Experts have reported that hundreds of newborn babies suffering from dehydration are being re-admitted to hospital as mothers are being warned not to resort to bottle-feeding. They explain that the 'breast is best' message has left many women unwilling to use formula milk even as a back up when their babies are not feeding properly. "
Read more here Medindia News.
I foolishly starved my firstborn during the first two weeks (possibly more). I had problems breastfeeding, did not know how to pump my breastmilk out and yet I adamantly refused to feed her any formula. I was so afraid that it would jeopardise my breastfeeding efforts. I was so gungho about breastfeeding and I had read so much about how the bottle would cause the baby to have nipple confusion that I vehemently refused to give my starving baby any supplementary feeds.
As a result she lost 25% of her birthweight after the first two weeks weighing in and she had dark brown poo only after a few days instead of the several times a day watery poo a newborn is supposed to have. Thankfully, apart from the weight loss she was ok.
Looking back now, I am apalled at how foolish I had been. At birth she was a plump beautiful baby. After 2 weeks, she looked gaunt, haggard and her lips were dry and peeling. I am very very thankful that she was ok. She cried all the time from hunger and her weight loss gave us a lot of stress.
To all new mothers out there who have difficulty breastfeeding, I urge you to get to a good lactation consultant as early as you can or to go to other mothers who have experience in breastfeeding for help and support during the early days. And it is ok to give your baby some supplementary feeds while you are trying to establish breastfeeding. (It does not mean the end of your breastfeeding journey). Just make sure you establish your milk supply at the same time by pumping or direct feeding whenever possible.
Don't give up trying and make sure the bottle feeding does not replace the breastfeeds but don't deny your baby nourishment before breastfeeding is firmly established. (It may take a while before breastfeeding becomes smooth and natural. Contrary to what most people would assume, breastfeeding feels far from natural. It is a learned skill especially for those who have difficulty.) If you are scared that your baby will be confused by the use of a bottle, you can give expressed breastmilk to your baby from a cup but from my experience that is very tough and taxing indeed but worth the effort in the end. Its short term pain for a long term gain. Good luck!
My Breastfeeding Journey - Part I
My Breastfeeding Journey - Part II