Can they give my baby formula against my wishes??

Nicole - posted on 06/02/2010 ( 175 moms have responded )

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So I had a doctors appt the other day and since I'm 38 weeks I decided it was about time for me to discuss my birth plan. Everything went pretty smoothly until we came to the part about breastfeeding. My dr says she and the nurses at my hospital do encourage BF but that while I'm in the hospital if my milk hasn't come in and the baby is not getting enough nutrients that the pediatritian will recommend giving some formula. I DO NOT want this at all. I'm not sure I understand right, doesn't it take a few days for the milk supply to come in anyways, and won't baby be just fine with colostrum? Also can they actually give my baby formula without my consent? I was not happy to hear this at all.

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April - posted on 06/04/2010

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they might give formula without telling you..that's why i refused to let my son go to the nursery. he slept with me and was with me at all times. i made sure no one even had the opportunity to give him formula.

and you are absolutely correct, they are just fine with colostrum. i had a c section and it took a REALLY long time for my milk to come. But my son ever had a drop of formula in that hopsital...not one single drop!

Becca - posted on 06/05/2010

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One of the reasons that babies are often supplemented is because they are having a hard time nursing at first. One of the best things that you can do to ensure that you get nursing off to a good start is to insist on having your baby skin to skin for the first hour after birth and refuse all routine medical proceedures for this first hour (ask the doctors/nurses to wait an hour before they clean, measure, weigh, give vitamins/eye drops to your baby and have your partner/labour coach prepared to fight for this time for you and your baby). 80%of babies who are allowed to have this uninterupted time self-initiate breastfeeding (babies have reflexes and instincts that allow them to find the breast and latch on their own at birth) and they are less likely to encounter problems. Realize the eye drops blur your child's vision making it harder for them to find the breast. Cleaning them up too soon may also have a negative impact because the fluid that the baby is covered in contains your scent and it is suspected that this also helps your child find the nipple. Obviously, if there is a medical emergency this may not be possible. If this is the case try to get as much skin to skin contact as possible. Finally, if you can stand it try to deliver without any medication/epidural. Research shows that 80% of babies who's mothers were medicated during labour and left skin to skin for the first hour (before being cleaned up) were able to self-initiate but that children of moms who had unmedicated deliveries and were left skin to skin (again before routine medical proceedures were done) had a rate of self-initiation close to 100%. Babies of mom's who were medicated and whose children were cleaned-up/measured/etc. immediately after birth were only able to self-initiate in 20% of the cases.
I read this information a while ago and am going off of memory because I don't have the reference anymore, however, if you are interested in learning more send me a message and I'll see if I can find it for you.

Angie - posted on 06/04/2010

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Unfortunately what they aren't supposed to do and what they actually will do are two different things. When my oldest was born she left my sight 1 time the whole time we were in the hospital, to have the crappy pictures taken before we were about to be discharged. She had lost some weight but she was having lots of wet diapers and there was no risk to her. Apparently a self righteous nurse disagreed. When they brought her back to me she wasn't in the outfit she left me in but back in the hospital clothes, when I asked why they said she spit up and left it at that. In my exhausted new mom stupor I kind of forgot about it.

Fast forward to about a year later and me always having that in the back of my mind. I requested my daughters hospital records and imagine my surprise when I came upon "baby was supplemented with 2 ounces of formula against mom's wishes. Baby had lost 5 % of birthweight and mom's milk wasn't in. Nursery staff agreed it was best thing for baby."

That hospital certainly got an earful from me and I will forever warn people about going to that hospital. They were sneaky, did something against my wishes and I really feel they were the reason I spent hundreds of dollars going from IBCLC to IBCLC trying to figure out why my baby wouldn't latch on anymore (she was latching ok before that). She had gotten a bottle, too early, against my wishes.

So moral of the story, don't let your kid out of your sight, my youngest was not allowed more than 3 feet away from me while in the hospital (different hospital even) but I was adamant about it.

Lenore - posted on 06/04/2010

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dont let your kid out of your site when my daughter was born i only slept when her dad or my mom was there to make sure they didnt give her formula and be prepared for a fight tell them nurses when your in labor no formula repeart yourself several times and get someone to go with her to the nursery and pick a pediatrician before the birth that support breastfeeding and go on the internet and research when your milk comes in and all that you want the hospital to know and print it out and take it with you so when they question what you want you can say well this is what la leche league says blah blah blah good luck and give em hell

Jennifer - posted on 06/02/2010

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as long as you can get a good latch while you are in the hospital, the colostrum will do just fine. my milk took 5 days (!!!) to come in, i don't know if that is just how my body decided to work, or if my breasts just weren't getting enough stimulation because we couldn't get a good latch. whatever the reason, i was told we had to supplement.

the hospital i was in said that they do not allow a baby's blood sugar to drop below a certain number and if it did we would have to supplement with formula. i'm not sure if they were saying that to scare me, or if they really can do it without your consent.

if this does happen, and your little one isn't getting enough and they tell you that you need to supplement, take a deep breath, it is not the end of the world. tell them you would like to try cup feeding, or using a syringe instead of giving a bottle to prevent nipple confusion.

good luck, and try not to worry too much. if it is a breastfeeding-friendly hospital the nurses should be trained in helping moms and babies breastfeed so make sure you ask for assistance anytime you need it! thats what they are there for!

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Mindee - posted on 06/10/2010

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If go in acting unsure about things, they probably will shove a bottle in the baby's mouth, which will then cause all sorts of latch on problems for breastfeeding. No they can't/shouldn't go against your wishes. It's natural for mommy milk not to come in for 2+ days, they're SUPPOSED to be drinking colostrum.
Also, if they tell you your baby MUST have milk/formula, (which may not be true), make sure they use and S&S, not a bottle, and ask about purchasing donated breast milk. Keep in mind that for your baby to get you to produce milk, he/she needs to be nursing, not taking supplements. (The medical community can be very naive when it comes to labor, birth, breastfeeding, nutrition, etc.).

Jenelle - posted on 06/10/2010

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They should not be able to give your baby formula w/o your consent. Colostrum should be jut fine. When I am in the hospital and they start to get concerned I ask for a pump and will usually be able to pump a couple ounces of colostrum. I am one that lets my baby go to the nursery..I figure I will have all the time in the world with them once I get home, and I need to rest as much as possible in the hospital. But my hospital has you fill out a feeding/pacifier form where you can put down what you want to have happen. They should follow that, and if they feel more is needed, then they need to ask my permission before they do anything! You have more rights than they let on, don't let them push you around. Stand your ground and tell them exactly what you want and expect!

Kara - posted on 06/10/2010

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Wow, what mum has milk come in while at the hospital? BF is best and hopefully you will have the support of your nurses. You might want to contact a lactation consultant to visit you when the baby is born. Right after birth you will have a chance to bond and give bf a try, very impotant because babies can't see very well, but they can sure smell and feel your touch. I would come up with a feeding time with the nurses when your baby is born. That's what I did and like what the others said just be firm, "I want to BF my baby". The only thing to be concerned about is building that special bond :) Good Luck and a pre-welcome to Mommy Hood.

Tracy - posted on 06/10/2010

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My daughter was born 5 weeks early. I pumped but got just a couple of drops. The nursing staff supplemented with formula. They mixed what I pumped with the formula. I tried nursing, then pumped and fed formula. Very quickly and much faster than the staff thought I was pumping enough to do away with the formula. I would enquire about this possibility with your doctor. My daughter ended up only requiring formula for a couple days and what she got was always given with breast milk.

[deleted account]

I'm an experienced breastfeeding mom. When my second child was born, she latched on right away but wasn't very interested in staying awake long enough to nurse. She was a healthy 9lb baby. Although our hospital is very supportive of nursing, the night nurse wanted to supplement with formula because my daughter was eating enough - was going a long time between feedings.

But I stuck my ground and REFUSED to nurse and told her that she was just fine - she had enough body fat on her, she knew what to do, she just wanted to sleep. The nurse was pretty angry with me, but I held strong. My daughter was eating fine the next day. Try not to let the nurses scare you. I think i would have caved in with my first, had he not cooperated, but then again, I think I did let them give him some so I could sleep. Didn't do that with my second - kept her with us.

Zoe - posted on 06/10/2010

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In England, for a "normal" baby there is no checks on blood sgar levels, unless there is a medical reason to. Mum is left to feed as she chooses with breastfeeding support if needed. The american doctors talk a lot of crap, esp about mums not being able to feed bigger babies, 99.9% of mums can feed any baby, regardless of his or her size. Ok he she might feed more regularly but thats a good thing in getting your body to produce more milk. Feeding on demand is as it says. Feeding 4 hourly doesnt help the baby or the mum, feeding on demand will. That first hour is critical.
Good luck
x

Mary - posted on 06/10/2010

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I am a labor and delivery nurse as well as a breast feeding advocate. Not all doctors, including pediatricians are strong enough advocates for breast feeding. Care providers are human, just like everyone else, and they all have their own biases and opinions that differ. No, a hospital can not give your baby formula when you say no. What you need to do is tell the nurses and all care provider upon admission to the hospital, as well as a friendly reminder when ever the baby is away from you that you do not agree to any formula. There are other options if medical conditions arise. One fear, or common problem is when a babies blood sugar goes to low after birth, It is more common in very small babies, premature babies, large babies, and babies of diabetic mothers. If this happens, often care providers jump straight into formula. You do not have to. You can instruct your care providers that you want to try nursing the baby first to bring sugar up. If the baby won't eat, you can express colostrum and spoon feed/dropper feed, your baby your colostrum. In worst case scenarios they can spoon feed or dropper feed sugar water, and if does not work, tell them you want your options discussed with you before you agree to formula.
One other thing you mentioned is poor weight gain of baby or if your milk does not "come in", even though you hear this a lot, it is actually very rare. In Sweden where breast feeding is the norm 98% of women breast feed with no difficulty. Usually, when a woman or care provider thinks that your milk is not enough, it is actually a miss perception of natural baby feeding ques or a lack of knowledge about the breast feeding cycles. As long as your baby is gaining weight, having wet and poop diapers, she or he is getting enough breast milk. If weight gain becomes an issue, their are ways of increasing your own milk supply. A lactation consultant can provide you with help with this. In a worse case scenario, there are devises to supplement your baby while he/she nurses (at the same time) so not to disturb nursing habits. Your best defense is education and be aware that not all hospitals and care providers are as breast feeding savvy as others, stand up for you and your baby. Good luck!

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When I had my first daughter they did what they wanted because I didn't know, when I had my second my doctor sent me to a program called babysteps. I met a wonderful nurse who told me that it was my pregnancy and no one could do anything without my consent. She had me make a birthing plan including that only nurses work on me and not nurses in training and informed me that if they bottle feed my child in the hospital it will be harder to get my child to nurse because a bottle is so much easier. She told me to say no to pacifiers and that sometimes some nurses will tell you stuff because it makes their job easier. Always get a second opinion, if your lucky you will get a nice nurse in there who will be honest with you and help you. Good luck.

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2010

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Oooh, request a visit from the lactation consultant, or go to the hospital and meet with them before the baby is even born. They are usually very helpful and supportive. You can also find good info and support on llli.org (La Leche League).

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2010

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No, they have NO right, but they will certainly try, I've SEEN it done! Stick to your gut feelings and don't let them change your mind! The best thing for both you and your baby if you want to successfully breastfeed is to nurse as much as possible with no interference! I supplemented according to the dr. with my first daughter, she stopped nursing after 6 weeks. My second exclusively bf until 6 mo., started toddler food around 1 and is still nursing @ 3 1/2, our choice of course. Stick with what your gut tells you! That was my biggest mistake.

Tama - posted on 06/10/2010

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my daughter was 6 weeks early. she was small but a nice healthy size for being so early and with no breathing or other problems due to her early birth. the staff - including the lactation consultant - recommended we supplement w/ formula and left it in the room. i was upset b/c i wanted more support w/ nursing (esp since she was my first child and i had no experience or friends/family who'd nursed to help). she didn't get formula and she was fine - even though her little mouth was so tiny and she was so sleepy that she didn't nurse much to start w/. it was all she needed.

after a few weeks my DD started crying all hours of the day and night and was inconsolable. it was VERY difficult on the whole family! finally, after changing Peds several times and doing a lot of research, realized that it was dairy in my diet causing her such upset! ANY tiny amount i'd eat would cause her such problems (blood and mucus in her stool, terrible gas pains, explosive painful poop, screaming and crying for HOURS...) once i dropped every bit of dairy (even "hidden" dairy) from my diet, she was a different baby! it took me almost 5 mos to figure out though. had they given her formula in the hospital, it would have caused her such belly problems!

my advice would be to make your wishes known and to keep your baby with you at all times. my DH accompanied both my children when they had to leave for any tiny amount of time. (they had to check DD's breathing b/c it was a bit rapid for the first 30 min after birth and she was taken to the nursery for that. we had DS circumcised and DH went and accompanied him. otherwise they never left my side.)

so much depends on the staff assigned to you. with my DS i had much more support and was more confident - having nursed my DD for 2.5 ys and gotten through the dairy issues. w/ my DD it was harder b/c i was so dependent on the lactation consultant and she wasn't what i needed -- offering formula just b/c my DD was small. if you can get in w/ a LLL group they may be able to offer some support and suggestions before your baby arrives!

best wishes to you!!!

Stacy - posted on 06/10/2010

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As long as there are no medical reasons to give your baby formula, they should respect your wishes. Kaitlyn had jaundice pretty bad so they supplemented with formula (even though I was VERY hesitant) to get her more fluids to help the jaundice pass faster. That said - we have not had any problems with breasfeeding and she took to a bottle really easily too (I pumped from the very beginning). If there are latch concerns use the lactation consultants at the hospital every feeding - that way they can stave off the nurses wanting to give formula. If there's a medical reason to give formula, I wouldn't panic - but make sure that you know why & how much they are giving - and keep up with breastfeeding on demand. It really is a miracle that the little ones know what they need the minute they come into this world. :0)

Sarah - posted on 06/10/2010

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I don't know if they can force you to give your baby formula, but I woudl be concerned about them doing it when you weren't around. I would persomally not let mey baby out of my sight if that was somethign I was concerned about.

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You can refuse to let the hospital give your baby formula, but they might still do it if you are asleep or if they determine that the baby seems to be dehydrated or otherwise in distress. Let your nurses know that you want to nurse the baby AS OFTEN as he/she fusses, etc. The key is to keep your baby in your room as much as possible so you can nurse frequently and they will probably leave you alone. One or two bottles will not ruin your chances of successfully nursing your baby. My 1st daughter was given a bottle without my consent. I was a new mom and it was very upsetting to me, but my daughter was fine and she nursed until her 1st birthday without any ill effects of the one bottle the hospital decided she should have. Keep in mind, even if you have a c-section, you will only be in the hospital for 4 days. What happens with nursing in those few days is important, but you can regroup and get on your own schedule when you get home. Don't obsess and get all upset and crazy over little things. Use your time in the hospital to recover and get to know your baby while you have extra hands to help. Good luck to you and best wishes for a safe delivery.

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STAND YOUR GROUND!!! the cannot give the baby ANYTHING without your permission!!! Yes, if the baby is not getting enough to eat, they will give him/her formula, but you are right, your full milk will not come in completely for a few days... but what your body is producing is what your baby needs to survive! It sounds to me like your doc and the hospital already has their agenda set... they push formula! This is a major issue in maternity wards these days... the nurses will come in several times a day and try to give you formula... it's just how it is.

With my son I had a really hard time fighting them.... when he was born I put him directly on the breast, and he ate beautifully.... after about 10 min they tried to take him... he was still eating and i refused... every 5 min they tried to take him again... he was born at 1 am and everyone was tired and they just kept insisting because they didn't want to stand around and wait... you could tell that the nurses were annoyed, but i ignored them and fed my baby. When he was done and I allowed them to take him to the nursery for a bath and pediatrician check up ( normal) - I sent my husband with the baby.... i HIGHLY suggest you do the same... because the moment they brought the baby in, a nurse tried to give him a bottle. My husband stopped her and said no he is being BF. The nurse argued and he stood his ground, she called the doc... then tried to give the baby water based on what the doc said... again my hubby said no - after 3 calls to the pediatrician she finally conceded and left my son alone. The entire 3 days I was in the hospital they were constantly bringing me formula telling me i needed a break and trying to take my son to the nursery to let me 'rest'. I refused... mainly because I knew that there would be no one there to keep them from stuffing him with formula.

My dd was born at a different hospital.... the exp was the complete opposite... i was encouraged to nurse her the moment she was born ( well they cleaned her up a little first) - and I was allowed to nurse for an hour.... and the nurses were informed not to offer formula at all unless I ask... and they didn't - ever.... my doctors were all pro-nursing and were impressed by my knowledge of it all ( her in hospital ped actually had me talk to another new mom about it since she was frustrated about latching and the lactation consultant wasn't in yet, I helped encourage this mom not to just give in and give the baby formula.... ).

While I agree that some women just don't make enough milk, I feel that 90% of the time it is just the laziness of the doc/nurses and the lack of support for the mom and baby. Tell them that you want a lactation consultant to come and see you as soon as possible after the baby is born... that you want to nurse the baby before he/she leaves the room, and make sure someone is there to go with the baby if they are ever out of your site...and that they know and can stand up for your rights!

The baby will be just fine... your milk changes as time goes on and yes you will nurse more than you would bottle feed, but that is ok... it's just how it works. Your nipples will be sore.... remember if there is blistering/bleeding, you probably don't have a good latch and a consultant can help you - it's not easy peasey at first... but once you get it - you are golden! I nursed my DS for 2 years and my DD just turned 10 months yesterday and is going strong! Stand your ground... this is your child... you are going to be raising them the next 18+ years... not these docs and nurses who see them for a few hours the first few days of their life!

Good luck and congrats to you and yours!

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2010

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If the baby has some formula in the hospital it is NOT a big deal. You should not have issues BFing. My Milk came in 12 hours after each c-section full force and they still had 1 formula bottle per night each, or if I was sleeping. So a few a day for the first 4 days.
I went on the BF both girls for over a year.
In hindsight, it is REALLY not worth stressing over.

Amy - posted on 06/10/2010

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YES, baby will be fine with colostrum! The hospital I worked at would only recommend formula if the baby didn't have enough wet/dirty diapers.

Inge - posted on 06/10/2010

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I ended up having to supplement a little bit in the hospital. I believe they can force you to give formula (or strongly advise) if the babies gets close to losing 10% or more of their birth weight (because then they are labeled Failure to Thrive). I used a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) to provide formula and although it is hard to use..it works well. Ultimately though the way I looked at it is that it is good that my daughter got some nutrients from the formula until my milk came in 4 days later. I never ended up having an issue with nipple confusion and this way I wasn't worried if she was getting enough. I stopped as soon as her weight had stabilized after my milk came in..

Heather - posted on 06/10/2010

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Yes they can give your baby formula without your consent. I breastfeed from 20min after he was born and continue to do so even now that he is almost 14 months old. However he was jaundice shortly after birth and formula was the quickest way to get the billrubin out of his system. He was bf-ing every 90 min and getting more than enough nutrients (especially since they still have nutrients built up from before they were born) but he still needed some supplemental formula to get it out faster. Otherwise we would have been in the hospital for another day or two. I protested but they did it anway. He had less than 8 oz total of formula over 3 days and has not had 1 drop since. They really do know what is best for the tiny people but usually work with the parents too. Your OB will hardly have anything to do with your baby after it is born. I suggest not letting this stress you out and talking to the Peds nurses and Dr after he/she is born. Good luck and enjoy the end of your pregnancy! Praying for your safe and smooth delivery and health of your tiny person :-)

Julia Kat - posted on 06/10/2010

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From what I remember, your baby can survive for 24 hours on their stored up body fat after birth without the need for any milk from you or from the bottle. During the first 24-48 hours or sometimes longer, your milk will not come in. However, the most crucial part of breast feeding is upon you and your little one as colostrum is jam-packed with all kinds of immunities that will help in fighting infection and prevent baby from getting sick due to all the new things he will be coming in contact with - including brothers and sisters with slightly less cleaned hands.

Even if a mother should decide she cannot or does not want to breast feed, they should at least try to do it for the first day after birth for this vital part of babies health!

My doctor specifically told me that the baby may cry because they are hungry but that does NOT mean they need to eat (in the first day or two). Colostrum does not fill up their little tummies, but they do not need anything more than that. They did give me the option to substitute with formula if I wanted to until my milk fully came in if I felt bad that baby cried but they told me it was not needed at all!

Don't let them do it to you if you don't absolutely have to! If 3-4 days goes by and your milk is still not in and their stored nutrients have been depleted, you may want to consider it though.

Cindy - posted on 06/10/2010

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At a physiological stand point a newborn baby is prepared for the mother's milk not to be in by packing on water weight in the womb. A newborn can survive 10 days or more without mother's milk (evolutionary adaptation to drought), so there is no reason for supplementing baby formula or sugar water. Some hospitals will give a baby sugar water in the nursery to calm them down. Be wary about the sugar water because this will make the baby not willing to nurse b/c colostrum is not very sweet.
Dr.'s and hospitals worry about jundice and weight loss. Weight loss is going to happen to any newborn, don't panic the baby has been attached to an umbilical cord that gave them everything, now they are in the real world and have nothing.

You are absolutely right that they cannot force you to agree to give your child formula!!
Your doctor hasn't read Meredith Small or Sarah Hrdy. I recommend reading Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species by Sarah Hrdy, and Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent, and Kids: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Raise Young Children both by Meredith Small.

If you are concerned about your milk coming in I would start pumping the day you deliver. You aren't pumping to collect but pumping for stimulation. Then demand a lactation consultant to help with the baby and you to get a proper latch. A proper latch is going to make or break your breastfeeding.

Make sure your husband or who ever is with you knows your wishes! It is vital to have an advocate, because anything can happen.

FYI if you have an epidural and they ask you if you want to keep it in for another 24 hours for pain management say NO! Have them take it out as fast as possible because it will make you want to get out of bed and move around. This will help in recovery. If you have a c-section ask for an abdominal support wrap...this will help and allow you to get up and moving faster.

Courtney - posted on 06/10/2010

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Get yourself a great IBCLactation Consultant, learn all you can now.
Make sure you ask every question you have at the time and don't be afraid to call an IBCLC or a breastfeeding counsellor for advice or to explain to you in a better way, they almost always have other things you can try first.
I was pressured in hospital to give my baby formula and I have since found out (by getting my medical records) that they gave her formula in the nursery.
So long as you feed often, sometimes up to every hour or even more in those first few hours/days the baby will get enough colostrum until your actual milk comes in.
It is when you listen to bad advice/instruction from health 'professionals'/friends/family (like i did) that issues can happen
If you keep your baby with you (room in) then the chances of him/her being given formula is a lot less.

Good luck with your journey through motherhood!

Nicki - posted on 06/10/2010

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I totally agree with Jennifer here, without the help of my local La Leche League local breast feeding support group i would've given up far too early for my liking and hopefully in your area these amazing ladies will be available in your Birthing centre or hospital. I was soo grateful for the help i received that i did the training this year.

Tyleasha - posted on 06/10/2010

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They ARE NOT allowed to give your baby formula without your consent!!! Keep him within your sight at all times. Do not send the baby to the nursery and do let let them take him for tests without you or one of your support people there because they seem like a hospital that can be sneaky. It can take 3 to 5 days for you milk to come in and that is normal. Your baby may have some "Brick Dust" in the babys urine if your milk takes too long which is a little bit of blood, it just means your milk is taking a little longer and your baby is starting to need it more then the colostrum. Just make sure you have your baby suckling at your breasts as often as they would like. It will help your milk come in faster. You can message me if you have any more questions hun, I am a Certified Breastfeeding Educator and I am happy to help. Good Luck Hun

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2010

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I don't know, honestly. I'm not 100% sure that my son didn't get any, as he was nursing fine until he came back from the nursery with a paci (we had a sign that said no formula or pacis but it clearly didn't do anything). And then we had a 2 week struggle to nurse.

My advice is to instruct your partner that NO MATTER WHAT the baby gets no formula so if they wisk him away for some pretend problem right after birth (like they did mine...his heart rate was one beat higher than "normal"), your partner goes with the baby and keeps things the way you want them.

Then don't let anyone tell you you should send the baby to the nursery. You won't sleep better!

Also, your milk may not "come in" for a while but all your baby needs is the colostrum anyway. Newborns are not hungry for a big ole serving of anything. If you milk hasn't come in in about a week or so, THEN you might worry. But make sure to give it a lot of time.

If you can, go to a local Le Leche League meeting before you deliver and talk to the leaders. They may know a LC who can come see you at the hospital if you don't like the ones on staff.

Nicki - posted on 06/10/2010

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No they cannot give your formula without your permission, unless there is a valid medical reason e.g. general ansethic (can't spell) for c-section. If you want to breast feed then don't let them tell you different. The only thing i would say is that if you have to have pethedine or an epidural it may take your baby a bit longer to learn how to latch on properly but breast fed babies get all the nutrients they need in every single feed be 5 minutes or an hour long.
Hope this helps.

Kelly - posted on 06/10/2010

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I got induced 2 days over my due date and when i had my little girl well actually big girl lol all 10.2 of her! I had pretty much no milk at first just enuf i guess but my milk didnt come in until like 2 days after i left hospital..its completly up to you hun, but if you baby is born abit weak or maybe he-she is quite small and u dont have quite enough milk at the time then it may be the safe option but like i say i didnt have hardly any milk for like 4-5 days and my babes was absolutly fine!

Tracey - posted on 06/10/2010

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formula WILL NEVER replace breastmilk as a way to feed your baby! and only a very few babies lose excessive weight in the first few days here in Australia most hospitals weigh on Day 4 and if the baby has lost more than 10% of their birthweight then they 'may' need supplemental feeding BUT any extra feeds given are always expressed breastmilk FIRST and the infant formula only if ABSOLUTELY necessary. In my 8 years as a midwife I have seen only a very small percentage of babies that have lost more than 10%

Tracey - posted on 06/10/2010

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I am a midwife in an Australian hospital and we are not allowed to give a baby formula unless the mother consents OR if the baby is very premature and needs the nutrients to grow properly and maintain blood sugar levels (BSLs).
There are two reasons why a baby would have compulsory BSL's taken 1. if Mum is a Gestational Diabetic either diet or insulin controlled and 2. if baby is < or =2500g or > or = 4500g in both cases BSLs are collected within an hour of birth and for the following 24hrs, if after 24hrs they have stayed above 2.6mmol then we cease testing. If a baby has consistently low BSL's then try B/F first and if they still remain low then we supplement with infant formulas. Having said all that we are now encouraging women who have Gestational Diabetes to start hand expressing colostrum from the 36th week of pregnancy and store it in the freezer and bring it to the hospital when they come in for labour or if they are having a booked c/section. This is a great solution and is helping to curb our use of infant formula hoorah!!
If your baby is over 2.5kg about 5lb 8oz and has no other problems and is not less than 37 weeks when born then there is no reason that after the initial 'B/F' (which frankly is more a lick and promise sometimes) can go up to 12 hours before another feed is necessary or even wanted. A lot of babies are 'mucousy' in the first 24-48hrs and regurgitate and swallow this back into their very small tummies and live on it for days...yeah I know TMI! but it's true and their tummy is about 3mls capacity (about the size of a small marble) for the first day or so they need only small amounts of colostrum. And the other amazing thing is that babies in the last few weeks of pregnancy lay down 'brown fat' so that in the first few days before the milk 'comes in' they live off this too!!! amazing, after a couple of days their tummy grows to the capacity of a large marble and finally 'stretches to accommodate about the volume of a golf ball so still quite small amounts so this is why a baby demands to be fed every few hours, more frequently in the first few days because they are trying to stimulate a milk supply.
Breastmilk is the easiest food for your baby to digest and the best reason to consider breastfeeding and not giving complementary feeds of infant formula if it can be avoided.
Hope this answers your question and gives you some good reasons to refuse infant formula for your baby!

Lana - posted on 06/10/2010

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You're right. Milk does usually come in after a few days. Colostrum is highly nutritious for newborns. You might want to discuss this with your pediatrician. Most babies are fine with exclusive breastfeeding. It's recommended by both the world health organization and the American academy of pediatrics. Introducing formula changes the babies gut and can actually cause problems for some kids. In the case of a large or very small baby you may need to supplement but that's not the norm. Get lots more info from a certified lactation consultant or La Leche league. It's really important to start baby off the best way.

Michelle - posted on 06/09/2010

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Lie to them and say there is a family history of dairy and soy intollerances if you are really worried.

My dear boy decided he was coming a month early and it takes my body five days for my milk to come in properly.

(Did with my daughter too)

You have to sign a letter stating that supplement feeds are 'ok'. (Or not) but if they have a concern about your baby's blood sugar levels they will do a blood test. Sometimes it is as easy as having a heel prick, but sometimes the clotting in bub's blood is so good that they have to go through the arm vein. (They did with my boy, his poor heels looked more like pin cushions!)

If your milk doesn't come in quick enough for their liking, demand an express pump. Express as much as you can and supplement any of bub's feeds with what you get. Not only are you supplementing them the golden stuff (colostrum or even first milk) you are telling your breasts to make milk. Make more milk!



Good luck and congratulations!

Stephanie - posted on 06/09/2010

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Im sure you milk will juste be fine, and colustrum is good enough for the baby, if worst case scenario happens, please ask them to cupfeed your baby, but only in worst case, I hope everything works out for you!

Ashlee - posted on 06/09/2010

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Wow...I'm in Australia and all midwives I've spoken to are SO 100% for breastfeeding... I also had my baby in a smaller country-town hospital where they were incredibly fantastic and supportive. (I'm pro-bf anyway.) But a few nights in a row, they'd stay with me for up to an hour helping me get it right... maybe in bigger city hospitals, the staff is stretched thinner and they don't have time to help you one-on-one like that, but SURELY they can't give your baby formula without your consent...
Besides, I was told that a newborn has a stomach the size of a pea and all they need is 5mls of colostrum per feed or something like that!
Be strong!

Julia - posted on 06/09/2010

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http://www.breastfeed.com/articles/issue... Here's an article that talks about why not feeding formula is important... written by an RN. Here are a few paragraphs from that article.

By the way, if you end up having trouble nursing, I highly recommend MilkShare. I had medical problems this last time and didn't make a full milk supply but Felix never had any formula thanks to a few generous mamas!

"Colostrum helps to build a mucosal barrier, which protects babies against infection and is anti-inflammatory. Breastmilk is living protection against all kinds of germs. Mother Nature sure knew what she was doing."

"It takes many weeks for the baby's gut to close up the leaks in order to seal off germs and to develop the ability to shut out allergenic proteins. If given formula in the early weeks, this closing up is delayed and the risk of allergies and illness increases. The type of bacteria in the gut becomes less protective. In other words, baby is more at risk for illness."

"Just one bottle of formula - given for any reason - can sensitize babies who may be allergic to cow's milk protein or soy protein. This is especially important to know if you have allergies in your family. Some studies have indicated that giving cow's milk formulas early may also increase the risk of some children for developing insulin dependent diabetes."

Michelle - posted on 06/09/2010

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Renee - I've been misinformed. I've just looked it up and what we have is a baby friendly hospital policy that means staff have a responsibility to protect and promote breastfeeding. They can give formula and information on it if breastfeeding isn't possible or there is another problem, but they need to refer the mother to a lactation consultant for breastfeeding problems (e.g. latching).
In practice I've had friends have a very stressful time because breastfeeding wasn't working for them and the staff have been so reluctant to suggest formula that they've really had to reach the end of their tether before it was even mentioned as a possibility.
How much help you get depends on the staff member of course, but I had two midwives help me get positioned and latch the little'un on so I could feed lying down and get some rest on those first two nights. But I was at a well-staffed facility where they had time to be that helpful :-)

Roxanne - posted on 06/09/2010

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I do not believe they can against your wishes. for me, my colostrum didn't even come in, and my baby needed nurishment, so I had to give him formula while I continued to pump and get things going. I delivered at 36 weeks, and my son was premature. It took us a good two weeks to master his latching. Now, at 18 months, he latches just fine and is healthy.

KATIE - posted on 06/09/2010

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When my daughter was born, I fully intended to breast feed. Withing a 1/2 hour I was nursing her. Your baby will be just fine with colostrum. It is high in fat and nutrients that your baby needs. After reading some of the other posts, I am a little disturbed. Why are so many moms paranoid about their baby leaving their sight? The staff at hospitals cannot give anything to your child without your permission. They will come into your room at 3 am if they need to just to ask if it is okay if your baby has a pacifier. It is a myth that babies sleep a lot after they are born. My daughter did not sleep at all it seemed while we were in the hospital. I was so exhausted and sore from breastfeeding the second night we were there that I asked the nurse to take the baby for an hour or two, just so I could get some rest. She came back in an hour later and told me that my daughter was hungry and that I should breastfeed. So, do not be so paranoid and crazy about the staff giving your baby formula. You will miss out on some of the most important moments. You should be enjoying your new bundle, not worrying about nipple confusion. I did end up giving my little one a small 2 oz bottle at the hospital, because she was not latching correctly and I was too sore. When we got home, she latched just fine, my milk came in, and everything was gravy. Later on I would pump and give her the milk in a natural nipple bottle and still breastfeed(playtex is a good brand). There is a stigma associated with mothers who do not breastfeed, do not buy into it. As long as your baby is healthy, gaining weight, and meeting milestones, you will be fine. There is nothing wrong with you if for some reason you cannot breastfeed. Good luck!

Melissa - posted on 06/09/2010

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They will suggest it. Its very dangerous for your baby to lose excessive weight after birth. This is the reason. Sometimes breast milk wont come in for a week or so therefore, formula will be necessary for your thriving infant. Think about your baby! Formula has been perfected and offers many good nutrients similar to breastmilk.

Doni - posted on 06/09/2010

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can I just say...formula will not kill a baby...I respect your strong desire to bf. I had every intention of bfing exclusively but I did not produce enough milk. I ended nursing a few times a day and pumping almost constantly to try to up my supply. After about 5 months I simply dried up and HAD to switch to all formula...(or let my baby starve).



Colostrum will do for the first few days, it is very nutrient rich. The hospital should honor your with to exclusivley bf, if you do not trust them with this wish...I would find another hospital.

Kristin - posted on 06/09/2010

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If your doctor is using language like that already, it's a danger sign. You want to hear this language instead: "We strongly encourage you to breastfeed, and will help you in any way possible. There is a slight possibility that your baby will need formula, but only if ____. Otherwise, you can exclusively breastfeed if you wish."

Shelley - posted on 06/09/2010

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My son was born via c section at 36 weeks, I made it very clear over and over while I was waiting to fully dialate to start pushing that He was not to have any formula, I ended up going in for an emergency c section as his head was all bent and I was told a natural birth was too risky, so in for the c section I went, Before the operation started I clearly stated that I did not want Him having formula again, He was born and then rushed to icu because he wasnt breathing properly on his own.. I asked and asked the nurses when I could start breast feeding, they kept saying that they would let me know, I got so fed up with being told the same thing that I demanded to express some milk for him, I later found out when she came back that he had been given formula over 5 times via bottle without my consent.. This really really annoyed me as it caused nipple confusion.. After I found this out I stayed as his side when it was around the time he needed a feed... As soon as he was able to come and stay in my room with me I did not let him out of my sight, and refused to let them give him formula to supplement feeds, I felt that he was getting enough from me, as it turned out he was.. Be VERY VERY CAREFUL some hospitals will give formula without your consent..

Make sure you constantly tell them NO and be strong in what you believe..

Goodluck and congrats on your baby...

Kyla - posted on 06/09/2010

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When my last son was born he was over 10 pounds and because of that had low blood sugar I was in recovery from a c-section when the nurse came in to tell me they were going to give him a bottle I told them no I was going to breastfeed and she told me I didnt have a choice he had to have the bottle now or they would have have to put him on a glucose drip looking back on it I kinda wish I had made them do the glucose drip. My milk suppy was fine but the whole time in the hospital and for weeks at home I had trouble getting him to latch and was having to pump and give him a bottle just to make sure he was eating. He is my thrid child and I breastfeed them all so its not like I didnt know what I was doing but because of the bottle they gave him in the hospital he was a lazy nureser for the first month.

Kristen - posted on 06/09/2010

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the only reason they would give your baby formula is if she is not getting enough nutrients, my son breatfed fine the first time then anytime after he woulnt do it and his blood suger droped way down then they wanted to give him one feeding of formula just to give him something to eat.... i dint really want it eather but now looking back it was ok to give him one feeding of formula becuase he was healther in the long run

Sarah - posted on 06/09/2010

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You are right, it takes a couple of days for milk to come in & yes the colostrum is all they need till then. No they cant go agains your wishes unless your baby is starving but to be honest if your baby needs a formula feed you will make that call because you will know your baby needs it. Us mums know what our babys need, but really there is very little chance you will have to do this & if baby does need a little to top it up it doesnt have to affect your breastfeeding. I had a friend whos milk hadnt come in & her baby wouldnt settle cos she was hungry, so after much talking she decided one feed of formula was a good idea, then baby slept, which gave my friend a chance to relax & stop stressing, she then went on to breastfeed very sucsessfully for the rest of the time.

In New Zealand we are lucky as our babys dont leave our sight, if baby need to have checks etc they come to you, if baby needs tests you always go with your baby. Your baby sleeps in crib by your bed.

Just stay positive, dont stress over it, you'll be great & you'll know what to do if problems come up, stressing can cause breast milk to take longer to come in, so relax.. Good luck :)

Danielle - posted on 06/09/2010

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tell the nurses you DO NOT WANT FORMULA OR SUGAR WATER while you are in the hospital. They shouldn't give the baby anything you don't want them to. The colostrum is enough for the first few days. It is not necessary to supplement right away. Just ask the hospital to let you bunk with your baby and not send him to the nursery except for checking vitals in the mornings. Nurse nurse nurse your newborn while you are together. when my son was born we bunked together every night and all day and he nursed for 10 minutes every 20 minutes for the first two days and then when I got home on the third day my milk came in.
As long as the baby gaines his birth weight back within 2 weeks after his birth your milk supply will be just fine. Make sure you speak up and don't let the nurses dictate how you handle your baby. Only you can speak for this baby and if you don't want formula then tell them that!! Good luck and don't worry millions of years of nursing and babies have been just fine without formula. ;0)

Elysia - posted on 06/09/2010

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my milk took 4 days to come in and my son only had colostrum during that time and he was perfectly fine. He did loose a little bit of weight but that is perfectly normal, they say anything up to 10% is ok. and babies are born with a fat store to compensate this. my hospital is very pro bf and wont even supply anything if u choose to bottle feed. I dont think that they can give your baby formula without you consent. Can u have the baby room in with you rather than being in the nursery this will give you greater control.

Miranda - posted on 06/09/2010

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Yes it does take time for your milk supply to come in and colostrom is just fine in the begining as long as your child latches on, etc. When you fill out your admittance paperwork, there should be a section that you can fill out your wants and wishes during the time you are in the hospital. I asked that I be able to feed my child before he got all cleaned up and bathed for the first time. That is exactly what the hospital did for me (I needed emergency c-section so my son had to be cleaned up just a little bit, but other than that they waited to give him his first bath). So I would strongly suggest that you fill out in your paperwork that you DO NOT want your child to recieve formula unless it is absolutely neccesary and that you be informed first!

Kristin - posted on 06/09/2010

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I had my baby in a free-standing birth center, where their ideology matched mine in almost everything.

I'm a nurse as well, and can testify that nurses and doctors can have widely varying opinions and beliefs, and will definitely do what they feel is best for your baby, but that isn't necessarily what YOU feel is best for your baby. So yes, fight for your wishes. ROOM IN. Or have your baby outside the hospital. Rooming in and keeping your baby with you all the time has other benefits - baby feels secure, mama gets used to baby, convenient for breastfeeding...

I agree with most of the posts here, but I do know that hospitals are places of routine, and not necessarily in tune to the differences in routine that you want.

Melissa - posted on 06/09/2010

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i think it depends on the situation, if you baby starts to lose weight they might need to, i had 1 kid that didnt need anything but breastfeeding but i had another who did need some formula until my milk came in she would just cry because she was so hungry, you want to do what is best for the baby.

Jeanine - posted on 06/09/2010

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Your baby only needs colostrum the first few days. As long as you are producing it and the baby is nursing ok, he/she won't need formula. If there's a problem with milk production, the baby will eventually need formula, but unless the baby's in the hospital for an extended stay, you'd be feeding the formula to him/her at home. If there's a problem nursing, you can always pump and give the colostrum to the baby through a syringe if you want to try and prevent nipple confusion, then try to nurse at a later date. That's what I had to do both at the hospital and at home.

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