Nothing like being able to pass on good news to make my friends happy. I came across the following article which discusses in detail, the health benefits of eating chocolate. Pure chocolate comes from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao plant. A study published in April 2007 in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that cocoa was more effective at lowering blood pressure than green and black tea. Both of these teas contain similar polyphenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants. More effective than green and black tea? I’m in!
Without all the junk added to it, this sounds like a nice treat for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. Enjoy!
For more detailed info on the wonders of cacao, check out the below link:
Since this article came out, I have been asked many times what I think about the article and about the concept of Laid Back Breastfeeding. Most of the time it has been through a direct email or a private Facebook message. I have had a few moms post it in Facebook to me and also several moms who I have seen in a private consult inquire as to how I felt about this. So, instead of answering individually, I decided to do the next best thing – write a BLOG!
Here is the article I am referring to. Laid back breastfeeding
So, the short answer is: I absolutely love this. I wish so badly that we could get all babies to feed like this from the very beginning. I know lots of moms wind up moving towards this as they try hard to navigate the early days and nights of newborn mothering. They naturally wind up sleeping with their babies and feeding them when both laying down. They quickly realize that they can get a lot more rest and that their babies are quite relaxed and this often translates to a better feeding.
My most favorite thing to do when attending births is to just hang out on the sidelines and just watch the new baby lay on his moms chest, skin to skin, undisturbed. I love when they get to spend time together and mom gets to keep her baby nice and warm and just waiting for her baby to show hunger cues and gently find his way to the breast. With a little bit of help and support for baby and sometimes some help with breast support, lots of babies do find their own way and latch on. Sometimes it is pinchy and mom needs to be more hands on so baby can get a deeper latch.
When this happens, it is blissful! There is little for me or anyone else to do if the latch is good and it feels comfortable for mom. Reviewing normal newborn feeding behavior, hunger cues, signs of satiation, how do you do know if they get enough, normal output, weight gain, etc. Yes, lots of good info to review for the new mom. And yet, not much to do about the actual act of latching on and breastfeeding. I just become a very quiet observer
This is most successful when there have been no drugs of any kind given to mom during her labor and when there is no separate of any kind of mom and baby after the birth. The reality is that some medications do get to baby during the labor and this can affect their interest and their ability to be able to find their own way to the breast and/or to show an interest in feeding in a reasonable time period.
When this happens, it sets off a cascade of events that interrupt the normal, the natural flow of baby being born and spending time skin to skin. Babies who are taken away from their moms and weighed and wiped down and given shots and diapered and dressed and given hats and socks – this changes their natural environment and can make it a bit or a lot more difficult to follow their natural instincts. If medication has dulled their central nervous system, they are not quite themselves and their senses are somewhat dull and they may take a while until they start searching or are able to follow their natural instincts to search for food and follow the smell.
Some moms have needed additional help in order for their baby to be born vaginally. Perhaps a vacuum or forceps birth and when this happens, some babies have some bruising and are not feeling their best for quite a few hours and some for even days until the bruising or swelling goes down. The reality is that some babies just don’t latch on well initially for a myriad of reasons and some for reasons we may never understand.
What I find happens when babies do not latch on and breastfeed within a certain time period, mothers are frequently encouraged to offer their baby milk from a bottle or a cup or a spoon or a syringe. I have been with many babies who have had their first feeding this way and once they get some food and some energy and are rested, they now come to the breast knowing exactly what to do.
Their are also many reasons why some babies do not start off breastfeeding well or frequently enough. Some we may never know why and others it is pretty clear why they are struggling. Some babies are born quite early and lack the ability to achieve a good latch, others have health issues which make it difficult for them to breastfeed well initially. Some babies have an oral tie that prevents them from achieving a good latch And other babies, would actually do very well, however, their moms are offering them the nipple only, which results in very painful breastfeeding.
As an IBCLC, I find that when the early and first few days of breastfeeding are difficult, than the usual way we have moms and babies latch on, then become difficult. Try as I might, laid back breastfeeding does not work well with babies who have become use to bottles – the smell, the taste, the texture and the immediate and fast flow. Babies who have had pacifiers and bottles and nipple shields and syringes and nipple only latches, have a hard time finding their own way, when brought to the breast and given an opportunity to latch on themselves.
Many fight and argue and push away from the breast. They tend to bop on and off the nipple, flail their arms and legs, let us know they have a wonderful and perfect working set of lungs. I find that a majority of babies who can breastfeed but just got off to a hard start, will do much better with a very hands on and controlled approach to breastfeeding. Other babies, who we find out have tongue or lip tie or a high or bubble shaped palate or have torticollis or other issues…. well, they just cannot breastfeed… with controlled cross cradle hold, football hold or laid back breastfeeding. They are just not capable of doing so, or at least not without causing major nipple trauma for mom and poor milk transfer for baby.
So, while I think laid back nursing is great, I am a huge fan of working closely with mom and baby with what I call a very controlled, but loving approach to helping baby achieve a good, deep latch when the situation calls for it. One that is comfortable for mom and comfortable for baby. I find that most babies don’t mind being held nice and close and tucked into mommy….. as long as they have easy access to the breast and can get their milk, they are a very happy camper. This week alone, I worked with a number of mothers who could not put their babies to breast in such a relaxed fashion as the laid back positions – it just killed their poor nipples. Once we moved them to a more controlled latch with lots of support for baby and lots for mom, their pain was significantly reduced. I imagine that when breastfeeding becomes really easy for these moms and they are not experiencing any pain, they will gradually move to a more laid back nursing position, whether it be at night laying down or during the daytime without their pillows or perfect set up.
A postpartum doula is an excellent way to help new mothers make the transition from pregnancy to birth to postpartum
I have been a childbirth educator, birth and postpartum doula and currently focus on working as an IBCLC, helping mothers with breastfeeding. There has been numerous ways in which we can help a new mother, however, one of the most important, effective and valuable ways to help a mother is for her to have support and help from an experienced mother. This help can come in the form of an experienced friend or family member. Many mothers are now hiring a postpartum doula to help them with the transition from birth to new motherhood.
A postpartum doula is someone who comes to the home of a new mother and offers assistance in various ways. Depending on their qualifications, a doula can provide such services such as:
- light cooking
- light cleaning
- small errands
- newborn care
- help with other children in the house
- offering education on baby care
- offering breastfeeding support
The postpartum experience can be happy and joyous, as well as exhausting. This is a time often filled with lots of questions and concerns about the mothers own recovery, care for her newborn, help with an older child adjusting to the newborn, processing the birth experience and helping the family adjust to this amazing transition in their life. It is the doula’s role to help nurture the new family and help instill confidence in their new roles.
Some tips for finding the right doula for your family:
1. Make a list of what services are important to you. If you have specific hours that you need coverage for, make that known. If your family has specific dietary needs and you are looking for a doula who will provide light shopping and/or cooking, you will want a doula who has some knowledge in this area.
2. You may have food and cleaning covered well, however, you really need help with a toddler and some errands. Your doula needs to be comfortable with toddlers and not just newborns. She will also need to be okay with running some errands outside of the house, so transportation will be important.
3. Doulas need to practice within their scope of experience and certifications. Some moms will have challenges beyond the basics in their own health care, their emotional postpartum stage or breastfeeding challenges. Anything more than the basic help with mom or babies healthcare or breastfeeding, should be referred to the expert. Part of a doulas expertise is recognizing the need for expert help and come prepared with resources and referrals.
4. Request references from other clients of the doula you are considering hiring. Some doulas have transitioned from full time job, to being a mom, to becoming a doula. Requesting references from her previous employment is an excellent way to gain information on her work ethics and reliability.
5. Speaking of reliability, you will want to be sure that you have worked out arrangements with your doula regarding her ability to be available during the time period that you need her. Working out an arrangement on fees is also important before you hired your doula.
If you don’t have a close family member to help you out postpartum, a doula helps to fill in that gap during the first few weeks postpartum. When finances are an issue, I have suggested to many a parent to request this as a gift, in leiu of baby blankets and clothes and toys. Frequently new parents get so much clothes and blankets. Babies grow so fast they can’t possibly wear all the clothes they were given. Hire a postpartum doula and you will realize that is was money well spent. They help you rest and recover in the comfort of your own home and have a wealth of knowledge to share as well.
Contact http://www.dona.org to learn more about doulas and finding one in your area.
You have a horrible cold or flu and need to know if there is anything you can take to help reduce your symptoms and perhaps help you feel more comfortable. Perhaps you need dental work and you are concerned about anesthesia. Breastfeeding mothers do get urinary tract infections and thrush. They can suffer from allergies or experience other temporary health issue that they need to take medication for. Some mothers have an ongoing health issue for which they need to take daily medication. Breastfeeding is going well and you don’t want to stop, but you need to know if the medication is safe to take during breastfeeding. What to do?
If you are looking for the most current information on medications and safety with breastfeeding, I have answers for you. Okay, well I don’t really have the answers for you. I have excellent resources to share with you so you can be empowered to find out the information yourself. This will save you time and energy. The first excellent resource is:
1. The Infant Risk Center is your “go to” website that you will want to bookmark.
You will find yourself checking this website to find out safety of medications not only during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but you can get great info on whether you can safely take a medication vs. weaning or pumping and dumping. I continue to have good feedback about the use of this site. Please let me know if you had a good experience or if you have anything else to share.
2. You can check out Lact Med which is an app that you can download to your Iphone or Android. Here is a screen shot of the app. As you can see, it is chock full off information. I have used this app frequently and it is very easy to navigate and to understand.check for safety of medications
Why do some people feel things need to be an “all or nothing” kind of a thing. Some parents shy away from trying something new just because they think they have to follow all the rules. At the moment, I am referring to Attachment Parenting, or AP as it is known in some circles. A lot has been written in the news lately about Attachment Parenting. Some are loving it and others are running the other way. I mean, if someone were to have told me that I have to be wearing or holding my baby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that would scare me away. I was already overwhelmed with keeping a crying baby happy and trying to sleep when the baby slept, as well as finding some time in the day when I could actually go to the bathroom for two minutes. Never mind, shower or cook dinner!!
So, the whole concept of “all or nothing” dogma that is sometimes reported in the news, or even yes, touted by some parents, would make me turn my nose up at attachment parenting. Here’s the thing though, it honestly does not have to be an “all or nothing” way of life. As in most things, we can create balance. You can start off with one of the easiest ways to keep your baby close to you during certain times of the day. Babywearing! Yes, wear your baby. Close to you so they can snuggle and smell you and feel your warmth and listen to your gentle sounds. Everyone knows that it is almost like magic that when a baby is crying and crying and cannot be settled on their own, what happens when you pick them up. In a few short minutes, the crying stops and they settle in the comfort of loving arms. Hands down! Some babies just like to hunker down, burrowing their head in your chest and to them it is like all of a sudden everything is right with their world.
See how babywearing goes for you and the baby. Introduce Dad and other family members to babywearing. Here is where the “all or nothing” comes in. It does not always have to be you wearing the baby. And you don’t have to wear your baby all day and co-sleep all night. Their are many variations of the same thing. So, don’t be shy about it and try not to buy into the “if you hold your baby you will spoil them” nonsense. Babies love, want and need this connection. You cannot spoil them by wrapping them in a sling or wrap and keeping them close.
Here is a great video on HAND EXPRESSION which can give you a good idea on how to use hand expression to remove the milk from your breast. This is a great technique for all breastfeeding mothers to learn. Whether you are a stay at home mom who does not have a need to pump or you are a working mom who is using the best pump available, or anyone else with situations in between, hand expression is an important skill to have. There are quite a few situations where hand expression can really be helpful in removing the milk:
1. The first few days after the birth. You need to remove milk because you are separated from your baby or your baby is not breastfeeding well.
2. You find yourself engorged and the pump you have is not removing the milk or doing a good enough job, still leaving you quite full.
3. Something happens to the pump you have. Perhaps it breaks, low battery, no battery charge, suction is poor, you forgot it at home.
4. You find that you have a hard time letting down to a pump.
5. Some moms just prefer using hand expression over breastpumping.
Watch the video and let us know if you find it helpful.
I don’t know of any mom that feels uncomfortable feeding her baby in public…….. when it comes to the food source being directly from a bottle.
I do know of moms feeling uncomfortable feeding her baby in public…. when it comes to the food source being directly from her breast.
While the reasons can be different as to why some mothers do feel uncomfortable breastfeeding their baby in public or in sight of others, it is important to remember what this is really about. Your baby is hungry. You need to feed your baby.
While some may feel it is illegal for a mother to breastfeed her baby in a public place, it is important to note that there are laws to protect mothers and babies. In Arizona and all other states in the US, anywhere a mother is legally able to be, is a place where she is legally able to breastfeed her baby.The federal government has laws that protect nursing women. These laws are based on the recognition of organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Public Health Association, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO) that breastfeeding is the best choice for the health of a mother and her baby.
Now that we have the law out of the way, you may have your own person concerns. Here are ways that you can reduce any feelings of concern about your own privacy or your concern about offending others and still breastfeed your baby when he or she is hungry and you are in a public place.
1. The very first proactive thing you can do is to practice this skill in the privacy of your own home. A few days of sitting in front of a mirror and practicing the art of latching our baby on and you will quickly become more comfortable at this. A few more days, and you will be a pro.
2. Invest in at least one good quality nursing bra that gives you easy access to your breasts and 1 or 2 articles of clothing that provide a good amount of coverage once baby is feeding.
3. Slings and wraps are a great way to discreetly feed your baby in public. This does take some getting use to, so again, practice at home for a few days until you feel confident in this new skill.
4. If you have someone else with you, they can hold a blanket in front of you while you latch baby on, and than gently drape the blanket across your upper chest to cover any areas you are concerned about showing.
5. All of the above are tips to help you feel more comfortable nursing in public. Of course, there are enough breastfeeding moms who are fully comfortable nursing their babies in public and do not feel the need to make sure everything is 100% discreet. Hopefully you will get there too!
Their are times when our babies are particularly fussy and you know it may not be easy or quick to latch them on. Perhaps you feel quite awkward breastfeeding in public, even though you know legally you are fine. My absolute best tip for moms is to help them think outside the box. While I am not advocating this for all feedings in public, there are times when you might want to get the right temperature going in your car and sit in your car and feed your baby. Yes,, there have been a few times, when as a new mother, I left my shopping cart to go to the car to feed my baby. Who said being a mommy was convenient??
If you are in a shopping mall with large department stores, this makes it quite easy for you to breastfeed. Just grab a few items of clothes and take your baby to the dressing room with you. While it might not be the most comfy spot, it is a great short term fix for a feeding and a snuggle with your baby. Remember, prolonging a feeding will more than likely cause much more focus on you as your babies cries escalate, than may happen if you were to just sit down and respond to your babies needs. You CAN do this!
On a related note: I know there are some who say that the new mother should: either stay home and feed her baby, or pump and put her milk in a bottle for public feeding.
Here are the need to know bullet points and in a later post we can get into the nitty gritty of it all:
1. Since newborn babies will typically feed anywhere between 1 and 3 hours, and since mothers don’t know when this will be, the line of thinking to stay home and feed her baby and than go out when her baby is done… just does NOT work well for newborn mothering and feeding. The times are unpredictable and therefore, if she were to try this, she will more than likely not be able to get out of the house.
2. New mothers need to get out of the house, fresh air, walks, shop and be around other people. To sit at home all day, for days in a row, is a risk factor for depression and anxiety. It is never good for new mothers to be isolated.
3. Moms may not want to give their babies a bottle in the early days of breastfeeding. This would mean they would have to pump their milk and introduce the bottle well before trying the bottle out in public for the first time. Babies who are use to breastfeeding may need time to adjust to bottles. Moms may not also want to give their babies a bottle as this has the potential to interfere with good breastfeeding in the early days of learning this new skill.
4. Once mothers and their bodies get use to the ebb and flow of the milk, they may cause medical problems if they are out and about for a long time and they miss a breastfeeding. Breast engorgement can lead to painful breasts as well as increase the risk factor for clogged ducts. So, for many reasons, telling a mom to “just give her baby a bottle,” is not the solution some think it might be.
Thought of the day: We really don’t need to make it so difficult for a mother to feed her baby in public. A. She is legally able to. B. If it bothers you, leave her alone and walk away or just look away. The solution is actually so easy, it is somewhat humorous how society tends to complicate this whole thing!
I am happy repost this article by Betsy Shaw, which appeared on the Baby Center blog on January 7th, 2013
We just give women a pat on the head and tell them their kids will be fine,” if they don’t breastfeed, says Dr. Alison Stuebe, an OB who treats breast-feeding problems in North Carolina. “Can you imagine if we did that to men with erectile dysfunction?”
This question is one of many valid questions posed in this Time article , which takes a close look at how doctors treat, and fail to treat, women with breastfeeding problems.
Why is it that we’re so willing to see problems such as erectile dysfunction as medically based and medically treatable, but, when it comes to breastfeeding, the failure of a woman to adequately feed her baby is rarely seen as a valid medical issue?
If a man can’t get an erection, doctors don’t tell him he’s not trying hard enough. They give him a physical and often a prescription. Yet, too often, when a woman can’t breastfeed, her problems are viewed as a problem that can be solved by moral support, technique coaching or a human milk substitute in powder form.
The reason for this, Dr. Stuebe surmises, lies in the fact that relatively few doctors are trained in human lactation. Stuebe attributes this to culture. Today’s medical school teachers, the so-called experts, were trained in a time when breastfeeding was not popular.
And where physicians fall short, lactation consultants try to pick up the slack. But lactation consultants often do so from the perspective that any woman with the right intentions can breastfeed. Possible medical reasons behind breastfeeding problems are rarely considered. This belief, that all women are capable of breastfeeding, can put undue pressure on women to breastfeed without offering some of them any real solutions.
“Because the complexities of lactation failure are so little studied and so often misunderstood, women can often feel that they are at fault, rather feeling like they are suffering from a medical issue for which they need and deserve professional help.”
Thankfully, according to the article, things might be changing.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) has been lobbying to get breastfeeding “issues” included on obstetric and gynecology, and pediatrics exams. It’s also mentioned in the article that the Affordable Healthcare Act “advises” health insurance to provide “comprehensive lactation support and counseling, by a trained provider” to pregnant and or post-partum women, as well as covering the costs of renting any breastfeeding accessories.
I’m pretty stunned to learn that so few doctors are properly trained in human lactation. I know so many women who have suffered, some who continue to suffer, with an inability to breastfeed their babies and the universal sense of failure that goes along with that inability.
That something so integral to the human experience, much like sex and reproduction, is given so little medical consideration is truly a crime.
I’m glad people like Dr. Stuebe and the ABM are paying attention.
I would love to hear some comments from you.
Did your doctors take your breastfeeding concerns seriously?
Do you feel you were taken seriously by your lactation consultant?
You can scroll down to read some of the responses.
Jennifer H. says:
January 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm
I thought I had it all figured out before I left the hospital. But soon started having trouble afterwards. I saw a lactation consultant ( LC ) but couldn’t keep up the regimen of feed then pump after plus eat oatmeal and take supplements everyday. I did it for two days before I gave up and focused on making sure my son was eating. I was sad, but knew I had done my best. If there was something else I could have done I would have. The only problem I had doctor-wise or hospital wise was I don’t feel they made it clear enough that a problem might develop with breastfeeding for me. I apparently lost a lot of blood during my c-section, and supposedly I was told this, but I don’t remember. I was told this information later by my mother-in-law ( who’s a nurse) and who was with me and my husband that night. The LC said that could have contributed to why my milk flow was low and never ramped up. I hope I’ll be able to try again when I have #2 someday.
January 7, 2013 at 5:07 pm
My problems were taken very seriously by the nurses at the hospital and by the lactation professionals who came to my hospital room and followed up after I went home. Luckily, these wonderful women were able to help me work through the issues I was having, but they had a list of lactation-specialized doctors who they were going to refer me to the next day if things still weren’t working. I was very fortunate to have very good insurance and live in a large city with several medical universities. Most women just don’t have that kind of access!
January 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm
I owe my breastfeeding success to my son’s pediatricians office. They encouraged me to stick with it even when my son’s jaundice was going downhill fast and my milk felt like it was never going to come in. There was a lactation consultant on staff and a glider and bobby pillow in every exam room. There are so many pediatricians visits in the first few weeks and every visit I was encouraged to breastfeed and given time to voice my concerns and my problems. It was a great environment. My OB and PCP were supportive, but not at all interested in listening to my concerns.
January 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm
Well, unlike erectile dysfunction, there is a pretty simple remedy for feeding a baby – formula. That being said, I ended up exclusively pumping for 6+ months because I could not get my baby to latch even with support from doctors, nurses and lactation consultants. Breast milk is best but thank God for formula, it is not poison, it grows fat, happy, healthy babies too and women should not feel ashamed to use it
Betsy Shaw says:
January 8, 2013 at 5:13 am
You make a good point. Imagine if there were some product offered to men to use in place of their own “equipment.” A supplemental sex enhancer, just as good as the real thing….
- Betsy Shaw says: January 8, 2013 at 5:13 am
January 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm
My primary care doc patted me on the head and told me “we aren’t all cut out to work on the dairy farm” when I voiced my nursing concerns at my daughters 5 day appt. He also dismissed my concerns over my daughter looking jaundiced.
Needless to say we called another clinic as we walked out the door! The current clinic and pediatrician we have are wonderful and always supported us through breast feeding, teething, vaccines and everything in between. We love them!
Thank goodness for our current pediatrician and the lactation consultants! They are a big part of why I kept at the breast feeding despite difficulties! Support system is a huge success factor and I wish more docs were better educated on the topic.
January 7, 2013 at 7:36 pm
My OB asked how breastfeeding was going and I told her it was not going well. She smiled and said that it is usually difficult for the first little while. She is an awesome doctor and I’m sure she thought that the lactation consultants at the hospital had been to my room but they never came although I asked for them SEVERAL times. I was told by my very pro breastfeeding pediatrician to see a LC but was not told where to go or any additional information. However they have formula samples and advertisements everywhere you turn. Luckily I found help on my own and went on to breastfeed my daughter for 2 years. Now I have been breastfeeding my infant son exclusively for 4 1/2 months and will hopefully continue for at least a couple years. So, they can say that there is another option, formula, but they at least owe us the decency to get as much help as we need/want before handing us those samples. It’s totally backwards. Make it easy to get formula and difficult to get breastfeeding support.
January 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm
My ob did not touch on the subject and the nurses although they tried to help ended up giving my daughter formula after she hasn’t nursed in her first 24 hrs. It was really upsetting bc they gave her too much and she threw it up and ended being taken away from me for even longer!!! Luckily the lc at the hospital were great and brought me a pump while we tried to figure out the bf. they even called me a few weeks after I left the hospital to see how things were going. With their help by my daughter’s second month we were exclusively bf. but that was all my determination and the lc’s … The doctors (ped or ob) were not involved or showed any support
January 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm
I remember being in the hospital the day after my son was born and the lactation consultant and the pediatrician arguing about whether or not my son needed a bottle of formula. While me the clueless new mom cried with no idea who was giving me the correct advice.
Then I promptly switched pediatricians- I literally starting calling doctors listed on my insurance plan while I was in the hospital recovering with my 1-day old son.
My new ped is a small practice of 5 female doctors and 2 nurses who are all certified lactation consultants. When my son was 2 weeks old I finally got the breasfeeding support I should have had from the beginning.
The good news is some doctors make it a priority, but in my experience most do not and you have to seek those folks out.
January 7, 2013 at 8:27 pm
Not all lactation consultants are the same. We had very supportive pediatricians, but the lactation consultant with my first child was obnoxious: very lecturing and actually quite harsh with me, telling me, “you know, you have to feed the baby, don’t you?” I hated that belligerent whale. My milk wasn’t coming in, she was getting a latch, but I still wasn’t making enough milk, so they brought in a special pump, and eventually we started suplementing with formula because of the weightloss. When I saw the outpatient LC, she was so much nicer and never once treated my like an idiot who simply couldn’t follow instructions. As it turns out, she examined me, asked me if there’d been any breast changes over the course of the pregnancy (no) and said that I simply didn’t have enough mammary tissue to produce adequate milk. I still pumped and produced a total of 8 oz/daily (20 minutes of pumping 8 times/day, both sides) to give to my babies for a few months before drying up. I mean, you can keep up the regimen, get the latch, take the supplements, pump all you want, but if your body still won’t make enough, what can you do? You can’t keep making the baby latch when there’s nothing in there and they get tired and frustrated from trying so hard, in the hopes that their latching and starving will magically cause your mammary glands to produce. At some point, the weightloss experienced by the newborn is dangerous and you have to ask yourself if making the baby go hungry like that is really good for their brain and development in the hopes that magical breast milk, that is so much better, will more than make up for the harm that was done when they were going hungry. I think the peer pressure of the bf community puts women in the position of shame about getting the help they need because they fear being ostracised for their inability to “perform”. It’s disgusting and harmful to treat anyone that way.
Doctors and the breastfeeding community need to acknowledge that some women just don’t have adequate equipment, instead of blaming them, and also stop saying stuff like, “I guess your baby will be all right even though you have to use formula”. As if the next 17 years of parenting are just awash if you don’t start off with breast milk. That is so ridiculous. I know someone who said that they were so upset about a bottle switch happened at daycare because, “it was the only time he’d ever had formula”. Really?! You know what I’d be upset about in a bottle switch? Hepatitis C or whatever contagion was incubating in another kid’s bottle. Formula itself isn’t inherently dangerous, but I swear, some people get so obsessed with themselves they lose all common sense and perspective. Breast milk is not a cure-all elixir. Breastfeeding alone isn’t going to make up for that level of stupid.
Sarah Martin says:
January 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm
My first son would not latch again after his circumcision. I tried for a while to breastfeed (when we got home) but finally gave up and formula fed. The pump I had was cheap and awful so formula was my only recourse. When I got pregnant with my second son I was determined to breastfeed. We did not circumcise this time and I stuck to it even though it was difficult. He is a slow nurser and takes his good old time. I bought a better pump (even though I hate pumping…hurts) and tried to bottle feed milk thinking that might be faster but he drinks a bottle very slowly too. So I gave up the pump and went back to just the breast. He is almost 10 months old now and I’m still nursing. I never thought I’d make it this far. A friend who nursed 3 of her kids really helped me by answering my gazillion questions. If I hadn’t had that support and her wise counsel I wouldn’t have made it. I would have given up. But aside from the first week which was hard it has been pretty smooth sailing ever since. Although my baby still takes his good old time when nursing.
January 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm
My milk did not come in until day 11. Thank goodness for the nurse whom suggested that I take domperidone amongst doing other things to help supply. My LO is nearly 3 months and we are ebfing and she has nearly doubled her birth weight. I cried for the first 11 days, mourning the possibility that I could not nourish my baby. I am very happy with where we are at now.
Gramma Kim says:
January 7, 2013 at 9:20 pm
I was fortunate at a time when breastfeeding was just coming back into popularity to share my maternity room with an old-fashioned country mom who had just given birth to her 7th child. At that time it was old-fashioned to breastfeed, but the La Leche League was becoming active, and could be somewhat militant. There were no certified lactation counsellors, just volunteers from LLL. I had the contact info for LLL but after talking with volunteers a few times I shied away from them. They were too political. I just wanted to feed my baby. I didn’t have any problems, though, thanks to the country mom giving me solid advice in the hospital. It was especially difficult dealing with the pain of chapping, but on her advice and example, I kept my baby nursing almost constantly for the first 48 hours, except when baby slept. That mom was right — it “toughened” the skin and there was no pain on the third day. But my baby had a good latch, and my milk came in full. Another thing that helped was that my mom breastfed all her kids, so I saw it while growing up — she was considered very old-fashioned by all the other moms of the time, but her mom, too, had breastfed during the time that women were just beginning to prefer formula, and Grandma was suspicious of bottle feeding. I had moved far from home before I had kids, but Mom was there for a couple weeks after my baby was born, and gave practical help. Looking back on it, that’s probably how women dealt with and truly supported nursing from ancient times. After all, if there weren’t solutions to breastfeeding problems the human race couldn’t have survived.
January 8, 2013 at 12:28 am
I really wanted to breastfeed. Really, really. Badly. Milk came in on time, and had more than enough, but babe wasn’t interested. He would cry unconsolably every time I tried to latch him.
Three lacation consultants, a dozen nursing sisters, countless physios, and three doctors a month later, he still didn’t want to latch. Expressed for a month, but after cracked nipples, zero sleep, and two bouts of mastitus in both breasts, I threw in the towel. People talk about sleep deprivation, but they don’t talk about the double sleep deprivation of the ‘expressers’ (wake to feed, rock and settle (an hour), and then start pumping and cleaning and sterilising (another hour), and then start again an hour later). All the experts said I shouldn’t use a bottle, so was tube feeding him which takes forever. I think I held that stupid pump more than I did my baby in those first few weeks.
The response of all the specialists? ‘Try harder’, ‘try again’, ‘keep trying’, ‘you are doing everything right, couldn’t say why’, ‘just relax’, ‘shift your weight 10% to the left, and move him an inch to the right’, ‘come on mommy’, ‘it’s part of his personality and you will have to deal with it at sometime’ (sorry, but are you expecting me to reason with or discipline a one week old??)
It was only when I took him to a osteopath for colic that she told me that it was very likely that he had some sort of pinched nerve in his neck which was very likely referring to his jaw, and it was probably quite sore for him to suck (bottles are much easier). It was the first time that someone had given me a medical reason as opposed to a ‘not trying hard enough reason’.
I felt so bad forgiving up breastfeeding, and all the specialists were dissapointed too. But you know, yes, breast is best, but a Mom who is sane, rested, feeling good about herself and what she is doing for her baby is FAR more important.
January 8, 2013 at 3:25 am
After three months of hell, a new nurse who was covering my ‘breastfeeding specialist’ class one week, spotted that my baby was 75 % tounge tie!!! Since her treatment everything settled and I could carry on. But I saw a couple of doctors, health visitors and I upset me to think that nobody bother to check this earlier.
January 8, 2013 at 3:42 am
I really wish this article had been written 6 months ago. I put myself through hell trying to make breastfeeding work. I never had good milk production – I also had a c-section and lost a lot of blood, almost requiring a transfusion. I had no idea that could affect my milk! I fed as often as my daughter wanted to eat, pumped, tried supplements, even made the ‘lactation cookies’ that my doctor gave me a recipe for. Nothing. Someone suggested acupunture, but I drew the line there. Then felt like a terrible mom for not trying EVERYTHING. I came close to quitting many times, but would chicken out, thinking that maybe the next day would be better. At 10 wks my daughter was given the dreaded ‘failure to thrive’ and that was when I finally gave in to formula. Now I have a beautiful, HAPPY, thriving 6 month old little girl. Thank you so very much for writing this and thank you to the commenters for sharing your stories. I can’t tell you how much better you made me feel!!
January 8, 2013 at 4:09 am
Some women just don’t produce enough milk and no amount of pumping, supplements or oatmeal will correct that. That has been the case with my first, and now I’m discovering the same issue with my second child. My pediatrician and LC both agree that it’s most important for the baby to get the nutrition that he needs, and if I don’t have enough milk, then formula is REQUIRED. I wish people would stop making moms feel bad for having difficulty breastfeeding or choosing not to. What’s most important is a healthy baby, it’s almost as if they’ve forgotten about that. You know, before formula they used wet nurses.
January 8, 2013 at 5:07 am
When my son was born, I saw a lactation consultant at the hospital for a whole five minutes, and the nurses gave me conflicting advice (and in some cases, not good advice). My OB-GYN wasn’t very helpful either. I just got told that the pain I was having was from a poor latch, but I could tell that wasn’t it. I finally figured it out from articles on LLL’s website, and after that, just looked there for answers instead of asking anyone. It was all very frustrating. My son is nearly 2 and still nurses at bedtime, and I attribute this to my own stubbornness.
January 8, 2013 at 5:33 am
I think that it is way better to receive a friendly pat and a formula prescription than to have a fanatic breastfeeding pediatrician who refuses to advise you on formula when you breasfeed for 20 days for hours on a row and the baby still cries all day and does not take adequate weight. Which is currently my sister’s case and I feel miserable for her (and she is miserable too of course). It is her third child and she never managed to breastfeed previously, even though she did try -and she still tries with her third. My own baby was crying for 3 weeks and we thought he was collicky, when I got lucky to find a really good pediatrician who explained he was hungry. I was starving my son for one month, despites the breastfeeding marathones. We started supplementing with formula and never looked back. I just cannot understand this “shut up and breastfeed your baby” mentality. It only results with a mother in agony and a starved baby. Where I live, formula used to be considered just fine and there was no “universal guilt” as you put it, until recently . Now we have this trend to humiliate mothers because they cannot breastfeed succesfully. My point is, if you don’t know why I cannot breastfeed, and if you cannot actually help me do it right for my baby, please give me the pat on the back any day.
Betsy Shaw says:
January 8, 2013 at 6:08 am
Thanks for offering us another side of the coin.
- Betsy Shaw says: January 8, 2013 at 6:08 am
January 8, 2013 at 5:57 am
It would be nice it Drs were a little more knowledgeable. Like breast feeding, they know little to nothing about female sexual dysfunction! I know that my trouble came from returning to work at 7 weeks. I powered through until DS weaned at 14 months., Ladies, do the best you can, but don’t feel ashamed if you need to use other means to feed your child. That is much more important than getting boobie medals!
Ann H says:
January 8, 2013 at 6:06 am
I worked for months, MONTHS, with my lactation consultant the first time around. Our first doctor brushed off weight gain issues and really wouldn’t work with me on it, until we spend a very difficult afternoon at a Children’s hospital.
We tried everything to increase my supply. We did home remedies, over the counter supplements, and two prescription drugs. One was approved by the FDA, but had horrible side effects. It worked, but at the cost of extreme exhaustion and some depression. The second drug was not FDA approved, I had to get from a special pharmacy and was not covered by insurance. At $100 per prescription, although it worked, we switched to formula since the cost was about the same.
That is part of the problem – there ARE prescription drugs out there that will help, ones with few side effects and are safe for mom and baby. But the FDA hasn’t gotten around to approving them yet.
It was a frustrating experience for me, one that left me upset and guilt ridden for a long time. Now I am due any day with #2 and hoping for the best, but know that if I have to supplement or fully formula feed, so be it.
I wish there was more support – and I had great experience with my lactation consultant. I just hope that others also have good resources.
January 8, 2013 at 6:32 am
Just a follow-up to comment #18- my mom’s late friend was the grandmother to a child that starved to death because breastfeeding wasn’t working and the parents and I suppose doctors didn’t know better. These were not neglectful people. It was a different age where they didn’t monitor baby’s growth as much.
Maybe doctor’s offering formula are just being cautious. Their biggest concern was baby getting fed.
Years ago noone wanted to even talk about postpartum depression. Thankfully, more care providers are talking about it, making referrals when necessary and mothers are getting the help they need. However, when postpartum depression is undiagnosed or it does not really kick in until after the first six months, there can be many mothers who continue to fall through the cracks. This is a great article about recognizing the signs of postpartum depression, a mother tells her story and helps us become more aware of this event happening in between 6 and 12 months postpartum.
About Katherine Stone
Katherine Stone is the founder of Postpartum Progress, is a nationally-recognized peer advocate for women who suffer mental illnesses related to pregnancy & childbirth, and is also a parenting writer for Strollerderby. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011 by Babble, and also as one of WebMD’s Health Heroes.+ Katherine Stone