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Talkback: Scottish mums ‘failing’ to breastfeed successfully


  • sorry you had such a hard time, my daughter lola did exactly the same, and i was wrecked, im still breastfeeding but she has formular too, in my hvs eyes i may aswell not breastfeed but im doing my best. my son was the same too and he was mix fed from day one and completely on fomular by 3-4mnths.

    there should be more reports on the lack of support and information given to new mums instead of branding us as 'failures'  no mum is a failure if she loves her child and is doing her best, my son is the only bottle fed baby in my family and hes the healthiest and he eats the best and a huge variety too!!

  • Gemma I was exactly the same with my first.  He was a big baby/hungry baby and I was anaemic before I had a post partum haemorrage and secondary haemorrage and so the midwives told me breastfeeding while anaemic is like trying to swim upstream.  I was distraught at having to give up trying to feed him and felt such a failure without having people make stupids comments like that.  Midwives and Health visitors are too busy to offer the help needed to mums that are struggling to feed. 
  • I struggled to bf my 1st,he was big and I was anaemic too.I had little or no help and gave up by 3 months,partly due to that and also social/work pressure.With my 2nd I managed to bf,but with one formula/baby rice feed from 10 weeks,big no no on the baby rice but it worked for us.3rd I breastfed exclusively,she was a big baby,75 percentile born,her weight fell to the 11th percentile because I listened to hv telling me how fantastic it was I was bf number 3 blah,blah.As soon as I put her on formula,suprise,suprise she grew again.Number 4 I did mostly bf but also formula once a day,and he grew fine.5TH stopped bf at 3 months cos she stopped growing,6th stopped after a month because he stopped growing.This time I tried bf for a few days but I could see he wasn't getting anything.I was anaemic,I had an infection,he was jaundiced and I was being told he needed extra fluid to help clear that,and he was fairly big,I ended feeding constantly,sore nipples and I gave up when I saw my blood in his spit up.

    In most cases I didn't find the hvs /mws that helpful.I was just told all women can bf,we all have enough milk,and if feeding is painful you're not doing it right.Which just leaves you feeling guilty and a failure if you give up.

    This time,I told them what I was doing.I told them he's having formula,why he's having formula,and I'm not going to feel guilty.And they were fine with it.Which is good cos I wasn't asking their permission.

    Breastfeedings great when it works,but when it doesn't we shouldn't be made to feel guilty.There isn't a great deal of useful support out there.I think a lot of hvs just follow the current guidelines,and they don't have the time to help everyone who needs it

  • I strongly object to Unicef's wording that Scottish mothers are "failing dismally to breastfeed". I live near Glasgow and gave birth to my daughter at Wishaw General hospital, which I think is the biggest maternity unit in Scotland. I tried to breastfeed my daughter but struggled in the hospital and came home 36 hours after she was born. I was visited by the midwife and then was transferred over to the Health Visitor. As it was over Christmas I didn't receive as many visits as I should have. I kept saying to my HVs and midwife that I didn't think my lo was feeding properly or was latched on properly but I was just told to "keep trying". I also tried expressing milk but spent an hour and produced less than an ounce.

    My daughter spent the first few weeks screaming and all anyone suggested was that it was colic, so I was recommended to try Infacol and Colycynthis drops. She was feeding for most of the day on and off and I personally felt very low; she screamed day and night - basically whenever she wasn't feeding. I was emotionally drained and exhausted, and she seemed to me to be losing weight - or should I say, not putting any on; at almost 3 weeks old she was still 7oz lower than her birth weight. The final straw was one night when I spent 3 hours feeding her on and off and she still kept screaming - I could hardly keep awake feeding her. I snapped and decided to try her on bottles of formula.  We started the next day and immediately we started formula feeding she was a different baby, sleeping well and eating well given her age. She was much more contented and started gaining weight immediately. My daughter is now 6 months old and I have met more mums who have had experiences like mine than those who have succeeded with breastfeeding.  

    I am not suggesting for a minute that there aren't benefits with breastfeeding, that much is obvious; however, I think before immediately blaming the mothers for their "failure" the support mechanisms need to be vastly improved. The guilt I initially felt changing to formula was huge enough without making us feel more guilty about it. I now firmly believe that my daughter was not affected by colic, but that she was starving hungry. We need more Health Visitors as the ones we have are stretched to the max. Statements such as this are not helpful or constructive.

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