Sunday, June 13, 2010

Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges: EcoMama's Take


As a first time mother I had no doubts about breastfeeding being the right choice for me and my baby. After reading a myriad of studies, research, and the essays of other mothers, it was an easy decision. What I wasn't expecting is all the hurdles we had to overcome in the first two months of our infant's life until I could comfortably breastfeed.

I have read that it isn't exactly a walk in the park the first time around. But nobody told me it could hurt so much! The first two weeks were agonizing, but I was very determined and my husband supported me in this. Then we wound up in the hospital when our infant was two weeks old (vomit tinted with blood, no fun). After three days all they could tell us is that she cannot digest cow's milk protein in my breast milk. For five days we had to formula feed with Similac Alimentum and I went on a strict dairy free diet. The baby hated it. Thankfully the Children's Hospital in Boston was very supportive. After those five days we went back to exclusively breastfeeding and I was in heaven! Not to mention our daughter, the way she clung to me after being deprived of the breast will always be in my memory. No dry, cracked, and sore nipples could sway me any longer! It wasn't easy to go completely dairy free, but it was worth it. It actually improved my health and it was the best thing for the baby.

Tomorrow our girl will be 14 months old. She has great eating habits and eats all the healthy food we eat. We are continuing to breastfeed despite the Western societal pressure to wean a baby after one year. I am quite opinionated on the subject. I don't think breastfeeding past one year old or even allowing self -weaning spoils a child. If anything, it makes them more independent than the average child once they actually do wean. I think it does even greater things for the mother-child bond past childhood. I'll tell you how it goes...

Why we love to breastfeed:
  • It eases the role of becoming a mother, especially the first time around. I cannot fathom how I would be able to find the time to wash bottles and mix formula in between diaper changes, laundry, and cuddle time. ;)
  • The mother's milk is always the right temperature, consistency, clean, fresh, and comes in reusable, Eco-friendly containers!
  • Breast feeding is free! Honestly, I don't think we could afford formula (especially that she could not digest milk protein and the only formula she could have is crazy expensive).
  • You get all kinds of proven health perks both for mom and child.
  • Breast milk is a lot less likely to contain chemicals such as perchlorate, melamine, and BPA found in formula. I can't cite that and I have no proof. That is my own conclusion :)
  • My baby rarely gets sick, even in the winter. She had a teething fever once in October. My husband and I were both sick with a stomach bug this winter, she wasn't sick even once!
  • It is so easy to travel while breastfeeding! No need to pack any formula, clean water, bottles, gadgets. I can feed her anytime, anywhere I want (I just use a cover). If I was formula feeding I think I would be stuck at home for the first 6 months because of dreading packing everything with me. If you are not comfortable breastfeeding in public you can always pump some to take with you.
  • I lost all my baby weight just a couple of months after giving birth. No diets, just breastfeeding. Now I am trying to gain some!
  • Breast milk adjusts to the baby's needs as he/she grows. Did you know that the anti-viral agents increase as the baby grows into a toddler? How perfect! Just in time for all the world exploration they do on the floor, in your closet, and outdoors.

What I love most about breastfeeding though is just the amazing feeling of nurturing my baby with everything I have. Those are priceless moments that I treasure amid my sometimes hectic days as a Work-at-Home mom. I love that it forces me to stop, relax, contemplate, and enjoy my baby's company. I would not change it for anything!

I encourage all mothers and moms-to-be to read the facts and choose to breastfeed. Make sure to feed within the first hour of birth, or things might go downhill if you don't. Stick to it the first few painful weeks! I don't think any baby should be deprived of being breastfed unless certain circumstances leave no other choice. Seriously, if you gave birth, breastfeeding the first days isn't even one quarter as painful. There really is nothing more you can do for the optimum health of your child, both now and for years to come.

This personal account of breastfeeding has been published March 27, 2010 at my Lunch.com EcoMama account!
Photo by Amy Jacobs

3 comments:

  1. I agree with all the benefits of breastfeeding. I encourage all moms. I have three kids. I breastfed everyone of them. While my sister in laws formula fed. My kids have been very healthy. When illness go around they usually are able to not get the illness or they fight it off pretty quickly. My sister in laws kids have all been in the ER and doctors office numerous times throughout the years do to colds, croup and other infections. Breastmilk has the natural antibodies to help you babies grow into healthy children.

    http://parenting-happinesstochaos.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, it hurts. The first week or so my breasts hurt horribly. i cried in pain all the while i nursed most days but stuck to it and didn't give up and it got better w/ time. However the nurses kept pushing formula on me (my daughter)over every little incident, so if I was in any way unsure about breastfeeding I probably would have ended up a formula feeder. My daughter is now 3, almost 3 1/2 and still nurses for bedtime. Hoping she weans soon on her own, but i'll give her tad bit longer before I intervene and try to speed up the process. Breastfeeding has so many benefits for mom & child, I don't understand why more people don't do it. Maybe if it were more socially excepted it'd be different. My daughter has never been sick and i'm willing to bet breastfeeding has something to do it with because I know a lot of formula fed kids who are ALWAYS sick with something.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete

We LOVE your comments, please share your thoughts!

 
Blogging tips