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Breast Milk ..... can a mother deny it !

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous in Parenting' started by shipika, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. shipika

    shipika New IL'ite

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    Hi All,
    I am here for some advice Dearies...... pls look into this :-
    My brothers wife who is 22 yrs old(love marriage) has delivered her second child.She had the second kid within a period of 14 months of her first delivery. The second baby is a low weight baby(2 kgs). Doctors say maybe this due to her getting pregnant immediately after the first baby..... her body may not have replenished all that it wants.

    The problem is ..... she is not interested in B/f the babies, she b/f the first kid only for a week and then Abruptly stopped b/f the baby saying she doesn't have any milk and the baby is crying non-stop coz of hunger.... though i tried all possible ways to explian it to her, saying u keep feeding the baby and ur body automatically start generating the milk and u need to get paitent. But it really fell on deaf ears. We also adviced her of seeing a lactation consultant.... but then whole thing was burried so fast .... that we got a doubt she is not interested at all.... so we couldn't say any more(we here refer to my parents who were with her for her delivery)and my brother never bothered to even discuss it. The baby was put on formula right from the second week.

    Now the same case is being repeated the second time.....but this time the case is serious,since the baby is already a small baby, So i wanted a honest opinion from all you ladies. Should i as a sil tell her more firmly or will it sound intruding. I am really concerned about the baby not getting its mothers milk..... when i see so many of working moms leaving their jobs to just B/f their baby.

    P.S :- I have no other problem with my bro's wife..... we have been having a very formal cordial relationship other than this issue.... never i have tried to cross my limits and she is very happy with that... and she considers me to be a very good human being.

    P.S Please Moderators.... its not really a problem with in-laws..... thats why i didn't post in Relationship Forum..... but if u feel u can certainly move it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
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  2. Ansuya

    Ansuya Platinum IL'ite

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    Yes, a mother can.

    Shipika

    This is a minefield of an issue, so I'm very hesitant to post my honest opinions here. As such, I hope you take my suggestions and advice in the spirit with which they are intended: for you to get peace of mind about your brother's children's health, and to also start trusting your SIL about the decisions she makes for her children.

    Also, I'm asking the very well-informed breastfeeding experts here on IL not to take my post in the wrong way. I acknowledge that breastmilk is the best nutrition for an infant, but I also believe that it is not something that should be pursued at all costs. I'm all for respecting the nutritional decision that each mother makes for her baby, no matter what that decision is (within reason, of course).

    So, Shipika, the first question to address is, should you talk to your SIL more firmly, or will it sound intrusive? Honestly, I do think you will be intruding if you foist your opinions or preferences on her, even if you are in the right. Each mother has to deal with a unique set of circumstances and challenges. Unless your SIL has explicitly asked for your help and advice (and it doesn't sound like she, or your brother, has), you and your parents should stay out of her business. The only time you would be justified in interfering in the upbringing of their children is if some great harm, criminal neglect, or the like, is being done to them. Formula-feeding does not fit into that category.

    I know you and your parents are interfering out of love and concern, but at a stressful time like this, your care and concern would be better expressed if you showed some respect for the decisions your brother and his wife are making. Even if you think your SIL is young, or inexperienced, it is up to her to figure out how best to bring up her children, together with your brother. Comparing her to other mothers (the working mothers who leave work to breast-feed their babies) is not fair.

    The other point that I think is pertinent to your situation is, formula is actually better than breast-milk for weight gain. Although there is some debate about whether this is entirely healthy in a normal infant in the long run, it certainly addresses your concern about the underweight infant not getting sufficient nutrition. As long as the infant in question is not having an adverse reaction to formula, it is unlikely he or she will suffer any long-term ill-effects if formula-fed.

    I understand that all of this might run contrary to what you have always believed. But I also think that a big part of living harmoniously with family members and friends is for us not to impose our ideas, values, likes, and dislikes on them. Even if it is an established scientific fact (breastmilk IS the best nutrition for an infant), at the end of the day, your SIL is the only one who can actually breastfeed her baby. You can advise her to do it, but you can't step in for her. So, you can never really know or understand why she chooses not to. And she is not obliged to explain it to you.

    On a personal note, I was a formula-fed baby. My brain works just fine (most of the time), I'm in good physical shape and always have been, and I have a very good relationship with my mother. I recently had a baby and she has been formula-fed almost from birth. She is six months old, and she is developing very well. This does not mean that I advocate formula over breastmilk (like I said, it's a very personal choice that I think each mother should make for herself). I am telling you all of this to reassure you that formula feeding is not automatically going to have catastrophic consequences.

    I hope I have been able to reassure you in some way. I think you should go a little easier on your SIL. Even if you are still anxious on her behalf, you may want to figure out how to keep that anxiety to yourself. Don't judge your SIL for her choices, because it may sour the currently good relationship you have with her. I hope I haven't offended you with any of my suggestions here. If you're still worried, here's a link that may assuage some of your fears:

    Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding

    P.S. How are you enjoying South Africa, if that's where you are? All ready for the World Cup?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  3. Sujimallige

    Sujimallige Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Shipika,

    I agree with your concern here that BM is the best food for a kid . BUT i dont think you can tell your sil what to do and what not to.I personally feel BFing is a v personal issue and would rather feel offended if anybody and everybody spoke to me about it.
    My advice as a friend,dont suggest anything until you are directly asked for.Even then just stay with a reasonable limit.
    My sil (husband sister) spoke for everything,whether it was anything related to her or not she had an opinion and she always spoke so the net result is- we dont speak to each other any more.Always suggesting me what to do and such stuff.As you say that you are having a decent relationship pls try to maintain that.

    suji
     
  4. shipika

    shipika New IL'ite

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    Ansuya,

    Thats was such an intelligent explanation to my emotions, Frankly speaking,.... even i had my own doubts of intruding in somebodies personal choice or decision making.
    Not that i am trying to use my superiority over my sil..... but i was just feeling bad for the baby or the level of immaturity which the girl has. It is not that she is physically weak or ill.... thats where i was not able to pacify my mind.

    Regarding B/f or formula..... i still belong to old school, so my choice would be for the former..... but again i do respect those who are not able to or in a position to b/f.

    But as you said,its upto them and Formula fed kids are healthy too:). Your post really convinced me and have come to a decision that its better i just keep my concerns to myself.

    Thank you friend so much for ur reply..... it made me think quite clear.

    P.S :- To be honest..... i am not from south africa.

    Shipika
     
  5. shipika

    shipika New IL'ite

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    Suji,

    Thank you for the response...... as said earlier,i always try to maintain my line. just that was getting a little over concerned about the baby. i do understand my stand ..... thats why i preferred to raise my concern here.:)

    shipika
     
  6. Ansuya

    Ansuya Platinum IL'ite

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    Shipika

    I'm very glad I was able to help. Thank you for taking my comments and suggestions so well. You are right to take an active interest in the health of your little nieces or nephews, but you are also right to step back and question just how "active" that interest should be.

    Many debatable issues are bound to come up over the years regarding what your brother and SIL choose to do for their children. You will agree with their practices in some instances, and not in others. I think you're being very mature and considerate in respecting their privacy, and the decisions they make.

    As Suji has so insightfully pointed out with her own personal experience, unsolicited or aggressive advice-giving can be the ruin of a relationship. It is much better for your brother's children if their aunt has a good relationship with their parents. That way, you can continue to contribute to their lives in a meaningful way, without overstepping boundaries and causing resentment.

    Enjoy being an aunt to your nieces or nephews - I'm sure you're a good one ;)
     
  7. tikka

    tikka Gold IL'ite

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    Ansuya, I respect your decision to formula feed your child; I dont look at your decision to formula feed as "a failure by the mother to provide the best for the child" but as the failure of the system that is in place to help a mother troubleshoot her breastfeeding issues.
    But I want to address the inaccuracies in your posts.

    Yes, formula feeding even feeding just once is known to trigger latent cow milk allergies the child is born with. Anecdotally I can talk of around a dozen people within my family/friend circle who say the hospital forced formula on the child in the initial days and though they were able to breastfeed exclusively after their release from hospital, the child lives with allergies for the rest of their lives. Yes, it is anecdotal. Fortunately, it does not happen for all children, but unfortunately there is no way to tell if a child is going to have food allergies or intolerances which can be life-threatening or reduces the quality of life for long.
    So if the mother does not know it and is formula feeding because most formula fed children are healthy, then she should be told the negative effects of formula, including food poisoning, adulteration, un-sterilised formual (only liquid formula is pasteurised.)
    On the contrary, exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months is known to prevent/delay the incidence of asthma and allergic reactions.

    Compared on one oz to one oz basis, breastmilk has more calories. Mature human milk is known to have betten 20 to 22 kcal/oz while formula provides 18 kcal per oz. It is not formula in itself that leads to childhood obesity but the way formula is fed. If your formula feeding mimics breastfeeding in length and satiety and is not forcefed, formula will provide the similar amount of weight gain as breastfeeding will. Here is a link on bottlenursing techniques

    That said, I do agree with you that there is no point in just forcing a mother to breastfeed without addressing the issue. Shipika, if your SIL does try bfing, gentle encouragements on how well the baby is gaining could help. Most newmoms cant bear to see their tiny infants (including me). I had a 1.95 kg preemie who dropped to 1.7 kg.
    My milk did not come in for the first 6 days (yes, it can happen to women with underlying hormone issues like hypothyroidism, which I had), so it was tiny amounts of colostrum. He dropped weight so fast and had rather serious newborn jaundice that the paed advised he be put on formula for alternate feeds.
    The hospital nurses did not let me breastfeed as I was advised and were scheduling the child (I wish I knew better then, but now I can tell you how difficult it was for me to override those nurses, the supposedly better informed professionals).
    My child did not cry, he would not even whimper when blood was drawn. He was a drowsy kid, so if I did not catch him rooting then he would go back to sleep without a feed. I have been where your sister in law is at and it is tough to resist formula feeding if it is pushed by health professionals.
    The only reason I got breastfeeding exclusively was that DS started showing signs of reflux from day 3 and would vomit every single drop of formula that went into him (he was not bottle fed, but fed from cup and spoon).
    DS also had colic, that meant he cried nonstop for a couple of hours every day for almost 6 weeks. Other moms with colic-y babies here will tell you it is a part of baby's maturing nervous system. I am sure formula feeding mothers will also attest their children also had colic, it has nothing to do with breastfeeding or insufficient supply.
    I wont go into the family dynamics, you will be a better judge of how it will work with your family. But if the question were to ever come up and if you are asked for help, please just dont re-iterate bfing is a demand and supply thing. There could be so many other issues like shallow latch, painful latch, overactive letdown, over supply and the discomfort that causes, reflux that can come in the way of a mom bfing. An LC need not necessarily help, but if a mom's feelings are validated it could go a mile in getting her to bf (whether exclusively or not)
     
  8. vimala1957

    vimala1957 Bronze IL'ite

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    Re: Yes, a mother can.

    Very well said Ansuya. I go with your views.
     
  9. tikka

    tikka Gold IL'ite

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    Shipika, If you are interested in providing support to your SIL, no matter what her decision is, this site may help you provide that support while you reconcile your emotions about it. I weaned my child when he was 29 months old and trust me everyone around me turned up their noses at my bf-ing a preschooler... so no matter what a mom does there will be people finding fault with her, as I am sure you have found out yourself. I am absolutely sure, a young mom like your SIL will appreciate your support in raising her kids.
    I am not a traditionalist, if I lived in the west I would have been called a breastfeeding Nazi (I prefer lactivist :) )
    I am not on a mission to convert, I would like to dispel myths about breastfeeding that is happily passed around as "modern science". So Ansuya, if the previous post sounded harsh, I hope you know I bear you no ill-will.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  10. Vandanaa

    Vandanaa New IL'ite

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    Hi Shipika

    This is my opinion.
    Considering your SIL to be a very normal person,the chances of she purposefully denying milk is almost nil. Regarding the milk quantity people say keep continuing the breastfeeding and the kid gets enough milk.

    But i feel the following things will definitely impact the amount of milk flow.

    1.Stress before and after delivery
    2.Underweight Baby suggestd the mother would have not eaten properly before delivery (May be due to Nausea)
    3.Being Anaemic during pregnancy might be another reason

    Body conditions of each lady differ from person to person.
    I have also seen people commenting on such less breastfeeding ladies are more worried about their breast appearance.But all these are just weird thoughts.

    It would be really good if you can extend your just moral support to her rather than advicing or scolding.If you started getting too much in to it your brother will also end up arguing with ur SIL and it might increase the tension in ur SIL.
    No body can be more good to a kid than its own mother.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010

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