Issue 92 is out now

Welcome to The Green Parent Forum

A place where you can chat to like-minded parents, form new friendships, share ideas, events and recipes. Use the search tool to find a wealth of information from the past 10 years of forum discussions. Register today and become part of our supportive community.

The time is fast approaching for Little Dude to arrive and I would love to breastfeed.  I had some pretty major issues when DD was born, I didn’t produce enough milk and she lost so much weight even the BF coach from the hospital told me to switch to formula.  I always assumed that I would automatically use formula second time round, but I woud dearly love to at least try to feed him myself, if only for him to get the colostrum and associated benefits for the first few days.

Any tips on how to successfully feed my baby boy?  Or how at least not to feel like a complete failure if I can’t?

Mamma to Hannah, age 8 and Jonas, 2


First off, scour Facebook and Google for breastfeeding support groups local to you. They are a completely untapped treasure trove of advice and support.

Secondly, hunt out the contact details for La Leche League, as they are an organisation who can help as well.

I’d also suggest asking at your hospital if they have a breastfeeding counsellor, but would always go for a local support group or LLL over hospital ones, from personal experience!

And the only advice I can give regarding the situation if you can’t breastfeed for whatever reason is the end of a blog post I wrote for Crafty by Nurture in 2012…

“1. Breastfeeding is hard.

2. Failing at breastfeeding is even harder.

If, for whatever reason, you can’t breastfeed, I hate to say it, but you ARE going to feel guilty. I can’t stop that. It’s as inevitable as the tide coming in. What I *can* do, is offer you a cup of tea and a cookie whilst my BOTTLE-FED son, my intelligent, creative, bright, shining light of a child plays in front of you… maybe reassuring you that actually, you can have both a ‘normal’ child, and a strong relationship with that child if you have to bottle-feed.

I would encourage all new mothers to try every means at their disposal to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship. But sometimes, sometimes, it doesn’t happen and bottles are the only way.

There is a horrible pressure on women to breastfeed, a horrible pressure that pushes that breast is best, and that it is easy, and you are a shitty mother if you can’t, and that you are less of a woman.

But that’s ok. I take your hand and tell you, It Is Ok. You Are Not A Failure. You Are Not Less Of A Woman, Nor A Crappy Mother.

Ru doesn’t resent me or make me feel guilty that I didn’t have a successful breastfeeding journey with him.

Your child won’t do it to you.”

Blue-haired crunchy Mama to Ru (5 yrs), Pixie Willow (3 years) and Baby Gaia (7 months).

Check out the new

MamaPixie on ETSY!

MamaPixie on FACEBOOK!

I would totally second finding a breastfeeding support group near you, your midwife/local NHS trust can give you details too. The la leche league and the association of breastfeeding mothers both have websites where you can find local meetings. There is also the breastfeeding helpline where they can offer advice too. If youre really determined to breastfeed then i would contact a counsellor before your baby comes, explain you worries and see what they Have to say. ive seen breastfeeding counsellors work miracles ! I don’t know if you have the money, but a friend of mine used a lactation consultant after the birth of her baby and said it was fantastic. The lady came to her house, spent one on one time with her and her baby and when she left she felt really confident and had no problems. I think it was about £50.

if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for whatever reason don’t feel guilty, your baby needs a happy and relaxed mother, not a stressed out one. However I would say that with the right support and advice successful breastfeeding really can happen even when a previous experience didn’t work out. Breastfeeding counsellors can really help so just make sure you have all of your support information ready in advance so you know where to go once your little one has arrived because unfortunately midwives are not always as well trained in breastfeeding and can sometimes make things more difficult - as I know from personal experience!

Good luck rainbowmama!

Association of breastfeeding mothers

La ls he league

Breastfeeding helpline

Unschooling Mama to River (7), Rain (4) and Blossom (2) xx

MamaPixie - 10 January 2014 07:08 PM

I’d also suggest asking at your hospital if they have a breastfeeding counsellor, but would always go for a local support group or LLL over hospital ones, from personal experience![/i]

Just wanted to say that some hospital/NHS support workers are excellent actually. It all depends on the area you live wink

MamaPixie - 10 January 2014 07:08 PM

There is a horrible pressure on women to breastfeed, a horrible pressure that pushes that breast is best, and that it is easy, and you are a shitty mother if you can’t, and that you are less of a woman.


Reading this makes me feel so sad, both that you feel this way, and that it means breastfeeding supporters are getting it so wrong. It’s my job to encourage mum’s to breastfeed but I would hope that I would never make a mum feel horribly pressurised into doing so. My job depends on getting mum’s to initiate breastfeeding and then continue for at least six weeks but I would never make a mum feel guilty for not doing so, and I’m sure neither would my colleagues. I wonder how many mama’s here felt they were pressurised to breastfeed? We all know breast is best, even if you can’t do it, it is still best, but there are alternatives if so. I can’t fathom feeling pressurised into breastfeeding, it is something all mamas should want to do. What I can understand is feeling pressured into continuing to breastfeed when for whatever reason you cannot or choose not. I have met so many mothers who suffered guilt over their decision to stop, far more than those who felt pressured to actually try.
It’s such a fine line between getting the message out there that breast is best, giving the education and support, and going so far that mothers are left feeling pressured and/or guilty about feeding.

I tried breast feeding my first baby and only managed a few days as my nipples giving more blood than milk and my poor baby had to scream and scream while i cried and cried trying to get my courage up to latch her on as i knew it would be excruciating. My Midwife said switching to bottle was the right choice… I feel I didn’t get the support I needed prior to birth or after birth and i didn’t have the knowledge that my milk supply would take longer because I was induced. With my second I vowed I wouldn’t put my baby through that again. Offered the breast in the hospital but he wouldn’t even open his mouth no matter what me or any midwife did to encourage him. After 24hrs of no feeds and having to be stabbed to get blood for his glucose test I was told I could only be discharged once he’d fed, which he wasn’t doing,  (and other poor mums were being turned away from delivery suite because there were no beds and I could give up my bed if they only let me home… . So I offered the bottle, he took it and we went home. I’ve since found out, due to his traumatic birth it’s quite normal for him not to feed within three first 24hrs. With my third baby I was determined to try bfing again. Having an elective c/s meant I stayed in hospital longer. I went to bfing classes before hand and learned how to latch on properly. When he was born it went wonderfully at first and then my milk came in and was in agony all the negativity I had from my first baby and feeding came flooding back and day 4 or 5 I “gave up"and offered a bottle. However, the next day I panicked and rang my friend to ask her to bring round her breast pump in the hope it would keep up my supply while I couldn’t bring myself to have him on my breast. Three breast pumps later and I could never get more than a dribble. Anyway, I kept pumping in the hope it would help from drying up. Once my boobs felt better I started taking Fenugreek capsules and began offering him the breast again.. this would have been about day 6. Obviously by then my supply had dwindled but we managed to keep up one or two feeds a day for the next five months.

After this huge long winded waffle… My point is, if it doesn’t feel like it’s working, there are other options… You don’t have to give up completely (it never occurred to me with the first two!)

And as for Becks post… Yes I’ve felt ridiculously guilty but not due to any midwives… They were all very unsupportive but never made me feel bad for what I did… In fact it was then that encouraged bottle feeding…. The one person who made me feel like I was wrong for bottle feeding was the breastfeeding class leader (last baby) who was also a midwife. At our baby massage class, once the session is over, she opened the door to the adjoining room and said “those of you who breastfeed can go in there and those that don’t can stay in here.” *shock horror!!* I combi fed! So I felt I didn’t belong anywhere!!!!!

I don’t know how much weight your baby lost, and the professionals may have been right that it was too much, but just wanted to say that *sometimes* hospitals and midwives can get quite hung up on the percentage your baby has lost without looking at the overall child. My first was over 9lb at birth. She lost quite a bit more than her allotted 10%, but was happy, looked plump, had plenty of wet nappies and was never dehydrated. I was told I would “have” to give formula if she hadn’t “significantly improved” by the following day, even though there was actually nothing wrong with her - she was a big baby who could afford to lose a little more than average babies. I was scared into pretty much force feeding her all day and night (I latched her on every hour - from the beginning of each feed), and thankfully she gained a bit. I’m very lucky that I was at home, not in hospital, where I suspect the pressure would have been even greater. I guess my advice would be to remember that *you* have rights in hospital - they can’t tell you that you “can’t” leave without feeding your baby first - you are not a prisoner, and your baby *might* feed better in a less stressful environment - stress can have a big role in inhibiting milk production, and also to look at (and make staff look at) your baby as an individual - is the baby happy and content with wet nappies and a healthy fontanel? If so, you probably don’t have a lot to worry about, and getting stressed about it could just exacabate the “problem”.

Angie Sea Glass Jewellery from the beautiful South Coast[/color] , Nannie Cool - for beautiful slings, playsilks, toys, nappy wraps and accessories made by Grace’s Nannie. All designs are “Approved by Grace”

Just to add, that with our second, we ditched the scales for that very reason. She was weighed at birth and then we refused (which you are totally within your rights to do). It meant that our HCPs *had* to look at the overall child rather than the weight charts. Nobody had any concerns about her…...

Angie Sea Glass Jewellery from the beautiful South Coast[/color] , Nannie Cool - for beautiful slings, playsilks, toys, nappy wraps and accessories made by Grace’s Nannie. All designs are “Approved by Grace”

Breastfeeding support programmes around here are really brilliant now - I hope there’s something near you. I think it’s really important to know that not all babies are the same at feeding. My dd1 took to it immediately and I never had a moment of concern. Ds was a total nightmare, I was a wreck for six weeks and I think I’d have given up had he been my first and had I not had the positive experience with dd1. I was worried with dd2, in case we had the same problems, but again, she was a natural and it was totally fine. This time around, I don’t know what will happen but I know I have a huge amount of support available if I need it since there are such great networks, both NHS-run voluntary schemes and privately, so fingers crossed all will be well. Good luck smile xx

I think the main problem is, we take advice from the midwives as they should know what’s best so as with all health care professionals, you put your trust in them as they *should* know what they’re doing. However, coming from a professional educational/care background i’d say that sometimes a professionals hands are tied! Most of my job I thought was “wrong”. Ofsted require things that go against my belief and childcare services are certainly not just out for the best for the child… And a lot comes down to money. Hence why i can’t work in that field anymore. They let the most vulnerable children down because of funds. Which I feel was the same in my second birth experience and possibly my first. I needed less support (ie less money because back then in my area they didn’t have volunteer bf support workers) so if I bottle fed it meant I could be discharged and they could give my bed to another mum.

It’s fine to refuse advice etc if you are 100% certain what you’re doing is right but if you’re not, you take advice from the professionals.

Also, if you have the confidence to ask for help/support you’ll get lots. But if you’re shy like me you won’t get any as they won’t know you need it.

Thanks all, I felt under a lot of pressure when I had DD and when I couldn’t feed her for more than 10 days I felt like the worst mama ever.  I’m still kind of in two minds about whether to feed or stick to formula, but I’m going to go to the BF workshops and see if I can at least try.  but will try not to be too hard on myself if it goes pear shaped.  After all, DD was a formula baby and she is the healthiest kid I ever met!

Mamma to Hannah, age 8 and Jonas, 2


Share this with friends

Recent Posts