In honour of World Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1-7) and National Breastfeeding Awareness Month (in the United States) PAIL bloggers has “Feeding Your Child” for the August Monthly Theme.
Their questions are in italics and my answers follow.
How did you feed your baby? Breastmilk from the breast? Breastmilk from pumping? Formula? A combination of the three?
A combination of all three.
During those first few days in hospital breastfed from the breast, but it was very painful and Nicky didn’t latch very well. The nurses gave formula when he wasn’t getting enough.
By the time I went home my mom had organised a pump and that’s pretty much what I did for the next month. When my supply went low I did supplement with formula.
Latching was a big problem and I only think we really got into the swing of things by around three or four months. By that stage, with my mom’s encouragement, we got off the formula as well.
Now we are breastfeeding like pros and it is an easy meal or snack whenever he wants it.
If you exclusively breastfed your child, how long did you do it? Did you have a “goal” for length of time, or did you just wing it?
My initial goal was 6 months. I made that, and then my next goal was one year. We reached that and are still going. I have no idea how long things are going to last, mostly because he isn’t eating his solids so well so it is a good back up to have.
Did you research breastfeeding prior to your child(ren)’s birth?
My mom gave me a lot of info being that it is her passion in life and I also went to a La Leche League Meeting. She gave me the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding book. I’ve always been aware of the nutritional benefits and how much better breast is, but I also knew I would make my own decisions and be ok with that.
Did your method of feeding your child(ren) differ from what you had hoped/planned to do? How did that make you feel?
I think it all worked out in the end. There were discouraging times but I think if you keep going and don’t give up, you’ll get there. I knew it was going to be hard at first and I think that prepared me.
What would you tell an expectant mom about the realities of breastfeeding & formula feeding? Is there something you wish you’d have been told?
It’s tough! Having a new baby is tough! I think we need to be gentle with ourselves and accepting of whatever happens, happens. I think new moms just need support and understanding.
With regards to the feeding: especially with smaller / C-section babies: get a pump early on so at least baby gets the good milk. Just do what you can and keep going. My attitude was to take things one day at a time and forget what people said. If I had to do formula to get through the day, so be it. If I had to pump, so be it. It is just about survival. After three or four months things get better and you can relax into breastfeeding and enjoy it a bit more.
Do you feel your “preferred” method to feed your child was affected by how those around you feed their babies?
Fortunately I was steered toward a few breastfeeding groups which really helped. I did find at other mom’s groups there were quite a few formula users. I think it does make a difference but there are ways around it: you can pump a bottle if you feel shy. I did that for some clinic visits when we had to wait. Later I got braver and used a cover. Now, he can go for much longer without a feed so it is easier.
How much (in your estimation) did you spend on feeding your child for his/her first year of life? (pumping supplies / formula cost / lactation consultants / etc.)
I didn’t spend a lot because my mom helped out a lot.
I estimate hiring the hospital grade pump for two months = R1960, mini electric = R1259 the lactation consultant = R300, lactation consultant group socials = R400? Breast pads = R500? Maternity bras = R500? Formula = R300? So total would be = R5219 of which my mom paid R3519. (Rand dollar exchange currently 9.9 so it would be around $527) I guess this is just a rough estimate.
For me, breastfeeding has become easy (apart from some biting and nail digging now and then) and my current difficulty is getting him to eat solids. But I guess that’s a post for another day…
When you feel like it is too hard, read the following:
Here are the benefits week by week and month by month.
IF I NURSE FOR A DAY…
Breastfeeding your baby for even a day is the best baby gift you can give. Breastfeeding is almost always the best choice for your baby. If it doesn’t seem like the best choice for you right now, these guidelines may help.
IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR JUST A FEW DAYS, he will have received your colostrum, or early milk. By providing antibodies and the food his brand-new body expects, nursing gives your baby his first – and easiest – “immunization” and helps get his digestive system going smoothly. Breastfeeding is how your baby expects to start, and helps your own body recover from the birth. Why not use your time in the hospital to prepare your baby for life through the gift of nursing?
IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR FOUR TO SIX WEEKS, you will have eased him through the most critical part of his infancy. Newborns who are not breastfed are much more likely to get sick or be hospitalized, and have many more digestive problems than breastfed babies. After 4 to 6 weeks, you’ll probably have worked through any early nursing concerns, too. Make a serious goal of nursing for a month, call La Leche League or a Lactation Consultant if you have any questions, and you’ll be in a better position to decide whether continued breastfeeding is for you.
IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 3 OR 4 MONTHS, her digestive system will have matured a great deal, and she will be much better able to tolerate the foreign substances in commercial formulas. If there is a family history of allergies, though, you will greatly reduce her risk by waiting a few more months before adding anything at all to her diet of breastmilk. And giving nothing but your milk for the first four months gives strong protection against ear infections for a whole year.
IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 6 MONTHS, she will be much less likely to suffer an allergic reaction to formula or other foods. At this point, her body is probably ready to tackle some other foods, whether or not you wean. Nursing for at least 6 months helps ensure better health throughout your baby’s first year of life, and reduces your own risk of breast cancer. Nursing for 6 months or more may greatly reduce your little one’s risk of ear infections and childhood cancers. And exclusive, frequent breastfeeding during the first 6 months, if your periods have not returned, provides 98% effective contraception.
IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 9 MONTHS, you will have seen him through the fastest and most important brain and body development of his life on the food that was designed for him – your milk. You may even notice that he is more alert and more active than babies who did not have the benefit of their mother’s milk. Weaning may be fairly easy at this age… but then, so is nursing! If you want to avoid weaning this early, be sure you’ve been available to nurse for comfort as well as just for food.
IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR A YEAR, you can avoid the expense and bother of formula. Her one-year-old body can probably handle most of the table foods your family enjoys. Many of the health benefits this year of nursing has given your child will last her whole life. She will have a stronger immune system, for instance, and will be much less likely to need orthodontia or speech therapy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing for at least a year, to help ensure normal nutrition and health for your baby.
IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 18 MONTHS, you will have continued to provide your baby’s normal nutrition and protection against illness at a time when illness is common in other babies. Your baby is probably well started on table foods, too. He has had time to form a solid bond with you – a healthy starting point for his growing independence. And he is old enough that you and he can work together on the weaning process, at a pace that he can handle. A former U.S. Surgeon General said, “it is the lucky baby… that nurses to age two.”
IF YOUR CHILD WEANS WHEN SHE IS READY, you can feel confident that you have met your baby’s physical and emotional needs in a very normal, healthy way. In cultures where there is no pressure to wean, children tend to nurse for at least two years. The World Health Organization and UNICEF strongly encourage breastfeeding through toddlerhood: “Breastmilk is an important source of energy and protein, and helps to protect against disease during the child’s second year of life.”* Our biology seems geared to a weaning age of between 2 1/2 and 7 years**, and it just makes sense to build our children’s bones from the milk that was designed to build them. Your milk provides antibodies and other protective substances as long as you continue nursing, and families of nursing toddlers often find that their medical bills are lower than their neighbors’ for years to come. Mothers who have nursed longterm have a still lower risk of developing breast cancer. Children who were nursed longterm tend to be very secure, and are less likely to suck their thumbs or carry a blanket. Nursing can help ease both of you through the tears, tantrums, and tumbles that come with early childhood, and helps ensure that any illnesses are milder and easier to deal with. It’s an all-purpose mothering tool you won’t want to be without! Don’t worry that your child will nurse forever. All children stop eventually, no matter what you do, and there are more nursing toddlers around than you might guess.
WHETHER YOU NURSE FOR A DAY OR FOR SEVERAL YEARS, the decision to nurse your child is one you need never regret. And whenever weaning takes place, remember that it is a big step for both of you. If you choose to wean before your child is ready, be sure to do it gradually, and with love.
*Facts for Life: A Communication Challenge, published by UNICEF, WHO, and UNESCO, 1989
**K Dettwyler. A Time to Wean. Breastfeeding Abstracts vol 14 no 1 1994
©1997 Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC 136 Ellis Hollow Creek Road Ithaca, NY 14850
(Taken from: Babycenter)