Monday, July 18, 2011

I'll Admit it... I Judge When I See Formula...

... but I'm not judging the mothers. I'm judging the failed system that led that mother down and let her to needing to depend on an artificial substitute.



HOW can you be a pediatrician, lactation consultant/counselor, family practitioner, nurse, peer, or human being and not figure out that your advice is repeatedly ending a breastfeeding mothers relationship? Haven't you realized that almost every mother who comes to you with trouble is no longer nursing at four months? Shouldn't you wake up and get yourself some training so you are better at your job? This IS a part of your job! If you were a mechanic who knew nothing about fixing electrical components of cars and kept breaking peoples cars by pretending you knew what you were doing you'd probably be in jail by now!

I put pediatricians on the highest fault level because most other professionals probably don't see a follow up to know if their advice worked or not. Typically newborns are seen at 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, and 16 weeks. That's six times in their first four months of life. When moms ask for my advice its almost always the same concerns, and just trusting your body, baby, and boobs is almost always my answer. If your baby is happy and having wet diapers - it's ALL GOOD. I wish pediatricians would get on the same page about that and stop dolling out horrible advice about feeding schedules, expecting a specific weight gain as compared to a formula fed baby, and just not understanding anything about the natural process.

A good point was brought up to me the other day about my concerns about weight gain with Chicklett. She gained only 2 oz from 4 to 6 months, and another 11 oz during a 6 week trial follow up period - she fell from being 40th percentile down to 15th. I was positive they were going to try and talk to me about supplementing with formula. Fortunately, they did not. BUT... in the hands of the wrong pediatrician I could certainly see it happening. What advice would doctors give a mother with a formula fed baby who had the same weight gain pattern? Would they suggest she find some breastmilk or start lactating? Why are pediatricians so quick to always blame the breastmilk whenever there is a problem?

Are there good professionals out there? Of course there are... but they certainly aren't required to know anything about breastfeeding to be a pediatrician. How can we change that? Demand more from your health care providers. Report when you are given false information. Seek out pediatricians that have taken the time to do specialized training. In most situations you are warrent enough time to ask for a second opinion, have an appointment with an LC or IBCLC, and ask around your support groups. If it is not an immediate life or death situation you have time to ask for these things! Most of all trust your gut instinct. You know what is best for your baby. If your pediatrician isn't running in sync with your instincts it is time to look elsewhere.

18 comments:

  1. I wholeheartedly agree. I wrote a post once about how it's not moms who use formula, but the formula people (including doctors that get swept up in merchandising and formula charts) that I can't stand. I truly feel that healthcare professionals should be more responsible about the care that nursing moms and babies get.

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  2. I always tell new moms to add the breastfeeding issue to their questions when interviewing pediatricians. I interviewed a few pediatricians and the one I went with was a 100% pro breastfeeding. The others initially gave me the "we'll see how it goes and then determine what's best speech." I know what's best!!! Breastmilk!

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  3. It makes me sad because some women - even whither awesome support just don't want to world hard enough. Before I get flamed
    - THREE family members with babies born this year wanted to BF. I am a breastfeeding counselor, have 2.5 yrs BFing experience, and am a LLL leader. They all BF'd in the hospital, latches were good, but none of them BF after 3 weeks. One said it was too tiring, one said it hurt to much, and ones baby had a tounge tie and made it extremely painful to BF, which led to pumping, but not on a good schedule, led to milk supply loss, and then formula. Even with my offers of help and encouragement they just gave up. I just do not understand.

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  4. Some women and doctors just don't feel as passionately about breastfeeding as you all do. Guess what? That's ok! If a mom doesn't want to BF for whatever reason that's her decision to make. I'm so tired of BF moms getting down on FF moms. Do what you want to do with your children, but stop pointing fingers at others who don't follow your line of thinking.

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  5. "Anonymous" did you read the blog post? I'm not talking about women who CHOSE to formula feed. I'm talking about women who desperately want to breastfeed and their doctors don't know crap about it, so they give them horrible advice which leads to the mothers failing at breastfeeding. It happens OVER and OVER and OVER again.

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  6. We're not getting down on FF moms...we're getting down on the system that sets moms who want to BF to fail because they are uneducated, don't care, etc. Please make sure that you read posts before passing judgements on the post itself.

    Does this post point fingers? YES. Does it point fingers at moms who CHOOSE to Formula Feed? NO. It points fingers at the people who are SUPPOSED to support moms in their decisions.

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  7. Mother Hen-
    I have been have been EBF my 12 month old son and started solids at about 8.5 months. He was 8lbs 8oz at birth and is now 18lbs 15oz which puts him in the 5% for weight. His head and length are in the 25%. From 9 months to 12 months he only gained 3 ounces. The peditrician wanted to know how long I planned on breastfeeding (when Stockton decides he wants to wean) and told me he needs 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. He was very nice, but I felt like he was blaming me for his poor weight gain. Now reading this post about Chicklett being slow to gain I feel a little bit better knowing she is healthy. My question is how did you get her to gain 11oz in 6 weeks? The doctor would like him to gain .5 ounces a day which is about a pound in a month...yikes! He nurses anywhere from 3-5 times day if I offer more he refuses. His eating hbits are horrible. He is very picky and will hardley eat anything in much quanitity. The doctor wants me to give him pedisure nd/or carnation instnt breakfast with whole milk. He will have no part of it. He won't take a bottle and the only thing he will drink from a cup is water. Any suggestions? I don't want to stop nursing at all, but I m starting to think maybe I should wean him and then he would eat more and drink whole milk...I have been following your blog for some time now and check almost daily because I hve found it to be a great source of encouragement! Thanks in advance for any advice you my have!
    Leah

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  8. I did a few things, starting with fenugreek which was a horrible idea. It gave me too more foremilk and made my children INSANE. I limited how much my toddler was nursing and snuck in some dream feeds with my infant. I've also come to realize that I simply may have weighed her right after nursing the first time and then perhaps she was due for a feeding the next time - so then however many oz she had just drank would be on scale throwing off the measurement. Know what I mean? Maybe at 4 months she had JUST nursed 8 oz of breastmilk and then at 6 months she hadn't nursed right before so her empty tummy threw off the numbers. There really are so many factors. We just had her weighed at the doctors office yesterday and she was 14.5 at 9 months old. Some kids are just little!

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  9. Oh, and thank you for the kind words about our blog and support! (I was one-handed typing while hiding in the basement during a thunderstorm)

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  10. "What advice would doctors give a mother with a formula fed baby who had the same weight gain pattern? Would they suggest she find some breastmilk or start lactating? "

    This is ingenious. I'd very seriously like to know the answer. It's probably adding cereal to the formula. I'm fortunate to have a pediatrician that is pro-bf because the majority of her patients are young, low income, single moms who never even considered it. They're thrilled to see my 26 lb 8 month old come rolling in their office. However, another doc in the practice has thrown more booby traps at me than I can count. I am so grateful that I have the knowledge that I have. But I wonder how many moms this guy has derailed with his crap-ass advice.

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  11. I have been "judged" because sometimes, depending on the situation, I use a bottle when out in public and people think its formula. My daughter is EBF, by the way. But without asking, I get the nasty tone and "what are you feeding your baby? Similac? Ugh!"
    It's discouraging because I work very hard at breastfeeding and working full time, it's not easy, but I do it for my baby!
    So please, it's not always formula in that bottle! Careful when you judge!

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    1. Bonnie, this blog post has nothing to do with judging bottle feeding moms. It's about judging the system that claims it's there to support mothers only to end up failing them.. please read more than just the title of the post. :)

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  12. I can answer some of the question about babies that are dropping weight percentiles and are exclusively FF: add FAT! They want you to make them rich, heavy foods. Forget orange slices for a snack, offer whole milk yogurt, heavily buttered toast with peanut butter. Make mashed potatoes with lots of cream and butter, butter and cream the veggies. Offer higher fat cuts of meat, so forget chicken breast offer only chicken thigh meat with a little skin on. Try to add olive oil or coconut oil to their meals. Skip the rice/oatmeal cereal because it is filling but not high calorie or fattening. Offer cream of wheat made with butter and cream. Offer lightly scrambled egg yolks with buttered 'egg bread' (french toast with only egg yolks). Basically, fatten that kid up by pumping them full of fattening, high calorie foods and try to skip the filling, low cal, lowfat foods like fresh raw veggies/fruits, oats, rice, lowfat yogurt, etc.

    I experienced a similar experience with my 4th baby and my OB's office. It was from the OB and went through all the nurses, particularly the head RN that was in control of doling out the Rx's for the doc's when patients called...she was also the one you dealt with and she determined if you were warranted an appt w/ the OB. My and baby came down with thrush at 5 weeks PP. It was horrible and it just exploded overnight. It is very hot and humid here in the summer and a day out running errands and sweating up a storm just blew up the very mild case of thrush we were getting. It was horribly painful and within 12 hours I could barely handle the idea of the next nursing session...which you know is soon for a 5 week old newbie. I did some research, called LLL, etc. Was told to try nystatin, gentian violet, etc but if no improvement get Diflucan. Now my OB and the nurses said 'stop nursing' you will make the baby very sick, you will not be able to heal. All of this without every looking at my breast to see how they were. After several phone calls over the course of a week with no relief from the nystatin cream, nystatin oral for the baby and 2 rounds of gentian violet, I called the LLL who was adamant that we needed to try Diflucan if I was sure that I couldn't go much longer without quitting. I was not letting down for the pump and I was very engorged and she was worried this would end with thrush and mastitis and the demise of nursing for me. So I called my OB, again I got the nurse after she spoke w/ the doc. I was told no Diflucan if I was still nursing. Diflucan is very dangerous for infants and can not be Rx'd to nursing mothers. I was dumbfounded and after googling I found that was very inaccurate. So I called my child's ped explained the situation and she ordered the baby Diflucan and I continued with the nystatin cream for 2 more days. Baby was getting better, I was not, at all. I called OB again and finally had to LIE and tell them I stopped nursing. She called the Diflucan Rx in 5 mins later and 2 days after that we were both nursing comfortably again. Had I listened to the nurse, who was sympathetic but very adamant, and quite nursing because I was not going to heal and only hurt the baby then my nursing relationship would have ended at 5 weeks. Thankfully, I was not a new mother who was unaware of the resources out there for breastfeeding. Now, at 22, with my first I would have followed the nurses advice because you're supposed to be able to trust your medical providers. At 22, I didn't even know what a lactation consultant was. My first baby was started on Similac formula right from delivery. After she was born and weighed the first thing the nurses did was hand me a little 1oz RTF Similac formula bottle with nipple attached and tell me to only feed her half. Not once did they suggest or recommend nursing.

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  13. Continued:

    I didn't experience nursing because my mom FF all 4 of her children and I being the eldest by 10 years only ever FF my siblings. I can't honestly recall nursing every coming up in school even during health class when reproduction and child birth was covered.

    I am still actively nursing my 21-month old DD and I have the internet and my local LLL leaders that were so kind to answer their cell phones at 9pm to a mom in tears needing advice and support. We plan to follow self-wed weaning up until she's 3. Once she hits 3 I will start to wean her

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    1. WOW! That is an amazing story! You should write a guest blog for us! :)

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  14. Haha - I think she just did! And not that I mind, but why is my picture on the Facebook post for this blog post?

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    1. Well, I meant an official one with pictures and details and whatnot. But yeah, she pretty much did a great outline!

      What photo are you talking about? The pediatrician one?

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  15. With my first son, his pedi convinced me that he needed formula, because he was low in Vitamin D. He gained slowly and I was sure it was my fault. With this baby, her pedi is amazing! He said not to stress about Vitamin D at this point, and that all babies grow differently. My daughter is growing just fine and is perfectly happy. She's had a handful of formula bottles in her 4 months of life, but she gets breast milk 99.9% of the time! :)

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