A Little Rant About Breastfeeding in Today's Society

No one tells you how to breastfeed. Doctors sabotage it at every point. When I gave birth, luckily I had advocates in the form of my mother and doula. They made sure I started breastfeeding soon after birth, that she was latching correctly, and that no one took her and gave her supplements or a pacifier. Why do hospitals do these things? It's as if they don't want anyone to successfully breastfeed. They actually encourage you to supplement before your milk comes in, and don't even tell you that the small amount of sticky milk you have in the beginning is all the baby needs at first. It's called colostrum and it has a ton of antibodies in it that do a huge part in protecting a newborn from sickness. Introducing anything else increases the chance of sickness. NO ONE TELLS YOU THIS! They just act like you're a failure as long as you're only producing colostrum, and you can not nurse until your milk comes in! They also don't mention that the act of nursing is what stimulates the body to produce milk. It's supply and demand, so the more you nurse, the more milk you make. Yet the medical staff lead you to believe you should nurse for 15 minutes every 2-3 hours? It's insane.

Once you go home with your baby, if you have managed to get them latched and nursing, and somehow kept anyone from giving them supplements... Get ready for your first pediatrician appointment, where they will once again try to get to you. My pediatrician checked my daughter, said she was perfectly healthy and starting to gain weight, but then told me to supplement with formula "just in case." Only my husband and I were there. We did not know better. So we accepted a can of formula and went home. Personally, I felt like a failure. I thought she was eating enough! I had been counting wet and poopy diapers and felt really proud that my body was nourishing her completely, just as it had in pregnancy. After this visit, my confidence crashed. I watched my husband feed her a bottle of formula later that night, and I wanted to cry. This was the start of a huge problem. The formula filled her up for longer, she didn't want to nurse as much, and my supply began to drop. THANK YOU SO MUCH, PEDIATRICIAN. So much for "just in case, it can't hurt, etc."

Then, we got thrush. Nursing was painful. We put her on just bottles of expressed milk. When I could not express enough, we gave her formula after a feeding. Our lives were very stressful. I felt guilty leaving her with my husband when she was crying. I remember feeling guilty just for taking 5 minutes to myself for a shower. Expressing milk, thawing milk, washing bottles, sanitizing bottles, spending money on formula, mixing formula, waiting for a bottle to cool... Feeding our daughter was becoming complicated, stressful, and expensive. People made us feel like we just didn't know what we were getting into and raising a baby is always this difficult. I felt that they were wrong. I researched in what little spare time I had. I developed a goal. I wanted to get rid of my thrush and exclusively breastfeed. I don't know what finally cured it, since we tried so many different things, but I do remember the feeling of nursing without pain. Being a Harry Potter fan, I thought to myself, I could make a patronus with this feeling! Hahah. But I do wish this moment would never have had to happen. I can't understand why I would have to self-diagnose and self-treat thrush. Many women get it while breastfeeding and neither the pediatrician nor the obgyn seem to know anything about it! So, if you somehow managed to make it this far, here is another point in which you are likely to fail to breastfeed.

If I go could go back and tell myself one thing while I was pregnant, it would be that nursing is supply and demand. Nurse all the time and you will make enough milk. I finally got the hang of this when my daughter was around 4 months old. We were able to cut out formula. Finally, being parents was fun! I am not saying that we didn't love being parents before. We most certainly did. But now we loved it even more, and were much more calm and relaxed about it. My daughter would still get a bottle here and there, but it would only be expressed milk. She was the happiest baby. She never cried anymore. I kept doing research and slowly became a "lactivist." I think it's one of societies main failures that it doesn't support breastfeeding. If all babies were breastfed or at least given human milk, it would save an insane amount of lives. Read the statistics one day, they will shock you.

My daughter is still breastfeeding at age 2. I won't get into "extended breastfeeding" because that's a whole new rant! Hahah. But I have to say, it was so worth it. I feel that nursing has been my main mothering tool. It cures sickness, hurt, hunger, thirst, and grouchiness. It gives me time to relax and bond with my child at the same time. It's so much easier than bottle feeding, and SO much cheaper than formula feeding. I only ever supplemented and that was a blow to our budget! It has countless health benefits and they are coming out with more all the time. My main advice to any mom would be to do her own research and make it a personal goal to breastfeed!

Edit: I can see how I would have loved to just switch to formula at times. If my daughter didn't get so constipated by it and would willingly take a bottle without crying... And I cut out the fact that I was ALSO trying to express and store breastmilk... Formula feeding probably would have been a lot easier and I would have switched to it. That's why I never hate on bottle feeding moms. I would have formula fed if the situation had been different, it wasn't my goody two shoes attitude that kept me trying, it was me trying desperately to find the easiest thing for our family to do so we could relax more. I started out with the best intentions while pregnant because I knew the health benefits but when you are in the situation, you just have to do what works. The ideal situation can not always happen for every mom and I know that all too well. This is more a rant about how society sets mothers up for failing at breastfeeding and they should support them more. I am definitely not hating on anyone who chose to formula feed for whatever reason, please don't anyone take it as such!! Also, if you have negative feeling towards mothers who formula feed or supplement, please reconsider because you haven't been in their position. Everyone has their own reasons for feeding their babies the way they do, and who knows, it could be you if you were in their situation!


Jacqueline said…
Now this is a great post!! I really believe, in this day and age, there is NOONE that wants breast feeding success because if you were to succeed your children would be healthier for it and the establishment simply doesn't want that.
I also think that there is both a stigma FOR breastfeeding moms and against them. You are damned if you do and damned if you don't.
THANK YOu for getting out the word.
Stopping by from VB!
Rebecca Hawkes said…
I have to admit I'm a little surprised. I didn't realize there was still so much misinformation being distributed in hospitals and pediatric offices. I was lucky I guess. They did send me home with formula and coupons, but no one actually told me to use the stuff. Quite the opposite, in fact. That was 10 years ago. Have things actually gotten worse since then, I wonder. If so, grrrr. Very frustrating.
Lindsay said…
That's so great that you still breastfeed your baby. I stopped when my son was 5 months and I miss the bonding time.
Samual James said…
Thank you for sharing such a precious information with us..this will actually help the newborn baby mothers..there are lots of misconception for breast feed..hope the above post will surely help it out..
Home Nursing
AmberFaith said…
I was planning on nursing my daughter, but the nurses forced formula into my daughter because she wouldn't latch. It was as if they gave up on both of us. I didn't pay $200 for a pump for nothing! I was so upset.

I'm following you from the Boost My Blog hop. Would love for you to stop by and follow back, whenever you get the chance! Hope you have a good rest of the week! (:

Amber @ Beautifully BellaFaith
Mama Campbell said…
I'm so proud of you for sticking it out despite the many booby traps you encountered! I swear, I could write this same story, but replace my kids names. Why aren't doctors/nurses supportive of letting our bodies work as they were designed, instead of butting in and forcing formula down our babies throats. Ugh! I am really really hoping to still be nursing Noah at 2 as well!! :)

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