Can’t you take a joke?

 

I am 37 years old. During my lifetime, I have been seriously sexually assaulted, sexually harassed, groped and told I have ‘beautiful blowjob lips’. I have been bartered over, whilst present in the room. “Suck my dick, and I’ll pay for your dinner,” “I bet you’re a right dirty bitch,” “You look like someone who can handle a cock,” are just a tiny example of things that have been said to me.

I am 37 years old. During my lifetime, I believed many of these things being said to me were compliments. I believed all the uninvited assaults and harassments were my fault. I believed that objecting to these assumptions about my character made me boring and unlikeable. The times I did speak up, I was silenced with five innocuous words. “Can’t you take a joke?”

I am 37 years old. I have finally realised the power of these words. I want my daughter to understand these words. I want my daughter to understand where the blame really lies when she inevitably hears these words. I want my daughter to not be afraid of these words like I always was.

Many won’t understand that what they are saying is belittling, hurtful and archaic. They may believe that their words are a joke (or ‘banter’, whatever the fuck that means). They may accuse you of being over sensitive and/or lacking a sense of humour. These people lack the intelligence to even begin to understand. They are fucking idiots. However, their idiocy doesn’t provide them with a free pass to go through their lives causing hurt and anguish to other people.

There will also be those who know they are in the wrong. They will use words to see how easy it is to knock you off balance, to make you believe it is your fault for taking it the wrong way. To make you believe you somehow deserved it. They will know that a line has been crossed. They should feel ashamed but whether they do, I don’t know. All I do know is, they will try to pass the shame onto you. They are fucking cowards.

I am 37 years old. For the rest of my lifetime, I will not be afraid of those five words. I will defend my body, my self-respect and my right to object. I will push back against misogyny and sexism with the fierce female determination I inherently possess. I will not carry the burden of shame gifted to me by fucking idiots and cowards and neither will my daughter. I have a voice. It will no longer be silenced by ignorance.

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Three words that can change everything

Before you start guessing, it’s not ‘I love you’.  No, the words I want to tell you about are far more powerful and I discovered them purely by accident.

I would class my six year old daughter as high maintenance.  That may be unwarranted. She may be just like every child but my only other example is autistic and believe it or not, his needs are pretty straight forward – keep everything exactly the same, only feed him crisps, let him be naked from the waist down and we’re onto a winner.

My daughter has the ability to take me from calm to rage in a very short space of time, usually when she’s being so bloody ungrateful.  I try to cater for all her quirks as much as possible in a way to ensure her life is nourished; full of adventures and experiences that will fill her brain with wonderful memories.  But no matter what I do, she seems to always find something to complain about, using those immortal words, “it’s not fair!”  (They’re not the three words, by the way.  I’m keeping you hanging on for those just a bit longer.)

The reason I want to fill my daughter’s life with happiness is to ensure she knows she’s loved.  I suffer with, as the wonderful Jack Monroe put it, a wonky head.  It’s on perfectly straight but my brain likes to make me feel very sad sometimes.  During these times, I’m not a great parent.  I have no patience.  I’m emotionally distant.  I tumble into a black hole and disappear from view from my children.  I know this because my usually happy to go to school girl finds it hard to get through the day without an emotional wobble about missing me.  These children are a lot more attuned to our feelings than we give them credit for.

‘Attuned’ is a word I’ve only recently become accustomed to.  It’s a word that has helped shift my wonky head into seeing there is a something more than love.

During my low periods (and I’m not talking about my menstruation), I try to tell my daughter as much as possible how much I love her.  The guilt I feel about not having the energy or inclination to bake cakes or ride bikes or just sit with her and listen to what she has to say overwhelms me, but I know that as long as she knows she’s loved, she’ll be okay.  So sometimes, when she’s irritating me, I’ll tell her, “I love you, but that thing you’re doing…please stop.”

It was when she was feeling a bit poorly, and my wonky head was starting to metaphorically straighten up.  She was desperately telling me all of her symptoms. She felt hot, her tummy ached, her head hurt and she couldn’t sleep.  I was giving her all my usual concerned patter, getting her medicine, giving her a cold flannel for her head, rubbing her tummy, but nothing was making her feel better.  She looked up at me, her eyes full of urgency and discomfort and something compelled me to softly say, “I believe you”.

I saw her exhausted, tensed up body visibly loosen and she finally laid her head on the pillow and was able to succumb to her tiredness.  As I laid with her and she fell asleep, I reflected on those three words.  Why had they made such a difference when all of my acts of love hadn’t?

I have surmised it was because of this.  In that moment, I had actually attuned to what she needed.  To just have me say, “I hear you”, “I get it”.  She had probably got so used to me ‘listening’ when I’m a million miles away in my head, that the confirmation I was actually present in the here and now and completely understood, helped her cope with her symptoms.  Or perhaps she just needed me to be in the here and now because that’s where she was.  Where all children are.  In the moment.

It’s made me realise that she’s not actually that ungrateful or high maintenance.  There’s me naively thinking I’m loving her unconditionally, but it’s entirely dependant on her being grateful for all these wonderful, exciting experiences I’m providing her – these things that aren’t happening till tomorrow, or three hours later. She’s not thinking about that.  She’s a child living in the moment and at that moment, something catastrophic may have rocked her world.  Like, I’ve given her the wrong temperature water to drink, or the swing didn’t swing enough.

I’ve used “I believe you” a number of times now, all with the same effect and all in different circumstances.  Not to fob her off  – she’s already proved she’s far too attuned for that.  But when I can see I haven’t really been present.  I get easily absorbed in looking at my phone, or needing to answer that email, or trying to tidy the shit tip that is my house and actually, she really needs to know I’m here. In the here and now, present in the moment and I totally get her.  No ‘I love you, but…’, just unconditional, ‘I hear you’.

I can’t always fix her feelings.  I can’t always fix mine.  I suppose sometimes, it’s just about letting them be.

peacock
Sleeping with a peacock on her head. Because peacock.

 

 

 

 

 

The Internet User’s Guide to Internet Users

The internet is a wonderfully faceless entity which allows all and sundry to have a voice. To impart their wisdom, knowledge and opinion. I mean just thank God for this person standing up for what they believe in.

www.lamebook.com Why I love the internet
http://www.lamebook.com
Why I love the internet

In my short time of loitering around internet forums and chat rooms, I have come across many characters, but it seems the following internet users crop up time and time again:

The Know-It-All Example: You’re doing it all wrong. You do it this way.

The Aggressor Example: You’re doing it all wrong. Are you some kind of dick?

The Diplomat Example: It’s a good idea, but it might be worth trying it this way.

The Please-Join-My-Club Example: This is how I do it. Give it a try.

The Peacekeeper Example: I think both ways are right.

The Self Righteous Example: You should be ashamed of yourself for doing it any other way.

The Passive Aggressive Example: I’d think very carefully about what you do or you might be sorry.

With so many emotive subjects on the internet, many hitting right to the heart of humanity, such as breastfeeding versus formula feeding, UKIP versus the rest of the world, Corporate Monsters versus The Common Man, and not forgetting gary rights, it doesn’t take long to find a forum that houses many of the aforementioned characters in one place, impassioned and ready to fight for what they believe in.

Real comments taken from a hard hitting article entitled Max George: The Wanted Broke Up Because of One Direction Rivalry gives you the following examples:

There was only one person missing from this particular conversation, however, I found her not so far away in a heart wrenching and deeply resonating discussion about who is best; One Direction or Justin Bieber:

See how many you can spot today and if you know of any Internet Users not listed above, then please get in touch. If any of you are wondering which category I belong to, you’ll find me filed firmly under ‘Sarcastic Twat’.

A New Beginning

I first created this blog to educate women about breastfeeding. And teeth. Connecting them together in as many ways as possible. Basically because at the time, they were my two areas of expertise.

When I say educate, I mean educate. Educate the ignorant on the errors of their ways and to convert those teetering on the edge of the teat to not be taken down the easy path of bottledom. I knew it all. I had all the answers and could occasionally enlighten the orally challenged to buck up their ideas too.

I even looked into the psychology of cults, the art of persuasiveness and wanted to change people’s minds, kind of like a Derren Brown of the boob world. I researched into why people belong to groups, why they join cults, the psychology of religions and the art of war. I was taking my advocacy responsibilities very seriously! I don’t things by ‘alves.

It’s not just about educating the facts, it’s about changing a person’s moral beliefs hidden behind those facts. Finding the evidence that supports those facts and weaving a morally laden web to capture those flying in infant feeding limbo.

I’m making it sound far more malevolent than it actually is but behind my early posts were preconceptions about what I thought was actually going on in the world of infant feeding.

Fast forward to now and I am the one that has had my moral beliefs shaken and stirred. I won’t bang on about it as I have already posted previously about it in ‘has hypocrisy replaced advocacy‘ and I am, and always will be proud of my ‘Power of the first hour – inspiring or terrifying‘ post which has been viewed nearly 50,000 times. I was astounded when it reached 500 views and from the back of it have been asked permission for the photo to be used for seminars and talks on the subject. My man arms and my horrendously positioned baby girl has been seen all over the world.

But it’s time for a change. The name of this blog doesn’t suggest middle ground. It suggests that although I talk the talk, my allegiance is with the boob. That may be partly true. I believe in boobs. However, I also, perhaps more so, believe in happiness and maternal mental health; the importance of support and inclusion for everybody. I believe in open conversations and debates. I believe there are better ways to advocate infant feeding, infant health and maternal health in the 21st century.

In the next few days, I will be probably committing blogging suicide by changing the name and reaffirming the ethos of my blog. Some may not like it but hopefully I can encourage most of you to stay. It’ll be worth it, I promise.

What my Son is teaching me

Reblogging my post about my boy for World Autism Awareness Day. If you want to get involved you can text “ONES14 £3/5/10” to 70070 to donate £3, £5 or £10

Hello. My Name is Ted

I wanted to write something on Ted’s progress and what I am helping him learn but at the moment that felt very limited. Not because he isn’t learning anything but the dawning realisation is, that Ted isn’t the pupil…

It wasn’t my uncle that made me terrified of autism. In fact, my brother and I used to revel in delight that this full grown, round-tummied man with the strength of an ox, would be stark naked, wearing nothing but a pair of wellies, squeaking a banana-shaped dog toy in his ear whilst rocking backwards and forwards. He reminded me of our large primate cousins; avoiding eye contact but always being fully aware of your presence. An imposing size and strength. One main difference though – our primate cousins know to peel the banana before eating it *more squeals of delight from my brother and I*.

I have a memory etched into my brain of seeing my naked uncle…

View original post 738 more words

My interpretation of the Infant Feeding Support Survey 2013

There is no way for me to sugar-coat this so I’ll just come out and say it.  The infant feeding support available to women, whatever side of the camp they are, sucks major ass. It’s not just a shambles, it’s an omnishambles.

So now that I’ve said it, let me quickly define what I mean by that, especially for those that work in infant feeding support and may now be thinking, “Hang on a minute, Love…what the bleeding nipples you on about?”

There is an argument that, it is breastfeeding promotion that needs to change.  That it’s thin veil of ironical informed choice currently puts tremendous pressure on new mothers and leads to guilt overload and feelings of failure if things don’t turn out how the WHO prescribe. There is another train of thought that thinks there isn’t enough pressure to breastfeed and the promotion needs to be ramped up with the inclusion of stricter controls being put on the availability of formula and the obliteration of blatant formula marketing campaigns cleverly using follow-on milks.

Picture credit: somewhere off the internet
Picture credit: somewhere off the internet

I’m not sure that either of these things will change in the short term – the fight is against two equally powerful Goliaths. Breastfeeding propaganda has been around for centuries. Formula has a very valid place in the first world and the anger evoked in fighting against either of these things is like drinking poison in the hope it will kill the enemy. Although there is hope.

I, personally, have a gripe against the upper echelons of policy makers, health ministers and treasurers who act upon an assumption that they know what the problems are by discussing statistics in a focus group. Those responsible for deeming infant feeding only important enough for an afternoon’s lecture for medical students leading to GP’s prescribing possibly unnecessary treatments for both breast and bottle fed babies. The lack of support available to those finding themselves unable to breastfeed due to the misinterpretation of the Unicef document that highlights the importance of eradicating formula promotion, but not the eradication of support for those using formula. The struggling labour wards with ridiculous turn around times and tick boxes to complete in order to sate the statisticians. The lack of continuity of advice for breastfeeding mothers. The lack of any advice for bottle feeding mothers. The lack of funding for those desperately trying to support breastfeeding women. The postcode lottery that is associated with anything to do with the NHS and whether the hospital you find yourself birthing in has a milk bank associated with it. In fact, the milk banking system full stop. That is why I believe infant feeding support is an omnishambles.

Back in November, I created an Infant Feeding Survey, with the purpose of finding out from hearing real women’s stories and views, what their infant feeding experiences were and how they felt it could have been improved.  I had in mind, to use this information as a way to build on the already brilliant foundations of support in the local area but also to highlight other areas that may be lacking, and if there was a way to address some of the above, without having to drink any poison.

With the very kind help from The Fearless Formula Feeder, Lactivist and other internet forums, representing both the formula feeding and breastfeeding communities, I had 563 responses.

Now, I’m not silly.  I know that isn’t enough responses to substantiate my hypotheses that that the WHOLE support system is shambolic and out of the 563, roughly 30% of the answers are UK-based (the rest are women from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Romania, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.) However, despite the different localities on a world map, the answers are all surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) similar and echo the same message throughout – a lack of support, or perhaps more importantly, lack of THE RIGHT support.

There are two things that I think came across loud and clear from the results of the survey which are as follows:

#1: Informed choice is not that well informed when it comes to mixed feeding or formula feeding.  For those women who know they will have a short maternity leave, that have lost both breasts to cancer, that have survived sexual abuse, for those that adopt, have surrogate children, that foster, that have a high risk of PND, that are on medications that are necessary and incompatible with breastfeeding, for those with multiples that are keeping their options open and for those that just do not want to breastfeed – advice is not forthcoming and sometimes detrimental to their maternal mental health. 5-17% received advice from health care professionals when they found themselves needing formula, whereas 31% researched guidance on the internet and 75% of those that ended up using formula just followed the instructions on the box (out of 325 respondents).

However a baby is fed, there will be risks associated with it.  Breastfed babies are readmitted to hospital because of low weight gain and dehydration.  Formula fed babies are five times more likely to be readmitted due to gastroenteritis, according to a 2009 article in the Telegraph, which also reports on bottle babies being put at higher risk due to lack of information since bottle feeding was removed from antenatal teachings. Hospital readmissions from incorrectly made up formula is not really formula’s fault, but the lack of education that surrounds the correct use of formula.  This NHS Change for Life leaflet is available with good information on sterilising and correct use of powdered formula and follow on milks.  However, it is not freely available to purchase unless you ask for it. I can’t imagine many first time mums having the balls to request a copy.

Most risks can be very easily avoided if women are given the correct information and support, prior to birth and in those early days rather than both breast and bottle feeding mums being left to their own devices. Which leads me to…

#2: The criticality of those first few days in receiving the RIGHT support enabling more women to achieve their breastfeeding goals.  Nearly 94% of respondents (529 out of 565) had an intention to breastfeed. But many of these women seem to have been failed at the first point of contact.  This is for many anecdotal reasons about conflicting advice, lack of any advice or detrimental advice.  Mainly though, because this is where the ‘one size fits all’ support seems to come into play which seems to be paralysing the healthcare professionals. 72% of the 523 who responded to the question about breastfeeding complications experienced ‘sore nipples’ with the second most popular answer being ‘baby wouldn’t latch’ (35%).  When issues arose which required intervention in the form of supplementation, 82% used a bottle (302 out of 364) with the majority using expressed breast milk, ready to feed or powdered formula.  The vast majority of these mothers felt completely unprepared for the complications experienced which had a harmful effect on their breastfeeding experience and/or their maternal mental health. It really isn’t any wonder there is such a dramatic drop off from breastfeeding in those early weeks.

Supplementary nursing systems, which are very effective at supplementing when a baby is latching but not gaining weight, was used by 10% of the 364 respondents and screened donor milk was used by 3 out of 383 respondents. That is less than 1%.

Cup feeding which can be useful for supplementing without causing nipple confusion was used by 16%. Cup feeding can be tricky and is usually carried out by the partner whilst the mother can express.  How many women and their partners are taught the techniques needed for cup feeding prior to birth? How many are taught the reasons why cup feeding might be necessary? Not that many, I’d guess.

It also seems very strange to me that so much is done to promote the health benefits of breast milk, and yet the availability of donor breast milk is so dire when it could be so beneficial to those many women finding themselves facing complications that are only being resolved with limited options.  The following video I have blogged about before, describes how the use of screened donor breast milk has a significant positive psychological impact on new mothers facing challenges to their own health or the health of their newborn infants, which in turn has a positive effect on milk production, sometimes several weeks down the line.  It is mainly anecdotal but perhaps more research should be carried out on the maternal mental health benefits and breast milk production when screened donor breast milk is routinely offered as a choice.

Screened donor breast milk costs £120 per litre compared to £5, which goes a long way to show why it isn’t routinely offered as an alternative when breastfeeding isn’t going to plan.  However, if the research and statistics are correct in assuming formula is costing the NHS millions, surely it is a worthy investment? It’s all very well preaching what we should all be doing with guilt-inducing poster campaigns (which probably cost a fair bit), but why don’t government invest more where it could really make a difference.

A pilot scheme that involves a telephone service to new mothers who have been discharged from hospital, enquiring about how they’re getting on and whether they require further assistance with infant feeding, costs £6000. No money in the pot to try it though apparently. The cost of women being trained as volunteer peer supporters? Approximately £100 per person. Are these volunteers able to access mothers who cannot leave their homes due to post operative issues or multiple children? No. Would they? In a heart beat, and would also happily volunteer their time in hospital should they be able to untangle themselves enough from the red tape to be able to step foot in the hospital. Would the midwives be grateful for volunteer peer supporters in hospital? I should imagine so. That will leave them enough time for the piles of bureaucracy they are currently disappearing under.

I know, from my own personal experience, after my pubic bone and vagina was left in tatters following the arrival of baby #1, I was unable to leave the house. I also had postnatal anxiety due to the complications I was having with breastfeeding.  When asked how I was feeding my baby, I replied “bottle with expressed breast milk”. A box was ticked and no further comment was made. If I was offered a volunteer peer supporter to pop round for a chat, I would have jumped at the chance. If someone had phoned me to ask how infant feeding was going, I may have asked for help sooner.

Perhaps there are a few simple changes that could be made easily and cheaply that might make a difference:

GPs and other healthcare professionals having a referral pathway to enable them to quickly identify local resources which are better placed to help with feeding problems, on top of keeping regularly up to date with infant feeding evidence. This will mainly consist of every arrow pointing towards the local infant feeding support group. Supplementary nursing systems being routinely offered as an option in hospitals when a baby is latching but milk production is delayed – apparently they are freely available in hospitals but few midwives are au fait with their correct application. Educating prenatally on the symptoms of tongue/lip tie and the conditions which may contribute to low milk supply such as polycystic ovary syndrome. Educating prenatally on the most common complications associated with breastfeeding and how they are resolved. Having tongue/lip ties routinely checked in hospital and not just presuming that 2nd,3rd,4th time mums will not experience breastfeeding issues.

If you wish to read through the infant feeding results and share your own interpretation of the results, you can read the full survey results here.  It certainly makes for some very interesting reading.

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.

 

Happy Medium Monday – breastfeeding tourist

Image

I saw the above photo being shared around on Facebook recently and I couldn’t make up my mind.  I agree with the sentiment but still felt a pang of guilt for those mothers that haven’t had the opportunity to experience this feeling or who simply cannot be ‘stay and home mothers and wives’.

Welcome to Happy Medium Monday, by the way.  After reading countless feeding blog posts, I came across this one from Mamabythebay – one of the three amigos that set up the I Support You Campaign.  It really sums up the above picture for me; pride for a completely different reason.

“I breastfed my newborn son in the Target dressing room today.  My tiny boy, the one who lost ounce after ounce in the hospital, is now over ten pounds.  Why?  Because I have nursed him in restaurants, in the front seat of my car, in the recliner, in bed, on the floor, curled up on my friend’s couch, and in the Mommy Room at Babies R Us.  I have nursed him in the preschool library and at the picnic table next to the garden.  I’m like the “Got Milk?” version of a Dr. Seuss book.  “I can nurse you here and there, I can nurse you everywhere!”.

I have nursed my son for 5 weeks and 4 days.  That is long enough to know that I owe all of you breastfeeding moms an apology.  I am sorry that I hated  you because you had it so easy.  I’ve been to the other side, and I’m back to report that there’s nothing easy about breastfeeding.  Shhh….real breastfeeding advocates aren’t supposed to tell you that, but I’m only a tourist.  An imposter.  So you can trust me when I say that sometimes breastfeeding is magic, and sometimes it well, sucks.

I used to be a formula mom.  When my first son was born, I tried desperately to nurse him.  I pumped, I used supplements, I sobbed in the shower and cursed the breasts that were filled with shame and regret, but not a drop of milk.  Max’s belly suffered from GI issues that made him vomit and choke.  Formula ended up saving him, and I learned to stuff my sadness into my back pocket and take pride in feeding him with love.  Max was my first baby, and my first lesson in how mommy guilt could strip your confidence and make you doubt everything that you thought was true.   I fed Max with formula, because it was my body, my mental health, and my choice.  But the pain never went away.  I was proud to be a formula advocate, but I couldn’t let go of the hope that I might be able to nurse my next baby.

Somewhere at the intersection of failure and regret, I started to hate moms who breastfed.  I hated that it was easy for them.  I hated that they didn’t have to lug around a huge diaper bag with bottles and powder.  I hated that they could feed their babies for free, that their pregnancy weight just fell off, that their babies never had to wait for the bubbles in a bottle to dissipate or for the formula to reach the right temperature.  “You have it so easy” I thought.  “Damn you, because formula is so hard for me.”

And then Ben was suddenly in my arms, and sucking like a tiny piranha at my breast.  Our doulas spent the first 48 hours of Ben’s life sitting next to me on the hospital bed.  They cupped my suddenly ginormous double D’s, squished them into “sandwiches”, pulled his tiny rosebud mouth on to my breasts and held him there as he figured it out.  They gently nudged my shoulders back, put pillows under my arms, and made sure that I was eating and drinking.  My mom and my husband encouraged me to keep going, and took care of everything else so that I could simply sit and nurse.  But even with all of the help, even with all of the determination, even though I fought like hell to see straight through the fog of my pain meds, Ben still lost weight.  I was failing at the most natural thing in the world, before we had a chance to even begin.

When the lactation specialist arrived on the third day of our hospital stay, the pediatrician had already told her that I would need to supplement with formula.  I started crying before she even opened her mouth.  Fuck you, I thought.  Fuck you and your pump and your weight charts and your fake concern.  Just leave me and my baby alone.  My tears were hot and fell fast down my cheeks and onto my chest, dropping like rain on Ben’s soft little head as it burrowed into my empty breasts.  Even though I could barely speak, I told her my plan.  I would nurse Ben.  Just nurse him.  And then I would give him any colostrum that I had pumped, but I would only do it through a supplemental nursing system, so that he would still be at my breast.  And then, only then, we would give him formula.  Only through the supplemental nursing system.  And only until my own milk came in.  The lactation specialist looked down at my tiny boy, and back up at me.  “It’s going to be fine” she said.  “Formula isn’t the end of the world”.  The formula mom in me wanted to jump up and hug her for realizing that feeding with love was the most important thing.  But I wasn’t a formula mom anymore.  I was a breastfeeding mom.  I was a mother who was still hoping and praying that milk would fill my breasts, so I squeaked out “No, you see…you don’t understand.  I couldn’t breastfeed my first son”.  This is a big deal lady!  Didn’t you read my article on the Huffington Post?! I wanted to scream at her, to will my body to jump from the bed and throw the adorable little formula bottles in the trash.  But I simply cried.  And thanked her.  And watched her walk away.

I don’t hate formula, I’m grateful for it.  It saved Max’s life.  He is brilliant, and strong, and beautiful, and healthy, and formula was the right choice for us then.  But moms have the right to choose.  I wanted to try.  I wanted a chance.  I wanted to be in charge, and why couldn’t I be?  I was finally brave enough to say that I would make the decisions for my baby, and I was absolutely sure that I could get Ben back up to birth weight on my own terms.  I would nurse him.  I would do my best.

And so it began.  Our nursing dance.  I put Ben to my breast around the clock.  His latch was terrible, we worked on it.  My technique was terrible, we worked on it.  We kept going.  I can’t tell you exactly when my milk “came in”, but I can tell you about our leaky ceiling.  I was standing at the sink in my bathroom, peering at my reflection in the mirror through a haze of postpartum Vicodin.  Something was leaking from the ceiling and onto my feet.  Damn our landlords, I thought.  This house has been one disaster after another!  I hate this house.  I hate that everything goes wrong here.  I hate that we can’t fix it because it doesn’t belong to us.  I hate that…

And suddenly I realized that the leak in our roof was milk.  Watery white, it ran like a tiny river that came from my breasts.  Running down my swollen belly and dripping onto my feet.  I was making milk.  Milk!  If you have never struggled with breastfeeding, then you can not possibly understand this moment.  If your milk was plentiful, if you never had a panic attack in the formula aisle at Babies R Us, if you never looked longingly at a mom sitting in a café feeding her baby with ease, then you might snicker a little when you hear me say this, but…..I started laughing.  Laughing like a crazy person, high on Vicodin, watching my breasts leak all over the floor.  I tried to figure out how to make the milk stop , because I needed every last drop to feed my baby and I wasn’t sure if I’d have any left after this.  I didn’t want to waste it, I wanted to save it in a Medela bottle or wake my sleeping son and let it drip in his mouth.  I felt slightly insane.  Because each drop that fell was a drop more than I had ever had before, and suddenly I understood the magic of watching your body produce something that allows your baby to live and grow and thrive.  Breastmilk really was magic, even though it was making my bathroom tiles a sticky mess.  There was magic in my boobs, people.  I had a superpower.  I could sustain life, and nourish my child, with just my body.  I was all that he needed.  Just me, my leaky boobs, and maybe seven nursing pillows.

Do I sound familiar yet?  Don’t mistake me for a lactivist.  A lactivist would be doing a much better job of this breastfeeding thing.  Her nipples wouldn’t be cracked and swollen, and she wouldn’t cry every time that her baby loses his latch.  Please don’t think that I have a political breastfeeding agenda or a desire to normalize nursing in public.  If I was a breastfeeding hero I would know how to properly lift the damn “hooter hider” nursing cover so that it didn’t smother my baby yet still draped perfectly over my exposed nipple.  Instead, Ben practically sweats to death underneath it, and most of the time it falls to the ground as I try to use one hand to push my breast in his mouth and the other hand to wrangle my 4 year old.   Breastfeeding is kicking my ass.  It’s not easy, it doesn’t always feel natural, and for me, it hurts like hell.  Where were the rainbows and unicorns and happy nursing fairies that you all kept telling me about?

Somewhere in between a 3 am nursing session and surfing the internet for “nursing camisole size large” I realized that I had misunderstood all of you breastfeeding moms.  When you chanted “What’s your superpower? I make milk!”, I used to secretly scream at you to go fuck yourself.  “Oh look!  My little angel is milk drunk!” you’d coo.  And I’d want to puke.  There was nothing cute about posting a picture of your baby drooling milk out of their mouth while fast asleep.  It all just seemed so self-congratulatory and boastful to me.  Until I realized how damn hard it is to actually succeed at breastfeeding.  It’s not easy to nourish your child with every last calorie that you make.  It’s upsetting to feel the weight of being responsible for a tiny human being 24/7.  To not share that burden with anyone else.  To be afraid to leave the room, more or less actually go out of the house alone, because your precious child could starve to death when you are the only one who knows how to feed him.  Three billion things can go wrong when you breastfeed.  It might be free, but I’ve paid more money to lactation consultants, doulas, and Babies R Us in the last month then I ever spent on formula.  But even with a bad latch, tongue tie, thrush, a clogged duct, and a crazy oversupply, I still think that nursing this little boy is the most amazing magic that I’ve ever felt in my life.  I am the only thing that is keeping my child alive right now.  You’re damn right that’s a superpower.  And it scares the hell out of me.

For the last 5 weeks, I have felt like a tourist in a foreign land.  The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is my guidebook.  My suitcase is packed with nursing tanks and bras, loose shirts and disposable nursing pads.  I’ve been watching closely to see how the locals do it.  Do they use a nursing cover?  Do they lower their shirt to cover the top of their boob, or let it all hang out?  Do they burp their baby in between sides, or at the end?  I don’t speak the language, and I’m a first-time visitor.  I have no idea what I’m doing, and most of the time, I’m not doing it well.  But I’ve mastered the art of faking it.  When we ventured out as a family for the first time a few weeks ago, Max suddenly yelled from the back seat “Mom!  You can’t feed brother at the restaurant!!”, and my heart sank.  Was my 4 year old really going to be embarrassed that I was about to nurse in public??  “Why not honey?” I asked, holding my breath.  “Cause you forgot your PILLOW!” he yelled, and I started to laugh.  Out in the world, I do not have My Brest Friend.  I do not always have an extra set of hands.  But I do have courage, and I never thought that the downy head and fluttery smile of a ten pound baby would give me such a stockpile of strength.

Five weeks in, and our doulas still visit at least once a week to help me work on breastfeeding.  We’ve had dates with lactation consultants and my OB.  I’ve crowd-sourced the cause of my ongoing breast pain on Facebook and Twitter.  My nipples are thrashed, and my breasts ache constantly.  Don’t tell me that means I’m not “doing it right”.  I know that already.  We’re a work in progress.

But when the pediatrician looks up from her checklist at Ben’s well visit and asks “Are you bottle-feeding?”, I proudly reply “No.  He’s exclusively breastfed.”  I shout it from the rafters, just like all of you did.  This time, I don’t have to give qualifiers.  My cheeks do not flush with shame as I stumble over excuses like “He gets some breastmilk and some formula, I mean, like half and half…or maybe 25% breastmilk…I mean, I try to pump, but I don’t really get anything when I do.”  This time, my breasts make milk.  That is my superpower.  I have worked too hard at this to keep quiet.  I have endured too much pain and too much sadness, to ever feel shame about feeding my son in public.  I have come too far to quit.  I have fed Ben with love, and I am proud of every ounce that he has gained.  I did this, just like all of you breastfeeding mamas.  And I will scream it out loud so that everyone knows how much we’ve overcome.  That’s not boastful.  That is climbing a mountain and doing a fist pump when you turn around at the top and realize that you made it.

Tonight, I will be awake at 3 am, feeding my baby.  The light of the Super Moon will cascade through my window and dance over the outline of my tiny boy wearing 0-3 month pajamas.  I will listen to the noises that he makes as he smacks and slurps and squirms at my chest.  I will run my hand slowly across his forehead and down his back, pulling him closer to me just as I did with his big brother.  I might not know what I’m doing, but I am confident that I am feeding him with love.  And when he pulls his head away from my breast and his little body relaxes against the pillow that still helps me to position him, I will watch the river of watery white milk cascade down his soft cheek and onto the collar of his jammies.  “He’s milk drunk” I’ll laugh, and I will say a silent prayer of thanks that it was my body, my breasts, and my choices that made him that way.”

Those first six weeks of feeding can feel relentless and exhausting and overwhelming, especially the feeling of responsibility. However, there is an enormous sense of pride in watching your baby grow on the stuff made from your blood which gets extracted from your bosoms by a squirming, miniature version of your DNA.  When you feel like you’re failing at everything else – you’ve had to return to work, the baby is not sleeping through, they’re not having day naps when they should, they don’t like to be put down (all of which is VERY normal, by the way!) – there’s nothing wrong in taking a step back, look at your baby and feel just a little bit proud, no matter whether you fed for 5 weeks or 5 years.

If you read the original blog post from Mamabythebay, be sure to have a gander at some of the other brilliant posts too.

Please send your feeding stories to evidencebasedtitsandteeth@gmail.com and join the HMM archive. 

Happy Medium Monday – A better bond with the bottle

Welcome as always all you lovely lot.  I can say from personal experience of feeding through discomfort, that it does get better and easier, sometimes very quickly.  But what if the fear of pain becomes the block to nursing your baby.  

The business of bonding through boobing is a strong argument.  If you look at the natural processes a baby goes through when placed into skin to skin, it becomes a baby’s biological instinct as opposed to a parental choice.  However, a breastfeeding mother can be absent psychologically and emotionally, providing no eye contact or nurture during the feed, which makes it difficult to bond.  

This story I have stolen borrowed from The Fearless Formula Feeder’s Fearless Friday’s post, describes exactly that.  So what becomes more important… the long term physical health gain for both mother and baby from boobing or the long term mental health of both mother and baby from having a fully bonded relationship?  

FFF Friday:  “I decided enough was enough…”

Touching cloth

I’m as tight as a camel’s arse in a sandstorm.  I’m not talking about my baby cannon – I’m talking about my spending habits.

By my calculations, exclusive boobing probably saved me £400 with my first and £520 with my second.  I probably spent at least £3000 on breast pads though especially the first time around; I had uncontrollable squirters. This was due to expressing like a maniac, just in case I popped my clogs.  My boobs obviously thought they were feeding sixtuplets with appetites of Goliath.

I also probably saved, at least, £1500 on cloth nappies (could have done the same with breast pads but I’m an idiot).

Having a conservationist (hippy) as a brother means that I am regularly subjected to environmental guilt.  Even procreating made me feel guilty about the world’s overpopulation.  I can only justify two children to myself by the fact that my brother is selflessly having none so that evens things out a bit.  Plus my children will definitely play key roles in saving the planet, obviously.

When I first started researching cloth nappies on t’internet, it took about five minutes for my brain to implode – the choice is astounding.  Fortunately for me, I met a fabulous lady who dedicates her life to cloth nappies and she showed me the way…to the cheapest.  Terry squares.  She has also kindly given me her Top Five cloth nappy list but before I share that with you, I’d like to share the environmental guilt first.  As Mothers, we don’t have enough guilt in our lives.

Real Nappies and Waste

3 billion disposable nappies are thrown away each and every year in the UK, 90% of which are landfilled.  A baby in disposables will need about 4,000 nappy changes in total, that’s 4,000 disposable nappies in a landfill site.  They also take centuries to decompose and the plastic packaging they come in can rarely be recycled.

They also contain chemicals which are in constant contact with your baby’s skin.

Advantages to Cloth Nappies

The Girl modelling spotty knickers
The Girl modelling spotty knickers

Firstly, you never run out. They come in some amazing designs which means in the Summer, you can show off your baby’s cloth bum.  They create more bulk between the legs which helps with hip development, especially if your baby suffers with clicky hips. The poo is more contained within nappy which means you’re less likely to encounter, what I call, the Back Squirter – it will reach the neckline in some cases. You can save a lot of money especially by using washable wipes too.

Common Misconceptions to Using Cloth

My house will smell of poo.  Wrong.  Your house will smell of poo (and sick) anyway and cloth nappies really do not contribute to this.

The Boy modelling his Sister's cast offs.
The Boy modelling his Sister’s cast offs.

It increases the washing.  Unlikely.  Having constant back squirting accidents will increase the washing. I probably did a nappy wash 2-3 times weekly.  It’s easier to use a disposable when you’re out and about.  Not really.  You have to take a ridiculous amount of paraphernalia with you anyway so a couple of cloth nappies and cloth wipes don’t have that much impact.  I even used them when I went camping and used the guy ropes as drying lines. I would have liked to but I’m used to disposables now.  I have a confession to make.  I used disposables with the boy for about 7 months.  Alright, alright – I have double standards.  I have two sugars in my tea as well.  I made excuses about using disposables such as, “he has clothes that won’t fit if I use cloth nappies,” and “he wriggles too much for me to be able to get a cloth nappy on.”  In the 7 months, I tried to burn as many as possible in my Husband’s garden incinerator, probably polluting the atmosphere but that way I could justify them not going to landfill.  But then we had the wettest Autumn/Winter on record and nappy after nappy kept going in the bin.  The simple solution to my excuses was second hand All-in-One nappies.  Even though The Boy is over one, I figured I still have at least 12 months more before he potty trains so that’s 12 months of savings I can still make, to my pocket and the universe.  Don’t be put off by the second hand bit – you can pick up some brilliant bargains on Ebay, at NCT Nearly New Sales and local cloth nappy sales.

My Nappy Lady’s Top Five

#1.  The Pop-in. Good all rounder. Fits everyone well.

#2.  TotsBots Easy Fit. Slim fit so good for skinnies.

#3.  Pop n Gro. Good for chunkies.

#4.  Eccobots.  Great low cost, fast drying nappy.

#5.  Terry Squares.  Fit all sizes and best on a budget.

A great website to look at is the Go Real Nappy Information Service and also, I’m sure my Nappy Lady won’t mind me sharing her Facebook page if you want some more, brilliant information.

So, even if you’ve started using disposables, it really is never too late to start touching cloth.

My guy rope washing line
My guy rope washing line