Jump to content

Twelve months on the breast - normal, natural, healthy

  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
61 replies to this topic

#1 jenlou

Posted 03 August 2009 - 01:11 PM

I was really disappointed by this article http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/parenting/...2m1.html?page=1 as I thought it painted a really negative picture of breastfeeding. While many mums have trouble breastfeeding and it offered some advice to them, the article had no really positive case studies to balance the story.

After some seriously cracked nipples in the first couple of weeks, I  was fortunate enough to have no further issues and fed my little one exclusively on breastmilk for the first 6 months and continue to breastfeed her twice a day now (she's 15 months). I found it to be a stress free and rewarding experience. The majority of mothers I know that have attempted breastfeeding have had no issues after the initial few weeks. Some have chosen to move to formula for a variety of reasons, others have successfully combined formula and breastmilk when they returned to work (breastfeeding morning and evening, formula in the daytime) and others continued to breastfeed exclusively until 12 months and beyond (in combination with food after 6 months).

Stories of difficult breastfeeding experiences make better reading but I just thought I'd post a positive note to remind new mums that many people have a really great breastfeeding experience.

Edited by jenlou, 03 August 2009 - 01:12 PM.

#2 lucky 2

Posted 03 August 2009 - 04:58 PM

I just read it and it did come across as negative in the beginning but it did end up with "Robyn" responding to all the real and perceived obstacles to successful extended bf, one issue/problem at a time.
So for me it ended on a positive note with hope for the future if women can have timely and expert help as problems occur, and that lots of these difficulties can/could be surmounted.
It certainly gave a clear description, warts and all, of the difficulties faced by lots of women, but not all, as you are pointing out.
It is an honest portrayal of common problems, but sad none the less when bf fails to succeed!

#3 keptwoman

Posted 03 August 2009 - 05:15 PM

I thought it was an appalling article.
It painted a very dire picture for those who haven't had a baby yet. I felt that reading between the lines the article said "breastfeeding is just too hard for normal people, so of course you're not going to last the year."

It's a pervasive attitude in a society where breastfeeding failure is expected and people who do feed to 12 months or longer are the odd ones out.    I don't think it was appropriate at all for World Breastfeeding Week, which should be focusing on the positives about breastfeeding.

#4 maroubra2035

Posted 03 August 2009 - 07:44 PM

Im a long time reader, first time poster. Father of three, two from my first wife and a newborn from my new partner. My new partner and I now live overseas in a first world asian country where the medical support has been excellent throughout the pregnancy and birth

I will start by saying that I am pro breastfeeding, and am so for all the logical reasons continuously laid out by the ABA and mothercraft nurses ect.

Having been an active participant in the support of the breastfeeding process I believe the article this thread refers to is excellent, in that it presents a balanced view of the reality of breastfeeding.

This balanced view is something the ABA and the lactation industry never presents.

In the case of my first wife, she had a lot of difficulty feeding and consequently our baby was hungry and crying for the first six months of her life. On the advice of the local baby health care clinic and the lactation consultant at The Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick Sydney she refused to use formula at all during this time.

The fatigue and the screams of our baby eventually wore her down and she became post natally depressed, convinced she was a bad mother. Multiple visits to both the hospital and the baby care clinic at Clovelly were unable to help us.

At no point did either the lactation consultant, the local ABA representative, or the baby health care worker suggest that a little formula to supplement the inadequate amount of nourishment the baby was recieving was an option. In fact they specifically advised against it saying it would result in problems with babies development.

Eventually my wife became so depressed she would not leave the house. In desperation I took myself and the baby to the baby health care centre at Clovelly and (again) spoke to the worker, pleading for assistance and to perhaps tell my wife that in the circumstances (mastitis, bleeding, inadequate milk) a little formula was ok.

She refused to do this, stating "just get the child back on the breast, you have to keep going no matter what"

I went to my GP for assistance, but he advised that the hospital's lactation consultant was the best port of call. I have subsequently found out that the ABA has threatened legal action against doctors who are pro formula, although I don't know if this was a factor in my case.

What became clear, was that the health of my wife and child was actually not as important to these people as the pursuit of their ideological campaign. She had become mentally ill because of the belief promoted by the health care workers we had been associated with, that she was a bad mother. Not once did anyone say your a good mum and doing your best.

I have a colleague from work whose wife was actually hospitalised for post natal depression caused by breastfeeding issues. Even whilst in hospital she was harrassed because she was unable to feed her baby from the breast

And this is where they lost me and my support. Although I think it is a great thing to promote and support breastfeeding, but the campaign to do so goes to far in this country and ideology gets in the way of practicality.

The irony of this is that in the long run, it actually turns people off breastfeeding rather the promotes it. People eventually can tell when they are having the wrong thing done to them.

Where we are in Asia now, the maternity hospital has promoted a mix of formula and breastmilk from the get go.

My partner has plenty of milk, so we just use formula for one feed during the night and milk for the rest. Baby is healthy and has put on 400 grams in the 10 days he has been alive.

Frankly I am glad we are not in Australia where we would be made to feel as if we were child abusers for using even a little formula.

This issue has bothered me for many years now, thanks to the forum for letting me get it of my chest.

If you are a new or impending mother who has problems similar to mine then all I can say is that there is a limit. Enough can be enough, and breastfeeding is no different to any other activity in life in that when it becomes damaging to the health or you and those around you it needs to be discontinued.

#5 LilyM

Posted 03 August 2009 - 08:23 PM

Hi There original.gif

Personally myself I found this article quite an honest and informative read. Whilst some mothers have an easy time establishing breastfeeding others struggle from the word go.

I think this article is just demonstrating the obstacles that Breastfeeding women face & the reasons that women often don't continue to Breastfeed beyond 6 months.

EB has published many informative Breastfeeding articles with positive outcomes & the way I see it is that this is just another informative perspective that will hopefully assist in preparing expectant mothers for what may lie ahead.

#6 funkymumkey56

Posted 03 August 2009 - 08:57 PM

Although I found the article to address some of the problems associated with breastfeeding, it sort of explained why some mums do stop breastfeeding around 6 months. As a mother of 2 who fortunately hasn't had problems breastfeeding, I found the article very informative as it helped me understand the choices these mothers make.
I stopped bf my son at 13 months as I was 4 months pregnant. Now I have a 1 month old who I plan to bf for at least 12 months all going well. I applaud mothers who carry on bf for longer. I would love to bf for 2 years if possible. I do find people get funny about mothers breastfeeding toddlers, what is it with that? Obviously more education and information needs to get out there to the general public.
One school I worked at had a breastfeeding room in the main admin building for teachers who fed their babies (that would be brought in by partner/granparent) in their breaks or expressed for their babies. It was so good to see that some employers actually accommodate for their staff.
We need to be supportive and positive about breastfeeding but we also need to be sympathetic to the issues that some mothers have and not assume it comes naturally for everyone. Our bodies are exposed to different stresses in our modern day lives and I'm certain this is why some women struggle with it.
I love breastfeeding, I find it relaxing and a great way to bond with my baby. I hope new mums or mums to be reading this have a positive experience like I have.

#7 lucky 2

Posted 03 August 2009 - 10:17 PM

This is a quick response to the new member who has posted for the first time tonight.
You may have read that I agree with you in that the article does show a reality for some women and that needs to be in the public domain, as does promotion of something normal, healthy and natural.
But you are absolutely wrong in your pronouncement that the "lactation industry" (although I'm not totally sure what you mean) never presents a balanced view. So very wrong.
I wasn't going to buy into your anger and denigration, but as it is a public forum I will stand up to disagree, and I think perhaps you should have put your maiden post on the Venting board.

#8 lisa25

Posted 03 August 2009 - 10:29 PM

maroubra2035 -  you don't indicate any advice given about how your wife could breastfeed more easily.  In Norway, they have a 99% breastfeeding rate to age 12mths.  I would think our breasts are little different from theirs and I sometimes believe mothers who have difficulty breastfeeding in Australia are not given the right advice on how to improve the experience or they possibly ignore the advice given.  I know it can be difficult to establish breastfeeding, but all women, except 1%, should be able to nurse their baby and it is important that in Australia we aim for this.  You should have sought the advice of a different lactaction consultant and ensured you were following all the advice given.  

#9 maroubra2035

Posted 03 August 2009 - 11:04 PM

Im neither angry nor denigrating breast feeding. We are happily breast feeding our current baby. Its working and I couldn't be happier

What I have a problem with is medical professionals who have a duty of care toward you putting an ideological campaign ahead of the well being and best interests of both mother and child.

#10 lucky 2

Posted 03 August 2009 - 11:33 PM

PP if that is true then they have been negligent and you may have a case against them, if they caused harm to your baby.
Is that what happened. Did you take it up with them personally?

You are angry, and I can read that you were denigrating ABA- bf counsellors (who are not health or medical professionals but are women who would like to help other women) and all those involved in the "lactation industry".
You feel your health care was seriously lacking, and you now blame and despise everyone in bf related health care in Australia.

#11 maroubra2035

Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:16 AM


Your the one using emotional language like 'denigrate' and 'blame and despise'

Note that I did not make any personal assertions at all along those lines and do not agree with your assessment.

From my long readership of these forums this attempt to twist an line of reasoning is typical so I will say no more on it.

As far as the breastfeeding experience goes with my first born, I lived through this, day in day out, hour after hour for six months.

Many many visits to the hospital and local baby clinic to search for a way ahead.

We gave our all effort. We did receive good advice for the most part and genuine intellectual rigour was put in by the medical professionals we were associated with. They wanted us to succeed and we wanted to succeed

What I am saying (for the third time now) is that overriding this is the message that breast is the only way and the implicit guilt trip used to ensure you keep going if your commitment wavers.

After six months of trying, with a wife so depressed that she could not leave the house, and a child underweight and screaming 20+ hours per day, no one from either the hospital, local clinic or ABA would say "in our estimation you guys have done all you can do, time to move to formula"

How hard would it have been to assess the situation and give that advice ?

When discussing our experience with other parents over the years a common theme has emerged similar to our experience above.

#12 poss71

Posted 04 August 2009 - 08:42 AM

maroubra2035, unfortunately as you can see from previous comments in this thread, there is a strong bias on this forum against the use of formula to help mothers to continue breastfeeding.

The PP has had a go at me for the same thing (same topic but in WDYT section, which has a much wider audience). Be careful what you say or you will be outed too! biggrin.gif

luckytwo, I know I promised I wouldn't reply in Breastfeeding anymore now that you've outed me as anti-bf. laughing2.gif Yet I couldn't help but respond to maroubra2035. I'll try to be good from now on...

[Currently breastfeeding my daughter as I type, after having given her a bottle of FORMULA in the early hours of the morning so I could sleep and let my supply build up. oomg.gif roll2.gif ]

#13 kimbear

Posted 04 August 2009 - 09:24 AM

maroubra2035 I can empathise.  I have a quite different story but can identify with the anguish you and your wife went through, that could have been avoided or at least lessened with more considered advice.

We 'failed' at breastfeeding also. We struggled through the 20+ hours of screaming a day, the weeks where we could only accumulate a total of 8 hours of sleep.  We sought advice everywhere; GP, maternal and child health clinics, day stays, residential stays, multiple paediatricians, lactation consultants, hospitals, etc etc etc.  I had plenty of milk, absolutely nothing wrong with my equipment or supply.  

My baby was 'diagnosed' (I use the term loosely) as having colic, being unsettled, or being of 'bad temperment' (don't get me started on that one).  In the beginning he breastfed, although it was difficult and he never attached properly. After a couple of months he refused to attach at all and after days of starving himself I started to express.  We struggled with that for more months because breast milk is of course best for babies (no dispute). Feeding didn't really improve on the bottle but he would suck enough to stay hydrated, and I could syringe enough into him on the other days to avoid a feeding tube.

I begged everyone I could get my hands to determine what was wrong with my baby.  Doctors just kept telling me babies are difficult. The lactation consultants, nurses etc. were better, telling me that they thought my baby had medical problems I needed to solve before I could hope to get him breastfeeding properly. But with no help from the medical profession I was at my end.

Finally from exhaustion I put him on formula. It didn't improve his situation any but I could cope enough to keep him alive.  At 7 months, still FTT, we finally got a specialist (in another state) to identify and treat his (multiple) medical problems.  Too late for breastfeeding to be resumed.

Long story, but in short... I think maybe one reason that some countries have a higher breastfeeding rate, is less to do with the 'lactation industry'  and more to do with the quality of care from (some) of our medical profession. Am I in the 1% who couldn't breastfeed or perhaps would I have gotten better medical care for my son in another country?? [I must add I have now found some fabulous doctors, but for every good one I've found, I went through at least two duds].

I acknowledge that this is only one person's experience and opinion, and possibly only a small part of the problem.  But I definitely think it contributes - with better medical treatment earlier I would still be breastfeeding (or expressing for) my son who is 1 year old next week!!

#14 idle

Posted 04 August 2009 - 10:13 AM

I wasn't going to post but thought it was important for some PP's to note that the sheer fact that we are all on these forums will indicate that our focus and main objective is to ensure that our children are getting the best care we can provide.
I don't think it is necessary or admirable to post negative personal comments in response to a member's input and recount of their personal experiences or in the sharing of their opinion on certain topics.
Whether one is pro breastfeeding or not, whether one's opin ion is that fomula is best or breast is best should be irrelevant. One has the right to express their opinion whether another agrees or not, without having condescending and/or negative responses following.
maroubra2035, thankyou for your post and for sharing your experiences with us. I applaud your efforts with your first child and am very happy to hear that you are having better luck this time. Congratulations on your new baby

#15 idle

Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:07 AM

sigh ddoh.gif

#16 **BOOM**

Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:38 AM

Currently breastfeeding my daughter as I type, after having given her a bottle of FORMULA in the early hours of the morning so I could sleep and let my supply build up


Don't you know the more you feed or express, it tells the body to produce more milk.  Skipping feeds will not help build up your supply.  

Wouldn't have it been quicker just to pop her on the boob, than get the bottle out, heat it iup, etc.  I would probably been nearly finished by the time you got the bottle into her mouth.

Ofcourse some have a strong biased towards giving formula as a lot of the times, it does interfer with supply and before some mum's know it they are formula feeding.  I am sure there are alot of mum's who comp feed but don't express that feed  - that is then telling the body that you don't need as much milk - therefore supply starts to be affected.  Simple logic to me, don't you think so?

#17 idle

Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:48 AM

Don't you know the more you feed or express, it tells the body to produce more milk. Skipping feeds will not help build up your supply.

No more than if baby had just kept sleeping through it.

Wouldn't have it been quicker just to pop her on the boob, than get the bottle out, heat it iup, etc. I would probably been nearly finished by the time you got the bottle into her mouth.

mum sleeping is just as important for milk supply so all in all, a wise move to rest up so you could breasyfeed today original.gif

Ofcourse some have a strong biased towards giving formula as a lot of the times, it does interfer with supply and before some mum's know it they are formula feeding.

that sounds like a rather unfair generalisation. i think it is unfair of people to make the geralisation that people who formula feed don't have their baby's best interest in mind.

#18 **BOOM**

Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:59 AM

Firstly, the way she has typed it it sounds like she was the one who got up & fed the bottle.  If someone else got up - then fine, i agree sleep - god i wish my DD would let me at times original.gif.  but if it is the mother getting up to feed - do the breast then top up with formula.  At least this has stimulated the breasts & telling the body to produce milk. Don't you think that makes sense? Makes alot of sense to me - breast first, then topup formula...

Crissy6, you missed my other point.  Can you honestly tell me that all mother's who comp feed then express that feed to stimulate milk supply/production.  i am sure a lot of mums do so not saying none don't. I'm not talking about best interest of mum/baby, what I am talking about milk production got nothing to do with what your going on about.  The reason why some mother's comp feed is not enough milk - stimulation will help milk production.  Do you disagree with this?  That's all i'm saying.

#19 meemee75

Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:03 PM

Don't you know the more you feed or express, it tells the body to produce more milk. Skipping feeds will not help build up your supply.

No more than if baby had just kept sleeping through it.

crissy6- That is an ill informed statement.
A baby sleeping through it is obviously not hungry and doesn't demand it . A baby that wakes and is given formula instead of a breastfeed  gets it food from elsewhere so the body has missed that cue to make more milk , and yes supply will be affected if only temporarily.

It's probably been said 100times.

But Breastfeeding is all about physiological SUPPLY AND DEMAND.

#20 meemee75

Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:04 PM

SNAP- sophie-emily just saw your similar post

Edited by meemee75, 04 August 2009 - 12:06 PM.

#21 Gin and Tonic

Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:36 PM

maroubra2035 thanks for your story.  I was lucky with my first baby that I was able to BF her until she was 15 months old.  In fact I had oversupply.  But my second baby I had a lot of difficulties.  I saw what you are talking about during this tiime.

My second baby was a big baby and needed more milk than I could give him.  The more he demanded the more tired I got and the less milk I had for him, it was a vicious circle.

After a few months I finally got myself out of the house to get him weighed and realised that he hadnt put on any weight for 2 months.

The reaction I got from my health clinic was mixed.  the first one told me to not put him on formula, to change my eating habits, take supplememnts, get more rest.  All great advice in theory, but in practice my DS was underweight and I was bordering on a breakdown not having slept at all for 6 months and having a demanding toddler who also had dropped her day sleep.

I went away and couldnt look at my baby as he was wasting away and decided to give him a bottle of formula.  he guzzled it down and slept peacefully for the first time in months.  I was totally devastated. I cried and cried for 24 hours.

I went back to the clinic and saw a different nurse.  She was fantastic.  She shut down the clinic and just focussed on me.  She told me that I was a good mother that supplementing with formula was what my baby needed right now and she helped me work out a programme of BF plus supplementing with formula that I was comfortable with.  By BFing each feed first until my supply ran out and then offering formula I managed to continue BFing him at every feed until he was 17 months old.  It broke the downward spiral.  He slept better, I got more sleep, I had more milk to offer him.  If I hadnt done this I am not sure what would have happened but I dont think it would have ended as well as it did.

She also sent me to a clinic for PND treatment and it took many years to recover from the guilt of starving my baby to uphold my need to fully BF him.  I still get teary thinking about it.

I am a huge fan of BFing.  It isnt easy and women do need support to try and not give up just because it is hard.   But that does need to be balanced with the health of the mother and child.  I think fomula is a last resort, but it should be used when it is warranted.

#22 Guest_onehappymum_*

Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:51 PM

During our ante-natal classes breast feeding was given a big plug, the most commonly used phrase seemed to be breat feeding is "pleasurable & sensual" and don't forget to watch out for mastitis.  I wanted to bf my son, thinking of how easy travelling will be with no bottles to worry about, so set out to give it my best shot.

No one warned of the excruciating pain of cracked nipples, and how you would start crying at the though of feeding and all the way through it.  In desperation I rang the local ABA rep in tears, she couldn't talk she was just on the way out for an ABA dinner...WTF!!!  I rang the maternity ward at the hospital where I had Troy and they were hugely helpful.  We got though those early days with a grim determination that we are in it for the long haul, we've just got to get through today, tomorrow will be better...and with some more advice on attachment it did get better.  

I started back at work part-time when he was 6mths old, and even with a very supportive employer, it was hard scheduling work around expressing, I was wishing I'd taken longer off work.  When he dropped the lunch time feed I tried to replace it with formula, which he just would not take at all.

My son is now 12mths old, and we still BF.  A couple of weeks ago he dropped of the before bed feed, which I was sad to see stop.  We still wake in the morning and start the day together cuddled up in bed breast feeding and on weekends his Dad is there too.  I love breast feeding and wish all mum's could experience the wonderful feeling of closeness that it brings.  I will miss breast feeding when we finally stop as in the end it is pleasurable and sensual.

#23 LilyM

Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:12 PM

Hello everyone

Can I just remind members to respect each others opinions and experiences.

I have already had to remove posts from this thread & if this thread continues to go of course any further it will be closed.


#24 idle

Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:17 PM

crissy6- That is an ill informed statement.
A baby sleeping through it is obviously not hungry and doesn't demand it . A baby that wakes and is given formula instead of a breastfeed gets it food from elsewhere so the body has missed that cue to make more milk , and yes supply will be affected if only temporarily.

True, my error was in not clarifying what i meant which is that while an opportunity to boost supply was missed, her missed feed did not decrease her current supply and from memory (which may be poor due to lack of sleep with current demand for hourly feeds all night), i did not see that she was complaining of supply shortage or of trying to increase supply..only that she gave bub formula so she could sleep?

also..while having to get up and make a bottle is a PITA, bottle feeds take 10mins or so as opposed to 30min..60min+ feeds which doesn't allow mum for as much rest..anyway..again..each to their own...and i will jst say, i BF on demand but don't have an issue with people doing differently to me. No one can know what is best for another from a post on a forum and no one should be insisting that one applies THEIR 'common sense' or 'logic' in place of another's common sense or logic.
What makes sense to one on a forum, with limited information on another's life or circumstances, does not make an expert over another regardless of how strongly a belief in a practice, in this case, breastfeeding, may be.

#25 idle

Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:18 PM

lilymurray, oops, i was typing my response as you posted that.  mellow.gif

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Top 5 Viewed Articles

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.