Recently it was revealed that the US delegation tried to downplay the importance of breastfeeding and the many benefits that it offers infant because formula companies have seen a decline in sales? They even went so far as to threaten to impose trade measures as punishment and withdraw crucial military aid. Hmm….let me ponder this for a second…
Regardless of your political views, our children’s health and what’s best for them, should not be allowed to be impeded by anyone for any reason. To be clear, BREAST MILK IS THE BEST MILK YOU CAN GIVE YOUR CHILD, if you can. There are many moms who cannot nurse for a variety of reasons that are beyond their control, such as flat nipples which prevent the baby from being able to latch on, or the mom can produce but not enough. I experienced the latter myself. In these instances especially, formula has often been the obvious substitute, until recently.
These days, more and more moms who are unable to nurse their babies, are unable to produce enough, or simply choose not to nurse are turning to milk banks to get breast milk donated other moms, thus leading to a decline in sales and more importantly revenue for Formula companies. From a business perspective, I can understand their concern. As a mom, this is just ludacris and even greedy. No matter what kind of formula’s formula companies come up with, it cannot replace breast milk, only provide a substitute.
The Truth About Breastfeeding Experiences:
The truth is, as great as breast milk is for babies, the process of producing and feeding for many women isn’t everything it is built up to be. In fact, I know many moms who struggled with breastfeeding. I myself also had some issues. Breastfeeding can be painful for many women, for a variety of reasons. One of the more common reasons is how the baby latches on. With all 3 of my kids, doctors recommended that we let them cut the Lingual Frenulum (the thin strip of skin beneath the tongue) because they said it was too short and could cause nursing to be painful, and potentially lead to speech impediments in the future.
My husband and I briefly discussed this and decided against it. I am happy to report that thankfully, my kids do not seem to have speech impediments, and nursing wasn’t so bad. I didn’t have the bloody nipples or excruciating pain that many moms experience, but, I did experience some discomfort with my second child while nursing and pregnant with the third. I believe it was because my nipples were sensitive from being pregnant to begin with and because when she latched on, she latched on as if I was going to run out of milk after. I do believe that the short lingual frenulum may have impacted my nursing experience with my second child because I did have the most painful experience with her of all 3, but I’m still glad I didn’t let them cut it. Lots of moms will talk about the many health benefits associated with nursing and breastmilk, and for this reason, some moms believe in nursing their kids for 3+ years. I like to nurse my kids for a year and a half, but again, nursing is about doing what is best for you. I stopped my second child at 16 months instead of 18 because I was about 22 weeks pregnant and could feel myself cramping. I did get bloody nipples, not from them being raw, but because my baby girl would grab and scratch my breast and nipples while nursing, which would sometimes lead to bleeding. Both of my girls did this and my mom introduced me to nipple shields so that I could still nurse while my nipples healed.
My nipples were also sore from being raw and so the guards helped in that way as well. They didn’t get rid of the pain completely but did help to minimize it since she latched onto the plastic instead of directly onto my nipple. I should also say that not every baby latches on to the plastic easily. The one I used was more stiff than a bottle nipple and it took some time getting her to use it, but I was thankful when she did, though I didn’t always have time to wait for her to take it. When she was hungry and I couldn’t get her to use it, I just had to go without. If nursing it too painful but you can pump, pumping and bottle feeding is an option also.
Pumping was no different. Again, for some women, it’s a breeze, for others, it’s horrible. Some of my friends said they felt like a cow being milked. But they still did it because they knew breast milk was best. I’d suggest doing whatever you can to make the process as comfortable for you and your baby as possible. For me, rather I was nursing or pumping, I liked to get comfy on the couch or in my bed (when possible) and always had to have a tall glass of ice water to drink during the process. Finding a good show to distract me when pumping was helpful also.
Nursing Etiquette when in public:
The first rule is, there are no rules. Give me a break! I am so sick and tired of people trying to tell moms how, when and where to nurse. Some moms like to cover up and some moms don’t care to. Which is best?
That’s up to you. Whichever you are most comfortable with and works best for you may change from moment to moment. I personally use the cover because I don’t care for creepers sneaking a peek at my boobs! But, I mostly use it because my kids liked to nurse and go to sleep, and they like their privacy. Especially my little guy. Sure he may lift the cover from time to time, but when he is ready to go to sleep, he doesn’t even like it when I lift the cover to sneak a peak. However, sometimes I forget my cover and it is a free for all. No one has ever, nor should they ever, ask or tell me to go somewhere else to feed my child. Not unless they want an ear full. Yes, I have had people give me strange looks, but none has dared to say something yet. I’ll keep you posted. Nursing is a natural activity, and it is not always as easy as people think. We’ve got enough to deal with without having to worry about some random somebody trying to direct the process for us.
Dear Judgemental People, please stay in your lane and don’t even think about fixing your lips to say anything demeaning or disrespectful to a nursing mom. Let us be!
With my oldest, as I began to plan for my return to work, my husband and I discovered that I have too much on an enzyme in my milk called lipase. Lipase is a pancreatic enzyme that catalyzes the breakdown of fats to fatty acids and glycerol or other alcohols. What’s this got to do with breast milk you may ask? Well, this caused the fat in my milk to break down so fast that within hours of pumping it, it would taste like soap water. I literally googled “my breast milk taste like soap” and that’s how I learned of this issue, and that I wasn’t uncommon at all. Words cannot express how difficult it was for me to stand over the sink and pour all the milk I was storing down the drain. I wasn’t pumping more than 4 oz. at a time anyway, so every drop counted. Around this same time, the news was also reporting a recall for a specific brand of formula because 2 babies had died. So, I was returning to work, I had breast milk that seemed to only last for 4 to 6 hours max, and I wasn’t pumping very much. Having to make the decision to give my daughter formula was very difficult for me, but it was a decision that had to be made because I needed to make sure she was getting nourishment, and she was far too young for alternative (cow, goat or almond) milks to be an option. Thankfully, I worked close enough to home and (eventually her day care) to make daily trips on my lunch breaks Sometimes my husband would come to me, but she hated being in her car seat so it was easier for me to go to her (I’ll discuess the car seat issue another time). I did this for 9 months until she turned 1 and was able to start drinking almond milk during the day until I was able to get to her, and then she would nurse all night. Thankfully with my second my milk lasted for about a day and a half, and with my third, I have been a pumping machine, and it also lasts for a day to a day and a half so I can pump at work for the next day like I did with my second child.
Breastfeeding is something that mothers have been doing since the beginning of time. It is also a great bonding opportunity for both mommy and baby. On the flip side, it can also be very painful and viewed as something dreadful for some moms, and then there are the moms that cannot breastfeed and moms who just do not want to. Whatever your decision, it is and should be just that, your decision.
Mom to mom, do whatever is best for you and makes you most comfortable. Don’t let anyone guilt you into doing something you are not comfortable with be it physically or emotionally. As moms of newborns, we are so fragile as it is. Maintain control over the things that are within your control.
The P.I. Mom