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Thread: General knowledge bfing question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Default General knowledge bfing question

    I was wondering what happens if someone delivers their baby and does not breastfeed? Would she produce milk anyway? I ask because my mil has a lot of guilt for not bfing my dh - but they were seperated at birth for 6 days while she was unconscious. I tell her that it is likely she did not have milk and this is why he wouldn't latch on (that and I am sure he was used to the bottle). I just want to be able to provide an informed answer so she doesn't have to feel bad about it. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: General knowledge bfing question

    as far as i know, but please don't take this as true, every woman produces milk when the child is born (unless for medical reasons they can't)
    the milk 'comes in' after a few days but (and this is where i'm not 100% sure) if the baby isn't put to the breast then the milk goes away. some women who choose not to BF are actually given a pill to dry the milk up. if they were separated and he was given a bottle then her milk has probably gone away and, like you say, has been used to free flowing milk from a bottle.

    sorry if i can't be of more help x x

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: General knowledge bfing question

    Wow- what a tough situation!! I do think your MIL probably did have milk, but with no stimulation for 6 days, probably not much! If I would you I would help her focus on all the great things she did for her son instead of things she wasn't able to do. #1- She gave birth to him!!

    Anne- Mom to two active boys: Henry 10/06 and Jamie 4/09


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  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: General knowledge bfing question

    As the PP's have stated, it is my understanding that mothers will generally start to produce milk regardless of whether they nurse. Initial milk production (including the colostrum) is triggered by hormones which result from the birth. However, without stimulation of the breasts and contact with the baby, these hormones would taper off and milk production would stop. That is why nursing "early and often" is considered an important factor in establishing an adequate milk supply.

    You mentioned that the baby would not latch - so I'm assuming she tried to BF once they were reunited and was unsuccessful. There is a lot of current research that shows that separation of mother and baby (even for a short period of time) has significant negative effects on the baby's ability to latch and nurse. Since they were separated for 6 days, there is a good chance that had an effect.

    Of course there are babies who learn to latch and nurse when older even after separation, and there are moms who relactate or induce lactation. So, its possible that with the right support (which was very scarce years ago) she *might* have been successful. However, I think chances are good that it would have been quite difficult, and even with the correct information and support, *may* not have been possible. I agree with the PP that maybe it would be helpful to help her focus on the positive things that she was able to do. Obviously she raised a son that you think turned out well, right? Accurate information and support was not readily available most places years ago. And, it sounds like there were some serious medical complications that hindered her efforts.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: General knowledge bfing question

    I was actually wondering this same thing last night as I was watching Desperate Housewives. (One of the character's daughters had given birth, but let her mom keep the baby.) As the scene was coming to an end, my mind stumbled across this same question. I never thought I'd watch a TV show and wonder about BF'ing!!

    Anyway, I would say she probably did have some milk, but maybe not a whole lot. As PP mentioned, I would say the best thing to do is remind her of all the other wonderful things she has done for him!
    Sarah- Mommy to Ally (4/16/06) , Katlyn (11/13/07) & Rebekah (10/21/09)
    All three, all natural!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: General knowledge bfing question

    One thing my mom and I talk about is the fact that she made the best decisions she could with the information she had when she was starting out as a mother. Your MIL was obviously in a difficult situation and it doesn't sound like she had the kind of support/resources she would have needed to bf and she did her best in that situation.

  7. #7
    @llli*emama is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: General knowledge bfing question

    Wow. Your MIL sounds like my mother. Although we weren't separated, I wouldn't latch and the nurses and doctors at the hospital basically told her that it was "savage" to BF and it would "upset the baby"!!! They gave her a pill to dry up the milk and she, not knowing much, just did as she was told. This was in 1968 and there wasn't any support for BFing.

    She has had a chip on her shoulder for almost 40 years about her inability to BF and I can't say that I blame her.

    I had a really rough start with BF - no real support at the hospital, an LC who kind of misled me and a LO with a very weak suck because she was underweight. But I also had years of my mother's sensitivity re not being able to BF and I just thought "I HAVE to do this or I will regret it for years!"

    Your MIL probably did have the milk but not the right support and I'm guessing that even if her milk did go away, she didn't have much info on relactation. Look how much ignorance there is about BFing these days - you can only imagine what it was like when she gave birth to your DH.

    I think it's really sweet that you're taking the time to do research for her. And as other PPs have said, she should focus on all she did that was right.

    And quite honestly, although I am a staunch supporter of BFing, I never ever got sick as a child while my DH, who was BFed for a year, got colds all the time. Still does. As well as ear and sinus infections. So go figure...

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