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  1. #21
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaotic Harmony View Post
    What blew my mind was my MIL... When I was struggling in the beginning she was super supportive and encouraging and basically told me to just do my best for however long I could.... And then she went through the training to become a consultant and she did a 180 on me! When I told her, I was probably going to have to wean soon because it just wasn't going well at all anymore she told me how I needed to try harder and to not give up no matter what until at least one year... WTH? She went from supportive to demanding just like that. Forget the fact that my daughter wasn't even on the growth charts anymore and was only gaining a pound every two months... When I weaned her, she was still small, but I did notice an increase in her weight gain...

    And it definitely wasn't for lack of trying.... I was on supplements... I feel like I ate oatmeal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner... I nursed and pumped afterward... I pumped through the night... I was pretty much the poster child for trying everything I could and still didn't make it a full year.

    I never did try an LLL group. I think the consultants turned me off so much I just went about doing my own research. I really, really wish there were more people in the consultation field that were understanding. I dealt with ONE out of FIVE consultants that didn't make me cry when I left! I really should have sent a thank you note to her for being so compassionate and helpful.

    Oh, and totally get ya about someone being well-informed and just not wanting to... My best friend is that way. She's made it very clear that she has no desire to breastfeed, she has read all the benefits and she's okay with formula feeding anyway. Her dad is retired from Mead Johnson, so they get free formula... Honestly, can't say I blame her from that aspect! If you don't need to pump BM, that means no need to buy or rent a pump, and no need to worry about an embarrassing moment at work (almost had a coworker walk in on me...and the door was locked)!
    Your experience with lactation consultants mirrors that of so many other people I've known. My sister-in-law was absolutely committed and did everything right, but the lactation consultant accused her of not trying hard enough and made her cry. She ended up doing what I called "tube & boob" feeding for an ENTIRE YEAR with my nephew, so there was no lack of commitment. Just lack of milk. (She just had a bilateral mastectomy, and wonders if there was just something "off" about her breast tissue from the get-go.)

    So often there is a "you must be doing something wrong, sneaking formula late at night or something, otherwise this should be working perfectly for you" undertone to what they tell mothers. That is so counterproductive.

  2. #22
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    So often there is a "you must be doing something wrong, sneaking formula late at night or something, otherwise this should be working perfectly for you" undertone to what they tell mothers. That is so counterproductive.
    Exactly. It's natural that we're not all wired to produce the same amount of milk for the same amount of time. Just like some of us are taller or shorter or have blonde hair or are brunette. Some women have more milk and some less. Some dry up earlier than others. But certain "advocates" tend to insist that if you aren't in abundant supply for as long as your child wishes to nurse, you are less of a mother somehow and are doing something wrong. This doesn't help anyone.

    I posted this on CH's wall too, but the topic got me thinking about growing up on a dairy farm - some cows had more milk, some less, some milked easier, some had mastitis more frequently, some dried up earlier, it's just the way things ARE. It's accepted FACT in that environment. Why do we imagine humans are so different? Why do we think everyone should have tons of milk? After all, if there's such variation in dairy cattle, who have been genetically selected for the best milkers, why wouldn't we expect it to an even greater degree in humans?

    Here's a link to a good current study on the topic of hospitals providing free samples btw.

    Breastfeeding in Toronto: Promoting Supportive Environments

    Summary of relevant subject area:

    Almost 40 per cent of new mothers leave the hospital with free infant formula, a recipe for spoiled breastfeeding according to a new Toronto Public Health report.

    Women who didn’t receive the free samples were 3.5 times more likely to be breastfeeding exclusively after 2 weeks, said Breastfeeding in Toronto, Promoting Supportive Environments, released Tuesday.

    The study, conducted in 2007 and 2008, found that of 1,500 first-time mothers surveyed, 39 per cent were given formula at hospital discharge. As a result, many of these women stopped breastfeeding sooner than those women who weren’t given formula.

    “A substantial proportion of hospitals are still doing this,” said Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. “There are some incentives for hospitals to do this (promote formula)...and that is really not in the interest of infants and mothers.”
    It's been a controversial practice since my kids were little, which is quite a while back now. Surprised to see that some hospitals in Ontario still give formula samples here.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
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  3. #23
    Senior Member Chaotic Harmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    Exactly. It's natural that we're not all wired to produce the same amount of milk for the same amount of time. Just like some of us are taller or shorter or have blonde hair or are brunette. Some women have more milk and some less. Some dry up earlier than others. But certain "advocates" tend to insist that if you aren't in abundant supply for as long as your child wishes to nurse, you are less of a mother somehow and are doing something wrong. This doesn't help anyone.

    I posted this on CH's wall too, but the topic got me thinking about growing up on a dairy farm - some cows had more milk, some less, some milked easier, some had mastitis more frequently, some dried up earlier, it's just the way things ARE. It's accepted FACT in that environment. Why do we imagine humans are so different? Why do we think everyone should have tons of milk? After all, if there's such variation in dairy cattle, who have been genetically selected for the best milkers, why wouldn't we expect it to an even greater degree in humans?

    Here's a link to a good current study on the topic of hospitals providing free samples btw.

    Breastfeeding in Toronto: Promoting Supportive Environments

    It's been a controversial practice since my kids were little, which is quite a while back now. Surprised to see that some hospitals in Ontario still give formula samples here.
    It's even worse than that... With advanced technology and all these pregnancy websites and what not for expecting moms... You sign up and some people don't even think about it and you put your address and everything in there.... And the next thing you know you're getting tons and tons of samples in the mail of formula... Sure they show you the benefits of breast milk and how good for baby it is.... But the fact that they include the temptation to take the easy route....

    It seems we've hijacked the thread and kind of transformed it into a different aspect of breast feeding.


  4. #24
    now! in shell form INA's Avatar
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    It may be "voluntary" for hospitals, but what about the moms at the hospitals? From the NYC dept. of health:

    By joining this voluntary initiative for NYC maternity hospitals to support mother’s decision to breastfeed participating hospitals have agreed to:

    • Enforce the NYS hospital regulation to not supplement breastfeeding infants with formula feeding unless medically indicated and documented on the infant’s medical chart;
    • Restrict access to infant formula by hospital staff, tracking infant formula distribution and sharing data on formula distribution with the Health Department;
    • Discontinue the distribution of promotional or free infant formula; and
    • Prohibit the display and distribution of infant formula promotional materials in any hospital location
    .
    Twelve private New York City hospitals have already made the commitment and all 11 public hospitals run by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation also joined “Latch On NYC,” going beyond the significant steps they previously took to support breastfeeding when they banned formula from gift bags and promotional materials in 2007.
    If a mom who "elected" to breastfeed* decided she wants formula, do they hand it to her or does it have to be medically indicated as necessary on her baby's chart? Why bother to add the extra layer of difficulty?


    *anecdotally, friends here in NYC say they were heavily pressured/shamed into "electing" to do so.
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  5. #25
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    I posted this on CH's wall too, but the topic got me thinking about growing up on a dairy farm - some cows had more milk, some less, some milked easier, some had mastitis more frequently, some dried up earlier, it's just the way things ARE. It's accepted FACT in that environment. Why do we imagine humans are so different? Why do we think everyone should have tons of milk? After all, if there's such variation in dairy cattle, who have been genetically selected for the best milkers, why wouldn't we expect it to an even greater degree in humans?
    For most of human history, infant formula was nonexistent. Infants nursed, or when that absolutely wasn't working, were given goat's milk or some alternative food, which was an inferior substitute. Human milk is the best food for human infants. Yes, infant mortality rates in many parts of the modern world are no doubt at an all-time low, but that is due more to improvements in treating infections and other diseases, general hygiene, and maternal health than the availability of formula. Breastfeeding is particularly important in parts of the world where infant mortality remains high, since most formula requires mixing with water, which is often unhealthy in those regions. We can reasonably expect the vast majority of women to breastfeed successfully because for millennia they have. In this context, most formula use is a matter of choice. We can respect those mothers who make this choice without pretending it is anything else.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  6. #26
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    We can reasonably expect the vast majority of women to breastfeed successfully because for millennia they have. In this context, most formula use is a matter of choice. We can respect those mothers who make this choice without pretending it is anything else.
    Elaborate; there is more than one way I can interpret your post and I don't wish to misunderstand you.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
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    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
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  7. #27
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    Elaborate; there is more than one way I can interpret your post and I don't wish to misunderstand you.
    I am curious about the multiple interpretations you see. I cannot state this much simpler than I have. What do you think it means?
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  8. #28
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    I don't disagree with you, Coriolis, but I do think there are women who simply can't make enough milk. Actually, I don't think that- I know that. I have personally worked with women who do everything "right" and their breasts just don't work. In "the olden days" they would have required a wetnurse, or their babies just wouldn't have made it.

    I also know that many, if not most, women who believe they don't have enough milk are actually capable of making plenty- either they're looking at their pumping output and thinking that's all the baby gets, too (when many of us just aren't efficient pumpers) or maybe a well-meaning relative has fed the baby a bottle without permission or the mother didn't know it's advisable to avoid artificial nipples for the first couple of weeks (since it's much easier to get milk from a bottle than a breast, some newborns refuse to nurse after they're offered bottles- and supplemental formula can lead to supply/demand issues and reduced supply), or maybe they just got tired and supplemented without knowing it could interfere with supply/demand (or maybe she knew and was tired enough to take the risk). Or they've been convinced by an older relative that the baby needs to be on a schedule instead of being fed on demand.

    The problem PeaceBaby and Chaotic Harmony and I are describing occurs when lactation consultants (some, not all- I have known good ones!) assume a woman is in the second category but she's actually in the first, or assumes she's in the second category because she doesn't care about her baby or isn't committed to nursing. They accuse them of just not trying hard enough when in reality they are trying VERY hard. The condescension is very badly timed. All of these women, the ones with physiological supply issues and the ones with circumstantial supply issues or perceived supply issues, are newly postpartum. Many are first-time moms or first-time nursing moms. They're tired, they're experiencing hormonal surges and declines, and they are putting a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect mothers. They need compassion and understanding, not judgment and scolding.

  9. #29
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    I am curious about the multiple interpretations you see. I cannot state this much simpler than I have. What do you think it means?
    I don't disagree with your post either, but as the most probable interpretation, what I think you're saying here is that the primary prerequisite to nursing successfully is simply having breasts. Maybe I just object to the generalization of that?

    Will almost 100% of women lactate after giving birth? Sure. But looking at only that fact fails to address the variety of lactation experiences each woman has and a myriad of breast-feeding challenges she might face, different even for each child she nurses. Today, the availability of formula simply adds to a large list of reasons why some women don't have the success they desire in their nursing relationship.

    If we want to explore the complexity of the issues, we can... But I'm not sure it will convince you otherwise anyway, and that's part of the problem right there - some lactation consultants approach breast-feeding problems like my interpretation of your post above: if a new mother has a pair of boobs, of course she can successfully nurse, so she must be doing something wrong or it would be working just fine.

    Obviously the human race has proliferated as a species regardless, so I can't argue against that. It's more that ... we expect the same level of breast-feeding "abundance" from everyone now, rather than conceding there are other factors at play.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
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    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  10. #30
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    I don't disagree with you, Coriolis, but I do think there are women who simply can't make enough milk. Actually, I don't think that- I know that. I have personally worked with women who do everything "right" and their breasts just don't work. In "the olden days" they would have required a wetnurse, or their babies just wouldn't have made it.

    I also know that many, if not most, women who believe they don't have enough milk are actually capable of making plenty- either they're looking at their pumping output and thinking that's all the baby gets, too (when many of us just aren't efficient pumpers) or maybe a well-meaning relative has fed the baby a bottle without permission or the mother didn't know it's advisable to avoid artificial nipples for the first couple of weeks (since it's much easier to get milk from a bottle than a breast, some newborns refuse to nurse after they're offered bottles- and supplemental formula can lead to supply/demand issues and reduced supply), or maybe they just got tired and supplemented without knowing it could interfere with supply/demand (or maybe she knew and was tired enough to take the risk). Or they've been convinced by an older relative that the baby needs to be on a schedule instead of being fed on demand.

    The problem PeaceBaby and Chaotic Harmony and I are describing occurs when lactation consultants (some, not all- I have known good ones!) assume a woman is in the second category but she's actually in the first, or assumes she's in the second category because she doesn't care about her baby or isn't committed to nursing. They accuse them of just not trying hard enough when in reality they are trying VERY hard. The condescension is very badly timed. All of these women, the ones with physiological supply issues and the ones with circumstantial supply issues or perceived supply issues, are newly postpartum. Many are first-time moms or first-time nursing moms. They're tired, they're experiencing hormonal surges and declines, and they are putting a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect mothers. They need compassion and understanding, not judgment and scolding.
    Yes, there are women who cannot make enough milk or have other medical impediments to nursing. They are in a small minority, though. Most women who do not nurse do so out of choice. As you and others describe, often this choice is based on a negative experience with medical staff, or a lack of effective support, or logistical concerns such as returning to work. This is a significant problem, but it is not a medical problem. There is nothing physiologically "wrong" with these women. Medical staff need to learn to tell the difference between your case 1 and case 2 above, and to provide effective support to new mothers. Also, the misconceptions and poor advice you list in your second paragraph need to be clarified.

    Part of the problem is that today's new parents did not grow up around breastfeeding, and neither did many of their parents. It was not a normal, everyday occurrence to see a sibling or neighbor infant nurse; nursing tips and problems were not discussed around the house; and new mothers wanting to nurse were not surrounded by generations of women who had done so, and had a lifetime of practical experience to share.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    I don't disagree with your post either, but as the most probable interpretation, what I think you're saying here is that the primary prerequisite to nursing successfully is simply having breasts. Maybe I just object to the generalization of that?

    Obviously the human race has proliferated as a species regardless, so I can't argue against that. It's more that ... we expect the same level of breast-feeding "abundance" from everyone now, rather than conceding there are other factors at play.
    We should be able to expect the same level of breastfeeding abundance now, as you put it, that we expected before the advent of formula. The difference is that now those who truly cannot nurse have better recourse than wet nurses or less suitable substitute foods.

    And yes, having healthy, functioning breasts is the first prerequisite to nursing successfully. They are designed to perform that function. When they do not, it is a problem, just as when someone's eyes cannot see, or someone's kidneys cannot remove waste from the blood. We don't let a person with poor eyesight just give up trying to see; we give her glasses, or surgery if possible. Some people still are or will go blind, but we do our best to keep those in the minority.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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