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The Breastfeeding Debate

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      16.10.2013 23:45
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      The more you know the better informed your choices will be.

      Most women when expectant have ideas on what they want to do as a Mother. Many decide fairly easily whether or not to breast feed or bottle feed. I for one was set to breast feed. As far as I was concerned it was easier than bottles, cheaper and it was ideal for my baby considering it was natures intended source of nutrition for him.

      During my pregnancy I was given lots of info about breastfeeding. The thing that annoys me most looking back is being told babies know how to breastfeed and it comes instinctivly to them.
      I was also told I'd have a lot of support and advice from the professionals. I felt postive about breastfeeding for my babies first six months (and possibly up to a year).

      I remember the first time I tried to feed my son. It wasn't long after delivery and the midwives helped. He wasn't interested though, we spent a while trying to get out some colostrum and get him to take it but he wouldn't. I was advised to keep trying.

      After 12 hours he still wouldnt take any, I was given a syringe to try and express a small amount out but couldn't get more than a couple of drops. In the end the midwives advised I gave him some formula so I did. I wouldn't say I felt bad about this decision, formula in my eyes is better than nothing for sure. I did feel a kind of failure though. I was told babies KNEW how to breastfeed so why exactly was my baby not taking to mine? It almost felt like a rejection. He didn't have tongue tie and he was full term (born at 37 weeks) so I couldn't understand what was wrong.
      I was in hospital for a week as Tyler had a skin infection (I cant remember the spelling of the long word but for short it was Staph) so he was on antibiotics. I would hope this would give me a chance to establish feeeing. There were quite a few occasions when a midwife would come to help me to get Tyler to latch on. Occasionally he would and theyd dissapear promising to be back in a few minutes (they never were, too short staffed). He'd often come off after a minute or so though. In the end we switched to nipple shields, these are more like a bottle teat and helped him grip better. The problem though was he'd often fall asleep minutes within feeding but then if I'd take him off he'd wake within 10 minutes appearing to be hungry. So eventually I changed to combination feeding. I'd feed with the nipple shield for a while and then with formula.

      This routine continued at home with the combination feeding. I didn't often breastfeed in public, people would stare at you and judge you. My friend once got asked not to breastfeed in a cafe, she was mortified, she was very discreet about it and her son was crying as he was hungry.
      Despite the judgement you get for breastfeeding in public you do also get judged for bottle feeding.
      I occasionally expressed milk. I didn't get a huge amount out, not enough to even take out but I hoped it would raise my supply. My friend expressed after her caeserean, we were once at a baby group where she asked for a bottle (of breast milk) to be warmed. A fellow mum then decided to discuss how breast is best and nobody should give their baby formula. She didn't direct this at my friend (who she presumed was formula feeding) but it was pretty obvious thats why she'd started the discussion.
      Sometimes breast feeding mothers were the worst critics.

      Unfortunatly my supply never raised. This is more because I was ill informed. Soley breastfeed my son would go a maximum of two hours before wanting his next feed, but the norm was more around one hour. I thought this was excessive and I must not be satisfying him. In the end i fully switched to formula. Had I known what I do now (one of my friends is a peer supporter in a breast feeding group- something else I didnt know existed) I would of continued the feeding as breast fed babies do often need to feed more often in the early stages.

      I do not feel bad that my baby ended up on formula and nor do I judge other parents who decide to use formula. Breast feeding is not for everyone and well done for those who give it a go and those who succesfully manage it.
      I do not believe my breasts are "just for sex" and I have been told breast feeding doesn't cause saggyness or less fulller boobs, pregnancy is usually what would do this.

      I do plan to have another child in a few years and yes I would like to breastfeed this one. If he or she doesn't take to this I will not feel bad as I would of tried.

      I would advise any expectant Mother who is considering breastfeeding to thoroughly research but do keep an open mind. Some people cannot breastfeed and some just don't want to. Its a big can of worms and some people do have very strong opinons but I do not think Mothers should be judged on which route they take.

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        26.09.2013 08:59
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        If you're considering breastfeeding get to know what is normal & don't expect too much from yourself

        Long before I even had a baby on the way, I always thought I would breastfeed, but then I always thought it was a choice and not a challenge. I was breastfed as a baby and I knew the many health benefits.
        However, about 18 months before I had my first child, my sister gave birth to a little boy. She was very much of the same mind as me and felt breastfeeding was the best way to go. However after 6 weeks of struggling, expressing, topping up with formula and alot of tears, she realized her and her baby boy were going to be alot happier if she went down the formula road.
        This then shook me up, and I started to realize, you don't just turn your breasts on, establishing breast feeding must be alot of work (my sister does not give up on things easily).
        To be honest, this did me a world of favours, because after seeing what my sister went through I was able to prepare myself with alot information when I was pregnant and get myself as prepared as I could be.
        I think one of the reasons people move onto formula after a couple of days of trying to establish breastfeeding is they may not be aware of what is normal and acceptable.

        Although my milk seemed to come in realiivty quickly, around day 2 or 3, it was day 8 that was the first big hurdle for me. My little girls appetite had increased and my milk had not. I literally sat up in bed all night long with my daughter nursing and tears of frustration and exhaustion running down my face!

        But all that hard work paid off in the end and by about week 6 both me and my daughter were doing well. I don't think I would say I ever found breastfeeding easy, my daughter did like to nurse frequently (about every hour or two) although she did go quite a long time at night, as was near enough sleeping through at 3 months.

        If you are considering breastfeeding (and I really hope you are) all I can say is prepare yourself for alot of hard work, but get to know what is normal and don't expect too much from your body too soon.

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        19.09.2013 10:43
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        Breast is best for some but not all!

        When I was pregnant, I was adamant I was going to give breast feeding a go, if I managed then great, if I didn't then that's ok, there's always formula! My baby would be fed either way.

        I wanted to try breastfeeding for several reasons, the health benefits for baby; reduces risk of asthma, gives baby all the nutrition they need ( nothing more nothing less), passes on immunities for common illness's etc
        Health benefits for myself; reduces risk of breast cancer etc
        Easiness; whipping a boob out to feed baby ( in my opinion) is a lot easier than trying to make up a bottle when baby is screaming, it's fast and at perfect temperature.
        Bonding; it was so important for me to bond with with baby, my first son was born sleeping, and I was desperate for the cuddles and to be needed.

        However I found breast feeding more difficult that what I first assumed it would be. When first born my little boy was three weeks early and jaundice, this meant he was very sleepy and not interested in feeding. It was a battle that first week to get him to feed and when he did his latch was wrong and it become extrememly painfull for me o feed him. My nipples felt as though they had been scrapped along sand paper.
        However in my area we have an excellent service for breast feeding mothers, breastfeeding support workers. These amazing women called when home from hospital to see if there are any problems, if so they come out and observe the baby feeding. In my case I was feeling very desperate, and low, every feed I dreaded and would be in tears as he pain was so bad. I was shouting a my partner to help but didn't know what he could do besides start lactating himself. The support worker noticed I had my son at the wrong angle and taught me how to hold him correctly when feeding. She also taught me the weeks where baby feeds nonstop for growth spurts, this was invaluable as I knew that when I feed like a human milking machine for three days straight not having left the couch because I was feeding continuously that it would pass. My support worker helped so much, if it hadn't been for her I would certainly of given up that first week.

        Breast feeding became a joy for me, the pain subsided after about 8 weeks and I LOVED my cuddles with my son, my closeness. However I know my partner missed not being able to feed our little boy and have those times to bond, he took over bathing him, so they had their time together.

        I feel that breastfeeding is hard yes, but it gets easier.........if you have the support. I was lucky I had great family to help me, and extremely lucky to live in an area with breast feeding support workers, without them I don't know what I'd have done. My little boy is now 9 months old, when he was 8 months old I went back to work and stopped breast feeding. There was no way I could do it and work my shift job. Formula feeding now works well, for my baby and our family. Do I miss breast feeding, yes I miss my cuddles, do I regret stopping early? No it would have caused me endless amounts of stress having to express at work. My baby is fed and he's happy and healthy......that's what matters!

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          01.09.2013 16:33

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          Good for you if you can do it but it's not the end of the world if you can't!

          I had my first child at the age of nineteen, at not one appointment was the subject of breast feeding brought up to discuss, no advantages or disadvantages, no how to's, not so much as a leaflet. I was never invited to attend ante natal classes so I never benefitted from the advice of professionals. Needless to say after the birth of my daughter I bottle fed her exclusively.

          When I gave birth to my second child I was adamant I would breast feed, so much so I didn't purchase any formula so as to not discourage me. I however still found it very hard, I had still never received advice and after a couple of days of no sleep and constant crying, I gave up.

          My third child was a similar experience to my second and again I gave up within a few days.

          On all of these occasions, when the midwife came out to me and I expressed my concerns, I was told to "keep at it, you'll get there"

          I can't help but think if there were more professional help, classes, advice etc many Mums would not give up so easily.

          I am very pro breast feeding and admire anyone who has stuck at it, my daughter who received no breast milk is the only one of my children to suffer from asthma and eczema, yes this may be a coincidence, but I will always put this down to the benefits of breast milk, even if it's just for a few days.

          I don't agree that "breast is best" as long as your child is fed and nourished, that essentially is all that matters.

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          15.05.2013 14:33
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          I'm a bottle feeding mum and proud

          I am a woman who holds her hands up and says that I proudly bottle fed (and still do bottle feed) my baby. I do not feel in any way guilty about the decision that I made, nor do I think it was a selfish decision to make. I made that choice from the start, even before I found out I was pregnant and it never changed throughout my pregnancy even though countless people kept telling me that I'd change my mind. I feel that it's entirely a woman's decision and it should be entirely their choice, not pressurised by the NHS, friends, family or the media. I felt that it was all too easy for other people to tell me that breastfeeding was the way I should go - indeed it may have worked wonders for them personally, but at the end of the day it wasn't them that had to do it day in, day out for my baby, that was all me. My decision was because I felt that I would have enough to deal with being a first time mum having a new little life to support and provide for and that breastfeeding would add another worry and strain. I am a born worrier, it runs in the genes! I wanted to be able to enjoy time with my baby without fretting whether or not she was getting enough food. I know that is can be taken as a selfish viewpoint or even a lazy one, but I felt it was the best choice to make. People might not agree with those reasons, but those were my reasons for my choice and even now with a baby of 10 months I have absolutely no regrets and am glad that I stuck to it.

          I know that the whole breastfeeding debate is a touchy subject. I really don't want to cause any commotions by my review, I just wanted to share my experience over the last few months. I do get a little tired of TV programmes and the media stating that it essentially means that I 'haven't bonded with my baby as much as those who do choose to breastfeed' which I personally think (to be blunt) is garbage. I feel I have a very strong connection with my baby and I don't think it's down to anyone else to tell me otherwise, especially those that have never met us or even know of our existence! My baby and I are both extremely happy and enjoy plenty of quality time together. I personally don't see why using milk producing by me would make that bond completely different. Do they say the same to people who choose to go back to work after maternity leave? That's something else I'll be doing soon, but that's a whole new topic that I'll approach another time.

          It worries me (said I was a worrier!) that comments also may be said along these lines to women who can't breastfeed for other medical reasons - that could be very upsetting for them at a time when hormones are all over the place anyway, especially if it was their original intention to do so. Coming back to bonding, my mum couldn't breastfeed (although it was her intention) yet my Mum and I are incredibly close and always have been, more so than most other Mother and daughter relationships I know.

          I think it's disgusting that the NHS will not give any advice to new mums, particularly first time mums, in terms of bottle feeding. I was told by my midwife when I was pregnant and had queries about the best forms of formula milk that she wasn't allowed to talk to me about it as she was only directed to promote breastfeeding to new mums. I have paid my taxes into the NHS system as much as the next woman - surely if I ask them about how to bottle feed my newborn when I'm in hospital after the birth, I should be allowed to receive some impartial advice, rather than a flat 'no, not unless you breastfeed' attitude?! I feel that the government are trying to make the decision for women themselves and that in my view is unacceptable.

          Having said my point of view, I also wholeheartedly support those women who do choose to breastfeed, they have my complete admiration and I think shops, restaurants and the like should do a lot more to accommodate women who want to breastfeed their babies with a bit of privacy. Only the other day I visited Ikea and saw a wonderful booth in their café especially for breastfeeding mums and I commented on what a great thing it was. I know that our local John Lewis also offers similar facilities and more places should do the same. I understand that there are many benefits to breastfeeding rather than bottle feeding too but I didn't think these outweighed the negatives for our circumstances. I also wish I had breastfeeding mums bank balances sometimes, obviously breastfeeding is completely free whereas I got to the stage at one point where the majority of child benefit for my daughter (£80 per month!) was purely used on her milk and therefore not available for clothing and nappies. It is an expensive business.

          I really hope I haven't offended anybody with my review, that hasn't been my intention. I just feel that I need to fight the corner of us bottle feeders as I think sometimes we are given a bit of unfair coverage, especially by the media who hype the whole debate up. I just think it's each to their own choice and no woman should be made to feel bad about their decision, they should be fully supported with it whichever path they take.

          Right, I'm off my soapbox now everyone! Teehee. I've rated 5 dooyoo stars to represent my view that both can be great choices depending on circumstances.

          Thanks for reading :o)

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            15.03.2013 21:06
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            Ever since I remember there has always been a big debate about whether or not women should/should even be allowed to breast feed their baby in public. The media used to be all over this subject, and during my pregnancy with my son, I read a fair few articles regarding this issue. I have to say that whenever I am reading articles that are against breast feeding in public, my mouth is always wide open in absolute disbelief - the number of ignorant and uneducated people who feel that they are able to comment on this never fails to amaze me.

            I struggled with breast feeding my son at first, I had supply issues and had to bottle feed Kai. I have to admit that I hated breast feeding at first, because I didn't know what to do or whether I was doing it right, but I hated having to give him bottles even more. The first six weeks or so were really hard. Once these issues were sorted, though I began to enjoy it. When feeding Kai, I find peace. It is an intimate thing, but nevertheless I have always breastfed in public. I don't go out of my way to do so, but if we are out and he needs feeding (shock horror!) I will feed him!

            I have never, not even once used blankets or towels. Yes, I try to be discreet and do it somewhere tucked away, I don't sit there in the middle of a busy shopping centre doing it. I will usually try to find a cafe and sit somewhere that isn't too public. I don't do this to make a point, or to try to prove myself as a good mother, an Eco warrior or anything else. I do it because my baby is hungry and needs feeding, and I don't see why I should try to cover him up while he nurses. In fact I don't see why I should cover my self up like im trying to hide some god awful crime when I am feeding my son. I know I'm not doing anything wrong, so I don't feel like I need to be covered up.

            All women have breasts, and almost all humans know exactly what breasts are there for. Making milk, lactating,
            feeding a baby. How can something so natural offend and shock so many people?? I completely respect women who do choose to cover up and even avoid breast feeding in public. It is their decision. But when other people. - especially other women, decide to create a huge drama and bash other women who do choose to feed without a cover, this annoys me. I think the main problem is that women such as myself who do breastfeed in public without a cover are seen as attention seeking looneys who love getting their breasts out in public at every oppurtunity and want to show their boobs to everyone.

            In fact this assumption couldn't be any more wrong. When my son is hungry the very last thing I'm thinking of is whether or not people will be looking at my boobs. Honestly, all I am worrying about is how fast I can get him feeding before he throws a fit. I have lost count of the amount of direct (and of course snidey indirect) comments that I have received while peacefully, discreetly feeding my son somewhere that I deem as tucked away. Today, for example a woman commented that surely he should wait, and it wasn't as if he was a newborn. I was told i should go into the toilets (we were in Asda) to feed him. She said it all nicely, but I still couldn't get over how ignorant she was.

            When you're hungry, how do you feel?? Irritable? Cranky? Well, babies aren't any different,and they don't understand that in ten minutes time if they wait they will be fed. They're hungry now, so they want food now. The point that this woman made about taking him into a toilet to feed him also annoyed me. Would you enjoy eating your yummy sandwich or burger or salad or whatever else you ate today for your lunch if you had to eat it in a women's toilet, where people bring their babies to change their dirty, smelly nappies or where women come to freshen up and spray body spray all over themselves, or change their tampons or have a poo? Of course you wouldn't, and I sure as hell know that neither would my son.

            Over and over and over again I have tried, logically to work out what makes people feel so uncomfortable about seeing a woman breastfeed in public. Is it because boobs are seen as sexual, and a baby attached to the boob makes people uneasy? Do people think that they'll be branded a pervert if the catch a glimpse of a woman feeding her child? I've actually had women come up to me and point to ther child and tell me that I am a disgrace, that I'm confusing their child and should do what I'm doing in private. How does seeing a woman breastfeed confuse a child, when more breast can be seen on daytime TV?! If a mother can't simply explain to her child that 'the lady over there is just feeding her baby because he's hungry' then I think they need to question their own parenting skills.

            Something has gone wrong somewhere. People need to stop insulting while preaching how good breast feeding is and using 'if' and 'but' in the same sentence. Any woman who doesn't want to cover up doesn't have to, in my opinion and I shouldn't have to. Neither should any woman who doesn't want to. Maybe if you don't like looking, you should get your jacket, place it over your head and eat your meal covered up in case you catch a glimpse of breast? Society needs to stop and realise and understand. We need to stop labelling any woman who chooses to not cover up while in public & breast feeding as an Eco warrior or looney hippie, people need to remind themselves of equality and respect.

            It is not feminism gone wrong, it is a mothers right and a babies right.

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              14.02.2013 00:47
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              Breastfeeding doesn't work for everyone but I would recommend trying it.

              When I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. To me it seemed the most natural way to feed my baby and I knew that breastfeeding has a whole host of health related benefits. I liked the idea of having the closeness with my baby and creating a close bond. I was also well aware that breastfeeding would be cheaper than having to buy formula and would help me lose my weight quicker.

              Unfortunately I had problems with breastfeeding so only managed to feed for about 5 or 6 days. I did however continue to express for longer, so I knew my baby was still getting my goodness and antibodies. She is now solely on formula milk.
              To begin with I was really upset that I couldn't breastfeed but at the end of the day I have a healthy happy baby. Stress has a massive effect on your milk production and although breast milk is promoted by midwifes and health visitors it is important to remember that not everyone can do it and you're not a failure if you can't.

              I had a very traumatic birth that lasted for 4 days and resulted in an emergency cesarean section where I lost 4 pints of blood. I did enjoy breastfeeding to begin with but it wasn't going well. It can take longer for your milk to 'come in' after a cesarean section as well, which can make feeding harder. My baby was late and she was very large when she was born, which made her feeding stronger. Consequently I became very sore and my nipples started bleeding. There was even blood in my milk, so when my baby was sick there was blood in her sick! This alone was quite stressful to see - especially the first time it happened.

              To be honest once I started feeding by bottle I felt much happier. I knew how much she was eating so I had a better idea of when she would be hungry again. I basically felt more in control. I'm sure a lot of new mums would agree that having a newborn can make you feel like a fish out of water, so I felt that I had regained some kind of control by bottle feeding.

              I suppose the long and short of it is that, as with everything, there are pros and cons to each. My sister has two children. The first one was bottle fed and her second was breast fed. Both children are happy and healthy and both ways of feeding have had their difficulties. The reason for the different methods of feeding were purly circumstantial.

              If I had been able to breastfeed I would have continued but I don't feel I have let my baby down by not breastfeeding.

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                22.01.2013 11:18
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                best for baby

                I cant get my head around the fact that there is a debate regarding breastfeeding.

                Doesn't the fact that breastmilk exist prove that breastfeeding is the way nature intended things to be?

                I am not against formula feeding in any way, in fact most women I know including my mother and myself start out with breastfeeding and eventually have to add on formula as the baby grows.

                However I don't like the concept of women refusing to breastfeed for reasons like 'it destroys my breasts'. If a woman can go through pregnancy and labour ( which is one of the hardest things i have done in life) to become a mother, why not breastfeed and give that baby the best of nutrition? Granted that breasts are meant to be beautiful, but I think babies have a right to be breastfed. If a mother was ill or indisposed in any other way it would be understandable but otherwise there is no reason not to breastfeed.

                I personally find breastfeeding much easier, no hassles with boiling and cooling water, measuring out scoops, cleaning and sterilising bottles etc. Just make sure you eat well!

                Apart from the obvious advantage of it being free and the healthiest for the baby, it is the easiest way to lose the baby weight.

                Realistically speaking it can be a bit difficult to go out and about if you are exclusively breastfeeding. I have found that many places have feeding rooms, but if my son is really hungry I end up feeding him wherever I am . I haven't had any negative comments from the public yet.

                Any how I plan to continue breast feeding until my son is at least one and a half, if possible. I do hope that more mothers try and breastfeed their babies as much as possible.

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                  13.02.2012 00:30
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                  Try both!

                  I felt I had to write something here as its a problem I really struggled with. When I was pregnant I was sure I wanted to breastfeed. All the classes I went to were really pro breastfeeding and I felt fron what i could see that the pros outweighed the cons. However that being said my mother never breastfeed me as she had tried with my older sister and really struggled so she didn't try with me. My mother kind if tried to steer me away from it concentrating on the negatives rather than the positives. I was still however set on breastfeeding, so much so I never bought formula or bottles before my son was born. I had a very hard labour lost alot of blood and was ill for some time after my little man was born. I tried breastfeeding and luckily for me my son was a naturally. However I did suffer from sore nipples and due to the fact I had such a hard labour I felt really run down all the time and was slowly running out of energy. I manage to breastfeef exclusively for 6 weeks but after that I struggled to keep going so after alot of soul searching I decided to add formula along side breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was good for me in the fact that I knew I was doing best for my baby and the fact its natural and doesn't cost a thing was also a bonus. Perhaps if I hadn't have had such a rough time having him I may have been able to keep breastfeeding for longer. However that being said I felt my whole family were happpier once I added formula and eventually changed to formula all together. They all loved getting their turn to feed him especially my hisband who had been feeling guilty about me having to do all the feeds. Before breast pumps are mentioned lets just say they weren't my friends. There is alot of presure ob women these days to breastfeed, and although I chose to I know it isn't for everyobe. I really do feel that once a mother to be has all the information she should be able to make her own choice on the matter. Try it if you don't feel happy doing it then dont. Your baby will sense if you are unhappy. I fully intend to try breastfeeding again with any future children I may have and hope that I'll have more strenght than my first time round. If however I try and don't suceed I will switch to formula agin. It never did me any harm and my son is a wonderful happy healthy boy and he had both. My advice is do what feels right, try it and if you aren't happy either will your baby be so switch.

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                    19.12.2011 21:09
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                    try it.

                    For a start, the title is a bit iffy. For me there is no debate - breast milk is normal, anything else is substandard. This isn't to say you're evil or wrong if you make a choice NOT to breastfeed (just be honest about the choice not to do it, though!) but the facts remain that breastfeeding is the normal way for mammals to feed their young - that is something we can all agree on, I'm sure.

                    My experiences with breastfeeding in the pre-parenting days were normal and straight forward. Nearly every woman I'd known had breastfed their baby, then stopped after a few months. My aunt went up to 4 years with her son, giving him a feed before bed, and it worked well for them. This same aunt also fed me! My gran fed all her children with her breast up until they were toddlers - asides my uncle, who weaned off the breast when my gran went into hospital and she had to feed him formula and didn't have a clue how to make up a bottle, having never done it before. My mum also breastfed all of us (all four of us!) and she was also recovering from a Caesarean each time, as well as a bad latch with one baby, another who liked to 'bite down' and another who had a tongue tie - I was the only one she didn't have issues with, what can I say? ;).

                    My family (on both sides) were my biggest support during breastfeeding. I didn't think about bottle/formula feeding because to me, my norm was breastfeeding.

                    To the people who say 'my baby needed more than just breast milk' I have to say that's just not accurate or scientifically possible. We try and read our babies and sometimes get it wrong - for example we can spend hours cuddling, rocking, walking about with babies, feeding, changing etc all to realise that all they wanted was to be swaddled or free of their blankets and held close to our hearts. We. Get. It. Wrong.

                    Want to know why? Because we aren't perfect, not because we're bad parents. So this notion of 'my son/daughter need more than my milk' is inaccurate. We're reading their signals wrong and we all do it. Another thing is that our bodies actually produce the correct amount of milk for our babies - their saliva passes a message to our body and tells it what to make for the baby. Including the amount the baby needs. The more a baby feeds, the more milk you will produce. There is no magic, it's just science.

                    There are (very, very) rare cases in which women can't produce milk, but they usually won't get past the colostrum stage (sometimes called 'fore-milk' and is very high in calories and especially made for the purpose of feeding a newborn in the first few days) and usually don't produce hind-milk. And yes, there are also other rare conditions that might make it impossible for a woman to feed - she may have a disease a baby can contract through her milk or be a using drug addict and in these cases this is exactly why formula is necessary.

                    I don't hate formula, I just think it's a 'go to' option for too many people who can otherwise feed their babies, from their breast. If this is someone's choice to feed their baby with this kind of made in a lab milk, then they can be my guest but please, be honest about your choice. I think it's a mockery of those with difficulties in feeding to say 'Oh, I couldn't breastfeed because of x, y and z' rather than just saying you don't want to do it.

                    I understand this is a complicated arena and there are many more reasons as to why someone might not medically, culturally and emotionally want to breastfeed but I definitely think those individuals should be honest and own their choices.

                    I had a friend who had a baby at the same time as me and she utterly mocked my breastfeeding - saying that formula was 'better' than breast milk. That is a flat out lie. I don't think 'breast is best' I just think breast is the normal route and that anything else might not be a good idea unless totally necessary. This same friend had breastfed her previous child for 6 weeks and because he got a chest infection, she gave up.

                    Let me just say that breastfeeding is a PREVENTION rather than a magical cure to anything. Also it's worth pointing out that having colds and chest infections aren't going to kill the average Joe with the average health - and it's not a sign that breast milk is inferior nor that it isn't somehow 'working.' It's worth thinking about this individuals living standards (as in a mouldy or damp flat) and adding EVERYTHING up rather than blaming the breast milk on the first hurdle.

                    I've worked with babies who were bottle fed and it was a bit of a faff to get everything prepared - of course I got myself into a routine and didn't know anything else at this point so once I got used to it, it was straightforward...but for instance being out and about was a planned mission. Bottles couldn't be made up in advance because of the risks with tummy bugs and most of the babies who had the formula threw up huge amounts after wards - this was messy in public.

                    Again, I adapted to the situation but in comparison breastfeeding was so much easier. No bottles to wash, no steriliser to scrub clean, no fuss, no muss. Also there were no middle of the night bottle making sessions. It was simply undo a few buttons, pop baby on the breast and go back to sleep! Now, you can't do that with a bottle. You need to supervise them lest they choke and you also need to remove the bottle before the baby falls asleep - otherwise the milk will pool in their mouth and rot their teeth!

                    There is also the worry about contamination issues with formula milk. With aluminium levels being 'unacceptably high' with the Moo and Fence brand of formula being ranked at the top of that list. The companies don't add the aluminium themselves, hence the 'contamination' risk. The companies have been warned about the risks, but no action has been taken - very worrying.

                    With breastfeeding I did always wonder 'is my son getting enough' and the answer is: yes. Like I explained before, the science of breastfeeding is that your child suckles from you, your body tells you how much the child needs. It is that simple, really. My son had a tongue tie issue and rather than my health visitor sorting that out she made us struggle through poor attachment, weight loss and mastitis. I wouldn't stand for that these days. I'd simply say; "Okay, you can't help me, don't feel bad - is there
                    someone else I can speak to, who can help me?"

                    Formula feeding is a bit of a guessing game about how much a baby needs - and I say needs because you really have to do guess at what their needs are when they can't express them to you. I don't like the idea of over feeding but it is very easily done with formula feeding. On top of this there is the worry of childhood and adult obesity and the links with that and formula and that is specifically tied to over feeding with formula.

                    Yes, the packet will tell you what they 'need' but they may not take it all in one sitting or they may guzzle down two bottles at a time (although I've yet to see that happen) but I think this is about really understanding your baby when it comes to this; understand their cues for being full, for being satisfied with their feed and don't push them to have more than that. Otherwise you're over feeding for no real need or reason.

                    As for feeding in public, here's my opinion: you see sweaty, pale and overweight builder types with their tops off in summer, along with celebrities baring their bits and having 'wardrobe malfunctions' all the time but you do hear of the odd Norman or Nancy no mates complaining that it's 'not modest' or 'right' to feed in public. This is tosh! I've seen more at the beach than I have with a woman offering nourishment from her breasts to her child. As it stands I've never had a snigger or a smirk off anyone while feeding public.

                    I did have a paranoia about it at first - ducking into changing rooms to feed and one time even a toilet - but it was when I'd run over the feeding time and I didn't have time to find a changing room or toilet that I actually over came that paranoia - and learned that the public were actually not fussed with me feeding. It wasn't noticeable and I felt suitably comfortable with it.

                    I know this isn't for everyone but there are many ways you can still maintain your modesty and feed in public; for instance you can feed in a wrap or sling, or buy a breastfeeding cover, you can try sitting backwards more and buying appropriate nursing tops - the possibilities are numerous and I'm only mentioning the ones I know!

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                      03.11.2011 00:18
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                      Everyone has a right to choose

                      I'm 36 weeks pregnant and know for certain that I won't be breastfeeding. I understand that it may be healthier for the baby but it is proven that most formula milks are equally good. I don't like the idea of breastfeeding or of being caught short whilst in public, I also feel that it is unfair on my partner as he would like to be able to just feed our daughter without having to wait for me to express, there is also a partly selfish element as I know a lot of people who have breastfed and it has ruined their breasts, I don't want this happening as I am young.

                      Breastfeeding is a very personal choice that some people deliberate over for many months and others now from day one how they feel about it. I only wish that midwives, doctors and people like my parents and friends would stop nagging about my choice not to do it. I don't tell them that they shouldnt so I don't like being told I should.

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                        13.05.2011 16:44
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                        It works for me but it's not for everyone!

                        I would firstly like to state that I am in no way against formula feeding, I feel it is a personal choice for every mum.

                        When I found out that I was pregnant last July I knew straight away I would like to breastfeed. I knew that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months would give my baby all of the nutrients she would need to protect her from infection and other diseases. I didn't really have any idea of what to expect, my mum had formula fed both myself and my brother and none of my friends had breastfed their baby's. I was so determined I never bought a steraliser or bottles.

                        After a few appointments with the midwife the issue of feeding was brought up, at this time I was living in Durham and I was offered classes to help me learn about breastfeeding and how to do it. However in December of last year I moved back home to South Wales and unfortunately nothing like this was on offer. This made me really nervous as my midwife didn't seem as positive about breastfeeding as they had been in Durham. It just shows how different each NHS area can be.

                        I was given an NHS book and there were a few pages in there about breastfeeding everything else I knew had come from magazines such as Pregnancy and Birth.

                        I knew that it was important to have skin on skin contact with your baby as soon as they are born as this helps with breastfeeding but I was also nervous about what would happen if I had a traumatic birth and if this would affect it. Luckily for me I had a straightforward birth and it was a very positive experience. My daughter was born after 4 hours I had gas and air and pethadine as pain relief, I had wanted an epidural but as my labour was so quick there was no time!

                        I was very fortunate to have a really helpful midwife, after my daughter was born she was placed on my chest and the midwife helped guide her towards my nipple, luckily my daughter latched on and seemed to know what to do.

                        I was kept in hospital overnight as this is standard practice in my area to help you learn to breastfeed. The first night was great, everytime I went to feed my daughter a midwife would be on hand to help me with the latch and positioning.

                        Unfortunately my daughter developed and infection and we were kept in for a further 5 days. During this time I was given one on one help by a midwife. I think that this is one of the reasons I took to it so well.

                        What I wasn't told about was how hard it would be. When my milk started coming in my daughter would feed constantly all night. I didn't know to expect this as I had never been told, it was only when I asked that I was told it was so that she could stimulate my breasts into producing just enough milk for her needs. I was advised to keep feeding on demand. Even though I had a straightforward labour as my daughter was born first thing in the morning I hadn't had any sleep the night before and I was exhausted. I felt like crying after sitting up all night feeding. I was on a ward with 5 other women all of whom were bottle feeding and their baby's were going for 4 hours between feeds whereas my daughter seemed to be constantly awake.

                        After two constant nights of this I felt close to giving up, my nipples became extremely sore and even when my daughter was latched on correctly it hurt so much. My arms were also aching from holding her in the same position. I was also convinced I was not producing any milk. It was only when a midwife showed me how to hand express I realised that I was producing milk. I think a lot of mums give up because they think they aren't making enough when the reality is that this only happens for a small percentage of women.

                        When I explained to the midwife about my nipple pain they gave me some Avent nipple cream, I have reviewed this previously, I have to say it was my godsend. I used this and continued feeding and the pain eased.

                        I was discharged from hospital a week after my daughter was born and I had no idea what to expect at home or how breastfeeding would fit into my life. In hospital I seemed to have it cracked and we had developed a little routine.

                        The first night back at home was difficult, my daughter would cluster feed in the evenings. For those of you who don't know what cluster feeding is it is when your baby will feed often during a short space of time ready to go for a longer period without feeding. For my daughter this normally happened around 7pm she would then sleep for 3 hours and wake every hour again during the night. I was absolutely exhausted. It didn't help me either that I had little support from my family, I couldn't go far with my daughter as she would need feeding and while everyone wanted cuddles all she wanted was to be with me and feeding. Some of my family members would joke and say all she did was feed. This made me feel so disheartened. Luckily I have a really supportive partner who would bring my daughter to me during the night and settle her after a feed so I could sleep.

                        I found it difficult to go out as my daughter would need feeding and we'd have to stop what we were doing she could then feed for anything up to an hour at a time. I was also suffering from painful full breasts which leaked over all of my clothes and through breastpads. Luckily this settled down within about 3 weeks.

                        Whenever I told people I was breastfeeding I got a lot of raised eyebrows, even the health visitor assumed I was bottle feeding on her first visit. I never experienced any of the pushiness other mums have.

                        This pattern went on constantly for about 8 weeks until suddenly things got easier. It was like we had turned a corner. My daughter suddenly fell into a routine and as she became more interested in the world around her she fed less often and became more efficient at feeding.

                        This meant that I was able to take her out shopping and for long walks. I was initially terrified of feeding in public, and whenever I went out I would hide in the mother and baby room to do it. It was only after a few weeks I thought sod it I can't hide away forever I now breastfeed wherever my daughter needs it. There is no need to display anything and you can discreetly do it without people really noticing. As time went on and I had more practice it became easier for me. I find that no one even looks.

                        Unfortunately bottle is not an option, I bought a breastpump and expressed lots of milk, only to find that my daughter hates anything other than my boobies! I have tried various teats as well as cup feeding with no success. My partner still tries every couple of days in the hope she will learn to make my life easier so he can help out more. So if any ladies have any tips I would be grateful!

                        My daughter is now 10 weeks old and feeds about 8 times a day. Her feeds are predictable and she goes for longer periods between feeding.

                        Looking back I now realise it was definately the right choice for me, in the night I can wake up, lie my daughter beside me feed her and settle her. This whole process would take longer if I had to make formula and heat it up etc... It also gave me back my figure quicker, within two weeks of giving birth I was back to my pre pregnancy weight.

                        I love breastfeeding my daughter and intend on carrying until she is 6 months. It does get easier with time. I only wish there was more help and support out there. I feel that all mums should be given all of the options so that they can then make an informed decision as to what is right for them and their baby.

                        I would just like to add to this that we reached the 6 month mark and I have decided to continue feeding my daughter, I don't want to upset her by switching her to formula, I am going to wait until she is 12 months and can go onto cows milk.

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                          05.05.2011 20:10
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                          The question is not whether breast is best or not.

                          I am heavily pregnant and planning to breastfeed my little one, so my mother in law suggested that I watch a BBC documentary called Is Breast Best?, presented by Cherry Healey.

                          Cherry spoke about the agony of her own breastfeeding experience, and of her immense guilt thereafter. I agreed with her overall message, that breast is best, if you can do it, and that mothers like Cherry who have been unable to breastfeed should not feel pressure and guilt about it. But I was enraged by the final conclusion. Cherry's idea of why young mothers choose not to breastfeed came down to her lamenting that 'It needs to be on TV- teens have to see celebrities doing it'. Somehow though, I'm not sure that the sight of Victoria Beckham parading newborns on her size 34Bs would be that well received by her teenage fans. The fundamental fact that Cherry fails to grasp during the programme- as do many breastfeeding advocates- is that breasts serve two very different functions, which are as old as humanity and not in any way in opposition to each other.

                          Function one is the simple fact that breasts are sexy. Yes, they are. They are comforting, alluring, and designed to attract members of the opposite sex. This does not detract from the fact that they are also nourishing, nurturing, and life-sustaining (function two). These functions are ancient and natural, and there is no reason for them to be seen as opposites, or to suggest that women must choose one role for the breasts, or the other. But, as we see in Is Breast Best?, people seem unable to put the 'breasts are for sex'/'breasts are for babies' debate to rest.

                          It is likely that the obsession our society has with sex and women's bodies has obscured the former function of breasts from our minds to the extent that a law had to be passed in the UK to protect women from prejudice when breastfeeding in public places. A semi-naked orsexually-oriented picture of a woman plastered onto any available public space, billboard, telephone box, lamppost or newsagents magazine rack is barely blinked at as unacceptable in our society. We let our children see such images on TV and in films without considering the perceptions of women it may be enforcing. Any breastfeeding mother who uses Facebook can talk to you about the injustice of breastfeeding mothers having their photos taken down as 'indecent', while sexually provocative photography remains unchallenged.

                          So how did this start? Who's to blame? Cherry wanted to point a finger, but she didn't stretch her arm out too far. Not men, she says, after speaking to a gaggle of young footballers who were evidently meant to represent the mainstream male way of thinking. They seem perfectly accepting of breastfeeding, says Cherry - in words and on camera, at least - one of them even has a woman at home who breastfeeds their child.

                          But I beg to differ. The mainstream view of breasts is that they are sexual objects that can turn a very satisfactory profit. Lest you think I am rearing a Greer at you, I will state now that I am not blaming this fact on men. Women, too, have become keen to follow this trend, treating their own bodies as purely sexual objects, serving just the single function. Did anyone intend it to be this way? I doubt it. Will celebrities breastfeeding in public alter the root of the problem? Certainly not. To suggest that celebrities must show their breasts as milk-rendering artefacts to reinforce the 'naturalness' of breastfeeding, is an absurd notion, as it ignores the reason that the breasts are on display in the first place - to entice men.
                          We seem to have forgotten this in our eagerness to 'portray' breasts as baby feeders. We have been so keen to use sex to sell anything over the years, that we even think that we can use it to sell breastfeeding - though it is possible that Cherry's naivety leaves her innocent here: perhaps she simply has not realised the extent of marketing women's bodies as sexual objects.

                          Women who choose to breastfeed, however, are not doing it for a photo op - they wish instead to nourish their children, however painful, tiring, awkward and agonising it may (apparently) be. The fact that people find the sight of this simple and pure act repulsive and somehow 'unnatural' only demonstrates the massive social disconnection between women's bodies sexual and other functions. It's not just women's rights that are at stake but a loss for the whole of mankind; newborn males and females are missing out on essential nutrients and antibodies that are found in their mother's milk, due to social bias and the single function debate.

                          Is Breast Best? may have worked hard to open up the debate on breastfeeding to wider society, but I'm not sure that more debate is required. Breastfeeding is good for your baby and better than the formula milk that now serves as an alternative for many babies. But is it best for a mother who may suffer prejudice for breastfeeding her baby in public? Best for baby isn't the real debate here: best for mum, is. The wearer of the breast, I might say in Greer-esq fashion, is the wearer of the burden. Their visibility is not acceptable unless it is intended to be sexually alluring, and it is this attitude which must change if we want teens in this country to consider breastfeeding

                          I'm not blaming Cherry, and I'm not blaming men, but this is a social problem that will not be solved just by women talking to each other about their feeding fears and issues. As James Brown said, 'This is a man's world, But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl'.

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                            15.03.2011 19:17
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                            You have to do what is right for you and not feel guilty.

                            Until I became pregnant I really didn't think about breastfeeding much at all, other than that it was a cheap and natural way to feed your baby. Being pregnant made me far more aware but I hardly ever saw people breastfeeding in public. Joining the NCT for antenatal classes didn't enlighten me much more, other than to tell me that you should have lots of skin-to-skin with your baby as soon as it was born to promote successful breastfeeding. I even attended a breast-feeding specific class and learnt a few facts including that a baby's stomach is the size of a jelly bean when it is first born (hence the need to feed so often) and... that if you decided to give a baby formula, it would take a month for the formula to leave the baby's system. It was insinuated that giving a baby formula was like poisoning your baby. By this stage I had already decided I would like to breastfeed, but I was angered by the suggestion that formula would harm your baby. Two months later and I had a baby who latched on easily but fed every other hour night and day. Nobody told me how much breastfeeding would hurt - the first 2 minutes of every feed stung like mad for the first two months. Nobody told me how exhausting it was as it was impossible to sleep for more than 90 minutes as that was the longest my baby could last without a feed. One Saturday, I'd had a particularly bad night, feeding non-stop and my husband was at an emergency dental appointment. Home alone, faced with a 3 week old baby screaming blue murder and sore, empty boobs, I decided to give my baby some formula. It worked, he calmed down and he slept. But I was in turmoil. Everything this lady had told me about poisoning my baby with formula came flooding back and I cried for hours and felt guilty for months. I exclusively breast feed for 18 weeks (apart from the one bottle at 3 weeks), then gradually introduced formula and stopped breast feeding at 22 weeks. My baby now has 4 bottles of formula a day (as well as solid food), lasts 3 hours between feeds and is healthy and thriving and sleeping through the night. All of the guilt I felt over giving him one bottle of formula was ridiculous as he now has it all the time. Breastfeeding is hard and there are so many reasons why it doesn't work for so many people. Anyone who chooses to breastfeed should be applauded and supported and anyone who chooses to formula or combination feed should be applauded and supported. Every baby and mother is different and you have to do what works for you and never, ever feel guilty about your decision.

                            Having just read another interesting review on this subject, I wanted to add a little bit about my experience of the nhs view on breastfeeding. I had a c-section and was in hospital for 2 nights. Luckily for me the 1st night I had fantastic staff on duty who were endlessly patient helping me to breast feed. I was convinced I wasn't producing any milk and one midwife taught me how to hand express at 3am to convince me I was! Without their support I wouldn't have coped on that first night. However my second night was appalling (my baby was born on a bank holiday weekend which could have been why). The staff never responded to my calls until I had rung the buzzer 3 or 4 times and after my c-section I couldn't move and really needed their support. My baby was screaming and as I couldn't walk around with him, my only option to calm him was to feed him. He fed well that night and frequently but one midwife came to me and said that as my baby was screaming so much she would give him a bottle to calm him down. She wouldn't take no for an answer until I got very vocal and listed how many times he had fed for in the last few hours...eventually she left me alone but she made me feel completely unsupported with my decision to breast feed. The vast majority of my friends who had a baby in that hospital ended up giving their baby a bottle, despite wanting to breast feed. By contrast a friend's baby was admitted to a hospital 10 miles away from mine having lost 20% of his birthweight and the hospital refused to let her bottle feed him. She was in hospital for 3 days with people making her express and try breast feeding every hour. Her baby lost more weight while he was in hospital until they very reluctantly agreed to let her formula feed him. It was appalling, visiting her in hospital and seeing the change in her baby, I was staggered that they wouldn't give him formula, they would rather have tube fed him. The fact that two hospitals 10 miles apart can have such different attitutes to breast feeding astonishes me.

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                              12.02.2011 17:21
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                              Most Mothers do what they think is best for their child, it's their decision.

                              This is another one of those subjects I do not understand all the hoopla about. Why should breastfeeding be a cause for debate? I'm sorry, but the way I look at, the decision belongs to each individual mother, and no one should really be debating another woman's choice. You never know all the personal considerations involved in some one else's life. But every woman deserves the right to be fully informed, and to receive support in any choice she makes. But it seems to me, whatever choice a woman makes, she gets someone telling her off for it, it's a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. By using both feeding methods, I managed to get every side damning my choices, not that I particularly care :)

                              I realise the hospitals motivation is good as well, they are well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, but I think the way they go about it, makes it more difficult in many cases. With the best of intentions, I think many hospitals are setting women up to fail. I also think while they try to shove breastfeeding down your throats, they never really make clear why, and I doubt many new mothers are aware of the full benefits and risks ratio. I also realise that combining breast and bottle is not the best choice, but I think it is a lot better then exclusive formula feeding and in some cases may be the only other option.

                              I have considered writing this review for ages, but hesitated, as with a sensitive subject like this, you are bound to offend someone. But I really believe every woman should be better informed on this issue, and maybe a few men should be too.

                              THE FACTS:
                              We all know breastfeeding is healthier, but how much of a difference does it make? In developing countries, without proper sanitation of course the difference is staggering. But in modern countries, we don't see death in formula fed babies from contaminated drinking water, we can sterilise the bottles etc.. it is much safer.

                              But even so, it estimated that an additional 4 infant deaths per 1,000 will occur among formula fed babies as opposed to breastfed. We can argue semantics all day, but it makes no difference to me if these children die because formula feeding caused their deaths, or because breastfeeding could have prevented them - to me it is 4 wasted lives. As these studies include children only breastfed for the first couple of weeks as breastfed, the numbers are very conservative.

                              Breastfed infants are less likely to
                              Develop type 1 diabetes, by 34%, that is roughly 1/3 of all type one diabetes cases we could eliminate.
                              Die of sids ( formula feeding doubles the risk).
                              Develop any childhood cancer, (Children never breastfed, or breastfed less then 6 months are 8 times more likely to develop cancer before age 15)
                              Develop breast cancer as adults
                              Develop asthma 50% reduction
                              Develop allergies
                              Show genetic damage linked to cancer in alter life
                              Develop any childhood cancer
                              Be obese in later life
                              Have heart or circulatory disease as an adult
                              Have high blood pressure as an adult
                              Have behavioural or psychological problems in childhood.
                              Suffer from gastrointestinal infections or acute respiratory infection
                              Be hospitalised in the first year of life for illness.

                              Breastfed infants are more likely to:
                              have a somewhat higher IQ average of over 8 pts for girls , and over 5 for boys.

                              Benefits for Mom
                              Significantly reduced risk of breast cancer, as well as reduced risks for uterine, endometrial and ovarian cancer.
                              Reduced incidence of postpartum depression.
                              Natural family spacing - less likely to become pregnant while baby is still breastfeeding especially in the first year, but no guarantees.
                              Less likely to develop osteoporosis.

                              MY OPINION
                              I'm sure I have left out dozens of risks, but at least this should give the reader a general idea. Of course formula feeding does not mean the child will suffer from any of these, but the risks are there. I do not write this to make anyone feel guilty about not breastfeeding - every has their own lives and issues and breastfeeding just isn't right for every woman. In spite of all these issues, I think a baby is better off with a happy smiling mother in his or her first few months and a bottle, then a miserable mother breastfeeding. This is a matter for every woman to choose for herself - but I do think women should get a lot more support.

                              I live in Northern Ireland which has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe. The NHS has put so much pressure on women to breastfeed that as many as 50% will breastfeed for the first 24 hours or so - until they leave the hospital. Does all this pressure, having someone grab and squeeze at your breasts ( which tend to be rather tender at this time), try to jam a crying infant onto them , tut tut and frown and start grabbing and poking some more help? I personally do not think so. Nor does complete lack of privacy on most wards. A woman needs to relax and feel comfortable for the milk to let down. I do not think bully boy tactics help at all. I personally think shortened hospital stays might be the very best boost breastfeeding!

                              I was also surprised when my midwife informed me that a large number of women can not breastfeed. I doubt this. Yes there are some women with a serious problem, but you don't see many cases where women are unable to feed in places where no formula exists. I am not belittling any woman who tried and failed - just saying with more help and better circumstances she might well have been able to, at least partially breastfeed.

                              So at this point I am sure I sound very anti formula, but I gave my sons formula as well, a big no no which I got all sorts of grief for. Why? I'll explain. Warning this may be too graphic for some.

                              With my oldest, I had some problems in the hospital after his birth. It's a bit complicated, but basically one of my room mates 15 guests kept insisting he watch me breastfeed. The head midwife was no support , saying it was a natural process, I should let him, and only when I said I was phoning the police to report what I considered sexual assault as the man would not quit opening my curtains and standing over my bed was I moved to another room. I was then so upset my milk wouldn't let down, and all sorts of problems. I ended up with severe abscesses on one side. I was advised to continue feeding on the abscessed side as well but i couldn't stand the thought of my child drinking all the horrible stuff oozing from it. I started to supplement with formula and was told to just give up then and completely formula feed. I felt they were treating me as if I were deliberately harming my child by offering a bottle and offering no support. Finally I called the NCT who had a breastfeeding consultant phone me with all sorts of real help.

                              The abscesses eventually healed and I was able to breastfeed successfully, but I did continue to offer my son a bottle after a full hours feed if he still seemed hungry. Before he started solids, this was often. I know I was producing enough milk as my son had between 30 and 40 wet nappies a day, but I do think in my case it may not have been rich enough for him to still be so hungry. I started solid foods against recommendations at 3 months when he progressed to 60 wet nappies in one day, and I was feeding 14+ hours a day, which between that and nappies left no time at all for sleep on my part.

                              I was determined to breastfeed my youngest exclusively. I bought breast pumps, read books etc... I even planned a home birth. Unfortunately he turned to a breach position when my water broke. I ended up in hospital until my continued contractions put him into distress and he was delivered by emergency c section. He was 3 weeks early, and although big enough, 8 1/2 lbs, he wasn't latching on well. Key all sorts of fruitless intervention. I could feel my milk was not letting down, but was told I was imagining it. I was told if they were to use a breast pump I would see how silly I was. I told them to go and get one. " hours later and only one visible drop, slightly larger than a grain of rice, they admitted I might not be producing quite as much as they thought. Meanwhile my child's blood sugar levels continued to drop and tube feeding was suggested. I insisted we try a bottle first.

                              What a hullabulloo! I was now eligible for unfit mother of the year award. I was told once the child had touched a bottle he would never be able to breastfeed. ( which I already knew was rubbish). Tube feeding would keep him going until my milk kicked in. I honestly think they only thing they cared about was being able to tick all the boxes and get credit for another child leaving hospital as "breastfed only" as tube feeding doesn't count against their bloody statistics! I said I was his Mother, and my decision was to try bottle feeding. Again I was told no, I could not bottle feed unless I was going to give up breastfeeding. I said fine, I'll give up breastfeeding if you put that in writing. Can I get a phone in here to start ringing solicitors for my claim, or must I wait until I get home?

                              Complete reversal I could breast and bottle feed, although it would never really work. As soon as the midwife in charge of feeding left, a lovely older midwife said " You're just right, don't let them bully you!" and I didn't. But a number of other women might have been less stubborn after an emergency c section and given in. What mother wouldn't rather just switch to formula then have tubes forced down her newborn infant?

                              I continued to breastfeed for 1 hour and offer a bottle afterwards. Like my oldest son, he seemed to remain hungry after many feeds, in spite of the same 30 -40 wet nappies (cloth). He was also losing too much weight after birth and had a very severe case of breastfeeding jaundice. I did not want him re admitted to hospital if I could possibly avoid it, so he got bottles as needed. Also, at this point I had a three year old who needed his Mommy too. I couldn't devote 14 hours a day to feeding. I had to balance the needs of both children! Despite all the warnings to the contrary I was able to breast feed the full two years recommended by the World Health Organization, and bit more. My sons lost interest in the bottle within weeks of starting solids. I realise mixed feeding wasn't the best choice, but it worked and I don't think exclusive breastfeeding was going to work in either case. For other women, going back to work may often be the reason for mixed
                              feeding. At any rate, the decision was mine, and I did the best I could under the circumstances. I really do not think anyone had the right to criticize me for it. But as much criticism as I took for bottlefeeding as well from professionals, far more people had something to say about breastfeeding, even though I left to do it in private. This is one of the few times I think it OK to make others look like idiots, so I did. But you can't make a pigs ear look like a pearl can you?

                              BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC:
                              This is the other reason I chose to continue offering a bottle at times. As much as I wanted too, expressing milk just never worked for me, no matter how many pumps I tried. I was very lucky to be able to express 2 ounces in 1 hour. I personally do not feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. In desperation I've gone to the ladies toilets before, with my child in the sling but it doesn't work well. I don't think people like me should be pressured to feed in public, if I want to keep it private, that is my business.

                              Still, my reluctance to feed in public really limited my ability to go out for quite some time. Many women do not want to give up so much of their freedom, and that is fair enough. If a woman feeds discretely, the chances of actually seeing anything are quite slim.

                              But if a Mother feels uncomfortable covered up from neck to waist, or the child will not feed with a blanket over it's head, then yes I think she has a right to feed less discretely. I realise it makes some people uncomfortable, but if being able to feed easily public encourages more women to breastfeed, doesn't that out weigh a few people feeling uncomfortable? And if women were seen breastfeeding more often, it might become more acceptable. I don't think anyone in many countries would blink at seeing a woman feed her baby. Islam states that a child should be breastfed for at least 2 years, and I understand the Talmud does as well, although I have not read this yet. The relationship of a Mother feeding her infant has been almost sacred for 1,000's of years. It is only now people even think to question it. I'd rather see 1,000 women breastfeeding in city centre, then one child die a death that could have been prevented.

                              My rating on this is for the debate, not for breastfeeding in general. I think the whole idea of second guessing and criticising mother's , whatever choice they make is wrong. It's not a matter for debate - a woman should be free to make her own choices where feeding her child is concerned - no debate involved.

                              PS - I did not want to stretch this review out further with lists of sites, but if any one wants links for various studies, message me. Also if anyone wants any non expert advice, just from a Mom who has been there - all the little secrets like cabbage leaves, drop me a message.

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