If moms only want the best for baby

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2009
If moms only want the best for baby
10
Thu, 09-16-2010 - 5:02pm

how does she decide what "best" is? If everyone from her doctor to her neibour tells her that "breast is best", if everyone "knows that breast is best" - why do up to 25% of mothers still choose formula as their first choice?

It would seem they feel, that in their case, breast is not best - that the "best" for their baby is formula - whether for convenience, health issues, work situations, or personal beliefs.

And if - for whatever reason - breastfeeding does not work out for many moms who try - why does formula become "best" for their baby - and not merely their 2nd choice - not making it a bad choice, since baby obviously has to eat - but a 2nd choice? Why does their first choice no longer seem to matter? No longer important?




~*~ Catherine, mom to three grown men - Jason, Michael & Joshua and Granma to Christopher & Leia.



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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2009
Thu, 09-16-2010 - 7:14pm

>>>>



And if - for whatever reason - breastfeeding does not work out for many moms who try - why does formula become "best" for their baby - and not merely their 2nd choice - not making it a bad choice, since baby obviously has to eat - but a 2nd choice? Why does their first choice no longer seem to matter? No longer important?



>>>>



I think the reasons will be as varied as the different mothers, if general mothers do the best they can then if breastfeeding didn't work out then formula was the best they could and it is good enough. I don't see why it is important

Lee

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2007
Thu, 09-16-2010 - 10:06pm

"It would seem they feel, that in their case, breast is not best - that the "best" for their baby is formula - whether for convenience, health issues, work situations, or personal beliefs."

I would think that for some families, formula is best for their baby. That is something for each family to decide. Breastmilk is better than formula for the baby if all other things are equal, but for many women that is not the case. The important thing is that the women get all of the information and support about either decision, so they can make the best determination what is best.

"And if - for whatever reason - breastfeeding does not work out for many moms who try - why does formula become "best" for their baby - and not merely their 2nd choice - not making it a bad choice, since baby obviously has to eat - but a 2nd choice? Why does their first choice no longer seem to matter? No longer important?"

Once breastfeeding doesn't work out, assuming that milk from other women is not an option, formula is the best thing for the baby. Why would breastmilk for that baby even be still mentioned if it were not an option? I don't really understand if you are trying to make a point. If a woman really wanted to breastfeed but was not able to, and therefore formula was the best for that baby, there is no reason she should think every time she gives her baby a bottle she is doing her second choice. I would hope she would come to acceptance she is now doing the best thing.





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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 12:25am

Because wanting the "best" is about more than the best feeding choice, not everyone knows what the risks are, and because every mom and every situation is different.

Plus, if your second choice is the best choice for a given set of circumstances then second choice IS best. They are one in the same. Pick whichever word you like, say formula was 'best for me in my situation' or say formula was the second choice but needed to be chosen, formula still won out.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2010
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 12:26am

I think the answer would definitely vary from mother to mother. I assumed I would breast feed and didn't even think about formula with my first child, but things didn't work out that way. He would not latch on and I had every lactation consultant, nurse, midwife, other mothers, etc trying to help. We tried breast shields, different nursing positions, you name it - we did it. But he had a very 'lazy latch' and would not work for my milk. So then I went to the expressing room in the maternity hospital and thought 'okay, ill just get it out and feed it to him another way'. But nope, my body never has taken to any form of expressing, not even by hand. I now have 3 children spread over 10 years and not once have I EVER gotten more than an OUNCE from expressing. I have tried manual pumps and big honking huge fancy machines. I've tried hand expressing while relaxing, holding a sterile bowl under my breasts when they were engorged and catching the drips, everything and anything. After all that, I finally learned that there is quite a decent percentage of women who's bodies just do not respond to expressing. It's like some 'secret' that no one will tell you about until you have proven that you 'tried everything'. I even went so far as to catch milk on a teaspoon and tip it into baby's mouth in my desperation to get some mommy-milk into the kids.

Eventually I realized that while I do think breast is best, it is not a horrible choice to move onto formula. When my first child was 3 days old, his blood sugar was dangerously low, the lowest on their scale in fact, and he was given a bottle of formula and he sucked that down in no time flat. I was amazed. But I still kept trying to get some breast milk going until he was 6 weeks old. I have also tried herbal teas, remedies, and prescription medication. With my second and third children, I did not even get engorged where it would suddenly spray - aside from two isolated incidents. I wore breast pads to protect my clothes but never had more than a drip on them while friends talked of having to change their's because they were 'soaking wet' with milk. I don't know what it is about my body that does not like pumping, expressing, or even when baby does like to feed (my second and third babies both latched on like champs from the start), why my body just suddenly dries up the milk one day as if it had never started. My body closed up shop when my second child was 4 months old, and only lasted about 5-6 weeks with my third. It was like waking up one day and suddenly no milk - the end. It was strange since almost all of my friends breast fed well past 6 months and had to try all sorts of things to get their milk to stop. I tried all sorts to get mine started!

My second child had such low iron, I had to give her supplemental formula from 3 weeks old (one bottle a day). My body was incredibly low in iron so their best guess was that I was not able to provide her with what she needed in the womb and my milk was not helping since I was still so low. I had weekly shots but still that did not help either of us. Fun times!

So in the end, I decided to push aside the guilt that so many people place on those who choose formula. I might not have been able to choose it - I was left without much choice, but all three of my kids are very very healthy, get good and perfect attendance each year at school because they are so rarely ill, my oldest (who was formula fed the most) has one of the highest IQs his teachers have seen in 20 years and he scores in the top 5% of our province on exams... my second is turning out to be the same, reading 5 years beyond her age group, etc, and the last is only 2.5 so we shall see lol. But his health has been great despite being a preemie... All of the things I have heard over the years for why breast is best (brain, health, immunity, etc) hasnt made a difference in my children so far at all. They have no allergies, have never spent time in hospital other than at birth, and so on. So I call myself an advocate for parental choice - not making anyone feel badly for choosing formula over breast milk, no matter their reasons. I would rather an infant be fed when they are hungry, be cared for and loved well, and to me it doesnt matter if it's breast milk or formula, as long as the parent is there for the baby.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 6:16am
I think that, as a society, we tend to look at breast*milk* as being the better *food* and separate that out from other aspects of parenting so trading "the best" food for something seemingly more important seems reasonable whereas if we were to look at *nursing* as a relationship that encompasses most aspects of our baby's life it might seem like a much harder thing to give away.







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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2009
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 12:11pm

Welcome to the debate board Diz! It's good to see you posting here, and I hope that you will stick around - we always need more strong voices on the formula feeding side!

Sounds like you did an incredible job trying to get breast milk into your babies - good for you! Although I was able to feed my 2nd & 3rd child, I was never able to express more than a few drops myself, so I can imagine how frustrating that must have been for you!




~*~ Catherine, mom to three grown men - Jason, Michael & Joshua and Granma to Christopher & Leia.



CL Breastmilk vs. Formula Debate Board









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~*~ Catherine, mom to three grown men - Jason, Michael & Joshua and Granma to Christopher & Leia.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2010
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 6:01pm

I suppose a big thing for me over the years is having two friends that have had breast cancer at a young age, before having children, and they know that if they do manage to have babies one day, they will not be able to breast feed... so with all of the media and strong opinions saying breast milk is best, they go into parenthood already thinking they will not be providing the 'best' food for their children and that can really take a toll on a mother. These women have already gone through something traumatic and dangerous, and may not be able to have children at all due to the treatments they received for cancer, but if they do manage to get pregnant, they know years beforehand that they cannot provide the 'best' food --- imagine how hard that must be on their psyche. Another friend had a lumpectomy but who knows what her breasts may react like if she is able to have a baby - she may or may not be able to breast feed, no one knows until it happens.



I also have

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2009
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 6:44pm

~~ I would like to avoid that happening to other moms. ~~

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this - yes, there are women who thru no fault of their own, are unable to breastfeed, no matter how much they wish they could. And they do tend to become the fallout when society tries to promote BFing to the majority of women who can BF and who need that support.

It's a delicate balance and I would love to hear your thoughts on how we could accomplish that and not leave those who do want to and are able to without the support and encouragement that they desperately need?

While I certainly do feel for the woman that has no breasts, we do not stop promoting the sale of shoes because some have no feet.




~*~ Catherine, mom to three grown men - Jason, Michael & Joshua and Granma to Christopher & Leia.



CL Breastmilk vs. Formula Debate Board









Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers





Pregnancy Stories By Age - 43-56+yrs old!




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~*~ Catherine, mom to three grown men - Jason, Michael & Joshua and Granma to Christopher & Leia.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 3:47am

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First, not everyone agrees breast is best as some feel formula is just as good or at least so close that the different doesn't matter in the larger scheme of things. For some, this belief is the result of not being properly informed about the health risks of formula and thus they simply don't realize that formula has health risks compared with BF'ing but for others it's simply that they refuse to accept the scientific evidence regarding the risks of formula. A very small minority think formula is better. Then there are also those who accpet that theoretically breast is best but argue that that is only true if you have a perfect diet. Even among those the agree BF is best, there are those that feel that formula is good enough in the larger scheme of things. While they might accept there is increased health risks with formula they believe these risks will largely be short term risks and won't permanently impact their child's adult life.

Second, many people feel that the reality of life that we can not always do whats best for our kids and thus there may be other factors that necessitate in their minds choosing formula despite the risks becuase other more important factors force them to do it. Let's also not forget that some women are mislead into believing they won't be able to BF such being told their breast are too small, their baby was born too big, the PPD med they have to take is unsafe to use while BF'ing (despite studies showing otherwise), that their mothers inability to BF them and their siblings indicates they will not be able to BF either (despite the possibility that bad support/bad advice is the sole reason their mother couldn't BF)

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Some people feel that other factors can be just as significant as the health-risks and thus outweigh in some instances the health-risks of formula. In some cases it's the result of not being well informed about alternative solutions to their concerns that would have allowed for BF'ing.

For some mothers expecting another child, they may have had a horrible attempt the BF'ing the first time around that has scared them away from trying again despite knowing the health risks of formula. They may wrongly conclude that their chances of successfully BF'ing this time around are small to nil due to not being properly informed as to why things did not go well the first time around. They may simply decide that the benefits of FF'ing form the start outweigh the benefits of trying to BF especially if their chances of success are low. If they where properly informed that their chances of success are actually higher then they realize they might actually be willing to try again.

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You need to make a distinction between what theoretically is best for their baby, assuming both BF'ing and FF'ing are available choices for them, and what is best of the available choices. So in some people situations FF'ing may be the best choice since BF'ing is not an option for them. BF'ing would be the best choice is it was an option but it not in this case. The alternative for this mother would either homemade formula or some other concoction neither of which is considered acceptable by the medical community in general.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-16-2003
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 10:47pm

I think it has a lot to with the frame of the idea of "best". If the frame was that BF was just "normal" & not best, then more mothers would initiate & continue BF because the alternative was not the norm. Most people know which car, university or city is deemed best. But in reality for most it is an unmaintainable goal, so they settle for what seems to be the norm for their community- a state university not Ivy league or a Honda not a BMW. Some will aspire to reach the best, the majority will not. I think that is where the "if BF works great, but formula is not big deal" sentiment comes from & therefore many don't make it a priority.

Change the paradigm & change the outcome.

"why does formula become "best" for their baby - and not merely their 2nd choice - not making it a bad choice, since baby obviously has to eat - but a 2nd choice? Why does their first choice no longer seem to matter? No longer important?"

Because most people think there is such a slight difference(if any) between the two substances that "meh no big deal if it doesn't work out" And when a mom does find herself in a situation where BF doesn't work out- due to lack of support, physical issues or bad info- nobody gives her permission to grieve the loss of something she wanted. I had a friend who had to wean at 10 months because she was going into chemo. Now obviously it was contraindicated & a mom that is alive trumps BF. But most of the people in her life couldn't understand what "the big deal" was that she was having to wean. It wasn't until I acknowledged that "you are sad because this is not the way you wanted it to happen. Give yourself permission to grieve the loss" was she able to move past it. Most people didn't see it as a loss because most people don't value the BF relationship. I think it's probably similar to the mom who ends up with an unplanned c-sec when she really wanted a unmediated birth. Because most people don't value the experience the loss of that is not viewed as a big deal & very few would "get it"

Andi




Andi