Formula Downward Spiral
I know all too well what happens when breastfeeding isn't easy and is a struggle. (breastfeeding isn't always easy) This picture brings back so many memories of pain trying to breastfeed due to cracked bleeding nipples. I would actually scream and curl my toes as both of my babies would latch on when we came home from the hospital. Babies who seemed like they cried at my breasts and were frustrated.
Both times I was assured nothing was wrong their latch and everything was perfect. Sadly that was not the case. With my first I struggled through and continued to breast feed until my baby wasn't gaining weight........I was told I had a supply issue and I would need to supplement with formula. I knew my supply was not the issue and refused to resort to formula. Thankfully after numerous weight check visits and the pediatrician seeing it took my baby about an hour to actually nurse I sought out help from a lactation consultant. She knew immediately what was wrong..........my baby had a lip and tongue tie. Again, no one wanted to help me before telling me to just use formula.
Why is formula usually not the answer?
Most data suggests only a small percentage (less than 10%) of women are not able to breastfeed. For many mamas, who want to breastfeed, they are not successful not due to their bodies failing them and not being able to produce an adequate amount of milk, but the lack of support and fact based information given to them. Instead, women are told breastfeeding just isn't going to work and just to go ahead and give our babies formula. When I was told to do formula I was felt like a failure and I did not personally want to give my baby formula. I'm saying this......because for so many mamas and babies with a little extra help they CAN be successful with breastfeeding. Formula is not a solution for a mama who WANTS to breastfeed and does not want to use formula and is able to breastfeed. (again this is a personal choice)
Introducing formula will cause a downward spiral.......and the likelihood of breastfeeding long term is slim......
"You can successfully breastfeed with the right support"
Many mamas are made to believe their milk is not satisfying enough for their babies and instead what they are noticing is completely "normal" or there is an underlying issue which could be latch, positioning, or ties etc.....so they start supplementing with formula. Look at the graphic and understand exactly what happens when you start giving your baby formula. Giving formula tells your body not to produce as much breast milk, taking a bottle is much easier than nursing at the breast (so baby can become frustrated while nursing), the stomach stretches, baby sleeps for longer periods and before too long you have just decided breastfeeding just isn't working.
Do you see how this happens? Mothers are not given the support they need to successfully breastfed. If you are having difficulty breastfeeding or your baby is not gaining weight PLEASE seek out advice and help rather then automatically seek out formula as a solution. A provider who tells you to use formula before trying other solutions is not being supportive of your breastfeeding choice.