Saturday, April 18, 2009

How to Make Breastfeeding Difficult

Here's something I found in a discussion group. It would be funny if it weren't so darned true.

By the way, if you or someone you know is breastfeeding or is expecting to do so, make sure that you DON'T do any of these things, despite the fact that plenty of well-meaning people, even medical professionals, will tell you to do them.

How to Make Breastfeeding Difficult

Linda J. Smith, BSE, FACCE, IBCLC

1. Tell the mother to "feed on a 4-hour schedule" or "get the baby on a schedule." This results in a low milk supply and a hungry, frustrated baby and frustrated parents. Be sure to blame the crying on breastfeeding. If this doesn't work, warn her to limit the length of feeds, which will accomplish the same thing.

2. Be sure to "get the baby used to a bottle." This can result in a confused baby who refuses the breast. It's also a great way to lower the milk supply and undermine the mother's confidence.

3. Tell her she doesn't have enough milk if:

"The baby wants to nurse again after only 2-3 hours"...OR

"The baby will take 2 ounces of formula after nursing"...OR

"Your breasts aren't full and uncomfortable all the time"

Since milk supply insecurity is the primary cause of lactation failure, this will introduce an element of doubt and fear to the whole process.

4. Tell her she can't or shouldn't nurse if:

"She wants to eat chocolate (or Mexican food or cabbage, etc.)"...OR

"She smokes or wants to take medication"...OR

"She's going back to work/school in a few weeks"....OR

"She wants to go out in public...nursing requires privacy"...OR

"Her breasts are too small (or large)"...OR

"Her mother couldn't"...OR

"She's too nervous"...

Find as many reasons for NOT breastfeeding as you can, and look for ANY reason to interrupt it. Put as much distance between mother and baby as possible.

5. Insist that "Dad should give the baby a bottle or he'll feel left out." This is another good way to minimize the importance of breastfeeding.

6. Tell her it may hurt to breastfeed, and that sore, cracked nipples are normal. Pain is an excellent adverse stimulus. Don't teach her how to position the baby correctly. Do give her a nipple shield, give the baby lots of bottles to disrupt the proper suck, and tell her to rub her nipples with a rough towel to "condition" them. And be sure to tell her every "horror story" you've ever heard about breastfeeding, in graphic detail.

7. Tell her to give the baby formula, glucose water and cereal right from the beginning, to make the baby sleep. This is another good way to insure inadequate milk supply. Tell her that her milk might be too rich or too thin. Try and make her think that formula is the "safer" option, and that there is something wrong with her milk even if she's lucky enough to have enough of it .This will further shatter her confidence.

8. Separate her from her baby at birth, and show by your actions that water, formula, pacifiers, and scheduled feedings are the appropriate way to care for the baby. Since she is especially vulnerable at this time and will follow your example, be sure to tell her how little breastfeeding matters. This will help her distrust her instincts even more.

9. Don't teach her the normal course of infant behavior. Don't warn her about growth spurts and frequency days. Don't call or visit her, and be sure to abandon her in the critical first two weeks. Blame breastfeeding for anything you can think of, and make up reasons to stop breastfeeding if necessary.

10. Give her plenty of formula samples to take home to further weaken her confidence. Make sure the literature you give her has many references to formula, and doesn't tell her how to keep her milk supply up. Make sure she doesn't call a La Leche League Leader, Lactation Consultant, breastfeeding peer counselor, or anyone else knowledgeable about breastfeeding.

All these tactics, individually or collectively, will discourage breastfeeding.
© 1986 Linda J. Smith


The Reluctant Crunchy Mama said...

So true. So many people around me did many of the things listed on the article. Now their thing is "you have to wean her." Mind your business, thank you very much! Aren't we glad we didn't listen?! Breastfeeding is awesome!

Sarah R said...

OMGoodness, so true! Ugh, I get so annoyed when I hear time after time people saying the same old lies.

I am proud to be "still" nursing my 20 month old son, and am happy to rebut any negative remarks about extended nursing.

Yay for boobies! :)

mommybird said...

That is SOOOOO true. My lactation consultant and the nurses at the hospital for my first baby were the main reason I ended up pumping and feeding. "If there's any discomfort the latch is wrong." "It's been 24 hours since she was born and she's only latched once, she's going to get sick if you don't feed her formula now." What did I know as a first time mom at 19. So glad nursing is working this time because it's hard to bond with a pump.

mlgbears31 said...

How about "You can't leave the hospital until she latches for 45 minutes at a time" Just what a new mom needs to hear from an LC. I cried the whole day. And did not continue to breastfeed once I got home.

the mol said...

Although it has made things a lot easier that The Boy isn't nursing anymore, I regret weaning him. 15 months is still pretty good, and pregnancy is generally a good reason to stop, but I'm certain that if he wants to resume when the new baby is born, I'll let him.

The Reluctant Crunchy Mama said...

What was weaning like for you and The Boy, if you don't mind me asking? How did he do with the transition? Anything in particular that made the transition more manageable for you?