Results of Infant Feeding Survey 2013

So here goes with the results:

Additional comments to this question included: ‘I was told it was easy, best for my baby, I would lose weight’, ‘too lazy to formula feed’, ‘it’s all I’ve known from seeing family members and friends breastfeed’ ‘wanting to reduce risk of developing conditions that parents have such as allergies, eczema, chrohns, PND’ ‘pressure from society’ ‘pressure from spouses’ ‘pressure from family members’ ‘because it will make me a good mother’

Additional comments to this included: ‘pressure to formula feed’ ‘double mastecomy’ ‘previously diagnosed insufficient glandular tissue’ ‘was told breastfeeding multiples was too difficult’ I just didn’t want to breastfeed’ ‘convenience’ 

51% (36 out of the 70 additional comments) stated that they had no intention of formula feeding.

Additional comments to this included: ‘nipple anatomy’ ‘breast abscess’ ‘post natal haemorrhage meant low milk supply’ ‘no milk whatsoever’ ‘lip tie’ ‘premature baby’ ‘undiagnosed MRSA infection’ ‘vasospasm/raynards disease’ ‘blocked ducts’ ‘oversupply/engorgement’ ‘food intolerances’ torticollis’ ‘rusty pipe syndrome’ ‘silent reflux’ sleepy baby’ ‘delayed milk due to traumatic delivery’ difficulty expressing when returned to work’ ‘D-MER’ ‘fast let down’ ‘stress’ ‘refusal to feed’ ‘high palate’ ‘poor suck reflex’ ‘jaundice’

Additional comments included: ‘private midwives, doulas, private IBCLC’ ‘books’ ‘therapist’.

58 of the 182 (31%) who made additional comments, stated that the support they did receive was actually unhelpful/detrimental or they didn’t receive any help at all.

Additional comments included: ‘tube fed’ ‘teaspoon’

Additional comments included: ‘almost impossible to find reliable information’ ‘antenatal classes’ ‘doula’ ‘books’ ‘information woefully inadequate’ ‘refused advice after I switched to formula’ ‘previous experience of bottle feeding’ ‘followed WHO recommendations’ ‘local infant feeding team’ ‘hospital nurse as midwife wouldn’t help’

28% (17 out of the 60 additional comments) stated that they found it very difficult to find advice on bottle feeding and felt the instructions on the box were inadequate.

Additional comments include: ‘private midwife’ ‘Le Leche League’ ‘IBCLC’ ‘doula’ ‘health visitor’ ‘Bliss charity’  ‘I was scared to ask for help’

This is a selection of the 394 responses to the question, “Is there anything that may have improved your overall feeding experience?”  

UK Respondents

More support when I gave up due to surgery and recovery. Felt like a failure for stopping feeding even though was impossible on one side and was on large number of painkillers

Improved education of health care professionals in the maternity hospital.

I wish I had been encouraged to attend LLL when pregnant with my first child in 2006. I knew I would have issues due to inverted nipples yet my GP and Consultant both said wait and see how it goes when I enquired about breastfeeding. I used nipple shields for three months before finally going to a LLL meeting.

We should have had a basic idea of how to go about bottle feeding, not an outright refusal to help from the community midwife

I feel very strongly that the hospital let me down, this hospital have a pro breast feeding policy. As my daughter had no latch they were putting incredible pressure on me to bottle feed her. They offered me no solutions to the failure to latch, nor did they offer an alternative other than the bottle. They did the most incredible things to me, like stand over me with a stop watch and attempt to time her latch (I admit I just held her to my nipple and lied to the effect that she was feeding), they told me she would be sent to intensive care if I didn’t feed her – I contacted the pediatrician at that point and she said she was fine. So in the end after a number of days in hospital I contacted La Leche and asked them for advice, they suggested cup feeding, I then had a battle to get the cup to feed her, they offered me the bottle again, then they offered me a syringe finally a change of mid-wife and I got the cup. I believe that had the hospital had some compassion, some knowledge and some expertise more women would have left breastfeeding. I was told on leaving hospital by one mid-wife that I would never breast feed and the sooner I got used to that the better, she breast fed until she was 10 months old and then I was back at work and work finally got the better of me, whereas issue of no latch, no support and no weight gain did not stop me.

More understanding society. Most people never breastfed and didn’t see why I persevered so much

GP didn’t have a full understanding of BFing. I felt if they had sent me to someone who could support me (other than health vis) then I would have been less likely to give up. Luckily I had my family to support me and encourage me to keep going. Health visitor wasn’t very knowledgeable about BFing problems.

No, i love it but pain was unbearable with laceration wiyh advice from gp to stop feeding instead of him getting it swabbed earlier. Fed through that pain for 3 months.

being told ways to increase milk supply and manage reflux instead of being told I was starving my daughter that she was only sucking for comfort and to put her on formula

Better advice at the start from hospital LC would have made a big difference, though a different LC in the hospital did work with us for weeks to get back to EBF. It shouldn’t be a lottery.

More consistancy in hospital. Health visitors were good once I got home but hospital had too many different opinions ( feed sitting up, lying down, underarm etc) rather than just getting one thing to work

It wasn’t until my baby was 10 weeks old that I went to the local breastfeeding group and was reassured that she was feeding correctly. The health visitor was good but my little one never wanted to feed when they were here. I feel there needs to be more support in hospital with someone that has the time to sit with new mums and show them what to do.my midwifes were too busy to sit and make sure she was feeding correctly.

I think the info given in pregnancy about BF is not honest enough about the difficulties that can happen with BF. I think I would have been more emotionally prepared for the first 6 weeks if I had been told how hard it can be! It would of helped if the tongue tie had been picked up in hospital on day one.

I had a good feeding experience with both my babies overall.

Feeding chairs somewhere other then the baby changing room. UK is NOT baby friendly or mum friendly

When my son wouldn’t latch, the professionals seemed to just give up with us. I wasn’t aware of anything that could help hence ended up going down the formula route. There was so much information and pressure to breastfeed by medical staff and midwives whilst I was pregnant, but found that after he was born and didn’t act like he should of, they all didn’t really bother either way. There definitely needs to be a better balance of information given before birth and support after. My experience was that it was pretty one sided.

Better preparation on my part. Tongue tie being resolved in hospital would have been better than a 6-week wait to get it done in the community.

Midwives who had correct information and time.

Better training of Health Visitors and hospital staff. They knew only the basics! Also a central place for all contact details eg local support groups, peer supporters etc.

Home visits by trained BF support worker rather than a midwife/HV with minimal out of date training & a negative attitude to breastfeeding.

I didn’t realise how much time I would spend feeding in the first few weeks and months!

In my case, I was certainly written off as an ‘over-worried first time mum’ when my baby was actually very poorly. Took us six months to work out what was wrong with her, and the pressure to switch to formula was phenomenal.

I have enjoyed breastfeeding. Whilst my health visitors never told me to stop breastfeeding like I have heard others have, they always used to just tell me it was normal and to keep going. They didn’t really help. I felt that I needed to understand why something was happening in order to be able to cope and I never got that.

I feel all of the guidance pushes you towards formula and once you have had the baby, at the first hurdle you are pushed towards formula even more. I wish there had been someone around who had been there before and could offer me practical advice and tell me what was normal and what wasn’t. I have now trained as a breastfeeding peer supporter hoping to help people in the same situation, but people only come to groups once they are confident and comfortable feeding. I want to be able to go to peoples homes shortly after their baby is born to help them but this isn’t allowed.

he NHS seemed more keen to give me an easy option, they didn’t listen when I said I really want to do this, they continued to say FF would be easier or Mixed Feeding would mean more sleep less stress etc, no help with latch. My family didn’t breastfeed as they had issues and no support. I knew I could do this and mostly by myself I did, but the NCT group breastfeeding advisor was excellent and supportive and was a real motivator. And Mumsnet was great as they pushed me to see NCT as they said NHS no good.

I found midwives supportive because I was already focused on breastfeeding. I have a family member who struggled and midwife suggested bottle straight away. I find this upsetting. More support and education is what I’d required

I only found my support a few months down the line. People know all about formula feeding but the health care professionals I dealt with didn’t seem to know a lot about breastfeeding. The tongue tie was undiagnosed and the gp prescribed me a string of unsuitable medications for the windy symptoms my baby was displaying. I’m still breastfeeding at 11 months and plan to do so until full term, but I wish there was more support out there for others who aren’t as stubborn as me. I’ve seen *all* of my real-life friends turn to formula because they don’t have realistic expectations of infant sleep, they don’t understand cluster feeding etc and they perceive they aren’t producing enough milk.

No but I was lucky that we were successful with only a little early support.

My health visitor was pretty useless. I mentioned that my baby seemed in pain a lot and was told to try gripe water before ‘taking her off the breast’ (as though it was boob milk causing the problem!) in the end I linked it to dairy and solved the problem myself but it would have been nice for her to have a clue!

I was failed by my local hospital due to tongue tie being undiagnosed which resulted in my son being badly jaundiced and needing a week in hospital. they took too long getting the tie cut because he weaned onto bottles. I was unable to breastfeed so im exclusively pumping. Hospitals should have paediatricians qualified to check for tongue ties regardless of whether the mother has had successfully breastfed babies or not. I’m a mother of 4 and this happened to my 4th child.

Health visitor was unsupportive of BF. I think HV support & advice could have improved our experience greatly!

I asked the breastfeeding midwife in hospital to check my latch to see if it was ok, she told me to hold my daughter in a different position which made her choke. Since then, I have always held her in the original position that I was holding her in, and we have had no problems.

better awareness of feeding patterns in babies older than 6 weeks, info on cluster feeding, developmental & growth spurts which impact feeding, HV with better understanding of normal baby feeding behaviour.

Having better informed midwives who didn’t need to pull my breast about in order to help: that is not supportive! I know a lot more now from bfn group support & they receive far more training on breastfeeding than midwives & health visitors. Also not being rushed into using nipple shields by the midwives at the hospital as that led to dependency on them.

Having the TT identified, the ULT was dismissed as causing a problem, my HV had never heard of one. I was aware of the support available yet still was uncertain accessing it, hcp’s need further training in TT. My HV declared my 12 week old’s latch issues were because he wasn’t hungry and advised me to give him water, losing my faith in her.

Having skin to skin immediately after baby was born even though it was an emergency section. Support with checking tongue tie and latch with first few feeds as he had an I diagnosed tongue tie.

No, I was very lucky that I was able to feed each of my 3 babies for more than a year each. I fed (discretely) anywhere and everywhere and encountered absolutely no negative comments except from family members.

I wish I’d gone to local support groups while I was pregnant so I was more prepared for things like latch difficulties, sore nipples, cluster feeding etc. didn’t get any info on this in nhs antenatal

More and proper training in the matter of babies and BF for midwifes and pediatricians.

It would have helped if a midwife etc would have checked my latch in hospital. I also had a Csection and my baby had to go to NNU, so I had to go to a different floor in the hospital (after a 58 hour labour and Csect) every time I wanted to feed her!

There has been minimal to no breast feeding support for me with any of my 3 children over the last 10 years. Hv have been too quick to suggest ‘topping up’ when there has been a slowing of weight gain and also seem to show no support for breast feeding past 6 months. If I hadn’t been so determined to feed my babies myself I could have easily given up due to lack of support

more dedicated one-to-one support at the very beginning; advice on how to deal with sore/ bleeding nipples

If when my daughter was born I’d had help getting her to latch (they signed off that she’s breastfed when she hadn’t). After 6 weeks of struggling, I found a breast feeding support group. It was there they discovered she had a tongue tie. It was dealt with fairly quickly. Just after this we developed thrush, which was a nightmare to sort out. Due to my own perseverance I managed to keep breast feeding until 6 months, but after 3 months I also introduced formula as I just could n’t cope with it all.

Health care professionals with knowledge and understanding of breastfeeding.

If I’d known there was someone with experience who could come to my house and help at a relaxed pace (not just a midwife who I was aware was short on time) that would probably have helped. Breast feeding groups would have been good, but only if they were tucked away and not in the middle of a HV clinic as latch issues which take several attempts are a problem you don’t want to share with everyone passing by/hanging around. I wouldn’t have attended if I felt too self-conscious

Access to an IBCLC trained in spotting tongue tie free on the NHS in my area. I was fortunate to encounter an LLL Leader who could do this or it would have been missed.

More support from nhs at start

Not to have been told (by midwife in hospital) that it was ok to leave my newborn for up to 6 hours between feeds, if she didn’t wake! We realised this was too long by day 3 when she had only feed a couple of times during the day and we realised she hadn’t wee’d all day 😦 fortunately, she was fine after some advice over the phone from a midwife in hospital when we rang up in a panic!

I would have felt much happier being able to talk openly around other mums about breastfeeding. My choice to breastfeed is not a way of making others feel bad about their decision to formula feed. Just because some mums feel they were unable to breastfeed it shouldn’t stop those who do continue openly celebrating their achievements.

Yes having correct advice from midwive & Docs in hospital instead of the shockingly poor advice I received

NHS staff are poorly informed. They should read Jack Newman’s protocol for increasing milk intake, it’s so simple and yet they all jumped straight to pushing formula on me at the first sign of an issue. My daughters is now 21 months, and by some miracle given the start we had, still breastfeeding, but the appalling advice I got from those supposed to help us in those early days still upsets me enormously.

I feel that if I had been given more support at the hospital I wouldn’t have felt as alone as I did. The breastfeeding support person at the hospital made me cry and did not spot my baby had a tongue tie. I saw several people who didn’t spot it. I finally got to see someone about his tongue and they said he would grow out of it. He didnt and now at 15 months he has to have a general to fix it. I am still breastfeeding but I do get sore because of it.

More encouragement in hospital by midwives to breastfeed.

More support and understanding towards breastfeeding. Better training given to health visitors

I am very grateful fot the support that I recieved, but I only recieved the support a few days after I had come out of hospital. If I had had the same amount of support in the hospital, maybe it wouldn’t have taken so long to get feeding established. I felt like they were in such a rush to discharge me that they didn’t care less whether I ended up formula feeding at home. I think that the sole reason I didn’t give in was due to my strong feelings on breastfeeding.

generally to speak about potential problems more and not simply say it may hurt for a few days and any longer you are doing it wrong.

I was relentless in asking for support – this is sadly lacking within the health service due to caseload numbers. I got what I needed but only as I was confident to keep asking.

More awareness of tongue tie. Only picked up by privately sourced ibclc after 6 weeks of tortuous pain.

Better trained midwives and health visitors. I dealt with the best (one single person is the only reason I have managed to breastfeed both my babies) and the worst (a health visitor refused to help me with my second child because “I must be a pro at it having bf’d one already” – at this point I was using breastpads to absorb the blood pouring from my nipples, and begging her for help as I knew I was doing something wrong)

I wish my family would have supported me rather than making me sit in rooms by myself to breastfeed… and I wish I would have had the courage to stand up for my rights to breastfeed. A breastfeeding group would have been great as I had no contact with other breastfeeding nums, or mums full stop.

I’d have liked to have a local breast feeding group where me and baby could have gone to chat to like minded mummies who could offer each other advice and support. In my area there was none, but in other surrounding areas they had such a thing.

Tongue tie recognised by professionals sooner.

More information given regarding bf peer support local to me prior to having my first son. Having found out about this when he was 10mths old. When expecting again, i went before due date and have used the group as regular support since birth of my second son. I think as a first time mum there is a lot to learn and something as simple as bf your baby isn’t explained beforehand very well or where to get help. Resources are limited but how information is portrayed is important too.

better support before leaving hospital, we saw the specialist bf support person but she didn’t resolve our feeding problem before we left hospital, it was very busy and I don’t feel like she had the time to dedicate to us to help properly. When we left hospital I was hand expressing and syringe feeding until we saw the breastfeeding support team attached to our dr surgery who came to our home and helped us get a good feeding position and latch. If it wasn’t for the support team (and stubbornness on my part) we would have ended up using formula instead of breastfeeding for 14 months.

Better understanding of breastfeeding by health visitors.

Not being made to worry when baby didn’t gain weight as per graphs

More support off midwives in the hospital, they were very quick with me and didn’t take the time to explain how to feed.

More help to breastfeed in hospital after birth, help immediately on discharge e.g. midwives visiting when they were supposed too.

Better informed health professionals (their knowledge was poor and they didn’t know it was poor). The best info I found was dr jack Newman videos and peer support on Facebook groups. But my journey would have been improved by finding these quicker!

I am currently feeding my 3rd and I feel there is lack of support for anyone with more than one child, as if you never have problems if you’ve done it before. I’ve had mastitis 4 times with this baby but only once with each other child.

Tongue tie could have been picked up earlier.

If someone could have checked for tongue and upper lip tie at any stage with all the feeding difficulties I had I don’t think my daughter would have needed all the reflux medication & would have lost as much weight as she did. I feel this should be checked in hospital for all babies as it is becoming more and more common with feeding issues these days.

I think there needs to be a lot more of a breast feeding campaign to advise on breastfeeding positives, laws,it needs to be seen more in public and normalised. I was lucky and had lots of support during my second and third baby but had no advise at all during my first so had no idea what to expect and as a result formula feed my first. More needs to be done to change the views of society on the subject of breastfeeding.

More support at the hospital after giving birth. Information should be given on where to get help or support before giving birth.

The hospital being aware of the phenomenon of rusty pipes instead of freaking out Because I had the wrong colour milk and incorrectly concluding that I had chemotherapy and breast cancer.

After my first birth the hospital postnatal ward was absolutely atrocious. I felt I was not looked after and our feeding choices were not listened to/ fully supported. The community midwife support workers were excellent in both instances. I did not stay in hospital after my second child was born as I did not wish to feel as I felt postnatally the first time around.

attitudes to breastfeeding women by the general public, better advice about normal infant feeding patterns, advice on clothing to feed in easily, advice on how to deal with common problems the only advice I had during pregnancy was how to latch a baby on and the benefits of breastfeeding. Not much help really when most want to breastfeed

Increased support in hospital and with community health visitors. But these health professionals need more training.

I think the hospitals should give you more help to start with and health visitors should have a lot more training on breastfeeding as mine were useless

There is still a lot of prejudice here around breast feeding. Over the last 11 years, there have been some improvements, however, even hospitals with baby friendly awards offer advice that compromises breastfeeding for new mums especially. There is also a great amount of variation among health visitors. Those who have a genuine interest in bf are great, otherwise it is quite clear that formula feeding would make their job easier.

tongue tie being identified sooner

Yes, consistent support/advice in hospital – i was in for 6 nights and kept getting diferent advice, i gave birth a week before christmas and felt alone with no advice over christmas/new year. As soon as my health visitor let me know there was a group in my local area, i attended

more acceptance of breastfeeding in public as I was so concerned I was being judged it put me off leaving the house at first when it was all a bit haphazard and just getting established

There could have been better help from my midwife and health visitor., a visiting breastfeeding help person would have been wonderful. You can’t really go out after a c section and when you’re knackered and have other kids you initially just want to be at home, not having to try find a breast feeding group in your area.

Having enough milk/faster tongue tie revision.

Proper breastfeeding support. More continued support rather than watching the one feed.

Informed staf that could listen to patients and justify their answers rather than repeat the same advice decorated with personal experience over and over.

If I’d known what I learnt from feeding my first when I had my first it may have been easier More support from mums who have been through the problems and got through them

My baby’s tongue tie was not picked up until she was 4.5 months old. I saw countless midwives, health visitors and doctors about the problems I was having with feeding and I kept being fobbed off, being told it was colic, wind etc. It was then picked up by a lactation consultant. It would have greatly improved my experience if these ‘professionals’ were properly trained or if they referred you if they didn’t know.

tongue tie checked at birth and snipped straight away.

More support in hospital. I was in for a week and didn’t get to see the breastfeeding specialist.

More informed hv and gp services- all info was from friends and bf group and had for private tx!

More bf support available whilst in hospital.

Better trained staff in hospital. Both were baby friendly yet both tried to insist on formula within 8 hours of birth.

An earlier breastfeeding session in antenatal classes as my daughter was prem.

The tongue tie should have been picked up in hospital, not weeks down the line.

Things that would improve my feeding experience: 1. If my ante-natal class had covered anything about preparing formula and washing bottles. 2. If they hadn’t said, ‘all mothers worry that they’re baby isn’t getting enough milk, but they’re mostly wrong’ (I didn’t want to be one of those mothers and convinced myself baby was getting enough even though she continued crying after being fed). 3. If nobody had implied that formula would make my baby sickly and obese. 4. If anybody had told me to have some RTF formula at home, in case breastfeeding didn’t work out. 5. If ‘Breast is Best’ was followed by ‘but formula isn’t poison and actually better now than it has ever been in the past, and not a bad second option if breastfeeding isn’t for you.’

Perhaps info to help resolve inversion before birth. Info on combi feeding may have helped me breastfeed longer. More specialist help sooner. Help was varied and contradictory to begin with. I didn’t access specialist help until I ended up in hospital for four days 2 weeks post partum with a secondary post partum haemorrhage. When I finally got my baby to latch at 19 days (she really struggled initially due to being vey sleepy perhaps due to being 2 weeks early but Mostly due to the inverted nipples being difficult to latch onto) the pain became unmanageable. I was told I would just need to ride it through and given no further help. I decided that the pain would affect the joy of having a new baby. At that point I quickly decided to swap to formula feeding. I do not regret that decision now although it felt so hard at the time to quit expressing.

would have been good if the hospital had given fornula and not refused it.

More support prior to birth so as to get an understanding of challenges bf may present. Support for partners so they know how to provide the best support.

USA Respondents

More knowledge about how long milk takes to come in, more info about normal weight loss in newborns, better support from visiting nurse

The nurses at the hospital unnecessarily pushes formula supplementation and scared us about jaundice when there wasn’t a problem.

The thing that would’ve changed my experience the most was to be able to have access to balanced articles about feeding babies. Maybe it was my own unique experience but, all I ever read while preparing to be a first time mom during pregnancy was how breast was best and formula was poison and that every woman CAN breastfeed. These things did not help me when I had a newborn who lost 13% of her body weight until I finally gave her formula. I also was not told by my doctor that my PCOS could cause potential problems breastfeeding until I brought it up at my 6 week checkup, nor did my baby’s pediatrician think anything was wrong in regards to her tongue tie and lip tie. He just said that she would grow out of both. There was the shaming by the WIC office woman as well, even when I told her about my health condition that further plunged me into depression about not having a successful breastfeeding relationship with my little one. There needs to be balanced and unbiased information for moms to access in regards to feeding. Healthcare professionals that work with moms and babies need to be educated on breastfeeding and the public at large needs to realize that formula feeding does not equate to child abuse.

It would have been nice to have more realistic expectations. Why do people say it doesn’t hurt? Breastfeeding is a massive time commitment too, and I had no idea. These things would have been nice to know. Paint a realistic picture. Also, it’s not “if” you need help or support call this number, you “will” need support if you breastfeed. Women who wish to breastfeed should be set up with a LC before giving birth so they know who to call when they are struggling. Drop in hours to access a LC would be helpful because its really hard to make appts with a newborn, and phone consults are almost worthless. Also, having a LC come to your home is a great way to support a breastfeeding mom in her chair, her environment.

If donor milk had been available at baby’s birth we would have avoided using formula entirely. I was disappointed to use it for a couple days. It was not the start I wanted for my baby.

It is entirely possible that pumping could have gone better if I had been taught how to do it properly and had the proper equipment. In the hospital, they basically told me how to put it together and that was it. Combo feeding is generally ignored as an option, and I wish it wasn’t because I know a lot of women who end up successfully doing it.

More knowledge of the many different formula brands. The U.S. likes to force certain brands at the doctors office.

Finding the right support online… people who gave me helpful ideas instead of saying “just use a little bit of formula to see how he does”. Determination and education!

my husband being able to stay home longer and assist me, midwives and LCs being HONEST

More knowledgeable hospital staff, people that could have recognized a lip tie and tongue tie.

early intervention from an experienced IBCLC. I was misadvised by hospital IBCLC, OB, pediatrician and Breastfeeding peer counselor. Additionally, the inconsistency of the advise given. I was never referred to an IBCLC when I had oversupply and pain which are signs of a tongue tie.

There needs to be more naturalization of breastfeeding, especially in public, and fewer formula commercials. Maybe a PSA (public service announcement) about breastfeeding’s benefits.

My dr suggested formula too early and I believe my LC was too inexperienced to help with my situation.

I wish someone would have diagnosed me with PPA sooner.

Better education for the nurses at the hospital would have helped, as I received some very bad breastfeeding support from them. More than once I was told to feed my daughter a maximum of every 3 hours, but that is actually the minimum, as a newborn needs to feed 8-12 times per day. In addition, when my daughter was too sleepy to nurse, the RN immediately told me they would have to supplement with formula if she didn’t become more alert soon. I actually had to request a breast pump, when a breast pump should have been their FIRST suggestion!

I experienced tremendous pressure to breastfeed, and tremendous judgment when I decided not to pursue it. No one seemed to care about my mental health or even my preferences. They only seemed to care about ideology. My son’s severe posterior tongue tie was finally diagnosed by the IBCLC I hired. The midwives and the pediatrician did not catch it. I had never heard of tongue tie, even in the breastfeeding class I took when I was pregnant, nor in all the reading I had done about breastfeeding. I am still angry about this.

More data about true benefits of BF and the actual impact of the medications I take.

My hospitals breastfeeding `support` consisted of only pressure to breastfeed, no real help. There was no IBCLC on staff and their existence was never mentioned to me. Every shift of nurses had different and conflicting advice on what to do about my breastfeeding problems. In the end I was so confused and worried about my baby`s weight loss, latching issues and my destroyed nipples that I switched to formula. After the first bottle I was told that my baby was forever ruined for breastfeeding because of nipple confusion. Combo-feeding was never mentioned as a possibility. I was treated rudely and condescendingly for my decision to switch to formula. The hospital should train all nurses and midwives in breastfeeding basics, hire several IBCLCs so they are available to patients every day, and patients with breastfeeding difficulties should be discussed by the whole team so they can present a unified approach.

I have had 3 children and experienced a wide range from exclusively formula to combo feeding. The best thing anyone could do is support whatever feeding choice mom makes, without making her feel guilty!

Not being made to feel like I was a total failure as a mother for being unable to BF. More information/education on safe formula feeding. I was so ignorant I didn’t been know you have to sterilize the bottles. I was just washing them in hot soapy water the first week or so.

When I ended up needing to formula feed due to severe medical problems, I wish the nurses and lactation consultants at the hospital would have not continued to push breast feeding and stigmatize formula feeding. Not once was I offered support or advice on formula feeding during either of my hospital stays. I want to be offered support and advice about both infant feeding options– not just breast feeding.

unbiased information about how to use formula. More education prior to birth about breastfeeding complications, support, and formula options. Might have considered using donor milk if I had access to networks/better support.

It would have been helpful to have ‘just in case’ information about formula preparation. People are so afraid of ‘ruining’ the breastfeeding relationship that the is NO discussion of proper formula feeding techniques. It put me in a very stressful situation as a new mom to try to figure out the correct way to prepare bottles.

lip tie had been recognized and corrected

Greater knowledge and willingness by my doctor to help me and follow up help after I left the hospital. I’ve heard that they used to send a nurse to visit women. That would be nice.

More access to LC’s

I had issues with trying to get help from local lactation consultants at my hospital. With both births (4 yrs) apart they were short staffed, rushed, and disinterested in doing outpatient consultations.

I wish I would have been told at a prenatal visit or breastfeeding class that low milk supply is an actual thing. The first time I was told that it might not be possible to ever exclusively breastfeed was at a visit to an IBCLC 7 days postpartum. Would have preferred to hear about the possibility of it at the class I took so I would not be so shocked when it happened.

I wish combination feeding was talked about more and that at each visit with the dr (ob and ped) a discussion about the pros and cons of each decision. I

The hospital LC wasn’t very helpful with premature NICU babies, but the private LC I hired was (go figure – you’d think the person working *in* a hospital would have more experience with premies). I successfully exclusively breastfed twins once I got them home and the private LC got them latching. At six months (my personal goal) I assessed my feelings and just really wanted to stop. It took me another month to find the support I needed to not feel guilty about stopping before two years. I wish I’d been able to find more information and support on how to stop at six months – everything was about stopping cold turkey from day one, or waiting for the child to self-wean, neither of which was what I was doing.

Being told in the hospital by The IBCLCs that I have insufficient glandular tissue, and that I may not be able to breastfeed.

I would’ve liked to be given more information on the different types of formula and proper preparation at the hospital (they knew I was exclusively formula feeding).

More info about the different kinds of formula.There is almost no support or community for formula feeding, even less if you CHOOSE to formula feed and don’t have some reason/excuse for it. I honestly was too afraid to join any mommy groups or take a childbirth/newborn care class because I felt there would be hostility about choosing formula.

My OB and my mother in law were helpful in understanding that breastfeeding may be difficult for me due to the breast reduction. My mother in law is a pediatrician and offered some help, but had I not had my OB or my mother in law to assist then I would have had no resources other than the internet to help me out. I would have greatly benefited from an in-house lactation consultant, or even an in-house nurse visit in the first couple of weeks to help me with both breastfeeding and bottle preparation

If I would have been giving equal information regarding proper formula feeding.

I felt that the LC at the hospital could’ve been less judgmental about any choice other than EBF. She didnt even want me to consider pumping until after 6 weeks.

in house help with a LC and daily help for the first few weeks to help get the baby sucking properly.

If I would’ve been more educated on grown spurts. I may not have had to supplement.

I would have been better prepared had I known about IGT before giving birth

I wish I had been willing to talk to friends who were moms about it more. They all breastfed well (so it seemed at the time) and I was ashamed it wasn’t going well for me

I feel like being in the hospital for longer may have helped me greatly. I would have appreciated some type of guideline for bottle feeding as well. I got numerous books and papers about breast feeding but nothing about formula feeding.

I wish the nurse that pushed formula (I had already had to push back against nurses suggesting I supplement during the whole hospital stay) hadn’t used a ready-to-feed bottle, and had used something else like the LC told me she should have. I do feel kind of like she jumped on the fact that I was exhausted and my son had been fussing all morning.

if any of the 3 IBCLC’s had either known about hypoplasia or chosen to tell me about it, it would have made a world of difference for me emotionally and for my baby physically. Because I didn’t know there was something wrong with me physically, I resisted supplementing as I was told I could make enough milk to feed my child. He was very slow to gain weight without supplementation and even with it to some extent.

It would have been much more helpful if the focus of the hospital nurses had been on the whole family rather than just what they thought the baby needed, and if they had been willing to advise on formula feeding rather than ignore it and/or ridicule it.

Breastfeeding is pushed on you so much here. I felt ashamed that I didn’t have enough milk supply. I went to the lactation consultants and was told my daughter had tongue-tie. Her pediatrician said it wasn’t tongue tie. I could barely cover the bottom of the bottles when I pumped. I had my pump checked at the hospital and they said it was working fine. I was given conflicting instructions from the lactation consultants. I tried to supplement for a month, but my supply eventually just dried up completely.

CUSTOMIZED support and consistent availability of lactation consultants in birthing hospitals, first and foremost. I was treated for inverted/flat nipples (which I did not have) before a nipple shield was introduced, and after the nipple shield was offered, I wasn’t given a weaning strategy when I specifically requested one. I saw two separate LCs during my stay and only on my last day, when I saw the second LC, did anyone discover the pump flanges were too small and causing me unnecessary pain (they also were likely a contributing factor in my low milk supply)

The lactation consultants and nurses need to be better educated about things that may hinder milk production

Maybe if people other then family were more supportive of me trying to breastfeed. It made me feel like a failure whenever I explained why my baby wasn’t getting breastmilk.

I felt very pressured to breastfeed and when I struggled, I felt like a failure. From the books I read to the cans of formula that state “Breast is Best.” (Which I cried when I had to buy formula and feed it to my daughter) My daughter was under birthweight for over a month and her jaundice lasted for weeks! My pediatrician was the only one that assured me it was “okay to supplement and any amount of breast milk is good, whether it’s 90% or 10% of their diet”. I continued to struggle with my second daughter too, I told myself I wouldn’t let nursing stress me out but I still cried the first time I gave her a bottle of formula. She ended up having silent reflux and I ended up with PPD/ anxiety. I feel feeding is one of the most difficult parts of having a baby and women should not have to feel inadequate or judged for their feeding choices. Feeding choices really shouldn’t be anyone’s concern, however we should be concerned about providing more support for new moms.

I think the number one thing that would have improved our feeding experience would of been the idea that it doesn’t have to be black and white. if I wouldn’t have been taught in our birthing class and by all healthcare professionals that formula was basically “poison” I feel I would have supplemented with formula to get us through such a rough start. Maybe just maybe with that kind of give and take I would still be breastfeeding today.

When I was struggling with breast feeding and called the lactation people at my hospital crying they basically told me to just try harder. It was a day later I finally gave it up because I was so miserable doing it.

I believe I would have benefited tremendously if I’d had care providers who actually listened to me, and paid attention to my claims about my own body, rather than just pushing me harder and shaming me for using formula.

Tongue tie should be screened for in the hospital and the corrective procedure done immediately. I had to wait weeks to get it done and my son was unable to withdraw milk effectively from my nipples in the meantime, irretrievably reducing my supply.

The doctors warning me that my milk supply could be low due to PCOS. I felt like a failure because I wasn’t prepared for low supply and my baby losing weight.

the hospital staff could have improved this experience. LC visited once and nurses were busy with other patients and didn’t spend enough time with me to help me breastfeed. As soon s my nipples were sore and the baby was crying, formula was immediately recommended despite being at a baby friendly hospital. Follow up meetings with LC, I was encouraged to pump not to put baby to breast. I think that Help/guidance early on would have changed the outcome. Will push for more help/info with next baby…or deliver in a different country.

I felt like the tone of the pro-feeding “support” only turned me off more to it. I had serious PPD and my feelings were ignored. It was breastfed or you fail. Not something to tell an already suicidal woman. I asked for help repeatedly, and felt like what help I was given was conditional.

more empathy for mothers unable to produce milk

more formula friendly information out there in general would help.

I wish I had know there was help available and that I shouldn’t be ashamed that we were struggling.

Canada Respondants

Having more resources for moms who are forced to formula feed because BFing simply doesn’t work for them. It was NOT my intention to formula feed and now I am left feeling so much guilt and shame over giving my child a bottle.

I feel as though mothers should be asked in a neutral way what choice they are making in regards to feeding and then given pamphlets on how to do so safely, effectively and where to go or call if they need more help.

Better prenatal education about the potential complications associated with breastfeeding (not just how great it is) and balanced information on how to deal with complications. The information I did receive was very simplistic and ill informed.

My breastfeeding experience would have improved had doctors taken the time to diagnose my low-milk supply and had lactation consultants not been so expensive. Instead, doctors simply said to feed her more frequently (even though she was latched 2 hours at a time at least six times per day) and would not say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when I asked whether I should supplement with formula. Finally, after starving her for three months, a doctor at Sick Kids in Toronto told me I had low supply because of PCOS and needed to supplement. Those first three months were awful due to bad medical advice.

Paternity leave for my husband that wouldn’t have taken mine away

lactation consultants and public health nurses in caring-for-baby seminars being open-minded about formula feeding. Also, emotionally–for lactation consultants, whether government employees or LLLI, to be legally responsible for misinformation they spout (like that EVERYONE can breastfeed, or that hungry, dehydrated babies nursing for 12 hours at a time for weeks on end are just cluster feeding and it’s normal). They are doing lots of damage to women and babies during those challenging first few months.

I really enjoyed our prenatal classes, but felt entirely unprepared for how my attempt at breastfeeding went. They mentioned it might be difficult, they didn’t mention anything about weird abuse feelings (I have since learned I’m NOT the only one in the entire world who felt this way, so I feel like it warrants more attention) and there was zero mention of formula. Even touching on it, or suggesting that if the public health nurses who run the class can’t talk about it, try looking up some info online, just so you’re prepared.

If formula hadn’t been pushed on my son when he was 2 days old in the hospital

was given different info from various health care practitioners making it difficult to decide what to do re tongue tie, etc..

I am lucky to have had amazing midwives and access to a free lactation consultant through Public Health, but I also felt totally ostracized for not being able to breastfeed and I felt unwelcome as well as unable to access good formula info.

Less shame around formula feeding. Overtly encourage and support public breastfeeding – overtly encourage and support multiple feeding choices BUT give all mothers all the necessary information DURING PREGNANCY on feeding with evidenced based, current information. With special focus for ESL mothers to be.

I started formula feeding on day 5 as my baby lost a lot of weight, poor milk supply. I did not receive any formula feeding info until then. It may have been helpful to receive some formula info at the hospital just incase I needed it, not to just assume breast feeding would go perfectly once at home.

Australian Respondents

I would have much prefered to supplement with my ebm or donor milk but that was not suggested to me and I was too uninformed at the time to even consider it. I believe now that my first son would have less colic if he had been exclusively breastfed. My 2 other babies were exclusively breastfed and were much happier babies.

Not being bullied would have helped.

A more flexible opinion on feeding options from my hospital would have helped.

New Zealand Respondents:

I was asked to leave the maternity ward when i decided to formula feed. Had I been given the help I asked for, we may have had a different experience. But now I have no desire to even try with any other children weay have

The doctors actually catching a wake up and realising that I had a legitimate complaint with my pain in my breast rather than just brushing me off and saying ‘It’s a cold’ or ‘It’s a blocked duct’ and to ‘try harder’. The fact that they didn’t listen to me lead to me feeding in pain for 2 weeks before I was properly diagnosed and that was thanks to my midwife being pushy with them.

Less pressure to bf would have made it easier to bf and easier to make the right choice for my baby instead of persevering when it was clearly not best for either of us

Had I been given more information on the risks of supplementing formula, I may not have been so keen to just do it without first trying other ways or knowing how to mitigate those risks.

Romania Respondents:

I found it really hard to get to the correct information. Family, friends, even doctors gave me bad advice (which I didn’t follow obviously), and it took me months to figure out that incorrect latching was the problem in our case. Anyway, when I relaxed and got rid of all the guilt and shame, that’s when I was able to give up the bottle and breastfeed naturally. And I am still breastfeeding now, at 21 months.

more info in hospitals!! there is formula feeding everywhere but so much less correct info on breastfeeding.

More support in hospital, right after giving birth, better informed medical personnel & less formula advertising/lobbying

Saudia Arabia Respondents:

It would have helped if the hospital din’t give my bsby a bottle without asking me. Plus i got no support from the hosoital or her birth pediatrician regarding breastfeeding. My family did their best to help and i wish i had knwn that breastfeeding could be complucated so that i would have learnt more about it before sibstituting formula. Living in saudi arabia

I live in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I have a 12 months baby girl who is still breastfeeding. I didn’t have good support when I started breastfeeding because the people around me think that breastfeeding is only done in the first six weeks and after that it is better to switch to formula. Although everyone believes in the benefits of breast milk, I found that most if the moms believed that they have low breast milk supply! I kept searching the Internet to educate my self because I didn’t find any breastfeeding consultant where I live.

 

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