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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tackle a Topic Tuesday: Breastfeeding

Note: This is my own personal opinion. It is not meant to be an attack on anyone who believes or does otherwise. If you think I am pointing a finger at you, don't. It is not specific to anyone, just in general to many.

Lately, with the boom of friends and acquaintances who have given birth, I have noticed something. Breastfeeding is not always the feeding method of choice. I have seen lots of pictures of new moms, in hospitals, feeding their baby formula in a bottle. My first question is always "why?"

Now, I understand the women who can't breastfeed. There are women with medical issues, women who have tried and tried and just can't. I sympathize with you. I had a desire to breastfeed my son until he was at least a year. We made it to about 7 months. I struggled with supply, he was losing weight, so we started supplementing. But I still breastfed as much as I could.

Why? you may ask? Because I wanted my son to have the best. And breast milk is the best. Proven by countless studies, there is so much in breast milk that they can't replicate in formula, including antibodies which help keep the baby from getting sick as much, and helps jump start baby's immune system. Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop heart disease. Breastfed babies tend to have fewer allergies, a higher IQ, a lower chance of developing asthma, a lower chance of becoming overweight, and have fewer ear infections! Not to mention that formula is so expensive!

It's also good for the mother! Scientific research suggests that breastfeeding might reduce risk of Breast Cancer, Ovarian cancer, Osteoporosis and now it might lower the risk of developing diabetes.

It must be good, right? The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement that strongly supports breastfeeding. Now, the AAP has joined a long list of organizations, including the World Health Organization and UNICEF, that strongly support breastfeeding.

So why with all the positives on breastfeeding do women "choose" not to. (again, not pointing at women who have tried and can't.) Is it for convenience? personally, I Think breastfeeding is more convenient. You don't have to carry bottles and formula around, you don't have to worry about running out of formula if you are out of the
house for any length of time, and you really can breastfeed anywhere. I think sometimes formula feeding can be easier, but if that is the only thing you are thinking of, isn't that a little selfish? I mean, it is easier for you, but you are cheating your baby out of something that can benefit his life in so many ways!

I loved breastfeeding, and as anyone who knows me knows it was a 7 month long struggle. I cried, I prayed, I struggled, but I stuck with it. But I feel good about it because I tried. I know that Jack got all those wonderful benefits for at least a few months of his life. Not to mention the bonding. I loved the feeling of holding him close and nursing him. I cherish that time I had with him. Especially now that he won't sit still for a minute... forget about cuddling!

So now that you know what I think, let me know what you think!
*rude or hurtful comments will not be tolerated. This is for discussion only. I will not publish any comments that I feel are mean.*


Nanee Plainy said...

I am pro-breastfeeding as well, and you know how I also struggled with supply after I went back to work. I wanted so much to breastfeed exclusively until Darren was a year old. I, too, cried and prayed and kept going as long as I could until finally he was barely staying latched on and was fussy everytime I tried to breastfeed.

However, I do have to admit that now that Darren is not breastfeeding, I have a sense of freedom that I did not have when I was breastfeeding. I feel like I have my body completely back to myself. And while I do plan on breastfeeding any future children for as long as I can, I do see why some moms do decide to be "selfish" and give their babies formula from the beginning.

We moms sacrafice so much...we sacrafice our bodies for 9-10 months with pregnancy, we sometimes sacrafice our careers to take time off to be a mom, we sacrafice our regular schedules and lives as we've known it before the babies were born, our sleep, and sometimes our sanity!

I would never want to go back to my life before Darren, but I can see how moms out there want to have a little piece of feeling normal back right away. Yes, you have food wherever you go and you don't have to lug around formula and bottles...instead you have to haul around a pump if you are not taking the little one with you everywhere you go, and make sure you have your Udder Cover so you can feed comfortably in public. It can also feel in those early days like your little one is constantly attached to either one boob or the other. If you go back to work and pump (and you aren't lucky like I was to live 5 minutes from the office), you have to go pump in the restroom. You don't get to share the feeding responsibilities with your spouse, making it feel like you are always doing EVERYTHING.

I know there are so many benefits to breastfeeding babies, but we have to remember that it is a choice each set of parents deserves to make on their own, and we shouldn't judge them for it. They can do the research, they can see how much benefit there is, and again, it is their choice on how they proceed from there. I'm sure there are a lot of decisions we all make that other people would consider the wrong decision. But you know what? It's our lives and our decisions to make.

Want another controversial topic? How about people that don't vaccinate their children?

Rebecca said...

Well, I tried it with Bug. It lasted one month. I got mastitis, I was in pain, for me it sucked. For me.

Once I started formula he was a happier baby, I was a happier mommy.

With Bean I didn't even bother to try breastfeeding.

I don't know the stats, but I do want to say that my son is 6 and has only have 2 ear infections. My daughter is 4 and has only had 1. Neither of my kids have allergies... we thought Bean had a milk allergy but it turns out she is just intolerant... My son is wicked smart, but then again he also has Autism...

Why I chose not to even try with Bean, hmm... I guess for me (FOR ME) it was just that I knew what I went through that first month with Bug and I just didn't want to relive it. I knew that all in all I was just happier using formula and I don't believe it harms children in any way.

I guess for each mom it is just a very personal decision that you have to make based on your own thoughts and feelings.