Is your health care provider supportive of breastfeeding? Featured

Did you have any support from your healthcare provider with breastfeeding? 

Some healthcare practitioners will say that they are very pro breastfeeding but unfortunately, when things go a bit south, they’re not so supportive anymore.

One mother says: “At our six week check up with our first daughter, after she had progressively picked up weight very nicely and then not picked up weight between weeks 5 and 6 (but not lost any weight), she told me to put my child on formula, otherwise she will just lose weight. Now, after having my second, I realized that this is often not the case.”

Hand outs of formula samples or formula company pamphlets when you are pregnant, or after the birth

Most of you have seen them handing out the above in baby product aisles, baby clinics, paediatrician offices and even at the GP’s. There is no evidence that any particular formula is better or worse than any other for the normal baby. All these samples and literature are just a way to suggest that formula is better OR basically the same as breast milk. No formula is close enough to breast milk. Don’t believe this?Ask yourself why the formula companies are using all these clever tactics to make sure your doctor or hospital gives out their literature and samples and not other companies.

You hear that breastfeeding and bottle feeding are basically the same

Yes, most bottle-fed babies grow up healthy just like most breastfed babies but this doesn’t mean they are essentially the same. We are only beginning to get an idea and understanding of breast milk and are constantly surprised by it. DHA and ARA are important for baby’s brain development but it took years to get it into formula.It doesn’t absorb the same as breast milk. Many elements in breast milk are not found in formula for example, antibodies and cells for protection against infection, growth factors that help the immune system, the brain and other organs to mature.  Breastfeeding is a whole different relationship.

You get told that formula x is best

This basically tells you that the healthcare practitioner is listening more to a particular formula representative.
It can also be that he/she’s children were on the specific formula and tolerated it better than other formulas. It means that they have formed an opinion without knowing the facts.

You get told that it isn’t necessary to feed the baby immediately after birth since you are (will be) tired

It isn’t necessary but it’s important to have that skin to skin contact. According to Natural Child website, babies who are kept skin to skin with their mothers, are more likely to latch within an hour of birth, without any help. Babies can feed while the mommy is lying down or sleeping – how awesome is that! Even when your baby doesn’t show interest immediately, you can still put them to the breast and see what they do as many babies latch on in the hour or two after delivery. This is the time to starting off well.

You get told you must stop breastfeeding because you or your baby is sick, or because you need to go on a certain medication

There are occasional, rare, situations when breastfeeding can’t continue (for example, cancer treatment and radiation therapy). A mother can go onto a medication that is safe while breastfeeding and a health professional will make sure it’s safe to use before prescribing it. In fact, very few medications require the mother to stop breastfeeding.

They are surprised when you tell them you still breastfeeding your six month old

Why is that? In most countries it’s normal to breastfeed until the age of two or even three years. The WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with solids up to two years of age or beyond. But thanks to clever marketing of formula, it’s becoming less and less.

They tell you breast milk has no nutritional value after baby is 6 months or older

Breastfeeding creates a special bond between a mother and her baby. Breast milk still has all the necessary elements (fat, protein, calories etc) after 6 months. It constantly changes to meet the needs of your growing baby. Anyone who tells you there are no nutritional benefits after 6 months, doesn’t know anything about breastfeeding.

You get told that you must never allow your baby to fall asleep at the breast

Your breasts are a mothering tool. It isn’t just there for feeding. It’s your baby’s comfort, security, soother and dummy as well. One of the advantages of breastfeeding is that you have the ability of putting your tired baby to sleep. 

It’s so easy for a new mother to give up breastfeeding because you trust the healthcare practitioner. Most mommies don’t question them and go for a second opinion.  Most paediatricians and particularly physicians don’t know how to help but a good paediatrician or physician will refer you to the right person.  “You don’t have to breastfeed to be a good mother”, is true, but not an answer to a breastfeeding problem.

Additional resources:

Author bio: Juanne Cronjè is a writer and mother of two. She is very passionate about parenting.  When she isn’t writing, she works in the Financial Sector. Find her here: or

*This article is copyrighted. You are welcome to share it, without altering the contents, giving proper credit to the author and link to this article. Please note Moomie is not a medical website. All information provided here are to be used at your own discretion. Always consult your caregiver for medical advice.

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