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Choosing to breastfeed can be agonizing for some mothers. There is a not-so-silent war being waged between bottle feeding and breastfeeding mothers. The added pressure to choose is making some women who would breastfeed choose the bottle and vice versa.
If you've chosen to breastfeed, know that you will face some invasive, insulting conversations on your journey to feed your child. Educating yourself so you can educate others will help you feel more confident about your decision.
Misinformation & Breastfeeding
Many women stop breastfeeding early in their baby's life. There are a myriad of reasons they stop. One reason is misinformation. During a party I attended, a women said, "Doctors recommend you stop breastfeeding after three months because there are no benefits to the baby after that."
The WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines actually state exclusive breastfeeding should be continued through the first six months of life. Breastfeeding should then be complimented with mashed vegetables and fruits. Complimentary breastfeeding should continue up to two years or more.
That controversial Time magazine cover made it seem like there are four-year-olds hanging off their mother's breasts like babies all day long. As the child gets older, there are fewer times a child will breast feed. Breastfeeding mothers should ensure that their child over age one is getting nutrition from many sources and not relying on breastmilk for all nutritional needs.
- If you don't pump milk and prepare bottles, you are always on duty to feed the baby. Day or night. This may leave you feeling tired.
- Returning to work- Having to find a place to express milk, store milk and having extra equipment to carry daily.
- Unable to measure how much milk your child is getting.
- Breast milk is lower in calories so a baby may feed more times per day as opposed to a child who is getting formula.
- No preparing formula and warming bottles- breast milk from the breast is already the perfect temperature.
- Passing anti-bodies to your child through your breast milk. These anti-bodies help your child fight flu & diarrhea.
- Decreased chance for mother to develop breast cancer and ovarian cancer later in life.
- Lots of skin to skin contact with your child. Skin to skin contact increases the bond between child and mother.
Where to Get Help
HELP Breast Emergency!
How do I know my child is getting enough breast milk?
You will not know the amount of breast milk your child is getting unless you express your milk. Babies will eat as much as they feel is necessary. And they will not eat that much. Baby's tummy is quiet small and can not fit much.
Breastfed babies tend to eat more than times a day than formula fed children. More demands to eat are normal. If it feels abnormal to you, talk to your child's pediatrician.
I was asked to leave a public establishment for breast feeding?
Breastfeeding in public does make some people feel very uncomforable. This is unfortunate, but you can lessen discomfort by making sure you have a nursing cover available to cover your breast while feeding.
Also, it's important for you to know your rights. Breastfeeding in public is protected in many places around the world. Know the rules in your locality. File a complaint if you've done nothing wrong. You'll help the next mother who is just trying to feed her baby.
My supply is too low to express milk for later use
It's important to know that your supply will eventually adjust to only produce enough milk for you child to eat daily.
Tips for pumping:
Pump after you have feed your baby. Babies usually do not empty all of the available milk in your breast. This leaves you with some milk to recover.
Pump during baby's nap. Make sure 2 hours have passed since the last feeding to give your body time to recover.
Make sure you are drinking 2 liters of water every day to aid milk supply.
It's important to know that pumping can increase your supply. While this may be desired at the time, there are unpleasant effects if you develop an oversupply of milk.
My baby is gassy.
While breast milk is easier to digest, babies still get gassy from drinking it. The likely culprit is something in their mother's diet. You may need to try an elimination diet to see if you can isolate on the food causing the stomach upset in your baby.
Consult your child's pediatrician at their check-up about the elimination diet and other possible causes of the gastric issues. If you child is gassy and throwing up their milk, contact their pediatrician immediately.
My child unable to latch or has a bad latch.
Check for proper latching technique. You may need to adjust the way your child is getting their feedings.
For assistance, contact the hospital in which you delivered to ask if they have a lactation consultant or a support group for breastfeeding mothers.
My breast feels hot and lumpy.
It's possible you have a clogged duct. Try breastfeeding exclusively on the breast that feels painful. Yes, it will get more painful, but you must unclog the duct. You can also try pumping until the clog dislodges.
If the pain is constant and does not come and go or you feel ill, contact your physician. You may have an infection or matisis.
Bottle Versus Breast
Women can hope for a truce on the debate of bottle versus breast. Both feeding methods deliver nutrition to our children. Bottle feeders are no less nurturing or mothering. They just chose a method of feeding their child that works for their family. Breast feeders are not heroes or better mothers. They are mothers who chose to share their bodies with their children for a while longer.
All women face debate and misunderstandings after choosing how to feed their child. Their decision is personal one. We, as women, need to educate others to respect our choice to nurture and feed our child.