A fellow volunteer just called me recently to complain a bit….As breastfeeding counselors we go through waves of people that have problems but will do everything to breastfeed, people that get bad info and would like to try give up easily because “formula is good enough” and then there are people that have problems just because they want to have problems, don’t really want to breastfeed so they make themselves believe that it isn’t going to work so that they won’t feel guilty when they go the chemical way….
I am getting so tired of hearing all of the excuses that people use, especially when you give them advice and they choose not to follow through with it but just keep on repeating in their head that it isn’t working out (so of course it won’t work out)
I have seen moms that have great breastfeeding relationships go against the advice that we have given and end up not breastfeeding within days or weeks.
The biggest thing is the “not having enough milk” excuse. This is the one that all women are scared of because they hear it from everyone they know. This is the one that makes breastfeeding not work for many people, this is the one that makes formula companies salivate.
What we explain to moms over and over again and what never gets through is that if you breastfeed on demand and avoid “supplementing”you will have enough milk. The minute you supplement a feeding (even with your own milk) you are walking on thin ice.
But, So many women that come to us with problems have this story…
– Baby was born at 37 weeks (the doctor around here LOVES provoking labour at 37 weeks (and gives many reasons for why he does it) and many end up with “emergency” C-Sections…)
– Baby and mom are in the hospital for 3-4 days, during which the baby loses a bit of weight. (completely normal especially if the mom had IV and the baby’s weight was inflated to begin with)
– The differences in weight loss between a FF baby and BF baby are not taken into consideration.
– The baby wants to feed often and the mom is told by one or more of the nurses/pediatrician etc. that her baby is in danger because she doesn’t have enough milk and they have to supplement with formula after each nursing session until her milk comes in. (They are working to become “baby-friendly” so they supplement with a cup)
-Mom and Baby are sent home to a house with little support or misinformation.
We then get called and we have to explain that she needs to put the baby to the breast on demand and nurse as often as she can and she will have the supply. They don’t listen though and keep on supplementing. Why? Because everyone around them has told them that they didn’t have enough milk either….
What I would love to know is what do people think women did before the sludge that the formula companies make was around? do they really think that 100 years ago women often just didn’t have enough milk so would just give up feeding their babies? No!!! People did have enough milk because they knew that their milk was the only food available and they had people around them that knew that all women have milk.
What it comes down to in many cases is misinformation for many people, but unknowingly and unwillingly they keep on spreading the rumor that some women just don’t make enough milk.
However, then there is another bunch. The ones that KNOW breast is best, the ones that know the dangers of Formula (but don’t believe it), the ones that just don’t want to breastfeed but want to alleviate the “guilt”.
These are the ones that I know are not going to keep on breastfeeding from the second I talk to them. They will find any excuse to not breastfeed, they will try and make me say that formula is just as good, they will try and make me agree that their problem just can’t be solved. They will invent problems and won’t listen to anything we say to help them. They just want to have the peace of mind that “they did everything they could but it just didn’t work out”. I wish that people that don’t want to breastfeed would just not call me, I don’t want to be a pawn in their game and I don’t want to waste my breath.
Here is an example I once had…
1st call: breastfeeding going great… I debunk about 10 myths in one phone call (she was trying to find an excuse, I know it) things I tell her: supply=demand, feed on need, no bottles before 5-6 weeks, pacifier not recommended for first 5-6 weeks… everything should go well…
2nd call: Her milk came in…She asks….Are my breasts going to be this big the whole time? I tell her no that they will go back to normal (though still a bit full) after a day or two and feel less and less full as time goes on.
3rd Call: breasts feel less baby nursing often, she KNOWS she doesn’t have enough milk… the baby is happy between feedings and has full diapers, I tell her that everything sounds normal.
4th call (about 5 days later): baby not taking breast well… they started a using a pacifier, didn’t think she had enough milk because the baby was nursing every 2-3 hours so she tried pumping and “saw” that she wasn’t making enough… so they went and got formula because the baby was “starving”… I tell her that the pump isn’t a good indicator of amount and that the baby is better at getting milk out… tell her that supply=demand so as long as she feeds when baby wants it then she will have enough milk…. the baby was probably not taking the breast well because they suck differently on the breast then on bottle or pacifier… I advise her to stop the bottle and paci and put baby to the breast often.
I call a few days later… She explains that she knew she wasn’t making enough milk because her baby would cry and wanted the bottle more then the breast and seems much happier now, “but I know I at least “tried” and guess what!! Now I can go out without baby and leave the month old baby with MIL for the night while I get my “much needed rest”.
I knew at the end of the first call that she would breastfeed. I knew that she was going to use the time that I would spend trying to help her as a way to alleviate the guilt of not giving her child the best food possible….
I am tired of wasting my breath with people I know are not going to breastfeed… they take the time away from those who really do want to breastfeed and really do need and want help.