Skip to content

All About Breastfeeding

December 11, 2011

   I want to start this post off by first saying that I am a complete Lactivist and believe in    exclusively breastfeeding your baby from birth.  However, formula is a good second best thing for your baby when needed for those few instances when mother nature just doesn’t allow a woman to create enough milk for her baby or any unforeseen other events.  So, I just wanted to say that I am not anti-formula and do not think it is the devils milk or anything of the sort.  I am just a passionate person who believes that breast is best.  🙂  Please be aware that this post will mention boobies a lot so if you get weird-ed out by this sort of subject matter, you may want to skip over this post.  😉

Breast milk is the best gift you could ever give your baby, next to giving them life of course.  Breast milk will provide your baby with ALL the nutrition he/she needs and more for the first year of their life!  Breastfeeding does NOT come naturally to any mother and is not easy (at least from mine and other experiences I have heard).  However, most babies instinctively know what to do when their born and will go right to the breast.  It is the greatest gift ever!!

I don’t want to go into too much detail about breastfeeding specifically.  There are two wonderful online resources that can help any mother who is in need of specific details with breastfeeding: www.kellymom.com and www.lalecheleague.org.  I am just going to cover the main aspects which help ensure a mothers continuous success in breastfeeding her child past the hospital stay and beyond!

Colostrum, also known as “liquid gold”, is the first liquid that the mammary glands make, which provides the baby with all the antibodies and nutrition needed during their first few days of life.  Then within a few days the mother’s milk will begin and produce exactly what nutrition the baby needs from there on out until six months of age, which is when they usually begin solids as a second form of nutrition.  As the baby grows, the milk changes as well, to adapt to exactly what the baby needs in terms of nutrition.  It is AMAZING how the human body works!

Breastfeeding is the natural, normal way to feed a baby.  Here in the USA it seems like it’s the shunned way to feed your baby and people just assume that formula and bottles is how babies are fed.  I have a friend who is from Scotland and she was telling me about how her friends overseas had never heard of “hooter hiders” before.  This is because in their culture it is the norm to breastfeed your child in public (and in general), no one ever stares like people do in the USA.  Now, I can understand a woman’s desire to be as discreet as possible by using such things as “hooter hiders” or a blanket but it’s sad that our culture has come to this point.  Breasts are made for feeding your child and nothing more.  Their not made to be enhanced with synthetics.  It seems like breasts in our culture have turned into being seen only as sexual objects and “gross” if you are feeding your baby.

But I digress…Breastfeeding is the most natural thing ever.  When I was asked if I was going to breastfeed my baby, I said yes without even thinking twice about it.  I was a bit naive however because I never did any research or preparation.  I just assumed that it was as simple as putting the baby towards your chest and voila, they latched, sucked, and drank milk.  And for the most part, it is easy once you get the hang of positioning and latching. 🙂  Each baby is SO different however, so it really does depend on the baby.  The best thing to do while in the hospital after birth is to ask for the lactation specialist whether you are having issues or not.  These women know their stuff and will give you the best advice and tips ever!  The second best thing to do after you are discharged from the hospital is to find a local breastfeeding support group to attend.

Support from all areas of your life is really what determines whether success will continue for months or not.  The hospital where I delivered was next to the children’s hospital where there was a weekly support group held there.  I went when my baby was just seven days old.  I wanted to make sure that I was doing it all correctly because his pediatrician said she was worried about his weight gain, so they got me all worked up about it and worried.  Not the nicest thing to do to a first time mom and still very hormonal!!  So my mom drove me to the group meeting and picked me up since I was unable to drive (it was like I was in school again LOL).  It was very intimidating for me at first but SO worth it in the end.  I continued going there weekly until my baby was around six months old.  I learned from the lactation consultant that I was doing everything correctly – meaning my baby was eating 8-12 times a day or more and having plenty of wet diapers!  She said a lot of pediatricians get this way regarding a babies weight gain, especially when their breastfed.  They go by charts and numbers that are calculated from formula fed babies and can’t compute exactly how much their eating from the breast, so they get the parents all worried for no particular reason most of the time.

I just figured I would attend the support group once to have my questions answered but I felt so confident and proud about what I was doing after the first meeting that I had an urge to go back the following week and months to follow.  It was such a wonderful thing to look forward to each week – I was able to get out of the house, have all my questions answered, meet other mommies with similar issues, and get the extra support and encouragement as well!  Most weeks I didn’t have any crucial problems or issues but just hearing everyone in the group talk about a variety of topics really  helped me gain more self-confidence and pride in my parenting skills.  So, I definitely recommend to every mom who is breastfeeding to find a local support group and attend their meetings.  La Leche League always has local meetings and you can find further information on their website.  Also, lots of hospitals have a breastfeeding support group, so call and ask to see what they offer as well.  The WIC program (women, infant and children) also has support groups available.  And if a group setting is not something for you, then there is always local lactation consultants that make home visits too.  So there is never any lack of help and support for breastfeeding moms.  It’s all out there but a lot of moms don’t know of all the support offered so be sure to spread the word!  And if you can’t find the right support group, then start your own!  🙂  The benefits are just astounding and life-long!!

Support is really what ensures complete success when breastfeeding!  Having the support from your significant other, family, friends, and other moms is really crucial!  It is a full time, 24/7 job that is harder than any corporate job ever could be!  Especially for the moms that have to return to work and insist on continuing to exclusively breastfeed via pumping while at work.  I haven’t had to endure this myself but definitely give working moms lots of credit for their motivation and perseverance in continuing to exclusively breastfeed and work full time!

Pumping has a very fine line between keeping the milk supply flowing correctly and creating an oversupply of milk.  If done too much then a mom could end up telling her body to make milk for twins or even triplets, which sounds OK hypothetically, but is not OK for the babies system or the moms breasts.  The baby can end up having digestion issues and/or green stools and much more, and the mom will end up with engorged breasts.  Creating an oversupply of milk can take any where between two to four weeks to correct for the mom and babies system!  So, it is highly recommended that any mom who is planning on returning to work to definitely do her research and/or talk to a lactation consultant about how she should go about beginning pumping, etc.  Also, you can now write off the cost of your pump when doing taxes so this is a HUGE step forward for working, pumping moms!  If you are a WIC participant they will provide you with a pump to take home too, which is another HUGE step in helping pumping, working moms!!

Make sure that someone besides mom practices giving baby a bottle a few times a week so that when the time comes and mom needs a break the baby is fully capable of taking a bottle as well.  A slow flow nipple is the best way to go and make sure that the person giving the bottle takes breaks during the feeding.  Otherwise the baby will gobble it all down and not realize until too late that it drank WAY too much!  We weren’t consistent with bottle feeding and ended up with a child that refused to take a bottle so we have definitely learned our lesson!  He did finally take a straw sippy cup around seven months, so that was good to have, as well as solid foods to keep him full if I was gone for a longer period of time.

Breastfeeding in public took me awhile to conquer.  I think the reasoning was is that I fed my son doing the football hold for the longest time and never practiced the front hold much so it was difficult for me.  But we finally mastered the front hold and fed in public all the time and still do to this day.  I really believe that it is good for everyone around to feed your baby in public.  It needs to be practiced more so that people will eventually understand that this is natural and normal!  It is a shame that breastfeeding has become the underdog over formula, at least in the United States.

The benefits to baby in receiving breastmilk are endless!  I could go on for days but to sum up the most crucial points, they are as follows – antibodies from mom to protect baby during their most vulnerable time in their life, specific nutrition made for the baby, overfeeding is impossible thus keeping obesity at bay for later in life, less ear infections, a decreased possibility for allergies (controversial but for the most part is easier to control compared to a formula fed baby), better dental health, and much more.

It is hard to see in this picture (cell phone picture) but this was a banner placed on a door showing what ingredients they know thus far that is in breast milk (left) compared to what they know is in formula (right).  It really puts it all into perspective!!

The benefits for mom are huge as well!  The main one is a decrease in the possibility of postpartum depression, ovarian cancer and breast cancer.  Mom also saves herself a LOT of time in terms of not needing to prepare formula/bottle and cleaning/prepping/sanitizing bottles.  Breast milk is always readily available, warm and ready to go too!  And a breastfeeding mom will learn how quickly her boobs will solve ANY problem, even world peace! 😉  I swear it is so easy to just pop the baby on the boob if they are hurt, having a melt down, sad, hungry, etc.  It really does solve everything!  I don’t know how moms do it otherwise!  Not to mention the enormous amount of money saved from not needing to buy formula is astronomical (over $1800 a year)!

There is also benefits to the workplace in terms of the pumping/breastfeeding mom missing less days at work because her baby will most likely not be sick as often as a formula fed baby!  (For more information regarding pumping, etc. please check out KellyMom for their plethora of information regarding this subject.)

So I really don’t see why more moms don’t choose to breastfeed their babies!  Please do your research before making such a major decision as to how/what you are going to feed your newborn.  What better gift to give your child as a baby then the wonderful gift of nutritious, healthy, breast milk!  It has been the norm for centuries and should continue to be for many more to come but with the way the world is transforming, it is becoming scary at how quickly formula is taking over.  Between all the processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, and environmental harm that is being passed onto our children, the least we can do for the next generation is provide them with the best start possible with breast milk.  So, whether you were breastfed or not, isn’t it the best time to start fresh and ensure that your child is given the best nutrition possible during their first years of life??  It’s the least we can control in this ever changing world we all live in!!

I wanted to leave a few links of resources and products I have grown to love and cannot live without regarding breastfeeding:

  • Not sure if you can take a certain medication while breastfeeding, reference InfantRisk Center – www.infantrisk.com
  • Another site that has a HUGE database where you can search the medication you are curious if you can still take while nursing – toxnet.nlm.nih.gov
  • If you are in the Phoenix metro area and are in search of a local breastfeeding support group, there are MANY out there! The two that I highly recommend are Pump-n-Go and Cardons Children’s Hospital (next to Banner Desert in Mesa) where there is a weekly support group at 1pm on Thursdays.  The first is hosted by Doris Christensen, a wonderful resourceful woman that has endless resources regarding breastfeeding and beyond.  The second is hosted by Doreen Conner (email doreen.conner@bannerhealth.com) who is a wonderful woman that can help you with any issues you may be encountering, her website is nursingandbeyond.com.

Three wonderful companies that sell some wonderful nursing tanks and other various nursing items are:

Glamour Mom

Nummies

MelindaG

Advertisements
One Comment leave one →
  1. December 13, 2011 4:23 PM

    I think you give such a compelling argument for why breast is preferred, and that it should be seriously considered if you’re going to switch to formula. Well written and beautifully passionate!!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: