Posted by: Jacqueline | 2005/01/13



Hi there I am 30 weeks preagnant. I can't decide if if I want to breastfeed or not, (at this stage I am more prepared on not to breastfeed). I am thinking of all the things that could go wrong when you are breastfeeding. Please will you inform me on all the good and bad things about breastfeeding, (mentally and phisically) which concern myself and the baby. Then main thing is that we've also heard that if you breastfeed your baby will immediatly be immune against all sickness, like measels and chickenpox and so on..., but don't you still need to take the child for his/her regulary injections against this? Is formula milk really that "harmfull" to your baby?

Your help in this regard will be highly appreciated

Expert's Reply



There is no question that breatfeeding remains the best option for both mother and baby, and that it is at least worth a try.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

user comments


Posted by: Purple | 2005/01/17

I also didn't get any cracked nipples at all, and didn't use any shields or creams or anything like that.

You should never limit time at the breast. Feeding for short periods won't save your nipples - feeding for as long as baby wants won't cause cracking or problems.

I didn't mind feeding in public, but often made good use of Woolworths chaning rooms (big) and most big malls have baby feeding rooms, as do the bigger stores in them. At restaurants, your baby will still be happy with a nappy or blanket over your shoulder till about 5 months when they scream if you try that one. I've never once fed my baby in a toilet and he's now 11 months old.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: mgk | 2005/01/17

Breastfeeding is one of the best experiences of my life. Having my beautiful child latching onto my breast and looking up into my face, it is moment that I wish would last forever! My baby is happy and healthy and gaining 180g a week, she is 4 months old.

I breasts became engorged on the fourth day, I just left them alone, and allowed my baby to feed as often as possible, it was much better the next day. It never happened again. I have never had sore or cracked nipples.

I follow a few simple rules:
1 - Start with the breast you ended with last time, always offer both. You start with short periods at a time to save your nipples, but at 4 weeks you can offer the first breast for 10 to 15 min, and then the other. Unless you baby falls asleep at your breast, then you leave her where she is.

2 - I don't bother with shields or cream or any other artificial things. Allow you baby's saliva and your milk to dry on your nipples. If it bothers you, you can wipe right before you baby latch. Do not try to prepare your nipples before hand, it can only hurt you. Starting slowly for short periods of feeding is enough preparation.

3 - Be positive and enjoy. It is the best you can ever give you baby. And it the most precious times you will ever share with you baby. No one else will ever do that with you baby, not even you husband. And my husband more than once expressed his awe at this.

4 - Should you not breastfeed (due to choice or health problems) remember that you can still have a bond with your baby.

My baby did get bronchitis at 2 months from another sick person, and our paediatrician explained (while I was crying my eyes out!) that breast babies do get sick, ecspecially if contracted directly, but much less severe and much less often. Also their defense against more serious diseases is much higher.

Breastfeeding is very convenient at night, but might be a bit tricky when you need to go out of the house for longer times during the day. I am not prepared to feed in public, and plans my trips before hand. A lot of clothing stores have baby changing room in the regular changing rooms, and you might as well feed in there then. I do not believe restrooms to be hygienic for feeding.

My baby is staying with a daymother since last week, and I am now expressing milk for 3 of her feeds. The early mornings and evenings is still on the breast. This however does make going out much more convenient, because I can botlle feed breastmilk to her where ever I want. I used the Pigeon Natural Feeding bottles with the Peristaltic Nipple and she has got no nipple confusion at all, even after almost 2 months of this breast/bottle feeding.

And again as a final word, I can recommend breastfeeding out of personal experience!

Reply to mgk
Posted by: Purple | 2005/01/17


Sam's story really makes me feel for her.

Sam, you seem to have re-developed latching problems, as there are only two causes of cracked nipples - latching problems and a tongue tie (the skin under the tongue is short and needs a little snip - a peadiatrician usually picks this up if you complain of cracked nipples).

If you get milk fever (mastitis) it is important to continue feeding, otherwise you make the problem worse. The frequent feeding empties the breast of milk and sorts the problem out.

Jacqueline, I hope you do decide to breastfeed, it is the most wonderful and rewarding experience. It gives your baby comfort and helps them feel secure. It gives protection against illness for your baby, and also helps with developing the mouth, jaw and pallette for speaking.

Formula isn't bad for your baby, its just not the best thing available.

Please see a lactation consultant, who will help you with any problems you experience in the early days, and will happily answer all your questions while you are pregnant. Many midwives, doctors and paediatricians think they are experts on breastfeeding, but they don't know all that much about it, so its best to go to a qualified breast feeding expert. You will find numbers for your area in the guide at the back of your pregnancy and baby and me (in Femina magazine). Also, you could phone Tina Otte's family and Child centre (Randburg) and ask for a contact number.

The cons of bottle feeding are:
-formula isn't as healthy as breastmilk
-its very expensive (a tin of formula costs about R70 a tin and you will need about 4 to 6 tins a month, perhaps more)
-bottles, teats, sterilizers, boiled water
-keeping bottles warm / cool
-preparing bottles in the middle of the night

Breastfeeding is free, you need no equipment (though some breast pads would be a good idea)
its the perfect food for your baby in the right quantity at the right temperature
its pleasurable for you and baby (not in a sexual way)
you lose wieght fast (unless you eat too much chocolate)
you don't need to give any foods up (like you must if you diet because you are bottle feeding)

I hope we've all managed to peresuade you to breastfeed.

Please give it a go, and only make your decision once you've tried it.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Darma | 2005/01/14

Look i am not trying to confince you when i say this :"BREASTFEED!!!!" hehehehe no seriously, breastfeeding is the most rewarding thing i have ever done in my life... i was also set on not breastfeeding, but it is great... i also stuggled in the hospital, thought my baby wasn't getting enough milk or something, she cried a lot, realised it is winds that was bothering her...

breastfeeding is only good, there are really no negative thing about it... if it hurts, the baby is not latching right...i have been breastfeeding now for 5 months, and have't hurt once, not one time ever!

the hospital i went to had a lot to do with it... it was Karl Bremer in cape town.. they revuse to give bottle, HAVE to breastfeed while you are there.. the nurses also has a lot to do with weather you breastfeed or not... if they are not good, you will not get it right...

do it, try it, you have absolutely nothing to loose, the milk is there... if you need more info as you go along, email me anytime

Reply to Darma
Posted by: Ouma | 2005/01/13

I still miss breastfeeding because I could not breastfeed my baby due to my health condition. I started the bottle from day one and my baby is now 8 and half months old. Development stages are coming all right, she sat at 5months, started crawling at 6months full and now she is trying to stand on her own. She is very healthy and busy. She is eating everything.

Reply to Ouma
Posted by: Sam | 2005/01/13

Hi Jacqueline,

The other side of the coin

During my pregnancy I was all set on breast feeding, I never even listerened when they went through the whole bottle feeding thing at anti natal.

In hospital having my little dear, all was fine. I was in hospital for 3 days (after a c section) and all was going well. Had problems latching him but I persevered.

I got home and all went wrong. I continued to try and breast feed as after all breast is best but my little angel made an absolute mess out of my nipples. I tried it all, nipple shields, creams. lotions but nothing worked and my nipples became bigger and bigger scabs. They would just start to heal and he would suck off the sores and create more scabs until eventually I had no more nipples - to speak of. This caused tension because I called on all breast feeding specialist for help. Everytime he came near me to feed I flinched, I became terrified of my own baby because all he caused me was pain. We did not bond and I became an emotional wreck thinking I had failed my son. I dont know if I just did not have enough milk for him, I tried to express and sat in the hot bath expecting my milk to run and nothing. I tried everything!!

Eventually I went to my Doctor and he said I had contracted Milk fever and I could no longer feed. He put my little angel on the bottle and since then he has thrived and not been stricken down with every illness imaginable (I thought I was robbing him of good health). We have now had an opportunity to bond and I adore him. I was glad I had that small time to breast feed and I often regret I did not do it longer but bottle feeding has been great for both of us. What does anger me is that there is a stigma attached to bottle feeding, there are millions of people to help presure you to breast feed but choose to bottle feed and where can you turn.

If you decide to bottle feed dont let anyone sway you. Babies are just as plump and healthy and happy on either. Dont feed guilty that you are robbing them as you are not, its also a hell of a lot more sociable and gives you a tiny bit of your life back as dad can also help so you are free to do other things.

If you do go the other way I suggest that you start toughening up your nipples as the little mites are hell on them, talk about suction. And if you want to breast feed and supplement (hospital starts this in the ward) I gives your breast time to heal if they beome sore and the nipples crack.

Good Luck

Reply to Sam
Posted by: Theresa | 2005/01/13

Hi Jacqueline,

My little girl is just over 6 months old. I managed to breast feed her soley on breast milk up to her 6 month birthday. I have now only started solids and formula and still breat feed her in the mornings and evenings. She has never been sick for a day of her life and I am sure that breast feeding has a lot to do with that. She was born in July in the middle of winter and has been a very healthy baby. She did not have colic and her skin is so beautiful.

I really believe that the breast is best (this is a known fact and it written all over the formula tins as well). It really gives your baby a better chance to fight little nasty's that come her way. She will get her antibodies to fight infection from you. Breast feeding is such a wonderful way to bond with your baby. It is something that no one other than you can do with your baby.
I am quite sad that my little baby is now being weaned to the morning and evening feeds. It was so special giving your baby all they need. I also found it really convenient as the milk is the perfect temp and ready straight away. You also do not have the schlep of preparing all the bottles and sterilizing them all the time.

You still have to go for your regular injections at the clinic for TB, Hep B, MMR, and others.

All the nurses in the hospital will also try and persuade you to breast feed. Only if you have serious problems - should you go onto formula.

Another good thing about breast feeding is that you will most probably loose your pregnancy weight. It is much easier when you are breast feeding as your body has to prepare food for your baby which chews up more calories. I have lost nearly all my pregnancy weight. I have 2kg to go (but I was quite skinny pre-pregnancy).

The only problems that you might encounter are: possible latching issues, mastistis, etc ..... but you can ask a lactation consultant to help you get over any issues that may arrise. They are usually at the hospital when you are there with your baby.

Hope that I have swayed you to breat feeding as I am sure you want to give your child its best chance- maybe someone else can give you their point of view regarding going the formula route?

Good luck with the next 10 weeks. Time will fly for you now.


Reply to Theresa

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