Breastfeeding…Is it Best for All?

Is Breastfeeding always best?

breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a hot topic among moms and also one which can usually ignite a “mommy war” of words and guilt. Breast may in fact be best from scientific evidence which I am not here to argue or interpret.

What I know as a mom, grandma, former mother-baby nurse is this.

If a mom wants to breast feed she deserves plenty of support because breast feeding is not always as easy as it looks. In fact, it can be downright frustrating and difficult for new moms who are dealing with a myriad of changes in their lives.

Non-judgemental support is essential. If you had a positive experience breastfeeding, I am so happy for you but don’t impose your positive experience on another mom. Why? Because each mother/baby dyad is unique.

Early in my nursing career I took a LaMaze Certification with Elizabeth Bing, She was a guru of ‘LaMaze’ in NYC. Oddly to me, she was not a nurse, she was a physical therapist if I remember correctly. So in reality, she had not much experience with hands on labor and delivery and neither did many of her certification seeking students. For many students the only experience they had was their own successful ‘LaMaze’ childbirth.

At that time I had no children but I had assisted many laboring women and I had attended many deliveries. Some were great ‘LaMaze’ deliveries and others were not so much, these were the women that had epidurals, and or pain medication.

Back in the day, how a mom delivered was very judgmental, at least in NYC. Women who were taught LaMaze by Elizabeth Bing were very sad and disappointed if they gave in to medication or epidural. They were frequently devastated if they had a c-section. I felt it was my nursing responsibility to help each mom accept her childbirth experience and accept her healthy baby.

Because of my experiences prior to having my own children, I think it was easier for me to accept the facts surrounding my own childbirth stories. They were not ‘natural’, in fact one was an emergency c-section. To this day, I am grateful for a healthy child. I was simply in the right hospital at the right time. I did not choose to breastfeed for some personal and some medical reasons. With what I knew at the time this was the right choice for me and my children.

I hear so many comments about breast feeding nazi nurses that it makes me sad. A new mom should not be made to think that a nurse is pushing or demanding that she breast feed her baby. A gently approach to a new mom is so much more meaningful after just giving birth. So many times women feel that they are not in control once they step into labor and delivery and postpartum. This is ludicrous. These moms are going home with their babies. So lets quit the judgment at the Labor and Delivery door.

Here are two posts that really inspired me today.

There are truths in both writings.

Try to read them and not get judgmental.

It is kind of a test of two viewpoints.

Make up your own mind without anger and without pushing your beliefs on other moms.

Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, there’s one mantra that’s repeated over and over again: breast is best. You whisper it to yourself in the dark as the pain of those first latches washes over you, you repeat it to newly pregnant friends, and — if you use formula — you insert it into conversations as a buffer to ward off judgment from strangers. “I know breast is best,” you utter mechanically, “but these are the myriad excuses why it wasn’t right for me.

In a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times, Courtney Jung discusses new evidence that shows we’ve vastly overstated the benefits of breastfeeding, and it’s having a detrimental effect on moms. Like most new moms, Jung was bombarded with information about breastfeeding as soon as she went public with her pregnancy. Well-meaning friends offered advice and strangers inquired as to how she’d feed her baby. Her birthing class even refused to do lessons on formula feeding because it’s “against hospital regulations.”

 

Source: Increasing Evidence Proves Breast Isn’t Always ‘Best’ Scary Mommy

 

McKenna went on to say that Jung’s conclusion was wrong.”[Jung] is just plain wrong especially in light of new epigenetic studies that show in both human and nonhuman primates that breast milk significantly alters the human microbiome, setting in place, potentially, a lifetime trajectory of protections (or without it, vulnerabilities) to a variety of diseases and health in general. Moreover, how can we ignore that formula feeding is a risk factor for SIDS?”[Breast-feeding] is especially important for African-American infants whose mothers breast-feed at significantly lower rate than do whites contributing to the enormous survival disparity of black babies compared to white babies.”

 

Source: Are We Becoming Overzealous About Breast-Feeding? : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

 

Keeping the Choice-Formula vs. Breast

Bottle Feeding

 

All I can say about Amy’s story, below, is THIS. THIS is why breastfeeding support must be secondary to supporting moms, full stop. THIS is why the medical community and the breastfeeding advocacy machine is failing us. THIS is why there are “defensive formula feeders” peppering message boards, attempting to share their truths, and being accused of making up stories and scaring other women out of nursing. THIS is why women are getting angry and fighting back. THIS is why people are starting to think the pendulum has swung so far and so hard that it’s bonked us all in the head and made us stupid. This. This. And THIS.

via FFF Friday: “I didn’t have the confidence or the mental clarity to stand up for myself.” – Fearless Formula Feeder.

 

With the present increased incidence of breast-feeding, clinicians need to be prepared to identify and manage problems in lactation. Most problems are related to insufficient knowledge, inappropriate routines, and lack of confidence and are easily managed or prevented by prenatal education, anticipatory guidance, and adequate support. Increasing evidence exists that primary causes of lactation failure also occur and can preclude successful lactation, even among highly motivated women.

via Lactation Failure Due to Insufficient Glandular Development of the Breast.

It seems that the pendulum has indeed swung too far in the direction of breastfeeding and made it very uncomfortable for moms to choose formula if they do not want to breastfeed their baby for whatever reason.

The Fearless Formula Feeder has posted Amy’s story which speaks to moms who have insufficient glandular tissue. This is a condition that poses problems for moms, who are trying to breast feed.

As a clinician, it is so important to listen to your client and really try to understand the whole picture…a non-judgmental attitude is the key to helping anyone. If you find yourself making judgements, then you should refer your client to someone else…you are not the right helper. This goes for lactation consultants as well as well meaning friends.

I know that there is much more knowledge available since I had my own children but in the 70’s and 80’s there really was more understanding and acceptance of mom’s feeding choices. We may not have been that accepting of breastfeeding in public but that was a minor problem compared to the “bullying” situation we are currently experiencing.

It is not abusive to formula feed your baby and although breastfeeding may be best it is not necessarily the right choice in all cases.

Let’s try to support moms…please!

Postpartum Depression & Breast Feeding, Infant Sleep, Children & Allergies….

 heart drops

Sleep is so important and so many of us crave it…makes me wonder if it doesn’t start right at the beginning of our lives when we are infants. After all it is one of the topics so hotly discussed among parenting experts.

So how do we manage to get our newborns to sleep thus giving ourselves much needed time to sleep?

 

Nothing can prepare you for the changes in your sleep when you welcome a newborn baby into your family. Experienced parents will issue dire warnings and tell you to sleep while you can during the last few weeks of pregnancy. (And you will think, yeah right, there’s a large boulder resting on my bladder, and sometimes it kicks for good measure.)

 

 

If you breast feed do you have less of a chance of developing PPD (Postpartum Depression)? Here is some interesting facts from FFF (Fearless Formula Feeder) that questions this premise.

The same question holds for the connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression. Some researchers have found a correlation between lack of breastfeeding and higher incidence of depression; however, the majority of these studies don’t factor in why the mother isn’t breastfeeding in the first place. A 2009 study found that women who exhibited pregnancy-related anxiety or prenatal depressive symptoms were roughly two times more likely than women without these mood disorders to plan to formula feed. (12) “Prenatal mood disorders may affect a woman’s plans to breastfeed and may be early risk factors for failure to breastfeed,” the researchers point out. And even if the intention to breastfeed is there, multiple factors inform infant-feeding choices once a woman leaves the hospital.

Feeling like a failure, dealing with pain, frustration, and exhaustion, and having a baby who screams at the sight of her, could make any mother feel overwhelmed, let alone one who’s already on the brink of actual PPD. Maybe for those of us more prone to anxiety or depression, the stress of breastfeeding struggles is just the camel’s dreaded straw.

 

Are there allergies in your family, if so, there is a community online for Moms of Allergic Children.  I have also included a link to a mom’s story of her son who has asthma.

 

Moms of kids with allergies have to do double duty to keep their bundles of joy safe, happy, and healthy. In the Moms of Allergic Children community, moms are sharing their concerns and questions about allergies. Here are some quick tips from Dr. Oz for them and others on how to treat — and prevent — some common allergies.

 

Breast-feeding is not always best available option – Positive Discipline- What is it? – Baby Sleep, What Do You Really Know? Weekend Reading!

IMG_1320

Are you afraid to choose not to breast feed because of the backlash of comments that you anticipate from your relatives and friends?

Don’t you just want them to understand what you already know about you and your baby?

Maybe you should write down your story and hand copies to anyone who questions why you are not breastfeeding and then just maybe they will “shut up” and mind their own business!

 

BREAST-FEEDING is not always best.

These are fighting words if you are a mother who has delivered a baby at most hospitals throughout the Puget Sound. If you are the postpartum mother who dares to utter that statement, you will be the one fighting with nurses, doctors, lactation consultants and anyone on the street who sees you bottle feeding.

 

 

Do you use time-outs as discipline the way “The Nanny” does on her television series?

There actually is another approach….”Positive Discipline” and it just might work better with your child or children. Here is a link to someone who specializes in this approach…

I went on Amazon and bought all the top books on baby sleep and development. I read through them all, as well as several blogs and sleep websites. I gathered lots of advice.

If you are confused about Baby Sleep and how to help you and your baby get enough rest, you will find out why when you read this funny post from a mom who shares your confusion.

Don’t fret, you are not alone!

I hope these suggested readings help with three of the most discussed topics of childrearing…. Feeding…Discipline…Sleep.

Have a great weekend!

 

Do you know about the baby formula scandal?

Bottle Feeding

If you are familiar with my blog you already know that I support moms and their freedom of choice when it comes to feeding their babies. Although as a professional, I know that breast feeding is healthier for babies, I also know that there are circumstances in every mom’s life that influence the choice she makes as to whether to breast or bottle feed.

This being said, I find Nestle’s history with regard to formula feeding is worthwhile knowing, so that when a new mom is making her feeding choice, she does it with full knowledge of how formula makers try to influence her directly and indirectly.

I want to also say that I am not judging moms who formula feed…I did and have never regretted it. My choice was made for me since I was on Heparin and Coumadin which passes to the infant in breast milk… but to be truly honest as a mother-baby nurse in the late 70’s and 80’s  I saw so many moms have such a difficult time breast feeding I was scared to try it myself.

And in the effort of disclosure, I am aware of my personal experience and choices so I make an effort not to allow my feelings to influence my work with pre-natal and new moms, who are desiring to breast feed.

Please read Nestle’s history in the following link…I think that you will find it very interesting. It is big business at its worst!

Nestle’s Infant Formula Scandal – Business Insider.

Related posts:

http://parentingintheloop.com/2013/04/23/what-moms-should-know-about-feeding-baby/

What moms should know about feeding baby!

Bottle Feeding Baby

Suzie Barston wrote a book about infant feeding so that women can feel supported no matter how they choose to feed their baby…whether formula or breast.

I have not read her book but here is an interview with Suzie where she answers some questions that may help a new mom.

 

I wrote the book with a few goals in mind – first and foremost, I wanted to offer some support and perspective for women dealing with conflicted feelings about infant feeding. But I also wanted to provide a resource for childbirth educators, medical practitioners, and breastfeeding advocates which would explain how it feels – viscerally – to “fail” at breastfeeding in today’s world. I believe that most people are trying to help mothers; the problem is that they often unintentionally do the opposite. There is a right way and a wrong way to educate parents about breastfeeding, and I hope that even if childbirth educators don’t agree with some of what I have to say, they can approach it as a Field Guide to the American Bottle Feeder.

Science & Sensibility » “Bottled Up”: An Interview with Suzie Barston on Her Infant Feeding Experiences and Implications for Birth Professionals.

Weekend Reading…

  • Blowing Colors

All of us experience anxiety which is driven by fears of the future. Even our young children can be anxious. This is a wonderful video explaining a technique that a child or for that matter an adult can use to eliminate anxious feelings. We can teach it to our children while also benefitting from using this method ourselves.

 

Vegetable-based infant formula offers health benefits.

A new study has revealed that InFat – a vegetable-based fat for infant formula with a similar structure to breast milk – provides beneficial effects for the health and well-being of formula-fed infants.

http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Ingredients/Speciality-fat-for-infant-formula-boosts-gut-health

 

 

If you are planning to breast feed your baby, you must plan for it. It is not always as easy as it looks for many reasons that are different for so many babies and moms. So research and educate yourself about breast feeding, find out how much support your hospital offers and perhaps get the name of a lactation consultant ahead of time and speak to her before you deliver. If you might be considering breast milk from other moms you should do so carefully and this article will help give you an idea what you should do to make sure that the milk is indeed safe.

Reasons to Breastfeed Anywhere!

Good Monday morning…

Once again, there has been an incident where someone went up to a breastfeeding mother and told her she had to cover up or leave. Once again, the media feels to need to create a breeding ground for ignorance by asking questions like “should there be any restrictions on breastfeeding in public?” The answer to that stupid question and yes…there are stupid questions, is simply NO. There should not be any restrictions. There is a myriad of reasons why women should and are able to breastfeed anytime, anywhere.

via 50 Reasons for Breastfeeding Anytime, Anywhere | PhD in Parenting.

Whenever, I read posts like this one I wonder just how far we have come in our thinking. Why, oh why, are people still offended by breastfeeding in public? Why does a mother have to go to a Ladies’ Room to feed her child or cover their infant’s face with a blanket? In my opinion this is ridiculous!

Where and when to breastfeed a baby should not be an issue, yet it is …personally if I were breastfeeding I would enjoy a nice quiet space where I could relax with my baby…I would enjoy a quiet place if I were bottle feeding as well.

Who does not like a quiet relaxing meal?

If a soft chair or quiet private space was not available I think I would try to make do and find a comfortable alternative. It would not be on a floor of a store or an airport unless I was desperate. I am not that relaxed a person to chill out in public on a floor but there are those moms, who are…more power to them.

Here are my reasons for breastfeeding anytime, anywhere…

  1. Your baby is hungry.
  2. Your baby is hungry.
  3. Your baby is hungry.
  4. Your baby is hungry.
  5. YOUR BABY IS HUNGRY.

Baby’s First Year …Feeding and Nutrition

NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Lately, I have been writing a fair amount about childhood and obesity.

This is a problem that begins early in a child’s life.

Back in the day, there was a saying,“a fat little baby was a healthy baby”. We know so much more today about weight and health to realize how far that statement is from the truth.

I am not suggesting monitoring a baby’s feedings and dietary habits as we would our own adult intake of fat and carbs. But regular visits to the pediatrician during the first year of a child’s life will help track his/her growth and development related to his/her nutritional intake .  Discussions about feeding schedules such as when and what solid foods to introduce  can help parents along the way so that formula or breast milk still remain the major source of nutrition during baby’s first year.

For the first 6 months breast milk or formula is normally the sole nutrition for your child and it remains the major source of nutrition for a child’s first year of life.
Clearly monitoring your child’s growth and development along with your pediatrician will determine whether your child is getting sufficient nutrition.

HealthyChildren.org – Feeding & Nutrition.

I came across an interesting study from the American Academy of Pediatrics of a group of infants and their transition to a variety of foods during their first year.

We found dramatic transitions in dietary consumption that occurred among infants during their first year. The transition from a diet of virtually nothing but breast milk, infant formula, or both to a varied diet of foods from all food groups began for most infants at ∼4 to 5 months of age and continued throughout their first 12 months. Infant cereal was usually the first food other than milk or formula given to infants and remained the most common supplementary food until infants were ∼8 months of age. Fruits and vegetables were introduced at a median age of 5 to 6 months, and meats were introduced at a median age of ∼8 months. By 1 year of age, more than half of the infants were consuming a diet that included not only cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, and milk products but also foods high in sugar or fat but low in nutrient density.

In this study, we identified several infant feeding practices of concern, including substantial formula supplementation in the hospital, early introduction of solid foods, late introduction of meats, and feeding of high-fat/high-sugar foods to infants. Because of their frequent contact with infants and their parents, clinicians have a unique opportunity to advise new parents about recommended infant feeding practices. By being aware of these infant feeding recommendations and communicating them to parents, clinicians can help start children on the road to a healthy lifestyle.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/122/Supplement_2/S36.full

Even though I was a Masters educated Maternal and Child nurse when I brought home my first daughter, I did not have a clue as to how to increase her formula beyond the first week of her life. Thankfully, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami had given me a “mimeographed” booklet about feeding during the first year of a baby’s life. I kept that dogeared booklet very close at hand since I dared not rely on my own mother or extended family…at the time, they seemed as clueless as I was.

During a recent Google search I located an excellent resource for infant feeding from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Palo Alto, CA  “Feeding Guide of the First Year”. 

The guide divides the first year into two parts (4 to 8 months) and (9 to 12 months) and then subdivides these ages. It also provides a complete list of food items as well as measured amounts. Baby’s tiny stomach cannot hold that much solid food and breast milk or formula will still be his main source of nutrition.

  • breast milk or formula provides you baby all the nutrients that are needed to grow
  • your any is not physically developed enough to eat solid food from a spoon
  • starting your baby on solid food too early increases the chance that he/she may develop a good allergy
  • feeding your baby solid food too early may lead to overfeeding and being overweight.

The first year of life is a year of unbelievably rapid growth and development…a baby needs the proper nutrition to keep up with all the physical changes that are taking place.

More growth occurs during this period of life than any other time in your child’s life.

Amazing isn’t it?

Breastfeeding Is Health, Not Lifestyle Choice …

THURSDAY, March 1, 2012 MedPage Today — Every infant should begin life with six months of exclusive breastfeeding, followed by another six months or longer with other foods gradually added to the childs diet, according to an updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These statistics are stunning…take a look at the link below:

via Breastfeeding Is Health, Not Lifestyle Choice – Pregnancy 101 – EverydayHealth.com.