This message is not aimed at FF moms!

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#182 of 209 Old 12-13-2007, 03:22 PM
 
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Isn't the point of breastfeeding promotion to try to get more moms to BF to begin with?
I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but the way many of us are framing this issue ... no. The point of breastfeeding promotion is to work towards removing the many societal, cultural, institutional, economic, and practical barriers to breastfeeding.

I firmly believe that if our society gets on board with this goal, most mothers will breastfeed as a matter of course, without being specially targeted for behavioral changes.
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#183 of 209 Old 12-13-2007, 03:35 PM
 
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I wish that OBGYNs would do more to educate their patients about the facts concerning BF/FF. By the time you get to the pediatrician it's usually too late. Parents have already chosen and begun their method of feeding. If someone is in the office with their exclusively formula fed two month old, they can't just start lactating again. I think this is the problem often. People don't really get into the discussion typically until after the baby is born. Then what's a FF mom to do? No wonder they go on the defensive.

But personally I do find it amazing when I see formula ads even on benign things like pens and floor mats. Really, you don't have to bash it, but don't promote it!
Mostly, I agree with this - but as others have pointed out, the pediatricians can at least keep bf-ing mums bf-ing. The mother of the two-month-old FF isn't going to relactate (most likely). The mother of the two-day-old or two-week-old who is struggling, though, she's a prime target for the marketers. And if she comes into my ped's office, she sees The Similac Mothers' Club sign-up pamphlets, the Nestle "What to feed your baby chart (Breastmilk is best. Ask your doctor. Or the nurse wearing the GoodStart pen.)" And the Enfamil Growth chart. So suddenly, since clearly it's ok by the ped, the choice isn't breast or bottle. It's which formula to pick. But at least my pediatrician can sleep easy at night knowing no mother is going home feeling guilty from HER practice. Unless they're co-sleeping

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#184 of 209 Old 12-13-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by songbh View Post
I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but the way many of us are framing this issue ... no. The point of breastfeeding promotion is to work towards removing the many societal, cultural, institutional, economic, and practical barriers to breastfeeding.

I firmly believe that if our society gets on board with this goal, most mothers will breastfeed as a matter of course, without being specially targeted for behavioral changes.

Unfortuanately we cannot even work much on getting more mothers to breastfeed when the support is not there for those who are already doing so. That's where "dangers of formula" comes into play directed at doctors and society in general. Only once the risks are known will the support systems catch up.
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#185 of 209 Old 12-13-2007, 04:46 PM
 
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It's not a dream land, it's Canada.
Well, yes and that does help us here, but it's not a panacea. For one thing, not all mothers can afford to take the year off and some choose not to. An acquaintance is a family doc - and she was telling me how she weaned her 4.5 month old because she's going back to work in Jan. There are so many problems with that statement (why wean? why now?), but the reason underlying it is formula is adequate and really it's a heroic feat to keep breastfeeding.

The analogy I like is that breastfeeding is currently seen like weight gain recommendations in pregnancy - great if you can manage it, but let's be realistic, it's not on for many real-life moms.

Whereas breastfeeding should like using a car seat - something you must do, even if your aby is disagreeable about it and it's a major PITA. No one accuses the insurance industry of making parents feel guilty about car seats. The analogy isn't perfect because there are situations where formula is necessary (although there are also situations where a regular carseat can't work either).

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#186 of 209 Old 12-13-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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OK, I always intended to breastfeed, but I have to say that reading about the risks of formula, especially the risks of early formula supplementation, really did keep me on the right track. I had some confidence issues about nursing since my mother had a rocky start nursing me (I kept losing weight for 2 weeks and she supplemented nursing with formula and later cow milk, although she nursed me 2.5 years, go Mom!) and I have PCOS, which can cause low milk supply. So I really wanted to follow best practices in hopes of getting a good start to nursing. The stuff I read about formula's effect on newborn gut flora was enough to keep us on the exclusive breastfeeding track and I'm really glad I read it. We had a rough start and had I not known about some of the issues that can come from early formula supplementation, I probably would have supplemented casually and possibly had problems from that.

That information changed my view of formula. Before I read some of the risks of formula, I thought of breastmilk as "ideal" and "extra credit" and formula as sort of a neutral source of calories and nutrition. After I read about some of the risks, I felt it would be more worth it to strive for a formula-free infancy for my daughter.
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#187 of 209 Old 12-13-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by songbh View Post
No, it really isn't stating the truth. It is stating "facts" that are premised on a big fat cultural lie: that formula is normal and just fine.

Have you read the Weissinger article "Watch Your Language!"? What you keep insisting over and over ("benefits of BFing" wins more converts) is precisely the notion that she tears apart in that piece.

I'm sorely tempted to start a new thread in which we could walk through that article point by point. Maybe after I finish all my grading next week.
I think this is a good idea, Songbh! Definitely something to consider doing; and many of us are going to be heading off to "lactivism land" (or "BF Defense Mode") over the holidays as we visit friends/relatives who haven't a clue or are unsupportive. A good discussion of the article might help all of us with our tone/approach and actually couching our discussions in the most effective terms.

In terms of this thread itself - it's been interesting reading. I think we have far diverged from the original question, which was couched exclusively within a health care paradigm - the OB (or MW I suppose) providing factual information on the risks of not breastfeeding an infant. Frankly, I think especially from an HCP, the "just the facts ma'am" approach (unvarnished and even harsh truth) could/would be very effective with a mother who is undecided (or even has decided to bf, but doesn't necessarily know much about bf - and there are lots of women like this, who plan to bf but don't know much and could easily be derailed by that lack of knowledge).

It is important, whether the information is from an HCP or random friend/family or etc., that besides the "risks" discussion, we also provide information about good resources - books, support groups, online support etc. Even knowing that formula puts a child at risk, doesn't mean that a mother who doesn't have support is going to make it. And I'd imagine that those mothers feel the most guilt, potentially.

The key for all of us to remember, IMO, is that breastfeeding isn't better. It's normal. And all the "benefits" of breastfeeding (at least the ones that show up in health outcomes) -- are normal baseline levels. The ff'd infants are being denied normal infant food [And yes, sometimes ff is all that is available to that infant - so that's what's given - and it's lifesaving - but it is NOT "normal" food].

Any time we say bf is better - we are implying that ff is normal. And it's not.

At the same time, I think we can say how convenient we found bf to be; how nice it was when babe was sick, or etc. (or for traveling) - in those contexts, while bf may be normal, emphasizing how much better it is than ff can pay off.

Not all who wander are lost.
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#188 of 209 Old 12-13-2007, 07:05 PM
 
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That information changed my view of formula. Before I read some of the risks of formula, I thought of breastmilk as "ideal" and "extra credit" and formula as sort of a neutral source of calories and nutrition. After I read about some of the risks, I felt it would be more worth it to strive for a formula-free infancy for my daughter.
I also was motivated to push through my initial (3 month) struggle with BFing because I considered formula a RISK; knowing it would alter DS's normal gut development kept me from supplementing to give my searingly painful nipples a break. And everyone but DH and my LC were pressuring me to FF, with the widely accepted "we all turn out ok" rhetoric.

At the risk of fanning the flames, we do need to consider that moms who have FF in the past may be part of our audience: women often do go on to have other children and hopefully will consider BFing the second or third time around. While I believe the facts in terms of FFing RISKS should obviously be presented in a thoughful rather than obnoxious way, they MUST be presented. Do I think those moms should feel guilty? No. There's a big picture which comprimises individual agency with this issue. But I cannot be responsible for another person's feelings or reactions, and many women will inevitably feel guilt.

This discussion hits home with me because after reading the language article, I believe I unintentionally contributed to my sister's recent BFing failure. Because she FF her 1st and I was afraid of "making" her feel guilty, I consciously withheld information about formula risks and instead focused on the benefits of BFing and the amazing, unduplicable (that is not a word, sorry, sleep deprived--DS is teething) qualities of breastmilk. She definitely saw FFing as the norm, and when she developed thrush during week two of BFing this time she quit b/c formula is "good enough anyway" so BFing was not worth the temporary pain and effort. At this point, she specifically told me not to say anything bad about formula because she would rather believe false information than feel guilty. I've honored that with her, but I think approaching the general public that way, including moms who may have FF in the past (again, not a direct audience, but it would be hard enough to avoid them in this country), will only continue to sabotage BFing success.
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#189 of 209 Old 12-14-2007, 01:03 AM
 
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Again, I have read your evidence. It's all still.opinion.

I'll tell you what would change my mind. Find me a study done by an impartial party wherein a large selection of feeding method-undecided pregnant women were explained their feeding choices. Educate one group about the dangers of formula, and educate the other group with the same information, but phrased as benefits of breastfeeding.

If, after comparing the results, the women who were explained the dangers of FFing had a higher rate of BFing, I would gladly change my tune.
The HHS campaign that got squashed by the formula industry (as reported by the Washington Post) http://www.emaxhealth.com/20/15572.html was based on marketing research done by the ad agency McKinney + Silver, along with scientists from NIH and the CDC. Chances are that marketing research is not publicly available; most marketing studies are not widely published. According to various summaries I have read, including this good presentation from Washington WIC here http://www2.doh.wa.gov/cfh/WIC/mater...d_messages.ppt
this market research showed the following results:

Quote:
Key findings of the focus group research

While aware of the benefits of breastfeeding participants:
perceived no real consequences with formula feeding
described the difference between formula feeding and breastfeeding as having a nutritious meal verses having a nutritious meal with a vitamin pill.
thought that breastfeeding provided “extra benefits” above and beyond what is needed.

The following were not compelling messages:
Health benefits for the baby
Health benefits for the mother
Economic advantages to breastfeeding
Higher cost of formula feeding
Ecological benefits of breastfeeding
I will try to track down an original of this marketing research, but these published summaries are IMO very interesting.

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#190 of 209 Old 12-14-2007, 01:12 AM
 
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I participated in the media training to help support the HHS campaign. What MaryJaneLouise said is EXACTLY what they told the hundreds of people who participated in the media training. They did extensive research on this campaign and found out that everyone already knows breast is best and that the message is NOT working.
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#191 of 209 Old 12-14-2007, 10:04 AM
 
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Peggy O'Mara has an excellent editorial at Mothering's web page:

http://www.mothering.com/guest_edito...place/123.html

Twin boys 04/2005 : Support breastfeeding rights at FirstRight.Org : warrior
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#192 of 209 Old 12-14-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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How did the tide turn against cigarettes? A few nasty lawsuits? Reputable scientific studies?
Shame advertising is what I believe turned the tide against cigarettes. No one wants to be looked down on for doing something. I really don't think it was about the health risks.
I'm not saying that this is the way that breastfeeding campaigning should run, (actually much of advertising works this way and I think much of the advertising we see/hear is unethical) but I know that if formula becomes associated with shame, then it will work because it's the way people work.
For example, when breastfeeding in public became increasingly associated with shame and indecency, less women breastfed.
Shame and guilt are awful feelings, I know this all too well. But they are highly powerful social motivators.
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#193 of 209 Old 12-14-2007, 05:06 PM
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We can't use the "Breast is Best" slogan because Nestle uses it in their marketing!

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At Nestle, we believe breast milk is best for babies. But if breastfeeding is not chosen, is discontinued or if a supplement is desired, you can feel good about choosing Nestle Good Start Supreme DHA & ARA.
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#194 of 209 Old 12-14-2007, 08:40 PM
 
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This is my first post though I have been reading this forum ever since I first got pregnant. I want to tell my story because I think it is relevant to this topic.

Prior to giving birth to my son, I full intended to breastfeed exclusively. I bought several breastfeeding books which I read cover to cover, went to a couple La Leche Leauge meetings, took a bf class, and met with a lactation consultant.

My son was born via C section and from the very beginning I had trouble establishing supply. I did EVERYTHING possible and still do to keep supply up-- breastfeeding and pumping non stop, fenugreek and milk thistle, etc. etc. and I met with lacatation consultants and had several visits from La Leche League leaders to try and help me. I even used that nursing tube that you use so your baby gets the nourishmnent while stimuilating your breast to produce more (can't remember what it's called.) I kept my son at my breast almost 24 hours a day and when he wasn't breastfeeding I was pumping; I almost never slept. All of this helped some but my supply has never been what it should be.

About 3 weeks after my baby was born, my C section wound opened up. I also started suffering from post partum depression. I was in enormous pain but still kept up the bf'ing and pumping routine despite the fact that doing so barely gave me a chance to eat or sleep and I was going downhill in every way possible. My son was gaining weight very slowly and there was some concern from the pediatrician over possible failure to thrive (he was kind of borderline.) But despite all this-- my son's slow weight gain, my deteriorating mental and physical health--the lactation consultants and the La Leche League ladies kept telling me essentially everything that I have read in this forum-- that if I didn't breastfeed exclusively, my son was going to suffer and we wouldn't bond fully; he would have all kinds of health problems as he got older (never mind that he was having health problems NOW due to such a miniscule weight gain.) I was told if f I supplemented with formula, it would sabotage breastfeeding. These breastfeeding advocates told me this despite knowing that my son's weight gain was slow, that I was suffering from a deep open wound, and that I was depresssed. I was such a mess, caught between a rock and hard place with very little support except being told to stick it out. My husband, who had been very pro breastfeeding could see that I was in despair and begged me to consider other options but I wouldn't hear of it, convinced I would be a terrible mother if I supplemented. Then one day, I pretty much collapsed and I knew something had to give.

After much soul searching, I decided to supplement with formula and I cried my eyes out when I gave my son a bottle as I was so sure he'd never want to breastfeed again. Turns out my son still loves breastfeeding and happily switches between breast and bottle. My son gets about 60% breastmilk and 40% formula and is thriving and happy, at the 95 percentile in height and weight at 10 weeks. That is the best I can do with my circumstances being what they are.

As much as I am very pro breastfeeding and love sharing that special bond with my son, I absolutely hate the extremism that I feel a certain sub section of breastfeeding advocates attempt to shove down people's throats. Breastfeeding exclusively does not work for everyone for many legitimate reasons and touting a one size fits all message about feeding is in my opinion quite dangerous. In the "olden days" people had wet nurses for that reason, and sometimes, their children even died from lack of nourishment. Yes, forumla is not as good as breastmilk but it is a viable altyernative and to compare it to smoking is enormously shortsighed in terms of the effect it has on vulnerable women who are attempting to make the best choices they can. It is so presumptuous to assume that mothers give their babies formula simply because they are lazy or don't know any better. As well, it would be far more helpful if breastfeeding advocates acknowledged that there is in fact an entire spectrum of feeding, and that if breastfeeding exclusively doesn't work for whatever reason, it is possible to combine different feeding methods; mostly breastmilk, or half breastmilk is better than no breastmilk. I think some people would be more likely to breastfeed if the information they received from advocates wasn't so all or nothing.

In a way, some of this extremism reminds me of the rigidity with which everyone pushed formula and putting your baby on a scehdule in the 1950's only now it's the other end of the spectrum.

Deciding to supplement basically saved my life and my relationship with my son.

Sorry to be long winded, but I felt this was relevant to the topic at hand.

SaHM to :Elijah and Evelyn (born 5/9/09) and : Ethan (born 10/4/07), and loving wife to : Matt (married 8/20/05)
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#195 of 209 Old 12-14-2007, 09:51 PM
 
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This is not a personal attack on FF'ing Mom's exclusive or just BFing Mom's who have to supplement. This is a discussion about a specific PSA campaign which is not working and the obvious problems that arrise when you are using FF as a baseline for normality. Some people need formula, no one in this discussion is questioning that. No one yet has said Formula is poison or exactly like smoking. I think that the comparisons between smoking and FFing stem from the fact that the two have been and are marketed in such a strikingly similar way that many wonder if PSA campaigns similar to the smoking cessation PSAs would be the most effective. The fact is that Breastfeeding or breastmilk is the biological norm for humans and when we stray from the biological norm there are risks involved. See it isn't even about formula itself really, its about how human physeoligy tolerates formula. The question put forth by the OP is still increadibly valid, why aren't people being told by their healthcare providers about this? Because some Women might get their feeling hurt. More likely because Dr. get big kick backs from the formula company it just doesn't sound as nice. Sorry i'm not buying the guilt thing at the expense of modern children's health.

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#196 of 209 Old 12-14-2007, 09:54 PM
 
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I think if more women knew that formula feeding had risks, there may be more outrage and demands for bfing support. Since formula is "just as good" in this culture, there is nothing to be angry about. Just my two cents.

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#197 of 209 Old 12-14-2007, 10:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lucy In the Sky View Post

Deciding to supplement basically saved my life and my relationship with my son.

Sorry to be long winded, but I felt this was relevant to the topic at hand.
Lucy, thank you for sharing your story. Like you, I had major medical problems associated with bfing, and had to supplement with formula. If you would like to join us over in BF Challenges, there are many of us with supply problems. Check out the stickie at the top of that forum for more information.

And yet I can see the clear logic and necessity of informing the public of the dangers of formula feeding. The two topics are completely separate in my mind. I have no guilt at all about supplementing; it was absolutely necessary.

I do wish that our culture was more bfing friendly. If that were the case, I might have been more open to accepting donor milk to supplement with. I think if I were to have another baby, that I would seek that out to help protect my LOs health.

Can you not see the difference here?

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#198 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 01:15 AM
 
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I think it makes more sense to compare food with food.

Formula is to breastmilk as a happy meal is to a healthfood buffet.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#199 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 02:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lucy In the Sky View Post
T
As much as I am very pro breastfeeding... Breastfeeding exclusively does not work for everyone... but it is a viable alternative (formula) ... there is in fact an entire spectrum of feeding...
It's very hard to really grasp the pro-breastfeeding message there isn't it? Much like goodstart says breastfeeding is best BUT....


It's totally understandable that some women will struggle to breastfeed in situations like yours. I'm just using this as an example of the problem at large. Breast is best BUT- *is* a HUGE problem imo. I hope someday we hear more breast is best AND here is how I can help you.
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#200 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 02:29 AM
 
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This is my first post though I have been reading this forum ever since I first got pregnant. I want to tell my story because I think it is relevant to this topic.
Welcome out of lurkdom, and thank you for trusting us with your story.

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My son was born via C section and from the very beginning I had trouble establishing supply. I did EVERYTHING possible and still do to keep supply up-- ... All of this helped some but my supply has never been what it should be.
How hard this must have been. I'm so sorry you have had this experience. I think it must be especially painful when, as sometimes happens, there really is no explanation for a supply problem.

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About 3 weeks after my baby was born, my C section wound opened up. I also started suffering from post partum depression. I was in enormous pain but still kept up the bf'ing and pumping routine despite the fact that doing so barely gave me a chance to eat or sleep and I was going downhill in every way possible. My son was gaining weight very slowly and there was some concern from the pediatrician over possible failure to thrive (he was kind of borderline.)
This must have been a terrifying time for you.

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But despite all this-- my son's slow weight gain, my deteriorating mental and physical health--the lactation consultants and the La Leche League ladies kept telling me essentially everything that I have read in this forum-- that if I didn't breastfeed exclusively, my son was going to suffer and we wouldn't bond fully; he would have all kinds of health problems as he got older (never mind that he was having health problems NOW due to such a miniscule weight gain.) I was told if f I supplemented with formula, it would sabotage breastfeeding. These breastfeeding advocates told me this despite knowing that my son's weight gain was slow, that I was suffering from a deep open wound, and that I was depresssed. I was such a mess, caught between a rock and hard place with very little support except being told to stick it out.
It truly saddens me to hear this. It sounds as if you were not well supported through this ordeal by those whom you trusted to guide you.

If it helps to hear this, please believe that this is not how LLL Leaders and IBCLCs are trained to handle cases of low milk supply, abnormally slow weight gain, or PPD. In my volunteer work in breastfeeding support, I have often suggested formula supplementation in similar cases -- we are trained that rule number one is "Feed the baby!" And when I discuss the risks of non-emergency routine formula use (which is not the category that includes your experience), I NEVER tell a mother that using formula WILL harm her baby. I share information about risks and help her to weigh the pros and cons of all her options.

Quote:
... Turns out my son still loves breastfeeding and happily switches between breast and bottle. My son gets about 60% breastmilk and 40% formula and is thriving and happy, at the 95 percentile in height and weight at 10 weeks. That is the best I can do with my circumstances being what they are.
I'm very glad to hear that he is thriving and that you are doing better as well. I trust your incision healed up okay and that you are physically recovered from birth? How's the PPD?

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As much as I am very pro breastfeeding and love sharing that special bond with my son, I absolutely hate the extremism that I feel a certain sub section of breastfeeding advocates attempt to shove down people's throats.
I hate it too.

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Breastfeeding exclusively does not work for everyone for many legitimate reasons and touting a one size fits all message about feeding is in my opinion quite dangerous. In the "olden days" people had wet nurses for that reason, and sometimes, their children even died from lack of nourishment.
Sometimes breastfeeding doesn't work out no matter what anyone does. There have always been and likely always will be cases in which breastfeeding doesn't work as it should; as you note, this is undoubtedly how the practice of wet nursing arose in the first place (although many other social, cultural, and economic forces also were involved at certain times and places throughout history.)

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Yes, forumla is not as good as breastmilk but it is a viable altyernative and to compare it to smoking is enormously shortsighed in terms of the effect it has on vulnerable women who are attempting to make the best choices they can.
The comparison to smoking is at a macro or structural level. Formula doesn't equal cigarettes, but there are many similarities between the actions of the two industries that produce and market them. Given the way that unnecessary formula supplementation impacts a breastfeeding mother's milk supply (which, I again stress, does not describe your situation), even the "addiction" logic has its parallel in formula marketing -- if the "free" samples get used early and often enough, there's a good chance that mother/baby dyad will be "hooked" on formula for the next year.

Do you understand that when we compare formula to smoking we are not accusing individual mothers of doing something harmful to their babies? Rather, we are critiquing the process by which so many mothers are misled into the non-emergency routine use of formula -- which, just in case anyone is tempted to misunderstand me, does NOT describe your experiences.

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It is so presumptuous to assume that mothers give their babies formula simply because they are lazy or don't know any better. As well, it would be far more helpful if breastfeeding advocates acknowledged that there is in fact an entire spectrum of feeding, and that if breastfeeding exclusively doesn't work for whatever reason, it is possible to combine different feeding methods; mostly breastmilk, or half breastmilk is better than no breastmilk. I think some people would be more likely to breastfeed if the information they received from advocates wasn't so all or nothing.
I agree, and this is why I work hard to avoid assumptions. And if exclusive breastfeeding isn't an option, of course I encourage partial breastfeeding if that is possible.

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Deciding to supplement basically saved my life and my relationship with my son.
I'm glad you and your son have had a good outcome after a very traumatic beginning.

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Sorry to be long winded, but I felt this was relevant to the topic at hand.
Have you seen the length of some of my posts? I wouldn't call yours long-winded, LOL!

However, I'm going to ask you to be open to seeing that your story -- which, based on what you have described here, involved severe chronic unexplained low supply, abnormally slow weight gain approaching FTT diagnosis, post-operative health complications, PPD, and apparently a whole series of over-the-top browbeating narrowminded lactation support providers -- actually has very little to do with the topic of this thread: how and why to change the mainstream culture's attitudes to include awareness of the risks of non-emergency routine formula use.

If your experiences and our discussion in this thread intersect at all, I will suggest that the intersection is here:

"True" low milk supply (as opposed to the low milk supply that results from common BFing mismanagement like scheduling feeds, giving unnecessary supplemental feeds, etc.) is much more rare than most people in our culture believe it to be. Because of the widespread belief that any problem with breastfeeding must indicate "not enough milk," the first thing an IBCLC or LLL Leader may consider when a mother reports low milk supply problems is that this mother may be misinterpreting what is happening. That IBCLC or LLL Leader may then become more focused on educating or convincing the mother to persist with exclusive breastfeeding rather than focusing on an accurate diagnosis of the problem.

Breastfeeding support providers can often feel that they are doing battle with an entire culture of myths and misinformation. If they carry this attitude into a helping situation with a mother, they can all too easily forget to listen closely and to trust that the mother truly is the expert on her baby.

I'm not condoning how your IBCLCs etc. handled things or how they spoke to you. I'm just suggesting that the mainstream cultural acceptance of formula as normal might be part of what made your support team so apparently pigheaded and insensitive.

On the lactivism forum, we tend to look at the bigger picture, the structural issues, the political aspects of breastfeeding. It can be very hard to "go there" with one's own personal experiences, and I applaud your courage for sharing yours with us here. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts if you feel led to post more.
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#201 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 03:33 AM
 
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This may have been brought up in previous posts - I didn't read every page. My take on why docs don't warn of the dangers of FF is Formula Fed Babies = More Visits. More Visits = Mo Money in the pockets of Peds. Can you imagine how slow ped offices would be if everyone breastfed??? They'd be twiddling their thumbs all day long! : )
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#202 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 03:41 AM
 
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OK, so what about supplementation? Babies are still getting the protective benefits of breastmilk or did at some point. Is formula still dangerous if baby was breastfed the first six weeks? From what I've read, some of that protection is ongoing.

And FWIW, one of our local peds won't accept non BFed babes into her practice.
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#203 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 10:31 AM
 
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OK, so what about supplementation? Babies are still getting the protective benefits of breastmilk or did at some point. Is formula still dangerous if baby was breastfed the first six weeks? From what I've read, some of that protection is ongoing.
There are risks associated with formula use even if the baby is continuing to receive some breastmilk and even if the baby was exclusively breastfed for the first six weeks of life. This is why the WHO and AAP recommendations are for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, followed by the introduction of appropriate complementary foods (solids) along with continued breastfeeding for at least the first year (AAP) or two (WHO).

Of course partial breastfeeding is safer than no breastfeeding -- or, to reframe the discourse to reflect breastfeeding as the societal norm, supplementation is less risky than complete weaning to formula.

Also of course, given Lucy in the Sky's post above, the risks of formula supplementation are far outweighed by the risks associated with malnourishment if mom isn't making enough milk and donor milk isn't available.

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And FWIW, one of our local peds won't accept non BFed babes into her practice.
Wow, I've never heard of that. I would have a real problem with that attitude in a healthcare professional. Helping profession and all that, kwim?
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#204 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 10:49 AM
 
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Somebody brought up Happy Meals, and that made me wonder if instead of smoking, a better comparison would be with trans fats? They're being banned in restaurants in NYC.

dd #1 11/15/07 and dd #2 unplanned and so glad the midwife was on her way!
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#205 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 11:21 AM
 
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Honestly? That kind of inflammatory statement (re: the "dangers" of formula) will only serve to alienate and malign mothers who have had to choose formula over what they KNOW is best -- breastmilk.

There are a million ways to promote the benefits of breastmilk. But making the mothers the bad guys in all this is incredibly short-sighted. I'm sure you know that there are a number of valid reasons why a mother can't BF or supply BM to her child. And it's not always about selfishness or lack of willpower.

So how about contacting your congressman about BF-friendly workplaces ... or extending short-term disability (like here in NJ) terms to longer than 6 weeks so that a better BFing relationship builds between mother and baby ... or eliminating "freebies" in doctors offices and hospitals so that moms that are on the fence about whether they want to BF are encouraged to at least try breastfeeding first? For women to choose BFing first, and to continue to BF longer, our society needs to take some serious steps in creating a BF-friendly environment.

That's my opinion, anyway. I breastfed my son for 22 months, and am still BFing my 15mo daughter because that is what I chose to do after educating myself ... but I might have made a different choice if I was not a SAHM or if I had a medical condition that required me to stop BFing.

And even after all my research on the subject, if someone told me how "dangerous" formula is to babies, I would have rolled my eyes at them. Formula is second best, for sure, but dangerous? Come on.
I smoked for 10 years even though I knew all the dangers. I just didn't believe them until I saw a friend of my grandfather hooked up to oxygen and looking like Death was standing at his shoulder then not being able to catch a breath or be as physically active without being winded really made a difference. My mother threatening us as children to cut our hands off if we ever smoked didn't make an impact, but seeing and feeling what it actually does to your body did. All the "Smoking kills" stuff didn't phase me. If someone had told me that I would be huffing and puffing up a few flights of stairs at less than 30 years of age, then I would've listened. The way things were portrayed was that the risks were after a lifetime of smoking and only caught up to you when you were old anyway and you have to die of something when you're old...

As to the valid reasons for giving only formula by a birth mother, the only truly valid one I recognize without going into excuses or misinformation is that the mother medically can't by either being dead or having a medical condition where it would either put her or the baby in danger. Or if the baby has a metabolic condition where they can't digest certain parts of the milk. Adoptive mothers can breastfeed even if it's not exclusively. It's hard and takes dedication, but it CAN be done. Even working moms CAN breastfeed partially if not completely. It's not about making someone the bad guy (or mom), it's about owning your choices and admitting when you're making an excuse rather than doing the right thing. Generally if you feel bad or guilty about something, then there is a reason for that that probably began with an excuse of some sort. If you have a true reason for not breastfeeding AT ALL, then you have no reason to feel guilty or bad and should tell all comers to shove it with confidence.

I understand that some mothers have valid medical reasons that formula is necessary. That is not as common as some people would have you believe. Heck, for at least 3 cases in the past month that I personally know of, myself included in this, have been told to formula feed by HCPs who had either bad information on the medical condition or medication prescribed, or were too lazy to investigate other more involved (on their part) treatments. I have run into only 2 cases in the past year where breastfeeding was completely contraindicated because of the medical condition or medications. One was a transplant recipient, and the other had rheumatoid arthritis and would be unable to care for herself let alone her child off her meds. I also understand the need for some women to go back to work. This doesn't mean they have to make an either or choice. Even some breastmilk helps protect babies against the risks of formula feeding, even if it's just once a day. Both of the above reasons are more about lack of support than anything else.

Yes. Formula is dangerous, as in it carries certain risks.

First is that you don't know what they say is in the can is actually in there. Most of the formula recalls I've read involve an Oops in that they didn't put key nutritional components in that batch that had somehow resulted in an infant being injured by not having that vitamin or mineral in their diet.

Second, since you aren't feeding from the breast, you're running the risk of food poisoning from either tainted water, not quite clean feeding tools (bottles, cups, etc), or by leaving mixed formula out at room temperature too long. Even the most fastidious mom can miss a spot or be too tired and not sanitize properly, or premix formula to carry along and be out longer than expected. Then there is the issue of contaminated formula, which is especially common if you're using powder instead of concentrate or ready to feed. Nothing you can really do about it when it comes to your house with the bugs already in the can especially if you're not mixing with hot enough water to kill it.

Third, artificial feeding methods have been shown to increase ear infections.

Fourth, your FF baby is 4 times more likely to die of gastrointestinal or respiratory infection in the first 2 months of life than a BF baby. Don't know about you, but knowing that my BF baby is 1/3 less likely to die because of her diet seems significant to me. I mean, if my OB was freaking out over a less than 1% chance of uterine rupture with my VBAC attempt, shouldn't we really jump for joy and sing it from the rooftops at a 33% lower risk of death for our children?

I can support and encourage women who know better to breastfeed all day long, but if they aren't getting the support at home or work or otherwise, then all my cheerleading, books, brochures, and websites are not going to amount to a hill of beans even if breastfeeding does come easy for them. Formula is a medical food made for the most part by drug companies. Why is it so unacceptable to talk about it and treat it like any other drug which carries risks and benefits?

Anna
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#206 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 11:48 AM
 
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Somebody brought up Happy Meals, and that made me wonder if instead of smoking, a better comparison would be with trans fats? They're being banned in restaurants in NYC.
Well, I'm not sure b/c even McDonald's doesn't try to claim that Happy Meals as healthy as a salad - they just claim they're more fun.

Smoking is a helpful analogy in the sense that you are talking about roughly analogous structures: big, deep-pocketed corporations with seemingly infinite marketing resources and a single goal vs. public health advocates with fragmented focus and limited resources involving a product which is socially accepted, but whose health risks are largely unknown.

For the record, both my kiddos were supplemented with formula, because they needed it, but if I hadn't known about the risks of not BF, we might have easily ended up FF due to all the difficulties.

Supplementation should occur when it's medically required, as medically prescribed, which is why the WHO Code prohibits the marketing direct to consumers. The trouble is that it often happens because the risks of bottlefeeding are not understood, so a bottle is given for less compelling reasons.

Michelle, mama to Isabelle (03/04) and Tom (02/07)
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#207 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 12:07 PM
 
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Well, I'm not sure b/c even McDonald's doesn't try to claim that Happy Meals as healthy as a salad - they just claim they're more fun.

Smoking is a helpful analogy in the sense that you are talking about roughly analogous structures: big, deep-pocketed corporations with seemingly infinite marketing resources and a single goal vs. public health advocates with fragmented focus and limited resources involving a product which is socially accepted, but whose health risks are largely unknown.
The comparison I wanted to make was with trans fats. Same megacorps, same "they're just as good as what nature makes," same recently proven links with diseases in children & adults.

And, FWIW, in developing countries McD's & Coke etc are billed as being good for you. Just like cigarettes once were in the US.

dd #1 11/15/07 and dd #2 unplanned and so glad the midwife was on her way!
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#208 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 02:15 PM
 
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Formula is a medical food made for the most part by drug companies. Why is it so unacceptable to talk about it and treat it like any other drug which carries risks and benefits?
Anna
This view of formula works well, IMO!
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#209 of 209 Old 12-15-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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That is the best I can do with my circumstances being what they are.
Our best is all we can do, and given your situation, BFing as much as you are is an achievment. I hope you will continue to share your story so you can inspire others to work through lesser issues and to not give up altogether.

I'm sorry you were treated so poorly by your BFing support people. As PP have said, none of us here believe that approach is warranted.
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