Pushing the Breast

Breast feeding, Image by FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Breast feeding, Image by FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Michael Bloomberg the mayor of New York is demanding that hospitals in the area stop giving away free baby formula. Bloomberg and the hospitals want to promote breastfeeding with new mothers.  I do believe that breast is best but some people due to medical reasons and non-medical reasons have issues with breast feeding.

In the article, “Call to hide formula to force more mums to breastfeed!” on Kidspot.com.au, states that mothers who want formula need to have a medical reason and will get a lecture from staff on the benefits of breastfeeding.

I do agree with the Kidspot article as not everyone can or does breastfeed, this pressure to do so, can cause more PND (Post Natal Depression) and the mother feeling like a failure. I for one had issues as my babies were so small they could not latch on correctly. I had to get a nipple thingy that goes over my nipple so the babies could suck correctly.

As I had twins, I never managed to do the dual breastfeed correctly and at home I expressed my breast milk till both girls were five months, and during that time I added formula for the night feeds. This break that formula gave me was great as it allowed me to make more milk. I expressed after each formula feed in the evening to show my body that I still needed to make more milk and also drank a pint of water after each feed. This helped me a great deal.

I don’t believe that you can dictate what a mother does, breast milk or formula. It should be up to the mother and her family. The initiative according to the article will start on the 3rd of September and 27 out of 40 hospitals will partake. It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this is.

Many comments from readers on the Kidspot article say that it is not much different to Australian hospitals and I tend to agree, I was told that I was not allowed to leave until my twins were gaining weight and were all on breast milk feeds, via actual breastfeeding. As I said before, I did not dual breastfeed and that left doing it one at a time. As a new mum you are already not getting any sleep, why make it less by feeding kids one at a time, feeding the babies together maximised the time I had to do things and for them and me sleeping. It also fostered a great routine for us, pity that routine has flown out the window, but as the twins are nearly four that is probably to be expected.

I would say that the hospitals here have a negative opinion of formula but when the twins were first born they went straight into intensive care, the nurses were ringing me to ask for breast milk, but I had no idea how to get breast milk, and I only just had them. I felt harassed and just upset about the whole situation. I eventually got colostrum but that was less than 5mls, it did get better each day but I was not making much in the early days.

The NICU (Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit) fed them formula as they needed to be fed, but they did not like it, I had no other option, although one of my twins decided she hated formula and was nil by mouth. All breast milk went to her and if extra was over it went to the other baby. You work with what you are faced with, as a new mother you have no idea if you can or can’t breast feed. This is something you think you can do until you find out you have issues. Why make things worse for new mums, give them options not hurdles.

In a post called “Breast v’s Bottle” I discuss how I felt in the early days about breast feeding with twins. It is very similar to this story but more about a father using bottle feeding to help out. This week is breast feeding week a time to increase awareness and celebrate, maybe this is why we are hearing more of these pro breast feeding stories. I do think breast is best, but it is up to the individual what ends up happening. You can plan to breast feed and not be able to. What are your thoughts? Were you able to breast feed? Did you supplement with formula at some stage or was it all breast milk? Send in your comments.


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