Friday, August 03, 2007

Getting it off my chest

If you knew of a proven way to improve your baby's health, growth and security, wouldn't you jump at the opportunity? I'm sure some mothers would shell out big bucks to decrease the chances a child will need braces in the teen years. So why don't more moms breast-feed? A recent study shows although three-quarters of new mothers start, they quit too soon. My husband will tell you that nursing was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do, but I was determined to succeed. Doctors recommend six months on breast milk alone, but the sad truth is that we are no longer a breastfeeding culture. A CDC study shows low-income mothers and blacks have some of the lowest rates of exclusive breast feeding. Isn't it ironic the people who are least able to afford formula are the ones reaching for it? My milk was slow in coming and I never would have gotten the nickname Elsie, but I persisted and have reaped huge rewards. Our pediatrician comments that he never sees my daughter except for yearly check-ups, and we like it that way. I nursed Faith longer than my friends, family and even strangers thought was necessary, but I have no regrets. A dear friend who was my inspiration, convinced me it's not all nutrition but bonding and security. From the time our daughter was very little, she's never been afraid to leave us in a church nursery or for mother's morning out. I believe her security is a direct result of nursing, increased bonding and gradual weaning on her terms. My physician even disapproved of my nursing into the toddler years and made her feelings known when I rejected antibiotics and other procedures. Sure it was tough juggling a job, but pumping at work and being able to work at home by computer helped. I actually found breast-feeding convenient as you always have something to feed the baby. It doesn't have to be mixed or heated and it's FREE. Plus, the human body was designed to run on breast milk and I don't believe man can come up with a better formula than what God intended. So why don't more people nurse? I wish I knew. When I see someone put nursing equipment on their baby registry, I am quick to buy it and offer my support. But often the recipients have been just as quick to reject nursing as an option once the baby arrives. "It's not for me... I didn't have enough milk... I saw what it did to my breasts after the first child... That's sick," these are just some of the excuses I've heard. I don't mean to judge others as I know from experience it's not as easy as you would think, but it's best for the baby. No doubt about it. That was enough for me. Plus, having had a weight problem most of my life, I didn't want to do anything that might contribute to Faith having the same issues. Besides, the breast is for nursing. It wasn't intended to be just a sex toy, but that's what it's become in many people's minds. Don't be just another boob - NURSE!
-Liz Fabian


Another chesty mom said...

You go girl! I breastfed my son for 18 months and never regretted it. I took him everywhere and never had to bring anything but our coverup and diapers. With my next baby, I'm planning on feeding just as long as he wants to. Sure I get strange looks and people think I'm crazy for doing it that long, but from everything I've read and seen, Breast Is Best!

Anonymous said...

I have 2 children (28 months apart) and tried nursing both of them. I terribly wanted to succeed but finally had to give in to giving them both formula. I tried, to no avail, from birth, but my milk wasn't sufficient for them (and the pediatrician agreed w/me). I was not doing them any favors, but keeping them from being "fed". I agree that not as many women breastfeed when they can, but I don't think you should knock all women who don't. I wanted to but couldn't. My oldest daughter recently had breast surgery for medical reasons. She will not be able to breastfeed but that was a personal but justifyable choice. There are women who will take offense to your opinion, however; you are entitled to your opinion, no matter whose feelings it may hurt.

Offended first time mother said...

I take offense to your blog. I just had my first child 2 weeks ago. I was very excited about breastfeeding and was very determined to succeed. My baby was almost ten pounds. He breastfed in the hospital, with much persuasion. He had only lost 2 ounces by the time we brought him home. The next day however, he wouldn't nurse. He would start, but would fall asleep or get really angry. I went to the pediatrician the next day and he had lost almost a pound. I also went to my lactation consultant and she said he was latching correctly, but it may not have been coming fast enough for him. I had to begin pumping and bottle feeding him, but continued to try nursing for several more days. I felt like such a failure. It is one of the most natural things you can do, and I couldn't do it. It prevented me from bonding with my child like I should because I was so upset and stressed about not nursing. I am continuing to pump and will do so for a while longer.

I take offense because many people have the attitude that if you don't nurse it's because you really don't want to or you don't have the patience. I tried my best, but he just didn't want to do it. Please, do not put down all mothers who are not nursing. It may not be their choice!

Heather said...

Too often, mothers get defensive at the mere suggestion that formula might not be the optimal choice. I think it's narrow-minded and not doing yourself any favors by assuming that any time a woman says that more women should try harder to breastfeed, that she means you, specifically, were lazy. That's not the case.

Many moms need formula. That's okay. It's an acceptable substitute. But pretending it's equal is naive and incorrect.

I nursed until my daughter self-weaned at 17 months. I wanted to go longer, but she had other ideas. :)

I had a hellish time in the beginning. She had a bad latch, and nursing was absolutely excrutiating. I didn't learn to enjoy it until close to four months, when her latch finally improved. It was so hard, but I DID it. Natural is not instinctive, contrary to popular believe. Breastfeeding is a learned skill, and if you don't have the proper support, education, or receive false or insufficient advice from doctors and family (believe it or not, many pediatricians have little education about breastfeeding) it's hard to teach yourself.

What I kept telling myself was that I'd gladly give my life for my daughter... why not endure a little pain?

Please, formula feeding moms. Don't confuse formula feeding for medical reasons (physical or mental) with laziness and lack of support.