Intro

All content of this blog is my own opinion only. It does not represent the views of any organisation or association I may work for, or be associated with. Nothing within this blog should be considered as medical advice and you should always consult your Doctor.

Formula feeding mums, start shouting. Loudly!

A huge amount of the comments I read online contain the line "I tried to breastfeed but...." and what follows can be anything from the simple "boys are hungrier" or "I have fair hair and therefore feel pain more acutely", to some real heart rendering stories of what mums have been through in order to try and succeed.

As someone who did manage to breastfeed, but gave some formula pre six months to my first (on the advice of a health professional!) I felt angry when I first read reports highlighting how evidence has shown for years, that this undermines some of the health reasons for breastfeeding. Nobody had told me this pre supplement and unfortunately for my daughter she developed eczema so severe we were placed under the care of a dermatologist.

If a mum (for whatever reason) feels she has to swap totally, and is then hit with article after article about risks of formula feeding - it's not really a surprise she feels something. The vast majority of mothers (however they feed) love their children immensely and I firmly believe mothers do the best they can, with the information and support they have at that time.

Realistically when we look at what little chance most stood of actually succeeding in the first place, I really think it's time we started shifting the blame away from vulnerable mothers, and over to where it actually belongs! Because really, it's not fair that not only are these mothers missing out on something amazing, but they then get to carry the burden of it not working!

We frequently hear that around 97% of mums can breastfeed multiples, we know that over 80% of mums initiate breastfeeding; so why then do we have only a tiny percentage of mums still breastfeeding after the first few weeks? The fact is there is an important part of the first sentence missing; it should read "Around 97% of mums can breastfeed, with the right support".

I used the Chinese meal analogy in my last blog post, for anyone who didn't read here it is again:
"Imagine you had grown up only ever witnessing and tasting your local cuisine. Someone hands you a Chinese menu and instructs you to cook a dish, giving you no recipe and only a vague description of what it is. You've never heard of half the ingredients and what's more everyone around you seems to be doing "fine" on the local food anyway. You seek help but unfortunately whilst you can hunt out some trained and qualified chefs in your area, the vast majority themselves made do with local cooking - so they are not really sure when you ask trickier questions. Where do you start? This is often the position a new breastfeeding mum finds herself in."
Effective support is extremely hard to find, and what makes it even harder still is how does the new mum recognise good support from bad? Before children I would have thought it pretty safe to assume that any health professional responsible for an area of care, would have to be competent at doing so. Unfortunately with breastfeeding that's simply not the case - and the vast majority of mums who aren't breastfeeding but wanted to, have received terrible support.
 
How do I know? Because even if I forget the years supporting mums, and everything I have seen and overheard in the community - every reason I have read over the last few days bar one, has been something that could have been easily prevented or overcome with the right help. Instead mums are left believing they simply couldn't breastfeed.

I wonder how many non breastfeeding mums had a class when pregnant which covered how to get breastfeeding off to a good start? How many were given full details about how the type of birth you have and what medications you use can impact on breastfeeding? Whilst obviously women can't help needing intervention or a section (especially given current rates) were they told what to expect in this situation, and things they could do to help establish breastfeeding if it arose?

If mum needed drugs in pregnancy, how many found their health care provider checked whether they would impact on lactation, and if so sought a suitable alternative to enable mum to breastfeed?

How many had a class which told dads how they could effectively support breastfeeding?  What they could expect as "normal" and what were signs help was needed? What they could do to be really involved and to bond with baby without needing a bottle - and what things they might want to avoid, as they can appear to be help but actually have a negative impact.

 How many were advised of what needs to happen in the first hour after birth, what baby expects on a biological level at this time, and what we know to be the impact of veering from this? How many were shown clips of the "breast crawl" and how important time for just parents and baby to be is?

How many were told the actual differences in breastmilk and substitutes, rather than one is better than the other - and exactly how this impacts for everyone?

How many were shown how a baby latches on, how you can ensure they are breast and not nipple feeding and how you can tell whether they are effectively feeding and taking large amounts of milk rather than just nibbling?

How many were told exactly how you can easily tell extremely quickly whether baby is receiving enough (there is absolutely no need to "see" what's going in to ensure this!) without even getting out a set of scales?

Once baby arrives, how many mums were visited after birth by someone specialised in lactation - who didn't grab their breast or the baby and roughly "help him on", but who instead had the skills to observe, listen and perhaps if needs be understand what problems may be likely to occur depending on the situation, and be ready to help overcome them?

How many mums who were in agony, had shredded nipples or a baby who was never settled, were seen not by someone who said things "looked fine" and "stick at it, things will click", but instead referred immediately to someone who could quickly identify the issue and help get things back on track?

How many mums who had problems pre pregnancy known to interfere with milk supply such as thyroid issues, were checked ASAP after birth to ensure levels were compatible with lactation?

How many were told what to expect in the early weeks and months? What cluster feeding is or when the typical fussy spells are, how these would display and perhaps most importantly of all, where they could get help quickly if they needed it?

The trouble is this pattern is cyclic - if mothers knew demanding better care could make a difference and therefore did so, services would improve; yet until services improve and rates increase - mothers don't know to demand better care!

Why are mothers carrying the can for this?

So, whilst my general rule is I never give advice. I'm going to break it to give a piece.

If you want to breastfeed and things aren't working, perhaps you're finding yourself sliding towards formula feeding when you don't want to. Shout! Shout loudly! Ask to see the infant feeding co-ordinator (most hospitals in the UK have them both in hospital and in the community, but often they never get to hear about mums with problems!) ask anyone who comes near your breasts what their qualifications are - if you are unsure what qualifications someone needs to have in order to best be able to help you, read this.

If you are now formula feeding and didn't want to, instead of blaming the breastfeeding mafia - focus your feelings where they belong and shout loudly at those that let you down (I do mean by way of formal complaint, rather than abusive behaviour :)) and didn't give you the support you needed, when you needed it. If mums want change, we have to make it happen.

42 comments:

  1. Like you Liquorice, I too had a very unsatisfactory start to bf first time round. I had an emergency C-section, and various other problems that, like you say, could have been sorted out and were, eventually. But it took me 14 weeks to get back to exclusive bf (we mix fed and at one point I gave up bf and had to relactate) and I got into a right mess. All of this could have been sorted out, but instead of lack of support, I'd go as far as to say the support I got was misleading to the point of sabotage (I did also get fantastic support, but that came later!). Considering how important breast milk is, I'm shocked by how little is known about lactation by the medical profession.

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  2. THANK YOU!

    Yes, these are exactly the kind of problems I see at our local bf support group. Particularly 2nd time mums who "want to do it right this time" which makes me want to cry, especially when you hear why they "failed to breastfeed" the first time round.

    Some of the advice these mums have been given by healthcare professionals is criminal, and yet they blame themselves for not being able to breastfeed as long as they wished. PCT's are cutting funding for peer support across the board, DESPITE the fact that peer support has been identified as the most effective support available.

    Sorry, I am ranting a bit now. Have only just found your blog today and am very impressed. Will pop by again and be a bit more restrained...

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  3. Love Love Love Love this article.

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  4. Please give us a break!! New mothers should not be bullied or judged if for whatever reason they decide not to breasfeed, or not to continue breasfeedng until the child is 10!
    I was not brestfed, my brothers and sisters and my husband were not either...and we are all doing just fine thank you very much!

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    1. I think you're missing the point here, Anonymous. The very point this blog is making is that mothers SHOULDN'T be blamed, SHOULDN'T feel guilty, because the vast majority of the time mothers DO want to breastfeed and feel awful about 'not being able to'. The point that the article is making is about the lack of support, and the terrible advice these mothers get from professionals, not about whether mums are choosing to breastfeed, or for the duration of that feeding. You need to read it again to pick up on what it is actually saying.

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    2. If we were not living in this day and age where we have such mod cons to make our life easier, before 'formula' was invented lets say, would you let your baby starve to death? would you fuck, you would do anything and everything and persevere until your child took to the breast, rather than take the 'easy' way out, yes I said easy! because each and every female that gives birth to a child will lactate (bar for medical reasons, be it c-section confusing the body, or lack of a certain hormone to initiate lactation, although most if not all is correctable via medicinal means) so those of you lazy fuckers that try and palm off the fact your not breastfeeding on 'my hormones wouldn't allow' .. 'The baby wouldn't take' blah blah bull shit.. The fact you decided to have a baby, means you should have taken into account the sacrifice to your breasts that would come to pass, they get saggy, they lose their shape, their perkiness, but that is what your signing up for when you have a child, what does this moron know? they have no idea what it was like! blah.. I know 100% that you were not born to drink dried up reconstituted crap from birth, you and I were born to drink the milk of our mothers and there are no fucking exceptions. Yes we can survive on cows milk, goats milk, formula, etc and so forth, that's only because we have evolved to survive pretty much anything, while we think we are doing ok on this that and the other, our body sacrifices certain processes that ultimately lead to the degradation of cells that are fundamentally key to our continued health and vigour.. Do you think this happens overnight? So next time you chuck a bottle in a young child's mouth containing anything but breast milk, look them in the eye and remember what your stealing from them.

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    4. Anon Legion, seriously no need to use foul language or such an accusative tone. It's distracting from a brilliant article which could just make one mum think about what her real choices are. This type of post instead is divisive. As a full term breastfeeding mother and trained peer supporter I say shame on you.

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    5. you missed the point anon!!!!!!!!

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  5. Anon which part of my post did you feel was bullying or judgemental?

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  6. I didn't get the right support, I was told to 'give her a bottle' whenever I had the slightest sniff of a problem but I still magaed to breastfeed successfully for 12 months. what makes me so diferent?

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  7. Great post AA! However I sadly know mums who have ALL the information and support and still decide to not even try breastfeeding. Truly sad and frustrating! Why would a mum do something that she knows is not best for her babe?

    What Anon said "I was not brestfed, my brothers and sisters and my husband were not either...and we are all doing just fine thank you very much!" is what I get from my relative too. The fact that my relatives mum, sister, sisters child and herself are obese, and there are asthma and eczema problems, seem to qualify as 'fine'.

    Breaks my heart to see a newborn baby being shoved full of infacol before each feed ('because he doesn't bring up his wind') to be followed by a bottle of something made in a factory...and the cheapest version too.

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  8. Re: anonymous (3 Oct) - I think the problem is that you cannot discuss things like breastfeeding and home birth without someone on the "other side of the fence" getting very defensive about their choices (and this does work both ways, I realise.) This article isn't at all about reprimanding/judging parents who have made choices they are completely happy with and made them based on the best information possible. This is about those who struggled to breastfeed, had the desire to do so, but were let down by a lack of support and information. The point is, if you DO want to breastfeed and you're feeling like you're not getting any encouragement or information, be as vocal as you can and DEMAND that you get the help you need. It's about taking control.

    BTW, I formula fed my first (gave up after 2 weeks), so I've been there, done that. He's doing just fine, but I was devastated to give up and felt like an enormous failure - when in fact, it was my health visitor and midwives that let me down, not me. It really helps to realise that.

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  9. Perhaps if we said that 97% of women will *lactate*, and produce enough milk to feed their baby/ies then the onus goes back to those who are not supporting and educating mothers on how to get feeding established. There is so much misinformation out there, from how often you should feed, to when babies should sleep "through" that it's no wonder most new mums interpet normal baby behaviour as something wrong with their milk/feeding technique and switch to artificial milks.

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  10. QUOTE I didn't get the right support, I was told to 'give her a bottle' whenever I had the slightest sniff of a problem but I still magaed to breastfeed successfully for 12 months. what makes me so diferent? END

    I really hate the notion that because one person managed it, all should - all you need is determination. PFT! Each dyad is unique and believe me when I say you NEVER know from feeding a few babies what EVERY nursing mother is going through. I met a mum recently who literally had no nipples left - but you continued right, so why shouldn't she? It just doesn't work that way.
    AA

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  11. QUOTE I sadly know mums who have ALL the information and support and still decide to not even try breastfeeding. Truly sad and frustrating! Why would a mum do something that she knows is not best for her babe? END

    I just don't think it's that cut and dry. You can give mums information - but then they can look around and see all those who are formula fed and "fine" (longer term links with disease such as the retarded thymus growth of a non breastfed infant) are not recognised by society. How many diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (as one random condition) are asked how they were fed as infants?

    We have a situation where the AF companies spend £20 per baby born promoting that their product is a convenient, liberating, "nearly as good" and of course vital for the "good dad" experience.

    Let's put your question another way - we know that eating a healthy diet is best for us, we know x amount of gym sessions or not drinking alcohol is "best" - yet how many live this ideal life? Most people don't aim for best, they aim for "ok" - because with "ok" comes the notion of middle ground.

    Many simply don't believe if formula was that bad it would be sold, advertised - hell even given out in our hospitals! Why would a midwife/HV say "just give a bottle!" if it was that bad?

    Instead - painting those who tell the facts as they stand are labelled "extremists" or the "mafia" suits the agenda of many. The AF companies get the "ok" spot, because breast is sold as "best". The papers and TV companies KNOW that the vast majority of their audience AF! When it comes to business who wants to risk printing/broadcasting something that isolates such a chunk of their market? Reassuring people that these are merely "extremists" works for them too.

    Furthermore, this market is even more interesting because of the whole "guilt" aspect sold around not breastfeeding - Af companies and inept health professionals have spent so long telling people they can't possibly give facts to non bfing mothers or it will make them feel "guilty", or that they shouldn't feel guilty if they give up (why the hell should they - by telling someone not to feel guilty, that in itself implies there IS a reason to feel guilty!!) - that mothers who have been let down now buy into the guilt themselves! This creates a market that not only accepts an inferior product, but defends and argues on behalf of it - a marketers dream! The bigger the divide the AF companies can create between bf and non bfing mums, the more secure their sale and the bigger the profit.

    This is just one tiny piece of the puzzle as to why women can have the facts and yet seemingly choose something known to be inferior.

    Ultimately it's the big picture of what money (the BILLIONS of pounds the AF market is worth!) and marketing can do, even when the whole picture science paints the opposite to what is being "sold".

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  12. You make a lot of sense! I know there are many other factors: social especially, in this case. I feel judgmental saying this, but if we choose to drink or not to go to gym, that's our choice, it's our body...but choosing what you know is not best for another human being who you love immensely, does not seem fair. I so need to change my language too. BF is not best, it's normal. Damn AF marketing...makes me so mad!

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  13. As I mentioned on FB I think the other thing is a woman's relationship with her breasts can be very intricate and deeply rooted - again perhaps influenced by social norms for their area, their experiences growing up (not just regarding infant feeding but personal experiences and how their social connections perceive breasts and their function) so many things can impact - breast cancer in the family can completely change the relationship a woman has with her breasts as just one example.
    Often they may have been formula fed, as was their mother, as was the HP supporting them and that's how she may have also fed her own infants. At the clinic in some areas there are literally no bfing mothers, AF IS their norm.
    How many mums feed their children ready meals or takeaways? Or crisps and sweets to replace a sandwich for lunch? It's not that they see this as harmful, but their norm as they were raised and they're "ok".
    I just thing we have such a long way to go that we should focus on helping those who do want to - which in itself can help push societal change.

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  14. You are brilliant. As a formula feeding mum I know there is huge judgement, often from breast feeders who passive aggressively insinuate we just didn't try hard enough. From someone that went to hell and back trying to breast feed, I find that insulting to say the least. The issue lies with really poor funding and access to professionals and so called professionals like maternal child nurses giving bad advice.

    I love your blog because it's unashamedly pro breast feeding without beating down women that are already beaten down. I had tears reading this entry because it's such a relief that someone that is for breast feeding understands. We don't need judgement, we get that in spades, we need support

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  15. i am just feeling so bad for little babies who was just born, they scared from this new bright and noisy world and the only thing they expect in this world is to feel safe and loved by being on the breast of their mother, listen to her heart beat and breath, feel warm from her body not from the piece of texture and eat & drink LOVE instead of liquids in the bottle...Mother should only listen to her heart, to her maturity instincts when it comes to her baby, not to caregivers or doctors, our problem is that we forgot how to listen to our hearts and lost our instincts.

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  16. the thing is viktoriya, some women need more than just their instincts to succeed at breast feeding. For some, they need specialised help, help that often isn't available. Believe it or not, many formula feeding mums want to breast feed. You don't need to feel sad for my kids, my sorrow is enough, what is needed is for breast feeders to fight for more funding so we can change the pattern where formula is normal. Making mums feel crap isn't the answer.

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  17. I totally agree with the first half of your post Tardis - but this bit:

    "what is needed is for breast feeders to fight for more funding so we can change the pattern where formula is normal. Making mums feel crap isn't the answer." I don't.

    I think NON breastfeeders need to fight too! They are potentially far more powerful!

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  18. oh totally, I didn't just mean breast feeders. But my comment was more in relation to some comments that breast feeders feel sorry for formula fed kids and that formula is so normalised now - the latter I agree with. The way to change this, is not to make mums feel bad, at least with past children it's done and dusted. I believe a better, pro active way of changing things is to fight for better resources for women. The reason I follow your blog is because you stay clear of blaming mums and put the blame where it deserves to be - a) society and the normalisation of formula, sexualisation of breasts etc and b) and the lack of good advice and support

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  19. tardis, i love what u said! i was always on the side of mothers who wanted to bf and who failed because of the wrong support, but not all of them is happy to listen or to believe in what i am saying, just maybe because they don't want to feel that they did something wrong or didn't do enough for their baby...its very hard to give an advise to woman who wanted to bf, but couldn't make it work, they always feel judged, and most of them block themselves from any other opinions and think that they did all the possible, all what they could have done and now its just out of their hands and it is fault of anybody else but not themselves. Dear Mothers, we all was brought to this world to be a good mothers, we all ARE good mothers, but just lets listen to our voice inside and to our baby, this is so natural and easy when we don't interfere the brain in instinctual processes...

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  20. if we want to change the world, we better start from ourselves to show an example to others...

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  21. good advise and support is always here around us, we just need to follow our heart to find it and listen to it..

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  22. The issue is, that good advice and support isn't always around us, that's why so many women fail. Every woman on both mine and my husband's side bottle fed. I had no one to turn to. There are no LC's in my community. Again, listening t your heart doesn't solve many women's issues, if that's all it came down to I wouldn't have had a single barrier. Anyway, I won't clog up AA's feed lol thanks again for the entry AA :D

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  23. Thank you for a brilliant post. Have shared it today on my blog :)

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  24. "I just thing we have such a long way to go that we should focus on helping those who do want to - which in itself can help push societal change."

    Beautifully put, AA. I know we have had our differences, and there are obviously aspects to this post I don't agree with (probably no surprise there, huh? ;) ) but overall, I think this is a GREAT post. I definitely agree that many, many, MANY more women would be able to succeed with better support. And I think if we followed your advice - focusing efforts on those who want to breastfeed/are on the fence rather than trying to convince those who adamantly don't - we could really start making strides.

    This type of message does a lot of good in the lactivist community, and I really appreciate it. Thank you.

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  25. My mum wrote this, after she read this, having seen the link on my facebook page, but didn't know how to post a comment;

    "I'm not sure I want to start this, as I feel I am personally out of touch with BFing even tho both my daughters did/are and my daughter-in-
    law is. But my experiences (in the 60s) are quite varied and horrifying - seen from knowledge and attitude changes of today. The old adage 'if I had known then.....' is so true.
    These are my 3 experiences. Firstly I was 100s of miles from my family when my children were born, not that that would have made much difference as they had no experience of bfing and I was a 'bottle baby' at the end of the war. My first daughter was born in 1966 and I only considered bfing because my husband, who was a agricultural scientist said you need to because it's better for the baby, like it is for baby animals! I had no idea about babies at all so just believed it would be that simple. I was 1 of only 2 mothers bfing in the home and had a million different nurses giving advice. But when I came out of the maternity home after a week, my nipples began to bleed and my husband drove to the next district as my own district nurse was on leave and we had no phone. I can remember this little witch of an old lady, bustled in took one look at me, put her arms round me (reducing me to tears), and said not to worry she had the very thing. A nipple shield - something I had never seen or heard of before. However within 24 hours I was up and running. I truly believe that old lady saved my sanity. It was actually a Sunday with no shops to get a bottle even it she had recommended it, so it was breast or nothing! Also I can only speculate where I would have ended up if my own district nurse had been available because she was of the 'bottle generation', and I fear that would have been her answer. I continued to feed my daughter till she was over 3 months. That doesn't seem much now, but in those days it was wacky, and I told very few people (even women) that I was, and managed mostly to be on my own to do it. I weaned her onto the bottle for no other reason than I was going home and wanted a night out with my friends and couldn't see any other way of getting this. Horrendous isn't it. I was given a hormone pill to dry up my (fantastic) milk supply and it took me 3 days to force myself to take it as neither my daughter nor I wanted the bottle.
    My son who was born at home fed happily for about 6 weeks, but I was suffering with constipation and not wanting to take anything to upset him took the district nurse's advice and dosed myself with Andrews Liver Salts. My milk began to dry up, and I had no idea why, but was consoled by same midwife and all cynical friends that I probably didn't have enough for a hungry boy. So I supplemented until eventually he was totally on the bottle. I leaked for weeks at feeding time, but never considered or was advised to keep going with the bfing and stop the Andrews!! It was only years later that a horrified nurse said that the Andrews had been the cause of me drying up.
    My last baby, also born at home, also fed well for the first weeks. No seriously sore nipples, by then I had the confidence to experiment and find the best way. But I was still secretive about the bfing and though I can't remember why I started to feel she wasn't 'getting enough', when this began to happen I just slid into bottles again, because it had seemed to be the answer to my son's need.

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  26. Since my daughters' have re-introduced my to bfing I have learned so much. I understand how easy it is to be seduced by the bottle brigade, even more so with so much pressure from TV and formula firms 'telling it how it is'. I have nearly got into arguments with women who themselves tried, or who's children or friends tried and didn't succeed - or didn't even try. You can't tell anyone they could if they'd really wanted to, because they feel guilty. You can't then say they were not given the advice and support they were entitled to because by then you have been judgmental and unsympathetic. There is no way back. They tend to think my daughters are wacky and influenced by me, but since my d-i-law is being so successful and up-front about it (excuse the pun), I feel more able to talk about it as being so much more normal.
    It takes a very confident mother to declare she is a bfeeder even today, and it is still difficult to ask a new mum how she is feeding her baby so it is the 'elephant in the room', as we must all be thinking it, as feeding is the all consuming occupation of every new mum for those first few weeks, and who knows if a gentle question from someone like me could help her to get the help she might be needing to stop her giving in.
    Over to you to find this answer - simple really."

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  27. Thanks to your mum Jehefinner! Fascinating read

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  28. I actually think there is plenty of support but many people don't utilise it- around half the women on my birth board have given up BF after a few weeks even when told about Breast feeding groups, lactation consultants etc ... mostly because they want more sleep at night or want their partners to help with feeds or other selfish reasons.

    People also seem to give up at the first problem they hit- rather than realising that mastitis will clear up many people just quit.

    I think the support is out there; I had plenty of help in hospital, a phone call from BF councillor, been to a BF group and had lots of help from GP and HV when I have suffered with Thrush, mastitis and now Raynauds syndrome... I think if you are passionate about BF and know it is best for your child then you will persevere, but many people my age don't even bother to try in the first place for example a 24 year old friend of mine with a new baby who looked absolutely mortified when I said I BF my 6 week old and just couldnt understand why x

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  29. OMG I have breastfed two girls struggle is an understatement I just never seemed to have enough, I would feed for 2 hours non stop and my babies would still scream as they where not fed, I asked everyone I knew what could be wrong I struggled for 9 months with my first as she wouldn't take a bottle and gave in at 6 months with my second. It is well document in my medical records that I have a severely under active thyroid I take 200mg of thyroxine and no, one not one professional suggested it could be my medication or condition. I feel sickened that it could have been the cause all along I felt like such a failure!!!!!!!!!!

    As well as the constant pressure from family to give up and give a bottle. I personally am fed up with the comment, "mine where bottle fed and their alright" Science has evolved and the studies are factual! it's black and white the benefits of what nature intended is what the body naturally wants. The comment is arrogant. The fact is if you decide to bottle feed it is your choice that you have a right to chose but it doesn't validate the comment. If the child is "alright" being bottle fed, think how that individual may have excelled with breast milk!

    This article is fantastic and support for new mums in breastfeeding should be standard!

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  30. I love this. Thank you for posting it.

    So refreshing to read something I agree with!

    Support is out there and things do need to change.

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  31. http://www.analyticalarmadillo.co.uk/2010/07/formula-feeding-mums-start-shouting.html
    Hello my name is Karen Holmes and I am the creator of the face book page Supportive Community when Breastfeeding Does not work out. I am also a counsellor and a retired La Leche League Leader. Thank you too for expressing your support for mums/moms when bf does not work out we certainly need more acceptance, compassion and support. I hope that one day this is more the norm and that mums/moms support each other regardless of how things go with infant feeding. We are so much stronger together than we are apart and in reality we have more in common than we realize. Change for the better for us all is also more likely if we are together with a united voice.
    In regard to the AA post there are some really excellent points in it and there are also some misunderstandings there too. I have researched around this topic and done a lot of thinking on it. Lack of accurate information and support from health professionals can be one factor in why bf does not work out. Yet it is one of many and it is definitely way more complex than this. For some mums/moms there are medical issues for herself or her baby that can get in the way. For example, some mums/moms have insufficient glandular tissue and some babies have a cleft lip and palate which means they cannot draw milk themselves.
    Also if we look at health professionals who we might expect to know about breastfeeding and we look at what goes on for them we uncover an even more complex set of difficulties to address. For example what impact do hospital policies have on how staff are with mum/moms? What funding is there for bf support? What training around bf and managing difficulties do staff have? What personal experience of infant feeding do staff have and how does this influence how they are with infant feeding? The truth is that we have got where we are today over many generations and there are so many contributing factors as to where we are today and no one thing is the complete answer. When we start to examine ALL of the contributing factors together and begin to address these in a compassionate way for all this is when real solid change will come IMO.
    It is understandable that those that support mums/moms to bf will want with all their heart to find an answer to help mums/moms. Yet listening to mums/moms when bf has not worked out many have done exactly what AA advocates they have screamed out for help as loud as they were able , they have seen many people claiming to be able to help and yet breastfeeding still has not worked out. This is what is misunderstood and it hurts. Last week or the week before, there was a similar post from a bf helper seeing a mother’s faith in her own body as the answer to all her breastfeeding barriers. While well meaning and hopeful and definitely a factor again it cannot be a savoir alone. I posted it on the page and many mums/moms felt hurt by it. They felt hurt because the solution suggested was for mums/moms to keep persevering through difficulties until they succeed. The misunderstanding here is that from the stories on my page many mums/moms do that. They persevere until they reach crisis and cannot continue any more. They have persevered through immense pain and discomfort and still bf has not worked out. The answers are not always simple. I wish they were.

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  33. The problem is when the support fails. I was told just to give my daughter a bottle as she can't breastfeed and can't be taught. Luckily I knew further places to look for more support and will keep trying but these other avenues of help aren't readily notified

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  34. Great article. I strongly believe that HCP supporting bf should start with properly helping the mums who tried and struggled to bf and then when it's seen as more normal push it to the less bothered.

    I had a very bad experience with dd1 (think she has undiagnosed tongue tie, I had a csection) and ended up supplementing for a few weeks before EPIng for a year.

    Dd2 was totally different, (csection after an attempted vbac), I was a peer supporter, I "shouted" and I got help. I ended up bf her until her third birthday.

    Now she's 4 and I've "got over" my bf experience but it hurt a lot at the time.

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  35. Great article. I strongly believe that HCP supporting bf should start with properly helping the mums who tried and struggled to bf and then when it's seen as more normal push it to the less bothered.

    I had a very bad experience with dd1 (think she has undiagnosed tongue tie, I had a csection) and ended up supplementing for a few weeks before EPIng for a year.

    Dd2 was totally different, (csection after an attempted vbac), I was a peer supporter, I "shouted" and I got help. I ended up bf her until her third birthday.

    Now she's 4 and I've "got over" my bf experience but it hurt a lot at the time.

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