Friday, August 5, 2016

Breast is Best...Until It Isn't




In case you haven't heard, it's World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), a time to raise awareness and increase education for breastfeeding.

It's a good thing, it really is.  But I've met more than one breastfeeding supporter who took the Breast is Best slogan just a little too far.  Breast is only best if it's working for both mom and baby. 

Let me fill you in on my history with breastfeeding so you'll see what I mean.

I breastfed Katie for a year.  It was an incredibly rough start, and we both cried a lot in the beginning.  I had to supplement with formula because no matter what I did, I just didn't have enough milk for her, but at least we made it to a year.




Katie and her cousin when they were around 6 months old

I breastfed Nano for 3 months.  It was a horrible experience.  He hated breastfeeding with a passion, and he screamed every time I tried to feed him.  When he was 3 months old, I got mastitis and he flat out refused to even try to nurse.  I switched him to formula and within a month, he went from a screaming, scrawny baby to a chubby, happier baby.  It was definitely the right choice for him and for me.

Newborn Nano

I put a lot of thought into how I would feed Anna before she was born, but the very thought of breastfeeding made me sick to my stomach, and I just couldn't bring myself to go through another experience like the one with Nano again.  When Anna was born, she was very tongue tied and probably wouldn't have been able to nurse well anyway.  I formula fed her from the beginning and never regretted it.

Anna feeding herself her bottle filled with *gasp* formula!

When I was pregnant with Davy, I decided early on to bottle feed again.  I felt like Anna was the first baby I had where I was able to actually enjoy the newborn stage since I wasn't fighting to get her to eat, and so I wanted to repeat that experience.  Little did I know that Davy would have serious issues with eating, along with an array of health problems.

Every time I tried to feed him, it was like I was torturing him.  I felt like a complete failure as a mother as I first watched him starve and then signed the papers for a surgeon to place a G Tube in his precious little tummy.  But the important thing was that he was finally growing and thriving.  I was able to come to accept the button in his tummy and even love it because without it, Davy might not be here today and certainly wouldn't be doing as well as he is.

Davy had an NG tube for a few days before his G Tube surgery

Thankfully, Davy finally started eating on his own around a year old with no residual oral aversion from his rough start, and we were able to remove his G Tube when he was 18 months old.

So, back to breastfeeding...

I support breastfeeding.  I think everyone should at least give it a try before deciding it's not for them.  But I also think that sometimes, it's best for baby and mom to formula feed, and we need to stop judging other moms on how they choose to feed their baby.

I've heard way too many moms stating that the BEST thing anyone can do for their baby is to breastfeed them or bragging about how healthy and smart their kids will be because they "loved their children enough to breastfeed."  For moms like me who are unable to breastfeed their babies or choose not to for various reasons, statements like that are a kick in the gut.


I love my children just as much as other moms love their kiddos, but the best thing I could do for my babies was to feed them, no matter how that was accomplished.  Formula feeding, breastfeeding, tube feeding...not one of these methods of feeding a baby makes that baby any more or less loved or makes the mom any more or less of a mom.   

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Breast, bottle, or tube...FED is best!! #specialneeds #tubefeeding #breastfeeding #momsunited @sunshineNspoons
http://ctt.ec/4aHGl
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So here's the deal: we all need to agree that the most important thing is not how or what we feed our babies, it's that they're fed and they're loved.


















13 comments:

  1. I absolutely 100% agree with you. I breastfed our oldest with complete success, althoough I wish someone had told me that breastfeeding HURTS in the beginning! When I had our second, I assumed that it would go the same. It didn't. My daughter used to suck so hard when she was feeding that she would literally spit up my blood. A visit from a lactation consultant didn't help because she couldn't figure out the problem. I also developed mastitis and got to the point that whenever my daughter would get hungry, I would cringe and wish she'd just fall back to sleep. After 5 1/2 weeks, I gave up. She was happ on formula, and I was much happier as a mother. Because of what happened with my daughter, I chose not to breastfeed our third. However, I decided to be brave with our fourth and try again. The same thing happened as before, except this time the lactation consultant noticed that my daughter was tongue tied. We had her tongue clipped, and I tired to continue breastfeeding through the pain and the illness from another bout of mastitis. Again, I gave up. I also tried with our 8th child and ended up having to supplement formula because he wasn't growing well, so again I stopped. I'm pretty stubborn, so I was dtermined to try again with our 11th baby, and when she started losing weight every week instead of gaining, I put her strictly on formula, and she was healthy and happy. Sorry for the long comment, but I had to let people know that shaming women who don't breastfeed should never be an option because there just may be a very good reason.

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  2. I absolutely 100% agree with you. I breastfed our oldest with complete success, althoough I wish someone had told me that breastfeeding HURTS in the beginning! When I had our second, I assumed that it would go the same. It didn't. My daughter used to suck so hard when she was feeding that she would literally spit up my blood. A visit from a lactation consultant didn't help because she couldn't figure out the problem. I also developed mastitis and got to the point that whenever my daughter would get hungry, I would cringe and wish she'd just fall back to sleep. After 5 1/2 weeks, I gave up. She was happ on formula, and I was much happier as a mother. Because of what happened with my daughter, I chose not to breastfeed our third. However, I decided to be brave with our fourth and try again. The same thing happened as before, except this time the lactation consultant noticed that my daughter was tongue tied. We had her tongue clipped, and I tired to continue breastfeeding through the pain and the illness from another bout of mastitis. Again, I gave up. I also tried with our 8th child and ended up having to supplement formula because he wasn't growing well, so again I stopped. I'm pretty stubborn, so I was dtermined to try again with our 11th baby, and when she started losing weight every week instead of gaining, I put her strictly on formula, and she was healthy and happy. Sorry for the long comment, but I had to let people know that shaming women who don't breastfeed should never be an option because there just may be a very good reason.

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    1. I'm so sorry that you had to go through that! And yes, let's stop the mom-shaming!!

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  3. I completely agree! It doesn't matter how the baby is fed as long as they are being fed!

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  4. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on bottle feeding breastmilk? Why did you choose formula over expressed milk?

    I don't disagree with you by any stretch of the imagination. But here are my thoughts. I'd love your feedback!

    I have three children. My first is 3-1/2. Kara nursed. My milk did not come in until day 6, almost 7. Nurses (I was hospitalized 5 days) puuuuuushed formula so hard they brought it to me and my husband poured it down the drain for me. She lost more than her 10%. By the third day of nursing, it hurt so bad my toes would curl under me and I'd count to 10 in my head. I didn't know I needed to see a lactation consultant immediately after birth. I should have. I was uneducated. Is do everything to avoid feeding (baby cried? Oops. I need to pee first). But, I did assume my milk would eventually come in. Around 5-1/2 or 6 weeks old, things evened out and I was a much happier nursing mama.

    My second. He has L1 cam syndrome and couldn't nurse. After brain surgery at 48 hours, we nursed to 3-1/2 months old supplementing with expressed milk in a bottle (he couldn't suction due to a very high pallet). He never started solids. At 11 months old he quit gaining weight. At 13 months old we started a very expensive toddler formula to fortify the breastmilk. Breastmilk alone isn't meant to satisfy a one year old. At 15 months we'd lost 4 pounds and had a peg tube placed. We're 18 months now and while still eating entirely by mouth, we eat pediasure peptide and breastmilk with a mick key button being placed next week.

    And I have a 5 week old. Who is nursing. He cries a lot, but it's normal. I have more than enough milk (I've stored 600oz in my freezer without trying).

    So every story is unique. I've fed every way possible and agree a fed baby is better than my unfed baby once was. But, knowing the facts of what's good about breastmilk, and what's good about nursing for fine motor skill... What's your opinion on that?

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Kaitlyn! It's always interesting to hear someone else's story!
      I did pump with my 2 oldest kids, but I hated every second of it and could never get more than an ounce of expressed milk, no matter what I tried. It just didn't work for us.
      I agree that breastmilk is SOOO good for babies, but it's also good for them to be fed and have a happy mom so I factored that into my decisions with my kids. We found out later that a high arch palate, retrognathia (recessed chin), and micrognathia (small chin) contributed to my sons' difficulties in latching on. They literally could not get a good latch. My youngest (and I suspect my older 2 children as well) has low tone in the jaw which also made nursing very hard for them.
      The interesting thing is that my mom has always told me about how I hated nursing as a baby and was a "lazy eater" and very underweight. Looking back now, she and I realize that my high arch palate and the low tone in my jaw were the reasons for that.

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  5. A very good read. I think it's easy to forget while teaching others how good breastfeeding is, it doesn't work for everyone. We need to remember this and stop criticizing mothers so harshly. We are doing the best we can for those we love best.

    Thanks!

    MomWhoWrites

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  6. I absolutely agree! Fed is best. :)

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  7. Hannah, agreed fed is best. Breastfeeding isn't easy. I think it's a misconception "non-knowing" moms and dads or even people have. I breastfed both of mine until they were a year each. My first I couldn't do it... he went to the NICU for about a week or so because of it. I went through a whole "what's wrong with me?" phase that no one could understand. Every day was a battle within myself as to how incapable I was as a mom. I envy moms that have chest freezers full of gallons literally of breast milk. I did everything my lactation consultant told me, we literally did every option in the book. And that's saying a lot because she's been doing it for like 40 years or something. I eventually "gave in" to formula and just had to realize that some breast milk was "better" than no breast milk. Its a rough rough road to go down. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Great read! Thanks for the link up!

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