#BreastIsBest: This lactation counselors take on this campaign.

Breast is best. (It is)

Fed is best. (It, also, is) 

Sancti-mommy wars. (It's a thing, y'all) 

It all begins with whether or not you breastfeed. If you are, you want attention and you think you are better than formula feeding moms. If you didn't breastfeed, then you feel like your constantly being judged at how you feed your baby, whether it's by choice or forced. Either way, it's a lose lose situation by moms judging other moms..... and if your breastfeeding, the prudes judging us nudist. 

If you don't want to breastfeed, that's perfectly fine. Your choice. Own it. Say it. Formula is fine, we are glad it is here. It has saved many babies. It has its fair share of problems (Stomach issues, especially gas/constipation and spitting up which results in many formula changes which results in more stomach issues... I could go on) What I don't understand is the ones who don't want to admit they didn't want to breastfeed and name problems (latch/milk supply etc) which results in new mamas thinking and assuming they are going to have the same problems because that's all they see "Well I tried to breastfeed but....." 

Im tired of tip toeing around this infant feeding issue and the only way to overcome it is to hit it head on... so here we go. Now I know, at this point in my post, I may have some pretty red faced mamas. Hear me out here..... seriously, don't X me out just yet. 

My job is to help support and educate on breastfeeding. That's my JOB. My PASSION. I wasn't born to do this, the passion was created with the birth of each my boys. So let me remind you a little of my breastfeeding journey then we will get back to my rant.... Ayden, my first born, was breastfed for maybeeeeee a week? I'm honestly not sure. I did in the hospital and went home breastfeeding only (I think) Around week 1 post partum I remember thinking, "I need to pump but how do you pump and still feed the baby? Won't there be anything in there?" Because he cluster fed so I knew that once I pumped, he would be hungry again and then I'd feed him that bottle because obviously, my boobs would be empty and then there went that bottle for work. WTH?! Little did I know. (Pssst, lactating woman's breast are never empty. mind=blown.) So anyways, I switched to formula because of that and going back to work at 2 weeks post partum. (Don't get me started on maternity leave in this country) With the impending birth of Ramsey, I was determined to breastfeed. I knew the benefits and I wanted to give him the best. I went in knowing it would be hard at first but it just had to get easier. In my mind, there was no alternative. We succeeded to 21 months. Bear is still nursing at 18 months with no end in sight. It was hard in the beginning, I was exhausted. Guess what? It had nothing to do with breastfeeding. #WelcomeToMotherhood. You MAY get a full night of sleep when you're 50. 

So, back to it.... why do you care why people state they didn't breastfeed?! I'm glad you asked (or thought) it. Let me explain.... Again, my job is to educate and support a breastfeeding mother, starting during pregnancy. It's very difficult to have a young mother trust me over her friends that are telling her how much they hated (or loved!) breastfeeding, that their milk never came in, it was super painful or whatever the reason was. I can say all this because I know the facts. Our bodies make milk. It's science. Whether you plan to breastfeed or not, you will produce milk. A pregnant woman starts making colostrum (the first milk) around week 20 of pregnancy. Once the baby is born and the placenta is delivered, the transition to mature "white milk" starts to occur. It's science. Very rarely, with extreme medical cases, will a woman NOT produce milk. Usually, we know in advance what we are up against. It takes a good 3-5 days, sometimes even 6 days for your milk to "come in". Before then, the colostrum and transitioning milk is enough and PERFECT for a newborn. The more the baby come to the breast and breastfeeds the faster that transition will occur. It's science. A rule of thumb on milk production, the more it's demanded (actively breastfeeding/pumping/hand expression) the more your body supplies it. Supply and demand. It's literally that simple. Seriously. Again, unless you have a serious medical condition like PCOS, serious hormone deficiency etc. When you add a bottle of formula consistently or skip nursing sessions/pumping sessions you are telling your body that it can "lay low" and not produce as much at that time, hence supply depletion. Again, It's science. 

Painful breastfeeding? First off, I'm so sorry! I know that sucks and I commend you for pushing through it, whether you made it all the way through or endured it for as long as you could. Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, at all. It's uncomfortable at first, maybe a bit sore but PAIN? No. Bad latch (possible lip or tongue tie) and bad positioning are most likely the problem and simply looking up breastfeeding, on a accredited website, to watching a video OR contacting your local breastfeeding counselor/consultant will help you tremendously! 

Baby won't latch? There are some cases that we have seen that babies refuse to latch and I have seen some that latch after several day or latch right from the start. Every baby is different and every nursing journey is different. Baby's come out knowing how to suck (remember that ultrasound picture of your baby sucking its thumb?) but breastfeeding is an act that takes 2. Mom and baby. It sometimes takes time, patience, practice and a little bit of love ;) If at first you have a hard time getting baby to latch, take a deep breath and try again. Try a new position, try skin to skin and baby self attaching, try a quiet room after all the family and friends have had their hands on baby, try hand expression and tempting baby.....I can go on. Does it always work? No, but that's when you get down and back to the basics with your lactation lady. 

Let me add, that any breastfeeding is better than none. Obtaining your personal breastfeeding goal is amazing, no matter how long that goal is/was. If you didn't want to breastfeed, fine. It's all good and was your decision to make for you and babe. Own it. If you have a medical issue and your milk didn't come in, it's okay! Say it. If your baby refused to latch, I'm so sorry. It's okay. Say it. If you aren't sure if your milk ever came in or you had to go back to work early and it was easier to formula feed, that's okay! Say it. If you feel you never had the support or education needed, that's okay. Say it. We are still learning new things about breastfeeding every day. We know more now than even a few years ago. Science and research are amazing things. 

Why do we care whether or not one breastfeeds? It's a public health thing. The more research being done shows us more and more the long term effects of breastfeeding. Less stomach issues as we age. Less ADD/ADHD in children. Less diabetes and obesity as we age. Less childhood and maternal cancers. It's a public health issue now and breastfeeding shows to be all around healthier for mom and baby (long after baby is weaned) which lowers medical cost and much much more. Breastfeeding increases skin to skin time which releases the feel good hormone of love and bonding (oxytocin) which helps the brain function at its optimal level for both mom and baby. We know these things now. When we know better, we do better. It's just that simple. 

The reason woman get so touchy on this subject (and other motherly subject) is because mom guilt sucks. So yes, I believe that Breast is best because it is. Feeding organic food and lean meats, no sugars or sodas is best as well. Do we go that far and only have organic food in our kitchen? Lord no. Ive got macaroni and cheetos coming out of my ears in my pantry. Ill speak it. No shame and no apologies. When you feel like you have screwed up or chose a less than stellar parenting choice or path, in any aspect of parenting, the feeling is awful and we automatically hit pissed off/mamabear mode. I feel you and I understand. I breastfeed but I don't cloth diaper. We don't start solids until 6/7 months but drink cows milk vs almond milk. I don't feed my kids organic food nor home school or private school them. We don't listen to classical music or even brush teeth everyday. (I'm working on that last part!) We have plenty of screen time and I probably don't protect them with sunscreen as well as I should. Im a mother and I am human. We do what works for us and fits with our family dynamics. YOU do the same. You do you boo boo. You. do. you. 

So breastfeeding is my passion and to share it, support it and help educate on it is my thing. So thank you, so very much, for reading to the very end. I know it was long and I appreciate YOU and your support in everything my bunch does. If you don't agree with what I've said, please do so respectively as I would show the same to you. 

Disclaimer: I am not asking anyone to sugar coat their answer or themselves when talking about their feeding choices. If you are rolling your eyes reading this then fine. Post what you want :) However, for those of us that like to better ourselves and look at things from a different perspective then I hope this helped. 

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