Saturday, December 31, 2011

Breastfeeding is possible!


This article is not to down or disrespect mothers who formula feed their babies. This is 100% to encourage anyone who needs encouragement and to help with great information.

I could have titled this a million different things but the most common reason I hear for failing at BFing is "It just wasn't possible.." following a reason like "The doctor said my baby wasn't growing fast enough." "I wasn't producing enough milk." etc. I REALLY hate hearing this stuff because BFing IS possible for EVERYONE! At one point in time there wasn't formula and babies did just fine! A little known fact is, a majority of pediatrician's aren't supportive of BFing and/or don't know a lot about it. They also don't use a BFing growth chart which makes a big difference. If your baby is being compared to formula fed babies, YES your baby "isn't growing fast enough." because formula fed babies grow faster than breastfed babies. Some doctors will argue that statement but studies show this is a true statement. Studies also show that formula puts a child at higher risk of higher cholesterol levels, higher blood pressure, and increased risk of obesity and diabetes later in life. Of course this isn't going to happen to every formula fed baby... it just increases the chances.

I am personally speaking from experience when I say it is possible even with many issues in the way. If you stay motivated and keep your precious baby in mind, BFing will come natural! I had a rough first week with BFing. My milk came in around day 2 and my breasts literally went from a size B to a size DD over night. It was more painful than child birth. My breast were rock solid. Even nursing wasn't relieving the pain. Soon I realized I was dealing with an over supply. Along with that issue, I discovered I was unable to pump. My let down would not trigger to any kind of pump or pumping method. I was ok with this though because I did not want to bottle feed. So my advice for the over supply was to nurse on one side per feeding rather than both. This helped me a ton.... until about month 3 and my daughter was really low on the BFing growth chart. I did one side for so long that my milk was starting to dry up. My daughters pedi told me "you tried.. but it's time to give up and put her on formula." In the nicest way possible I told her she was crazy and that wasn't happening. Every time we would see her I would be asked "So have you put her on formula yet?" She obviously didn't get the point. I quickly switched pedi's and found one more supportive. I did some research and read fenugreek herbal supplements help with milk supply. So for 9 months straight I took 9 pills a day. With in a few weeks I noticed a huge difference! Did I mention multiple times I got clogged ducts? So painful! It feels like a huge rock on the side of your breast. Each time it took over a week for the pain to go away. So I guess the point in that long story was, don't give up. Not being able to pump, over supply, low supply, clogged ducts, etc. and I toughed it out and breastfed my daughter until she was 20 months old. She self-weaned, never had a bottle, and not even a taste of formula.. and that was my goal!

Getting Started:

  • It takes a lot of learning, practice, and patience in order for you and baby to master breastfeeding.

    • Be prepared. Take a BFing class before your baby is born. Take notes, do research, find out if there is a wic or LLL office near you, and ask your mom friends!

      • Let your doctor know in advice you plan on BFing shortly after baby is born. Also let the nurses on staff know. This is when baby is most alert and willing to nurse.

        • Find a good position. Try them all! Figure out what feels most comfortable for you. Don't forget to use a pillow or blanket on your lap to help support baby and your posture.

          • Once your baby empties one breast, offer the other. It is important you offer both breasts. On your next feeding, start with the breast you ended with at your last feeding.

            • Don't watch the clock! Your baby will let you know when she/he is hungry. The first month or so, you shouldn't go longer than 3 hours in between feedings.

              • A nursing mother burns on average 500 calories just from 1 day of BFing! This means you need to be taking in extra calories through out the day. This is very important because not doing so can cause your milk supply to lower.

                • Most importantly, keep trying! Babies don't always catch on the first few times so don't give up! Supplementing isn't necessary because the colostrum is all your baby needs. Your newborn has extra stores of fat and body fluids to draw on until your milk comes in.

                • Benefits:

                  I could go on for days about the benefits but I will give you a brief basic list of the benefits for baby and mother.

                  Benefits for baby:

                • Colostrum helps your baby's digestive system grow and function. It's also high in protein.

                  • Breast milk has antibodies that can not be mimicked that help your baby's immune system stay strong and fight off sickness.

                    • Breast milk has the right nutrients, in the right amounts to nourish baby. High in protein and fat that is better used in baby's body compared to formula.

                      • Breast milk has growth factors, enzymes, hormones, and other great things that help your baby grow and develop. Including helping baby's brain develop.

                        • Breast milk lowers the risk of asthma, allergies, colic, and SIDS.

                          • Breast milk is easily digested so your baby will have less gas, fewer feeding problems, and less constipation compared to formula.

                          • Benefits for mom:

                          • BFing releases a hormone called oxytocin which makes your uterus contract. This helps you "shrink" in size faster.

                            • Nursing burns calories which also helps you lose weight more quickly.

                              • BFing lowers your risk of some forms of breast and ovarian cancer.

                                • Cheaper than formula and easier than preparing a bottle of formula. (this means no late night trips to the store, worrying about the milk being at the right temp, and more sleep. haha)

                                  • The bonding experience is a lot stronger when BFing.

                                  • There is so much more I could talk about on this topic but I'll end it here. I hope I helped someone with this post. Pass this onto your friends and never give up! Feel free to ask any questions. I also wanted to add that I typed this up with my own knowledge of breastfeeding. I am not a licened lactation consultant and I suggest if you are having trouble, you should contact a LC. If you don't know how to locate one, call your local hospital and they can help you out.


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