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Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies

Breast is Best

Breast is Best *and*
5 Ideas to Give Your Breast Effort

Delphine is wearing pajamas by Belabumbum

I know that the phrase, "Breast is Best" has the potential to raise the ire of those who couldn't breastfeed, while by choice or circumstance.  If it was due to circumstance, please know that I speak to you peacefully. I am so sorry that the breastfeeding relationship you imagined did not work out for you.  I had a great conversation with the IBCLCs from Arizona Breastfeeding Center about that on Friday.  I hope you will check back on our blog Tuesday to see what they share with moms who want to try breastfeeding again with subsequent children.

Here is where I have a problem: when companies and/or individuals attempt to make breastfeeding advocates back down from their mission to educate families about the benefits of breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding is worth *every* effort before using the formula solution.  It is an outright lie to tell a family that formula "is as good as" breastfeeding from a nutritional standpoint.

It is no longer about formula being an inferior food for infants.  It is about the fact that receiving breastmilk has long-term implications for public health. I first read this statement in the 2012 article by the AAP that I share below.  After seeing Dr. Bergman from NINO Birth speak on Friday about the impact of breastfeeding on infant AND maternal health, I will not tiptoe around the issue any more.  

Here is what I do know: a child fed intentionally and with love can form an attachment and a bond with a parent or parent-figure.  Unfortunately, there are distinctions in children who receive breastmilk that formula cannot achieve. For a formula-feeder to justify or explain why they chose formula over breastmilk is their right.  It is not their right to take away another child's birthright to be nourished by their mother simply because "it's convenient" and "freedom of choice" anymore. We know more now, and have the opportunity to do better now.  In this day and age, "convenience," and, "choice," is a willful decision to change a child's health.

1.) The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that breastmilk is the normal choice for infant feeding.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Source: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full#content-block

2.) Breastfeeding saves lives.  

A US study published in 2010 recognizes the cost-savings of exclusively breastfeeding for *only* six months is $13 Billion dollars. Even more importantly, there is the potential for a reduction in infant mortality rates.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Source: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/125/5/e1048.abstract

The World Health Organization released this statement in July of 2015:
"If every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for their first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years, about 800,000 child lives would be saved every year."

Source: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/breastfeeding/en/

This isn't chump change, friends.  These are human beings who have the potential to be directly impacted by the decision to provide breastmilk exclusively for the first six months of life.

3.) There are a lot of ways to boost your milk supply if you are trying everything you can to breastfeed.  HERE are some ideas.  In addition, by pumping between or during nursing sessions with your Sweet Pea, you can supplement with your own milk.  Motherlove Herbal company shares, "10 ways to encourage letdown while pumping" HERE.

4.)  Know your options: it is not only "breastmilk" or "formula".  There is breastmilk *and* formula.  Just because you may not make enough for the whole day, feed what you can, then supplement for the rest.  The most important thing is to FEED THE BABY (follow a link to find out more about what to do when breastfeeding isn't working out).  

Also keep in mind that low-supply may not be the reason your baby is fussy - have you considered that maybe something in your diet is affecting your baby?  The top allergens are: dairy, citrus, gluten, soy, tree-nuts, and eggs.  Take comfort in the idea that most babies grow out of them as their gut matures. 

A third thing under the "options" category is to learn about milk sharing.  My favorite resource in this area is the "Due Diligence" page on the Eats on Feets website. The Phoenix midwife who conceived this idea of community milk sharing has also created a resource to ensure, as much as possible, safe milk sharing.  Check out that information HERE.


5.) Learn how to bottle-feed so that your Sweet Pea is less likely to reject the breast. There is a specific way to bottle-feed so that your baby doesn't prefer the bottle over the breast.  You hold the bottle horizontally, so that your Sweet Pea has to work for the bottle-nutrition as they would at the breast.  Yes, someone wlll have to burp the baby, and yes, it will take longer, and YES, your child is more likely to keep on breastfeeding because one delivery system isn't easier than the other.

Why Bother??
Will it take a little more work? Yes.  Is it worth it?  YES!!  I trust that informed mothers know that the difference in your child's long-term health is worth extra effort on the front end.  What are we talking about here?  THIS post from CWS blog lists just a few of the documented examples of the benefits of breastfeeding:

Short-term benefits for the baby:
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of illness due to contaminated water, which under some conditions can occur with formula.
  • Breast milk is a source of lactose and essential fatty acids that help a baby’s brain grow and develop.
  • Breast milk helps regulate healthy bacteria in the baby’s gut.
  • Breastfed babies have fewer cases of ear infections, gastrointestinal infections, bacterial meningitis, urinary tract infections, late-onset sepsis in pre-term babies, and more.
  • Breastfeeding encourages skin-to-skin contact and nurturing, working to soothe and comfort the infant.
  • Colostrum—the first milk produced at birth—contains high amounts of carbohydrates, protein and antibodies, and it has yet to be replicated as formula.
  • Breast milk works as an antibiotic against E. coli and staphylococci, among others.

Long-term benefits for the baby:
  • Breastfeeding as an infant can lead to higher IQ, especially if breastfed exclusively and for a longer period of time.
  • Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of obesity later in life.
  • Children and adults who were breastfed have a lower rate of food allergies, asthma, eczema, Celiac Disease, and Type I and Type II diabetes, among others.

Short-term benefits for the mother:
  • Breastfeeding releases the “love” hormone oxytocin in the mother, which improves the bonding between mother and baby.
  • The release of oxytocin after birth also aids in contracting the uterus to prevent postpartum hemorrhage and to reduce the uterus to pre-pregnancy size.
  • Women have a decreased risk of iron-deficiency anemia while nursing.
  • Fertility and chance of becoming pregnant is greatly reduced in the first six months of exclusive breastfeeding, aiding in family planning.
  • Milk production helps with post-partum weight loss.

Long-term benefits for the mother:
  • Moms who breastfeed have lower rates of ovarian, breast and endometrial cancer.
  • Women who breastfed may have higher bone density and lower rates of osteoporosis later in life.
Source: http://www.cwsglobal.org/blog/benefits-of-breastfeeding.html

It's not about the mommy-wars.
It's not about breastfeeders versus formula feeders.  

What it is about:
1.) Training health care workers to teach and support mothers about breastfeeding without traumatizing them and abusing their tender breasts, or their newborn infants.  
2.) Educating the mother about the benefits to her and her child if they can exclusively breastfeed (or provide breastmilk) for six months.
3.) Extend the teaching to the mother's partner, family, and co-workers about the breastfeeding learning curve, possible challenges, and how they can support her in the effort to provide breastmilk to her child for a minimum of six months. 

As a childbirth educator, I see a huge potential to enact this change during pregnancy.  What if we started by educating mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding, possible challenges, and all their postpartum support options before their baby was born?  

As a human being who wants to see our society flourish, I need to stop being afraid of conflict and speak the truth about the benefits of mothes providing breastmilk for their children.  It is imperative that as a society, we wrap our collective minds around the idea that a six-month commitment to breastfeeding is a child's birthright; after that, it can be a lifestyle choice.

What encourages you to meet your breastfeeding goals?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
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®.

 


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