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Poll: I breastfed long-term (6 mo. +) and I was finally comfortable breastfeeding at...

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When Does Breastfeeding Stop "Sucking" ?

  1. #25
    Lali07 is offline Registered User
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    I know I will cop a lot of flak for this, but I get a little frustrated and saddened with all this breastfeeding is too hard talk. What do the mothers in areas where formula is not readily available do? What did mothers do before formula was invented?

    This post is *not* intended for mothers with special needs babies, or mothers who have to return to work, or mothers who have genuine physiological problems (only about 1.5%).

    Your breasts are capable of producing enough milk to feed twins, so of course you can produce enough for a singleton.

    If you interfere too much i.e. pumping so you can skip later, pumping so daddy can feed, supplementing with formula etc then of course you will have supply problems, and probably mastitis.

    If you do as nature intended, which is to feed your baby only breast milk, on demand, then it is unlikely you will have supply problems. If you "don't have enough milk" which is something I hear a lot of in HK, then do something about it. This may mean offering your baby the breast very regularly until your supply increases, which will probably take a few days. Introducing a bottle or formula will only reduce your supply further. Bottle feeding can also cause breast-refusal, because your baby has to work harder to suck at the breast than the bottle.

    There is a lot of support available, through the LLL, or lactation consultants, who can help with sore, cracked nipples etc. This is often due to attachment (latch) problems, or simply because your baby's mouth is little.

    There are countless benefits of breast milk, such as increased immunity, fewer digestive problems, so it is a shame when babies miss out on this for preventable reasons. Why feed your baby highly refined, artificial baby milk (usually from another animal - a cow) when you can feed him or her a highly digestible, compatible substance such as your own milk?

    One of the main reasons breastfeeding goes wrong in HK is inappropriate advice from health professionals who you would assume know a thing or two about breastfeeding. I have found this is not the case. At a routine health check, with no reasons or indications, my GP suggested I give a bottle of formula at night! WHY!? was my response..

    Another reason is separation of mother and baby. If you find yourself in this situation, then start pumping! Even if your baby is in the NICU after the birth, you can still breastfeed. Get a pump, and pump regularly to ensure your milk comes in, so when your baby is discharged you can try to establish feeding.

    If you have a C-section, you can still breastfeed. Two main factors are crucial in the establishment of milk supply (or your milk 'coming-in'): the separation of the placenta, and sucking at the breast.

    If you choose to have your baby in the nursery so you can get some rest, then you can expect problems with your milk coming in, and because your baby is likely to be bottle fed in the nursery, likewise you can expect some breast-refusal, nipple confusion and latch problems..

    Anyhow, I am sure I will cop some flak for this, but someone needs to say. Breastfeeding rates continue to decline worldwide, which is a sad fact. Health problems are on the rise, and some would say these two are linked....

    Good luck mummies, I hope you can get the help you need, and enjoy this wonderful act with your baby :)

  2. #26
    genkimom is offline Registered User
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    Lali,

    You truly speak like a person who has had very little experience in this area. Congratulations. Your time breastfeeding your child was textbook perfect and you just can't understand why anyone would have a problem... I am so happy for you but saddened that your inexperience has rendered you unable to feel empathy or concern for people who may read this and feel abused and attacked by your thoughtless comments.

    I am saddened by people who refuse to really listen to mothers who have had to give up breastfeeding, and instead blame them for not trying hard enough, or making bad decisions, or being weak or the like.

    My son and I had a very rough start, the details of which are unimportant. I went to about four specialists, and nothing seemed to make anything better. After four or five months, my breasts completely stopped producing milk, and after trying several remedies unsuccessfully, the lactation specialist herself, who had been through everything with me for four months, and was a die-hard lactivist, threw in the towel and advised me to make peace with switching to the bottle, which was a hard thing for me to do. I felt like a failure. I couldn't do the one thing all female mammals can do. And because my son was allergic to dairy, I had to give soy, which is an even more inferior a product than milk-based formula. I felt no better than those horrible people who feed their infants Mc Donald's fries and hamburgers; that was how inferior I felt formula to be. But I had to do what needed to be done to feed my child.

    I wondered about what women in my case did before formula, so I did some research. And I learned in the past, they hired wet nurses add to their supply, or in tribal areas, all the women shared their milk and babies breastfed from whomever was closest, and so if one had a low supply, they just went to another woman in the tribe. Mountain communities in isolated areas used sheep or goats milk. So you see, women have always found a way to nourish their baby if their baby couldn't drink their milk, for whatever reason. It may be a modern trend to go directly to formula from birth, but life-threatening breastfeeding problems it is certainly not a modern problem.

    But since you prefer to blame and accuse rather than think and consider alternative points of view, this may be a wasted post on you, but I hope someone else reads this and can feel less battered after reading your post about how sad and pathetic it is that not all of us can have to textbook perfect breastfeeding experience you had.

  3. #27
    Lali07 is offline Registered User
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    Genkimom,

    I expected this kind of flak and will probably get more of it, because it is a sensitive subject, and those who don't breastfeed get very defensive. If you have a genuine reason (physical, emotional or circumstantial) then there is no need to defend your decision is there? Its simply the way it is.

    My post was intended more to highlight very common, preventable problems, which in HK often results in stopping breastfeeding unnecessarily. Breastfeeding is highly misunderstood, even by health professionals, and no-one would say that the worldwide decline in breastfeeding is a good thing! I think my post was quite factual, if there are particular points you wish to dispute, feel free to do so.

    You can call me inexperienced if you want, but really you know very little about me, my background or my start to breastfeeding. I actually know a reasonable amount about breastfeeding, which did help me to establish breastfeeding my son without major problems. It was not textbook, I worked very hard at it, got no sleep initially, but that goes with the territory doesn't it? You can PM me if you want to know more about my background.

    I do have empathy for those who tried, but it doesn't ease my frustration at the many more who would have been able to continue if they had the right help / information, which is hard to come by in HK.

    Your post is quite aggressive which I think is unnecessary, considering if you go back and read my post, most of the 'blame' is aimed at the health system and health professionals.

    Cheers,

    Lali

  4. #28
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    Yes this subject can be emotionally charged - and I can see both sides of the picture. Like Lali said, HK society is NOT very "breastfeeding friendly" or even "breastfeeding SMART" and I have personally witnessed friends who say they want to breastfeed but they have gotten some really bad advice about it - then they have to wean because they didn't have enough milk - which may be true but if they didn't have the bad advice to start with, it may not have been a problem.

    There ARE times that people really CANNOT nurse as well for whatever reason, and they need to feel supported to do what they need to do (which is usually giving formula) rather than being condemned by "lactivists". I also know many women who are in this category, often by no fault of their own. Some pump instead, others choose to give formula. It is interesting that this is NOT a new problem - and there were ways to deal with it back in the "olden days". Sadly though, I think many babies who had difficulty feeding may not have survived as well back then though...

    I do think that Lali's point was that HK society creates breastfeeding problems through a series of bad advice and policies when many of the mothers, if they had been given the RIGHT advice, would have had no physical problems breastfeeding. And as a mother who was unable to breastfeed my 2nd daughter, I take no offense to it :)

  5. #29
    Lali07 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Nicole, I think you read my post as it was intended. Yes HK society creates a lot of needless breastfeeding problems, and many mothers and babies suffer because they wanted to but got bad advice. I was thinking of you today as I love to follow your blog, Maddy is just a treasure!

    Of course there are mothers who cannot (physiologically, emotionally, circumstantially) and some babies who cannot (perhaps like Maddy). My post was not aimed at these families.

    The statistics estimate mother/baby physiological reasons between 1.5-3%. So what I can't understand is why some estimates for formula feeding are around 50%? It doesn't add up.

    Yes I am a lactivist, but I am also a reasonable person and not a fool, so I can see in some cases it genuinely doesn't work out. But I do wish society would try harder to encourage breastfeeding where possible!

    Good luck mummies and babies :)

  6. #30
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lali07 View Post
    I know I will cop a lot of flak for this, but I get a little frustrated and saddened with all this breastfeeding is too hard talk. What do the mothers in areas where formula is not readily available do? What did mothers do before formula was invented?

    This post is *not* intended for mothers with special needs babies, or mothers who have to return to work, or mothers who have genuine physiological problems (only about 1.5%).

    Your breasts are capable of producing enough milk to feed twins, so of course you can produce enough for a singleton.

    If you interfere too much i.e. pumping so you can skip later, pumping so daddy can feed, supplementing with formula etc then of course you will have supply problems, and probably mastitis.

    If you do as nature intended, which is to feed your baby only breast milk, on demand, then it is unlikely you will have supply problems. If you "don't have enough milk" which is something I hear a lot of in HK, then do something about it. This may mean offering your baby the breast very regularly until your supply increases, which will probably take a few days. Introducing a bottle or formula will only reduce your supply further. Bottle feeding can also cause breast-refusal, because your baby has to work harder to suck at the breast than the bottle.

    There is a lot of support available, through the LLL, or lactation consultants, who can help with sore, cracked nipples etc. This is often due to attachment (latch) problems, or simply because your baby's mouth is little.

    There are countless benefits of breast milk, such as increased immunity, fewer digestive problems, so it is a shame when babies miss out on this for preventable reasons. Why feed your baby highly refined, artificial baby milk (usually from another animal - a cow) when you can feed him or her a highly digestible, compatible substance such as your own milk?

    One of the main reasons breastfeeding goes wrong in HK is inappropriate advice from health professionals who you would assume know a thing or two about breastfeeding. I have found this is not the case. At a routine health check, with no reasons or indications, my GP suggested I give a bottle of formula at night! WHY!? was my response..

    Another reason is separation of mother and baby. If you find yourself in this situation, then start pumping! Even if your baby is in the NICU after the birth, you can still breastfeed. Get a pump, and pump regularly to ensure your milk comes in, so when your baby is discharged you can try to establish feeding.

    If you have a C-section, you can still breastfeed. Two main factors are crucial in the establishment of milk supply (or your milk 'coming-in'): the separation of the placenta, and sucking at the breast.

    If you choose to have your baby in the nursery so you can get some rest, then you can expect problems with your milk coming in, and because your baby is likely to be bottle fed in the nursery, likewise you can expect some breast-refusal, nipple confusion and latch problems..

    Anyhow, I am sure I will cop some flak for this, but someone needs to say. Breastfeeding rates continue to decline worldwide, which is a sad fact. Health problems are on the rise, and some would say these two are linked....

    Good luck mummies, I hope you can get the help you need, and enjoy this wonderful act with your baby :)
    I think you had a lot of good things to say but it also seems that your attitude is a bit hard to handle (or at least the way it comes off here--and again, this is a forum where things can be misinterpreted). I have to say that in my case, I did everything I possibly could and went to many professionals (not here in HK but in the States and they were all top-notch) to try to work through my problems and I worked tirelessly for six months and kept with it for six months and breastfeeding was a horrible, dismal failure in my opinion. Yeah, maybe I can put that "badge" on my diaper bag that says I gave my child breastmilk but I lost so much because of that. Instead of bonding with my child I associated him with extreme pain and discomfort because of all the problems involved in his feeding so breastfeeding was counter-productive for our relationship and those are 6 months I will never have again with my child--a precious six months where I could have fed him that "highly refined, artificial baby milk" (which later he did very well with and never experienced an illness his first year of life) and got busy making positive memories with him. Instead, that time in my life is so painful that I barely remember it--it's like just a blur--and not in a good way. And I felt under pressure from comments like the one you posted above where you basically told us who has a "valid excuse" and who doesn't for not breastfeeding. Yes, I am a good mother who wanted her child to be breastfed and have the best nutrition out there but I'm also not superwoman.

    So, before you come down hard on all the "sissy moms" (my words, not yours) who don't have enough of whatever to breastfeed, please consider that for some (like me) this is a huge, emotional topic and comments like yours come off as more judgmental than actually helpful (although, I don't disagree with most points you made--this isn't my first rodeo--I went through breastfeeding hell and I'm quite well-educated on the subject).

  7. #31
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lali07 View Post
    Thanks Nicole, I think you read my post as it was intended. Yes HK society creates a lot of needless breastfeeding problems, and many mothers and babies suffer because they wanted to but got bad advice. I was thinking of you today as I love to follow your blog, Maddy is just a treasure!

    Of course there are mothers who cannot (physiologically, emotionally, circumstantially) and some babies who cannot (perhaps like Maddy). My post was not aimed at these families.

    The statistics estimate mother/baby physiological reasons between 1.5-3%. So what I can't understand is why some estimates for formula feeding are around 50%? It doesn't add up.

    Yes I am a lactivist, but I am also a reasonable person and not a fool, so I can see in some cases it genuinely doesn't work out. But I do wish society would try harder to encourage breastfeeding where possible!

    Good luck mummies and babies :)
    Thanks for softening your tone some. If you are a "lactivist" as you say, just know that you can "catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"--especially when it comes to this topic.

    There are a TON of family unfriendly things about HK and the fact that there is little or no breastfeeding culture here is just one of those things. So, I think we also need to address issues like the fact that there aren't changing tables in restrooms, there aren't ramps in buildings, there aren't parks where there need to be and the government does little if nothing to encourage families in HK even in practical ways like financially. I'd say the government is doing it's part with breastfeeding because the public hospitals here are pro-breastfeeding.

    But, there isn't a lot we can do to change a culture that makes people into machines and expects them to serve the company first and all others second. You're basically up against the corporate structure in HK. Oh, and then there is the input of extended family (which many parents still live with) that gets in the way. And there are misguided doctors (a lot of them)--but they're not just misguided in this area--for some it's many areas.

    For many, it's just simply a logical choice to formula feed. It's not easy to navigate breastfeeding in crowded malls or on the MTR for a beginner (I tried to breastfeed in a sushi restaurant last week and drew a crowd from the kitchen behind us trying to peek inside my clothes! My husband looked up and was like, "You've attracted an audience." So there is also some major awkwardness)

    The only thing we can do is a "won-by-one" approach--by being supportive advocates to our friends and families first (which doesn't include beating them over the head with the "Breastfeeding Bible"). But, you must realize you're having to change an entire culture where breastfeeding is one of those "backward" activities that poor women from Mainland China who can't afford the luxury of formula do (there really is this belief!)

  8. #32
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lali07 View Post
    Genkimom,

    I expected this kind of flak and will probably get more of it, because it is a sensitive subject, and those who don't breastfeed get very defensive. If you have a genuine reason (physical, emotional or circumstantial) then there is no need to defend your decision is there? Its simply the way it is.

    My post was intended more to highlight very common, preventable problems, which in HK often results in stopping breastfeeding unnecessarily. Breastfeeding is highly misunderstood, even by health professionals, and no-one would say that the worldwide decline in breastfeeding is a good thing! I think my post was quite factual, if there are particular points you wish to dispute, feel free to do so.

    You can call me inexperienced if you want, but really you know very little about me, my background or my start to breastfeeding. I actually know a reasonable amount about breastfeeding, which did help me to establish breastfeeding my son without major problems. It was not textbook, I worked very hard at it, got no sleep initially, but that goes with the territory doesn't it? You can PM me if you want to know more about my background.

    I do have empathy for those who tried, but it doesn't ease my frustration at the many more who would have been able to continue if they had the right help / information, which is hard to come by in HK.

    Your post is quite aggressive which I think is unnecessary, considering if you go back and read my post, most of the 'blame' is aimed at the health system and health professionals.

    Cheers,

    Lali
    I'd like to add that I think there are more women who don't breastfeed because of physiological problems than the statistic you quoted. I wonder where you gather this statistic from--and how was the data collected?

    I have a close friend in the States who breastfed her son for eight weeks and at his eight-week appointment, even though she had also been seen by lactation consultants and doctors who assured her she was on the right track and he was getting enough milk, he was back to his birth weight. She thought she just had a collicky baby on her hands but it turns out the reason why he cried so much was that he was starving to death and no, her breasts did not produce breastmilk--she really didn't have any even though she had all the signs like the feeling of let-down and engorgement etc.

    It was mentally very traumatic for her to come to grips with the fact that her child was starving and she had stood by not knowing for almost two months. He went on formula and is a very happy and healthy 3-year-old now.

    I also noticed that you said you have empathy for women who choose not to breastfeed but in your own case the reason why you had a positive breastfeeding experience was that you already knew a lot about breastfeeding so you established breastfeeding without major problems. In my understanding, empathy is something you have for someone when you've actually experienced something similar. So, how can you really empathize with the women who have posted above that for whatever reason chose not to breastfeed? I don't think it's really possible.

    I just have to say that you seem to communicate an air of "well, because I prepared and had the knowledge and worked hard, I was successful"--which of course is true in your case--but actually isn't always the recipe for success in other cases. You can understand and know all the mechanics and do everything right as far as breastfeeding goes and it still can be a miserable experience or even a failure. Yes, knowledge is power and you can do everything in your power to breastfeed successfully and it can still not work--and many times it doesn't.

    Again, you're not doing your case as a "lactivist" much good. You said that you aimed your original post at the health care professionals but you used the personal pronoun "you" and "your" over and over again--who are you talking to? The doctors? Are they the ones breastfeeding? No, I assume that "you" means "breastfeeding mother."

    So it reads like this--a short diagnosis of all the possible problems that could come up and a quick answer or command of what the mother should do. It's like saying, "I know why you're having problems and if you'd just straighten up your act, then, things would go well for you" (at least that's how it seems to me). In a way, it's kind of like preaching to the choir as the women who posted to this thread are already breastfeeding or have breastfed--they have already taken the steps to at least give breastfeeding a fair trial--they're not like the "typical local women" who just go to formula without really trying out breastfeeding--so you can just assume that if they had/have problems they are not surface problems like "well, my nipples were sore the first day so I quit"--so the browbeating (and honestly, that's how it comes off) isn't really necessary here--or at least might be worded better:

    Your breasts are capable of producing enough milk...
    If you interfere too much...
    If you do as nature intended, which is to feed your baby only breast milk, on demand, then it is unlikely you will have supply problems.
    If you "don't have enough milk" which is something I hear a lot of in HK, then do something about it. [again, assuming they haven't]
    Why feed your baby highly refined, artificial baby milk (usually from another animal - a cow) when you can feed him or her a highly digestible, compatible substance such as your own milk?

    So, after this, you only get around to mentioning the role of health-care providers in the 8th paragraph of your post--at nearly the end. And you are definitely not as commanding and harsh about their behavior.


    If you choose to have your baby in the nursery so you can get some rest, then you can expect problems with your milk coming in, and because your baby is likely to be bottle fed in the nursery, likewise you can expect some breast-refusal, nipple confusion and latch problems..
    So, I just want to add that there are many reasons why women make use of the nursery at the hospital. With my first birth I nearly died because I lost so much blood. I could not stand up or function for two days. AND...at least in the public hospitals (where I would say most babies in HK are born) you can require that they not feed your child formula and instead bring the child to you for feeds--so putting your child in the nursery doesn't really affect things one way or another--if you know how you want to manage things. Putting your child in the care of the nursery doesn't always mean they're being fed formula--mine wasn't and I did breastfeed from day one and I still had every problem there is to have with breastfeeding pretty much. Let my experience be a testament that you can work tirelessly and do "everything right" and still have a bad breastfeeding experience.

    Also, you might mention that breastfeeding is a relationship and if we are to really "enjoy this wonderful act" with our babies then it has to be a two-way street. This means that the mother and her comfort and well-being are every bit as important as the baby's. Also, the baby has a role to play--some babies are really, really not good at breastfeeding and make it a terrible experience for their mothers--despite the best efforts of the mother. Yes, in the beginning, the mother has to really give more but it can't be a healthy relationship if she's miserable--simply cannot be.

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