Contrary to popular opinion, most women can and do make enough milk for their babies

(36 Posts)
moondog Wed 20-Mar-13 17:57:35

I agree that the reasons women give for not bf may be very different from the reasons they believe they didn't bf, which may differ yet again from the truth.

And unlike most parenting decisions, it is practically impossible to change your mind. If you could have a day/week/month off bf to regain your mental and physical resources, and start trying again from a better position, you might have more success. But the physiological processes don't support that.

Unless like me you torture yourself with a bastard pump for several weeks and extremely fortunately get a baby who's willing and able to switch from bottle to boob thereafter. Which is 80% luck and 20% sheer bloodymindedness (actually, maybe 90/10) and not something I'd necessarily suggest to anyone, let alone recommend.

Schnarkle Thu 21-Mar-13 00:25:32

I wonder if what they meant was 'I was exhausted and ill and sore and didn't have enough support and the baby was crying all the time and I just couldn't do it'.

^^ That was my experience. I couldn't make myself to do it anymore so I stopped.

BettyStogs Thu 21-Mar-13 00:09:22

I don't care how anyone chooses to feed their baby, I do care that many mothers who want to bf aren't able to do so because of lack of support or being given incorrect information.

It's no good for hcps to tell mothers-to-be that they should bf for this reason or that reason if little or no support is offered following birth. If all mothers who wanted to bf were able to do so for as long as they wanted, and ff mothers were supported in their choice, well, you can't ask for more than that. So I think articles like the one above can only help.

When the support is not there mothers may 'fail' to bf, or those choosing to ff may feel guilty or that they are being judged. Cue the bf/ff bunfights, when really we're all just muddling along doing the best we can for our own children and in our own circumstances.

NippyDrips Wed 20-Mar-13 21:01:31

I have formula fed 2 dc and bf dc3. I don't feel guilty about dc1 or dc2, they were fed. I bf dc 3 because I wanted to save money, time & effort.

I don't care how anyone else feeds their baby either, so long as they do feed it.

As a newly nursing mother I would have found it useful to know that only approx 1% actually don't make enough milk. If I were having genuine doubts about my supply it would have been reassuring.
That is the only reason I think we need to publisize this fact more. To reassure mothers that their body can and probably is doing the right thing. Not to take away anyone's justification, I don't need anyone to justify to me why they didn't breastfeed, its none of my (or anyone else's) business.

Chocaholics Wed 20-Mar-13 20:47:56

I started out ebf both my children. With DD she would only feed for minutes at a time and go to sleep and I tried everything to keep her awake. With DS he was 5 weeks early and very sleepy, had to feed him on a schedule as he didnt demand feed and trying to make him feed was a nightmare. In both cases both babies lost weight and continued to lose it. I had loads of support from family and excellent midwives but after nearly 2 weeks of them not putting on any weight and in DSs case no dirty nappies for several days I started to do formula top ups. I was very upset to do so but they did start slowly putting weight on.

Not sure if this comes under baby failing to bf or me failing but initially I felt awful about it, felt like everyone was judging me but have since realised that no one I have met cares how I feed my children just that they are healthy and happy and they are. I would truely love to have been able to ebf but didn't happen.

sunshine401 Wed 20-Mar-13 20:46:28

Not another thread on this again sad
You breast fed. Why? Because you wanted to.
I did not. Why? Because I did not want to.
Some women do try and are unable to (for whatever reason) they feel down about it but then it is not the end of the world. It definitely has nothing to do with anyone else.

ProphetOfDoom Wed 20-Mar-13 20:34:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

With the only one of mine who I didn't BF, the problem wasn't me, it was him, plus a whole range of factors - I think tongue tie (now with the benefit of hindsight), plus he was very jaundiced and had to go under lights, and they were almost putting a drip in to hydrate (sp?) him and it was 21 years ago and BF wasn't encouraged or supported - I was the only mother on the ward BF or even attempting to BF (had BF DS1 very successfully) and the babies were taken away at 8pm to the nursery and brought back at 8am and they didn't waken you.

So it can be a whole mix of things.

AmberLeaf Wed 20-Mar-13 20:32:36

Nobody thinks women should "beat themselves up" if breastfeeding doesn't work out

Really? I disagree with that.

I agree that the facts in the linked article could be helpful to women, what isn't helpful is the tone in the title of this thread, which implies 'see, you can no longer use that excuse'

lyndie Wed 20-Mar-13 20:29:30

I do hear a lot of mums say 'I didn't have enough milk.'

I wonder if what they meant was 'I was exhausted and ill and sore and didn't have enough support and the baby was crying all the time and I just couldn't do it'.

But very few actually say that. 'I didn't have enough milk' sounds more acceptable.

AThingInYourLife Wed 20-Mar-13 20:17:43

Nobody thinks women should "beat themselves up" if breastfeeding doesn't work out.

Why would they?

It just seems a shame that so many women think they didn't produce enough milk when in many cases there was no actual problem, just a perceived one.

You can't measure breastfeeding and that freaks people out and makes them think it's not happening.

So much comes down to confidence, and it's hard to feel confident 3 days after some crazy lunatic gave you a baby to look after and it cries all the time, you haven't slept for days, your breasts are like rocks, you keep crying, and it's hard to remember to eat.

I have said it on another thread. I will say it here and get flamed

There should be really good support for BF everywhere so that every mother who wants to is able to give it the totally and utterly best go possible.

But if it doesn't work out for whatever reason, don't beat yourself up about it.

There won't be any 21 year olds getting ready to go out this weekend shedding tears they weren't BF.

midori1999 Wed 20-Mar-13 19:56:32

Wintersdawm, breastmilk coming in is endocrine led, not demand led. It is signalled to happen by the placenta detaching and happens whether you ever put your baby to the breast or not for most women, which is why even when women choose to FF from birth, their milk still comes in.

As for who cares, well, plenty of women do and plenty of women suffer long term emotional trauma because they weren't able to breastfeed. Except, most of them would have been able to breastfeed if they had had the right information and support.

AThingInYourLife Wed 20-Mar-13 19:53:27

"As long as the baby is getting fed, who cares?"

A lot of women who think they aren't producing enough milk.

Obviously.

Shit, if even a woman who knows she produced no milk due to a diagnosed medical condition feels regret and guilt, there must be many, many more who care very much.

And who could be helped by this knowledge.

If you didn't care how you fed your baby, then bully for you.

But it is disingenuous (at best) to pretend this is something mothers don't care about.

OneHandFlapping Wed 20-Mar-13 19:38:51

I couldn't breastfeed any of mine. I really produced no milk at all.
Much later, it turned out I had an autoimmune pituitary disorder, and wasn't producing the hormone that induces lactation.

Thank goodness for formula, or none of mine would have survived.

I still feel regret and guilt though, even though they are all teenagers now.

landofsoapandglory Wed 20-Mar-13 19:38:29

As long as the baby is getting fed, who cares? Do what is right for you and your baby and poke your nose out of everyone else's business!

wintersdawn Wed 20-Mar-13 19:34:14

Yes I understand that most mums can produce enough milk but in order for the milk to be produced the breasts need to be stimulated by a hungry baby. If like me you have a baby that has a very bad birth and doesn't feed for the first 15 hours after birth and is then too weak to stimulate you to start the feeding then you won't produce because nothing is asking your body to produce.
Agree with the lack of sensible support, all I got was a continued statement to put her back on your breast, 5 days later, weighing 15% less we were back in hospital tube feeding her.
If it works brilliant. If it doesn't brilliant. The problem with this country is brain washed ranting on one being best and one being evil. End of day if baby is alive who cares? They don't smile

Twattybollocks Wed 20-Mar-13 19:22:13

Even if the mother has enough milk, the baby may not be able to access it due to poor latch, feeding infrequently, tongue tie. Sadly the support isn't always there for these women, and insufficient stimulation early on can and does cause supply problems later meaning women think they are unable to produce enough milk. Also many women believe that babies should go 3-4 hours between feeds, which is very often not the case for bf babies and again, this leads to women thinking they don't have enough milk. In fact true inability to lactate is very rare, less than 1% of the population apparently. It's no good telling women that they can and should breast feed when hcps give out conflicting, and often downright wrong advice about bf. when I was pregnant with my first baby, everyone was banging the bf drum, but not one person bothered to tell me that newborns should bf every 1-2 hours, if I had had a sleepy baby who couldn't feed on demand, we would have been in hot water!

AThingInYourLife Wed 20-Mar-13 18:47:13

"And it's the Daily Mail, so unlikely to be very accurate or based on real scientific studies."

grin

The acceptable face of ignorant prejudice.

midori1999 Wed 20-Mar-13 18:40:38

It can only benefit women who want to BF to know that true low milk supply (with a biological cause) is very rare. Thinking they don't have enough milk is one of the primary reasons for women stopping breastfeeding before they wanted to. Anything that helps women to breastfeed as long as they want to, which includes busting the myths surrounding breastfeeding, is a good thing.

The only thing that is relevant to any woman is her own situation. Statistics and articles are totally irrelevant. I can produce enough milk, and my baby latches on without stress hence I am bfing. I probably wouldn't be if I was in a situation where every feed was a difficult stressful nightmare.

Articles are interesting yes, but not relevant iyswim.

Owllady Wed 20-Mar-13 18:37:36

and how is that going to improve though?

I had my first child over a decade ago, the help was virtually nil. Then I had my last baby 5 years ago. Nothing had changed. HV's were still telling you to give a bottle if they hadn't followed the curve, you were tired, had pnd etc. Most women don't access things like the national childbirth trust. How are people supposed to breastfeed successfully if there is no support? if you have a barrage of visitors for days and days on end? if your family didn't do it and you get criticised all the time? It's really so much more complex than women just 'giving up' after a couple of days. I don't think people understand the mechanics of breastfeeding either, you are just told it is better.

oh and I bf for 6 months with the first two, 18 months with the last so well below expectations according to the world of mumsnet smile but I had read books with the third and understood more about the mechanics which i felt helped anyway

disclaimer: I don't judge anyone who chooses to bottlefeed from birth, soon after or otherwise

tiktok Wed 20-Mar-13 18:28:47

The report is a study, on neonatal hypernatraemia, published in a peer reviewed journal, and the Daily Mail has just paraphrased from the Guardian's report www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/mar/20/breastfeeding-myths-dispelled?INTCMP=SRCH.

The study focuses solely on breastfeeding linked with readmission to hospital in the first days after birth. The research indicates that while this is linked to poor intake on the part of the babies', it is likely to be mismanagement of bf support that leads to it, not intrinsic lack of breastmilk.

The study, and the newspaper report, has got nothing to do with whether women think they are better than other women for breastfeeding/not breastfeeding, and the snippy, sour posts here are misplaced. It has nothing to do with the Daily Mail's reputation for accuracy or otherwise.

I think the study, and the report, are well worth considering, given that early cessation of breastfeeding when a mother planned to breastfeed is something most people would like to avoid. The study underlines the importance of early, practical, knowledgable support of breastfeeding in the first days after birth.

Most do. Some don't. Sometimes it's the baby not the mother that's got a difficulty with feeding.

Your point is?

(Haven't read the article. It's the Daily Fail.)

Actually, in the course of 15 years parenting I have heard so many women say 'I didn't make enough milk' to know that this fear is a real barrier to significantly increased breastfeeding rates. It is important to talk about that because more breastfeeding is a Good Thing. Women stopping ebcause they think they're starving thie child is a Bad Thing.

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