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Old 02-12-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Hmmm..... It doesn't make me sad when I see formula fed babies. they aren't loved any less than my baby, and I don't know the family situation. It's not my place to judge.

That said, it seems like mostly everyone I know (both mainstream and otherwise) at least TRIED. And I think it's wonderful that everyone is at least trying.

There has only been one mom in my circles who flat out didn't even try. She said it was really gross to even think about it and she didn't want to inconvenience others. This mama said she once baby-sat a BF baby and the poor thing cried the whole time because it wouldn't take a bottle. She said she would never do that to a sitter. So she didn't BF because she didn't want to inconvenience a baby sitter (and she's a SAHM). Nothing (and I mean NOTHING) anyone said to her would change her mind. And the sad thing is that her entire family is obese, diabetic, asthmatic, etc. My family has a similar background and I am willing to do just about anything to give my son a good start- breastfeeding seemed like a good way to help his body avoid some of the problems we see in my family.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer"
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Old 02-12-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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I wonder what the stats are for women in Canada with attempting and continuing BFing....?

I'm in the UK. 91% of women commence breastfeeding at birth. 6 days PP around 31% are still going. So if i see a woman in the street who is bottle feeding, there's only a 9% chance she didn't want or try to BF - too small a chance for ME to assume she didn't even try for no good reason. The main issue to me is why, if 91% of women clearly WANT to BF, it takes less than a week for a majority of them to switch to formula. The answer of course is lack of support, lack of education, lack of care, and a society which isn't bothered either way and is only swayed by its own selfish priorities - i.e. workplaces who would rather you FF so they don't have to provide a place and equipment for you to pump, health visitors who don't care if you FF so long as your baby gains well enough not to flag in any way as a feeding concern so they have to do more follow-ups and paper-work. Right down to a husband who doesn't care if you FF because he wants to sleep and thinks that will make a difference, and besides his mom says FF is better than BF anyway.

It's a pity it's so hard to commercialise BFing. Exercise is good for us, and thanks to the advertising of big gyms there is no societal stigma against staying in shape. But BFing? Pfffft? Who can make a buck THERE?
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Old 02-12-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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I'll be honest. It does make me angry. The more I learn about it, though, the more I blame our culture and even the medical community for making bottles the norm, and making women question their ability to feed their babies. Here I think we need to differentiate between those who, for one reason or another, cannot breastfeed, and those who choose not to.

In my view, a lot of things are "a pain." It's a pain to take my daughter out of her sling and put her in the carseat to drive a block when I'm out shopping. But I do it to protect my daughter. Would you consider driving your child around town, without putting him/her in a carseat? You're conscientiously taking a risk. The same goes with choosing to formula feed. The benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented. Choosing not to BF is choosing to put your child at a higher risk. (Again, I'm talking here about CHOOSING, not being unable to.)

And guess what? Sometimes what's best isn't what's easy. And I know A TON of people who quit BFing because they were "tired"/"sick of getting up at night." And these women had babies that were a few weeks old, had great breastfeeding relationships, no supply issues, etc.
This is exactly how I feel. 100%.

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Old 02-12-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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I don't know. I get spanked by the Mods when I start in why people choose formula when they are capable of breastfeeding. It is also still a trend in the parenting in my community (I don't live in Crunchy Town), too. I think it is bizarre, and it bothers me. I do not think that formula feeding would be easier. I was really lucky, I guess. Put babe to boob, feed babe. Yes, my nips cracked, yes I got mastitis, yes I was tired being the only one up at night, yes my kid bit me, yes I got tired of being the human pacifier all night long for ever . . . I still don't think it was that hard or that the drawbacks of doing it even came close to the drawbacks of not doing it. I don't get it either.
I totally agree with this post. I admit I am judgemental on people who don't even try as op was talking about. Also moms who get all the advice and don't heed it really bother me.
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Old 02-12-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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Also moms who get all the advice and don't heed it really bother me.
But have you never in your life gone with your gut, despite the advice, and done something your own way? Doesn't everyone have a right to live their own life and pay for their own mistakes along the way? Sure it's sad if you FF and then your kid gets diabetes or something which could have been less likely if you'd BFed, but do you really think mama's in that situation don't care about the diabetes?

We ALL live with our successes and regrets in life. We ALL do things which in retrospect maybe weren't the best idea, and it's pretty clear from a lot of what PP's have written that MANY of us had ideas about parenting which actual parenting shattered - sometimes it takes a kid or two. I recently met a mama of 6 who was REALLY struggling with #6, a high needs baby after 5 mellow ones. It is killing her, and she feels like a complete failure because everything she did with 1-5 is totally irrelevant with 6. Life teaches all of us lessons. Some of us will know "BFing is the way to go" from being little. Some of us will learn it in highschool, some of us will read a magazine, some of us will learn it from friends or relatives, some of us will learn it only when we are already mothers, and some of us will only realise it in retrospect, after we are done having babies. Really, what is the attraction of being angry or even overly interested (unless your interest/input is being sought) about the path of learning another person is on?
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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We ALL live with our successes and regrets in life. We ALL do things which in retrospect maybe weren't the best idea, and it's pretty clear from a lot of what PP's have written that MANY of us had ideas about parenting which actual parenting shattered - sometimes it takes a kid or two. I recently met a mama of 6 who was REALLY struggling with #6, a high needs baby after 5 mellow ones. It is killing her, and she feels like a complete failure because everything she did with 1-5 is totally irrelevant with 6. Life teaches all of us lessons. Some of us will know "BFing is the way to go" from being little. Some of us will learn it in highschool, some of us will read a magazine, some of us will learn it from friends or relatives, some of us will learn it only when we are already mothers, and some of us will only realise it in retrospect, after we are done having babies. Really, what is the attraction of being angry or even overly interested (unless your interest/input is being sought) about the path of learning another person is on?
I think that is very wise. Very wise.

Before I had a baby, I would sometimes think - although not to the point of being outraged, that's just not my personality really - "Why do parents tote their babies around grocery stores in buckets? Why don't they just take them out of the car seat and carry them?"

And then I had my own baby. In the middle of winter. In a cold climate. You think I take my baby out of the car seat in the parking lot with snow coming down every time? Heck no, I tote him inside in his bucket.

Motherhood is teaching me to be humble. I don't know someone else's life. Unless they ask for help, it's none of my beeswax.

Science-loving mama to one little guy (11/09).
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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Motherhood is teaching me to be humble. I don't know someone else's life. Unless they ask for help, it's none of my beeswax.
Beautifully said.

I might have been more willing to agree with the OP about three months ago, before the birth of my first child. We had a heck of a time with breastfeeding, mostly due to tongue tie. It was terribly painful for weeks. I stuck with it, but I also had a supportive husband and family, access to really great IBCLCs, a sympathetic and proactive pediatrician who referred me to a cooperative ENT doctor, access to a world-class children's hospital where the pediatric ENT was located, good insurance to cover all this and enough disposable income to pay for what wasn't covered... You get my point. Take away any one of those factors, and I might have been ready to switch to formula.

I can never know all the factors, so I try not to judge. Even if a mother chooses to formula feed without extenuating medical circumstances, it's her choice and she's still providing for her child. Now that I have some idea of how difficult breastfeeding can be, I can only imagine how hard it would be with no support, no role models, no cultural precedent.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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I think I have a good grasp of the huge long list of reasons why breastfeeding doesn't work out and how based on that experience that some mothers will decide to not even try next time around, I might not agree, but I can understand that it happens, just like I understand that someone who had a traumatic vaginal birth might want a c-section (I happen to believe that provided counselling is given and options explored, that a psychological reason is a medical reason).

What I struggle with and I think this is what the OP is struggling with to, is how that applies to first babies. I do feel that an "I'll give it a try" attitude is a contributing factor to it not working out for a proportion of mums, but there are also many who gave it a try and ended up doing it longer term.

I can still think of lots of reasons that make sense even for first babies, like a woman that has to go back to work in two weeks, drying up as quickly as possible makes sense, but when it's twelve weeks that reason loses credibility, you could breastfeed for two months and give loads of benefits, but still be dried up and done by the time you go back to work.

But then that isn't what the OP seems to be describing, which seems to be how can a well informed family that chooses things like cloth diapers, organic food, somehow also not at least TRY breastfeeding, and on that one, I am stumped, because whilst I realise there must be women who are in that situation who don't even try for reasons such as sexual abuse that they don't want to share, that can't be the explaination for every apparently well informed mother who seems to act as if the breastmilk v. formula just wasn't something that came under their radar are something to decide upon.

I'm stumped!

I like the UK numbers, the don't even try breastfeeding numbers are low enough to be explained away by a mixture of true medical need, mothers who have been abused, 2nd time mothers who had a really bad experience the first time etc. That to me gives so much more scope for dramatic improvement than a country where less are starting, but proportionally more are still going at any given time, because unless you actually start you don't have a chance.

I've met mums in the UK who intended to formula feed and only gave it a try because after the baby was born someone said "why don't you give her one feed" who then ended up feeding for months even though they had ticked the box that said planning to formula feed, obviously there are people who are angry that the box being ticked was ignored, but I've met enough people who ticked that box just because they didn't know any other way and were glad they were given a chance, rather than handed a bottle.

Anne, Christian mummy to Nathanael 05/28/03, Ada 06/10/05, Grace 05/24/09
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Gentle~Mommy :) View Post
One of my close girlfriends just didn't like the feeling of nursing, said it felt sexual put her baby on formula at 1 day old.
actually that is true. for some. with whacky hormones. i had that happen to me. for the first year i was 'turned on' every single time my dd nursed. sometimes at letdown i actually experienced an orgasm.

i can see why she would NOT choose to bf.

however i was hell bent on nursing and am still am. so i didnt let that get to me.

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Old 02-13-2010, 01:42 AM
 
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I wondered the same thing until I attempted this perfectly "natural" feeding solution. It has been the absolute most challenging thing I have ever done. I have had thrush, clogged ducts, blood filled blisters on my nipples, latch issues, engorgement issues, waking up in a sticky puddle of my own milk. I have had a 102 degree fever for two days because of a clogged breast duct. I have been exhausted, holding a screaming baby that just ate an hour before, with no sleep and raging hormones and feeling like a failure. I have oversupply and for weeks I would soak through pads, my bra, my camisole, and my shirt-- stuck at church with large wet spots on my chest. When you are tired and overwhelmed being a new mom, spewing milk can really feel like the end of the world.


And we are only 7 1/2 weeks in. It isn't as romantic as it seems. Worth it, but not easy.

ETA: I think that a lot of people do try. I have a very uncrunchy circle, but most of the moms I know do make an attempt (maybe a weak attempt, but still an attempt). I had a friend that quit after a couple of successful months because she felt by breastfeeding she lost all of her freedom.
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Old 02-13-2010, 01:52 AM
 
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I think the low breastfeeding rates correlate with the trauma and interventions of birth.

First, on a personal level, this over management of birth sends a strong message to the woman. Mama, your body does not work. We will deliver your child. We will save your child [from your broken body].

So why would the woman expect her breasts to work?

Second, the trauma from birth can definitely negatively impact the breastfeeding relationship. This is why I was not breastfed. My mom did not hold me for the first time for days. No one told her she could pump while waiting for me. No one recommended SNS. I was taken away and given formula. They never even asked her.

The c-section rate is soaring. Premature birth is soaring. Birth rape, birth trauma, these are growing topics online with hundreds of women sharing their stories. What is the subversive impact on breastfeeding? Probably huge.

And then, toss in neonatal birth trauma. We now know that infants can feel pain acutely, yet premature and NICU infants are subjected to dozens of painful, invasive tests daily. Circumcision remains at roughly 50% in our country and that has a huge impact on breastfeeding.

Then, those mamas who did miraculously survive everything above, typically have 6 weeks to nurse before returning to work full time. That's not even 2 months of nursing. As one coworker told me: "I don't want to break my heart. I'm not going to even try."



We are really messed up.

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Old 02-13-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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I think the low breastfeeding rates correlate with the trauma and interventions of birth.

.
I couldn't agree more! I think we, as a society, are still turning a blind eye to the horrors of the modern, "normal" birth in this country. Setting aside medical interventions to mom, think of how the average newborn gets treated just after it's born! My mw said she considers it assult. That was one of my favorite things about homebirth was the gentle handling of the baby like it was an actual person! I think that can highly impact baby's willingness and ability to nurse.

As for moms who don't want to nurse...I don't agree with it, I don't like it, I don't understand it, but I don't get angry...

One of my closest friends ff her first two and each have severe constipation problems when her third was born she started to nurse but was giving bottles also by a few days. Then babe was switched to formula only after a week or so. I just didn't understand why she wouldn't want to avoid the same bowel problems because she "didn't feel like" nursing.

I also just recently met a woman who simply said that she just couldn't see herself breastfeeding. I can't argue that with her. Not my choice but I don't look down on her for it.

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Old 02-14-2010, 08:13 PM
 
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Breastfeeding is suppose to be natural but for some it doesn't come natural or feel natural to them. The pressure that is put on people to do one thing or another is intense. Some woman may not be interested in having kids so struggling with that adds a huge amount of pressure on them. I view most all parents (outside of straight up abuse/neglect) and think they are doing what is best for them and their family.

While we all know breastmilk is best for the baby there are countless reasons why someone formula feeds. Some of them could be viewed as selfishness but the reality of it is FF won't hurt the child, it isn't neglect nor abuse. And if the mom is truly unneasy about it but is happier with FF then her child will be happier to. Because we all know kids pick up on our emotions.

I already knew I was going to breastfeed it really wasn't a choice in my mind per se but I also know that I am going to introduce a bottle as soon as I can for numerous reason. I shouldn't have to worry about being judged by people but sadly our world is a my way is right mentality and your way is wrong. I really just don't understand where we have stopped being understanding and more quick to judge.
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:07 PM
 
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I think the OP's sadness is directed towards mothers who don't try, or have any intention of trying. At least, that is what I got from the post. I know many people IRL and from this board who couldn't nurse for various reasons, and I have no judgement of them at all. But I also know people IRL who never even wanted to try, and yes, that does make me sad.
This. That's how I understood the OP. A few years ago I held very strong views regarding breastfeeding. I still do, but overtime I've grown apathetic about others' reasons for not breastfeeding at all -- choosing not to from the start.

I've dealt with my share of problems. I'm thankful I had my mom's support after having DD1. I had the typical case of bad latch that resolved after the first week. With DD2, it was much more of a challenge. I dealt with persistent thrush for 10 weeks and that led to even worse PPD.

I expected things to go smoothly from the start this time. Not so. DS had a bad latch due to his tongue tie. I *thought* it was just us trying to work out the kinks -- latch problems. He lost more than 10% of his birth weight and continued to lose weight. I had never had a baby with jaundice. It seemed to take forever for it to clear, all because he wasn't getting much from me and my supply took a hit. I EP and supplemented with formula until he got his TT clipped at 11 days old. I immediately put him back to the breast with the hopes things would get better. I still couldn't see a difference in his size after a week. I ordered a baby scale to monitor his weight. I just knew the moment I put him on the scale it was going to show he lost weight. He did. He was 4 ounces down from where he was two weeks prior. He was declared FTT. Wasn't anywhere near his birth weight at 3 weeks. I felt horrible and defeated. I went back to EPing with a hospital grade pump and took herbs to help build my supply.

When I started out pumping I liked it because it allowed me to see how much he was getting. It was good knowing I was making/giving him enough. He gained 3 lbs in three weeks! It felt good to know he was picking up weight. But it also became taxing with two young kids and an infant that usually wanted to eat when I had to pump. I hated getting up at 2, 3, 4am to pump. I hated staying up 'til 11-12pm so I could pump (pumped every 3-4 hours). I kept at it because I liked the reward, seeing him thrive and chunk up.

We discovered he had a posterior TT when I saw the LC I rented the pump from. The only ENT practice in my area that clips them doesn't take my insurance. It was going to cost $934 for the procedure. That's a whole heck of a lot. I continued to pump until we figured out the next step. I had considered not reintroducing the breast. I figured that since my supply was up and I was getting accustomed to pumping I could just stick with it. I convinced myself it was the only way I'd know he's getting what he needs. I was scared and anxious at the thought of returning him to the breast. Scared that for some reason it wouldn't work out and he'd end up falling behind again. I had even allowed myself to be 'okay' with formula should I have problems keeping my supply up. At the time I didn't have a problem supplementing with formula because I wasn't producing enough, but deep down I didn't like it. I felt uncomfortable buying bottles and formula. I even thought to myself out in public whether anyone was wondering if his bottle of bm was formula. It doesn't really look like it to me. In my head I was saying, "I'm not one of them." (formula feeder) It's sort of like an us vs. them deal.

Thankfully, we were able to get DS seen by one of the ENTs. The LC I've been using talked to the doc and told him about our situation and agreed to do it at a very, very discounted price. He returned to the breast as of Wednesday and I'm still wondering if everything is okay. Hoping he's gaining weight appropriately. Monitoring his diaper output like crazy, asking myself how wet is wet. I dread putting him on the scale. Things I didn't have to worry about with my others.

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Old 02-15-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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I think the low breastfeeding rates correlate with the trauma and interventions of birth.

First, on a personal level, this over management of birth sends a strong message to the woman. Mama, your body does not work. We will deliver your child. We will save your child [from your broken body].

So why would the woman expect her breasts to work?

Second, the trauma from birth can definitely negatively impact the breastfeeding relationship. This is why I was not breastfed. My mom did not hold me for the first time for days. No one told her she could pump while waiting for me. No one recommended SNS. I was taken away and given formula. They never even asked her.

The c-section rate is soaring. Premature birth is soaring. Birth rape, birth trauma, these are growing topics online with hundreds of women sharing their stories. What is the subversive impact on breastfeeding? Probably huge.

And then, toss in neonatal birth trauma. We now know that infants can feel pain acutely, yet premature and NICU infants are subjected to dozens of painful, invasive tests daily. Circumcision remains at roughly 50% in our country and that has a huge impact on breastfeeding.

Then, those mamas who did miraculously survive everything above, typically have 6 weeks to nurse before returning to work full time. That's not even 2 months of nursing. As one coworker told me: "I don't want to break my heart. I'm not going to even try."



We are really messed up.
This made tears come to my eyes I so agree with your entire post. The birth of my DS has really made me aware of the birthing situation in our country, and I feel very passionate about it.

I dont get angry or judge FF Mamas, you never know their situation. It could be some issue from the birth, like this, or missinformation, etc.

The only time I get angry is when FF Mamas prop the bottle for the baby instead of holding the baby close during feeding. For some reason this just makes me see red. Its makes me feel so sad for the little baby that doesnt get Mamas warmth and closeness while feeding.

Mama to Xavian, born 11-24-09
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Old 02-16-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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I have only touched on the struggles I've had with breastfeeding and if I were not 100% committed to making it work, I would have stopped.  You (general) really do not know the person's entire situation most of the time.



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...In my view, a lot of things are "a pain." It's a pain to take my daughter out of her sling and put her in the carseat to drive a block when I'm out shopping. But I do it to protect my daughter. Would you consider driving your child around town, without putting him/her in a carseat? You're conscientiously taking a risk. The same goes with choosing to formula feed. The benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented. Choosing not to BF is choosing to put your child at a higher risk. (Again, I'm talking here about CHOOSING, not being unable to.)....

With all due respect, car seat safety and breastfeeding vs. formula is apples to oranges. I think comparisons like this are a very slippery slope.

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