Interesting NY Times article on breastfeeding — The Bump
September 2015 Moms

Re: Interesting NY Times article on breastfeeding

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  • So glad to read this. While I've been ebf for 6 weeks Monday, it has been a struggle, mostly because I just don't really like it. I'm going back to work at 7 weeks and I'm not super optimistic I'll be able to keep up with pumping like I'll need to without supplementing. I feel guilty that I don't especially enjoy nursing and want to be done, i feel guilty that I research formula daily in anticipation of supplementing or switching completely, but I'm not sure why I feel guilty at all for feeding my baby!

    I think the author hit the nail on the head, it's drilled in our heads breast is best and anything short of that and we can't help but feel like we're failing in some way. I hope as more research emerges and formula continues to improve there's a shift in this mentality in our society and no matter what a mother decides, she is not faced with any of these feelings of guilt or failure for providing food in any form for her baby.
    verveine407monicaPsherbear82
  • TabulaRasa25TabulaRasa25 member
    edited October 2015
    The comments are as, if not more interesting, to me, than the article.  Breastfeeding is great. Not everyone can do it or wants to, though.  That's their business.  I prefer breastfeeding, and am glad that thus far, it's worked out for me. That said, I delivered in a very pro-breastfeeding hospital who readily supplied lactation consultants as a routine part of post-partum care and highly encouraged breastfeeding (which did not influence my decision; I was already hoping to to that route).  My pediatrician is similarly supportive.  But I had NOBODY trash talk formula feeding or those who do it.  In fact, at 1-2 weeks, when my child was not gaining back his birth weight, the very pro-breastfeeding NP/lactation consultant at my pediatrician's office strongly urged me to supplement with formula. I was retiscent to, and instead, she put me on a regimen of every two-hour round-the-clock feedings, with me agreeing that if that did not help him put on weight within a few days, I'd supplement with both expressed breastmilk and formula. He did start to gain, and I had no need to supplement with formula.  But it was pro-breastfeeding medical professionals who suggested it for the good of my child, and I'll do it if it's best for my kid.   So, no, I have not experienced the demonizing of formula feeding, even though I have been exposed to highly breastfeeding-friendly medical professionals. Those I've worked with know that you go with what works for you and for your child.  If my child had failed to thrive on breast milk alone, damn straight I'd have supplemented with formula, and I still will if he or I have problems.

    My sister had her baby twelve days before I did. Breastfeeding, which she has desperately wanted to do, has not worked for her.  She has a child born with a congenital anomaly, and he was fairly fragile in his first week or so of life. He was unable to latch properly, and desperately needed to gain weight.  He is exclusively bottle-fed her pumped breastmilk, with formula supplementation as needed, and is thriving.  It doesn't always work out the way you want it to, but the most important thing is that the child is being fed.   
    verveine407awells189sherbear82
  • Also, my mom breastfed four children, one of them a pair of twins, from 1977-1984, and was shamed numerous times for it, told it was something she shouldn't be doing, especially in public, that it was a "hippie" thing to do and somehow anti-feminist, and formula feeding was the norm/default. The tide turns on these things, and there are always going to be people willing to project their agendas onto you, no matter the choices you make.  

    I also agree that the biggest foe of breastfeeding is crappy maternity leave, something the article points out, and that is reflected in the comments.  I chose to breastfeed for numerous reasons, but among them was convenience and cost-saving (avoiding the expense of formula and accoutrements going with something I already have on hand).  I "get to" breastfeed because I'm not working FT right now.  I'm in grad school FT, and my program allows for me to be home during the day for the bulk of feedings.  My 3.5-hour long night classes necessitate that I pump enough for my husband to give a bottle when I'm at nightly classes.  Were I working FT, I don't know that I would find it possible to breastfeed. My former career as a teacher would not have allowed for frequent pumping throughout the workday. Not everyone has the luxury of taking the time off to breastfeed exclusively. I get that.  I'm very glad that it works with my school schedule, but if it didn't, I def wouldn't beat myself up over it. 
    verveine407AndieTessiesherbear82
  • I had every intention of breastfeeding before my delivery, but my experience at the hospital after my c section was pretty traumatic. My didn't come until 5 days later, but there were nurses, lactation consultants pushing breastfeeding onto me at all hours.

    Each time it took 3 people to help me set up to breastfeed, 4 pillows, figuring out the right position. It was a nightmare and completely impossible to recreate at home.

    At one point I had a nurse forced breastfeeding onto me at the middle of the night, even though both the baby and I were sleeping. For 45 minutes we struggled and LO is crying so hard and wouldn't stopped that the nurse just abandoned me and said just keep aggressively trying and you'll get it.

    Things were better when I got home and could relax, but honestly the experience I had in the hospital was the worst. I think because of this I prefer to pump rather than nurse. Some times I feel terrible for this, but at the same time I believe it's better for me and my LO.
    verveine407
  • The comments are as, if not more interesting, to me, than the article.  Breastfeeding is great. Not everyone can do it or wants to, though.  That's their business.  I prefer breastfeeding, and am glad that thus far, it's worked out for me. That said, I delivered in a very pro-breastfeeding hospital who readily supplied lactation consultants as a routine part of post-partum care and highly encouraged breastfeeding (which did not influence my decision; I was already hoping to to that route).  My pediatrician is similarly supportive.  But I had NOBODY trash talk formula feeding or those who do it.  In fact, at 1-2 weeks, when my child was not gaining back his birth weight, the very pro-breastfeeding NP/lactation consultant at my pediatrician's office strongly urged me to supplement with formula. I was retiscent to, and instead, she put me on a regimen of every two-hour round-the-clock feedings, with me agreeing that if that did not help him put on weight within a few days, I'd supplement with both expressed breastmilk and formula. He did start to gain, and I had no need to supplement with formula.  But it was pro-breastfeeding medical professionals who suggested it for the good of my child, and I'll do it if it's best for my kid.   So, no, I have not experienced the demonizing of formula feeding, even though I have been exposed to highly breastfeeding-friendly medical professionals. Those I've worked with know that you go with what works for you and for your child.  If my child had failed to thrive on breast milk alone, damn straight I'd have supplemented with formula, and I still will if he or I have problems.


    My sister had her baby twelve days before I did. Breastfeeding, which she has desperately wanted to do, has not worked for her.  She has a child born with a congenital anomaly, and he was fairly fragile in his first week or so of life. He was unable to latch properly, and desperately needed to gain weight.  He is exclusively bottle-fed her pumped breastmilk, with formula supplementation as needed, and is thriving.  It doesn't always work out the way you want it to, but the most important thing is that the child is being fed.   
    This was exactly my experience. I had planned on breastfeeding from the start if I could (the cost savings alone are worth it to me), and my hospital was very pro-breastfeeding without being anti-formula. They had a LC available daily to help, and all nurses had been trained to know how to help as well. My little guy needed a little help with his latch at first but caught on super fast so I felt comfortable by the time I left the hospital. When he left the hospital he was almost 10% below his birth weight though since my milk hadn't come in yet, so they scheduled a nurse to come out to my home the next day to weigh the baby. He'd lost another 2 oz., but after hearing my milk had just come in, the nurse suggested I continue to feed him every 2 hours consistently and set up a weigh-in at the doctor's office for the next afternoon. She said that if at that time he hadn't gained anything that we should start supplementing with formula or pumped milk (which they suggested I start pumping to build up my milk supply), but that if he started gaining we didn't need to and should just continue feeding him every 2 hours. By the next day he'd gained 2 oz., then gained another 2 oz. the next day, then gained 11 oz. in 3 days after that and was above his birthweight by 9 days old. We never ended up having to supplement, but the nurse and ped had no reservations in suggesting formula supplementing for the health of the baby if we needed to.

    That being said, breastfeeding has come pretty easily for me and I know I'm lucky in that regard. The first few weeks were definitely tough when I had to feed him every 2 hours around the clock, especially when he would take an hour to feed. I was severely sleep-deprived which was the hardest part. But once I was able to let him sleep at night and wake me up, and feedings stretched to every 3 hours throughout the day, things got a lot easier! But I also never had to deal with sore or cracked nipples, mastitis, pain while feeding, etc. I've had friends who had a lot of issues breastfeeding though so I knew in advance that it could be really, really tough, so I feel like I was prepared for the worst and ended up being better off than I expected.

    I'm hoping once I go back to work at 12 weeks that I'll be able to pump enough to make it work, but if it doesn't for some reason I'm not going to beat myself up if I need to supplement or switch to formula. As long as baby is fed ... that's what matters!
    eah325ElleMF728sherbear82
  • @PickledPlums I couldn't agree with you more. I sent you a private message re: the formula resource group I found in case you have interest.
    PickledPlumssherbear82
  • So much wisdom and compassion for other moms in these comments - love it! :-)
    eah325monicaPsherbear82
  • I was nervous and upset at first that I had to supplement with DS1 when I returned to work at 7-8 weeks because I just couldn't pump enough to cover his needs with our caregiver.
    It actually made things so much easier because I could just feed him whenever I wanted, pump every few hours at work and have powder formula to cover the other feedings while we were apart.
    The fear I had about him crying and hungry while I was away from him was definitely stronger than any fear I had of formula. And like I said it was fine.
    I don't know if I'll need or want to supplement this time, but it's not a huge deal.
    My babe was a little light at his two week weigh in. If he's still too small at the 6 week we'll probably start a bottle or two per day of some really gentle formula. If he's gained a pound or so, we'll just save our money.
    I wish we could all just calm down a notch. Wish I hadn't stressed last time.
    verveine407
  • I started trying to BF in the hospital and LO had a little trouble figuring it out. The first issue was that she'd latch on but didn't really suck. Then she'd get mad that nothing was coming out. She finally figured that out after the first time or so. We had a little trouble with latch at first and my milkdidn't come in until about day 4 or so. When we took her back for her weight check up on day 4, she had lost 15 oz from birth, which was too much. The nurse at the hospital gave us samples of Similac supplement formula and encouraged me to BF at each feeding and then give an additional half ounce or so after to help her gain weight. Even with doing that, it took her until week 4 to finally surpass her birth weight. Now I usually BF for the majority of the feedings, but she is never satisfied and she gets 2 additional oz of formula. I've tried pumping, and I'm still working on it, but it's so hard to find the time taking care of her and I'm afraid I won't have much time when I go back to work (high school teacher). The amount I get from pumping varies too.

    I felt terrible at first. Like others mentioned, I felt like a failure. It was a free source of food for my LO and I couldn't provide. I was formula fed and I'm fine, but I still couldn't get it through my head that it wasn't the end of the world and I believe that it's because of all the pressure put on moms now to BF. I've seen so many other posts (not on this board) and articles that make it seem like you're a horrible person for giving formula. I cried everyday for days because I felt like such a bad mom. Luckily I had a mom and husband that were very supportive and a pediatrician that also was fine with supplementing. She even gave us a sample pack too.

    I don't know what's happened, but in the last day or two, but I've suddenly made peace with everything and am not nearly as concerned about making sure she nurses before she gets her formula. DH gets up for one feeding during the night and gives her a bottle and I've started doing formula only for a feeding or two during the day. I still nurse about every other feeding and feel way more comfortable with that. As long as LO is healthy and happy, no mother should be judged for formula.
    eah325verveine407sherbear82
  • @eah325 can you send it to me as well?
    sherbear82
  • Loving these comments. Like PP said, I really wish the warn you about the "other side" of BF. I'm bf now and it was my plan all along, and all during pregnancy I heard how natural and easy and 5 million other benefits. I couldn't think of any reason why someone wouldn't breastfeed. I'm 5 weeks out now and baby and I are just now starting to get it, but still struggling along. My milk didn't come in until day 5, I have flat nipples, low supply, and never even heard of cluster feedings until I was on this board. I was always told if it's painful you're doing it wrong, but it's just now starting to not bring me to tears every time she latches. Her latch is good, I've seen lots of LC, no matter what I tried it hurt. I felt like such a failure because all I heard about was how natural it should be. I'm glad I stuck it out, because the more research I do the more I realize I'm not alone. It truly does get easier, but not always in the first few days like they said it would. I would of been a lot less stressed if I knew from early on that struggling was normal and breastfeeding doesn't have to be this magical bonding experience for everybody.
  • If you are feeding your baby, BF or formula you are doing it right! I think a lot of women feel guilt but shouldn't! I am BF and have since baby was born but it was HARD! There was a lot of crying on my part the first couple of days and it can still be very draining. I dont blame parents at all for not BF. I am also very lucky because my milk came in right on time and baby gained weight. There are pros and cons to both. Right now im struggling with baby not getting vitamin D and not able to take the drops..now i have guilt from not formula feeding so she can get what she needs.
    We will all feel like we are bad moms at some point and that is a AWFUL feeling! Damn sure dont need anyone else to make us feel that way!
    eah325
  • I remember, before having children, being so excited to breastfeed. I had this vision that it would be so wonderful and I would bond with my children and have this beautiful relationship... And I hated it with DD1. It hurt, it was constant, I never seemed to get a break, and she wasn't getting enough. Deciding to supplement was the best decision ever. This time it is going much better, but we still supplement. Baby boy will be 5 weeks tomorrow. Yesterday hubby decided we would go to the nascar race then out to dinner and shop. My mom watched the kids. We were gone for about 8 hours. It was so wonderful!! I had to pump in the car to relieve the pressure and pain of engorgement, but my mom was able to just give formula. And I don't feel the least bit guilty. I wish we could just drop making new moms feel guilty for their feeding choices! Even if I'm able to ebf, I shouldn't be demonized if I want to do normal adult things like go to the movies or have a beer, and use formula to help me do so. I'm a firm believer in happy momma = happy baby!
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    LaurenNewphPickledPlumseah325dmland17
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