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  1. #1
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    Default Spin off- breast or bottle- do you feel your method of feeding is supported? Why/why

    The other thread in the bottle feeding section has me amazed and dismayed that some people think their method of feeding their baby is not supported socially or in other ways. I know bf is well supported on the hub but I must admit that I'm surprised that people think it's a well supported choice in real life. If this was the case surely our bf rates would be higher? Anyway, Here is my experience.

    DD1 had a severe tongue tie. As a 21 yr old FTM the midwives ignored me telling them this and tried to keep me bf. It was painful and ineffective. She got jaundice and went into special care and I demanded they give her a bottle. I had to fight for it. When they saw I meant business, I was taken to the "artificial feeding room" and the midwife showed me how to make a bottle, how to sterilise them and discussed what formula to use. After I left hospital, I did change from s26 as it made her constipated to another brand- the local chemist was able to help me choose another type in conjunction with the baby health nurse that worked out of the pharmacy doing baby weighs and free advice sessions each week. The ECHN didn't bat an eye on hearing she was ff, the only issue was initially in the hosp.
    Socially, no one ever said a bad word to me about ff or questioned it. I told some people of my experience in the hospital and all agreed that the nurses should have listened to me from the start.

    DD2- she was EBF for the first couple of weeks. I had to top up with formula as she was not gaining weight and didn't have enough wet nappies. The top ups were recommended by the ECHN who recommended nan ha gold. I believe I was topping up too long but they didn't seem interested in getting her off the formula. I did everything I could to build my supply (and was well supported by many hubbers to do so) but even my GP declined to give another script for motilium and told me to ff instead as "it's the same". Neither my GP nor the MCHN offered any info on building my own milk supply up. Socially, I had probably just one friend that had successfully bf and she offered me advice and support. Other friends just asked why I didn't just ff? At my baby shower I think I got three formula dispensers (I didn't mind, not at all just found it interesting that it was assumed I'd need one- which I did! ) I also had a terrible time with a painful latch and again, the GP told me to ff and the ECHN suggested swapping to ff if we were comfortable doing so. An LC that I sought out helped a bit but it did take a lot of perseverance and research on my part to fix.
    Socially, I've been stared at, pointed at and snickered at by strangers. A close friend's mum had a go at me for bf at a backyard kids party. After the sunrise nurse in, I made the mistake of reading some of the commentary online- both opinion pieces and reader comments. The amount of people who think breastfeeding is utterly disgusting, dirty, wrong and liken it to s3xual abuse is staggering. Outside the hub and places like it, I don't think bf is hugely well supported by our society.

    I'm basing my views on my own experience, so it's obviously subjective. I'd like to read others views if you care to share.

    I have said before that I believe with better education and support, more women would bf. At the same time, I don't condemn anyone who ffs. Clearly I've done both! So I'm hoping not to have a breast vs bottle debate, I'm just interested to hear
    A- your experiences and
    B- what you think could be done to improve things.
    Last edited by Atropos; 01-01-2014 at 16:13.

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  3. #2
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    I exclusively bf for 6 months and 1 day (can you guess what my goal was). Sometimes I would use a cover in public, sometimes I didn't and sometimes I used parents rooms. It was all about what I felt comfortable with, not everyone else and I never had anyone comment.

    For me, there was a heavy emphasis on breast is best. I thought too much, even though I made the decision to bf and didn't have any problems after the first week if so.

    When I decided to wean, it took me a while to get comfortable with the decision. The maths finally decided it for me as I was going back to work and couldn't afford 1-1/2 hours out of my work day to express. I haven't had anyone question my decision but I'm not sure I would have weaned if I was still on maternity leave. Since switching to formula, I haven't really fed much out of the house as I tend to time it so I'm feeding DS solids when I'm out.

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    I normally avoid topics like this but here goes just my experience with two children so far.

    Always wanted to bf determined to, attended bf classes at hospital prior to birth of my first. Attached ok with both, but just never got pass those first few weeks, both babies lost more then 10% birth weight and neither gained until I started bottle feeding, my first screamed 24/7 he was starving, I couldn't get him to attach to me after first two weeks. I had a lot of support trying to bf through midwives and lactation consultant, but it could have been better who knows. I also spent all day pumping, took various things and mot ilium but couldn't get enough milk for a single feed (happened with both and pcos has been blamed for my issues).

    When I made decision to turn to ff as I could no longer cope mentally and my babies were starving that was it, midwives cut me off no support etc. I had no bloody idea what I was doing, didn't know how to sterilise what I should do with bottles which ones to buy what formula to buy. The aisles are full of different ones. Add to that both babies struggled with bottle feeding to. For the first 4-5 months feeding them was hell, they would scream around the bottles, I had to beg for help once I started ff, I still have no answers why both babies were so difficult to feed, wasn't reflux, were lactose intolerant which I had to diagnose and figure out myself. When you are a sleep deprived first time mum struggling with all those hormones it was awful trying to figure it all out myself. I found one midwife who did the weigh in clinic at the chemist who was a god send who helped me with my second recommended bottles for fussy babies gave me advice help and support.

    So really I had a ****ty time with both feeding methods. I just found it easier to get help with bf as that's all they really supported at hospital, but I was on my own with ff. sometimes it simply isn't a case of just pick a bottle and a tin and you are done.

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    I breast fed for 20 months. I sought a lot of support and information prior to her birth (because I was terrified I would fail at BFing). At hospital I was given good support in breast feeding and they really got things working for us. DH and my sister were good supports but to be honest most of my friends weren't quite the bfing devotees that I was. Most of them fed for a couple of months and then went to formula for whatever reasons, and the ones that fed for longer gave formula as well, one because she was really reluctant to feed in public, even in a parents room.

    My Dr was good. I had an open wound on my breast that was caused by a mishandled milk cyst. This occurred at 7 weeks and it didn't heal until just before DD weaned (approx 19 months when it closed over) and my Dr was very frank with me that it would not close over while I was feeding her but that DD was benefitting immensely and that as long as I could stand to have an open wound on my breast that it was good to keep going.

    I spoke to a few other mothers who had next to no support. One lady in a parents room told me one day that she had been breastfeeding her newborn 4 times a day because she didn't know better and it was only when she took him to the MCHN to be weighed that they worked out what was going on.

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    I think there is a lack of tangible support for breastfeeding but that in Australia it is much more socially accepted than FF (few old school people and some bogans aside, from my own experience). BFing is basically "taught" as the only viable option and is in my view too forcefully rammed down women's throats. When I hear about women eating massively restricted diets so they can BF it makes me cringe. It's so bad for them and I don't think they should do it. It especially makes me cringe when they do this on ABA advice and not medical advice.

    I FF my DS after unsuccessfully trying to BF and giving up after a few weeks as he was not getting enough food and my mental health was suffering. I am happy with my decision now but struggled at the time with guilt.

    I also think it is ridiculous how many women continue to BF when their babies are clearly hungry and unsettled and would be better off with a bottle of formula. Clear example of a woman doing it for more benefit to her rather than the baby. Yep unpopular view on here I am sure but that's mine. A good friend of mine had a cranky unhappy baby who didn't gain weight for 6 months. She finally give him some formula as overnight he was a "different baby". Ummm no he has just been hungry and frustrated for months.

    Having said that though, I have always felt I had enough support Nd resources for FF but that is largely due to online resources.

    I don't think something like the ABA is necessary for FFs as BF is far more physically and emotionally challenging than FF. FF has its own challenges but I do think its fair to say that BF is much, much harder.

    Certainly doesn't make you a better parent though.

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    I had every confidence that I could bf- I didn't buy any formula "just in case", but had a breast pump and one bottle for ebf. I come from a big family who are all breastfeeders, so it never occurred to me to ff from birth.
    With #1, we had no real issues- she latched well from birth, gained on average 200gm a week for the first few months and besides a bout of mastitis and nipple thrush when she was about 5 months old we had no real issues. She was diagnosed with food allergies at 6 months and at 9 months I tried to introduce prescription formula as we were TTC and I wanted a back-up plan if I had supply issues. She wouldn't have a bar of it, and I kept feeding when I got pregnant. She had her last feed at 14.5 months when I was 4 months pregnant with #2.
    #2 was a different kettle of fish- she had terrible reflux and the first few months of her life she struggled to put on weight and at one point was refusing to feed and losing weight. On more than one occassion I was out and it was feed time, but she'd refuse to feed. I'd have to go home, express and then give her the expressed milk in a bottle because she'd developed such a bad association with bf. I'd done lots of reading about how much better breastmilk is for reflux babies and persevered, going on a really strict elimination diet with the support of a dietitian my DD's paediatric gastroenterologist had referred me to. At the worst point I gave her one bottle of prescription formula which she projectile vomited all over me. Even during all her struggles I only had formula suggested to me once and even had a mchn tell me to continue feeding.
    She fed until 16.5 months when I was 12 weeks pregnant with #3. When I told my OB at my first Appt for #3 that I was still feeding, she didn't bat an eyelid.
    #3 was a piece of cake besides the engorgement in the early days. I can't remember anyone suggesting formula at any point, and he's never had any. After he turned 1 I had a friend jokingly ask if I was going to wean before he started school. I weaned him at 18 months and purely because I needed to go back on a specific pill I couldn't breastfeed while on because my hormones were going berserk. He turned 2 in November and I'd probably still be feeding him if it wasn't for that.

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    I think both methods of feeding aren't particuarly supported.

    I had DS1 at 19. I was keen to breastfeed but struggled. I was offered no support whilst in hospital. The midwives gave me the ultimatum- put him on formula or we will be calling Docs and having your baby removed. As a 19 year old I was scared sh!tless when the threat was made, so of course I obliged. Looking back at it all, I relise how ridiculous the situation was and wish I had of stood up for myself

    DS2, breastfeeding came naturally and I kept it up for 2 years until I'd had enough. People were judgemental and disgusted with the bf over 12 months. I was questioned constantly from about 6 months as to when I would be giving bf up.



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    I bf both my kids. It is well supported amongst most of my friends and family, from midwives and doctors and other medical professionals. However I do feel BFing in public could be much, much better supported and I have had the odd unpleasant and surprising conversation with a few ignorant people - including a friend who said she FF because BFing "is not natural" - surely most people would say the opposite.

    I'm very supportive if people FF and I would think with our very high rates of FF *most* people would also be supportive.

    I guess it depends what you are used to seeing - almost all my friends BF, my mum and MIL bf'd so it's very normal in my circle, whereas some people would be used to seeing babies FF and perhaps feel less supported BFing, particularly in public or around others. My mum probably would not have been supportive if I had chosen to FF - she's a bit of a BFing zealot.

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    I had what I can only describe as conflicting support. Berrated by the mchn for giving DD formula, then after she weighed DD (at the same appointment) told I needed to give her more formula. Lactation consultants telling me I was doing a great job, but never actually solving my problem of the fact that my milk never came in.
    My mum and partner telling me I had tried long enough and that it was ok to accept DD was going to be fully formula fed.

    And bubhub telling me that if only I wanted it enough, if only I had wanted to give my baby the best start in life, then I would have been able to bf.

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