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My OB/GYN Told Me I "HAD" to Breastfeed!

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When talking to my OB about my hesitations about breastfeeding she told me "You have to. At least for two weeks!" Huh? I'll make that decision, thank you.

breastfeeding mom

Momlogic's Talitha: I was expecting to hear a lot of criticism and judgment about what I should and shouldn't do while pregnant, and after I give birth. My mother sends me texts when it's time to drink a glass of milk, and reminds me that "the baby only eats when you eat." I've gotten used to that now. But when debating whether or not to breastfeed, I was absolutely shocked when I consulted my doc and she told me I simply "had" to do it.

Now, I am open to hearing why it might be best for my baby, but I am not open to being told what to do. For some women, maybe breastfeeding doesn't make as much sense as for others. If I choose not to do it, will that make me a bad mom? No. Will it make me a better mom if I do breastfeed? No. I happen to think, after doing my research, that it will take a huge toll on me and our household, as I will likely be returning to work soon after giving birth. Go on, tell me I can pump at work and breast milk is so much better and blah blah blah, but frankly, I am really tired of people pointing the finger and passing judgment on choices that are mine, and mine only.

And while I'm at it, I am totally turned off by the childbirth class preaching breastfeeding and in a roundabout way telling me "I have to do it." Why is this acceptable? In a recent article, one woman spoke out about her experience giving birth and the nurse literally "shoving" the baby onto her breast. When she told the nurse she wasn't breastfeeding, the nurse said "Oh yes you are!" WTF? It's very difficult to understand how a trained professional can get away with something like that. Is SHE the mother?

What if the breast isn't best? Haven't there been instances where it's simply NOT the best for the baby ... or the mother? The point is, we're all doing the best we can -- I plan on making an informed decision that works for me, not my OB, and certainly not the nurse in the hospital. I wasn't breastfed -- and I'm healthy, smart, and my relationship with my mother couldn't be better.

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40 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sherry March 20, 2009, 9:27 AM

I tried it…and sometimes breast is NOT best….

Rachael March 20, 2009, 9:40 AM

I think that breastfeeding should be tried by women who are hesitant about it. You’ll never know if you don’t try it. If you’re going back to work “soon” you can wean early if you don’t want to pump. It is a solid fact that breastmilk is better for babies. Formula, however, is not evil either. I encourage the women around me to try it and if they can’t do it, atleast they tried. I haven’t heard of an instance where breast isn’t best for babies, but certainly where mother’s couldn’t do it. In that case, it’s better for both baby and mom if formula is fed. The most important thing for bonding is for mom to be in the right state of mind.
I guess my point is, don’t discount breastfeeding right off the bat, try it and if it’s not for you atleast you tried.

Vicki Frost March 20, 2009, 10:21 AM

Every woman has to make the decision whether or not to breastfeed on her own. While it is definitely best for the baby, in my opinion, if it causes so much stress that the mother and baby aren’t bonding, then that is not the way to go. However, as someone who works in the breastfeeding field, I am kind of tired (no offense) of people citing how they were either a) harassed by the “breastfeeding Nazis” or b) PREVENTED from breastfeeding by HORRIBLE FORMULA ADDICTS. I believe it is simply a matter of the sensitivity of the subject - we are unduly sensitive to the advice or opinion OPPOSITE of the one we received. My doctor told me that she was OK with my breastfeeding, just don’t starve my baby. I did not take offense - I said thank you and moved on.

MarMar March 20, 2009, 11:37 AM

In response to Ms. Frost’s comment…I think women share the “nipple nazi” (as my ex-husband called them) stories because there is a lot of stigma attached to formula feeding, and a lot of misinformation out there. I was told at my Lamaze classes that every woman CAN breastfeed if she tries hard enough, no matter what. Any woman who says she can’t is copping out. (Seriously, this is what I was told.) When my little girl would latch and then nurse for only five minutes, I was told “Oh, she’s full!” by lactation consultants who charged $100 per session, only to have her wake up crying in hunger again twenty minutes later. Turns out I had very low milk flow, and she was later diagnosed with hypotonia (low muscle tone) which made it difficult for her to nurse. But in the meantime, I felt terrible and like I was a horrible mom - because don’t forget, ANY WOMAN can breastfeed, remember? And to make matters worse, I didn’t have $100 bucks to keep shelling out to the lactation consultants. (The free La Leche League meetings were always during my work hours too - perhaps more support of working moms breastfeeding would help, but that’s a topic for another time.)

It is a woman’s choice as to what is best for her and her family. My best friend breastfed her son until he was almost two years old. I could never exclusively feed my daughter from my breast and gave up altogether around month two. We both have healthy, intelligent children. I think that there is too much emphasis on one way or the other being not only “better”, but being the ONLY way. We need to stop all fighting about it and realize that, as mothers, we all want what’s best for our children, and we do our best to provide that. And to not judge another mother if her way is different from ours. Period. Is that so hard, people?

tracy March 20, 2009, 12:32 PM

Thank you MarMar! I only breast fed for 2 months and my daughter is 3 and has never gotten sick. Maybe what you feed them really doesn’t matter, as long as you raise them right.

Anonymous March 20, 2009, 2:56 PM

I tried breastfeeding my son, however hes was 11 lbs at birth! My milk could not keep up. I tied and tried. I did bottles and breastfed for awhile so the poor thing would not starve, but when he was two months old there was an unexpected death in my family and the stress of it totally dried up my milk. It was a good thing he was already use to the bottle. He is now in second grade and at the top of his class. I tried brestfeeding again when my second was born, but at seven weeks she had such bad collic and reflux her doctor had to put her on special ad very expensive formula. We tried taking things out of my diet first (i.e. milk) with no improvement for her. The very first night she was on the formula she slept 7 hours in her own bed. She had never slept more then two hours at a time until then. I was done that very night. So by the time I had my third child I didn’t see any need to breatfeed She did great. I say if you can breatfeed and you want to great do it, if not don’t let anyone push you around.
At the end of the day you are the one who has to raise your child.

Peggy Gorman March 20, 2009, 3:23 PM

Breastfeeding is up to the Mom ,its her choice and hers alone!I breasfed my kids because I wanted to.Being under stress and trying to breastfed a child is not good for either. I feel both should be relaxed . I don’t like eating in a tense and stressful situation,why would you want to put your child through it. Do what is calming and relaxing and everyone will feel good.

Nikki March 20, 2009, 3:36 PM

Maybe we should look more into the amount of paid maternity leave that is allowed in our country. If more women were able to stay home longer and bond with their children, I’m sure breastfeeding would be more of an option. Pumping at work is not an option for a lot of women and going back to work at 6wks is very common.

jackie March 20, 2009, 7:17 PM

Thanks nikki—-the maternity leave in this country is almost worse than any of underdeveloped country. In Europe moms get to stay home for 6 months fully paid. It’s so sad we feel we HAVE to return to work right away…..when we are doing the most important thing in the world, and that it gets looked at as a
disability. Ridiculous!

Sara March 20, 2009, 7:24 PM

Ugh. No one should tell a woman she “has” to breastfeed. Heck, that can get some women that WERE planning on breastfeeding to decide not to.

Mom should be supported in whatever decision she makes.

I’m as nutty a breastfeeding advocate as can be. I know the health benefits of breastmilk up and down, and the risks of formula backwards and forwards. And I think that telling mom she “has” to breastfeed, or making her feel like a bad mother based on that decision alone is absurd.

My passion for breastfeeding is related to the opposite experience: A mother that DOES want to breastfeed being pressured into not breastfeeding, or being set up for breastfeeding failure. Nothing gets me more angry than that. :)

Mom’s decisions should be supported either which way she decides. As long as it doesn’t involve psychosis or abusive behavior, I don’t see what business it is of anyone’s what she does and does not do.

Young Breast feeding Mom April 17, 2009, 2:20 PM

Every woman can breastfeed. Unless, of course, there is an issue with you child’s latching ability due to muscle tone… Supplementing causes low milk production! Hello!!! The more you breastfeed the more milk you produce. Hasn’t anyone ever done any research? When you supplement a feeding with formula you are causing your milk supply to diminish. YOU are causing it to diminish. Thus you now have the excuse of “I dont have enough milk, so I had to stop…” The more you breastfeed the more milk you produce and the more milk you can offer your child!! You just need to be patient and willing to feed more often until your supply is up! Breastfeeding is not for everyone. Its for Mothers who are dedicated to giving there child and there selves better health for a lifetime.

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