how to tell midwife you don't want to breastfeed — The Bump
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how to tell midwife you don't want to breastfeed

Hi,

I don't usually post on this board but I have a question that clients of midwives/midwives/doulas may be able to help me with and I'm guessing this board has lots of you :)

I'm pregnant with my second. I EBF by first for 9 months. Both pregnancies, I have the same midwife who is very pro-EBF. For numerous personal reasons including work, mental health and desire I don't want to breastfeed this time. My plan right now is to breastfeed immediately after the birth and for the first few feeds so that baby gets colostrum and to send baby to the hospital nursery overnight during our hospital stay where I will direct the nurses to feed baby with fomula with a Haberman bottle. I plan on dropping feeds as either supply doesn't meet the need or baby doesn't latch (although from what I read, using Haberman bottles should help baby make the switch back and fourth) until baby is FF; reason for this is because I think some breastmilk is better than none and to I'd rather do it gradually to help with engorgement. If baby's latch and my supply allow for it, it would be nice if baby had a morning feed as his only feed until the milk dries up, however long that takes.

Anyway my thing is, I'm very anxious about letting my midwife know about wanting to do formula. The feeding plan I have above is thought out and researched. I'm certainly not against BF, but I don't want to EBF at all.

Any tips on discussing the issue with my midwife? I'm worried she'll judge, try to convince me otherwise, be unsupportive...as I said, I know the benefits of breastfeeding but they don't outweigh my desire to FF this time around.

Re: how to tell midwife you don't want to breastfeed

  • I would let her know at an appointment prior to birth.  That way, you can have a calm discussion in her office.  I would tell her what you told us, if more briefly.  There is no way to convince her not to judge, if that is her inclination (although I hope it is not).  However, as your care provider, she should be considerate enough to follow your wishes and assist you in your goals.  I am not sure how much info is out there, but the fearless formula feeder website might have some other tips for how to approach the situation along with stories of others who have chosen to formula feed.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    amandaleigh1
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  • I would let her know at an appointment prior to birth.  That way, you can have a calm discussion in her office.  I would tell her what you told us, if more briefly.  There is no way to convince her not to judge, if that is her inclination (although I hope it is not).  However, as your care provider, she should be considerate enough to follow your wishes and assist you in your goals.  I am not sure how much info is out there, but the fearless formula feeder website might have some other tips for how to approach the situation along with stories of others who have chosen to formula feed.
    I agree with this.  I would mention it to her at an appointment near you due date just so she is aware of your wishes.  It is not her place to judge you or make you feel bad about your choices.  As a MW she should support you in whatever you decide. 


  • I agree with the previous poster to just not discuss it with her...

    I did something similar to this when I had my third baby. In the hospital setting, I breastfed and supplemented with bottles during my hospital stay. I never recall my MW bringing it up and I never brought it up to her. When she asked if I was breastfeeding - I said yes and said nothing about supplementing with bottles. I just wanted to avoid any confrontation and I managed to get through it without any hassle or judgement. Maybe she was aware I was supplementing - perhaps the nurses document in the chart whether any formula is supplied? In any case, I - like you - had thought through what was best for my situation and didn't care to defend it to anyone else. 

    Good luck and I hope this doesn't add any extra stress to your overall birthing experience...
  • I think my MW assumes her patients will BF. However, if I ever made the choice not to and it came up in a discussion, she'd probably spend a minute or 2 reminding me of the benefits. And if I then reiterated that I wouldn't be BF, she'd let it go. 

    That being said, if you are planning on nursing in the first few days, if might never come up at all. If you don't want to nurse at all, I'd mention it at an appt. I would do this solely to avoid stress after birth when the MW wants you to nurse LO. I wouldn't want you to worry about having a possibly tense conversation soon after birth. 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • If it comes up just carry yourself with confidence because you know you are doing what is best for everyone involved.

    At the office I go to they have a list of topics that they cover at each appointment so one appointment may be BFing, one may be baby's pedi, are you having a doula, etc.  When we got to the appointment about circumcision she asked if we were planning to circumcise, I said, 'yes'.  She paused and said, 'Do you want more information on that?" (she clearly did not agree), I said, 'no' and that was the end of it.  Shame on her if she is judgmental about it.    
    potbellypigYogakittenaylafsu88
  • Just tell her. What will she do? Arrest you? It's your body, and your baby.
  • Glad you know the benefits of breast feeding. But do you know the risks of formula feeding. Big difference. Formula is in no way close to breast milk. Sure it's the closes thing, just as Hawaii is the closest thing south of Alaska which is several thousand miles (not close)
  • I'm really glad this post popped back up. I wanted the same kind of plan the OP mentioned, but I've had almost no support for it. My mom EBF my brothers and I (my little brother until he was 6-7) and this ruined the thought of BF for me. I only wanted to try for a week or two. From the way EBF is thought of now I was feeling like a weirdo for not wanting to do it.

    Thanks for everyone's responses to the OP-they helped me as well. :)
  • I'm glad you found support: your midwife seems like a wise woman. :-)
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • I won't be breastfeeding, my baby will be forula fed and I will be letting my dr know this, there is no law that requires a mother to breastfeed.
  • Elbug said:

    I can't imagine not feeling comfortable enough to be honest with my midwife.  I'm sorry you feel pressure like that.  My opinion is to just come out with it confidently b/c you know whats best for you and your family.

    She did and her midwife was supportive.

    I understand your nerves, op, and am glad your midwife reacted the way that she did!
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic     Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Patrick: born at home on January 14, 2014


  • I'll update since this thread has become active again!

    I ended up formula feeding from the beginning with DS. It was a great choice for my family and I. The midwives ended up having very limited involvement with the birth since I had PROM and labour didn't start on its own. They were very supportive of my choice to formula feed.
    sschwegelifesabeach85
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