Where it all began
Last year I was asked to comment on a piece that the lovely Eleanor Tucker was writing on whether a mother should top up with formula at any point and if it could increase the time that a mother was able to breastfeed for if advised to do it correctly, as a recent study had suggested. This is the article on Parentdish.
There were a couple of comments made on the article at the time that I responded too and one comment also made on the link to it here on my website, so I just wanted to write a response to it and reassure any mothers who may be feeling the negativity of similar comments with their own breastfeeding experience.
Here was the comment made on my website:
“It’s a shame you feel you are able to give advice about infant feeding, something that has long term health consequences, without appearing to have any relevant qualifications or, indeed, even an iota of knowledge or skill in this area. Are you an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or Breastfeeding Counsellor? If not, I plead with you, leave it to those of us who would never be egotistical enough to dub ourselves ‘experts’. Mothers deserve evidence-based support, counselling and the space to make as fully informed choices as possible, not ignorant advice from someone who clearly has no understanding of infant physiology or the science of lactation. Yet another nanny cashing in on vulnerable mothers.” – Maddie Mcmahon - 2013/10/02
This is my response to it!
Thank you for your comment. While I welcome all feedback both good and negative, I feel that your comment is rather critical to the mothers that have no choice but to offer a formula top up as a means to continue Breastfeeding!!
I have done lots of research into Breastfeeding, successfully breastfed my own 3 babies for 6months each and worked with HUNDREDS of mothers-95% who choose to breastfeed!
Because of the advice I have given they have all been able to successfully breastfeed their babies for much longer than they would have otherwise managed.
If you know so much about Breastfeeding then you should know that some mothers simply do not produce enough milk to solely breastfeed their baby long term.
One of my closest friends was pushed by midwives, her health visitor and breastfeeding support group to feed, feed, feed to increase her supply and solely bf her baby. She did exactly this for almost 2 weeks-barely moved off the sofa, offered no formula top ups at all and had a baby who cried day and night no matter how much she tried to feed him. His weight went from 10lbs 4 to 9lbs 1 in 2 weeks before the health professionals finally agreed that formula top ups were needed. He was immediately a much more settled baby-unfortunately she just didn't have the milk supply there to satisfy him and the constant feeding was exhausting her and making her resent all the time she spent trying to fill him up-making Breastfeeding a very stressful experience rather than the joyful one it should be!!
It is not practical for a mother to sit feeding their baby all day and night to increase supply-and even if they do, like the case above and many others I have encountered, it doesn't always work!
I do not advise formula top ups lightly. We try lots of other things to increase milk supply first but if a top up is needed it is always offered AFTER a FULL breastfeed so therefore has no effect on milk supply at all!
By using my advice mothers are able to continue Breastfeeding their baby for a longer period even if it means a couple of formula top ups are needed for a minority. If baby is happy then mum is happy and that is the ultimate aim for everyone regardless of how a baby is fed-whether it be breast milk or formula.
I would love to know what all you mummies think about the great debate! Let me know what you think on the forum.
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