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What if breastfeeding don't work?

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  • What if breastfeeding don't work?

    We're having a baby in july - if all goes well (yay me!)

    I've tested a few of the "regular" formulas, and they trigger sleeping bouts and fatigue. The mother don't have milk protein issues but get insane migraines from gluten - so we're avoiding that altogether.
    * Based on our own experiences am I right to assume that the baby would also be likely to not tolerate milk protein/gluten?

    We're of course set on breastfeeding alone for at least six months, but as I like to plan ahead in case there would be something wrong.
    * I was wondering if there are any non-crap formulas out there? Or any other alternatives? (Milk bank is unavailable)

  • #2
    If you're serious about breastfeeding think of it as the only option initially. If you think as formula as an easy out and have a can on standby you're more likely to fail. If you're having difficulty breastfeeding there are lactation consultants that will help you. You can find one by asking your doctor or midwife or looking in the phone directory. It's common for babies to have a sensitivity to some sort of protein in the mom's diet - usually the big ones are dairy and soy and nuts. If you want to educate yourself more regarding breastfeeding, - Everything for the New Mom is a good resource. They have a forum to ask people questions. Also La Leche League is a wealth of knowledge.

    To feed a baby it's best to feed what was designed to feed them - breastmilk or donor breastmilk. If that doesn't work then formula is the next best option.


    • #3
      The main thing with breastfeeding is not to get bullied into it by the media frenzy. Yeah, it's great when it works, but if it doesn't, it becomes Hell on Earth instead of the serene Madonna experience. Have formula on hand. The baby need to eat, and that's the bottom line.

      I had been through that, and after three weeks, 6 lactation consultants and starting to spiral down into a post-natal depression and weeping uncontrollably every time someone mentioned 'breastfeeding', I finally had wits enough to stop trying. I still feel like slapping hard in the face anyone who starts preaching how breastfeeding is the only option (and possibly keep beating them after that into a pulp - and I am a quiet intorvert who doesn't hurt a fly), . Thanks goodness for the last lactation consultant who outright told me: "Once you are dead, you can go and complain to the Almighty about your nipples." So, determined or not, my advice is to stop if you are two weeks in, and the baby is not latching no matter what you do.

      Supplementing breast milk with formula is not an easy choice. The mother have to pump every 3 or 4 hours, about half an hour on each breast, AND you have to sterilize bottles and make formula. Along with all the OTHER demands the infant places on the new parent, a crew of 3 people working in shifts is the minimal # of people you need to survive for the duration of the exercise. Anyone who thinks that a woman can go this rout alone should be hit hard in the face too. Get a formula that is liquid, and just needs to be diluted. Keep 'ready to go' formula as a back-up. Get a good breast pump, they are normally available for rent, don't even bother with the manual crap. And switch to full formula as soon as you can't take it any more. Be warned that all advice on weening early and how to stop milk properly by whatever reason comes in the chapters on baby's dying. It traumatized me a huge deal.

      You will also have to be on top of the tolerances with your doctor, because infants with specific intolerance may have to have a special formulations or even broth to make sure they thrive.
      Last edited by Leida; 01-25-2012, 06:40 AM.
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      • #4
        Congratulations on your new baby! This must be a very exciting time for all.

        Just because the mom has sensitivities to dairy, does not mean 100% the baby will be sensitive to it as well. However, there is that chance that it could be passed genetically.

        Most breastfeeding moms will tell you that, at first, breastfeeding your child is not easy. In fact, sometimes it is very hard. But don't give up and keep trying. I know in the USA, hospitals will give you all of these formula samples and goodies. They will even try to make you feel bad for not giving your baby formula. They will say that you are being a bad parent or that you are starving your child because you are not producing enough milk. Becaus of our health care system, we have made pregnancy seem like a "disease" instead of something natural. Because of all of the medical intervention, sometimes they take the baby from mom immediatly and dont let them try to breast feed as quickly as possible.

        The real answer is that hospitals do not have the time to have someone to stay with the mom and teach her how to work with her baby and get a correct "latch". My advice is to get a midwife or someone like that who is trained in teaching moms how to breastfeed. It does come natural, it is how moms have done it for thousands of years. However, it is like walking or riding a bike, eventually you can learn yourself but there is less stress if you have someone to teach you.

        Obviously, this is a subject that I am passionate about. I could go on and on about it ,so, I will cut myself off now. Basically, I would keep doing what your doing and continue your research early. If you work closely with a midwife they can also help you choose a formula that works for both mom and baby, should that come necessary.

        Good Luck and Blessing to your new family!

        *I do realize that in some cases, a Dr. assisted, hospital delivery is necessary.*
        **I also realize that some moms cannot breast feed because of medical or physical reasons.**
        ***I also think that some moms give up and say they cannot do it because they have not been given all of the information and help they need***


        • #5
          With my first kid, breastfeeding (for the first 5 months) was agony. I was coming from a horrible, traumatic delivery, which only made it worse. I mean... I was in serious pain when I tried to nurse my baby. So much that I'd start crying whenever she cried, because I knew she wanted to nurse. (And I am not a crier.)

          That said, I powered through it, mostly due to pressure from friends and family. In the end, I'm glad I did. But it wasn't easy. I agree that thinking of formula as a "backup" makes it easier to give up during the difficult early stages of nursing. On the other hand, if mom's sanity depends on it, then just use the damn formula.

          BTW, my second kid was a breeze to nurse. So who knows? Your wife may find nursing super super easy.
          Female, 40 yrs old, 5', 120 lbs (post-pregnancy)
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          • #6
            Originally posted by primat View Post
            We're having a baby in july - if all goes well (yay me!)

            I've tested a few of the "regular" formulas, and they trigger sleeping bouts and fatigue. The mother don't have milk protein issues but get insane migraines from gluten - so we're avoiding that altogether.
            * Based on our own experiences am I right to assume that the baby would also be likely to not tolerate milk protein/gluten?

            We're of course set on breastfeeding alone for at least six months, but as I like to plan ahead in case there would be something wrong.
            * I was wondering if there are any non-crap formulas out there? Or any other alternatives? (Milk bank is unavailable)
            Here are some things you can do to prepare for breast feeding. Attend some la leche meetings, talk to your ob/MW about your bfing goals, interview and establish the raport with the lactation consultant where you'll be delivering. Request the Baby be placed directly on mom after delivery, room in w/baby, ask for help if your encountering problems. Get a breast friend nursing pillow ( provides good being support for both mom/baby.

            If nursing isnt successful, there's always the option of exclusively pumping milk (I did this for 14 mths for my dd b/c she was in able to nurse) you can also request donor milk from other mothers via human milk for human babies on Facebook. W/ds I made more milk than I knew what to do with and I donated all my star milk to a mom who physically could t make milk (IGT), then you can consider formula. W/my dd I never made enough milk for her so we supplemented w/formula b/c milk sharing hadn't taken off at that point.

            While breast feeding is "natural" you have two humans learning how to do something that they both have never done, and they're trying to learn how to do it together once they figure it out, eventually it becomes easy but it can be hard at first. So hang in there, build your support network now.
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            • #7
              Congratulations! Babies are magical.
              I second the suggestions of attending La Leche League and avoiding free formula samples...just keep the formula out of the house. Most issues can be resolved pretty simply with the support of a midwife or La Leche League leader. If you hire an LC, make sure she is an IBCLC.
              Breastfeeding is like's awkward and a little painful at first. Once you get the hang of it, it's glorious.


              • #8
                Chiromom, I love the breastfeeding/sex analogy. So true!

                The truth is, breastfeeding is almost always possible with the right support and information. is a wonderful resource, and La Leche League offers great support. I would recommend starting to attend meetings while you're still pregnant.

                Breastfeeding was very difficult for me for the first three weeks or so. We just couldn't get the hang of it. If I had considered formula an option (I didn't), and if I hadn't had the wonderful support I had from my mom and a couple of good lactation consultants, I would have given up. But I didn't, and once we figured it out, it was awesome, and my son nursed like a champ for years.

                There really isn't any formula that's just as good. Human milk is the first choice by a long shot, and formula should be a last resort.


                • #9
                  I don't really have much to add to what's already been posted, but congratulations and preparing/thinking about this ahead of time is one of the best ways to help avoid problems.
                  I was lucky enough to be able to wetnurse/donate expressed milk to more than one child through local moms as well as Human Milk for Human Babies. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of women/families open to the idea of donor milk & wetnursing. If I ever have troubles with BFing that pumping won't fix, donor milk would be my go to choice.
                  Even if you can't attend a LLL meeting, many of the groups have a FB presence. I know one of my local groups is more active online than anywhere else. I'm not even sure they've had a live meeting since DS was born 21 mths ago.


                  • #10
                    I wrote an article on this for my community newspaper. Here it is - it's aimed at people in my town but most of the info is applicable everywhere.

                    I had major supply issues when I started breastfeeding - mainly due to blood loss during the birth - but I DID supplement and kept breastfeeding and pumping and putting all the work into it and it was TOTALLY worth it. I supplemented for 3 months and then I was ok without it. Non-hormonal supply issues CAN be resolved, but sometimes it takes time.

                    That having been said, on the off chance you do need to use formula, it's rarely actually toxic and you shouldn't assume that a baby will have intolerances if the mom does. I would nearly always choose a dairy-based formula over a soy-based one - less chemical crap, not that dairy-based formulas are crap-free by any means - and if there ARE intolerances, an elemental formula like Nutramigen is a good choice (and also an incentive to only use it for supplementation because it's freakin' expensive!)

                    I would also add to the info in my article - keep in mind that it is NORMAL and TOTALLY OK for newborns (and babies up to 3 months) to want to nurse ALL THE TIME. It does NOT mean the mama doesn't have enough milk. Make sure the latch is good, make sure the pees and poops are coming out ok, and then pay NO attention to how frequently the baby nurses or for how long. It's all fine.
                    Last edited by spughy; 01-27-2012, 12:04 AM.


                    • #11
                      Breastfeeding is a lot about the state of the mind... also not allowing others to bully you (including health professionals), remembering that the charts were based on bottle-fed babies and in the end following your gut feeling - I know it sounds very "fluffy" but nothing is simple once you have a baby that is 100% dependant on you.
                      My first child was a struggle - great pregnancy, traumatic delivery and 4 months painful learning to breastfeed (yes babies know nothing about clock and sometimes they just feed for nearly 24 hours with a few small naps preferably still attached to you!) - fed him for 18months!
                      my second child was magic - great pregnancy, great delivery, fantastic breastfeeding for 2 years!
                      It will all work out
                      and yes I would recommend LLL and for moral support and other people to whom breastfeeding is the norm to feed a baby!


                      • #12
                        My wife successfully breastfed both our children. She had some initial difficulties with the first one, basically due to inexperience. She went to a breastfeeding consultant and that made a big difference, especially holding our daughter so she could get a good latch and making sure her mouth was in the right place.

                        Basically it is a learning experience for both mother and baby, and it always takes a new baby a few weeks to truly get the hang of it, even up to six weeks. Babies are not very good at learning at that age.

                        My observation is that mothers who supplement what their milk with formula end up not breastfeeding. The baby finds it so much easier to suck form a bottle and the milk is sweeter, even though both are bad for the baby and make it fat, so the bay insist on a bottle. Mother's who've had a normal birth very rarely don't have enough milk so long as they don't feed the child formula. Mothers who give birth by Caesarian seem to find it much harder, I think because their body doesn't realise they have given birth at all.

                        For some reason, giving a baby any other type of food seems to reduce milk production. Either formula or when a baby gets interested in food about five months. Some natural process we don't understand.


                        • #13
                          Congratulations! Hope you're feeling OK.

                          I breastfed all my three (am still feeding my 27-month-old). My youngest has a whole range of food allergies (dairy, wheat, soya, shellfish, nuts - she thankfully outgrew her egg and her white fish allergy a few months ago). I was determined to breastfeed her even though it meant eliminating everything she is allergic to from my diet. I was under a lot of pressure from family and medical professionals to stop feeding her and give her formula. She is actually also allergic to the first anti-allergy formula she was prescribed and that I only let her try to get everybody off my back (should have gone with my instincts!). I never tried her on the completely hypoallergenic one (Neocate) when I saw the list of ingredients on the side of the tin - it is like a chemistry text book. Yuck.
                          With my first, the first four weeks of feeding were horrible (didn't get much useful support at the beginning) - I had cracked and bleeding nipples, he was feeding every two hours day and night, I cried every time I fed him because it hurt so much - and then after about a month, he sorted out his latch and we never looked back. With the girls I knew what I was doing from the beginning and never had those same problems.
                          It would be a good idea to get in touch with local breastfeeding support groups before July so that you know who to turn to for advice and help in those first days.
                          Last edited by Kace; 01-27-2012, 10:19 AM. Reason: Removed outdates statistics


                          • #14
                            Congatulations!!! It sure is a wonderful time But yes, the hard work comes after the baby is born. (I breastfed for 12 years, from 1999 to last year, and my youngest was my biggest challenge. Born too fast and in shock, she wouldn't breathe so they suctioned her. She had oral issues for about 18 months, bit me constantly. Add a dairy allergy that caused her saliva to burn through my skin... I've also been helping women to breastfeed for 8 years).

                            Totally agree with getting amongst women who are feeding. The main reason, I believe, we have so much trouble is because we never see it. How do we know how to drive a car before we even get behind the wheel? Cos we've seen it every day (almost) of our whole lives. But we hardly ever see women breastfeed (I never once saw someone feed before I had my youngest).

                            These are great videos of what is referred to as 'baby led attachment'. Attachment issues may occur when we try and get in and help the baby on. Unless they've got drugs in their system (and even then, once the drugs are gone, they can still do this), they have strong instinctual reflexes to attach themselves. It is quite wonderful to watch

                            A video of a newborn 'crawling' to and attaching to the breast
                            Breast Crawl Video - Initiation of Breastfeeding by Breast Crawl

                            Mothers trying this when bub is older

                            Biological Nurturing sample scenario

                            This book is fabulous (the website may be useful too)


                            Also agree about finding how what is normal in a newborn. Feeding 12+ times a day is normal (cos their tummy is so tiny. Day 1 it is a mere 5ml, day 3, just 10ml and day 10 only 30ml - about an ounce. Not sure what the other sizes are in imperial sorry. Up to day 28, it grows to around 60-120ml). Breastmilk is very easily digested so they empty out pretty quickly. That's why a good sling can be a life saver


                            • #15
                              Kace, those stats may not be quite accurate (it used to be believed). Now we can add in the percentage who can't feed due to emotional trauma (caused by abuse). And in our western society, we have lost so much information on how to breastfeed, it is no surprise so many women don't get the breastfeeding relationship they want