This is the kick-off post for Breastfeeding Awareness Month that runs from August 1 - 31, 2012 in the US.
I have become more passionate about breastfeeding as we see the benefits of breastfeeding in action with our children. The benefits are well-documented for mom and baby (click here).
I recognize that the most important priority is the Feed The Baby. There are times when mothers cannot feed their babies. In those times, it is absolutely appropriate to use a substitute, like formula, to feed our children. I have had to do that - there is no judgement there.
What I am opposed to is the wholesale marketing of formula as "just as good as" breastmilk. It is not. It is not a supplement. It is a poor substitute - something that is clear when you look at the difference in the ingredient list (click here).
My thought is the fact that formula companies are targeting mothers when they are most vulnerable is criminal. In those first days postpartum we are tired, we are overwhelmed, we are sore as we are trying to work out breastfeeding for the first time (or second time, etc.). In a hospital setting, instead of being given the formula bag to bring home, I am in support of mothers receiving a breastfeeding class before they leave with their children. Once they are home, they need the phone number of a 24/7 support line.
Homebirth mamas have the support of their midwives to help them get through the first few days in the postpartum period. I wonder what the ratio of formula use is in homebirth mothers. I know that I felt so loved and supported, my guess is that herbal galactagogues would be offered before going to formula. However, since the priority is the Feed The Baby, a mother does what she needs to do.
Yes, use the formula as a tool. However, it should be a tool used on occasion and appropriately. The "normal" and the priority needs to go back to giving our babies the unique food we make for our unique species.
What formula is not: Formula is not a fallback. It is not something to be used because it is convenient. It is not easy (powder, water, bottles, cleaning). It is not cheap. The line that "Our generation was formula-fed and we turned out fine" is a fallacy. We are a generation of many overweight parents, many living with or fighting various diseases. Our children are facing a cadre of diseases, that despite all our medical advances and treatments, are on the rise instead of on the decline. A coincidence? I think: NOT.
In the last two years, there has been an emergence of milk-sharing organizations that link mothers that need milk with mothers that are willing to share their milk. It is an option that many mothers are seeking as the truth about formula is being told.
There are also mothers who can produce milk and have a hard time delivering it from the breast. They are making a different choice. They are exclusively pumping so that their babies can be bottle-fed breastmilk until the relationship at the breast is organized.
I had the pleasure of being a guest blogger for the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog, hosted by the mamas of Salt Lake City...thank you for including me! I have learned a lot through nursing four children, and I share how my first nursing relationship has shaped subsequent ones. Read that post here.
This month, our blog will feature stories from breastfeeding mamas...some had challenges they overcame, some want to share their joy, all in the hopes if inspiring and encouraging mothers to make the commitment to breastfeed. I invite you to share your thoughts for them in the comment section of their guest posts. If you would like to share your breastfeeding story, please feel free to send it to me and I will feature it (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What is going on this month:
World's Biggest Breastfeeding Twitter Party - July 31st
Let's make #breastfeeding trend today!!
Link has party info plus more links: how-to info, and a schedule for making it trend in your time zone.
World Breastfeeding Week is August 1st - 7th, 2012
The Big Latch On - Friday August 3rd and Saturday, August 8th
I will be at an event at the Chandler Public Library - Downtown Branch on Saturday, August 8th - let me know if you will be there!
I encourage you to read more about breastfeeding...the benefits, the trials, the triumphs. My personal goal is to teach the new mothers around us that formula is a tool, not a food. If that is the only thing a baby can eat, then yes, choose it to keep your baby alive and then make other choices in nurturing to develop the bond and in whole food nutrition to keep baby as healthy as possible. Here is a link to one of our most popular posts:
If you are in the early stages of establishing supply and engorgement, you may find this information helpful:
Info from Dr. Sears
Breastfeeding vs. Formula Ingredients
World Breastfeeding Week Information
The Big Latch On
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.
This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.