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Thread: Article: Suck On This

  1. #127

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    Ivana, I have to agree re: the finger comparison; we should be focussing more on the normal, not the abnormal.



    Ruru, you can tandem feed a toddler and a baby, other people have done it, but most often the toddler will self-wean because of the changes in taste. I do know there are extended breast feeding websites out there somewhere with women on who do tandem feed.

    I think midwives can be so off-putting! I've already been encouraged to accept intervention in my birth because of the "poor midwife" attending me if I have a prolonged labour! As for what they tell BFing mums over here in the UK... I'm sure many are good and fine women, just sometimes they don't think! Happens to us all, I'm sure.

    As for being unable to feed - things like sickle-cell are actually beneficial in heterozygotes as it improves the defence against malaria, but I just don't believe that 5% of the population have this huge in-built reason not to BF. I can understand cancer treatments and psychological trauma, but for 5%? That just still seems like a huge amount of women to me.

  2. #128

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    Hmm.. I guess I shouldn't say what people are likely to feel huh. Sorry. I figured that if something were genuinely discovered (such as your little boy's tongue) it would ease any feelings of guilt because there is a known, understandable reason. Sounds like you had a really rough time, but good on you for not letting your experience put you off breastfeeding entirely.. well done

    So, I couldn't feed him yet I felt totally bullied and guilty. The worst offenders? Other mothers who breastfeed with little or no trouble.
    Can I ask.. is it literal bullying? or is it sensitivity to someone saying they have successfully breastfed? I'm just wondering, because I would never bully someone or tell someone they shouldn't have gone to formula, they had their reasons for it, and I understand it's not an easy decision.

    Unfortunately the pendulum can swing the other way too.. where breastfeeding mums can feel guilty for breastfeeding! It seems to be us breastfeeding mums who have to do the tip-toeing around the subject, which is a shame, because it makes it hard to be proud and open about breastfeeding.. when we need to be for those upcoming new mums to feel confidence that it can be done.

  3. #129

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    Hi all....sorry, I would have liked to have responded earlier, but limited hours in one day (don't we all know it!?)

    Ryn: 5% is the percentage that was explained to me by a qualified lactation consultant. The good lactation consultants are really good about supporting women who cannot breastfeed, also. For centuries, people who could not breastfeed had wet nurses. There was also a very high infant mortality rate, until recently - no doubt often caused by major feeding difficulties (ranging from sever malnutrition in the mother, to lactation failure for other reasons, also). Formula has saved many babies lives in recent years. In tribal communities, if one has an inability to breastfeed, there is usually another family member present who is lactating and who will happily breastfeed the baby for it's mother. This is true of traditional Aboriginal communities, also. Lack of glandular development is one issue that can lead to an inability to produce breast milk. I've written an article in this same topic heading (feeding) about my personal experience with this condition - perhaps it will shed some light.

    Ivana_baby: Sorry if my quote was unclear.... I was saying that the people simply making "assumptions" about their breastfeeding ability make awareness of a true inability to breastfeed even less, and, therefore, the situation is made harder for those with a true inability to breastfeed. About feeling bullied....it is really the woman who truly can't breastfeed who feel the most bullied. This is because, in most cases, they would have truly loved to have breastfed, and they are very aware of peoples lack of knowledge about their condition - there is a lack of understanding of their situation. It's a dreadful situation for these women, and they feel emotionally unsupported by society. It does feel like bullying and is not simply a sensitivity to someone being able to breastfeed. I'm putting together childbirth education courses, one of which will be on breastfeeding. I support and encourage breastfeeding heart and soul....but I also understand that it isn't always possible, and so I support those who cannot breastfeed, too. I've written a personal account of "lack of glandular tissue" in this same section (feeding) - perhaps it may give an insight to those mothers who haven't experienced an inability to breastfeed.

    Baby_amore: Yes, there is such lack of education, and such conflicting "advice" out there! Hospitals are rarely conducive to the establishment of breastfeeding...they are such stressful environments. Babies refusing does happen, and isn't always something that can be overcome (some mothers in this situation may still have milk, and can therefore make a choice to express or not). My mother breastfed my sister and I for ages...when my brother was then born, he point-blank refused.

    dachlostar: Exactly! If there is an awareness of how to get true help, how to be diagnosed, the small percentage will have greater support from health-care-providers, and have greater support from society, as an awareness =acceptance=support. Furthermore, those who thought they couldn't breastfeed but in fact can, will get the extra support and reassurance that they need, and they will be better equipped with knowledge and resources to enable them to breastfeed.

    Everyone: I believe it would be very damaging to state that "everyone can breastfeed". 5% is a high number when you gather together all mothers. We should all be pro-breastfeeding - but lets not forget our reasons behind this - the bigger cause! Why are we pro-breastfeeding? Because we care about the health of the babies and, ultimately, the health of society. The health of society rests on the treatment of mothers - so, we must support ALL mothers. No doubt, the term "breastfeeding Nazi" comes from a backlash to the very small percentage of people who don't believe in an inability to breastfeed....or perhaps they believe it exists, but should be bred out! Absolutely, there should be a focus on the "normal" - but just by using negative words like "abnormal" (and I know it is a good summation of a minority group, but a negative word non-the-less) we are helping to create an unaccepting, intolerant society. 5% of the female population cannot be shunned. I guess one has to think outside the box a little - how would you support your daughter could she not breastfeed? Would you want her to feel like an outsider?
    Last edited by Lil_Pearl; August 2nd, 2006 at 11:15 AM.

  4. #130

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    Liana, that's a lovely post. Very well said.

    Ivana, I tell you, if I could have breastfed I would have done it ... anywhere anytime. I don't see it as anything that has to be justified or explained to anyone else. Before I had problems I certainly never planned on doing anything else for my boy. I took 12 months maternity leave specifically for that purpose!

  5. #131

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    Melbo - thank you very much I do come in peace! haha.

  6. #132

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    hehe.. i come in peace too!! .. I hope I'm not coming across as a breastfeeding nazi! I'll just give a brief summary of what I'm trying to say and I'll leave it at that, coz I don't wanna go around in circles and repeat myself LOL.

    I wholeheartedly agree that all mums need support whichever way they go. I do believe that the support systems out there at the moment aren't pro-breastfeeding enough, it seems they are too quick to encourage comp-feeding, which is detrimental to establishing breastfeeding, and causes a downward spiral. Thus we do have more ff'ing mums than there really should be.

    I do however think when it comes to campaigning for breastfeeding, it's unnecessary to quote statistics on how many women are unable to feed, as people do latch onto that and believe they are of that percentage, and with the lack of correct support available they give up too soon. I'm not talking about people that HAVE persevered for weeks on end, only to need to use formula. That's different, because they have explored all avenues and sought out support to continue feeding, and found it's just not working.

    I also don't want that misunderstood to be ostracising the % that are unable to breastfeed. It's just that more emphasis on the 'normality' of breastfeeding needs to be out there. It is possible to set yourself up for failure by not having the confidence to begin with, and knowing there is an easy out should you have any problems. Emphasis needs to be on increasing available support to help people realise that you can overcome initial feeding problems and continue feeding before formula is even brought into the equation.

    I hope that makes sense. I'm meeting more and more mums telling me the saga's of their breastfeeding, and they found it too hard, so went to formula, but I know for a fact they didn't have sufficient support, and didn't seek support, because they figured they could just turn to formula if it was too hard.. or else they started comping, and found before they knew it, they were full time formula.

    I also find that these ff mums are very quick to tell me their story (before I've even said anything!), and it's almost like they're giving me a warning not to start talking about breastfeeding.. which I find sad, because like I said, it makes us breastfeeders feel guilty for being able to breastfeed, when we should be able to feel free to feed out in the open and talk about breastfeeding as a normal thing.

    Phew.. ok.. that's my 2c.. or maybe 50c worth! LOL. I will be quiet now.

  7. #133
    Sal Guest

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    Can I just say that any woman who says that she or her baby for (insert reason here) was unable to BF but really wanted to and tried to, should be taken at her word! Suggestions that women are happily bundling themselves into the (why is this statistic so contentious??) 5% as some 'easy way out' are the hurtful ones. For these women, all the best support from LCs etc is great but may not get them there in the end.

    The real targets of any pro-BF campaign should be the women who think BF is 'yuck' and won't do it.

  8. #134

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    Ivana_baby: No, no one here comes across as a breastfeeding Nazi. I've heard some shockers though! *cringe*.

    Jillian: Oh, that's terrible that you were treated so badly! The ignorance and nastiness of it all!

    So true, the pendulum can swing both ways - we should all strive to centre it!

  9. #135

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    sal - "here-here"!!! Statistics, at the end of the day, mean nothing. Lets treat every individual as just that! That's also a reason why statistics on the "dangers" of formula can be so dangerous themselves.....take it as a guess, but I think womens guilt over their parenting (including choices regarding breastfeeding) is a major contributor to postnatal depression. Lets illiminate this guilt, lets support one-another, and lets not assume we have any knowledge of anothers situation.

  10. #136

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    Sal - I wouldn't say people are happily bundling themselves into that percentage, but perhaps unnecessarily.. as it's possible with the right support they might have overcome initial feeding problems.

    Jillian - omg.. that's awful! I can't believe people said that to you!

  11. #137

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    Jillian, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. I think that to hear a personal story makes the issue far more real than a bare statistic does IYKWIM. I'm in awe of you for perservering for so long. I had a weeny little graze on my nipple because of Imran's tongue tie coupled with his very enthusiatic sucking and I was in agony and dreaded every feed until he learnt to feed more efficiently so I can't imagine how much pain you must have been in. I think that its amazing that you managed to feed him for so long despite the issues that you were having. You shouldn't feel guilty about FFing Lochie but proud that you breastfed him for so long under such difficult circumstances.

    In regards to the contentious 5% - I really think that the figure is unimportant. Wether the correct figure is 5%, 3.97532% or .00005% the main point is that we should show empathy and respect towards any woman who has been unable to breastfeed although she wanted to and be careful not to use language that may be unintentionally hurtful.

  12. #138

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    I just wanted to say it was great reading the stories and experiencespeople have posted in this thread. I have also become a very passionate pro -b/f since b/f my own dd for 12months. I definately do not judge those who have persevered with b/f and it hasn't worked out or those who have valid reasons not too. I totally agree with some of u who have said that there simply isn't the support and information out there to encourage more woman to b/f - it's very sad actually - especially when it's the most natural thing!
    Hopefully things will begin to change...definately forums such as this are a good start

  13. #139

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    It's sad for women who want to bf but can't for a genuine reason. But it's also sad that many who could bf with the right information and support didn't get the opportunity. And it's sad that many women feel ashamed to bf in public - espeically with toddlers. There is no easy answer here, but I do think bf needs to become more socially acceptable and there needs to be more education.

    All I knew of bfing before DS was born was that most of my friends with kids had had problems with attachment and most had gone on to ff. A couple of weeks before DS was born, a conversation with an interstate friend of mine changed things. She is the mum of 3 and a dietician and ABA member. She asked me if I was planning to bf. I said I was going to try. I admit it - I was expecting defeat before I'd even started. She told me that most early problems can be overcome and insisted I ring her before giving up on bfing. She also bought me a gift membership to the ABA.

    This was probably the difference between me bfing and ffing. When DS was born with a tongue-tie, he was unable to attach and would scream with hunger while we tried. The first few days were very difficult as we tried lots of different things. Luckily we did have success with nipple shields the night before I left hospital. Jack's tongue-tie was snipped when he was 3 weeks and we went on to feed successfully without nipple shields until he self-weaned at 14 months (probably due to my pg). We fed through two bouts of mastitis, my return to work, and other nipple problems. I would never have done this without my friend's assurances that it would get easier, and the fantastic support of the ABA.

    How many other women out there would love to successfully bf but are not given the information, encouragment and support they need? I guess what I'm trying to say is that we need to be sensitive to the feelings of those who are the 5 % who genuinely can't bf. But this shouldn't stop us from trying to increase bfing rates and raising awareness of bfing and the support available. And we certainly shouldn't be hiding the fact that we are bfing or feeling embarrassed about it. We should be proud!

    Please, if I haven't worded this well, don't take offence. There is none intended.

    Melanie

  14. #140
    Sal Guest

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    Melanie, yours is a very balanced post, I don't see how anyone could be offended by it. You've hit the nail on the head, increase awareness and support, but take out any militance (or propaganda or scare campaigns).

  15. #141

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    Jillian,
    I also received similar insults as yours when I gave Maddy the bottle...
    "You'll make her obese, she'll develop dysfunctions due to formula feeding, Your not doing the best for your baby, She'll hate you when she is older, you'll have no close relationships, fight through the pain...etc, etc..."

    When a part of your nipple is hanging off, bleeding your baby is starving & the only liquid it is consuming is blood from your breast, so she was literally vomiting up my blood & I was told to feed through it, but Maddy was losing weight, I was an emotional & physical basket case... Then I really dont see I had a choice, I went to the Supermarket bought a bottle, a tin of Soy Formula &she guzzled 120ml at 7 days of age & slept thru the night every day after that... then I am proud of giving it ago & Jillian you should be proud too.
    With Indah I had no attachment issues whatsoever, she still feeds 3 times a day & has a bottle of formula during the day at my Sisters or parents, due to my workload & not having time to express! I am still 100% happy & content with my decisions.

    As Sal said people arent bundling themselves into anything, I think I gave myself a blooming great shot of feeding Maddy, it didnt work, not because I gave up, I was starving my baby & it wsa not in her best interest t keep trying.
    Unlike the comments I received, she is a lean, healthy, happy, confident & extremely close to Mummy girl...
    I am elated to be feeding Indah & I plan to feed #3! But I dont feel Maddy & I missed out on anything!

  16. #142

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    I think I'll stick with Kelly's advice in another thread, no one should be anti anything but pro what they believe in!

    I am saddened that there isn't enough support and help for women out there who are having difficulties with bf, because I think if you asked b4 their babies were born, the majority of women do want to bf.

    In my case, the bf class our hospital ran, the help from the LC there, advice on BB and the ABA all added up to successful bf thus far. Without those, I don't know what I would have done when I encountered problems with mastitis twice. It's a shame that these same resources aren't available to everyone.

    I find it interesting that the govt feels its entirely appropriate to fund an anti-abortion pregnancy advice hotline (without advertising it as such) and yet doesn't do more to help out the ABA. (Yes, I know, two completely different things, but it really got my goat when I read in the paper this week about that hotline not stating its position up-front!) If there really are adverse health affects from ff (and I agree that this article doesn't give much solid research on this) then surely the govt could do more to help out bf mothers. It'd be a better thing for our over-stretched health system in the long run.

    I don't remember if it was mentioned in this article or not, but it has also struck me that most children's picture books and a lot of parents rooms signs, etc all have images of mothers bottle-feeding babies, never bf them. (I think the ABA has taken this point up.) I find that a little sad, so I'm making sure that DP takes some photos of me bf Lucy so that when she's older she'll see that this is how she was fed as a baby. I always remember a photo of Mum bf me when I was a toddler and I wonder how much of an effect that has had on my desire to bf.

    Just out of interest, Kelly, do you know if there's anything out there about whether there's any effect on a woman bf if she and her siblings were bf by their mother or not? Just wondered if seeing your Mum bf younger siblings had an environmental effect or not.

    Anyway, at the end of the day I'm pro-postive parenting. I know mothers who do a fantastic job and it doesn't have anything to do with the way they fed their children as infants.

    Although don't get me started on feeding kids too much junk food when they're older...!

  17. #143

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    I don't have studies off hand, but it can have an effect, yes... not always but yes.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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  18. #144

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    I'm already getting people asking me whether or not I plan on bf this baby as well. I only breastfed Matilda for 4 1/2 months for different reasons but planned on bf for over 12 months at the very least. Now I have people asking what my "plans" are... I tell them bf, and they ask "Even after what happened last time?" I can't believe that there is so much pressure to bottle feed.

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