Oct 242010

“Your baby is starving.” – L&D Nurse to mother, while feeding formula without consent when the mother went to the bathroom.

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 October 24, 2010  breastfeeding, L&D Nurse

  199 Responses to “"Your Baby Is Starving."”

  1. Then bring her to me so I can give her some actual *food* made by my body, rather than this artificial crap.

    Also, bring me your superior.

    I additionally intend on letting the administration know about the level of “competence” and “expertise” exhibited by the nurses on this ward, but your superior will do for a start.

  2. *face palm* Silly me! And here I thought that God gave me breasts that produce breast milk so I can impress friends at parties.

    • I want to add that sadly, this reminds me very very much of the nurses where I delivered our son. Hence the reason we are planning a home birth for baby #2!

      • We had a similar experience with #1, and went with a homebirth for #2. It was fantastic and so nice not to have to worry about the breastfeeding issues! I wish you all the best this time around!

  3. I would sue. That’s complete bullshit. BUT I brought my baby with me when I showered or went to the bathroom (actually I just left the door open and the baby at the bathroom door). To me, that’s no different than the baby in the news who was breastfed by the wrong mom.

    • I would rather have my baby breastfed by the wrong mother than have her fed fake milk

          • I would much rather have the risk of HIV, HPV, ETC than nasty formula. Stoooopidest thing I ever heard.

          • Someone is having a bad day… Chances are most of these women come from developed countries where mothers are routinely screened for HIV *SEVERAL* times during their pregnancy (HPV isn’t transmitted through breastfeeding). If there was a baby ‘mix-up’ and another woman accidentally breastfed your child she was probably very certain of her HIV status, assuming she wasn’t a prostitute or IV drug user.
            Then there’s the fact that in countries where HIV is common and clean water is on the sketchy side its better to breastfeed.

          • Elizabeth is absolutely right on all these counts.

            My, it’s always so… entertaining… when a cultural taboo gets violated, like the one common in developed countries that frames wetnursing (and even milksharing without the intermediary of an official, medically approved milk bank) as dirty and “icky.” Ickier, even, than factory-processed, reconstituted animal milk that (if you read about the Similac mess weeks ago) might be contaminated with bug parts. It’s hard enough to feed our own babies without being made to feel that it’s selfish, a nuisance, something bordering on sexual harassment, especially if it’s a toddler we’re nursing rather than a newborn, who we can hide “modestly” under a hooter-hiding blanket if we know what’s good for us. But feeding another person’s baby, or letting someone else feed ours? Ah, that’s “dirty.” “Germy.” Nasty.


          • FEEDING A BABY? Beautiful.

            Breastfeeding a strangers baby – no different than unprotected sex with a hooker. Way to whore that baby out so soon. EWW.

          • No idea why you’re being so hateful about this.

            First of all, it was a discussion about a hypothetical *accident* not a deliberate “let me go find the nearest lactating junkie and hand her my baby.”

            You are free to call me ignorant (I think — what are the rules of this site?), but my first thought would not be disease if a stranger accidentally fed my baby — because I just don’t think that way. I would be horrified to learn that it *was* the case, but I wouldn’t assume.

            I’m also comfortable with the idea of cross-nursing. In fact, my best friend fed my newborn at 3 days old, which I vastly preferred to giving him formula. And I didn’t take down her medical history, or ask for an HIV screen. Is that terribly different?

          • There was a story in the news where a woman was given the wrong baby and nursed him. NOT hypothetical – real.

            Seriously, get off the formula is rat poison hate wagon for a minute and read the real news… try it.

          • Yes, but THEY were talking hypothetically, and was the REAL news that the mom gave the baby HIV? Or just that she accidentally nursed it?

          • Oh, I remember a couple of stories. They don’t really horrify me. IIRC, the mothers in those stories were more worried about bonding than disease as well. At least — that was their immediate reactions.

            Think about it this way. For the wrong mother to nurse a baby in a hospital, she would have to be nursing her own baby. Would she be doing that with a known HIV status?

            If she had HIV and didn’t know it (and hadn’t tested positive during pregnancy), then what’s to say *I* couldn’t be that mother who unknowingly has HIV?

            It’s just such a paranoid, myopic view of the world.

          • And I would never call formula rat poison, as it pretty much saved my first son’s life. I have a similar story to the OP, in that a nurse look at me in the hospital, smiled sweetly, and informed me that she would feed my baby formula anyway, without my consent, if she felt he was dehydrated.

            Two and a half weeks later, he was very dehydrated, and still losing weight. I was miserable, with bandaids across my nipples because I didn’t know how else to keep them from sticking to my clothing. We got help, and went on to nurse. But we needed formula to keep him alive to get us there. He weaned after his 2nd birthday.

            With my second son, I didn’t need formula, because I had a friend who could supplement him, and less intervention was required to get our nursing on track.

            Wrap your brain around this: I don’t regret a single drop of formula my first son received, but I consider a great triumph that my second son didn’t get any.

          • “Seriously, get off the formula is rat poison hate wagon for a minute and read the real news… try it.”

            Uh huh. I thought that might have been it. This isn’t just about the horror of one’s newborn possibly being held and nursed by some other, unknown mother (and yes, I read the newspaper article when it got spread around the internet; I thought the security breach and the lack of attention paid to important details of identity were bad, because they would lead to HIPAA violations and possibly to medical mistakes from misread charts and lost records; the actual feeding of the wrong baby made me shrug my shoulders, if that).

            It’s about breast vs bottle.

            If you read the news as you claim to, then you probably read about the large recall of Similac formula due to contamination with bug parts. That’s real news, too. You might try it sometime.

            Newborns weren’t exactly designed to digest protein from processed cockroaches and their waste (by “waste” I of course refer to bug poop). Maybe it’s not rat poison, but if it makes people sick, it qualifies as a low-grade human poison.

          • wow, sounds like someone is a
            butthurt formula feeder.
            Go deal with your guilt
            somewhere else.

          • Ditto Kristen. Your guilt has no place here. I’ve had another mom nurse my baby after she’d gone over 6 hours without any food because she rejected every bottle given. It didn’t bother me one bit. I’d be a thousand times more angry if my baby was given formula, which is riskier and more likely to be infected than another woman breastfeeding in a hospital, who wouldn’t be nursing there if she had a serious infectious disease. However, most cases of E. Sakazaki cases come from babies given formula in the hospital. Those babies DIE. Read the news yourself–I knew a woman whose baby was tragically infected. Go take your guilt to HER and the hundreds of mothers who lose their babies every year to b.s. like this mistake. It’s far from harmless.

            Formula isn’t rat poison–it’s medicine. It’s a necessary, lifesaving substance. It is NOT healthy, living human milk that 99% of babies need and 95% of women could provide.

          • I am also comfortable with cross-nursing. The system is designed to be very safe for babies- many illnesses aren’t passed easily from mother to baby, so it’s not at all like “sex with a hooker”. I’d be much happier if someone nursed my daughter before they gave her formula. It’s sad that formula is seen as the safer choice, when it really just isn’t.

          • I’ve let a couple of friends wetnurse Catharine for me while I was taking a shower or loading dishes in the dishwasher. I believe the term for a female pimp is “madam,” which I certainly do not object to being called, although usually, the circumstances are far more intimate and the term meant more honourifically.

            I’m afraid the title I would use to address you if we met under social circumstances is not appropriate for this forum, any more than out little spat is appropriate for this forum. If you would like to look me up on Facebook to exchange insults, feel free.

          • that’s making some pretty bold assumptions about the other mom.

          • Yes, I believe the lady’s name was Adrienne…

          • well it couldn’t have been me, I only give birth at home. where they don’t mix up your baby with someone else’s.

            but if it WAS me–I am in a monogamous relationship with neither of us having any previous partners–no risk for any diseases. so you can rest assured your baby is not at the “same” risk as having unprotected sex with a hooker :)

          • You have issues!!! Equating feeding a baby with sex with a hooker shows a distinct lack of mental stability, and I hope you get the help you need soon.

          • Um, do you realize that there is no “o” (let alone 4 “oooo”s) in the word “stupid.” I mean, since you are all about intellect and everything.

    • To me it’s worse. I don’t mind my baby being wetnursed. It’s still milk, it’s still cuddling and nurturing.

      But an ignorant, uninformed, rude nurse lurking outside my door, waiting to poison my newborn with stuff her tummy wasn’t built to handle, insulting me as she did so, and overriding my expressed wishes and violating my privacy and my consent? Uh uh. HEINOUS.

      • The risk of spreading disease through bodily fluid doesn’t concern you? Ignorant.

        • First of all, I wouldn’t give birth in a hospital anyway; I consider the practice of elective hospital birth to be foolhardy in the extreme. I found out the hard way that hospital routines have a way of asserting themselves whether one wills them or not, and said routines (mandatory hep lock or IV, mandatory continuous monitoring, starvation, frequent cervical checks, bed rest, pitocin augmentation if labour is too pokey for the care provider’s liking) are unnecessary and have a high risk of iatrogenic complications, often leading to abdominal surgery. Since I see no reason why any mother with adequate support and freedom to move around would be interested in an epidural, the only good use I see for evenhaving a maternity ward is for having a place to let mother and baby (and their family) rest following an emergency c-section.

          But were I in the hospital (for said emergency surgery), if there were an accidental baby swap, there would be FAR less statistical likelihood of my baby getting exposed to HIV, hepatitis, etc via brief exposure to another mother’s colostrum than there would be of my baby getting presensitized to food allergens, getting a wicked upset stomach, being overfed and made ill, and/or being sickened from contaminated pseudofood.

          You find my choices and values ignorant. Looks like we share that in common.

          • No, no, no… I don’t find your choices and values ignorant – I find YOU ignorant. Glad I cleared that up.

          • We ARE a bit hypersensitive tonight, aren’t we?

          • Yes, yes I am. Must be the formula I’ve been spiking my soda with. That stuff is deadlier than poison. Help!

          • Indeed, it should be a food of absolute last resort for babies. Some mothers have obvious medical issues, some were not given nearly enough support to establish a good nursing relationship, or were given really bad advice (“nurse for five minutes on each side”) and wound up with inadequate supply, which is hardly their fault. They didn’t fail at breastfeeding; they were failed.

            As to those mothers who do not have any medical reasons or support issues, I disapprove.

            If disapproval hurts, too bad. I don’t expect everyone to approve of my attachment parenting lifestyle, my pro-choice philosophy (sure, I see abortion as wrong, but I want to keep it legal and available on demand, which is the bottom line) or other controversial views or habits of mine.

            I find it ridiculous how many mothers seem to need approval of their child care methods, including how they feed their babies, whether or not they sleep-train, etc. The mommy war is partly a result of our unwillingness to suck it up and deal with other mommies disapproving of or looking down on our choices.

            Look, we’re just not going to get along. We’re not going to sing kum-ba-ya. That’s life. And in real life, if the two of *us* met, Melody, we would probably not get along on a personal level.

            The least we all can do is put clothespegs on our noses and ignore the objectionable stuff to work as a team for better birthing conditions and more choices. Of course, to do that, all of us will have to put up with people whose philosophy of what constitutes healthy care in pregnancy and birth might differ from ours – which will probably be a problem. Hmm. Maybe we’re not going to work together, any of us. Ever. Realistically, I have a hard time seeing even a functional truce.

          • Melody, you’re not only rude but also condescending and misinformed. If you don’t mind my asking, why on earth do you even come on this site if all you are looking to do is stir up trouble?

          • Read my very first comment b4 all these witches hit the ground running. I simply replied telling them all that recently a mom was given AND breastfed the wrong baby (which I find to be waaaay worse and gross – I would be PISSED if some stranger nursed my baby) and from there I became satan so BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME, read all the crap from the bf nazis. Thank you.

    • I would prefer to have another woman breastfeed my child than some stupid nurse give my child that crap.

      • OH, yes, me, too – I prefer the risk of transmitting disease to FORMULA! IDIOTS. Sheesh.

        • THANK YOU!

          Comments like these past few are the reasons I went and posted my little rant a little further down the page! Oy…. some people…

          • No, THANK YOU! Drives me insane. Blah, blah, I won’t give birth in a hospital BUT I trust the tests these doctors run and the strangers they admit to the hospital… wtf? Serious morons.

        • Please research the following bacteria: Enterobacter sakazakii/Cronobacter sakazakii & Salmonella.
          Please also read about Necrotizing enterocolitis.

          At least if its another mother breastfeeding my child I can quickly assess what (if anything) he/she has been exposed to.

          • Not true. How many times do women not know they are carriers of disease, especially sexually transmitted? Exactly. But you go for it.

          • I am an RN who has worked with women and children for the past 13 years. I am very pro-breastfeeding, but I have to be honest. When I had my daughter, my milk didn’t come in for three days. I didn’t want the poor angel to starve, so she had formula. *Gasp!* And she survived very well. After my milk came in, she never drank another drop of formula. I weaned her when she was two. One other thing: about necrotizing enterocolitis? Guess what?? That is almost exclusively something that PREMATURE babies develop, due to their gastrointestinal systems not being mature enough to handle milk. And the milk that almost ALL babies who develop NEC are fed: their own mother’s milk.

          • How quickly do you think the milk usually comes in?

            Most babies are fine on colostrum for the first few days, which is why the output we’re looking for increases gradually. Babies who are jaundiced or early or don’t have a great latch (or all three) might need supplementation.

            Babies don’t starve until the milk comes in. If there are other complications, babies should be watched more carefully.

            My public health nurses (this was in Canada) did not recommend supplementation with my 2nd baby until he was 3 days old and his output was not increasing. At that point, I supplemented him with borrowed milk *very* lightly after each feeding, and offered more frequently. My milk came in on day 5.

            He wasn’t miserable, he wasn’t suffering, but his health was not such that I needed to fill him up on formula — I just needed to top him off.

          • No, babies do NOT starve if they are not fed cow juice for two or three days before the transitional milk starts to replace the colostrum.

            If the baby is constantly at the breast, that is not a sign of starvation. It means the baby is healthy. It also means the baby is getting lots of colostrum to jump start the immune system, and to get that transitional milk supply in fast.

            Women are not born with broken breasts and inadequate milk-making ability. Newborns did not starve prior to the invention of formula, although they did sometimes sicken when they were orphaned or abandoned at birth, no wet nurse was available, and the caregiver resorted to milk from a cow, sheep, or goat.

            I am sure your son was not hurt, RNJen, but your words illustrate one reason I am distrustful of hospital personnel regarding matters related to both birth and infant care.

          • Your daughter, rather. My bad.

          • I am very concerned that an RN doesn’t seem to realize that *nobody’s* milk comes in for a few days, and that the colostrum provides all the nutrition the baby needs until it does.


          • Agreed. Very scary. Doesn’t know what is normal or what colostrum is?

          • To be totally fair to RNJen, colostrum *might* not be enough IF there’s a complication in the nursing relationship, which sadly, may very well be the norm where she works. At the hospital my first was born at, I was encouraged to nurse him every FOUR hours from birth. And this was a breastfeeding friendly hospital in Canada. Even if he had a decent latch on my flatter than a pancake nipples, would that have been enough?

            Our issues were not such that simply feeding him more frequently would have been adequate resolution, but for the vast majority of dyads, it would be. It’s certainly the first thing to try, right?

            With my second (born nearly four years later), the advice was much more “watch him and see,” rather than “we can tell this nursing relationship is on the rocks, so give the kid a bottle already.”

            But to quote one of my favorite moms: “There is almost no breastfeeding issue that can’t be resolved with breastfeeding.

          • Your milk isn’t supposed to come
            in for 3-5 days. Before that you
            have colostrum. How do you think
            the human race survived before
            formula? God, how can a nurse be
            so ignorant of the workings
            of the human body?

          • Tsk tsk tsk with the name calling. How about shushing. K?

        • Melody,
          We are all different. It’s not fair for you to call people idiots because you disagree with them. That’s NOT what this site is for.
          I’m going to assume that you live in the US. Women here are tested for STDs during pregnancy. I can’t imagine that a woman who had something that could be passed through breast milk would jump up and say “Hey…take my milk so I can infect your child.”

          • Oh, I don’t know – I don’t mind her continuing on like this. I find the taste of troll blood piquant. Speaking of which, I hope I’m around next time Dr Amy decides to show up for the party.

          • Yes, a troll. That’s not name calling. Kudos to you for stooping to my level.

            I’m am so sick and tired of idiots making formula out to be poison. AND I BREASTFEED!!! HAHAHAHAHA! But keep judging mommies for their formula choices and I’ll judge you for hating them… circle of life. Dealio.

          • You’re really not lending your “cause” any favors by acting like an immature uneducated brat. If you’d like to add to an intelligent conversation, then please debate the topic, not the person. If you don’t have anything but inaccurate assumptions (HPV transmission through breastmilk or that most breastfeeding mothers would even HAVE HIV in the first place) and hate to spew on this thread, then maybe you should crawl back to the bridge you live under and peddle formula to the masses since you obviously have an agenda here. And in the infamous words of “Melody,” Dealio, you serious moron.

          • hahahahaha… you stooped to my level… moron.

          • You “breastfeed” for what, like a week? I don’t know anyone as personally insulted about this as you have been, so we all know that along with “breastfeeding” you also formula feed. So quit trying to impress us with the “I breastfeed” bit. If you formula feed, be proud of it. By your claims, there is nothing wrong with formula. (though deep down it is obvious you know you are wrong…)

          • Nope, I actually breastfeed but I WOULD NEVER ALLOW MY CHILD TO CONSUME A COMPLETE STRANGER’S BREASTMILK – that’s just ignorant.

            Deep down, it is obvious, you are a CLUE and need to obtain one, asap. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH FORMULA – I breastfeed because I’m CHEAP and lazy. If I could afford formula – I would formula feed.

            There you go judging again… moron.

          • Hey, I have not called anyone names and I am not trying to judge. I just try to call a spade, a spade. I am also cheap and lazy, which are two reasons I don’t use formula. The third is- BM is actually better for my child. So it is like a win-win-win situation. I wasn’t even responding to the BF mix-up thing, so I don’t know why you are calling me ignorant. All I was pointing out is your personalization of this whole thing. You are acting as defensive and “nazi” about this subject as anyone on here. You just think you are above the rest because you consider yourself “tolerant” – which is the very thing you are proving your self NOT to be by your comments.

          • You could contact formula manufacturers for a sponsorship -I’m sure they’d love to have you as a spokesperson!

          • My two cents: Stop. You have your choice. Breastfeed or formula. I think all mothers are pretty aware that breast milk is specifically designed for human consumption. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Some mothers choose not to breastfeed for reasons that are real that have nothing to do with the adequacy of the milk makers themselves. Anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse may find it difficult to breast feed. It is not our place to tear each other down, which happens so much on here. I support you for choosing to feed your child be it breast or bottle. As long as you love your child and do your best to help them grow physically spiritually and emotionally, your the best mom you can be.

      • definitely. When my newborn nephew was several hours old, he hadn’t nursed yet & needed something to wake him up/boost his blood-sugar. I expected the midwife to recommend formula or sugar-water (just goes to show you how culture influences us all, even those of us who opt out). Instead, she suggested to my sister that I give him some of my milk. She agreed, and it was a beautiful moment for us all. My sister was thrilled that the first thing in his tummy wasn’t processed “food”. He woke up, and soon was nursing vigorously at his mom’s breast.

        • I have nursed other people’s babies a couple of times, and other people have nursed my babies.
          I really don’t think there is any reason why it is a big problem. The issue of HIV transmission would very rarely come up. In this country pregnant women are all tested for it. Also, they are treated with antiretrovirals during pregnancy to reduce the chances of transmission to their babies, and usually advised not to nurse. So if I heard my baby had been nursed by another woman as happened in this story, I would not be very upset about the nursing, but I would remind them they are supposed to check baby and mother’s bracelets every time. Of course, if I could help it, I wouldn’t be in that situation at all.

          One time that someone nursed my baby it was really necessary. He was born at home, stayed at the breast for about 13 hours straight, and got very twitchy. I had had a previous baby develop low blood sugar after birth and I was afraid this was happening to this baby. A friend was visiting who was a nursing mother and I asked her to nurse him. She did, he got full, we both fell asleep, and when I woke up, my milk was in. This was my seventh baby and I had nursed until late in my pregnancy, which is probably why it didn’t take the usual 3 days for it to come in. I actually did have some soy formula in the house for the possibility that the baby would have low blood sugar, but I was very glad he got breast milk instead. My third did get soy formula in the hospital for persistent low blood sugar; I didn’t hate formula enough to think brain damage was better. But I much prefer a world in which there would usually be a nursing mother around for this eventuality.
          Susan Peterson

    • I’d sue, too. I’d have also slapped the bottle out of her hands and taken my baby away and burped her immediately, hoping she spit it up. Violate my baby’s virgin gut for NO reason at all, against my wishes and against my consent? Oh, hell no!

  4. HOLY CRAP! Are you serious? I cannot even find the words to describe what I would’ve done to that nurse had this happened to me.

    • I think the whole hospital would be able to hear me if this ever happened to me! I would be absolutely furious!

      • Especially since, given the timing and circumstances, it looks like the nurse

        1) knew, and disapproved of, the “no formula feeding” order;

        2) was willing to violate patient consent and put her own will above that of her patient’s – almost what might be called a pissing contest, were it between a couple of alpha males; and worst of all,

        3) had to have been watching/stalking the patient, waiting with a ready bottle for an opportunity such as the one afforded by the patient going to the loo.

        Which is not only a violation, it’s actually a bit psychotic. Oh, gee, just what I want in a nurse who works with helpless infants.

        • That’s what I was thinking. I know things are a little difficult after having a baby but she can’t seriously spend THAT long in the bathroom for her baby to ‘starve’.

        • I’ve noticed that in some people, being able to bottle-feed someone else’s baby (or even your own, in the case of dad, maybe) becomes a territorial issue. Like, they want to feed babies in the nursery to get their psychological “baby fix,” and can’t conceive of someone who wants to breastfeed exclusively when the formula is “flowing freely right here! Don’t you need a break? Aren’t your nipples sore? Aren’t you tired?” It all comes back to the “babies/children are an inconvenience!” to many people.

          I know someone who, when she had her children in the 1970s, was told by her (psychologist) husband not to breastfeed, because he wanted to be a part of it by bottle-feeding the children. Funk no, I’m not going to nurse just so you can bottle feed them. That’s what a breast pump is for!

          So I think it’s a psychological issue with some people. As a way of exerting control, getting their fix, whatever – because breastfeeding is such a one-person deal: I mean, YOU produce the milk from YOUR body, for YOUR baby. It’s so special, and some people just have to horn in on that “specialness” and be a part of it, too. Weird.

  5. Oh f**k NO!!! That nurse would’ve gotten an earful and never allowed back in my room again. Why on earth would she think it is her right to just waltz in and put that crap in a baby’s mouth without permission? Yet another reason on the huge list of reasons to give birth at home.

  6. Oh hell no, I am so thankful for my pro-nursing birthing center.

  7. This makes me, well, every expression/emotion beyond words!! FUMING is what comes to mind >:( If I had EVER found out my babies were snuck that canned $h!t that nurse would’ve had a big ol’ keg of whoopa$$, not to mention I’d have her job!! Yeah, that makes you a real big person Nurse Sneaks-A-Lot, waiting until I’m out of sight to rush in and shove a bottle in my baby’s mouth. How DARE you?! Yeah, now my baby might starve from the Necrotizing Enterocolitis you caused by feeding her formula since she throws up everything now! There has to be some type of legal ground for this. OP, please tell us action was taken against this incompetent arrogant nurse!!!

  8. Something else just occurred to me. I wonder how many newborn boys get “accidentally” circumcized at this hospital due to “miscommunication?” How about hepatitis shots, which were not recommended by the AAP until the age of two months the last time I checked, but are still standard newborn procedure in many hospitals – what’s the rate there?

  9. This is why I informed my husband that he has to ‘guard’ the baby when I’m sleeping or not present. I’ve heard too many stories like this and I will not let an ignorant nurse with no sense of how TINY a baby’s stomach is in the first few days, force an ounce or two of formula down my baby’s throat when he/she could be drinking the PROPER amount of MY milk.

    • I told my hubby the same thing and he was very diligent about ds being guarded at all times. Thanks to this (and a very supportive hospital staff. To be honest, the staff never one gave me grief about my choices and 2 of my PP nurses were bfing mamas) my ds never had a drop of glucose water, formula, no Hep B shot and was left intact. The only person who gave me grief was the on call ped who had to examine ds because our family practioner didn’t practice in that hospital, but I just reminded him that his only job was to release my son so I could take him home and to see his real doctor ;)

  10. I really dislike formula bashing… I had a hell of a time trying to nurse after an emergency C-Section (yes, emergency… cord wrapped around her neck 4 times and they even had a hard time getting her out of me), being in the state of mind I was in at the time, and having no support from my husband and MIL. My milk didn’t fully come in until close to 2 weeks, by then my daughter had lost over a pound. When I pumped, my milk turned sour as soon as it was exposed to air… so she was fed formula. I still continued pumping, tasting, then dumping for nearly a month, hoping it would get better. She’s very smart and healthy.

    HOWEVER, regardless of my feelings on breast vs formula, and my long rant… I chose to breastfeed during my hospital stay. If a nurse went behind my back and fed my daughter formula against my wishes, I would’ve SPAZZED. It’s not up to anyone to decide HOW a baby gets fed, as long as they are. I had a nurse come drag me out of the shower, towel me off, slap disposible undies and a pad on me, and dressed me because my daughter was crying because she was hungry…

    I do plan on trying to nurse again if I ever have another, and hoping to try for a VBAC. If it doesn’t work out, I refuse to let myself or anyone else make me feel bad for chosing to formula feed… I spent enough time doing so this time around.

    /end rant.

    • I think this is really more about a nurse doing what a mother did not want done, behind her back. It’s not up to the nurse to decide how a baby is fed, it’s up to the mother.

      I do suggest you look into the possibility that your milk has excess lipase for next time around. That can make pumped milk taste soapy or sour – but it won’t harm the baby (though the baby may reject it). Scalding the pumped milk before storage can help the issue. Good luck!

      • I know it’s about the nurse doing what the mother didn’t want. My little rant was because I read some of the comments and it’s a lot of “I’d never give that chemically made crap to my baby”…. and it just stings a lot. I’m not a bad mother for formula feeding. I have a very healthy toddler, who’s hardly even had a cold or anything in her nearly 15 months of life… so yeah… I just get venty when I see stuff like that.

        And thanks, I’ll look into it next time around. I figured it wouldn’t hurt her, but she would never drink it. After a month of having to dump it after tasting it I just decided to give up because it killed me to see it going down the drain. I didn’t think of scalding it. I have friends in a Mommy group now… a lot of them are doulas, and there’s a few LLL group leaders, so I think my future birthing and nursing experiences will probably go a little more smoothly than my first… if I can ever get past my PTSD and even WANT to have another… I also hemorrhaged pretty badly after my section as I was being wheeled into my room… I blacked out and I am convinced I almost died, even though noone has told me that for sure… I just know that a bloodtest done the next day showed that my hemoglobin dropped by half.

        Sorry, I keep going on when something makes me think about my birthing experience… it feels good to vent.

      • LIPASE! That’s it! You just answered something for me.

        Sophie, my firstborn c-section baby, did not want to latch again after I successfully relactated – she would only take a bottle. For a year, then, I had a second, bigamous relationship… with my breast pump.

        My other babies have all refused my expressed milk. They spit it out with disgust. When I held down work outside the home (as I did when I was putting my husband through college) they all cluster-fed once I got home.

        I tried some of my milk. It tastes like soap. Ugh.

        And now I know why Sophie drinks bathwater! Still! (She always did. We couldn’t understand the attraction.) Poor thing, it’s probably comfort food to her, because subconsciously it reminds her of being snuggled in my arms and fed soapy-tasting milk.

    • I agree with you. The women who choose to formula feed often do so with forethought. It is not right for anyone to bash anyone else’s choices.
      I personally love nursing, and did so as much as possible. When the pump I had wasn’t effective enough, and I couldn’t afford a better one, I gave my sitter formula for the feeding while I was at work. And it’s wrong and it hurts when people judge, when they don’t know the whole story.
      The problem in this scenario, as I see it, is the nurse’s blatant disrespect for the mother and her choice. And that’s never OK, from either side.

    • I was in so much pain from severe engorgement after my first baby was born via vaginal bypass surgery that I only noticed the pain from my incised abdomen when my baby kicked it. (She didn’t like the football hold, and I found it awkward, myself.) I wound up feeding her formula for the first month or so, and relactating after I’d drip dried because I couldn’t bear her obvious distress.

      I’m lucky to have hyperactive hormones that make me a natural dairy cow. Not all mothers are so blessed.

      This is one reason why the c-section rate in America (about 33% these days, more in some states such as Florida and New Jersey) is simply intolerable. Abdominal surgery does not render nursing impossible, but it makes nursing VERY difficult. Any woman who sustains a nursing relationship with a surgically extracted baby, in my opinion, deserves a medal for heroism and sheer grit.

      The World Health Organization sets a MAXIMUM c-section rate of 15%, preferring something closer to 5% or 10%, which is consistent with the c-section rates (with hospital transfer) under homebirthing midwives and independent birthing centres.

      This means that a MINIMUM of 18% of mothers (probably more) are having their ability to breastfeed crippled without due cause.

      Even if we were to make formula available by prescription only (which I advocate, because it would medicalize formula and take away the mommy war over milk) that would not change the fact that many mothers would be switching to formula after unnecessary c-sections.

      The normalization of what was never meant to be anything but a drastic operation for rare emergencies of childbirth needs to stop. Of course, so does the popular view of childbirth as being inherently a dangerous medical emergency that is best dealt with by trained surgeons just in case an accident or complication should happen.

      • Hello,

        Just thought I’d raise a point- I don’t support making formula prescription because I think formula feeding or breast feeding should be a choice. Everyone on this website makes their own choices about birthing and their children, so why would you want to take a choice away from a mum?

        And while breast feeding is great, formula feeding is not going to have a huge negative impact on the majority of bubs- but it may mean that a mother with bad mastitis or PND has another option rather than perservering with something that doesn’t work for her.

        Also, some mums choose to go back to work and formula feed their bubs and I don’t see that’s a problem either. SO maybe while we all want what’s best for babies, we do need to acknowledge what’s best depends on the mum involved.

        • Formula is not food. It’s food replacement for those who are unable to make milk or unable to feed their baby with their own milk due to prescription medications that contraindicate breastfeeding.

          The choice of other mothers to use formula for the sake of convenience rather than for medical reasons (inadequate milk supply is a reason, although usually better support from society and health professionals can greatly help keep milk from running low and drying out) MASSIVELY screws up what support nursing mothers currently get.

          Sure, we have “breast is best” posters and handouts. We have support groups. We have breast pumps marketed aggressively, also hooter hiders, expensive “nursing friendly” clothing lines, lanolin, bras, pads, and other ways to encourage us to spend our money doing something that technically doesn’t cost much, if any, money. Funny how a lot of lactation consultants try to get us to try expensive hospital-grade electric pumps (nice commission to be made!) rather than encouraging us to try and experiment with several types of pump, and with manual expression, to see what works best to keep milk flowing.

          What we don’t have is actual social support.

          Most of us who work outside of the home are told to express milk in a bathroom stall on lunch break, despite the presence of “management-only” private offices, despite smokers being discreetly allowed to slip away for a few minutes every hour even though milk expressers don’t get the same courtesy.

          We’re given evil looks if we nurse in restaurants, stores, parks, museums – it’s illegal, but we still get kicked out when we refuse to go hide in our cars or a bathroom stall, even though it’s okay to *bottle* feed in public.

          We’re told to cover up and be a little more “modest,” regardless of whether our babies tolerate being covered by our shirts and blankets. And regardless of how little the Victoria’s Secret billboard leaves to the imagination.

          We’re told that our decision to nurse our babiesis self-indulgent, inconvenient. Why can’t we bend a little?

          And oh, yes, we’re direct-marketed formula if we live in the United States, and given free “day bags” if we give birth in hospitals – both of which marketing techniques are verboten by WHO and UNICEF protocols regarding breastfeeding, because – gosh – they discourage breastfeeding. It’s okay to supplement, the ads coo, you can still nurse, it’s normal to want some time to yourself, or to maybe not make quite enough milk, lots of working mothers can’t possibly be superhuman enough to express enough milk that they don’t need to supplement. Don’t hate yourself for being average!

          But that’s how our milk dries up in the first place.

          And all the women who exercise their right to choose formula reinforce the difficulties the rest of us face. Bottle feeding may no longer be seen as the ideal in our society, but it is still the norm. Babies on television and in the movies are usually bottle fed. Pictures of baby bottles adorn pediatric scrubs, baby shower cards, baby announcements, onesie and romper fabrics. Dolls come with bottles.

          So the message is, “The perfect mother breastfeeds, but we all know you’re not perfect. So use a bottle and stop freaking the rest of us out.”

          No. That only results in millions of new mothers weaning early.

          I suppose many people would disagree with me, but I see that as a bad thing, to be avoided at all costs, especially since when formula was first invented as a milk substitute, it was intended to be used by mothers who for medical reasons or inability to produce milk (an adopted baby, for instance) *could not nurse*. Not would not. Could not.

          • (I just want to tell you that I am a little bit in love with this post. Thank you.)

          • So anyone who uses a bottle is oppressing your choice to breast feed? I do not understand this holier-than-thou attitude when women have fought for the right for so long to make their own choices about their bodies and their babies.

            I don’t think bottle feeding mothers re-enforce any particular sterotype. Besides, many people bottle feed expressed breast milk anyway.

            I have trouble with a few of your posts here Sarah, because although you are articulate and make me laugh a lot of the time with your sense of humour, I think sometimes you can show a lack of tolerance for other people’s choices, which is a reason for a lot of us to come to this website in the first place.

          • I’m pro choice…mum’s body, Mum’s rights.

            Once the baby is out…it’s the baby’s right to breastfeed, unless Mum can’t due to medical reasons. Cross nursing and milk banks are much better otpions to help with this.

            Breastfeeding Mothers get very tired of being labled as monsters because we dared to suggest that breastfeeding, not formula is the normal natural way to feed a baby.

            Formula has it’s place, and is sometimes a lifesaver, but it’s an option of last resort, or darn well should be.

          • BREASTFEEDING MOMS DO NOT GET LABLED as monsters… breastfeeding nazis get labeled as breastfeeding nazis. Judgemental little twits who have nothing better to do then force their decisions down others’ throats. GET OVER YOURSELF!

          • awesome, yes, what you said!

            A friend yesterday asked me if I was going to nurse my 9 month old in the car- while she drank coffee in the coffee-shop. Umm…no I will not!

            I sat right down next to her and said that I’d be nursing right there, thanks. She managed to have a conversation without looking at me at all, but I didn’t care. She will just have to get used to it. I was nursing in a sling, for goodness’ sake!

          • Fantastic Post!! Thankyou:-)

    • I really dislike formula bashing… I had a hell of a time trying to nurse after an emergency C-Section (yes, emergency… cord wrapped around her neck 4 times and they even had a hard time getting her out of me), being in the state of mind I was in at the time, and having no support from my husband and MIL. My milk didn’t fully come in until close to 2 weeks, by then my daughter had lost over a pound. When I pumped, my milk turned sour as soon as it was exposed to air… so she was fed formula. I still continued pumping, tasting, then dumping for nearly a month, hoping it would get better. She’s very smart and healthy.HOWEVER, regardless of my feelings on breast vs formula, and my long rant… I chose to breastfeed during my hospital stay. If a nurse went behind my back and fed my daughter formula against my wishes, I would’ve SPAZZED. It’s not up to anyone to decide HOW a baby gets fed, as long as they are. I had a nurse come drag me out of the shower, towel me off, slap disposible undies and a pad on me, and dressed me because my daughter was crying because she was hungry…I do plan on trying to nurse again if I ever have another, and hoping to try for a VBAC. If it doesn’t work out, I refuse to let myself or anyone else make me feel bad for chosing to formula feed… I spent enough time doing so this time around./end rant.

      I have nothing against formula. I actually really don’t like the super pro breastfeeding mentality where women are shocked if baby has a bottle in their face rather than a boob. Its condescending. They don’t know why that choice was made or if it even was a choice.

      I did end up formula feeding as well, for various reasons. Had a horrible hospital experience, breastfeeding just wasn’t working for some reason no matter how hard we worked or who we contacted. I pumped and gave baby that and that worked for a while, but I was getting so incredibly stressed out and it wasn’t just impacting me, but everyone else in the house. I really think that going to formula was a good idea for us. Less stress for me= happier Mommy. Happier Mommy= happier Daddy and happier family. I refuse to feel guilty for that decision, though I also hope to breastfeed this time around.

      So yeah, I’m with you. Formula isn’t criminal or anything. I just really don’t like the mentality that formula is powder or liquid gold to medical staff sometimes. The feeding without consent was out of line :(

      • Very nicely put.

        I love this: “I actually really don’t like the super pro breastfeeding mentality where women are shocked if baby has a bottle in their face rather than a boob. Its condescending.”

        They are judgemental and it is absurd. I hate these types of women. It is sick. I say kudos to any mom for providing proper nutrition through whatever means necessary. These women need to find a better cause to fight for. This whole “I’m a breastfeeder, aka 2nd to God” blah blah BS is getting old.

        • that’s the thing tho, giving formula is not providing proper nutrition anymore than giving your child mcD’s 3 meals a day would be providing proper nutrition. yeah, your kid is most likely going to survive on it but they are probably not going to be as healthy as the could be if they were fed properly. do you feel that it should be a choice to feed your child nothing but mcD’s every single meal? then how can you possibly advocate formula. if women had proper support and there was easily accessible milk banking, then formula wouldn’t be needed. because LESS THAN 2% of the population can’t breastfeed. needing formula because the medical establishment has failed you is one thing. CHOOSING formula shouldn’t be an option. ever. period. why in God’s name would ANYONE choose to give their child that sh** that can effect them throughout their entire lives. ever wonder why the baby boomers have such high rates of heart disease/diabetes/cancer/morbid obesity? so if you want to advocate that crap, go do it elswere. i’m sure Nestle would hire you in a second with the formula propaganda you are spewing forth in buckets.

    • Wow, only one other person with brains on here. Glad to see someone else thinking clearly.

      How is sharing bodily fluids between boobs or penises any different? How is this any different than unprotected sex? Some ppl just don’t think! Grr!

      • My, you are a peach, aren’t you? How many flies have you caught with that vinegar so far?

        • I can suspect at least one. :)

          • Well, several twits on here keep responding… so count them up and add them to my count. Mmmm vinegar. I love chicken adobe!

          • I don’t think a difference in opinion warrants name calling, Melody.

            Opinions are like a**holes, everybody’s got one and they all stink.

          • Chicken *adobo*, not chicken adobe. Unless you like eating baked chicken bricks. It sounds a bit constipating, but if that’s what you like, enjoy.

          • ACTUALLY it doesn’t matter.

            Sort of like “hafa dai” or “hafa adai” – depends where you come from – a dialect. Like ya’ll or you all…

            You are just showing your ignorance more and more. If you know nothing about the chamorro culture – shut it. K? :-)

          • If eating chicken bricks is important to you, I might look up your culture on Google just to satisfy my curiosity. I admit, until now I had no interest, and no reason to be even remotely interested.

            Y’all is not a word, at any rate, and “you all” is not good grammar. It might be colloquially correct, but it’s still only a colloquialism.

          • When you attack me versus my stance – you’ve obviously lost. Stop responding, your ignorance is screaming through your posts.

            No interest in the culture but you felt compelled to correct me? Do you realize you don’t speak English. You speak American. Go to England and tell them you speak English. They will laugh in your face. Your “perfect” grammar is far from perfect but if your ignorant attempts at correcting things you obviously know nothing about helps you sleep tonight – go for it. Keep up with the smart-ass-isms… Sweet dreams.

      • So…….you get all huffy with women who use anonymous sperm donors to get pregnant too? Just wondering, because, you know, a stranger’s bodily fluid seeping into someone else’s body and all seems to really bother you.

        Blood transfusions, too. Those must *really* get you going.

        *major eye roll*

      • Hilarious that good old, say-what-I-want Melody is so insecure that she had to FAKE an alter ego to come on here and call her a person “with brains”

        I will be laughing at this ALL day!

        • HAHAHAH… actually I didn’t. But I’m laughing at you more. YOu insecure twit.

          • Ummm…. I don’t see the correlation that makes me insecure. I just would love to know how your picture ended up as someone else’s avatar… And how that person immediate fell in love with you and your rantings…

      • @ Melody, you really do have a problem don’t you??

        Equating Breast milk with sperm??? What sort of internet sites do you frequent???


  11. When I had my hospital birth I told my dh to never leave my daughter’s side after she was born. That meant I was alone while getting stitched up, but at least I knew that they weren’t going to forcefeed her crap or “accidentally” give her the hep b or vitamin k that we refused. I was very grateful for my homebirth, I didn’t have to worry about any of that. :-)
    I would be yelling at that nurse and then chewing out a supervisor if a nurse had not only fed my baby crap without permission, but had the gall to try to justify it.

  12. Inacceptable! That nurse sounds like a condescending arsehole. Luckily there are a lot of great nurses on L&D, and not all are like this.

    I also met a nurse who actually didn’t encourage breastfeeding, because of the sagging-boobie-effect. Why does someone like that even work on L&D?!

    • Someone should tell her everyone who comes through her L&D is subject to the sagging-boobie-effect, regardless of how they choose to feed their children. If formula feeding really prevented it then my mother should look a heckuva lot perkier than she does.

      • Lol, the sagging boobie effect happens even if you don’t breastfeed. I’m guessing nursie never had kids.

        Besides, baby doesn’t care if they’re not as perky as they were when I was 18. DH doesn’t seem to care at all either.

      • It’s tragic how many people don’t breastfeed because they believe in the myth of everlasting perky!boobies™. I admit that the first swelling doesn’t feel nice for a couple of days, and that you feel slightly sad about seeing them go months later, but hey, this is really one of the most natural, useful gifts you can give your baby.

        I understand that for some women formula is needed when breastfeeding doesn’t work out, but fortunately I wasn’t one of them.

  13. Feeding babies formula without consent could literally kill them. He nurse doesn’t know the family history. What if severe milk allergy runs in that family? We have friends who carry epi pens for two of their kids with severe milk allergies. The boy was exposed once and ended up in ICU for a month.

  14. This one was mine. Looking back I can’t even believe that she said this to me, but it happened.

    I had a terrible time in the hospital while giving birth to my first daughter. I had a cesarean, and was having a hard time breastfeeding. On the third day of my daughter’s life, I took her to the nurses’ station so they could watch her while I went to the bathroom. When I came back from the bathroom the nurse was feeding her a bottle of formula, something I had not consented to. When I asked why, she said “your baby is starving”. First of all it was NOT true, my daughter was doing fine. And secondly, who tells a new mom that they are starving their child?!?!?

    But, as a new mom, all I did was burst into tears. Loud, messy, sobbing tears, right there in the nurses’ station. Another nurse came over to comfort me. But that comment almost ruined my breastfeeding chances… I formula fed my daughter for the next couple days until I got my head together and gave breastfeeding another try.

    And then I complained to the hospital’s patient advocate. I hope that nurse never said that to another mother again.

    And here’s the story’s happy ending… 3 weeks ago I had a HBAC! :)

    • Oops, forgot to click the “pink my link” on the comment above!

    • Congratulations on your HBAC :)

      I had a hard time breastfeeding too and was ultimately unsucessful. Good for you for giving it another shot, that takes a lot of work and its a lot of stress. That “I don’t think I can do it” feeling is hard and you beat it!

    • Congratulations. :) Enjoy your babymoon.

      • Sorry this happened to you, but AWESOME news about your HBAC!!!!
        My first was a C-section as well, and I didn’t even get to hold her and try to nurse for 12 hours because the nurses were so vile. They kept her from me. :( They even gave her a bottle first. I cried myself sick wanting her. So I can relate. I’m thankful I was able to nurse her without issue for 2.5 years! And last year on this exact day I had my second, a VBAC! :D

        • Obviously, the real problem with the OP is that the medical staff1) acted against her wishes2) tried to insinuate that SHE was starving the baby (one could also infer that she was “broken” aka- not capable of breastfeeding)

          Yes, exactly. It was the idea that I was already failing as a mother after 3 days on the job. :(

          • Hey, Melissa. That was my post. I just wanted to come by and say GOOD FOR YOU! I also had a c/s and my baby spent a week in the NICU for possible NEC. I pumped the entire time, and as far as I know they never gave him formula (I can’t know for sure) but they had him on glucose and lipids by IV, and finally breastmilk by bottle. I was glad for this, but in the end I was 7 days post c/s trying to teach a week old baby how to nurse. We had our share of trouble those early weeks, but I am so thankful we stuck it out. And guess what- 6 months ago I had a VBAC!

            Just wanted to say, mama-a-mama, CONGRATULATIONS! Not everyone will understand your triumph, but some people do!

    • Wow, you are strong!
      I can’t believe someone would say something like that to a mother. That’s appalling and so mean!!
      You are AMAZING for going back for another try. That is incredibly brave and…wow…I’m just sitting here shaking my head…really just amazing.

  15. This is why:
    1. DH or I are with baby 24/7 from the second s/he exits my body.
    2. Nurse setting up “bassinet” during labor will be informed to take the formula and diapers back (you get charged for the stuff they give you even if you don’t use it).
    3. A sign will be on my door saying “Breastfeeding: no bottles, no pacifiers.”

  16. STARVING??? SERIOUSLY?! It’s a wonder the human race didn’t die out before Similac came to rescue us.

  17. To me it’s worse. I don’t mind my baby being wetnursed. It’s still milk, it’s still cuddling and nurturing. But an ignorant, uninformed, rude nurse lurking outside my door, waiting to poison my newborn with stuff her tummy wasn’t built to handle, insulting me as she did so, and overriding my expressed wishes and violating my privacy and my consent? Uh uh. HEINOUS.

    I have to agree. At least handing my child to a wet nurse is a conscious choice, therefore consent is there. I also have to point out that when people use a wet nurse (I don’t know that it really happens now, but “back then” when they did..) there’s a choice there. Even back in the time of Henry Tudor wet nurses were chosen because they and their children passed for healthy in those times. So now, of course, people would still do the proper research. So before you get your panties in a wad, consider that.. people don’t just hand their baby to a random lactating woman and say “here, feed it.” Do you also oppose donating breast milk and things like that? Because its done quite a bit!

    In the case of the formula being given without consent, that would tick me off quite a bit. The nurse is very likely interrupting Mom and Baby’s learnin experience with breast feeding. Tastes different, comes out faster and easier, fills baby up faster.. You can say there’s “no such thing as nipple confusion” and maybe there’s not, but I’ve heard of more than one mom end up screwed over by offering a bottle too early.

    • That little rant wasn’t directed at you by the way.. I just quoted your text because I agreed with it. :)

    • A wet nurse is COMPLETELY different than a COMPLETE stranger.

      • Mathematical odds are still likelier of the baby having problems from the formula than from a stranger’s milk. They trump cultural taboos and squicks.

        • Oh whatever. I call BS.

          • Well, that convinced me!

          • Funny.. there seems to be an awful lot of trolls on this specific thread. What a shame to horn in on the OP’s horrible situation and vent. Seems pretty immature to belittle a woman’s legitimate feelings on an important issue. I wonder if these trolls ever stopped to think that just *one* bottle could disrupt the breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby. And I also wonder if these trolls ever stopped to think about the impact *not breastfeeding* has on babies? It’s not about egos or a “God complex” that these trolls seem to believe it’s about. It’s about doing what’s BEST for babies. Giving babies the BEST start in their life. I wonder if these trolls have ever read the articles published about how 1,000 U.S. babies lives could be spared *per year* if only they had been breastfed. I also wonder if these trolls are in support of federally funded health care? B/c if they are, it might be important to consider the financial costs of not breastfeeding. The same aforementioned article states that $13 billion per year could also be saved by breastfeeding since all of those children wouldn’t be as sick and malnourished. But, I suppose these trolls haven’t put all that much thought into such a serious issue. B/c if they had, they wouldn’t be on a Mother/Child-based website spreading hate about such a beautiful natural act. That makes me sad. :( Sorry OP for the anger and other feelings you were subjected to b/c of this ignorant nurse’s actions. I’m sorry to your baby as well. I hope karma will rectify the situation eventually. :)

          • The bottom line for ME is that either a random woman accidentally BFing my baby or the nurse giving him formula is unacceptable. The real risks of either (happening once) are unlikely to be severe, but some of us would prefer the (small) risks of one to the other, in a purely theoretical exercise. And it’s important to realize that the real risks of one (formula feeding) are terribly downplayed and the risks of the other (accidental wetnursing) are way overblown. Not to mention that one is about 1000x more likely to actually happen than the other.

            What I CAN say is that comparing someone in the hospital accidentally wetnursing your kid to having unprotected sex with a hooker is a seriously inaccurate and offensive analogy.

          • This exactly. All of it.

          • I’d rather be a troll than a stuck up bitch. Just sayin’.

            Breastfeed all you want but that doesn’t make you God. Get over yourself. And spreading bodily fluid is spreading bodily fluid – the analogy stands…

          • I have full faith in that you’ll succeed in your endeavors, Melody. ^_^

          • So……..no more sperm donors, no more blood transfusions, no more organ transplants. Got it.

            Just clarifying your ridiculous analogy.

          • From the CDC website:

            “Are special precautions needed for handling breast milk?

            No special precautions exist for handling expressed human milk, nor does the milk require special labeling. It is not considered a biohazard. The Universal Precautions to prevent the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B virus, and other bloodborne pathogens do not apply to human milk.”

          • You really are a sick puppy aren’t you??

            Mean, cruel, eveidently very confused about biology….

            Seriously…get help


            If that woman had a cracked nipple, she could be transferring many diseases. IDIOT.


            Seriously Suck it. Let your baby off and suck it.

      • Why?

        When my best friend fed my baby, I didn’t inquire about her sexual history, or whether or not she had been recently screened for HIV.

        What’s the difference?

        • If you totally trust your friend and she ends up being addicted to pain killers or something – that’s on you. And now your child.

          • And look here! We have a THIRD pseudonym to go with the icon!

          • PS. Babies don’t get hooked on painkillers from occasional wetnursing from a mother who, for whatever reason, is on opiates. Nor do they get addicted if their mother takes Percocet for a couple of weeks following a c-section but nurses anyway. Not from what I read in my Hale, anyway.

            But it apparently serves a mother right if her best friend, who wetnurses her offspring for her on occasion, turns out to be one of those *nasty* drug users?

            Cultural taboos are so quaint.

            Also so amusing. In this moral equation, from this perspective, it would be preferable to expose a baby to formula that had been recalled a week ago due to contamination with bug parts than to allow another person to provide milk.

            Quel bizarre.

          • “Cultural taboos are so quaint.”

            I find it so interesting that SOME people report having NO problem with wetnursing, yet squirm and decry at an example of wetnursing.

            It sort of exposes the rub for what it is, yes?

          • shite, I better get a wetnurse then… My 2yo (her birthday tomorrow!!) is SERIOUSLY addicted to all the meds I am on, and my Cola habit cant be helping! Im scared to wean LMAO!

  18. I seriously doubt the baby was starving during the time that the mother was in the bathroom.

    Melissa, congrats on your HBAC! :D

  19. I am not going to get into too much detail about it, as my birthmother had a moderate degree of infamy in the 80s.

    She was HIV+ and she breastfed. She was unaware of her status. My brother and I are both healthy, happy, HIV-free twenty-somethings. You do NOT get HIV by default from breastfeeding, especially not one accidental sip.

    Please stop spreading false bullshit about HIV.

    • :thank you:

      FWIW, there have been recent studies that show that HIV+ mothers who breastfeed early and often, reduces transmission.

      Also there has been some recent research about breastfeeding while on antivirals. It’s really cool stuff. But, I’m a nerd.

    • I believe my step-mother’s sister also breastfed while HIV+. I know she was HIV+, I remember when I was very little that they spoke to me about it so I would know and not be worried. I know she had children over the course of my lifetime, I believe they were all nursed.

    • That is such good news to hear.

      I do remember reading somewhere that a breastfed baby with an HIV+ mother has a 50% chance of contracting HIV. However, I also recently read, and saw cited on this forum, a study that showed how scalding the milk first kills HIV, so that renders the mother’s milk risk free anyway. I even learned the difference between pasteurizing and scalding!

      It’s understandable that we react violently to the potential threat from an incurable and often deadly disease, but I think some of the reaction is more visceral than logical, the sort of reaction we might have had in the Middle Ages to lepers. (Leprosy, aka Hansen’s Disease, is not nearly as contagious as it is made out to be. These days it’s also easily controlled by drugs. But I digress.)

    • Cracked nipple = blood… not bullshit. Not spreading bullshit and why in the hell would an HIV+ mother risk passing it on to her child thru BM? Selfish much?

  20. Okay the transmission of HIV via breastmilk issue, this was something I read about a lot for my dissertation. As I read it if a HIV positive mother breastfeeds her HIV negative child if she is EXCLUSIVELY breastfeeding the risk of the virus transmitting is miniscule. However, introduce ANYTHING else and the gut wall is compromised and the risk multiplies dramatically so breastfeeding must end.

    So with this scenario of a nurse giving formula without consent it would have destroyed ANY chance of a breastfeeding relationship, at least being breastfed by another mum wouldn’t have done that……

    • Ahh, interesting, can you recommend reading sources?

      The thought once crossed my mind that, if I were to meet a father alone with his crying infant and no bottle, if it was inappropriate to offer feeding. I didn’t even think of the stress it could cause later on, if the mother would have been so super-opposed to it. My mother was born at the end of the war and my grandmother nursed her and two other babies when their mothers had too little milk. I’m working in the health sector and have regular tests done, and a handful of useful vaccinations, so I didn’t think of myself as a health risk for another baby. But I can understand that an outsider has no reason to believe that and would be sceptical.

      Either way, the cuckoo-breastfeeding the wrong child is not comparable to unprotected sex with a hooker. Someone really got wound up to high up there. ;-)

    • ive read the same article. Now have to go back and read it again…. piqued my interest

  21. A wet nurse is COMPLETELY different than a COMPLETE stranger.

    Completely different, yes. My baby being handed to a complete stranger by accident would still fry me just as much as the formula mishap. I simply think that you ladies are getting way too worked up over someone prefering that in the event of a mix up that at least their baby got breastmilk instead of formula. I don’t say that to be condescending to you or any one else, I simply say that a breastfeeding mix up rather than a bottle of formula purposefully given behind the back is the lesser of two evils. Keeping in mind that as my husband likes to quote “Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” At least accidentally handing baby to another mom isn’t undermining mom ON PURPOSE.

    • Hear hear! There is a big difference between someobdy accidentally doing something stupid and somebody going behind your back and doing something stupid. And then having the nerve to tell you she did you a favor because you were hurting your child. I’m sure the nurse who gave the baby to the wrong mother had the brains to either apologize or hide rather than act like she did anybody any favors!

    • Or, at the very least, to each her own evil.

      It not ignorance to have a different opinion.

  22. Wow, the boobs really bring the trolls to the yard.

    Wait: am I the only one here who notices that “James Sablan” is using the same user icon in the comments nearer the top as “Melody”?

    If some other name popped up in here using a picture of my kitten on my blue-skirted lap, you all would be right to be suspicious.

    I guess it’s just one troll, then.

    • Credibility tends to go out the window with name calling anyway *shrug*

    • You got that song stuck in my head now.. Lol!

    • I made a comment about it last night, with a cute little smiley face emoticon too. I’m assuming “Melody” just got her partner online to lend his moral support. Maybe, unlike my husband and I, the two of them share a single e-mail account.

      Or maybe not.

      Either way, I don’t feel particularly charitable. I do wish the argument would go elsewhere. Find me on Facebook, write me in private, whatever. It doesn’t belong here. I’m quite happy to keep it going, but I’d prefer it relocated.

  23. People. I am going to be charitable and assume that those of you who are deriding formula are doing so from a good place in your hearts, one that is concerned with the well-being of infants and the support of their moms. However, that kind of hyperbole is really hurtful to those of us who HAVE to feed formula for one reason or another. Me, I was derailed by NICU nurses, my baby wouldn’t latch no. matter. what, and finally I had to get back on my meds to deal with PPD. A sane mom = formula for me.

    I wish I had been able to bf, we tried hard, but it didn’t work. I still feel guilt about it, and the last thing I need is to hear some “Formula = POISON!” crap from other women. That’s girl-on-girl crime at its finest. Seriously, folks, it’s not poison, come on!

    • Of course it isn’t poison! That wasn’t the point. I want you to put yourself back in the place and time when you were trying to lactate and imagine that you came to get your baby only to find her in the arms of a nurse with a bottle without your premission. How pissed would you have been?
      Now somebody may come tell you that the meds you take don’t pass through breast milk and where to look it up (Hale’s?) and you can either take that as more guilt or you can take it as useful information to know in case you have another baby. Your choice.
      You do make a very good point, Formula is not poison. But the only one who used the word poison was Melody/James. The post by Harmed said “fake” which started Melody off on her little rant. And wasn’t it a pleasant little drive through crazy land?

    • Like I posted above.. similar situation for me though I didn’t deal with NICU or PPD. It was a decision for my sanity and probably the sanity of my family as well! lol I do hope to breastfeed this time around, but my son is perfectly healthy, he’s incredibly smart and I don’t regret anymore that I gave him formula. It just hurt at first, but someone else put it to me in a way that helped: “Don’t look at what you could have or think you should have done. Instead look at what you did. Your son is obviously a happy and healthy baby and that counts for something.”

    • Kelly,

      I’m not calling you a bad mom because you did whatever it took to get your baby fed. In my book, that makes you a GOOD mom. (Yep, I’m saying that feeding your baby formula in that situation makes you a good mom.) You did a great job of taking care of your baby in a nasty, no-win situation. But I won’t pretend that formula is anything but a sad substitute for the real thing.

      In the context of a breastfeeding relationship, I don’t think it’s a stretch to call formula “poison.” That doesn’t mean you poisoned your kids. It means that for my baby, who was breastfed exclusively, if someone had given him formula, that would have poisoned his gut with bacteria that would make his digestive system work less well than it would have otherwise. (In your situation, there was no “otherwise”!) It also could have poisoned (okay, that is a less literal use of the term) our breastfeeding relationship, making it more difficult for both of us to make sure he got fed the way that was best for him and fit my needs and wants. (The “poison” in your situation was the NICU nurses and the lack of help you got, not the formula!) And, given that in my situation, I had OPTIONS, I *should* be worried about the increased risks that come with formula. (In your situation, the risks you had to worry about were a starving child and a completely fried self!)

      So I just want to tell you that you are a good mom for doing what you had to do to take care of yourself and your baby. And I really hope you can come to terms with your decision and stop feeling the mommy guilt. Isn’t being a mom hard enough? I’m sure people have been judgmental, and that’s just ugly and not okay. I’m so sorry if hearing people tell the truth about breastfeeding vs formula (in general, not in your particular situation) feels like a judgment on your choices. I sure don’t mean it that way.

      For what it’s worth, I think we should treat formula like medicine. It’s not as good as being healthy and not needing it, but if you need it…it’s a very, very good thing to have. Moms who can’t breastfeed should be able to get free or cheap (covered by insurance) donated milk from milk banks for their babies, till they’re at least 6 months (and more if mom wants or pediatrician recommends, etc.) And if that doesn’t work, moms and their babies ought to have access to free or cheap (covered by insurance) formula without false advertising and competing claims. And there should be no guilt attached. Zilch. Just moms feeding their babies in a way that results in full tummies and sane moms.

    • I don’t think formula is rat poison. I think of formula as a c-section at 32 weeks. Most babies born at 32 weeks are just fine and healthy and have no major long term disability, but they do tend to be sicker and are more likely to have mild developmental disabilities. Now if you were to have a c-section at 32 weeks because your baby or you had a severe illness where baby was better out then in then YES! You should have a section right then an there. If you were to say, well I’m not a full term birther so I’ll choose to have a 32 weeker via c-section because this pregnancy thing is too hard even in this day and age you’d be laughed out of the Dr’s office. When you need formula you need formula but it would be preferable to use donor milk but given the poor accessibility of Milk banks for term infants people use formula. If you choose to use formula your baby is probably going to be fine, but there are risks associated with it’s use and they are at higher risk for complications. Babies need breastmilk, their bodies need it to develop properly but if the choice is starving or using formula then formula is a necessary evil. As for all the hubbub about donor milk and wetnursing, yes there is risks there too and yes some diseases can be passed and some drugs as well, HOWEVER a properly screened donor can be a safe option and donor milk is still breastmilk. It’s very much a personal decision. Ideally every mother should be breastfeeding their child, it’s what we have breasts for.

    • By stating that formula is an inferior and sometimes even dangerous or contaminated food compared to mother’s milk, I am not judging you. I am judging the formula; and I am judging the circumstances that made it impossible to breastfeed. As I point out in another post, you did not fail at breastfeeding. You were failed.

      If you are NOT angry at hospital routines, medical interventions, etc that led to circumstances that made it much more difficult to nurse your baby, NOT angry at the almost total lack of support our society gives new mothers regarding breastfeeding or really, just about anything else (no wonder postpartum depression is rampant in America) then yes, I suppose I’m judging *you*.

      But you don’t seem to have chosen formula. Circumstances seem to have chosen it for you.

      Might as well fight plate tectonics as fight those kind of circumstances. Unlike plate tectonics, however, the circumstances that lead so many mothers to wean to formula are unnatural, unhealthy, and man-made, and very wrong.

      You got run over by a glacier, or buried under the rubble of an earthquake, and it’s the disaster I have contempt for. Not you.

  24. Hi again,

    I’ve never heard half the things about formula on this webpage that have been claimed- ie, it can compromise the gut wall and cause NEC.
    Could you please pop up the references? I’m really curious where they are from and how many studies are done.

    And for refernces, other websites with this info on it isn’t really good enough- I mean peer-reviewed journal articles.

    Would def appreciate, thanks!

    • thanks guys- I would def reconsider formula feeding in premmie bubs. But it seems okay for full term gestation?

      • The fact that formula feeding increases the complications so much in preemies would make me seriously think that it can cause the same damage to the guts of full-term babies. Just because full-term babies weren’t included in the study doesn’t mean that they are okay to be fed formula. They probably can tolerate it better than a more compromised baby, but that doesn’t mean that they should have to! I would think that one of the reasons that preemies are studied more is because they are ina controlled environment in the hospital and stay there longer.

        • Mmm-hmm.

          At what gestational age, for which baby, does the risk become acceptable?

          My last baby was *barely* cooked at 40w4d, covered in lanugo and vernix, weighing 6.5lbs. Was he *as* out of the woods as any other baby born after 37wks?

  25. Man, I really hope I haven’t missed Melody!

    Obviously, the real problem with the OP is that the medical staff
    1) acted against her wishes
    2) tried to insinuate that SHE was starving the baby (one could also infer that she was “broken” aka- not capable of breastfeeding)

    I am not bashing formula feeders, even though neither of my sons have been fed formula, BUT it is proven fact that breastmilk is best. There is no arguing that point. It just is. It is illegal for formula companies to advertise otherwise. They must ALL say- breastmilk is best BUT…. blah blah blah.

    So the real question here is- if breastmilk is BEST, why is the medical staff (this nurse) pushing something else? I can only assume it is out of convenience for themselves.

    (Where else do we see this- Oh, just about EVERYWHERE in medicine. Birth positions, heplocks, epidurals, fetal monitors, the list goes on with things that make birthing easier for the doctors and nurses. Don’t get me started on c-sections)

    I think it is time the medical community understand that AS YOUR CLIENTS we couldn’t care LESS about what is convenient for you. Sorry, but I am the one pushing out a child or having one latching on to a sore nipple. So be helpful if you feel the capacity, but sure as heck don’t get in my way.

    • You didn’t miss me. Go read my very first post – I just made the statement that I’d rather have a nurse give my child formula versus another mom accidentally bfing my kid (which was recently on the news – hospital mix up) and the bf nazis came out. My first post clearly says that yeah, I’d be pissed at the nurse but I made a simple statement and now I guess I might as well be satan himself. All these nazis jumped my case, telling me that ANY OTHER BM is better than any formula under any situation and I say that is too risky. Through a cracked nipple or BM, diseases can be transmitted – I’d be so extremely pissed if a hospital “accidentally” handed my kid off to another mom and she bf him/her. KWIM?

      • Well, in the case of the accidental breastfeeding mishap, I would be SO MUCH more upset about the security risk of GIVING MY CHILD TO THE WRONG PERSON than what went into her mouth (be it breast or bottle). Truth be told, I would not have thought much about the situation other than that. Diseases, while possible, would be SO unlikely. And formula, while disruptive to the digestive system on such a new baby would pass through and *most likely* not cause any actual damage. The only thing I can be 100% sure is “safe” is my own BM, but a one-time incident is highly unlikely to cause harm. BUT GIVING MY CHILD TO THE WRONG PERSON! wow. Talk about lawsuit material.

        In this case, as I mentioned above, the true transgression lies in the intentions of the nurse. At best she was negligent (and didn’t know the mom was BFing) or at worse malicious (purposely going against her wishes). Either way, not something you want in a medical “professional.”

        I am curious though, above you said you would formula feed if it wasn’t so expensive. Do you really think that formula and BM are equal in quality and their benefit for babies?

  26. “Hand me my baby and get the HELL OUT and DON’T come back”

    The decision to supplimental feed always belongs with the parents. Medical staff can advise but the parents make the decision.

    Besides the only time an infant should ever get formula in the 12-48 hour postpartum hospital stay is when the mother refuses to breasfeed. No infant will starve all they need are tiny amounts of colostrum from frequent feeds. Introducing infant artificial milks AKA “formula” carries a lot of health risks without benefit.


  27. The difference between sharing bodily fluids via boobs and penises is that sperm contain diseases and breastmilk doesn’t, FOR THE MOST PART. As much as you want it to, because you are reacting to your visceral “ewww” feeling, breastmilk does not contain sexually transmitted disease particles in most cases. HIV may be transmitted through breastmilk, but if you research it online you’ll find that other STDs are not transmitted via breastmilk. Always consult a certified lactation consultant that does not work for a hospital (they are more concerned with being sued, just like other hospital personnel), or a LLL leader, and your doctor in making these choices.

    • Thank you for adding “for the most part” but through a cracked nipple, things quickly change. I simply reiterate that I would rather give my child a feeding of formula vs a feeding of a stranger’s BM on that individual’s breast. That bothers me considerably.

  28. I should clarify that when I said I didn’t want my angel to starve, it was not because I am ignorant of colostrum or the fact that there is indeed enough there to feed your baby until your milk comes in. I am not only an LDR nurse, but I am also a nursing instructor and I teach Maternal/Child. I’m considered my college’s leading expert on the subject, and I was raised never to brag, but I DO KNOW WHAT I AM DOING. My personal situation with feeding my daughter formula until my milk came in is only due to the fact that she was jaundiced and when babies are jaundiced, they get too sleepy to feed properly and become dehydrated. They are then put under phototherapy and started on IV fluids. I have a thyroid disorder also, which caused my daughter to be born with low birth weight. Consequently, babies born with low birth weight can get dehydrated easier. Babies who are jaundiced are at risk for developing kernicterus, which can lead to mental retardation. I only fed my baby formula because I did not want her to be hospitalized and put under phototherapy where she could not be cuddled and held skin-to-skin, and also to be started on IV fluids. I didn’t really want to write a book on my post and give a lecture usually reserved for my students. I am in no way ignorant of the way the female body works. I am an expert in my field. Just to clarify. And I really think that you all should have better things to do than sit around bitching about this subject. Go nurse your babies.

    • Hey, I agree there is no reason to get snippy on here. I wanted to ask you though- What do you know about thyroid/birthweight, etc? I have yet to find anyone who can give me any thoughts on the correlations. My first child was 5lbs 13oz, placental abruption at 38 weeks. My second was 8lbs 10oz, VBAC at 42 weeks. I can’t help but think my hypothyroid replacement played into everything- I was on 175mcg with #1, and only 75mcg with #2. Any thoughts would be helpful.

  29. Since your thyroid function affects your metabolism, hypothyroidism causes weight gain and hyperthyroidism causes weight loss. I had hyperthyroidism, and was put on propylthiouracil, which is a thyroid suppressant. But unfortunately, it is category D for use in pregnancy, as it can cause a goiter in the baby. I did not want to be on this while I was pregnant, but the doctor told me it was either that or chance dying of heart failure because my pulse was so rapid, even at rest. Since your hormones pass to the baby, the baby’s metabolism is affected as well. Therefore all of my babies were born with low birth weight. Since you have hypothyroidism, your metabolism would be slower without adequate replacement of thyroid hormone, and since your dosage of synthroid was 175 mcg with your 5lb 13oz baby, and your dosage was only 75 mcg with your 8lb 10oz baby, your dosages definitely played a factor. I think that probably your synthroid dose with your first baby was too high, and that increased your metabolism so much that your baby was born at only 5lb 13oz. I’m curious, did they say that your baby was SGA? (Small for gestational age?) Because my feeling is that this was probably the case. As for the placental abruption, a variety of things can cause this to happen, so I don’t think that it could definitely be the cause of the abruption, but I do think it could have been a factor. I suffered from preterm labor with every pregnancy as well and had to be put on bedrest and terbutaline to avoid premature delivery (which wasn’t successful with my middle child). My uterus was very irritable. Certainly I think if your synthroid was at too high of a dose, it could have caused uterine irritability.

    • As someone who responded to your post, I wanted to apologize for any offense. But I maintain that your original post on the subject was not very clear, and left a good deal of room for doubt. I’ll consider it a compliment that you felt the need to go into as much detail with us as you do with your students.

      Certainly, you need no absolution from a lay-mama like me, but your reasons for supplementing your daughter were incredibly good. A little formula to avoid the lights and separation would have made perfect sense to me.

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