So on FB a new mother is asking about her child that screams 24 hours a day. She admits the doctor told her that the baby might not be getting enough to eat.
Debate - Why is it such blaspheme to suggest giving the baby a bottle of formula? Reading the commits, you would think the politically correct thing to do would be to let the baby starve to death before you offered some formula. If a breastfeeding mother asks for advice, why is it so taboo to suggest something that might help?
I think a lot of people worry that the advice that the baby is not getting enough is wrong and therefore giving a bottle of formula would not be helpful and could possibly cause problems with breastfeeding.
I do think incorrect advice is often given....but honestly I don't think its great to butt in as a third party. If she is talking to her doctor about it, then there is no point in trying to get involved. She will either trust his/her advice or not.
If someone asks on Facebook, they are opening up themselves to other peoples opinions.
It is not true that if someone is breastfeeding every two hours the baby is not automatically getting enough to eat. My niece almost died because her mother faulsey was told and believed that no matter what her baby was fine as long as she was nursing every two hours. Two of my own children had great problems because of this. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. If you give the baby a bottle and everything is fine, then ok that was your problem. If you give the baby a bottle and the baby is still screaming 24 hours a day then obviously something else is the matter. Regardless of what the person does, I do not understand why even suggesting it is such a huge no no. It seems like it would go over better to suggest giving the baby dog food than to give a baby a bottle of formula. If it is to the point that the baby screaming all of the time that it is effecting every aspect of your life (she has said it has), then why is it such a capitol offence to suggest formula?
FTR - No one has been rude, it just has bothered me for a long time why it is pushed so much to never give a breast fed baby a bottle when babies can and do starve from this advice.
As you said, your niece almost died because her mother was given bad advice. There are ways to make sure that baby is getting milk, mainly weighing them before and after a feed. Advice to give a bottle is often frowned on because if the baby is not getting enough to eat, and then they get a bottle, they may refuse to take the breast back and then mom is stuck formula feeding. With many woman who feel strongly about breastfeeding this can lead to ppd which is not good for anyone in the family. Eventually, yes, in some situations a bottle may ultimately have to be given, however there are many things that should be tried first if the mother feels strongly about breastfeeding. As long as the baby is under the care of a responsible doctor and is being checked regularly there really should be no danger in doing so. There are other, better, ways of supplementing if it is deemed necessary.
So, I guess to answer your question, it is really looked down on to suggest a bottle when women are looking for advice on nursing, because these women are looking for support, and no matter how politely it is worded, 'give the baby a bottle' is easily interpreted as 'give up, you cant do this'. I also want to add the caveat that we are talking about women who have just given birth and are filled with a stew of hormones, so.....what you say, and how it will sound through that lens might be two different things.
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)
Babies will not starve on the advice to not give a bottle. They can and do starve because of bad advice about how to breastfeed. The advice to feed baby every two hours is just plain wrong, horrible advice! (It might be OK for some babies later in life, but not for most newborns.) The two hour thing is almost as bad as the "feed for 10 minutes on each side," advice. They are both just bad bad bad advice, and one of the most wrongest ways to feed your baby. Milk is a supply & demand kind of thing, the more demand, the supply will increase, so giving baby a bottle is NOT the answer. You nurse your baby when he's hungry, and you nurse him as long as he needs to nurse. You sleep skin to skin so that the closeness of your baby stimulates your body to make milk, and you hold baby close as much as possible during the day for the same reason. You make sure he's getting enough by watching his growth, and by weighing him before & after each feed if you're not sure. You tickle his feet to keep him from falling asleep, and you avoid things like mint & caffeine that will reduce your milk supply. You consult an LC or a breastfeeding peer counselor to make sure there aren't problems with his latch or with your nipples (which a few hours with hard breast shells in your bra will likely help.) Even if baby has a physical problem with nursing, you can pump and give baby EBM in a bottle which will keep your production up while the baby's physical problems are addressed. There are an incredibly very few women who truly can not feed their baby enough breast milk, if they really want to do it, and those cases usually involve hormone issues or breast surgery. New moms absolutely should be encouraged to do everything they can to breast feed. Formula should be for emergencies, and bad advice is not an emergency, at least not for a while.
The number of U.S. states in which a person can marry the person they love regardless of gender: 30 and counting!
For me it is the bottle that is the issue, not the supplementation. I would never suggest that a woman who is breast feeding give a bottle, but I might suggest she try a SNS (is that right? The one that puts the formula at your breast?). As I said, a baby who is properly monitored will not starve without a 'bottle'. Your niece was either not being monitored, or her mother was ignoring her Drs advice, as for your babies, you are talking about preemies who are a different creature entirely, IMO. A baby who still has the energy to scream all day and night might be hungry, but is not starving or in imminent danger. This is not the life and death situation you are making it out to be.
As for the two hour advice, I have always heard it as 'at least' every two hours. My first was a sleepy baby and we did not do well with nursing on demand, had to go to an every 2 hours system for a few weeks. A big difference to your stories though Bonita is that I had proper support in the form of a lactation nurse run clinic, where I would take DD every 2 days to be weighed and observed nursing. They did everything they could to help me and then eventually told me I would need to start supplementing if she lost any more weight. BOTTLES were never mentioned! Lucky for us my milk came in and she started gaining and that was that, but I remember how devastated I was when I head that, and how much I cried those 2 days, and I cant imagine what it would have done for my well being if I had given her a bottle and never been able to nurse again. We really need to acknowledge that there are 2 people in the nursing relationship and although the babies health is the most important, moms well being NEEDS to be considered for a healthy bond to form.
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)
I feel like bottles is a such a bad word in the BF community. My first had no interest in nursing and I had all the nurses and an LC trying to get her to latch. After a certain point (18hr?) they said they had to give her something to eat but if she had tried to latch they wouldn't have. I cried so much because I was convinced based on everything that I read that because they were doing this, I would not be able to BF. I gave bottles from then on. I started pumping and we did a mix of BM and formula in a bottle. It took about 4 days for her to latch. We saw an LC 5 times in the first 2 weeks. I was going crazy in that time of the try to nurse (20 minutes) - supplement feed (20 minutes) - pump (20 minutes) every 3 hours. At one point the LC told me to relax and ask myself if it was important that I do all that every time because a crazy mom wasn't a good mom. After having all those bottles, by 5 months we couldn't get her to take a bottle and she nursed until she self weaned around a year.
DD2 was a preemie with a feeding tube. I had the choice to try to nurse her or bottles. It took over a week for her to take a bottle and three weeks to latch. When she came home, I worked on transitioning to nursing and that took 6 weeks. I can totally see why someone wouldn't do that but it was important to me.
I always get frustrated with the BF movement being all or nothing because I see moms who can't BF 100% so they give up. There are many ways to be successful BF but it does take support.
DD1 July 2008 (41w3d)
November 2010 (13 weeks)
DD2 August 2011 (33w5d)
Funny, as a working mom the idea of a bottle doesn't alarm me too much...i had to give all my babies bottles from pretty early on since I had to go back to work. Replacing breastmilk with formula/supplementing concerns me more because I think it hurts your breastmilk supply.*
If someone really has their heart set on breastfeeding then i think supplementing should only be tried after trying everything else, which can be difficult if you don't have a good support system. I really don't think its good when the first suggestion off the bat is to supplement, but its hard because when asking the general populous for advice, they might not be the most knowledgeable about breastfeeding. I think it should be done as a last resort...only if the mother had very serious intentions about breastfeeding for the long term to begin with. If not, then i don't think it matters as much.
Yep it can be tough, a difficult bumpy road, lots of stress and many disagreements about what the best course of action is but what part of motherhood is not like that? If someone asks for advice...then I think no one should be put off if someone says "Hey, i think doing this could really hurt your chances of keeping a long term breastfeeding relationship with your baby" And thats what 'don't supplement unless you absolutely have to' amounts to.
*to clarify when i say "conerns" i don't mean that someone tells me they are supplementing and then i become concerned about the baby or anything like that. I mean "if someone is interested in breastfeeding long term and they ask for advice, i would tell them that supplementing unless you absolutely have to is concerning"