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Is Breast Best? Cherry Healey Investigates

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Cherry Healey Cherry Healey | 13:15 UK time, Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Filming my most recent programme for BBC Three has been full of surprises.

I hadn't realised quite how contentious the subject of breastfeeding is.

After I had my daughter I tried to breastfeed and ended up with mastitis - a breast infection - and was admitted into hospital.

I was quite defensive when I gave up breastfeeding. I made sure everyone knew that I'd been in hospital, that I'd had an infection and that I'd tried really, really hard.

This all stemmed from my guilt.

Presenter Cherry Healey

Whilst I was ill-informed about the mechanics of breastfeeding, I was well aware of the breast v bottle debate.

With slogans such as breast is best and research showing the benefits of breast milk, I felt that I had failed and potentially put my baby at risk.

I realised that I was incredibly ill-informed about how breastfeeding actually worked.

I wondered, was I alone or were other women also struggling with, as I had assumed, this easy and natural act?

I wanted to find out whether the guilt I felt at not succeeding was valid or unnecessary.

Is Breast Best? is part of the Bringing Up Britain season on BBC Three, which is all about young parents and their experiences.

Over the course of three months I spoke to a wide variety of people, all of whom felt passionately about this subject.

I quickly realised I had greatly underestimated how strongly people felt about the topic.

Breastfeeding pops up in the media fairly regularly but almost only with regards to the debate between breast vs bottle.

If our breastfeeding rates are to ever increase - they are one of the lowest in Europe - then it has got to be more visible.

I don't think I have ever seen a picture or footage of a woman breastfeeding on television or in a magazine. It is utterly bizarre.

I even met a woman who thought it was illegal, in the same way as indecent exposure, because she'd never seen it being done in public.

The first time I saw breastfeeding was when I was 26 and I didn't know where to look.

I felt embarrassed yet was confused by my reaction.

This was clearly a natural act yet I felt so uncomfortable.

Cherry Healey with a baby's bottle full of milk

Whilst making the film I met a group of teenagers who, like half of women and girls under 20, didn't want to give it a try.

For them, boobs are for one thing only: sex.

They admitted that they are greatly influenced by what the celebs are doing and they had never seen a famous person breastfeeding.

To them it was clearly not something to celebrate

And it wasn't just the teens that felt this way.

I also met older mums who felt so embarrassed at breastfeeding in public that they would find some ingenious ways to conceal it.

Whether we like it or not, the media has a huge influence on our cultural trends, and perhaps if breastfeeding was more visible on television it would begin to lose its social stigma?

However, while making the film I found that my feelings of guilt waned.

Sadly, I discovered that my experience was a very common one - I actually felt very reassured that many other women find breastfeeding really tricky.

I also realised that, even with the best will in the world, without support and information, women who encounter problems are often fighting a losing battle.

But there is good news. In the UK there is actually a huge amount of breastfeeding support available - if you know where to look. (A good starting point is the Bringing Up Britain help and advice page.)

One of the most prominent lessons I learnt whilst making this film is not to suffer in silence.

Previously, I had no idea that there were breastfeeding groups, help-lines, one-on-one support and websites that existed exclusively to help mums who are breastfeeding.

I also realised that if you can't breastfeed, for whatever reason, then feeling wracked with guilt isn't useful.

Most mums make the best decision they can with the information they have at the time - and so subsequent guilt isn't constructive - increased information is constructive.

I do believe that the best, most effective support comes from women sharing their experiences and learning from each other.

Plus, women often have very funny tales - leaking milk in meetings, spraying family members and cabbage leaves in bras - just to name a few.

Cherry Healey is the presenter of Is Breast Best? Cherry Healey Investigates.

Is Breast Best? is on Tuesday, 12 April, at 9pm on BBC Three.

Cherry took part in a live online question and answer session about breastfeeding with Dr Tricia Macnair during and after the show's first broadcast. You can read the Q&A at the BBC Three blog.

Is Breast Best? Cherry Healey Investigates is part of BBC Three's Bringing Up Britain Season.

Other programmes in the season include: The Gatwick Baby: Abandoned at Birth, Misbehaving Mums to Be, So What if My Baby is Born Like Me?, Fast Food Baby and Meet The Multiples.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.


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  • Comment number 1.

    When I had my first child, I found that I was unable to breastfeed, no matter how hard I tried. I was in a car accident as a child where I sustained injuries to my chest - apparently when they fixed the limited damage, my milk ducts got damaged. After I had my daughter, I was able to develop milk but it had no way to come out - ouch! I was wracked with guilt, especially since well-meaning friends and relatives kept inadvertently blaming it on me - I wasn't eating right, or using the right pump. Complete strangers would walk up to me when I was in public bottle-feeding my baby to inform me that I was a bad mom, or ignorant, etc. It was extremely hurtful and although I've come a long way, I probably haven't gotten over the guilt completely. I am now 7 months pregnant with my second child, and when people ask me if I plan to breastfeed, I just say no, with no explanation or excuses unless I feel they are warranted. If I, as a woman, have the right to choose to abort or deliver my child, I most certainly have the right to choose what I do with my breasts. Regardless of whether the reasons are medical or just personal preference. And the decision is no one's business but my own.

  • Comment number 2.

    I gave birth to my first child 27 months ago, i struggled with breastfeeding. through my pregnancy midwives were encouraging breastfeeding it seemed the natural best option for my child. when it came down to it i was in agony. my nipple was bleeding and cracked before i left the hospital. i tried and persevered for about a month. when i finally gave up i felt like a failure. i'd had midwives, support workers trying to help but nothing worked.

    13months later i gave birth to my second child. i did exactly the same only this time it worked I DID IT.. WE DID IT! im so glad i tried again. it is the most worthwhile thing ive ever done. i got the infections i had the leaky boobs but it is so worth it.
    my first child was a biter but i tried. my second took to like a duck to water

    my advise. get help early and persevere on the other hand know when to give in and just enjoy being a mummy. Dont knock it until you try it x x x

  • Comment number 3.

    hi all i agree breast is best , but i could not breast feed due to my daughter being born with pieres roban, and had no swallow reflex at the star and a cleft pallet, so neither could i bottle feed, and having to watch someone else other than me and my husband feed her was heartbreaking however we trained to to do tube feeding and she had both breast milk from me exspressing and bottle milk if there was non at hand, but i dont think it affected our bond at all, xxx

  • Comment number 4.

    I have twins, one of who latched on & fed well but the other never latched on & was express fed with a bottle! Yet it's the bottle fed twin who I have the stronger bond with! Which of course leads me to the conclusion that the bonding story is a myth!

  • Comment number 5.

    It really annoys me when woman say bottle fed babies arnt as close as breast fed babies...it makes me really cross and completely identify with cherry.

    I fed my little girl from Day one but she wouldnt latch - after 2 days I was told she had a tongue tie and was struggling with feeding, The only advice i was given was to persevere until the tongue tie operation (a week away) which I did - 3 days later my baby was admitted to hospital with 11% weight loss. They found out then that she had a 90% tongue tie so couldnt feed - even though she was trying. The midwife had me on syringes and had her lapping out of a cup for 3 days but she was still losing weight so I had to use a bottle. Ever since I gave her a bottle she thrived and put on weight.

    I am very close to my little girl and she is a very healthy, happy little girl.

    I did feel guily alot - mainly down to the midwifes and health professionals who made you feel useless for not feeding. Obviously BF is best for baby however people should not judge anyone for the choice they make for their child.

  • Comment number 6.

    i got pregnant when i was 18 im now 19 my baby has just turned 6months i was so for breastfeeding when pregnant , i loved labour didn find it sore when kenzie came i tryed breast over and over he didn like it kept pushin away and then realised when tryed breast pump i had no milk made me feel ahful i cried and cried felt as if i let him down but the midwifes just z til give it up and go on til bottle so i did i still wish i could of breast fed but i think at the end of the day bottle milk has the nutrients or they wouldn sell them in the shops i think if u want till give up then do that its ur choice who cares its ur baby .. but when i have another baby i will do try breast again .. :):) xxx

  • Comment number 7.

    I am a mum of two and have had two very different experiences of breastfeeding. With my first, she latched on like a dream, only hurt slightly for about two weeks and I fed her for just short of a year. I thought breastfeeding was the best and that it was something that everyone should do it. I also thought that women only gave up because they didn't try hard enough. I've since had a second child, he's just under twenty months younger than my daughter so I thought that breastfeeding wouldn't be a problem. My son didn't have the best latch and I was in agony. I was crying in the night and had a terrible feeling of wanting to feed him myself but the thought of latching him on again was too much! I started off giving my boobs a rest while expressing for the odd day from 4 weeks, and crying all day because I wasn't feeding him but my boobs really needed the break. I thought I would continue to do combination feeding to have the best of both worlds, but because the pain simply was not subsiding (and remember I was an experienced breastfeeder!) it all became too much and I gave up when he was about 6 weeks old. I was (and at times still am) racked with guilt. I thought it wasn't fair for him for me to not feed him when I had fed his sister. I am aware of all the benefits linked to breastfeeding and fully support them, but when it came down to it, I just couldn't continue with it. I now know that each child is different and your experience with that child is going to be different. In the end it was best for all the family (fewer mood swings, more time with my older child, and a much happier, fuller baby) to move on to formula with my second child. I no longer judge people for their decision to give up breastfeeding, but would always urge someone to give it a go, but not to beat themselves up if it doesn't work out.

  • Comment number 8.

    I always said when I was pregnant that I would like breast feed - However my baby boy wouldnt latch on so I started expressing and feeding via bottle....He's now just over 5 weeks old and I'm still expressing.
    After watching the programme I am concerned that the fact hes not on the breast we arent "bonding" as good as we would be if he was able to latch on...surely expressing is better than giving him formula?
    I am still trying to get him to latch on and the midwives are being very supportive....Has anyone else had a similar experience?

  • Comment number 9.

    My son is nearly a year old, i had a good pregnancy and was very open about breast feeding, thought i would try it and see how it goes. i was 13 days overdue and ended up having an emergency c-section, not a great start. Baby latched on straight away - no problems, then the same evening baby would not latch on i tried from 10pm - 6am and baby had no milk, 4 different midwives tried to help, we expressed but baby was starving, it wasnt enough and not quick enough. i couldnt do anything, midwives couldnt do anything. so bottle was the only answer. and seen that day its been bottle all the way. he's nearly a year and he's perfect, healthy and had 1 cold all year. he is a typical mummys boy and knows no different of bottle or breast. Peoples first question was 'are you breast fedding?', i held my head high and said 'no, bottle' and walked off, i know my son is perfect and i dnt believe formula milk has done any harm at all. i wish i had tried again to breast feed and the hospital was brilliant helping but i have no regrets of bottle feeding.

  • Comment number 10.

    This programme appears to be fairly unbiased. What frustrates me the most about this whole debate is that people assume that you have made a concious decision to bottle feed and that you are happy with the decision. I spent 5 days in hospital trying to breast feed my son who could not latch on! He was small and not gaining weight - I was told by dr's that i needed to get some food into him or he would be in intensive care - i paniced, gave im a bottle and was too scared to go back to breast incase he lost more weight. I regretted the decision ever since, it was not an informed decision - i was exhaused from a traumatic birth and beside myself with worry that he would not thrive - people should not assume that a mum is bottlefeeding by choice and may be devastated that she cant breastfeed! I feel that you are judged on your ability as a mum by how you are feeding!

  • Comment number 11.

    Janinec78 i agree with u about the bonding , i am so close til my son even though he couldn take til the breast ... :):) xx

  • Comment number 12.

    When i had my first child , I tried to breast feed but was not shown properly. I also had problems with one breast as i had a lumpectomy years before. When my milk came in i felt like i had flu like symptoms also i really struggled with one breast and had to give up with that one but continued with the other but was very sore. I managed for 8 weeks just on one breast. but i also felt very guilty when i decided to give up and some midwifes & health visitors made me feel guilty.
    I have now had my second child and i only manged 3 weeks on one breast but this time i did not beat myself up i thought my first child is happy and healthy.

  • Comment number 13.

    I desperately wanted to breastfeed when I had my son nearly four years ago. After a traumatic birth we were both exhausted, and so we didn't get the chance for that after birth first feed. We never really cracked it, and I had very little support regarding technique. At 5 weeks old my son was hospitalised because he was failing to thrive - by trying to do what I felt pressured to do, I was basically starving my baby. I experimented with combination feeding in hospital but by then my milk was drying up and in the end my son opted for bottle only by refusing the breast. I felt very guilty but had no choice. Looking back, I wish I had been brave enough to put my foot down earlier and stop feeling pushed to breastfeed. If I had, my son would not have suffered as much and we would all have enjoyed the early days more. NEVER feel guilty if you can't breastfeed, it's NOT your fault. My son is now a lively, happy three year old, and that's because we opted to keep him alive rather than obey demands to breastfeed. Sometimes bottle is best too, sometimes it's necessary to admit defeat and do what is needed to help your child thrive.

  • Comment number 14.

    I bottle fed my first son, and breast fed my second son, I am equally close to both my children, I think it depends on what is best for your child, my first wouldn't latch at all, and my second did strait away, I have a great bond with them both xx

  • Comment number 15.

    I am not convinced bonding is to do with breastfeeding. I breastfed for 4 months but didn't bond with my son until after I'd stopped. I was always so tired and breastfeeding was the cause, I think I resented my son for being the cause of such tiredness, it was only once I was able to get a bit more sleep (through my husband sharing the burden) that I was able to bond with my boy.

  • Comment number 16.

    I breast-fed for 18 months. I had no intention of feeding for so long, but it was just so enjoyable for baby and myself. I can't stress strongly enough that, even though it really hurts at first - cracking, bleeding and sore nipples - please, please persevere, as it does get better as the nipples harden up. The benefits are overwhelming both for the baby's health, but also to help protect the mother from breast cancer. It is after all why nature gave us breasts.
    As to feeding in public, I agree that when women 'whip out' their breasts, it can be embarrassing for the passing public. But if you wear the right sort of clothes, such as a t-shirt, you can lift the top up and the breast is mostly covered, rather than popping it out of the neck-line. It can be done so discreetly, that most people would have no idea it is even happening.
    I urge people to give breast-feeding a go. No bottles to sterilise, you never run out, and you don't even have to give your baby water. Baby gets a drink at the start of the feed, and their food later in the creamier part of the feed. Breast milk is PERFECTLY designed for little humans.

  • Comment number 17.

    I breast fed my twins for 17 months. I'm not an 'earth mother', after 6 months I started to give them real food, and at 17 months it was literally just one feed before bed, purely I imagine as comfort.
    Feeding two was one of the most challenging things I have done. I felt like a milking machine to start with. I couldn't do two at once as I felt uncomfortable with it. Neither of my children ever 'asked' for milk from me. I didn't generally feed them in public places, I needed more privacy.
    I do feel I have a very strong bond with my children, they have always been very loving. But actually I don't feel that a mum who cannot or does not breast feed should feel any pressure at all. It is completely personal choice and circumstance. My friends who did not breast feed have wonderful bonds with their children.
    It was simply what was right for me even before the children were born. I felt it was the best I could do at the start of their lives and it gives me pride to know I did it.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi Cherry - your programme is excellent!! I'm a midwife and a mum and I was devastated when I couldn't breast feed my first for more than two months. I was an older mum and just didn't have enough milk. I was realistic with my second, who was bigger, and breast fed as long as I could but then introduced formula when she was hungry. I would love to take your guilt away - you can only do what you can do and you really mustn't feel bad about how things went for you. I can assure you that my children did not miss out on closeness or nutrition. My second child is my daughter and we are very close. She has IQ enough to be reading psychology at university; my son has Downs syndrome and at 23 is very healthy and happy.
    (I've just heard you say you don't feel bad any more - that is so good). I hope that as a midwife I have supported women to feed as they choose and I hope I've never made anyone feel guilty. All the best!

  • Comment number 19.

    I feel so sad that anyone would would question their decision to bottle feed. Being a mother is about everything you do right from the begining to the toddler years to the dreaded teens. Formula is fine, your baby will be nourished and if you gaze into your beautiful babies eyes as you bottle feed the bond and the love can be just as strong. I breast fed both of mine and I hated it to start, then tolerated it then finally after 5 months I enjoyed it. There were days when I "hated" the pain that was caused and I think that midwives telling me that if it hurt, I was doing it wrong didn't help. Fact is my daughter put on loads of weight so clearly I was doing it right but at the end of the day it just hurts! and if someone told me that, I would have curled my toes grimaced and got on with it, but the feeling that it hurting was my fault for doing it wrong was unbearable. Breast feeding can be hell but the feeling that every ounce my daughters gained was down to me was magic. I wish I had answers after feeding 2 babies for 12 months but I don't. I survived because I have a great husband, nipples like leather and hard core determination. Not everyone is that lucky and I feel really sad that the decision to give up is so agonising. Only you know how you feel and what you can cope with, and there are 17 more years that you have to be a great mum after the breast feeding days. As for going back to work: I am a doctor and you would think the NHS would sympathise with expressing milk, but it was aweful I was made to feel terrible and spent ages in agony with sticky soggy tops because I was not allowed to express, I gave up as soon as I got to work, that battle was worse than all the pain i had in the early days. The men I worked with seemed appauled by the idea I might take a 10min break to express and after a year of feeding I had run out of energy to fight it....very sad. You are you, you are your babies mum do what you think is right and do it with confidence.......and if you choose to breastfeed it probably will hurt a bit but after 4 weeks the pain barrier is crossed and it becomes a piece of cake!!! P.s I had nothing but positive responses to feeding in public!

  • Comment number 20.

    I had 4 children and I was desperate to breast feed, but I have flat nipples and found it really painful. A midwife recommended nipple shields, I managed to breast feed my last son for 8 weeks. I wish someone had recommended, it to me earlier, my daughter managed to breast feed for 6 months thanks to nipple shields.

  • Comment number 21.

    My daughter is now 6 1/2 months old. I really wanted to breast feed and did not think for one minute there would be a problem. I lost a lot of blood and was unable to produce milk. I tried expressing to try and get things going and managed to get some flowing. Nearly all the midwives tried to get her to latch on and I felt I had no dignity. I was still determined to try. Eventually she did and was on me once for 3 hours. When I mentioned it to the midwife I got told I should be happy as I wanted to feed her. This left me feeling like I had been told off. When I got home I continued expressing but it was a losing battle. I tried going to a breast feeding advice group. I had to show what was happening when latching on. My daughter just wouldn't and was hysterical with hunger. I left my contact number for them to arrange a discussion but nobody called me. In the end I decided to give her formula. My health visitor had me write a list of positive thoughts regarding my breast feeding experience which if I hadn't I would feel completely guilty and a failure. My daughter is healthy and feeds really well. I know how much formula she is taking.

  • Comment number 22.

    I am really impressed with this documentary. It showed Breast Feeding in the most realistic way that I have ever seen on TV. Thanks Cherry! I am a supporter of breast feeding and have fed 2 babies to 8/9 months. However, I have had mastitis twice and understand the pain and discomfort and how many mothers would give up feeding. Cherry is right; education is key. There should be more awareness of feeding, especially in public. My husband was so supportive and this was what kept me going when the paid of latching on was 'toe curling'. When I got it right (with my second baby - the first was perfect!!!) it was plain sailing until we felt the time was ring to introduce step up formula.

  • Comment number 23.

    I have breastfed all of my 4 children, my 3 older ones fed for around 9 months before weaning themselves off (I returned to work when the 2 older ones were 6 months). My fourth child (almost 10 months) is still feeding, despite the fact that she spent 6 weeks seriously ill in hospital. I expressed so she could be fed via an NG tube and am proud of myself for managing it, I feel so strongly about the benefits of breastmilk and won't deny how difficult it was to keep my milk supply up during the 9 days she spent in PICU. Expressing during this time helped me to focus and feel like I was doing something to help make her better. I must admit that since we came home I have been reluctant to express as the three hourly expressing sessions did take their toll on me.
    Breastfeeding is the most wonderful thing in the world, the first 2 weeks with each of my newborns were painful and tiring but watching the children gain weight and the bond I developed with them all are wonderful.
    My youngest child still feeds 2-3 hourly (we think this stems back to being continuously fed in hospital) day and night, and if I can manage that and function during the day then this proves you can survive on disturbed sleep too.
    I think more needs to be done to encourage new mums to breastfeed their babies and not to give up when the going gets tough...

  • Comment number 24.

    Just watched the programme and was disappointed that the programme didn't cover the issue of women who so desperately wanted to breastfeed but in the early hours after giving birth were unable to and didnt get the right support. In my case after giving birth the hospital bottle fed my baby the first feed, and then tried to help me breastfeed, my child refused to suck on the breast and after days in hospital where every midwife has thier own technique of laching the babyon, i was discharged with a bottle feeding baby.

    I live with the guilt everyday, of not being able to brestfeed my baby and wished I was more alert after giving birth and was able to breastfeed me baby.

  • Comment number 25.

    I breast-fed my first child until it petered out at about 16 months. I had mastitis twice which was awful but soldiered on through it. There are support groups, breastfeeding groups, La Leche league which were a life line. Those who feel guilty for bottle feeding should also know that those who are able to breastfeed also have a lot of pressure to bottle feed from well meaning friends and family. In spite of that, it was an amazing experience and i'm really glad i was able to have that close specialness. It's a lovely close time that noone can take away from you. My boy had an operation when he was little and being able to breastfeed took away the trauma for both of us and helped protect him from infection. Breastfeeding really helped when he was poorly or upset too.

    Whatever you do, you should feel comfortable that it's the best thing for you regardless of others opinions.
    My first child only had breast milk (plus solids from 6months) until he was a year. This was hard as i went back to work at 9months. I built up a milk reserve and expressed at work. I found expressing at work quite stressful. I was initially offered a disabled toilet as a private place to express but i said i wouldn't find that an appropriate place to express. I had to borrow a colleagues office, so regular times to express was quite difficult. I think the lack of appropriate space made me more stubborn to express at work to 'prove a point'.
    I'm now the proud mum of a 7 week old. The first 2 weeks were much harder than i thought (and very painful) and i'd forgotten that you have to teach them to feed correctly to avoid pain. But, the midwives were really helpful. I'm now much more aware of how to avoid mastitis and will ask questions of experts if i'm struggling. Sleep deprivation makes everyone more sensitive to comments from others, so i'm choosy about how much info i give people when they ask.
    I have no qualms about feeding in public and i'm always discreet. I've not had any negative comments. More often than not, i get lots of older women giving me a big smile!
    If you're able to, it's an amazing experience and one i personally wouldn't change. I have many friends who haven't breastfed and they are still fantastic parents.
    I do think some mums don't consider it as an option at all though and maybe that's because there isn't enough information and there are a lot of myths. I also think there should be more public role models. We live in a celebrity culture but when do you ever see a celeb breastfeeding or a tv drama showing someone%2

  • Comment number 26.

    Cherry - regarding bonding.
    I fed my son a bottle from 2 weeks old so only b-fed for 2 weeks.
    I still b-feed my 3.5 year old daughter.
    Bonding is better from a bottle because:
    1. They can look into your eyes (with a b-feeding they only look at boob as faces are squashed into you - unless the mum has big dangling ones I guess! I didn't.)
    2. You can't do anything else / hold anything else when bottle feeding so all your attention is on baby which means you look at them, talk, sing etc. With b-feeding I could swap tv channels, text, have phone conversations, look after a toddler. Even make a cuppa if you carry them about with you. Your attention is not on baby as much.
    3. You bond so much better when you are not in pain and dreading them being brought to you for a b-feed.
    I was same as you - beat myself up for not being able to cope woth the pain first time around. I know b-feeding has lots of benefits. But you didn't miss out on bonding.

  • Comment number 27.

    At 37 I am expecting our fourth child and breast fed all 3 of our daughters, so understand how hard it is and the stigma mummies face when thinking about breastfeeding or actually doing it. It does not come naturally, and it is hard work, and it is not easy. When discussing this with other mums I dont ever candy coat it, I tell it like it is. I comend any mummy who breast feeds for 5minutes or 5months, dont be so hard on yourself, if you can, fantastic, but if not, dont beat yourself up about it, you do what is right for you and your baby.

    For me it was a state of mind, there was no option, on our first daughter I got cut and bled, but I just carried on, because I was like a dog with a bone....and I helped baby learn just like me to make it work. I come from New Zealand and there it is very normal to breastfeed your baby, so that helps, lots of support and its the norm. Since living in the UK for the past few years and having our second daughter in Wales, and our third in Scotland I have seen the reaction and sometimes concern people have about breastfeeding and if your baby is getting enough. Baby will take what baby needs and will feed for as long as required. Benefits for me are I lose weight quickly, its cheap, can feed anytime, anywhere, its the right temperature and good for baby.

    I personally would not, and have not breastfed our girls past 12months, I believe that there is no nutritional value for them past this point as they will gain this from food, which I slowly introduce at around 4-6months, along with breast milk. Along with this, I think that you can bond with your baby with or without breast, while I am pro breast, I think this can occur without having to breastfeed. A cuddle, kiss, singing, skin to skin, and rocking your baby to sleep along with lots of love will build a bond that lasts forever!

  • Comment number 28.

    My son is 33 months now. I breastfed him for 16months. I found it very difficult and painful at the start. I had 3 bouts of mastitis when my boobs were incredibly painful and I had a high temp and feverish but I was so determined that it was best for my baby. I would not judge anyone who decides that breastfeeding is too difficult or painful but I think every mother should try it even for the first three days as colostrum is so beneficial for baby. I did not get much support at hospital as I understand and know maternity staff are so overstretched and some are not trained adequately in breastfeeding. It would have been helpful to have a midwife in hospitals who is specifically trained to help new mothers breastfeeding as so many problems arise through not breastfeeding correctly or baby not latching on correctly. I did attend a breastfeeding support group which I found invaluable. I got so many valuable tips about coffee shops/restaurants which were breastfeeding friendly. I did not always feel comfortable with breastfeeding in public so sometimes I fed in changing rooms of clothes shops rather than in toilets-not very hygienic. I also got my husband to give my son a formula feed at 11pm every night so I could have a rest before middle of night feed. This way I was able to get some much needed rest.

  • Comment number 29.

    When I was pregnant I went to several breast-feeding classes and always thought I'd have no problems breast-feeding. However when my son was born it just wasn't happening, despite lots of support from midwives at the hospital. I was kept in hospital for 3 days and was even hand-expressed by one midwife to get just one ml! My son was a healthy weight when he was born but took 5 weeks to regain his birth weight and the midwives that visited me at home just seemed annoyed they couldn't discharge me!
    I went to loads of breastfeeding clinics (a couple each week) and they all said he latched on fine but it was so painful and my son would end up with blood all over his face from my nipples. We finally got a breastfeeding counsellor to come to the house and she diagnosed posterior tongue tie and thrush. It took us a while to agree to getting his tongue snipped but it was the best thing and things improved radically. All I can say is go to as many breastfeeding clinics and boob cafes or whatever is on offer in your area and try to find ones that have experience in problems like tongue tie. In my experience GPs didn't really have the answers, mine didn't really know how to treat nipple thrush (which is actually quite common).

  • Comment number 30.

    My twin girls 6 years ago were premature so couldn't be breastfed but I kept expressing and then practising again and again until at 4 months I exclusively breastfed them until 9 and 10 months. I felt really proud, for me it was really important to give us that experience because I felt a failure for their premature births.

    9 months ago I had a little boy and I assumed that breastfeeding would be a doddle, particularly, given the obstacles I had overcome the first time round but also it was only one baby and a born at term.

    Far from it. As soon as the milk came in after three days we were out of sinc and struggled as he was latching on poorly, he was sleepy, and would come on and off continuously, all of which was very exhausting. I realised that he was a very different character to his sisters and that I needed to tune into his way of being and feeding, which was really really hard.

    Once we mastered the feeding, more or less, at three months, I had a few weeks of respite and all seemed to go well. Then I got a thrush infection on the nipples, which went undiagnosed for a long time and I was in horrible pain for 6 weeks. Once that got treated and resolved it's been going well and I still feed him now.

    This all may make me sound like a martyr. But I persevered maybe for more selfish reasons than breast is best, although that for me is no question. I simply know and have experienced the bliss of breastfeeding, when you hear that feeding sound and you know that the little tummy gets filled with your goodness. They grow on MY milk, that fact doesn't cease to amaze me and gives me an enormous sense of achievement. My little boy squeels and kicks with joy when booby is coming and seriously, nothing can beat that, it's simply a gift to both of us and I am very glad I kept going.

    But given the difficulties and the amounts of tears I shed I don't judge women who stop or don't breastfeed anymore. It's an emotive process and women need support. It's very sad that little real support is still out there, and telling a woman to breastfeed no matter what is not real support!

  • Comment number 31.

    Hi loved watching the programme, I breast fed both my babies until 15months and 17 months and feel it is the best thing I have ever done. During my first pregnancy I hoped I would be able to breast feed but thought if it doesn't work out it won't be the end of the world, but once my son was born I was so determined that stopping felt like the end of the world to me!

    I think as mums we do put too high expectations upon ourselves and we should do what is best for us and our babies. For me that was breastfeeding but for another mum and baby that may be bottlefeeding, no one should feel judged either way.

    I think it's sad though that some young mums feel under pressure not to breastfeed because it's not seen as cool or done by celebrities. I didn't feel confident to feed in public initially but remember my lovely midwife saying that a hungry crying baby is noticed more than a feeding baby! Maybe more can be done to raise the profile of BF in our country and then it would be seen for what it is, babies just feeding, the most natural thing in the world.

  • Comment number 32.

    I had my baby last August and was determined that I wanted to breast feed. I did not have a chance to hold my baby for long after the birth and had limited skin on skin time even though I had requested it in my birth plan. I was told when I was pregnant that breast feeding was easy and if you were doing it right it would not hurt. I finally got the opportunity to try breast feeding my baby when I was still in hospital and called the midwife to ask her if I was doing it right. Before I knew it we were both being prodded and poked and pretty much man handled by her and did not feel confident that I could possibly remember what went where when, especially those first few hours after birth.

    When I came home from the hospital, I thought I was breast feeding correctly but was concerned how long the baby was feeding for!..I had lots of different midwives giving me conflicting advice and in the end I let my Mum give her opinion as she was concerned that the midwives were leaving me feeling anxious and more to the point really confused.

    A few days later after being told that it was normal for a baby to feed for over an hour on just one breast, I woke to find my baby vomiting blood, I was so frightened and it took me a while to realize that the blood was actually mine. My nipples were raw, cracked and bleeding and I was in tears. I pleaded with the midwives after having called them out in the middle of the night that all I wanted to do was to breast feed correctly but in order to do this I needed to give my nipples a rest!..and what I should do..I was made to feel that I was deliberately trying to convince them that I wanted to give up breast feeding and that I was doing the wrong thing even just stopping for 24 hours to recover! Being a very determined person I stupidly carried on feeding my baby in severe pain and crying and kicking my legs out in pain every time I tried to feed!

    I made the decision to stop breast feeding, it broke my heart but the pain was unbearable and it was preventing me from bonding with my child as all I could think about was the pain in my breasts and the longing to be able to just enjoy my new born. I have a wonderful Health visitor that supported my decision and got me through the basics of how to prepare formula. She knew how hard I had tried and commended me on my determination even.

    Although I got through a very emotional time after feeling like a complete failure I still had problems as I did not get any information on how to look after my own breasts when stopping breast feeding, I went to my GP who could not give me any advice and I ended up going back 6 weeks later with a hard lump in my breast!..luckily I had it checked and it was just a blocked milk duct as a result of stopping breast feeding 'cold turkey' which is completely dangerous but I didn't know, I just needed to end my nightmare.

    I am glad I have the opportunity to tell my story, I feel so much better now but it still haunts me and I am still very angry that I did not get the professional support that I so needed at the time. Ironically the 'Breast is Best' mantra was detrimental to me feeding my child naturally!

    If any one else is finding breast feeding difficult I would strongly advise seeing a breast feeding councillor, I did see one and it was fantastic but unfortunately for me the damage had been done and it was too late.

  • Comment number 33.

    When I was 4 months pregnant I was made to feel guilty by my midwife because I wanted to bottlefeed my baby. I agreed that I would give it a try when my baby was born.

    My baby seemed to latch on perfectly when he was born, but I soon noticec over a couple of days that he didn't seem to be satisfied, even though he seemed to feed for 30-40 mins at a time. He would always come off the boob screaming.

    After 3 days I commented to my midwife that I didn't think I was producing milk as I had no leakage or symptoms, also my baby hadn't had a bowel movement in 3 days. On the fifth day my boobs were very sore, I was an emotional and tired wreck and there was still no sign of a bowel movement from my baby. I was also beginning to resent my baby and see him as a painful boob chomper!

    I got sent to the hospital to have my baby checked out because he wasn't having bowel movements and decided there and then that enough was enough, it was time to try my baby on formula as I still didn't believe I was producing milk.

    My baby took the whole bottle of formula with no problems and slept better than previous nights. I felt relieved and very happy with my decision and felt I could start to enjoy my baby.

    I was very shocked when a different midwife turned up the next day to see how I was because she tried to encourage me to cross the t's and dot the i's by going to see my GP to get medication which is well known for bringing on lactation as a side effect. I carried on bottle feeding and have happily never felt bad for this decision.

    I feel it should be the mother's decision to do what she feels is best for her child whether it is breast or bottle feeding. My baby is nearly 2 and we are very close and have the best time together! (my husband was very supportive through all of this)

  • Comment number 34.

    I breastfeed my 3 daughters with lots of help from my husband,support of friends & the Breast Feeding Clinic at the JR Hospital in Oxford.Couldn't have done it without the fab midwives & the help of the Clinic at the hosp.Most of my friends breastfeed so it was the norm.First child no probs- fed to 12mths.2nd child supplemented at 8 mths with formula.3rd child supplemented from 5 mths.Really hard work & exhausting.I breastfeed in public,on planes,train stations - discreetly. Never sat in a public toilet to breastfeed.WAs lucky to have no adverse comments - except a family friend who thought I should have disappeared upstairs out of sight - the woman a grandmother of 4 kids & several grandkids was offended by my breastfeeding in her house!!Thought the prog was very good. The UK & Ireland needs to catch up with other countries- for the benefit of our kids health!

  • Comment number 35.

    I thought this was a really good programme. I'm interested that some of the women felt that breastfeeding their babies was somehow mutually exclusive to their breasts being part of a sexual identity. Can they not be both? As for breasts belonging to your partner or your baby... I'm pretty sure they belong to me!

  • Comment number 36.

    The programme convinced me that breast is best - BUT why was Cherry Healey filmed when driving - this is definitely NOT BEST and could contribute to a charge of careless driving at least. What a bad example when using a mobile phone is now banned.

  • Comment number 37.

    You breasts are for feeding your baby, it's as simple as that. However I understand that sometimes for whatever reason it is not possible for a baby to be breast fed, and I do not think people should be judged for this. Most problems such as sore nipples, thrush and mastitis can be overcome with perseverence and the right treatment, and even attempting to breast feed for a few days or weeks is better than not trying at all.

    Breast feeding is not unnatural or 'weird', but it's certainly not considered 'normal' to breast feed a baby in public which I find very sad. Something needs to be done to alter the views in this country.

  • Comment number 38.

    As a professional involved in the promotion and support for breastfeeding I watched this programme with interest. I am very disappointed with the negative bias evident throughout. For anyone considering breastfeeding this programme would almost certainly have convinced them that to succeed one has to be either absolutely determined or almost obsessively committed to breastfeeding. I have breastfed two children myself - quite a few years ago now when the support from professionals and legislation was not available, and I may add had not intended to breastfeed prior to the actual birth of my first child! - and that experience, coupled with the professional experience I have gained from supporting many, many women to successfully breastfeed, found me becoming increasingly frustrated and angry at the horror images of ravished nipples and exhausted mothers without, until the end of the programme, so much as a mention of support groups or professional help!! I also though it interesting journalism, to say the least, to portray the use of human breast milk in breakfast cereal and the feeding of older children. Hmmm, perhaps you were just identifying ( but did not explore further) some of the social taboos around breastfeeding? There were also references to being told that women who did not breastfeed could not bond with their children to the same degree as those who breastfeed.......is it professionals who are giving out this advice? If so then I would suggest some retraining may be required! Breast IS best however the choice on the method of feeding is parental - as is the responsibility for making those choices. If the BBC are going to produce a documentary on Breastfeeding however, they can choose to produce what we have just seen or choose to make it factual and informative. The responsible choice would be the latter!

  • Comment number 39.

    This programme was not as informative as I would have liked!

    Most people who watch this programme are either mothers or women who are pregnant. To a degree it is educational, but "is breast best" investigated fully....NO.
    The programme promotes breastfeeding - ok so this is what the Department of Health is promoting, so it reassures women who bottle feed not to feel guilty but this does not by any means say if breast is best or more importantly why is it best.

    I breast feed solely, for many weeks, with all the problems of latching, sore nipples, engorgement etc etc but I found my baby wanting constant feeding so gave a "top up" with formula. I tried expressing but produced less than an ounce in the beginning, even after trying I can only produce 3oz.

    Now I am combine feeding through choice as I will be moving to 100% formula as I aim to be returning to work shortly, my baby is now 3 months old. Expressing milk is not a practical option.

    So watching this programme I would have thought it would have provided more facts and live up to its title - Is Breast Best? What makes breast best i.e the makeup of breast milk to formula milk. The clinical reports that backs how it helps with slimming, cancer etc etc. I did loose weight but I know of others who didn't !
    You talk about beast feeding promotes bonding, again where is the evidence to prove bottle feeding does not promote this. The show seem a little one sided and almost sound like it was vetted by the Department of Health to prevent a full investigation if Breast is best.

    I did some research and Professor Sven Carlsen claims Formula is just as good as breast milk. I quote from an article "Professor Sven Carlsen said breast-fed babies were slightly healthier, but it was not the milk that made the difference.
    Instead, babies who are breast-fed have benefited from better conditions in the womb before birth."

    Surely this debate from the professor truly questions if breast is best?

    Feed back on this from the BBC producers and reporters would be appreciated.

  • Comment number 40.

    I feek sad how guilty you feel and feel sorry for ignorant people.... are its daft I am a firm beleiver in personal choice to which is yours alone, I only managed 4 weeks with my first son and im on week 5 with my second I feel the pain each and every suck but my choice to breastfeed has been mine alone for my own reasons my bonds with both my boys is never going to change knowing im not alone in the struggles def helps the bad days but also the support avaliable is not quite as straight forward as its made out. I am proud ive done 5 weeks :)

  • Comment number 41.

    I have 2 boys and I really struggled with breastfeeding first time round, it was painful and tiring and just didn't feel right. I found there was so much pressure to do it that I got too stressed out and upset which didn't help, so roman was bottle fed and was fine! My second I really wanted to bf as I felt guilty the first time for giving up so easily, so I stuck with it and altho at first it was very painful, I started to enjoy it and loved every minute of it! But I have the exact same relationship with both my boys, I don't feel closer to Xavier because he was bf and both are very happy and healthy babies! There is so much pressure to breastfeed and no one ever tells you how painful it actually is, I was always told if it hurts you must be doing it wrong!! I wish this program had of been on when I was bf as I think it's a great way to help mums wanting or trying to bf!
    I really think it will help alot of mums who assume bf should be easy when it's far from it! X

  • Comment number 42.

    Breast feeding is not slimming! Your appetite goes up to match the extra calories you need, so unless you eat the same amount as before, and ignore your larger appetite, you won't lose weight!

  • Comment number 43.

    I had my son last March when I was 20 years old. My sons father who is also my fiancee is a US citizen and was here for a month and luckily I gave birth the day after he arrived from Wisconsin. There was no question about breastfeeding. My mother had 4 children, myself being the youngest she breastfed my sister for 13 weeks. I didn't understand why she gave up, to me you have a baby you should accept responsibility to breastfeed. I turned 21 years old last May and was pleased to know a couple of other Mums my age doing it. I expressed but he didn't take to breastmilk in the bottle and I would often give up nights out with friends because I didn't want to know he was going to struggle with the bottle and I missed breastfeeding him, not to mention my breasts would get so engorged when I was out. I breastfed in public places, shops, cafe's etc. When my fiancee had to go back I struggled in the first week he left, I often cried, not because I was in pain but when you breastfeed you seem to get a whole knew boost of hormones and you get so tired. I breastfed until he was 9 and half months old and he got off it himself and my milk seemed to get lower. The whole idea of giving him a bottle of formula made me feel sick. When I see bottle feeding Mums who look proud of what they are doing I can't help but think low of them they didn't sacrifice themselves. He obviously had formula milk after but I would have never given up without him choosing to. I never experienced pain. I used my nipple cream once. I felt like shouting at the tv watching this with the women with the cracked nipples. Never lean the breast into the childs mouth, if it is uncomfortable drop there lip a bit lower. I also felt an urge to campaign breastfeeding as I had such an easy time with it, admitently it was tough at first but if you have the drive you will suceed and it is definitely more than worth it. I had one occasion when I decided to sit out the doctors room to breastfed my son and a man walked by with his two young children, peered over and said 'aww the baby is sleeping' and quickly realised he wasn't. I actually got more of a sense of humour out of people's lack of education and fear of breastfeeding. I would often want to get my breast out infront of bottle feeding Mums to breastfeed because I just felt like how is it you sit there and people look at you with awe and like you are so amazing giving your baby a bottle. I would get positive comments like 'good for you lass'. I don't really have an issue with bott

  • Comment number 44.

    I think its great to see a programme that tackles breastfeeding issues. I have an 8 month old daughter and I am currently breastfeeding. Throughout pregnancy and the early weeks after giving birth there was a huge pressure to breastfeed. Within two weeks of breastfeeding, sore nipples and blisters made me want to give up but I seeked help and we looked at ways that I could continue to breastfeed without causing me so much pain. Having suffered so much I had said to myself that I would breastfeed only for 6 months after which we would start using formula.
    Here I am now at 8 months and still breastfeeding, I actually find it easier than making up bottles.
    I have overcome my concerns about breastfeeding in public because it can be done discreetly and at the end of the day if my baby needs feeding then I have to do it. I've had the odd teenage boy snigger when they've seen what I'm doing but its their problem not mine.
    As for which is best, breast or formula...that choice lies with the individual mother and no one should be made to feel bad for their decision.

  • Comment number 45.

    I have had 3 babies and each have been breastfed to just past a year (this includes some months expressing in the work place - in the toilet).

    Breastfeeding is not easy, it takes practice and determination. It is difficult in public people judge mums of any age. A sheet to cover up, Avent nipple cream for sore nipples and my expresser was a god send with my first, when I just got too sore to feed my baby - Hey both baby and I were learning and we make mistakes causing purple nipples, that was easier with baby 2 & 3 as only baby was learning.

    I don't think I have a stronger bond with my babies because I breastfeed. It was just cheaper than formular. I am not sure if it has any benefits because its constantly in the news that breast isnt better and then the following week it is better. Not to mention bottlefeeding mums like my mum tend to dislike my breastfeeding - embarressed, not knowing the quantity of milk the baby has fed.

  • Comment number 46.

    Some fantastic stories! I think it is so important to supply support and information to mums who want to breastfeed but I also think it is really important for mothers who don't - or whatever reason - the same level of support. I have a support group on facebook called Bottle Babies, it is place free from judgment where mums can tell their stories and support one another. I am physically unable to breastfeed. It was not a choice to feed my babies formula - it was a matter of keeping them alive. I would have dearly loved to have breastfed, so this group is in NO WAY anti breastfeeding.
    If you would like to take a look, show your support, or recieve some here is the link.

  • Comment number 47.

    @chocnikki- Yes! I did have a similar experience. I used a nipple shield for the first 3 weeks, then exclusively pumped for 5, then went from 100% bottle feeding to 100% breastfeeding- DD now won't take a bottle! :) It is doable- you can do it! Maybe try the nipple shield since it is shaped more like a bottle to get your lo used to feeding at the breast, then start a feeding with the nipple shield so that you get a letdown, then remove the shield and put baby to your breast and see what happens! It took about 1.5 weeks of excruciating pain while trying to teach DD how to breastfeed, because the suck pattern for bottle feeding is different than breastfeeding and she had nipple confusion...but it is doable, you can do it! :)

  • Comment number 48.

    As I'm currently breastfeeding my second son who's 13 weeks and have spent half of that time in pain through cracked nipples I was interested in watching this programme. My first son spent three weeks in special care being tube fed my expressed breast milk. I then got so used to expressing and he got so cross at breastfeeding that I carried on expressing until I weaned him. I got no support at the hospital to encourage breastfeeding but they made it clear that breast milk was precious and I didn't want him to drink an engineered substitute when he was so small.
    With my second son I knew I was going to breastfeed but have struggled with pain I didn't get from expressing. I got support in hospital from a breastfeeding co-ordinator and went to a breast feeding clinic 2 days after my nipple cracked. The problem? An oversupply of milk and a baby clamping down to slow the flow. I was almost made to feel guilty for having an over abundance of milk rather than feeling supported that I was in extreme pain every time he latched on. It eventually healed but he's done it again in the last two weeks after spending an afternoon bobbing on and off.
    I feel that Cherry's guilt stems more from not getting help early and preventing the pain she went through rather than bottle feeding and missing out on a bonding experience. I bottle fed my first son breast milk so where does that put me in the bonding stakes? He spent three weeks in an incubator and I didn't have skin to skin contact for 24 hours...we have an excellent relationship because he's my son and I love him. My second son is loved as much even though he's caused me greater pain.

    No-one should feel guilty for the choices they make for their children but there is no doubt breast milk is best, convenient and free. The saddest part of the programme was the 17 year old who thought breasts were only for sex which at that age she could only have limited experience in. Once they start producing milk you realise pretty fast that they have a very specific function!

    Well done to everyone who's battled through and continued breastfeeding and well done to anyone who's made a choice that suited them. Ideally everyone would breastfeed and it would be a common sight when out and about but it doesn't come easily as I know too well!

  • Comment number 49.

    What do you do if your baby won't latch on n suck despite 4 1/2 wks of trying (including 6 days in hospital tryin), constant visits from the midwife, health visitor and breast feeding support - go mad urself and starve ur baby??? I tried so hard cause I more than know that it's the best food, but it just didn't work for us. I definitely wanted to and I do feel guilty and sad that I may have harmed my baby - however - Albert is now 6 months old n very happy :)

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm a young mummy of two children. At 18 I gave birth to my daughter, I breastfed her exclusively for 7 months. At 19 I gave birth to my son, he's currently 11 weeks old and I'm exclusively breastfeeding. I never even considered formula feeding, I knew from the start I wanted to breastfeed. I understand the 'teen mums' and 'mums to be' are affected by the media on the show, but are people so narrow minded that they can't make their own decisions without feeling like the right way is bottle feeding because that is what celebs and the media portray etc?? I don't have any friends who breastfeed, but I still do it. Breastfeeding in public can be quite awkward, you do get the odd looks, but I've learnt to do it very subtly with a muslin cloth or jacket covering the vital parts. Big thumbs up to Emma on the show by the way, really impressed with how she kept pushing till she got the breastfeeding correct.

    Not all 'teen mums' think of boobs as for sex!

  • Comment number 51.

    I really liked the programme, I thought it was a very balanced view of a very sensitive subject.

    I thought it was great that you made it so clear that there IS help available its just very sad that you have to look for it yourself because not everyone is aware of it.

  • Comment number 52.

    Hi I've just turned 18 and I have a 5 month old baby Lola. I've breast fed since she's been born and have had quite an easy time with it. When I was pregnant I decided to breast feed because it costs nothing and the benefits out way the negatives for me. I remember in the hospital I felt like I didn't understand how to breast feed at all and was dreading coming home incase I couldn't latch my daughter on. I made sure if my nipples cracked i put nipple balm on straight away and that helped a lot. The 1st two weeks were really hard and I was thinking about bottled milk, but the health visitor came to weigh my daughter and she had gone from about 8 pounds to 10 pounds and I was so proud that I carried on. It's so easy and convenient and I'm used to doing it in public now. I have to say though i didn't stick to the techniques that I was taught in hospital like how the hold my baby when she's on my breast because it just wasn't working for me, I did what made me comfortable and minimized the pain. Now it dosent hurt at all when I feed and my daughters a healthy 16 pound 10!

  • Comment number 53.

    Hi, I am a mum that would have loved to breastfeed, I had so much milk I could have feed the street. However, all three of my babies were born with a cleft palate and because they cannot form a vacuum and because the tongue fall down the throat blocking it if they are led on their backs they had to be fed with a toddler feeding spout and on their sides. I was very concious of people watching me feed my babies becuase I couldnt even give them a cuddle as they were being fed. I did express at first but the constant round of expressing, feeding which took an hour for 3 oz and sterilising meant I only expressed for 3 months. However my poorly little babies are now healthy loving children. I am now a student midwife and I advocate breast is best, but am also aware that it is not possible for everyone. I thought the programme was overall informative but didnt like the 'freakshow' element of the 5 year old feeding, images like this actually put people off breastfeeding. Its a natural wonderful way to feed your baby but sometimes the mental health and wellbeing of mum and baby are important, basically try but ultimately a loving mum is what a baby needs, good luck everyone on their own parenting quests x

  • Comment number 54.

    As what is sometimes classed as a mature mum at 39, I never gave it a second thought to breastfeed. My daughter and I took to it like it was ment to be. I was breastfeeding for 18 months. Why so long, because my daughter hated to be bottle feed, she did not even like to have dummy and would spit the bottle or the dummy out without a care. It was a wonderful experience for me and for her, we are very close.

    One question that always puzzles me, if breast is best and all the midwives and experts want to encourage breastfeeding why are there no places to go? Our local Mothercare store used to have a room but because it was also the nappy changing area the smell was very unpleasant. The store closed and moved to bigger premises at a retail park out of town. At the same time, our Boots the Chemist used to have a room but when the store was upgraded and the layout of the store was changed, the feeding room was not replaced. If a mother and her baby want to breastfeed in private / comfort while out and about in town, where to they go? I'm sure my town is not the only one with this problem. If breastfeeding is to be encouraged the facilities should be made available available, other than the supermarket, mum's like to go to other shops not just Tesco, Asda or Sainsbury's or any other food store for that matter. Once I had a go at my local MP who promised to look at it but nothing happened and no facilities reappeared. Does that sound familiar.

  • Comment number 55.

    After a severe bout of mastitis I had to put my ten day old baby on the bottle. I was hugely disappointed and still am in a way, particularly as she turned out to be my only child. However, I must add that my gorgeous daughter has proved to be an exceptionally bright, charismatic and rewarding child, and has had few problems in any area (touch wood!)...

  • Comment number 56.

    I have inverted nipples. Try putting that in a search engine! Until I had children it did not concern me - I could be very aroused but my nipples did not come out. Or one would. Or they would come out in the shower. No pattern at all. With my first child, the midwives were very supportive - but had no real knowledge. I was expressing and then feeding him - very time consuming. I was also putting him to the breast and he was suiking away, but with nothing to latch on to, it wasn't working. Eventually after about 6 weeks everything seemed to click and I was so chuffed with everything. However I had huge support from my partner and the community midwife and Health visitor.

    When my 2 daughters came along I had no problems establishing breastfeeding - the nipples and breasts did the job they were meant for. However I had HUGE problems both times when they came off the breast at around 8-9 months - refusing a bottle/sippy cup/normal cup, even a teaspoon. I was at the Drs every few days with my first daughter. I am now just at the end of that transition period with my 2nd daughter. Has it been worth it? I am not sure - I am very proud with what I have achieved, however the stress of a baby not drinking (even though they both had healthy appitites) was not good.

    With perfect hindsight I would get a baby established very early on with both bottle (whether cows / formula or expressed) and breast. However that would suit me - perhaps not another child. And I am not going to put my theory to the test with number 4!

    Try it out, but if it is not for you do not worry. Motherhood is about a lot more than the first 6 months!

    PS - can we have a feature about cows milk being fine for babies?! Formula milk has fish oil etc in it. All my kids went onto cows milk as soon as they came off the breast. Why do health care professionals insists on conning mothers by saying we need formula milk? It is one big marketing ploy.

  • Comment number 57.

    Please can someone tell me where the statistic that only 3% of women in the UK are still exclusively breastfeeding at 5 months? Nearly all the people I know breastfeed!!

  • Comment number 58.

    It's great to have a programme that gives much-needed info to mums about breast-feeding.
    I certainly wouldn't have succeeded in b-feeding my second baby for 10 months if I hadn't read about it first, as I knew nothing before. Once b-feeding, I didn't give up despite bleeding nipples, infection, and later, chronic tiredness because the book had given the the vital info needed to overcome these problems.
    I hadn't succeded with the first baby, even though I desperately wanted to. He didn't latch on and I think mothers shouldn't be made to feel guilty if it doesn't work.

  • Comment number 59.

    When I was pregnant I had this vision of breast feeding where I could just feed my baby when and wherever I wanted. No making up formula or sterilising bottles. I went to breast feeding class and got the NHS DVD and it looked so easy. No one told me just how difficult it could potentially be. So I got a shock when my son was born.

    He just would not latch on. He would never open his mouth wide enough. In hospital I think I had every midwife man-handle my breasts trying to get him to feed. They would always end up forcing my nipple into his mouth.

    He would turn his head away from my nipple, push his hands against my breasts to try to get away, push himself away with his feet. He would be wailing, screaming, even high pitched screeching. It got to the stage where I only had to position him next to my breast and he would start screaming. I had to get my husband to pin his arms to his body to stop him pushing away. We even tried wrapping him up in his blanket, but he would always wriggle out. I would have to physically force him to my breast with all the strength my arms could muster. I even had my local breast feeding support workers in my house every day from when he was 4 days old. The only thing that would bring him relief was a bottle of expressed breast milk (EBM) or formula. I honestly thought that for him, feeding time was torture time.

    After 3 weeks of this, I gave up trying to get him to latch on and started giving him more formula and less EBM until my milk dried up.

    I worry about his digestive system as he went from poo every nappy to poo every 7-8 nappies. I worry because I know breast feeding lowers risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and can give your child higher IQ etc etc.

    But he is six months now and thriving. He is very happy, always smiling and laughing. He not only gets to bond with me at feeding time, but with his father and grandparents. I am not as tired as I can get a rest while dad feeds him. So although I still feel gutted, I have to look at the positive. I gave birth to a healthy, happy, beautiful boy.

  • Comment number 60.

    Hi Cherry Love your program and think your great, I have three children and couldn't feed any of them as i had the same problems as you, but it doesn't mean that you bond any less because you have bottle feed. i have a fantastic relationship with all of my kids. and as for being more healthy & clever well what a load of bull!!! I have a friend who breast feed her 2 baby's and they were always ill and are not the brightest sparks ha ha. Please don't beat your self up.

  • Comment number 61.

    Breastfeeding is clearly a very emotional and ideological issue. And whenever a subject is ideological, people have very strong feelings and there tends to be this idea that there are two distinct camps (pro or anti-breastfeeding.) I am not from the UK, so I always thought breastfeeding was part of what mothers do, no questions about it. So I was quite shocked at the extent to which my postpartum experience became this horrendous stress about being able to breastfeed/express millk. I was exhausted, felt like a failure. Some of the support at the hospital didn't feel natural or supportive at all, it felt like bullying, and I started to really envy the girls that were bottlefeeding, and then feeling guilty that I felt this way...

    What frustrated me the most however was what I perceived as a total lack of reliable, scientific information. I am an academic, and I like to read the science behind the pamphlets! So I started looking into studies on the benefits of breastfeeding vs bottlefeeding and the more I looked into it, I found that there are actually no really good studies on benefits on breastfeeding/bottlefeeding. A clear reason behind this is that you obviously cannot conduct clinical trials on babies (this being unethical). So you cannot take 1000 babies, and keeping everything else equal, bottlefeed half and breastfeed the others and then take measurements! So most studies are small-scale (correlational) studies. Whenever we find a correlation between breastfeeding and health of babies, there are numerous of other factors that could be influencing this correlation (breastfeeding mums tend to be middle/upper class, affluent, with healthier lifestyles, and hence, healthier babies...etc). and for most studies that found a correlation, there would be another one that doesn't. This doesn't make me pro- or anti breastfeeding. I am pro honesty and informed decisions.
    Of course, breastfeeding is the natural option, when it works, it is great, no question about it. Women should feel completely comfortable to breastfeed in public and for as long as they wish.
    But the reverse message: that bottlefeeding is harmful,that it creates less of a bond, that it puts your baby's health at risk, that is clearly nonsense. Yes, the WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, but the WHO is just that, a WORLD health organisation. In countries where access to clean water is limited, there are real risks to formula feeding. In the UK, we are fortunately not in that position. We have good sanitary conditions and access to clean water.
    the decision to breastfeed should be personal, and noone should be judged for their decisions for or against.

  • Comment number 62.

    I had three very different breast feeding experiences. Before my first baby I wasn't sure about if I would breast feed or not. It took me about 2 weeks to establish feeding it was an extremely painful and stressful experience but with the support of my family I got through it. I fed her until I returned to work three days a week when she was six months. My intension was to carry on feeding her but it just didn't work out. By the time she was sixteen months I'd had my second child. My breast feeding experience was worst than the first child but the difference was I new it would get easier after two weeks. When my second child was sixteen months I had my third child. This was the worst experience. I was made to stay in hospital for four nights because she won't latch on. I had to use nipple shields for twelve weeks. But I fed all three children for six months but can't stay I really enjoyed it. It was just functional and because I did it for my first child I had to do it for all my children. Now tell all pregnant people its the hardest thing you'll ever do. From two weeks I gave all my children formula so my husband could give them one feed a day. It takes time, practice and hard work but its worth it. But if you can't do it don't beat yourself up. Your bond starts with your child the moment you find out your pregnant.

  • Comment number 63.

    I have three children, only one of whom I breast fed for 10 days. That was my eldest, who simply was not interested. He was small and it was too much effort for him to latch onto my breast and despite counseling from breast feeding consultants and his pediatrician, it wasn't happening and he was losing weight that we could not afford for him to. In the end, the pediatrician told me that it just wasn't supposed to be this way and that I shouldn't feel bad about giving him the bottle. It was too late not to feel bad however, because as someone with a tendency towards depression, it was enough to put me over the edge with a very severe case of post natal depression. It took months to fully recover, and I missed precious time bonding with him because I was so ill.
    I think that the hardcore message that women should never give up on breast feeding can be very harmful to women who are vulnerable to depression, and not succeeding at breast feeding can perpetuate the cycle of guilt. That message doesn't get out there very often because midwives are aggressively pushing the agenda that breast is best. It's not best for you or your child if it makes you deeply depressed.
    I went on to bottle feed both of my next two children without a recurrence of the severity of that first post natal depression. I feel that I did the best thing for all of us in doing that.

  • Comment number 64.

    I breast fed both my boys until they were 8 and 6 months and really couldnt believe how different both experiences were. I was breast fed myself and although it always something I wanted to do with my own baby, I always had in the back of my head that if it didnt work out, I wasnt going to beat myself up about it. Luckily my first son latched on fine and I never had any problems, he went from breast to bottle easily if I wanted an evening out, he fed quickly with an average feed lasting about 10-15 minutes and I chose to wean him off at 8 months as I was going back to work and felt it would be easier not to have to express at work.

    My youngest son however was completely different. It was agony from day one (a much stronger sucker), Feeding lasted nearly an hour for each breast, he refused point blank to take a bottle and in the end I had to wean him early and stop breastfeeding completely as he would not take the bottle at all while breast feeding was still happening and I was worried about what would happen when I went back to work. I have to admit to being a little relieved to stop in the end as it was draining.

    Although I really enjoyed Breastfeeding and wouldnt have changed it for the world, I really feel for women like Cherry who feel so much pressure to do it and feel such regret at not being able to. It is wrong and no one should ever feel that. It is better that you really enjoy the time with your baby and not dread the next feed. I WOULD recommend breastfeeding to anyone and I cant recommend breastfeeding support groups highly enough, they do a fabulous job at helping you through the difficult times but dont beat yourself up if it doesnt work out.

    Good luck to allXXX

  • Comment number 65.

    This program was amazing and helped me personally so much. I had an extremley traumatic birth with my son now 13 months, from which it took me a long time to recover both mentally and physically and now I feel like I'm just getting there! I lost a lot of blood in theatre and was unable to breastfeed as my body couldnt give anymore. All I wanted was to be at home with my family's support but they said I couldn't go if my son continued to lose such significant amounts of weight, so I decided to give him a bottle. I feel like this helped us both, although, like Cherry, I lived with immense guilt, over not only this but everything else! I don't think the NHS propoganda helped, always suggesting that you 'chose' to bottle feed. People need to realise that children die from starvation in countries where formula isnt available, and it saves many childrens lives in this one. It helped me to see that as long as you think you have made the best decision for yourself and your child at the time you have done the right thing.

  • Comment number 66.

    A hundred years ago (plus the many years before that) women didn't have an option - you breastfed or your baby starved. Pain, infection, more pain, lack of sleep was the norm and women dealt with it and the human race survived. Less than 5% of women have a true medical reason for being unable to breastfeed.

    How come 80% of women in Norway can breastfeed successfully (up to 3 months), yet in the UK it is much much lower? There is an enormous need here for support and a social acceptance of breastfeeding as the norm. Plus (and I think this is a major issue) the "sleeping through the night" obsession must be challenged. Women (parents) seem to be so much more concerned with getting their babies to "sleep through" rather than getting what's best from the breast.

    I am a breast-feeder (daughter until 2.5 years and still feeding 15 month old son - who bites and chews!) I've been through pain, mastitis 3 times, biting, chewing and haven't had a full night sleep in 4 years. My son wakes every 1.5 hours for a feed at night - but I wouldn't change it for the world. There are plenty of years ahead of me when I can sleep all night and have breasts that aren't sore!

  • Comment number 67.

    I got pregnant with my son when i was just 19. I was so determined to be the perfect mum as i thought people would think i couldn't do as well as older parents. i opted for a home birth and did it all with no pain relief. it was the best experience of my life and i enjoyed every minute of it. I breastfed my baby boy as soon as he was born, he took to it straight away. For the first few days i found it slightly painful yet so adamant that i would do it and do it properly. I had a lot of support from my mum and partner and bought some nipple sheilds to ease to pain...they worked a treat!!
    i found breastfeeding so rewarding. I was back in my size 6 clothes within a week of giving birth and found it so easy doing the night feeds. i breastfed in public from day 1, it didnt bother me what other people thought. i enjoyed breastfeeding so much i carried on until my son was 2years old. I feel that all young mums should give it a go, not to be so worried about what other people think. I would love to see more younger mums breastfeeding and it should be advertised more on television!!
    Many of my friends who would never have thought of breastfeeding before now feel differently about it as they have seen the benefits. My partner also feels the same as me but next time round i will express my milk to give him a chance to feed too xx

  • Comment number 68.

    Ah you women, you're ya own worst enemies. 1st of all no one can argue that bottle fed babies are less loved or bond less with their mums but you CAN categorically state that breast feeding IS better than bottle feeding, for the health benefits alone. The show was sensationalist in the extreme, why after stating that only 3% of women stick with BF to 5 months did you feel the need to show a mother feeding her 5 year old child by breast? Going on the stats, if only 3% of women are breast feeding after 5 months how many breast feed till 5 years old 0.00001% of women, it was a totally spurious sensationalist piece in the show. Also as if to placate the bottle feeding mob you focused on a poor mum who had lost her son even though he was breast fed, was that trying to show that even if you breast feed they still get ill and can die? That mothers loss had nothing to do with breast feeding it was just a tragedy nothing to do with breastfeeding or bottle feeding it was just pure trash reporting. Why couldn't the show have been a non dumbed down, evidence based documentary, go through the scientific literature there is no doubt breast is best but it doesn't mean you don't love your baby any less if you cant do it!

  • Comment number 69.

    I can't believe how many people on here have had problems with latching on!!! I too had problems with my second child, my first fed much more easier!!!
    My son was a lazy feeder, wouldn't open his mouth very wide, fell alseep at the slightest sniff of my boob, and it took FOREVER to get him to latch. I had cracked, bleeding nipples, engorged breasts, I had to express a little off before every feed. I used lanolin religiously, nipple shields, you name it I'D DONE IT!!! Fed through mastitis, my own health problems, as well as my son's. I remember clearly having a breakdown about his lack of latch and severe pain yet as he was gaining weight well, despite reflux diagnosed at five weeks, no one really listened to my concerns. I was a wreck. My son would scream at my breast and not feed all day, but be up all night feeding instead. He was then admitted to hospital as GP was FINALLY concerned with his reluctance to feed. They prescribed gaviscon. I then started expressing, as I physically could not cope with a five year old, school runs and being awake practically 24/7 due to his reluctance to feed during the day, plus he would not take the gaviscon orallly. This made no difference. Next Colief was prescribed (my daughter is lactose intolerant) and started to drink the milk.... For about a week!!! Then discovered I produced too much liapese enzyme and my milk was curdling in the fridge and I had to express on demand, luckily I was an efficient expresser, and could express 8oz in about ten minutes, plus he fed from me all night, so didn't feed as much in the day. I then went dairy free myself. My son would not feed during the day unless there was complete silence, no distraction and minimal movement!!! Despite all of this I managed to feed my son exclusively for five months, the only time he had formula was when I was admitted to hospital and my husband had used all my frozen reserves. I then stopped on the advice of my GP. My son is due to have a major operation and I was struggling to cope with the enormity of this. I feel guilt EVERY DAY. Despite health visitors and consultants advicing me to just use specialist formulas from early on, I was determined, the pain did go after about six weeks, despite the drain at night, I loved the closeness and ease of BF, even though I would cry through exhaustion I wanted to do what mother nature intended me to do. I get soooo angry when people can't even be bothered to TRY, they consider their breasts as sexual objects. If they had soley been intended for that use, then they would not have milk ducts to produce milk!!! My son would scream in the middle of starbucks while I endlessly tried to get him ti latch, and people would tut and stare, but I just sat there with my soya latte, sushing my son and having a chat with my friends until my son would either latch or forget why he was crying. I am now training to be a peer supporter at my local BF group. I am by no means and "earth" mother as Cherry stated the pro-BF mum's were, in my opinion bottle feeding immediately is the easy and lazy option. Why on earth would people think that going out and "having a break" is more important than providing nutrition to their child??? You wanted the child, You feed it!! I understand some women physically can't breastfeed yet would love to, yet those that can won't. If I ever have another child I will DEFINATELY breastfeed. Further up someone mentioned that BF isn't slimming, it does however you to revert back to your prepregnancy shape much quicker even if you eat the extra 500 calories you burn from BF. This is nature's way. Although, if you over indulge then obviously you won't see these benefits.

  • Comment number 70.

    You could tell how low brow this documentary was because it mentioned the word celebrities.................. if only they breast fed I might too............. get over it and WO...man up! If you need famous people to be role models not your family, friends, teachers, you're a loser

  • Comment number 71.

    I breastfed both my children until they were a year old (would happiliy have gone on longer but felt I had to stop somewhere and perhaps it was no bad thing before they started to be able to ask articulately for it!!). I have to admit that I experienced absolutely no discomfort at any stage, so have great respect for all the people who persevered when it was so painful. The best tips I was given were:

    1. Feed the baby straight after the birth if you possibly can;
    2. You need to drink a lot of fluid, really a lot, more than you naturally want to;
    3. The more often you feed the baby, the more milk you produce;
    4. The baby needs to take the whole areola, not just the nipple, into its mouth to feed successfully.

    One myth to lay to rest - it's perfectly possible painlessly to feed a baby that has lots of teeth - they don't, normally, bite when feeding, and on rare occasions if they do, it can be just as excruciating with gums!

  • Comment number 72.

    While I was very lucky to have been willing and able to breastfed my daughter, I fully understand why some people either cannot due to medical problems, or choose not to (for whatever reason).

    I think we all need to remember the most important thing: is the child getting enough nutrition to grow and be healthy? To my mind, if you and the healthcare workers are confident of this, then there's no problem.

    Yes, there are health benefits to both mother and baby to breast-feeding, but nobody should feel coerced into doing it just because someone says they should.

  • Comment number 73.

    As an 18 year old pregnant teenager and now a young mum, i explored all the pros and cons of breast and bottle feeding. I found that on paper breast feeding came up trumps, and now with my beautiful 5 1/2 month old son Nate i have also found this in reality too. It wasn't the most easiest thing to begin with and i was in hospital for 5 days trying to get him to latch, but he didn't and still wont now. But thanks to the great invention of nipple shields we can both happily enjoy feeding time. I havn't had any problems with cracked nipples or bleeding with wearing the shields, but i have had slight duct blockage, but nothing to write home about. Although i am not against bottle feeding as Nate does sometimes have formula if i do not have time to express or i just want a rest, i just find it a complete pain having to wash and sterilise bottles, and breast feeding is SO much easier for this. I just wish that other young mums to be would look beyond the point of being 'cool' yes maybe breastfeeding isn't the 'coolest' thing on the plant but isn't your child health and welfare a bit more important in your new role in life!

  • Comment number 74.

    I have two children. Breast fed both. It was really hard with both children who were both c-sections and both lost lots of weight.
    Anyway, I wanted to say that I NEVER fed my eldest in public but with my second, well, I had to go out with my oldest child and so it was pretty much, any time, any place, anywhere... The thing I was amazed by was that most people didn't notice. It just looked like I was holding my baby. BUT if you do feel nervous and don't want to feed your baby in a loo, most of the big high street stores will let you sit in a changing room. I fed in M&S, John Lewis and NEXT to name a few (is that allowed?) and then there are always cafes. Lots will have quiet corners where you can get a drink, sit with your back to the room and no-one will be any the wiser. Some chains (like Starbucks) are breast feeding friendly so don't be shy. Good luck to anyone struggling and please, don't beat yourselves up. If you do or don't breastfeed, you'll love your children and have many things to feel guilty about as the year's go by (like taking them to a birthday party 24 hours too late!) Parenting is a journey and every one will take a slightly different path. Did any of that make sense? I hope so. xx

  • Comment number 75.

    I was really interested not only in the programme, but also in the blog's on the site as with my eldest daughter I had no other thought than to breastfeed, my midwife was lovely and really supportive and other than a small and simple latching on problem when she was first born I had no problems with feeding her, and was very lucky to be referred to my local BFN support group. This was the best thing that ever happened to me,as although I had no problems feeding I was told by the health visitor that, at 4 months, as my baby was not putting weight on according to the chart in the books that I was putting my baby at risk by breastfeeding and i should start to bottle-feed. I was very upset, and although I took myself away from the HV into another room she kept following me and was extremely forceful about this, even supposing that my baby would end up in hospital or worse if I didn't take her 'advice'. She got me into such a state I was doubting everything I had ever thought about being good for my baby, I have never felt so rubbish and inadequate at anything! I was very lucky both my BFN group and another health visitor reviewed my baby's file and said that there was nothing wrong with her and to continue with breast feeding. I did this until my baby decided she wanted to stop herself, she is now 2.5 and very tall for her age. I will never forget how for 3 days I was terrified that as I wanted to breastfeed my baby and was told that it was NOT the right thing to do.

    As I said without my BFN group I would never have been confident enough to continue to breastfeed let alone to have another child and feed her too.

    With regards to bonding- you have to be a happy and calm PERSON- as dad's need to bond too!- bottle or boob doesn't usually affect this!

  • Comment number 76.

    I too had problems early on with breastfeeding - cracked bleeding nipples resulting from a poor latch, which meant tears at every feed, both my babies and mine.

    What helped us turn a corner was the advice from a midwife to try the 'biological nurturing' position. Its when the mother reclines on her back propped up by some pillows and lays the baby down her chest with the babies head at the breast and feet towards her hips.

    It was miraculous! Since then my nipples recovered quickly and my baby girl is now almost five months and thriving. A major bonus is that you get to lie down for feeds and put your feet up! Its great for windy babies, and a host of other breastfeeding problems. I suggested this position to my sister in law, whose baby was only feeding from one side so she was in pain on the undrained breast, and again it worked.

    Go to http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/ for more detailed information. I can't recommend it enough to any new mothers out there who are struggling with breastfeeding.

  • Comment number 77.

    Mother Nature, what was she thinking?! Concieving, carrying, delivering and nurturing your baby are such hugely emotive and personal experiences. While you can do so much to prepare yourself before hand, nothing can actually prepare you for when the reality actually hits.

    I know that I am by no means special or unique in having difficulty conceiving (7 years trying, failed IVF, then 2 natural miracles!), delivering (with my first - 3 days of labour and every intervention possible except a section although looking back a section may have been wiser) then the first part of nurturing - breastfeeding (I have 'failed' twice). With my first child it was practically a non starter as following such a difficult labour, he was in neo natal for 3 days and I was barely human. In contrast, my labour with my second child was a dream however breastfeeding still wasn't.

    For me, I was more worried about my mental health and how that would effect my family than I was about the wonderful benefits of breast milk. From a very practical point of view, formula feeding provided a much needed safe alternative. The early days go by so fast and I just was not enjoying my babies. That leads me to the bonding question - I couldn't love my children any more if I tried and I know that we have bonded. While I battled to breastfeed I struggled to feel a bond though I probably can't comment fairly on that as with both I only managed a week (my second child was not getting enough milk and lost 11% of her body weight so ended up back in hospital - that's when she hit the bottle!) Life with a new born is so much bigger than how you are feeding your baby and we we are under so much pressure to do EVERYTHING well , something will have to give somewhere along the line.

    I think there are 3 main issues:

    1 - Talking about how distressing some parts of delivering and nurturing your child are is still a little taboo. I think most new mums feel pressure to keep a brave face on because having a baby is what you wanted and you expect that you are just going to be happy all the time......that's just not the case!!

    2 - Breastfeeding is promoted well but the mechanics are not always well explained before birth (eg latching on properly). There are small things that make a huge difference to how breastfeeding goes for you as a new mum.

    3 - Your overall health is so important and if you feel that you will be in a better place mentally or physically if you breastfeed or bottle feed you have to do it for you%2

  • Comment number 78.

    No mother should be weighed down with guilt if she attempted to breastfeed but then struggled with it. I managed to breastfeed my first child (with whom I have a very strong bond) for only three weeks; I dd not have the emotional support I needed in spite of a good latch, and I was tired, so I gave up.At first, I was distraught and felt terrible guilt at not managing to continue, but I was emotionally very vulnerable at the time. Nothing would have helped me at that point, and in time the guilt lessened.

    I tried again with my second baby, and asked for help right away. This went like a dream, and I nursed him until he was just shy of 12 months old. I did have some mild soreness but used Lansinoh ointment (good stuff).

    I again nursed my third baby, my second daughter, for 14 months, then my fourth baby, my second son, for 21 months (!). I did enjpy breastfeeding, and the bond with all my children is strong, but, strangely, it is strongest with my oldest daughter (the one I bottlefed after 3 weeks). I think bonding has a lot more to do with other factors than how your baby was nourished!

    Having said all that, I do recommend having a good go at breastfeeding, and asking for support from the outset, persevering and staying positive; you'll probably be rewarded with the most lovely, and easy, feeding experience you could imagine...however, many years ago people used wetnurses for a reason. Breastfeeding isn't always successful or possible for many reasons, and making it the 'holy grail' of motherhood success is wrong.

  • Comment number 79.

    This was an excellent documentary and Cherry Healy portrayed the difficulties of breast feeding really well. The reason that breast feeding rates are so low is probably because it is so difficult for a lot of people, not that there isn’t the education about it – I found that the opposite was true, there is an overwhelming pressure to breastfeed and it is highly promoted in hospitals and antenatal groups, there is plenty information available about the benefits of breast milk. Out of 7 women in my antenatal group (aged between 27-37) only one mum successfully got the hang of breastfeeding and is breastfeeding now, everyone else had various problems from latching difficulties, sore nipples, low milk supply –even though everyone really put in the effort. My jaundice newborn son would either fall asleep whilst feeding or scream ferociously for 20 minutes whilst I tried to latch him on – my son and I both in tears, I was told to feed him every four hours in hospital but maybe if I’d fed him every two hours things would have been different. My engorged breasts made my nipples flatter so it got more and more difficult (if I had a second child I would know with insight to take a pump to the hospital and start expressing straight away if I have difficulties). The breastfeeding groups at the hospital were fantastic (if not offered a bit late in the day) – the women there really knew their stuff and had lots of tips and tricks but even they struggled to keep my son feeding on me and couldn’t really help. Despite my difficulties, I would say that if you have a cooperative baby to go to the breastfeeding workshops. I was a breastfed baby and I desperately wanted to breastfeed my son and assumed that I would be able to, I didn’t realise that it is actually really difficult, I think if I had watched this documentary before I gave birth or if someone had said to me “breastfeeding can be really difficult” then my emotions and expectations would have been really different and I would have been able to have coped with it better. My son is nearly 5 months and for the first 12 weeks he was fed expressed breastmilk, the first 10 weeks was exclusively breastmilk before I introduced formula. Expressing milk exclusively for a worn out, emotional mum is difficult – you have to do it between 5-8 times a day, taking 40 minutes each time, even in the middle of the night when you’re already exhausted, plus the added hassle of sterilising all the equipment. Would I exclusively express again for so long? I’m not sure, although the benefits might be great, that was hours lost that I could have been resting or 'bonding' time with my son and if I have another baby I certainly wouldn’t be able to express with a toddler to look after too. Like many of the mums have commented, I felt guilty I didn’t have the ‘bond’ with my son, now I realise 5 months down the line when I’m rested and more experienced at this parenting job that a bond with your child doesn’t come from just feeding. On a side note, Cherry you should have induced sleep deprivation on Dr Colin “breast feeding is no longer popular” Michie and then stuck crocodile clips on his nipples to give him a more subjective view on breastfeeding. Men are entitled to their opinions (but unless you’ve tried breastfeeding, keep your views to yourself), I don’t think most women choose to bottle feed.

  • Comment number 80.

    My first daughter had a short tongue (I didn't know this at the time), and so breastfeeding was sheer hell. There were times she would regurgitate blood - of course I panicked and took her to hospital, and it turned out it was blood from my nipples, lovely... After several weeks of pushing her away in agony while the poor thing was trying to feed, and crying as my reaction broke my heart, I knew I had to give up for both of our sakes. Although I felt a failure and terribly guilty, it was definitely the right thing to do. My second daughter had no problem at all to breastfeed, and I persevered for 10 weeks, it actually got easy in the end. However, I still gave up after 10 weeks as I could not face the embarassment of breastfeeding in public, and felt confined to my home because of this. I don't know how it will be possible to make breastfeeding attractive in media, etc, because it just isn't pretty to me... I just felt like a dairy cow...

  • Comment number 81.

    MY SON NEARLY DIED BECAUSE I BREASTFEED. My son was 9 days old and he lost over 25% (8.14 to 6.11oz) of his birth weight and had servere dehydration caused by him not latching on properly and failiure of all the health visitors (even breastfeeding specialist in maternity ward more concerened with forcing mums to do it than help mums who wanted to) I sore to diagnose a tongue tie. If left any longer my baby would of suffered brain damage/death.. He was in special care baby unit for 2 weeks and had to go onto the bottle after that.. I feel so quilty as was 110% commited to breast feeding at the start, I feel more let down by the system as if his tongue tie was picked up sooner he would not of been in the SCBU. When they said i needed to bottle feed i was devastated and still feel guilty but said to my husband only me and him to bottle feed (used excuse of him being sick as had reflux when people asked to feed) and always cuddle my son close when feed him. My pet hate is seeing tiny babys fed while in buggy and the fact that bottle feed babies dont have the bond is some mothers (mostly teenage) just let anyone feed them while they go out and tiny babies need there mothers. My son is happy and healthy little boy and is close to me.. The SCBU see more and more cases of dehydrated babies with breast feed every week so very common but this is never mentioned as a con of breast feeding...

  • Comment number 82.

    Excellent, unbiased programme. Well done, Cherry!

  • Comment number 83.

    what a tonne of comments- you deserve them- well done with the best is breast? programme. I have never been so compelled to write something to someone i dont know! i am a mom of 3, i am 29 and still breastfeeding the baby. she is nearly 10 months now. i fed the other 2 for just over a year each. there is an enormous pressure to bfeed and if you ddont or not for long enough you are a failure. what!?! i say rubbish but still feel pressure to continue. i do love it though, what is not so good is how my boobies will be after i finish no.3. i am ony 29- most people i know have not breastfed/had children at this age so my boobs will be different. eek! i have been worried recently about it and asked my husband what he thinks too. he is supportive but its what i feel that bothers me. your show has reminded me what i am doing and why and made me feel better about it all. so thank you cherry. i have enjoyed your shows and look forward to seeing more.
    i will just add that the lovely girl age 19 in the programme was amazing, an insiration to others. well done you- she eminded me of myself when i had my first in nyc- i had such trouble breastfeeding because my daughter was so badly tongue tied that i was in ridiculous amount of pain for 3week till we found a lady who would snip her tongue- traumatic but she went on the boob straight after and it was heaven- so easy.. the american medics had urged me to stop feeding and give her'the bottle' but i wouldnt and i didnt. i am glad i didnt but it shows, here you fail if you dont, and in the states its easier for them to see the weight gain on the chart with a bottle.
    strangly enough, more celebs have to breastfeed to change things and only that will make it more natural. its a blooming tough thing to learn- i struggled with all 3! you ahve to find the right suport- but why would you even know to look? once more people bfeed it will become less learnt and more natural- like in tribal cultures, great granny would teach us!
    thanks cherry- now i will continue my search for a nice nursing bra!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 84.

    I really wanted to breast feed and loved every minute but unfortunately I had inverted nipples, by daughter wasn't getting enough milk and i had to give up after three weeks, as recomended by my midwife... I was devastated and still feel guilty even though she is six years old and perfectly healthy x

  • Comment number 85.

    Not having read through every post on here , I am not sure if this has already been mentioned,but having beastfed three children, I have to say I would have found it impossible without an antiseptic/anesthetic spray which I bought from Boots..I cannnot remember the name of this spray after all these years but I an assured such products are still available.I discovered this wonderful spray by chance ..and no one seems to tell new mums about it!It sterelizes and numbs the nipples and makes breast feeding the pleasure that it should be.No one should be in agony while feeding or made to feel guilty if they cannot manage it.A tense mum in pain is no help to the baby!.While I realise that the B.B.C cannot endorse or advertise particular brands ,surely it can make mums aware that such products are available.

  • Comment number 86.

    Hi Chelsea,

    Just watched the program! I am 29 a mum of 3 and was lucky enough to breast feed them all without any problems. i was particularly interested with the 19year old who sat in the loos for 40mins breast feeding.

    When i first started to breast feed i felt very uncomfortable about going out in public and trying to feed when everyone stared and comented on what i was doing, so i began breast feeding just before i left home and dropped everything when he started to cry and went home to feed which made it very difficult to do anything.

    One day my mum asked me to meet her in town and when Milan started crying i packed up ready to leave, with this she stopped me and sat me down with a muslin cloth which we had bought earlier, hooked it onto my bra and gave me Milan to feed. She covered him and it looked like all i was doing was holding a sleeping baby. he was comfortable and the muslin cloth was airy enough for him to breathe

    I thought this was brilliant because no one bothered to look which made the experience so much easier and me more confident and having to sit in loos.

    i hope this helps anyone with the same fears.

  • Comment number 87.

    I gave birth to my first child in August this year and was determined to breast feed, but had been forwarned by my sister who had fed both her children but been in agony with cracked nipples and mastitis with both for at least the first month.
    I went to every antinatal class I could on breast feeding and was suprised to find that no-one wanted to talk about the possible problems or how to deal with them if they happened.
    On top of this, one of my nipples was flat - so I wasn't even sure if I would be able to breast feed.

    Eight months later I am still feeding my little boy, though I know many Mums who wanted to feed their children and ended up switching to bottles.

    I wish that the NHS would give up this 'if you're doing it right it wont hurt' rhetoric, and be honest with mothers to be of the possible discomfort. If my sister, and others I asked, hadn't been honest with me then I would have given up in the first couple of months with the pain and stress of it all. As it was, despite feeling ill equiped to deal with it, I held on to the idea that it would get easier, which it did, and am now really glad that I persevered.

  • Comment number 88.

    I have a six month old and all through pregnancy I was determined to breastfeed, a little while after I'd given birth a midwife came to me and told me the nurses looking after my baby had bottle fed him (she seemed just as devastated as I was) he was in special care and they didn't bother looking at his notes, all over the hospital were "breast is best" posters, the midwives were all really pleased when I said I would breastfeed, but as a bottle had been given without my permission his tummy had already expanded, so the little milk I could produce at the time didn't satisfy him, I tried expressing and breastfeeding as much as I could, but in the end I had to give him bottles, which has ended up costing me rather a lot of money. The other good thing, besides boosted immunity etc. is that breastfeeding is free.
    If I had been able to try and breastfeed straight away and he hadn't taken or it just didn't happen naturally I would've accepted it more, but my baby had been forced to take a bottle and I was angry with the hospital for about a month, but I also felt guilty that I couldn't give my son what he needed.

  • Comment number 89.

    I am watching this from a recording at the moment - so many emotions.
    I have three children (4 half, 3 and 1 half) and come from a family with no breastfeeding experience. I was determined to breastfeed (could not have on cereal, have tasted I found it not good), benefits for baby, we have allergies and cot death in the family. I really wanted it. My first experience was the same as poor Emma - paid, tears, guilt. I was able to go a breast feeding support group as I was going to give up at 3 weeks. I learnt how a baby is best at attaching and we continued until 15 months. Second time was a birth at 36 weeks emergency c-section - low birth weight 5lb 10oz and he was topped up but he was a great breast feeder. I loved breastfeeding as I could be selfish and spend lots of time with babies. I then became a breatfeeding peer supporter and work in the drop in sessions and have had breastfeeding management training from unicef and will soon be on the wards as a volunteer at any time of the day. It is natural but not easy. Even after all my training I ended up in hospital with (3 baby) cracked bleeding nipples at 5 days old. It can happen to us all - I struggled because I was chasing the other two round the house. We need more positive breastfeeding supporters to help these mum's understand why it is much better and to look at research that highlights the increase in allergies from fake milk. A baby should be with Mum skin to skin especially for the first two hours, the baby will attach themself and feed whenever they want.
    Boobs are not for sex objects they are there to feed and bond and be mummy selfish. Jasmine has now stopped and I am a little sad as we decided 3 would be it and I have been pregnant or breastfeeding since october 2005. What next.
    Cherry you gave up because the attachment was not right and the support was not there or you didn't know about the support. As a peer supporter we need to be with a breastfeeding Mum for the whole feed (over an hour) and midwives do not have this time. It is all about attachment, relaxing and confidence.
    Work I went back at 7 months part-time and had a room with fridge of my own for expressing but after one month my boobs just stopped producing more milk on the two days I worked! How can we help the teen mums? I never lost weight quicker I just ate more biscuits!)
    I fed in all restaurants and I was always ready for a fight - it never happened, I was congratulated most the time (muslins help shade). My first hated the lights in Tesco so I would rugby ball feed under my top with one arm and push the trolley with the other. I think this was a great programme. Well done Cherry.

  • Comment number 90.

    Before I begin, I must say that given the time again, I would still breast feed. Having said that, I feel quite angry about the amount of bias in the information presented to parents. We were not told the following:

    Formula fed babies are more likely to sleep through the night.
    Breast fed babies often do get colic (they make out that it's much more likely in bottle-fed babies).
    It is difficult to tell how much breast milk an baby has drunk and therefore whether they can truly be hungry.
    Breast fed babies usually require more frequent feeding.
    Newborns may need to feed for ten hours a day.
    Some babies need what seems to be constant breastfeeding during the evenings.

    To add to this, I resent the advice that we shouldn't offer even expressed milk in a bottle until the baby is 6 weeks old, in case they develop teat preference. In hospital, when my baby was struggling to breastfeed, she would drink from anything. After six weeks, she bluntly refused to take a bottle, which has meant that I have never been able to be away from her for more than two hours and my husband can never take over the night duty. Even though she's now older, I can't feed her formula to get her through the night, because she won't take it from a bottle. When she has caught a bad chest infection (yes, even though she's been getting my antibodies!), she hated me trying to give her medicine through a syringe, so that advice was always to put it in a bottle.

    Returning to work has been very scary because my baby won't drink from a bottle. I had to wean her against government advice at five months. Now I have found out that for breast fed babies, they need another source of iron, which is present in formula milk, at six months anyway, so I'm glad I did.

    After all that, my daughter is very happy and healthy and I would breastfeed a second child, but I'm quite fed up with hearing standard, impersonal NHS advice.

  • Comment number 91.

    I wasn't sure how i was feeding my daughter before she was born, i just thought i'd give breast feeding a try. Now my daughter is 13 months old, i never imagined feeding her for so long. She took to it staight away, the only difficulty was getting her attached right so it was confortable but we got there in the end. At the start i thought i'd just feed for the recommended 6 months but i decided to carry on as it was the easy, most comfortable thing to do for me. I did have some trouble when she was about 2 months old, when she kept getting unsettled and cried when i tried to feed her but i managed to carry on anyway. The only issue with breast feeding is getting them to sleep through the night. At first she woke up every hour, then the second week she would sleep 5 hours a night, then it varied after that with her waking up 3 to 6 times a night. Now she still wakes up about twice in the night. Breast feeding is good for bonding as we are very close but the only down side is that she'll want me most of the time and will only stay with my mum and my partner, she doesn't like to go to strangers or family who she doesn't see often. However she is a very happy, lively girl. She walked at 10 months so she is very adventurous.
    When i watched the show i noticed how they said not many teenager breast feed.
    Well i'm 18 and am still breast feeding my daughter of 13 months. I do admitt i don't know of many teens who breast fed for long or at all.
    When i was in hospital i did notice that all of the midwifes did encourage breast feeding, some more than others as they all had there own view. I remember one saying not to give them a dummy for 6 weeks until they are used to feeding, along with other things but she said its just what i am told to say as we have to promote breast feeding.
    I think people should do what is right for them. I would recommed breast feeding for many reasons, the most import are the health benefits as my daughter did not get a cold or any infection while she was young. However the sleep patterns can be tiring. All the people i know who breast fed their child didn't sleep through until they were older, but i'm sure there is some who have.

    It was a good programme to watch, and people just have to do whats best for them and their baby in the end.

  • Comment number 92.

    Thank you for making this programme, I admire your honesty on a subject which seems to bring so much judgement about being a successful mother.
    I have 2 children and I couldn't successfully breast feed either of them, despite really wanting to and having read all the 'breast is best' literature, attended breast feeding workshops before and after birth and having some support from midwives. With my first child, my son, I tried to feed him but he just wasn't getting anything, he cried so much that I had to give him a bottle. I felt so guilty and a rubbish mother for about 18 months which was when we discovered he has problems with his muscles and decided he probably didn't have the muscle strength to breast feed.
    My daughter was the exact opposite, her sucking was so hard it was incredibly painful and after 2 days I had to give her a bottle to give my breasts a break. She would be on them for 3 hours at a time for the first 3 days and each suck was agony. She developed jaundice and went back to hospital who told me to keep bottle feeding her because her fluids were low. So I mixed fed her for about 9 weeks, breast in the mornings and evenings when she cluster fed bottles in the day time. But at the end of the 9 weeks my breasts would bleed with each feed and she would bring back up blood - sorry TMI? So this is when I stopped breast and we were both so much happier.
    I gave birth to her without any pain relief (mainly because the gas and air wasn't working at hospital) so I coped with the pain of labour on my own - but I simply couldn't cope with the pain of breastfeeding. One of my friends described it as like having shards of glass sucked through her nipples and this was spot on for me. I went to breast feeding help groups and there was nothing wrong with her latch or our technique, but it never settled down or became less painful. I think I simply didn't produce enough milk, despite her frequent feeding.
    So my point is, I would have loved to breast feed my children but it didn't work and although I'll probably always feel some guilt I've forgiven myself and have two well bonded, healthy, happy, bright and wonderful children.

  • Comment number 93.

    Thank you so much for this programme. I am a mum of a five month old. I am still breastfeeding but it is only in the last few weeks that it has finally become completely pain free. I so wanted to feed my baby but found breastfeeding really difficult and a lot of the comments from midwives unhelpful and judgmental. I finally got support and help via a breastfeeding group and would urge anyone having problems to keep looking for the help they need until they find something that suits them. Once I'd had help getting the latch right, things improved but I took a long time to heal. I felt foolish and really upset. So thank you for tackling this emotive subject. I'm really impressed with all the women who shared their experiences.

  • Comment number 94.

    Lovely to see proof - as if we needed more! - that whilst being very similar we are all different. Perhaps this issue illustratesd that fact more clearly than most because the comments so far clearly show that a number of factors are at work - character, age, experiences - positive and negative, absence of experience and so on.
    To add my twopennarth - and that is all it is - I had nine mionths as a mature 29 year old who had planned everything - to research and discuss things with all and sundry and I realised that the range of experience was wide. So I reverted to scientific evidence and common sense and took it from there. I concluded (well with my husband too) that every baby needed the vital colostrum. Strangely this is barely mentioned and often dismissed in baby books but all sheep farmers know that every lamb must have it. they even milk it off ewes who have lost a lamb or you can buy artificial colostrum (not as good but better than nowt) from the vet or agricultural suppliers. Now why are human babies not accorded this priority I wondered? Also wanted to feed myself and not use artificial milk (well modified cow's milk let's not pander to the baby milk companies and use thier preferred euphenism 'Formula'!).
    b) Final though to share - when we get a pandemic and supply services are kaput I would not like to have no real milk. Simple answer - buy all the artificial babymilk powder you will need - it is all sealed and stores. You can always boil water to sterilise it but don't risk a screaming baby amid all the other nightmares the pandemic will bring...

  • Comment number 95.

    I have been incredibly lucky to have breast fed all four of my children.I exclusively fed them till they turned one year old and then weaned them onto cow's milk. Non of this would have been possible without the amazing support of my husband and my abundant supply of milk! I do not look at it with rose tinted glasses mind, it was painful, exhausting and left me feeling like it was all down to me, but guilty if I even contemplated formula. My opinion is it was right for me, Ifind myself defending my choice sometimes, brushing off the raised eyes by saying " I am too lazy to clean/sterilise bottles"!As the program showed feeding is a challenge, I had to overcome fears of feeding in public, mainly helped by the fact that I lived in Belgium when I had my eldest child and found it much more acceptable to feed in public even 13 years ago. Even though it is becoming more accepted in the UK I have been through the staring, tutting and looks of disgust despite always feeding discretely. However despite all that, the soaked pads, swollen nipples, it has been worth it. Forget is it best for baby, its is it best for both of you, because its hard to begin with so you have to be committed. I have four amazing children, with whom I have a very close bond. I never judge how a woman chooses to feed her child its personal.

  • Comment number 96.

    I went through exactly the same as Cherry with my first child and was so upset that I couldn't breastfeed because I felt so much pressure that this was the best way. basically the whole experience was just a nightmare!!! I tried again with my second child and found it a bit easier and enjoyed it more without so much pressure. both of them had some breast milk for six weeks, sometimes topped up with a bottle, and whilst I did feel a failure at the time, I just think that at least it was better than not at all.

  • Comment number 97.

    As soon as I found out I was pregnant with my first child I knew straight away that I wanted to breast feed as I was told from the off breast is best, I assumed it would come naturally and I had planned on breast feeding for 6 months then use my final month of maternity leave to wean my son from the breast onto a bottle. After my son was born he was only breast fed for 4 weeks. All you are told when you are pregnant is that breast is best, no-one ever told me how difficult and painful it was so I gave up. After I had given up my midwife told me that breast milk is like giving your baby a salad and formula is like giving a baby a McDonald's. I was absolutely distraught. All through my pregnancy I ate well, exercised did everything that is expected of you but I failed my baby at the last hurdle. All my friends breast fed and I regularly came home from baby and toddler groups in tears as I was the only one who wasn't breastfeeding. When I fell pregnant with my second child all my old demons came back to haunt me about failing this child as well. When my second son was born I was determined to succeed with breast feeding, I lost count of the amount of times I had thrush or mastitis on top of the fact that my husband had to work away for 6 months so I was left alone to cope with 2 children (and move house) My driving force to succeed was because of feeling a complete failure to provide breast milk for my eldest child. My youngest son is now 13 months and has just wanted to stop breast feeding and I am so proud that I persevered with it through all the pain and tears that it caused. I returned to work when my youngest was 8 months old and I still continued to breastfeed. Whilst watching your program, I felt really proud of Emma but also really sorry that she didn't have the confidence to sit in public and feed her daughter. I am a confident person and thought nothing of walking round the town whilst feeding my son, or going to the park. I am lucky enough to have only received positive comments from my feeding in public. I have had ladies come up to me and say that it makes a change to see women breast feed and also that more women should do it in public which in turn will encourage more women to breast feed. I think more should be done to promote breast feeding in a good way rather than it being pushed down people's throats. Some women may have every intention of breast feeding but for some reason or another it may not happen, but certainly no matter what a woman chooses to do whether it is breast or bottle you should NEVER feel guilty about it. If the mother is happy the baby is happy.

  • Comment number 98.

    I had my first baby almost two years ago and always wished to breastfeed..and i did until he was 8months and if he wasn't so greedy i would have continued longer. BUT for the first few weeks i was in a lot of pain. I was always told by midwives not to confuse the baby but giving them both bottle and breast. I decided to go with my instincts after 2 weeks of agony, my nipples were cracked and bleeded and i honestly felt like squeezing his head and curling my toes on every feed. I decided to express milk for 2 weeks and give my nipples a break and a chance for my husband to bond with him. After 2 weeks i returned to breast feeding and due to having a lot of milk managed to express as well. This worked out great as i started university when he was 3 months old. He is now a very healthy 23month old with just one cold since birth.
    My second child was very poorly with gastroschisis and i planned to express milk for when she would come out of hospital and be able to eat normally. With the ability to compare now, i lost weight so quickly after having RIo and have really struggled this time. Unfortunatly my baby girl passed away before birth so i was given a tablet to prevent milk production leaving me without the option to express.
    I don't think it makes a difference to relationships and bonding as fathers bond just as well as mothers even if they do not have the option to feed the baby.

  • Comment number 99.

    i am currently watching your programe about breast feeding and i feel sad for you that you feel guilty for not breast feeding, i had my first daughter nearly 9 years ago and for the first week of her life i struggled desperatly to feed my daughter my self. i felt i had very little help from the hospital staff when i first had her and no help was offered with regard to support groups. i tryed so hard but i sat feeding, nearly constatntly for 13 hours and she was still very restless and crying for a feed. i was red raw and so, so tired. my mother suggested that i expressed some milk into a bottle but when i tryed nothing came out and this was because i dont make breast milk but i didnt know and the guilt i felt for starving my daughter for the first week of her life was emense. I got her some formula milk from the shop and she had an 8oz bottle at a week old and slept for 12 hours and has slept well ever since. She is an amazing girl, she is in top set for everything in school, so healthy and happy and we have an amazing bond. i do not think that she has missed out on anything just because she was bottle fed and not breast fed. I hope this is supprtive for you and that your family blooms xx

  • Comment number 100.

    I get so angry about the people who 'can't understand why you wouldn't breastfeed'. What about representing those people who tried but it was not possible. My child was born early & I was ill, I couldn't even try to express until 3 days after their birth. Some of the 'activists' should try the first 9 weeks of your childs life in hospital and soley expressing, I think their opnion may change!

    My milk stopped through the stress. Please stop making people who are intelligent enough to know the benefits of brestfeeding but physically couldn't, feeling as though they are a bad mother. Circumstances are different, as long as the child is healthy and happy - that should be enough, surely!


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