The one about the radio phone-in

mini media mogul / by Lewis Coombes

My son came too – working parenthood in action! The producer’s chair suits him… (pic by Lewis Coombes)

This morning I talked about  breastfeeding battles on BBC Radio Solent’s breakfast show.

I work at the station part-time myself so it was very strange to be on the other side of an interview – but the presenter decided to host a phone-in on whether there is too much pressure on women to breastfeed and asked me to be involved.

I told my story, and some of the stories of other mums both here on the blog and in the book (which will be out SOON SOON SOON I promise!) and waited for the inevitable backlash, for people to phone in and tell me once again what a bad mum I am.

It didn’t happen.

The response was astonishing – women from all generations (one caller said her children are now in their 50s) who have been badly treated when breastfeeding didn’t work out for them. In the book I’ve written a whole chapter on the basics of postnatal care and how they haven’t been updated since the early 1900s. Today I saw that first hand.

Much more recently, one lady – and this has haunted me all day – said she was told her newborn daughter must be a witch because she couldn’t breastfeed. I actually gasped out loud in the studio at that.

A midwife rang in and said she was in tears listening to the show. She didn’t want to give her real name (which is interesting in itself) but agreed that bedside manner was an issue.

I’ve worked so hard to get the book together and now I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface. There are just SO MANY of us out there.

Have a listen and let me know what you think – link only active for 7 days so GO!

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4 thoughts on “The one about the radio phone-in

  1. Did they really leave you for a whole week trying to breastfeed without offering any alternative? Or was formula offered on day 2? It’s a bit confusing on the radio programme. Offering formula on day two when your milk probably hadn’t even come in yet suggests they didn’t really know much about how breastfeeding works.

    My son was in neonatal intensive care for 10 days and was given formula just 4 hours after the birth because of low blood sugar. I discovered afterwards that my collostrum would have done the job just as well if not better. Thankfully I asked to be shown how to express and he started having my collostrum in a syringe then my milk from bottles over the ten days he was in special care. It was hard work but I really wanted to breastfeed him.

    It sounds like your supply was effected by the bad advice you received, it is very unusual for women not to produce milk but it does take a few days for it to come in. Though of course the midwife sounds very unprofessional and cruel. Unfortunately her facts are correct and perhaps she was annoyed that other medical staff had given bad advice about using formula when your milk hadn’t even come in yet.

    • Hi,

      My son had all the colustrum I could express every 2 hours for the first 2 days. Then he got the low sugars.

      For the duration of my stay in hospital I was on a 3 hr shedule night and day – half an hour trying to feed then an hour of expressing (half an hour each side). The most I ever expressed in one “sitting” was 20ml. I continued that schedule for about 2.5 weeks in total.

      As far as I’m aware my milk never did “come in” – I never had the big boobs, the leaking milk, the discomfort. Nada! If it wasn’t for the formula I don’t believe he would have survived to be honest.

  2. My son was in special care and I expressed every three hours day and night also, maybe I was lucky that I was able to pump lots of milk. A newborn only needs 5-7mls but of course that will increase over time and a baby at the breast is much more efficient at the breast than a pump. It’s recommended that a baby feed every two – three hours at first, though you can leave them longer at night. I wonder if many mums are not prepared for the relentlessnes (sp) of the first few weeks feeding and don’t realise that having a breastfed baby baby means almost non-stop feeding to establish their supply?

    • i think that’s certainly part of the problem – nobody tells you how hard it actually is.
      By the time i left hospital (baby was 6 days old) I was told he should be having 25-30ml per feed which he certainly was not getting from me. Interesting that there is so much different information out there!
      I realise that pumping isn’t for everybody but I could see the other mums supplies get bigger and bigger while mine just didn’t.

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