Low rate of breastfeeding costs US over $13 billion annually.

Tara - posted on 04/16/2011 ( 101 moms have responded )

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Breast-feeding for the first six months, by 90% of US women would save the life of 900 babies and billions of dollars every year.

Breast-feeding can prevent deaths and expensive illnesses which include stomach viruses, ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and even childhood leukemia.

Breast feeding has numerous health benefits such as antibodies in breast milk help babies to develop strong immune system; it also can affect insulin levels in the blood which causes less chance of obesity and diabetes to be develop in babies.

Around $13 billion is the estimated loss due to the low breast-feeding rate. The health authorities are trying several mediums to educate people about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Only 43% mothers in US give some breast feeding for six months, out of which only 12% go for only breast milk for their babies.

Dr. Larry Gray, a University of Chicago pediatrician, expressed that because of jobs and some other demands, it is impossible for the mothers to go for breast feed for six months for their babies.

Several medical associations urged Congress to reserve $15 million per year to support breastfeeding in the United States.

http://frenchtribune.com/teneur/1013-bre...

Now if only they could spend some of that 15 million on federal maternity leave programs so that when women do want to breastfeed to six months they can actually do it without having to go the bathroom at work and pump like mad just to ensure their baby gets breastmilk while they are working. Funding mat and paternity leave would do wonders for the low rate of breastfeeding in the US. To me that's a no brainer.

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Tara - posted on 04/17/2011

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@Karen Bond.

In Canada maternity and parental leave is not paid for by the "tax payers" it is paid into by employed people, in a program called "employment insurance" this means that when you are working a portion of your wage is deducted and put into the EI program. This is there for people who have lost their jobs, people who must take a sick leave and for people who take maternity leave or parental leave.

It pays you 55% of your previous gross income for a set number of weeks, depending on the reason for applying to EI. For mat and parental leave it amounts almost a year of leave. Which can be split between the parents or taken by one in full.

It is a way for the government to ensure that due to unemployment, illness or births, our work force is treated with respect. This is not a "hand out" this is OUR money.

If you are self-employed you can also pay into on your own, you pay more but in the end if you need it, it is still there for you.

I can't see why anyone would be opposed to an employment insurance policy to allow women to stay home.

If you live in the US and have no problem paying hundreds each month for health care coverage for your family, which is insurance in case you become ill etc. why would you have a problem paying into an insurance policy that protects people when they cannot work or when they are staying home to raise their infants? Countries around the world who use a federal insurance program for unemployment have fewer illnesses, fewer stress related illnesses and a generally healthier population. At a mere fraction of the cost of private health insurance. Mind boggling to me.

Mary - posted on 04/16/2011

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It's not that I'm against longer maternity leave in the US, but I disagree that it is the most driving factor behind why women are not breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months or longer.

I am a US mom who went back to work at 14 weeks, and breastfed exclusively for over a year. Most of my friends did so as well. I worked at a job where it was a little more challenging to pump; as a nurse, there are no set "breaks" or mealtimes. You do it (meaning pee, eat, pump - whatever) on the fly, when and if the opportunity presents itself. Yet somehow, I managed. Am I superwoman? No - it's just that giving her breastmilk was a priority to me.

Of the women I know who did not breastfeed, their decision to either stop or not start at all was made well before they had to go back to work. The issue of pumping had little, if anything to do with it. It was decision that was usually made in those initial few weeks (issue with latch, supply, fussy baby, or just plain not liking it). All of my friends who made it through that initial 6 weeks generally stuck with it, and going back to work had no impact on their ability to continue nursing.

For me, nursing was well established (and enjoyable) by the time I went back to work. There was no interruption or hardship of that for us. I had started to pump at around 3 weeks, and let either my husband or parents give her a bottle, so that was no big shock or transition on that first night I was gone. I was also skilled at pumping by then, so it took me, at most, 15 minutes, start to finish, to pump out those 12-16 oz (I obviously had no supply issues!).

I think the bigger issue is how committed you are to it, combined with how much support and encouragement you get from family and peers. For me, NOT breastfeeding was almost unthinkable, but that was because my mother, sister, and the large majority of my friends had all done it. They not only encouraged me, but on the rare occasion when I felt like chucking it (mostly in those first two weeks) that if they could do it, so could I.

[deleted account]

I find it incredible that it is simply not possible to have a debate about the political aspects of breastfeeding without women who had issues nursing feeling offended by it and lashing out. I don't think any mother should ever be patronised or belittled, but the truth is it happens to all of us all the time for all sorts of reasons. I empathise with any women who was going through the kind of hardship Sharon or Stephanie had to go through and I find it sad that your efforts weren't celebrated the way they should have. I live in Ireland were breastfeeding rates are extremely low, so I have no experience in the kind of negative attitude towards formula feeding you were referring to. Here, I am the odd-one-out, and still it is impossible to discuss the political, cultural or medical aspects of breastfeeding, because you might step on someones toes. I don't find this helpful. Discussions on how to improve breastfeeding rates are important because it IS a cost-factor for any nations healthservice. It also is a skill that we need to keep alive, times mightn't always be as good for us as they are now. This is not to be mistaken with a debate on how to force every women to breastfeed or how to best make those who can't feel like crap. That's a different debate. A valid one, but different.

Mary Renee - posted on 04/22/2011

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That's interesting Stephanie, why don't you take your own advice and IGNORE all the reports and threads about how great breastfeeding is and get over the fact that you couldn't do it? Maybe that sounds harsh but it sounds like that's what YOU are saying about breastfeeding mothers. I mean, I get it, I'm really sympathetic towards you and your breastmilk allergy, it's rare but I don't doubt it's possible, and in your situation I wouldn't feel any guilt about not nursing because you have a legitimate reason why you can't. However, obviously it needs to be restated over and over because women with less education are less likely to breastfeed and many times can benefit from it the most. It needs to be restated and put out there to normalize it because the vast majority of women who do not breastfeed aren't refraining because they have a breastmilk allergy.



All that aside though, just because one person can't breastfeed doesn't mean there shouldn't be studies like this (or that they are "crap" as you so eloquently put it) and people shouldn't continue to be educated on the fact that breast milk is the perfect combination of nutrients and temperature and good for the mom (99.9% of the time) as well. It's not to make you feel bad about not being able to breastfeed, it's just the facts, not something to be taken personally. If it bothers you maybe YOU should IGNORE it.



By the way, I think it's a lot easier to ignore a thread on circle of moms or an objective news paper article or study than it is to ignore an actual person or complete stranger staring at you and coming up to you to tell you they think your child is too old to be nursing. Which is more offensive? An objective survey or someone taking it upon themselves to inquire about size and color of your nipples and if your breast are saggy due to nursing a toddler? Which of those two things are easier to ignore? Which of those two things are supposed to be taken personally? Which of those are actually made to make someone feel bad?

[deleted account]

Ugh….it is so infuriating that there are still so many moms out there that still are on the breast-milk superiority complex and frown upon mothers who use formula, for whatever reason! No, it is NO ONE’S business how a baby is fed. Get off your high-horses and show more compassion and simple support for another mother feeding a baby, no matter her choice. Just because a majority of women support breastfeeding does not mean all women do. I’d rather a fed baby then a dead baby. If a mother decides of her own accord not to breastfeed, it’s not impacting you! If a mother has supply issues and all of the other problems that go along with nursing, well that stuff happens too. It happened to me. Nursing was not such an overwhelming bonding experience. I had huge supply issues and started off with a small baby anyway who ended up losing weight. And in post-partum depression and BAM-I started to resent nursing. I started to resent my son. I am not a lazy mom, I am not uneducated, and I sought help when needed. I went to nursing mother’s groups where all these women did was bash formula users, when in reality my son thrived on formula. I stayed home with him for 6 months and was absolutely bored. I hated being home; couldn’t wait to go back to work. I am fully educated on the benefits of breastmilk but it NOT always best. Yes, my son received breastmilk. I nursed for 9 months-but not exclusively. So now go ahead and line up his Kindergarten class and you’ll never know which kid was nursed and which kid had formula. In the grand scheme of things I think women need to be less catty than “Oh, YOU use formula!” All the studies, research, and education in the world about nursing would never change my mind if I have a future pregnancy.

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Sarah - posted on 04/26/2011

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@Erica - I know what you mean about being "jealous" of others who were able to BF successfully. Even though my son is 19 months old now, I still have a little jealousy towards my best friend who is BF her 13 month old. When I first stopped BF, I turned into this defensive formula feeding mama who hated breastfeeders lol. Every little mention of "breast is best" sent me over the edge.

When my son was born, I remember going into BF totally uneducated & with very little support. I had very little confidence in body to do what it was designed to do: feed my child! I stressed myself out & kept saying "I just can't do this, I just can't do this!" I had such a negative attitude & finally just said screw this.

When I have my next child, there will be no "I'm going to TRY to BF." My new attitude is "I WILL BF." I'm going into it with a whole new view of BF, more confidence, and a 100 times more knowledge than I had before.

Merry - posted on 04/26/2011

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The only babies who can not have breastmilk are babies with galactosemia, this is the only real allergy to mothers milk and it is extremely rare. And it is always evident within days of birth as the milk is simply not able to be used by the baby. If your baby is growing at all, keeping any breastmilk down then they are not allergic to your milk. They could be allergic to cows milk in your diet, but this is usually just an intolerance that they will grow out of.
Unless you have a diagnosis of galactosemia for your baby, the baby does not need soy formula.

Frances - posted on 04/25/2011

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My last child became lactose intolerant. Did you know they say you can continue nursing if the mother avoids dairy products?

Sylvia - posted on 04/25/2011

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@Erica -- I would try and line up support ahead of time, because as you found out, when you're in the thick of it trying to find help can be just too much. Where I live most hospitals with L&D floors also have IBCLCs on staff and on call, and BF clinics you can bring your baby to after you leave the hospital if you're having problems. If you have LLL in your area, you could call around to different Leaders and groups and try and find one you "click" with (a lot of people have not-so-great experiences with LLL Leaders -- I did myself, although I loved my LLL group itself, because she was ... not very supportive of mums going back to work, which I had to do at the end of my mat leave when DD was 13 months. So it's important to find a group/Leader you actually *like*). Arm yourself with good, helpful books -- So That's What They're For! by Janet Tamaro is excellent. Enlist friends who have had good BF experiences to be your cheerleaders.

A good friend of mine quit BF after about 4 months with her first baby, because she was having problems and didn't know where to go for help, and her mom (who never BF) kept saying things like "just go rest, and I'll give the baby a bottle!" (so her supply kept deteriorating), and they had this idiotic paediatrician who told them the baby was lactose intolerant (she wasn't, but it's possible she had a milk protein allergy -- although if so, she's now totally outgrown it) and needed soy formula. She had really wanted to nurse, though, and when she had her second baby she did a ton of research, lined up a support network (including me, since I was nursing a toddler by that time LOL), and gave it another try. And she ended up nursing baby #2 for more than a year :). Every baby is different, so you very well might have better luck with the next one :)

Erica - posted on 04/24/2011

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I really wanted to breast feed my daughter..at the hospital it was great, at home, it turned into torture. I became depressed cause I felt I was already starting out as a bad mother, cause Everytime she cried, I would start crying cause no matter what I did, it felt like I was be electricuted (?) - I was DEPRESSED - my family had to comfort me and tell me that I wasn't a bad mom for switching to formula. To this day I wish I was able to breast feed her, cause the formula was torture for her, cause the directions called for too much formula an ounce. She wound up being constipated because of it. My next one I'll try again, and I'm thinking I should start off pumping but I'm not sure. I just hope its a better experience.



Great for those that were able to, and a part of me harbors jealous feelings to those who were able to breast feed and bond more.



Edit to add* - I don't know if 6 months would work. But I don't have any real big experience in this.

Mary Renee - posted on 04/24/2011

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I'm sorry. I don't have an attitude, I think you're being defensive and it makes you interpret what I am saying incorrectly. It is a fact that formula does not provide the same benefits at breast milk and science and research has not led to a formula that equals the benefits of breast milk. This isn't an opinion or a holier than thou attitude, it's just the facts.



And honestly, I praise women like Stephanie who have such a difficult time with it including medical issues as severe as a breast milk allergy and STILL manage to give their child a months worth of breast milk. I think that's fantastic and her children are better off because of her dedication, one month of breast milk is certainly better than none.



That's why is should be a last resort. To me, this is our children we are talking about. These are the most precious things in our lives. Why wouldn't everyone attempt to give them what is best for them? The milk in your breasts is there to feed them, that's why your breast exist. I have already expressed that I think it's great that formula exist for those with medical reasons and those who have to go back to work and don't have any other choice. But that said I could never ever condone it as a first choice. I withhold my statement that it is and always should be a last resort. That's not to make mothers that need to use it feel guilty, as long as they tried that's all you can ask. But again - how can you argue against giving your baby what their body needs? I agree with Laura, it might be your first choice, but I doubt it's your baby's first choice.





http://www.bobrow.net/kimberly/birth/BFL...



This site might clear some things up about why I can not and will not understand people who "chose" not to breastfeed.



(please notice I used the word "chose" not "can't")

Jessica - posted on 04/24/2011

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Sharon. I agree. naive at best.



Also, some mothers don't breastfeed because they know they will have to stop.

Sarah - posted on 04/24/2011

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@Sarah C. - That's what I was thinking, too. I had heard that formula was more likey to cause cavities than breastmilk...mainly because some parents let their kids go to bed with a bottle and the milk sits on their teeth. That's why I was a little surprised at my friend's doctor's comment.

Merry - posted on 04/24/2011

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"For many mother’s formula is golden."
For many mothers- yes
But for every non galactosemic baby formula is not their first choice.

[deleted account]

“And I'm fairly certain that Postpartum Depression was probably due to being Postpartum, not due to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding usually does nothing but help.”

Really?! Glad to you know have been in my shoes, and countless other women who did suffer through post-partum depression due to breastfeeding issues, in addition to postpartum. Breastfeeding supply & stressadded to the depression. Your comment is insulting and quite frankly, naive.

“Let's be honest here. Formula is sub-par. Yes, there are tons of formula babies that turn out fine, in these debates I am well aware of all of the formula babies that are great and getting straight A's or WHATEVER. But science has yet to be able to create a formula that is equal to our breast milk. Formula is not an equal choice. It's a last resort.”

And here we go again with the ‘holier-than-thou’ name calling. For so many women, formula is a first choice and only choice whether they can nurse, and chose not to; or have issues warranting the use of formula. It is the condescending attitude that formula using mothers gripe about. “Sub-par” and “last resort”. Sorry-tell me how that is displaying a positive attitude? Any mother using formula has no impact on you and the way you feed your child. My hypothetical non-existent future child will be formula fed as a first choice, breastfed secondary-how does that impact you? Why make it your business? For many mother’s formula is golden.

Sarah - posted on 04/24/2011

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@Sarah and Frances, formula is much more likely to give babies cavities than breast milk. The reason some BF babies get cavities is because they generally feed more than FF babies do. A FF baby will sleep through the night, but a lot of BF will still wake for feeds (like my 1yo) A bottle before bed is a definite no, but a breast feed is okay, its when they continue to have feeds during the night that there can be problems. If you brush their teeth twice a day its not common :)

Agreed with Mary.. again :) Some of the comments are assumptions that us extended breast feeders didnt struggle!
The first couple of weeks of my daughters life were hell when it came to feeding! Because of my blood loss my milk didnt come in, i was expressing 20mils on day 7! The poor thing would suck for literally hours getting nothing, then i would pump for a while, give her that and return to breastfeeding. My nipples bled the whole time and i cried for hours in agony. My daughter had a sucking blister and that bled too. She lost a pound in the first week and i had no choice but to supplement with formula :(
Oh and i DID have depression! It wasn't technically PND it was like Antenatal depression that was still around after lol.
After my milk came in it was a bit better. I still had tp pump for 20 minutes after each feed to insure that my supply was strong and she gained the weight back. She fed every 1-2 hours, days and night and i pumped for over 4 months, up until i started her on solids. The whole experience those first few months was AWFUL! BUT i stuck with it purely because it was the best thing for her by far! I only used formula maybe 5 desperate times in the first couple of weeks and haven't touched the stuff since! She's nearly 13 months old, still having about 6 days feeds and 3 night feeds, and she also has cups of cows milk with her lunch sometimes.
There were a few happy months of breastfeeding where it was perfect! Probably about 4-11 months, and now i'm not enjoying it any more but will keep doing it because i know it is the best thing for my baby and that is all that matters.

Jessica - posted on 04/24/2011

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Please note my wording was more harsh than I would have liked in my last post. I was typing while the kids were napping which is suddenly the adults turn to play the "fix it" whining game. actually I didn't even mean to type "boo hoo" *sweat-drop*. We sub-rent a room out to a friend... who recently used a family members death to whine and bitch at me every chance she gets... and my husband whines in the other ear... and ooops. sorry.

As for the ups and downs. I was able to keep it up until my oldest was between two and three months old. I was supplementing, because I really didn't produce enough. in fact I only ever produced colostrum for all that time. I never got to the milk... on the plus side his immune system is great (mothers who get sick or have gotten sick a lot have lots to offer the immune system of their child... kinda makes it worth it for me...). I began to get transitional milk and bingo, I was practically living on a regime of antihistamines and creams for hives. with our second child, it was still MOSTLY colostrum (the rest transition) but I also had to start off pumping (and keep it up). He STILL won't touch a lactating boob to this day... but he tries to lach a normal NON lactating boob. I knew a friend of mine was pregnant before she told me because of his cuddle and no suckle thing with lactating breasts. I actually think it is kinda funny. I dried up, despite my fighting it, when he was 2 and 1/2 months old. I will try again with our next kid, BUT their is stigma on both sides.

When I breastfed (didn't matter if I covered or not) in public someone starred or commented, or glared, ect... and when I had to stop, the same reaction happened when I brought out the formula just this time it was because I WASN'T breastfeeding. and with my pumped milk I got it the same because I didn't just whip it out, and apparently ppl think that makes it less valuable. After awhile I just learned that they would never be happy.

Post pardom depression has been under fire before and since it's recognition as legit. It happens regardless. if you will get it you will get it. HOWEVER, some ppl DO have the weirdness where something triggers it. Anything that effects your hormones effects it.

Downsides to baby? Say you are sick. Your immune system is building theirs. Same rules apply as when you are pregnant. if you are sick, THEY are sick. If you have it, THEY have it. while their are treatments for this (for women who have certain conditions), it IS something to consider. It is very mentally taxing for YOU as MOM if you get so sick you have to take something and have to stop or pump and toss while taking it (the guilt is immense). Actually the allergy kinda runs in the family though the doctors haven't figured it out yet. I was allergic to my mother milk, my aunt was allergic, but my uncles kids were all fine... so they think it is carried and passed through the females of our family.

This is not the only reason for not being ABLE to breastfeed though. what about the single moms who try but can't, or just don't have time to try? What about those who have hormonal issues that cause them to get depressed when their hormones are so wierd? the list goes on. In the days of old THAT is what a wet-nurse was for.... that and kids whose mothers died in birth.... or who were abandoned. And did you know stress effects your ability to produce good milk? it is endless... on both sides.

The issue has two sides and both sides need to be said for proper "debate" as you put it. I call it a "conversation" as debates are simply glorified arguments, however that is besides the point. The point it breast milk is a gift some mothers don't HAVE the honor of giving. And I don't think that would have been so hard for me to accept if I had never breastfed and been forced to stop. I cannot say it is harder than having a baby and never trying it because I will give them what I can give, but the issue itself has caused the suicides of many women.

As for the comment about ignoring it? please keep in mind that I had two full grown adults older than my whining in my ears and some of those posts are more whining than conversation.

If you don't like my statement that, although the scales of pro's and cons differ, their are bad and good things to both formula and breast-milk. Breast feeding also has downsides. granted, those vary person to person, BUT they are their, and ignoring them, and blaming moms who can't (this is the most common opinion I have come across in daily life... the "i am better than you" and the "blame" opinions... makes me wish karma acted faster...) breast-feed is wrong, but it happens.

If women who can't breastfeed are told to suck it up and deal then I don't think it is so wrong that the ones that DO breastfeed should be told the same. I mean, people actually do MORE than stared and whisper MORE often when you formula or bottle feed. Having seen both ends I see no reason to sugar coat or hide this. the difference IS that those who breast feed are able to focus on "this is better than formula for my baby" and moms who cannot.... well they can't do that... and yet with no such thought to focus on, we have to "suck it up and deal" because all the support groups are for moms who CAN breastfeed (at-last where I live... and trust me. When I was in my dark place, we looked). I had a woman try to HIT me because I told her she could NOT breastfeed my kid for me (a complete stranger mind you) because not only was I still trying to pump it out, but I was bonding with him, and had NO idea who she was or WHY she even had the gall to ask. so yes. I disagree with the prissy foo foo sunshine idea about breastfeeding. I agree that it is better for most babies, BUT I disagree with how it is presented, how the negative points are ignored, and how it often turns into "he/she starred at me". Dude. it is a BOOB. The nipple kinda looks like a bulzi and they are designed to DRAW ATTENTION.... so not everyone who stares is doing it because they don't like it, but some do it out of sheer fascination too. omg I typed a lot. bed time.

Mary Renee - posted on 04/23/2011

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It's interesting that people assume that women that breastfeed and/or practice extended breastfeeding had an easy go with it and don't understand the difficulties some people have. But the fact that there are difficulties doesn't make it a "downside," at least not in my opinion. And I'm fairly certain that Postpartum Depression was probably due to being Postpartum, not due to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding usually does nothing but help.

I understand the difficulties. I had a breast reduction when I was 17 due to severe scoliosis due to to my overly large breast (I was 110 pounds with FF breast, it's true... If Barbie was real she would collapse or develop scoliosis)

Because of my breast reduction, I was terrified that I wasn't going to be able to nurse, which increased my anxiety and I always wondered in the beginning if I had a low supply due to my surgery. Mentally it was anguishing. I couldn't just "assume" that I had a good supply and that everything was normal because everything wasn't normal, I had a large percentage of my milk ducts missing.

My daughter would nurse every hour and a half FOR an hour. Which gave me a half an hour in between to change her diaper and grab another bottle of water before I was nursing her again. I couldn't do anything in the first few weeks. At her one month check-up even the pediatrician was telling me to "give myself a break" and supplement with formula. I SERIOUSLY thought about it, especially when I was so tired and I had milk blebs and I would literally CRY every time my daughter nursed from the right side (it was more prone to milk blebs)

But the body (particularly the breast) are a truely amazing
thing! In spite of missing milk ducts from my breast reduction, the constant nursing really increased the supply of the milk ducts I still had left. I exclusively breastfed for 6 months, in which I started solids, and I'm still nursing her now and she's about to turn one in two weeks - in spite of the fact that half of my breast have been removed!

Now I understand that this would be nearly impossible for a woman that needs to return to work. I personally had very little luck pumping (I only got 1-2 oz and I pumped every day)

But I think that the problem is that breastfeeding isn't considered the "norm." It's considered this thing like "Good for you if you do it but you don't have to." I just don't agree with that, I think that's the wrong attitude and it's why we have such low rates. I think if you have the luxury of maternity leave and healthy breasts than breastfeeding should be the only viable option that comes into mind. Let's be honest here. Formula is sub-par. Yes, there are tons of formula babies that turn out fine, in these debates I am well aware of all of the formula babies that are great and getting straight A's or WHATEVER. But science has yet to be able to create a formula that is equal to our breast milk. Formula is not an equal choice. It's a last resort. And thank god that it exist for those who need it and those who have no choice but to go back to work.

Sarah - posted on 04/23/2011

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@Frances - oh wow really? Hmmm...that's interesting. I guess that could be true in some cases then. I'd be interested to see what other BF moms have to say about BF & their children's teeth. But, that might be for another debate lol.

Frances - posted on 04/23/2011

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Sarah, there may be some truth to the teeth thing. I nursed my youngest at least twice a night until 15 months old. His front four teeth had cavities. It looked like a case of baby bottle mouth and he never did drink from a bottle.

Sarah - posted on 04/23/2011

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@Sara H. - it's sad that even doctors dispense horrible & misinformed advice regarding BF. I was one of those whose kid was NOT back up to his birth weight by 2 weeks...in fact he was 6oz less. I was told to supplement with formula...aaaaand it just went downhill from there. :(

My best friend is still BF her 13 month old, and the doctor told her to stop BF him, because it was going to ruin his teeth?! WTF?!

Donna - posted on 04/23/2011

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i originally was not going to breast feed my youngest daughter but decided to give it a try anyway. i actually think its more convienient, especially now that she walks. she wants a boob she can come to me, she wakes in the night, i just give here a boobie, no having to get up out of bed and walk all the way down stairs to make her a cup. actually i think breast feeding has made me lazier haha

[deleted account]

I just skimmed the responses...

In my personal experience women don't breastfeed for two reasons:
1. sexualization of breasts in our society
2. mis-information

In the past year, two people I know chose not to breastfeed because they were "uncomfortable" with it. Why? In my opinion (and this is my opinion, it may be wrong) they had a hard time separating the sexual function of the breast from breastfeeding.

The second reason...mis-information. These are actual quotes from people I know. "I've already had to change my diet during pregnancy, I'm just ready to eat what I want again." And "The baby is not back to his birth weight after two weeks. Doc says I'm not producing enough."

And I agree with the OP. Better maternity leave would be beneficial to moms who want to nurse. A good friend who chose to go back to work was devastated when her supply dwindled at 4 months. She just couldn't pump enough and baby wasn't creating enough demand during their few hours together at home.

Frances - posted on 04/23/2011

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It is rough for the first month. My second child was a barracuda style nurser. She literally nursed so hard that she made water blisters on my nipples and popped them! :( The pain was definitely more severe than labor.
My fourth baby liked to eat. I literally spent eight hours a day for the first month doing nothing but nursing. He was two years old before he slept through the night.

Merry - posted on 04/23/2011

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I was told that the oxytocin released while breastfeeding prevented and treated ppd. Isn't oxytocin the 'happy chemical?' that said, I was quite depressed after eric was born, I did breastfeed successfully after a few weeks, but I think the depression was more because I wasn't sleeping enough.

Mary - posted on 04/23/2011

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Mary Renee, the truth is, there are some negatives to breastfeeding, and I for one think part of the biggest issue in why some women stop is that many advocates either gloss over them, or flat out ignore them.

Why is this a problem? Well, for that first time mom, who starts out thinking "It's totally natural, our bodies were meant to do this", and has this rosy picture in her head of Mommy smiling down at her peaceful baby....reality is a bit of kick in the ass.

For a large number of us, breastfeeding, in those initial few weeks is hard. I had been an L&D nurse for years by the time I had my daughter. As I've said before,all of my family (and my husband's), as well as about 95% of my friends breastfed. I still was totally unprepared for day 3. My milk came in on the way home from the hospital; I know the second it happened, because I suddenly felt like utter crap. I was shaky, and developed a low grade fever. No infection, and it passed in a couple of hours, but I was so unsteady I didn't trust myself to carry up a flight of stairs.

Then, my perfect little infant, who was only nursing about every 3-4 hours in the hospital, and had rarely cried, became this little wailing banshee, who wanted to nurse just about every freaking hour. Now, I can look at this objectively 2 years later, and say that it was all totally natural. She was cluster feeding in order to increase my supply. However, at the time, I was exhausted in a way I had never been before, and in those wee hours of the morning, when the rest of the world is asleep, insecurity and paranoia set in. Was I doing something wrong? Was she not getting enough? By about day 5, my nipples were so sore and chapped, I thought I was going to die! I have normal nipples, and her latch was fine, but those poor nips were not used to that amount of abuse (thank God for Lanisoh!) I became convinced that this "natural" process was something I was not capable of doing. No one really told me how hard this was going to be; all I had ever heard was how great it was, how much everyone loved the bonding and closeness of it, how much easier it was to simply roll over and pop a boob in their mouth than to get up and fix a bottle, how much better it was nutritionally for the baby, how it would help me lose all the baby weight, how it would help boost her immune system and IQ.....and on and on and on....

Now luckily, my mom only lived a few miles away, and was probably one of the most pro-breastfeeding women who ever lived. She was great with giving me a more realistic picture, and assuring me that everything was normal, without lecturing, or trying to blow sunshine up my ass. She was also the only person who I could call in my more desperate moments at 5am - not too many people want to talk to you that early in the day, but she was always and early bird!

I got through those first few weeks, but it was not always easy. And yes, I did finally get to that blissful period where it is almost effortless, and something to be enjoyed. However, I can easily see where others, who do not have the same support system I did would chuck it. And honestly, I had no real physical "issues". I just wasn't expecting it to be so challenging.

One of the first things I tell patients who are first-time moms since I had my daughter is about how hard it can be in the beginning - and how totally normal that is. It's not about focusing on the negatives, but rather giving a more realistic picture of what to expect.

Frances - posted on 04/23/2011

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For me, the downside was the limited diet I had to be on and nursing lowered my resistance. I was sick a lot more when I was nursing than when I wasn't.

[deleted account]

@Mary Renee Reuter- I have to share that one downside of nursing is post-partum depression. It's not fair to dismiss one mother's experience because other mothers are successful milk machines. For the sake of the mother's health, and ultimately the baby's health, post-partum depression plays an integral part of feeding and bonding. Hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes. With that being said, my limited milk production and subsequent post-partum depression lead me to the decision to only have one child. Well, in addition to PPD impacting my marriage, early bonding months, several pregnancy losses prior. In the event I ever have an "oops" pregnancy, I would not even consider breastmilk as a first choice. As it is your choice to nurse, it is another mother's choice to use formula whether she can, or cannot produce milk. I'd rather have a happy formula fed baby and a happy mom then go through the hell of PPD.

Mary Renee - posted on 04/23/2011

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I would really like to know the supposed "downside" the breastfeeding or what the "drawbacks" are that you're referring to in your post, Stephanie.



I just re-read what you're wrote and one part is really striking to me:



"women who can't breast feed are ignored their plight while women who do are coddled. just feed your kids and IGNORE the stares knowing YOU can call the police if they try anything. boohoo cry over it if you need to and them get over it. "



Uh... just feed our kids and ignore the stares knowing we can call the police if they try anything!?!? I don't even know where to begin with this... what exactly is it that people are going to try, why do you think we should be forced to call the police because someone is staring at us and is going to "try" something? That whole statement is really weird to me, it sounds kind of like a drunk person talking. So let me understand what you're saying. It bothers you that breastfeeding mothers don't want to be harassed when they're feeding their children. And in this hypothetical situation you've created the harassment has the potential to lead to them "trying something" bad enough that it would merit a call to the police? You think we should either suck it up and take the harassment or call the police?! What are you talking about here? Then you added "Boohoo, cry about it?"



I think you have a lot of guilt about not being able to breastfeed and you shouldn't. Your plight is not ignored, there are dozens of formula manufacturers that would love to sell you their product. But while you shouldn't feel guilty, you also shouldn't project your feelings onto other people. Basically you're saying because you had a breastmilk allergy, breastfeeding mothers should be subjected to harassment and threats that merit a call to the police, but we shouldn't worry about it because we can always call the police? Why should we ever be in a situation where we need to call the police to feed our child in peace?

Charlie - posted on 04/22/2011

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Oh that makes sense Kathy I didnt realize that America wasnt a signatory to the WHO Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitues , I always wondered how they got away with it .

Sarah - posted on 04/22/2011

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Geeze Stephanie! No need to be so defensive! We're not attacking YOU because you were unable to breastfeed, we are DISCUSSING the facts and statistics of formula vs breastfeeding. NOT for the women who can't do it! I am very grateful that formula is around and is as good as it is because of those women like yourself who have a legitimate inability to breastfeed. Clearly our problem is with those who choose not to breast feed because of the myths surrounding breastfeeding, or for personal gain.
I don't think anyone will be killing themselves over this thread! Really, that's just a ridiculous thing to even suggest.
So STOP attacking us for having our opinions and if you are actually offended by this then as Mary said
JUST IGNORE IT! Don't open a thread about breastfeeding if you can't handle the topic or comments!
I agree with everything Mary said, it is a hell of a lot easier to ignore a damn thread than the crap we get every single time we feed our kids in public.
And, i would be very interested to hear what the downside of breastfeeding is for the babies! My daughter had a sucking blister once! Is that what you mean? Because i would take that sucking blister any day over the constant colds and ear infections the babies i know on formula get...

Jessica - posted on 04/22/2011

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Thank-you for contributing to the reason many moms feel EVEN WORSE than they already would about not being able to breastfeed for one reason or another, because of people needing to restate over and over again about how great breastfeeding is and how much better it is to breastfeed.... and how much better off those kids are, and nothing about any of the bad things to ever happen because a child was breastfed.

I understand the public problems with it, but this is talked about and talked about, and the women who can't breast feed are ignored their plight while women who do are coddled. just feed your kids and IGNORE the stares knowing YOU can call the police if they try anything. boohoo cry over it if you need to and them get over it. if it wasn't that then they would find SOMETHING ELSE to find a problem with. I am allergic to my own breast milk, but BECAUSE of crap like this from the government, WIC will tell me "no your not" with a doctors note supporting that I am sitting right in front of them. My oldest inherited my allergy and my body dried it up out of self preservation with our sec our child (obviously I tried to breastfeed despite my allergy). I breastfed while I could, however I have traveled the circle of those who cannot and people KILL themselves over not being able to breastfeed. their IS a downside to breastfeeding you know.... on the babies end too. breastfeeding is NOT the magical thing they tell you it is with no drawbacks for your child.

Frances - posted on 04/22/2011

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I agree with maternity leave reform. I'm so glad I was a SAHM, especially after my first two births. I think if I had a regular job, I would have been fired. After my second one, I was sick and running a fever for ten days of every month for six months. What employer is going to tolerate someone missing a week of work every month for six months after the baby is born? Even with a doctor's excuse, I think I would have been fired.

Sarah - posted on 04/22/2011

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wow 9 kids! thats awesome :)
why were they never satisfied? was there a medical reason? and how old were they when you decided they weren't satisfied? I'm just curious because i have never heard of anything that would cause all 9 of your kids to be unsatisfied with your milk! I would be very interested to hear why :)

Mary Renee - posted on 04/22/2011

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I agree too, we definitely need some sort of maternity leave reform. Additionally we need to encourage breastfeeding and the ability to pump. I can bet you anything that my old waitressing job wouldn't allow me to pump!

There is not enough support for breastfeeding in this country, it's freaking ridiculous. I've had women tell me that my breasts are going to get saggy and my nipples are going to be huge and I just look at them like "Dude, we aren't even that close... why are you telling me about my nipples?"

My own boyfriend gets so uncomfortable if I nurse in public too. And you know what I just noticed? After years and years of sex education in highschool they never ONCE talked to us about breastfeeding! Condoms, birth control, IUDs, STDs... can they please talking about breastfeeding?

I think women aren't educated about it because not enough women nurse in public. Before I had my daughter I honestly had no idea what a task it would me. I think had I know that I'd be nursing her every two hours for the first few months, it wouldn't have felt so overwhelming and unexpected, and maybe less people would stop or give up. Now this is totally different than the situation where people HAVE to give up because of work. It's not right. I feel like the people who could benefit the most from the affordability of breastfeeding are the once that are robbed of the chance because they financially can not afford the time off. It's a freaking shame.

By the way, I'd just like to say that thanks to breastfeeding that I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight after just a few months AND my pre-pregnancy measurements as well. In this whole debate they sometimes leave out the benefits to the mother, including the fact that her uterus shrinks back faster and she lowers her risk of breast cancer!

[deleted account]

I think one of the reasons for the low rate of breastfeeding is the fact that the United States is one of a few major industrialised nations who has not become a signatory to the WHO Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitues (developed 1981)
Generally, this Code recommends:
 NO advertising of breast milk substitutes directly to the public.
 NO free samples to mothers.
 NO promotion of products in health care facilities.
 NO company "mothercraft" nurses to advise mothers.
 NO gifts or personal samples to health workers.
 NO words or pictures idealizing artificial feeding, including pictures of infants on the products.
 Information to health workers should be scientific and factual.
 All information on artificial feeding, including the labels, should explain the benefits of breastfeeding, and the costs and hazards associated with artificial feeding.
 Unsuitable products, such as condensed milk, should not be promoted for babies.
 All products should be of a high quality and take into account the climatic and storage conditions of the country where they are used.
http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/20...
Another is, very obviously, the lack of adequate information and downright misinformation about breastfeeding. The fairly limited maternity provisions would probably have a role to play.
Bearing in mind all of this, it really behoves any mother who plans to breastfeed to get all the information she can off her own bat, because she’s not going to get it from the medical profession. Government agencies generally seem to me (an Australian looking in!) to be not very supportive of breastfeeding.
So it becomes a much more challenging process than it should to feed your baby – not only are there the challenges of getting your body and your baby in sync, there are the challenges provided by society. All power to those who give it a go!

Delia - posted on 04/21/2011

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Remember that it takes approximately 3 months (12 weeks) to fully establish the milk supply. That extra month and a half can make a difference for women transitioning to pumping adequate amounts of milk with a machine, rather than feeding their baby directly (pumps don't empty the breast the way a baby does).

Good for you for having the resolve and commitment to give your baby human milk only for that first year! I hope you are working postpartum so that you are sharing your knowledge and example with new moms who may not believe it to be possible.

Charlie - posted on 04/21/2011

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Another thing I find interseting is the amount of free samples you get in America of formula .......It is absolutely not allowed in Australia ....toddler milk yes but anything for children below a year old is off limits , it suprises me when I hear people say they recieve whole tins in the mail and in hospital .

Sylvia - posted on 04/21/2011

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It's so interesting to me that someone posts *actual statistics* on the *systemic costs* of the US's low breastfeeding rates, and wonders whether a *systemic change* in support for new mums would be helpful, and some people still interpret the post as an attack on mums who formula feed.

No one is saying (well, most of us are not saying, anyway) that you are a bad mum if you don't breastfeed, or if you quit before six months. We all understand that some people do have genuine problems. But I don't think it's an attack, or being unsupportive, to point out that ceteris paribus, it's very likely BF rates would be higher if public nursing weren't seen as taboo and/or if mums who do want to nurse got more/better support.

Take my DH's great-niece (yeah, you read that right. He's from one of those really spread-out families). She's 19, and had her first baby last year. She started out nursing, but she quit after only a few weeks. Why? Well, I'm guessing it might have something to do with her mother and grandmother constantly offering to give the baby a bottle, and DH's family's weird custom of always taking babies into another room to nurse (which caused DN to miss 3/4 of her own baby shower, OMG), and her mother and grandmother encouraging her to leave the baby with one or the other of them all the time and telling her she was feeding the baby too often and she wasn't gaining weight fast enough ... All the same sh*t they tried on me when DD was a baby, only I was 9 years older and had a knowledgeable and supportive family on my side, so I was able to just sit there and nurse my baby in the living room (discreetly -- not with the boobies hanging out or anything) and pretend I didn't understand their snide comments. Lots and lots of new mums don't have the advantages I had, of a sister who'd nursed two kids past age 4, of an awesome LLL group and encouraging friends online, of having given birth in a hospital with an on-site lactation clinic that I could go to any time I was having problems. Of course there will always be women who don't want to nurse (there always have been -- that's why there were wet-nurses!). Those of us who advocate for more and better BF support for new mums have in mind the mums who WANT to nurse but end up quitting when the going gets tough because instead of having a support network to help and encourage them, they're surrounded by people who say (as a doctor said to my grandmother 69 years ago when my mom was a baby, causing her to not nurse any of her subsequent children either), "Why are you making such a fuss about this? Just give the baby a bottle already!"

Melissa - posted on 04/21/2011

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I honestly think a lot of the low BF'ing numbers can in part, be attributed to the "taboo" surrounding BF'ing. A local radio station had a FB comment about whether it was acceptable to nurse in public and wow, did it spark debate.

I get tired of hearing people say its just too hard. Yes, there are circumstances where nursing doesn't work. My SIL was extremely jealous of my ability to nurse with ease because she physically couldn't. But really, before bottles how did a baby survive? Yes, from the nourishment provided by their mother or in some cases, a wet nurse. Regardless, there was no dependence on modern medicine to formulate a generic fit for all babies formula.

Too many people have this stigma thinking nursing is instinct, baby will come out and magically both mom and baby will know what to do. Its not like that and properly educating people may give them the strength to get past the first difficult 6 weeks. Personally, I find after nursing is established, its significantly easier than bottle feeding - you don't have to worry about buying formula, sterilizing bottles, mixing formula, ect. ect, ect. Its on demand, its the right temperature and more importantly, it teaches us to slow down and enjoy our children in a time where everything moves so fast. It leads to developing healthy bedtime routines because everyone is forced to sit down, slow down and relax. In cases where moms CAN BF, I think too often formula is used as a crutch.

I also get tired of the (IMO) cop out of "my parents did it this way and I survived". Yeah, you certainly did, but as time wears on and we learn more, we learn that those attitudes are often misinformed. Once upon a time our parents played with Mercury - do we let our kids now? No, because we've since learned its harmful. Our parents often didn't use carseats. Is it acceptable now? No, because kids are proven to be safer to be restrained, especially now that we travel at higher speeds and more often. Its all relative to what we know at the time and we are aware that breastfeeding is advantageous in more ways than be understood in previous generations.

If you absolutely cannot nurse, then yes, use formula. I'm not going to knock you for that. However, I think we need to get past the stigma of BF being "weird" or "odd" or "gross" and encourage it. Its natural, after all!

Melissa - posted on 04/21/2011

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I honestly think a lot of the low BF'ing numbers can in part, be attributed to the "taboo" surrounding BF'ing. A local radio station had a FB comment about whether it was acceptable to nurse in public and wow, did it spark debate.

I get tired of hearing people say its just too hard. Yes, there are circumstances where nursing doesn't work. My SIL was extremely jealous of my ability to nurse with ease because she physically couldn't. But really, before bottles how did a baby survive? Yes, from the nourishment provided by their mother or in some cases, a wet nurse. Regardless, there was no dependence on modern medicine to formulate a generic fit for all babies formula.

Too many people have this stigma thinking nursing is instinct, baby will come out and magically both mom and baby will know what to do. Its not like that and properly educating people may give them the strength to get past the first difficult 6 weeks. Personally, I find after nursing is established, its significantly easier than bottle feeding - you don't have to worry about buying formula, sterilizing bottles, mixing formula, ect. ect, ect. Its on demand, its the right temperature and more importantly, it teaches us to slow down and enjoy our children in a time where everything moves so fast. It leads to developing healthy bedtime routines because everyone is forced to sit down, slow down and relax. In cases where moms CAN BF, I think too often formula is used as a crutch.

I also get tired of the (IMO) cop out of "my parents did it this way and I survived". Yeah, you certainly did, but as time wears on and we learn more, we learn that those attitudes are often misinformed. Once upon a time our parents played with Mercury - do we let our kids now? No, because we've since learned its harmful. Our parents often didn't use carseats. Is it acceptable now? No, because kids are proven to be safer to be restrained, especially now that we travel at higher speeds and more often. Its all relative to what we know at the time and we are aware that breastfeeding is advantageous in more ways than be understood in previous generations.

If you absolutely cannot nurse, then yes, use formula. I'm not going to knock you for that. However, I think we need to get past the stigma of BF being "weird" or "odd" or "gross" and encourage it. Its natural, after all!

Sarah - posted on 04/21/2011

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Even though I *thought* I had a mindset of no formula, I still gave in & gave it to him after about 2 weeks. The more and more I supplemented, I found myself in a downward spiral & TRULY thought I wasn't producing enough. It was a cycle I couldn't get out of no matter how hard I wanted to continue BF. It was extremely disappointing...AND I was a SAHM. :(

I am so proud (and a bit jealous lol) of my best friend who is still BF her 13 month old. She went through hell & back trying to get her son to BF...but once she got past those rough first few months, it was a breeze. She even works full time as a teacher. Fortunately, she has a VERY supportive work environment, so I know that makes a big difference for her.

Merry - posted on 04/21/2011

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Sarah, that was my mindset too, I felt formula wasn't an option so must didn't consider it when I was struggling. I didn't get alot Ochs pin the hospital and I had extreme pain when he nursed, but I thought I would just get over it and learn to lice with it and all of a d
Sudden it got better! I got through clogged ducts, growth spurts, cluster feedings, mastitis twice, and I never thought I had to give-up,I figured my body is designed to feed my baby so all these issues have to be fixable.

Frances - posted on 04/20/2011

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I breastfed all four of my babies for a year or more. I just wanted to say that it is not a guarantee that they will not have asthma or allergies. My son developed eczema at six weeks old and he was exclusively breastfed. He also has asthma. Two of my other kids also have allergies. I hope they are less severe than they would have been, but breastfeeding is no guarantee against allergies.

I had problems at first too. I had nipples so sore, the pain was more severe than labor. My second one was a barracuda style nurser. She sucked so hard that she made blisters on my nipples and popped them. All my babies also had problems with colic for nine months. I really wonder if it was my milk since all four of them had colic. To prevent colic, I had to be on a very strict diet. I could not have any nuts, beans, peanuts, apples, most fruits, green vegetables, and my second one also could not tolerate it if I had eggs or milk. They would have green stools, be very fussy, and sometimes have projectile vomiting. If I avoided all those foods, my babies were fine. For vegetables I had to live on potatoes, carrots, and corn. Meat was my only source of protein with my second one.

Debby - posted on 04/20/2011

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The length on leave is certainly a valid point...when the body is not fully recovered from childbirth anyhow, why are we demanding moms go back to work?
I think I MIGHT have some insight-it has been just over 20 years since I bf my kids, and my daughter is bfing the first grandson now. I am amazed at the differences in nursing technique being taught in the hospitals now...nurse only one side, for as long as the baby wants is what daughter was taught. Me, again 20-25 years ago, nurse 15 minutes on each side...and let's face it, ladies, some (most) babies just need to suck!
Neither of us has had difficulties with bf---but work has NOT accommodated any better in those years. We are still going to bathrooms! Perhaps bosses should take their lunches in the same place.
But I think the real issue is that your parents' parents generation thought and was taught that formula was better!
I was one of few who opted for breast is best, even those few years ago. Had people argue that I was not "doing right by my babies or even husband"!
We need to educate! Breast is best--the most complete food baby can have, but Mommys need info and encouragement. I would love to see the day when getting a baby on bottle in the hospital is outside the norm.
Fortunately, my daughter is starting down the path to become a certified lactation consultant..maybe the future will brighten!

Debby - posted on 04/20/2011

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The length on leave is certainly a valid point...when the body is not fully recovered from childbirth anyhow, why are we demanding moms go back to work?
I think I MIGHT have some insight-it has been just over 20 years since I bf my kids, and my daughter is bfing the first grandson now. I am amazed at the differences in nursing technique being taught in the hospitals now...nurse only one side, for as long as the baby wants is what daughter was taught. Me, again 20-25 years ago, nurse 15 minutes on each side...and let's face it, ladies, some (most) babies just need to suck!
Neither of us has had difficulties with bf---but work has NOT accommodated any better in those years. We are still going to bathrooms! Perhaps bosses should take their lunches in the same place.
But I think the real issue is that your parents' parents generation thought and was taught that formula was better!
I was one of few who opted for breast is best, even those few years ago. Had people argue that I was not "doing right by my babies or even husband"!
We need to educate! Breast is best--the most complete food baby can have, but Mommys need info and encouragement. I would love to see the day when getting a baby on bottle in the hospital is outside the norm.
Fortunately, my daughter is starting down the path to become a certified lactation consultant..maybe the future will brighten!

Suzie - posted on 04/20/2011

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as the mother of Two i had mat lweave of 8 weeks with my daughter but had to return to work after two weeks with my son (as i had no mat leave that was paid )that being said at 22 months i cut my daughter off as i was ready and so was she my son is 7.5 months old and has never had formula and no planes to give him any it is the idea in America that you give up your freedom that has kept most of my friends from breast feeding or it was just not convinate. it is one more sign of the decine of family values in the US

Suzie - posted on 04/20/2011

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as the mother of Two i had mat lweave of 8 weeks with my daughter but had to return to work after two weeks with my son (as i had no mat leave that was paid )that being said at 22 months i cut my daughter off as i was ready and so was she my son is 7.5 months old and has never had formula and no planes to give him any it is the idea in America that you give up your freedom that has kept most of my friends from breast feeding or it was just not convinate. it is one more sign of the decine of family values in the US

Sarah - posted on 04/20/2011

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Thanks Laura! I hope there's more like me too :)

I guess I was lucky. I was in hospital for a week after having Ceili and every nurse on the ward was trained to teach me how to breastfeed, so i got a week of lessons, plus antenatal classes, and i was breastfed for 3 years lol. I never needed a lactation consultant at all, not even when i had issues like my milk didnt come in for a couple of weeks, we went through snacking, being lazy, nursing for hours, minor mastitis, and biting; and we got through :)



Oh that's another pattern i'm seeing! Women who were breastfed as babies seem to be much more likely to breastfeed their own kids! I Here so many formula feeding mothers saying 'i turned out fine' as their way of justifying it. wow!



I guess if you start with the right mindset, and not even considering formula as an option, other than the absolute last resort, then it's easier to get through the hurdles :)

Merry - posted on 04/20/2011

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Oh and to Sarah, I'm more then thrilled for you to prove me wrong!lol, I shouldn't have said no teen moms exc,usive,y breastfeed, that was a bad way to say it. And I hope there's more like you out there I'm just not seeing! Thanks :)

Merry - posted on 04/20/2011

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Sharon, when everyone is so pushy about how moms feed their babies it's not because they are trying to run someone else's life.
It's just that people have the need to advocate for babies. Babies are not able to talk, they have no real voice in the world. So some people feel it's everyone's job to be there to support what babies need. And women are always going to get upset when someone says that she simply doesn't want to breastfeed. Because facts speak volumes that breastmilk is in the babies best interest. So when a mom openly admits she just doesn't feel like giving her baby what is best for it, red flags go up. They see a woman who puts her personal feelings above the best interest of her baby. Of course we need formula, unless more women begin donating milk. And of course there's times when a mom has to use formula. But the part about just letting everyone do what they feel like is going to bother well meaning people who just feel like it's everyone's responsibility to keep babies safe. It's not that choosing formula over breast means someone is a bad mom, but the attitude of 'oh I just don't want to' speaks that the mom doesn't actually value what's best for her baby, or is not informed.
So we walk the thin line between offending and teaching. So be it, but some people actually have no idea how important breastmilk isfor their baby, and for those people, we speak out.
You say a fed baby is better then a dead baby, but breastfed babies aren't dead, who on earth would prefer a dead baby? I don't think anyone is debating that if a woman can't breastfeed she should simply let her baby die, we are just saying that almost every woman can breastfeed, and the only reason most feel they can't is because our society has so many myths and lies about human milk that women feel like they can't make enough.

Erika - posted on 04/20/2011

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This is a personal issue to me, but if we're going to complain about $15 million going to supply women/children with formula & doctor's visit, what about the other CRAP our gov't funds? How much federal $$ goes to abortions, drug addicts, etc? I think the actual key here is that federal/gov't $$ should NOT be handed out like its a right. It should be a privilege. People are ALWAYS going to complain about how federal/gov't $$ is spent. In the large scheme of things I'd MUCH rather my tax $$ go to feeding & providing healthcare to a mother & baby than have that same $$ go to a woman (or facility) for abortions. Just sayin'.

Erika - posted on 04/20/2011

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This is a personal issue to me, but if we're going to complain about $15 million going to supply women/children with formula & doctor's visit, what about the other CRAP our gov't funds? How much federal $$ goes to abortions, drug addicts, etc? I think the actual key here is that federal/gov't $$ should NOT be handed out like its a right. It should be a privilege. People are ALWAYS going to complain about how federal/gov't $$ is spent. In the large scheme of things I'd MUCH rather my tax $$ go to feeding & providing healthcare to a mother & baby than have that same $$ go to a woman (or facility) for abortions. Just sayin'.

Erika - posted on 04/20/2011

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I will agree that funded maternity leave would be awesome, but I don't think it plays a huge role into the whole breast vs. formula debate. Most of the women I know who did not breastfeed (or at least not for a year) did NOT make the decision based on work, personal preference, or cost. They simply could NOT get it to provide enough for their baby. Instead of blaming women for not breastfeeding long enough & saying we're paying for their formula (& the subsequent illness their children face[??], the more rational & helpful approach would be to support them AND make sure that every area has a GOOD lactation consultant. Breastfeeding is a natural process, but it's not (especially in the early weeks) simply a matter of whipping out a(n) [engorged] breast & having baby immediately latch and empty the breast, turn & repeat. There IS a skill needed that needs to be taught by lactation consultants. I think the lack of understanding both on new mothers and even on lactation consultants is that we are the formula generation. Our mothers were told that formula was "better" & "easier" for babies than nursing, so they picked up formula & lost the art & skill of nursing. When they lost that we, their daughters (& even sons since support is KEY to good nursing IMO), lost the observational learning that IMO is necessary.

Many hospitals (mine included) have a "lactation consultant" that may have had a bit of training, but really doesn't thoroughly understand how to express her skills to a new mother. I nursed my son for 2 hours immediately after delivery. I was only in the hospital for about 36 hours & NEVER met the lactation consultant. Luckily I produced a LARGE quantity of milk fairly quickly. However, when I thought had issues & called the consultant, she didn't seem to know what to do with me. I nursed him for a full year even though I went back to work at 6 weeks.

Your post disturbs me because I could NOT nurse my daughter. Under doctor's orders & for her health, I HAD to use formula. Most women I know that don't nurse their children have a very GOOD reason not to do so. My situation was different than most women's, but that doesn't mean their reasons are less sound than mine. Some women just do not produce enough milk - even with the various herbs, medications, extended nursing session, etc. Some women must return to medications that seep into breastmilk. There are other reasons why women cannot nurse that deserve our respect and support. These women usually feel enough guilt over their inability or difficult decision that they don't need to feel that others are labeling them as a burden on taxpayers. That's not respect, compassion, or supportive.

I was receiving chemotherapy during my pregnancy & began again about 2 weeks after delivery. My milk was toxic (they think). I was NOT expected to make milk at all due to the effects of chemotherapy. I did, but would NOT poison my baby or even risk it. My lovely daughter is now 16 months old and the picture of health even though she was on formula from her very first suckle. Neither of my children differed significantly in their immunity (and still don't). My formula-fed daughter is more healthy (illness-wise) than my SIL's breastfed son of about the same age. The irony is that my SIL's son suffered terribly from reflux and other stomach ailments even though he was a breastfed baby.

I don't see how 6 people can find this post encouraging because the tone IMO is anything but. Its basically the blame game & kicking women who are (probably) already down on themselves. The same for the 4 who voted that this post was helpful. I now know some statistics, but I don't have any better idea on truly improving those statistics than I did before I read it. There IS already federally funded information and encouragement for breastfeeding. There are billboards, commercials, etc that basically say "Breast is best" already. Even women on WIC are encouraged to nurse NOT formula feed.

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