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Old 29.03.2010, 13:08
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Re: Breast feeding

Whilst I agree in principle with the official message of 'breast is best', I do think that in their eagerness to persuade women to breastfeed, the authorities sometimes make light of how hard it is going to be. I know quite a few women who started breastfeeding but were shocked to discover how difficult it was - how painful, how tiring, how all encompassing it was to do this 'oh, it's just so natural' process. They felt like they'd been deceived, or thought it was just them who was struggling. I know the officials have to give it a positive spin, but there also needs to be some reality injected in there. The trouble with not mentioning the dark days is that you can't then reassure mothers that this too shall pass, and the mothers are left stuck at 3am thinking it's an abyss.

It's virtually impossible to do totally exclusive breastfeeding without a supportive partner, as there are days when you literally cannot get off the sofa. Unsupportive partners will mutter, irritated that you don't do anything around the house all day; even supportive but slightly unhelpful ones will worry about your fatigue and emotional well-being, and wonder out loud if perhaps one bottle tonight would matter..?

I breastfed my kids exclusively for the first 4 months primarily to attempt to stave off passing on my asthma (advice at the time, it's now 6 months) but in hindsight, I had a few very lucky breaks. Firstly, the midwife who took the antenatal classes I attended was very pro-breast, but in an informed, 'here's the scientific evidence' sort of way. Having seen studies of how even one bottle can trigger an allergy response gave me the motivation to keep going through the darkest days (whereas the whole Earth Mother 'it's such a primeval connection' thing does nothing for me).

Then I found, almost by luck, a special breastfeeding workshop day in a hospital in the next county, and managed to get a place. The highlight was a talk from a new mother, who brought along her baby and I actually saw someone breastfeeding for the first time ever. (Nowadays, I'd recommend YouTube videos to understand exactly how the baby's lips are positioned - it's not like sucking a milkshake through a straw.)

Then I had a very down-to-earth midwife in the hospital, who helped my son and I enormously with latching difficulties - in the end, she grabbed my breast, grabbed his head, and made the two come together correctly. She did this for several feeds until we 'got' it. It was a bit of a shock at the time, but I'm not sure we would have managed on our own.

Then when my son was around 6 weeks old and freefalling down the weight charts, I left a health clinic session deeply upset and angry at being told that I would have to give him a bottle each day to top him up, and that if he didn't gain X amount of weight by the next time he came he'd be referred to a specialist. I went straight to the maternity unit where I'd taken my classes, found my lovely teaching midwife, who calmed me down with more common sense - 'so let's see... his mouth and lips are moist, he's having plenty of wet nappies, and he's sitting there calmly in his car seat watching us with interest - that is NOT a baby who's starving'. She showed me how the charts in the UK were compiled using weight gain patterns for BOTTLE fed babies, which are completely different. Then she subversively suggested that I simply didn't take him back to that health visitor to be weighed, but brought him to their clinic. Or simply didn't get him weighed.

But overall, I had a very, very supportive husband, who didn't mind that I effectively dropped out of life for a couple of months, who'd done the research alongside me and considered this the only important thing I could be doing at that time, who did a demanding job then came home with take-out dinner and started doing all the housework or taking the baby out for a stroll around the garden 'to give Mummy a little break', who never ONCE put the seeds of doubt into my head that was it really worth all this trouble..? Yet managed to do this whilst still making it clear that it was my choice, and he could see how demanding it was, and he would support me if I wanted to knock it on the head too.

I didn't even have that hard a time of it. No mastitis, no real pain after the first few weeks where you get that toe-curling jolt on latching, no problems about feeding in front of family, nothing but positive messages from passers-by who happened to notice I was discreetly feeding in a corner of a cafe. For me, though, the hardest part was the utter dependency, which was mostly lovely and occasionally desperate torture. (Like in the early days when for several weeks he fed ALL night, then slept from 5am to 10am, then started all over again.) I'd had a 40 hour labour with a blue lights/ sirens transfer from the maternity unit to the county hospital, ending by an emergency c-section, for heavens sake. Where was MY period of recovery and convalescence?!

And then oh, the relief when he was 3-4 months old, and I had his feeding routine down well enough that I managed to skip out of the door to nip to the garden centre 500m away from the house. On my own! For a whole half an hour!

I'm glad I fed my kids completely for their early months, and continued alongside some bottles and solid food. And fingers crossed, at ages 10 and 6 neither shows any signs of asthma as yet. But having done it, I entirely understand why it sometimes doesn't work out. If I'd not been asthmatic, or had been going back to work, or hadn't come across a couple of key midwives at the right time, or had exactly the right support from hubby, then I too would have been one of the 'failures'.

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  #82  
Old 29.03.2010, 13:12
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Re: Breast feeding

That is so not true, if it was my niece would never have been born. Do not rely on breasfeeding as a method of contraception.

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Yeah it is amazing how nature makes it so that a breastfeeding mom can't get pregnant like a natural birth control.
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Old 29.03.2010, 13:19
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Re: Breast feeding

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Sorry you found it inflammatory – it was not meant to be.

You yourself stated that women do a good job of beating themselves up on this topic without the help of others. In that case how would you feel if someone came along and told you how good breast feeding is and bad bottle feeding is, if your child was screaming all night and every night, your paediatrician was worried about your child gaining weight and to top it all your nipples were sore?
I did have an unsettled baby at night, my nipples were falling off (they always do when one starts nursing, btw), our ped was giving me very dangerous and wrong advice, yady ya. There is a very little support for a mom in a foreign country not speaking the language and who is going against the grain here and nursing in the ward I gave birth was against the grain (despite the fancy baby friendly label), all peds I encountered here were not very nursing supportive here either, quite uneducated, to be exact.

We all face difficult moments when we just become parents. I stuck to my gut feeling and told anyone pressuring me to stuff it. It does not make me a hero, just a mom who toughed it out. Not better than others, just a mom who's desire to give her kid the best possible nutrition was bigger than the hardships. I had other hardships that others were so much better with, so I know nobody is a better parent than others.

I completely understand the pressures moms are in and my heart goes out to them, whatever they chose to give to their babies! Especially working moms who don't pump, etc. My working friends who couldn't nurse actually were very supportive of nursing, since they really wished they had the chance to do it. They were not against nursing nor people trying to spread the info around. I do not consider bottle feeding moms inadequate parents at all. I merely advocate for nursing and try to give out as much info as I can since I really wish I had the same support myself.


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The issue for me is that while La Leche et al may have good intentions, their messages just tend to twist the knife in further for those who’ve gone with the bottle.
The issue with me with people who flame "La Leche at al"...

Is the fact that I honestly think that the purpose of their existence is not trying to witch-hunt bottle feeding moms. You know why? How many times have you heard of bottle feeding mom relactating? I have two friends who did, but it is absolutely the minimum of ex-nursing momies.

The purpose of LLL is to inform about the benefits of nursing and help out with the technique. If somebody falls apart since they wished they nursed and failed at it, it is a hardly fault of LLL. I have to repeat: if nursing is a priority for a mom, then come to the delivery room with your facts ready. And all my nursing moms friends did, btw. Even my lovely friend with triplets who managed to nurse them antsy boys till they were 20mo old. It is a certain level of dedication since it is a priority for some people. I do not flame those for whom it is a lesser priority.

And regarding yours et al....I wish I had LLL at my maternity ward room. They do not even seem to operate where I live. You keep mentioning LLL but it is not even happening here. I vagely remember they hold one meeting a month in GE for those who are interested. Hardly a battlefield work ethics, is it. In my region, it's one stressed out, overworked independent nursing advisor who is trying to give out as much phone advise as possible. More power to her, she is a lovely lady. So, I wish LLL here actually did their job the way they are supposed to and not slacked.

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Another view: how would you feel if someone came along a mentioned that you got a natural bond with your child through breast feeding, better nutrition, no contamination risk (did someone mention product recalls?), no health risks from sterilisation etc.? If you were not feeling guilty before, then you most likely would be after.
If I fail at something, of couse one feels bad, it's a natural thing. But honestly, is it correct to blame it on some worker who comes to give out proper info? To people who often do not come ready for the hardships?
All those facts you just stated above are true. If you wife was set on bottle feeding and listening to the true facts on bottle feeding was making her feel bad, you should have asked the LLL peep to leave. If your wife still had the desire to lactate, it is doable.

Look, I have been here enough years to realize that when somebody feels like dishing out unsolicited advice, this person will not be very diplomatic about it in this country, haha. Just chuck it down to being here. I had good willing people doing it to me, too, but you cannot just fall apart and blame the actual thing they are advocating for. But don't bash the LLL just because you happened to encounter one person with poor people skills. In my opinion to leave this door to door tracking and spreading the news on brestfeeding to the maternity ward is completely inefficient. It should really happen during the pre-birth classes. And the folks who preach it should be aware of moms who cannot nurse for work reasons, etc., should word things sensitively and allow those who don't wish to get the education on nursing to opt out.

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Finally: the message from La Leche and pro-breast feeders is often (and read the posts on this thread for the evidence) that if you try hard enough it will all be OK. The inverse is therefore if you bottle feed you didn't try hard enough. How is that not a massive FAIL message?
I so want to say...just HTFU, haha. Sorry.

No, really. I see your point and I really think it is a question of semantics, wording things sensitively, moms being ultra sensitive and yady ya. I also happen to think if one tries hard enough, it works. I had so many troubles, it was so not easy, etc etc, most people I know didn't have it easy, but only those who toughed it out were successful. I only know one mom for whom it was a breeze. Unfortunately, people who try to help out with nursing get carried away (since the benefits really are unlistable and due to formula manufacturors, there is a big push to make ff and bf sounds completely equal, which it ain't) that they get impationed with those who "pseudo try". It is so common. But if people have this attitude and deep down regret not nursing, then don't be mad at people going around and as you say "rubbing in" the info on positives of BM. There ain't enough rubbin' in ..I can see nursing helpers trying to make sure if the new mom would like to try harder or if she is making an "educated" decision, since there are many who are not educated about it, don't even know breasts are for nursing. And sadly, I know some. You can always say, "I have got all the info about it yet wish not to nurse, please, leave". Easy, no?

Dr. Sears once wrote somewhere that if one goes to have a baby, wishes to nurse and the attitude is "I will try" - it will not work. The attitude should be "I will do it".

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Whilst I agree in principle with the official message of 'breast is best', I do think that in their eagerness to persuade women to breastfeed, the authorities sometimes make light of how hard it is going to be.

kodokan
I so agree with you on this. I thought about it so much, because one sees these images of nursing moms in peace, happy babies, etc...One goes thinking this into the delivery room, and then the hell starts, haha.

But how else could nursing be promoted, I have no idea. If you start saying how really difficult it is (and it is, auch), how one does not have a social life, how dependent your kid becomes on you - the sole food income, etc..People would never even try, I don't think. I know people are a lot more understanding and supportive when it is introduced a lot in schools, when they are exposed, when it is not a taboo but a normal fact of life. I think my daughter will nurse since she has been exposed, etc. I have had so many kids asking me bewildered what I was doing if I had to nurse in a playground or so.

Your post is wonderful.
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  #84  
Old 29.03.2010, 13:55
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Re: Breast feeding

I won't reply point by point, as I don't think it'll make much difference - we are talking about too different opinions and it is getting repetitious, and I agree there's a large chunk of semantics involved.

I will say a couple of minor things though.

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The issue with me with people who flame "La Leche at al"...
I'm not particularly targeting LLL - more pro-breast bottle-bashers. These folks do tend to side with LLL - shall we call then "LLL extremists"? But point taken.

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If you wife was set on bottle feeding and listening to the true facts on bottle feeding was making her feel bad, you should have asked the LLL peep to leave. If your wife still had the desire to lactate, it is doable.
Ho hum. My wife was set on breastfeeding (all three times).

You don't seem to get my point: for some it just isn't doable.

Your posts continue to read like "if you want it bad enough you can get it." While you may not say it, it is translated as FAIL if you don't. And don't kid yourself that this isn't a sensitive issue for mothers - no mother likes to be told she's a bad mother, or that she could be harming her child.

But, just like some women cannot have a baby or cannot do so without a c-section, or some have heavy mestruation and can't out of bed while others are fine, we are all different. There will always be a proportion of the population who behave differently from the "norm" - those that produce gallons of breast milk, while others produce none. Modern society - for better or worse - allows us to continue reproducing, when maybe nature is trying to tell us to stop (I digress here).

So to have someone (anyone, not LLL etc. etc.) come along a basically say "you didn't try hard enough" is just not just a mater of telling people to HTFU.

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In my opinion to leave this door to door tracking and spreading the news on brestfeeding to the maternity ward is completely inefficient. It should really happen during the pre-birth classes. And the folks who preach it should be aware of moms who cannot nurse for work reasons, etc., should word things sensitively and allow those who don't wish to get the education on nursing to opt out.
Lordy - the ante-natal class woman was the worst of the crusading bunch... both with respect to breast feeding and c-sections (English-Basel based woman FYI.)

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I so want to say...just HTFU, haha. Sorry.
Now who's trolling?
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Old 29.03.2010, 13:59
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Re: Breast feeding

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I won't reply point by point, as I don't think it'll make much difference - we are talking about too different opinions and it is getting repetitious, and I agree there's a large chunk of semantics involved.

I will say a couple of minor things though.



I'm not particularly targeting LLL - more pro-breast bottle-bashers. These folks do tend to side with LLL - shall we call then "LLL extremists"? But point taken.



Ho hum. My wife was set on breastfeeding (all three times).

You don't seem to get my point: for some it just isn't doable.

Your posts continue to read like "if you want it bad enough you can get it." While you may not say it, it is translated as FAIL if you don't. And don't kid yourself that this isn't a sensitive issue for mothers - no mother likes to be told she's a bad mother, or that she could be harming her child.

But, just like some women cannot have a baby or cannot do so without a c-section, or some have heavy mestruation and can't out of bed while others are fine, we are all different. There will always be a proportion of the population who behave differently from the "norm" - those that produce gallons of breast milk, while others produce none. Modern society - for better or worse - allows us to continue reproducing, when maybe nature is trying to tell us to stop (I digress here).

So to have someone (anyone, not LLL etc. etc.) come along a basically say "you didn't try hard enough" is just not just a mater of telling people to HTFU.



Lordy - the ante-natal class woman was the worst of the crusading bunch... both with respect to breast feeding and c-sections (English-Basel based woman FYI.)



Now who's trolling?
Dude, why are you posting so much on a breast feeding thread?
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:03
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Re: Breast feeding

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Dude, why are you posting so much on a breast feeding thread?
There's little I don't have an opinion on

Reality: because nutrition is an area of interest for me.
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:05
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Re: Breast feeding

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I also happen to think if one tries hard enough, it works. I had so many troubles, it was so not easy, etc etc, most people I know didn't have it easy, but only those who toughed it out were successful. I only know one mom who whom it was a breeze.
I don't even know one, not one mother who breezed into it and never had any issues at all. Everyone I know had troubles of one sort or another: latching on, pain, infection, fatigue, pumping not working when returning to work or finding the baby won't take a bottle, etc.

Hmm... best not put me in charge of the revamped publicity campaign... But really, although me and everyone else I know had difficult days, 95% of it went just great.

Picking up on the earlier point about a 'fail message'... If a person attempts to do something, and doesn't manage to do it, well in what way can that be called a success? Of course, there's no need to go out of one's way to be deliberately hurtful of people's feelings, but I don't agree with distorting or hiding facts in order to make people feel better, in breastfeeding or any other arena. This is a particular bugbear of mine in the UK school system, this 'all must have prizes' mentality where no-one is allowed to feel bad, except oddly enough the truly successful kids who wonder why no-one's making a big fuss that they came first in the race or got 10/10 in their spellings for the whole year.

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Your post is wonderful.
Gosh, thanks.
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:21
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Re: Breast feeding

OK, I won't quote since it gets too long...I am not going to go into details of why your wife couldn't nurse, if is not my business nor would I like to have my hubby vent my intimate details online either . I feel bad for your wife if she is the unlucky 2% that are unable to nurse, very rare cases. That's fo sho. Now, since she must know how rare it is to be in that condition, can't she understand the need to still spread the education about proper technique, all the benefits and shrug off some militant boob peeps? If one happens to be in the minority can one understand that maybe the lact agent missfiled her? I wear glasses but most things are actually meant for peeps without glasses. Am I gona harp about the people w/o specs?

I know how much you must feel for her. I do think, though, that most people who fail are not fortunate to have good help. It's a fine balance, there is a little window of oportunity, if that gets missed it becomes extremely difficult after that (it is doable). The real pro-nursers are not bottle bashers, I have to repeat. In fact I just put our bottles in the basement, we used them, we started mixing things up after our kid turned 2.

The milk production is largely dependent on hormonal stimulation and response, and as such it is so possible to influence. One must know how, though. So to say, there is a woman who produces little milk, is a proof that person does not know the basics of how lactation works. It is not a thing once done, one does not have a storage of milk to eventually run out. Once you start the process and you know how it works it is only up to you and your child to synchronize the demand/supply and establish the good supply. it can go both ways, too much milk, too little, it takes a while for the balance to set in. It is a mechanism that works really well if one knows the tricks (and they are not easy, but they work) to kick up the production. Stress is the major lactation killer. And docs who chase the poor mom with a scale and do not give her enough time, force her to suplement. Then the balance is off and good supply is way harder to kickstart.

You also said that one is made to feel like a bad mom and harming her kid. Now, that's a really hard thing to believe that your LLL people said these specific things. If they didn't and you assumed they meant it, shrug it off. Your woman has you to make her feel better, lucky girl, isn't she... So, ignore some comments that were well meant, for the well being of your child, it's hard to believe the agent would deliberately try to shame your wife. If so, she ain't a good one

I don't mean to be contradicting you all the time, in fact I like that a male is interested in these things. We need more interested men, haha. More men understanding how a female body works. Yeah!

Kodokan, I did have a antenatal class wench, haha, your comment on hippies made me laugh. She was all about harmony with nature, rainbows, bonding, nursing, baby wearing hippie bollox, she said nothing mildly informative. Ick.
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:21
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Re: Breast feeding

Actually there is a lot of hiding of facts going on though. There are a couple of scientific question-marks about breast feeding but these are never discussed openly. This I guess mainly because they fear that it may discurrage breast feeding in environments where breast feeding undoubtably is substantially better than bottle feeding (mainly countries in the developing world).


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but I don't agree with distorting or hiding facts in order to make people feel better,
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:34
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Re: Breast feeding

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It is such a very personal experience.

I lost my milk when my daughter was 4 months old. I felt guilty to not be able to do more. But When I found out how easier and confortable bottle feeding was for me, I felt better.

Breastfeeding didn't make me lose weight but I lost a lot of my health. I was constantly sick and exausted, my iron level was super low.

My daughter didn't get a ''better'' protection from the milk. She has been sick so often.

I don't even talk about my non-existant breast...

Honestly, I am happy I did breastfeed my daughter as much as I could. But I know I did it because of the society pressure. If it was to do it again, I won't. I got to much stress and pain and problem from it.

you did your best and that in itself is far beyond what most are capable of and will do for their infant.

thank you for that!

these babies are all our futures.
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:34
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Re: Breast feeding

I just remembered that back home there is a (money) compensation programme to incentivate mother to breastfeed. THey also get some more free days after birth, if you are lactating. Maybe OT but I think it is interesting.
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:37
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Re: Breast feeding

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Actually there is a lot of hiding of facts going on though. There are a couple of scientific question-marks about breast feeding but these are never discussed openly.
Really? I would have thought the formula manufacturers would be all over that. Do you know what the question mark areas are, or can you point me somewhere to read up on it? (Genuine desire for knowledge, not trolling!)

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Old 29.03.2010, 14:38
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Re: Breast feeding

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I happy it worked out for your daughter. I don't feel inferior because it didn't work out for me.

There were times when people who could afford it had a wet nurse for their babies. I wonder why.
When I was born breastfeeding was considered unhealthy because the milk was contaminated by water and food pollution. One of my kids developed hay fever, so did one of my cousin's despite of having been breastfed. What I'm trying to say is that we should all have the choice because thankfully we live in a modern society where there are choices.

As far as the bonding is concerned, my kids and I have a very close, loving relationship, we trust and respect each other - so obviously bottle feeding did not do any damage in that respect.
you are absolutely not inferior. my apologies if i led anyone here - including yourself - in that direction.

i fully agree, as i said in my initially missive, first and foremost is the right of the mother to choose what is best for herself and her family. i should add that once the chose has been made we should all respect our fellow sister's decision and support it.

tnx for the post!
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:39
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Re: Breast feeding

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I just remembered that back home there is a (money) compensation programme to incentivate mother to breastfeed. THey also get some more free days after birth, if you are lactating. Maybe OT but I think it is interesting.
Ha!

It is the same in Switzerland. Ask your insurrance company on compensation for nursing. A friend's health insurrance compensated. Even more past one year of the baby. It is not a thing of poor countries, seems like. Back home, and we are far from developing place, you get three years paid maternity leave in order to be ok with nursing..Since it saves big cash in healthcare, in the long span.

In Switzerland the laws on maternity leave also depend if you nurse or not, I forgot how they word it. They must allow 6mo off for nursing moms, or sumfin like that.
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:39
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Re: Breast feeding

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I just remembered that back home there is a (money) compensation programme to incentivate mother to breastfeed. THey also get some more free days after birth, if you are lactating. Maybe OT but I think it is interesting.
there is a money incentive here in switzerland as well. even 'foreigners' who give birth here receive compensation.

do not know the details.

does anyone know more about this??
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:41
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Re: Breast feeding

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There's little I don't have an opinion on

Reality: because nutrition is an area of interest for me.
Interesting...I love nutritional topics as well. But breastmilk?
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:45
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Re: Breast feeding

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there is a money incentive here in switzerland as well. even 'foreigners' who give birth here receive compensation.

do not know the details.

does anyone know more about this??
Good idea, can we maybe make a new thread about this because I would also be interested on getting some info regarding this topic. I was told we would get absolutely nothing from the Swiss government because I am a foreigner without work and my husband (swiss with a job) wouldn't either so we are really struggling with the cash flow at the moment.
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:45
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Ha!

It is the same in Switzerland. Ask your insurrance company on compensation for nursing. A friend's health insurrance compensated. Even more past one year of the baby. It is not a thing of poor countries, seems like. Back home, and we are far from developing place, you get three years paid maternity leave in order to be ok with nursing..Since it saves big cash in healthcare, in the long span.

In Switzerland the laws on maternity leave also depend if you nurse or not, I forgot how they word it. They must allow 6mo off for nursing moms, or sumfin like that.
well this was a government initiative and the insurance is very social there (although not very efficient of course).
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:46
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Re: Breast feeding

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I just remembered that back home there is a (money) compensation programme to incentivate mother to breastfeed. THey also get some more free days after birth, if you are lactating. Maybe OT but I think it is interesting.

Some insurance companies here do offer a financial incentive. Mine was 200CHF if you confirmed via your doctor that you had breastfed for the first 10 weeks.
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Old 29.03.2010, 14:49
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Re: Breast feeding

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Good idea, can we maybe make a new thread about this because I would also be interested on getting some info regarding this topic. I was told we would get absolutely nothing from the Swiss government because I am a foreigner without work and my husband (swiss with a job) wouldn't either so we are really struggling with the cash flow at the moment.
I am afraid you will have to contact your health insurrance company to see if they compensate or not. I still haven't found out if Helsana does, it would refinitely be big bucks fo us so I will arrange a meeting with them. If you work on not I think is irrelevant, my friend who got compensated a year ago was on maternity leave from her work.

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Some insurance companies here do offer a financial incentive. Mine was 200CHF if you confirmed via your doctor that you had breastfed for the first 10 weeks.
My friend also got 200fr and then 1500 if she nursed a whole year, but cannot remember it for sure. I don't even know her insurrance co.

Last edited by vwild1; 31.03.2010 at 04:44. Reason: merged 2 successive posts into 1
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