What else can be so natural and simple, yet so difficult?
It is unfortunate that so many women in our country and around the world experience so much difficulty when breastfeeding. In short, this is largely due to cultural and historical factors that have denigrated breastfeeding and reduced our exposure to it. This is why it is so foreign, anxiety-producing, and borderline indecent for so many women and men. Plus, our industrial society has valued man-made formula over breastmilk for a long time. Think about it: who makes money when you breastfeed your child? Nobody. You just save money in formula and doctor bills. Formula is just like McDonalds and Coca-Cola: man-made of allergenic and toxic ingredients but sold to you and your children via expensive marketing campaigns.
Thankfully, so many women and families are breastfeeding now that we are on our way to creating a next generation of dedicated, knowledgeable breastfeeders.
Here are some resources to help you in your breastfeeding experience.
Dr. McKenna at the mother-baby sleep lab at the University of Notre Dame has been instrumental in educating our nation on the importance of breastfeeding, the safety of co-sleeping, and how the two fit together. I’ll have to stop in when I go back for a reunion!
1) Sore nipples are almost always caused by a poor latch which can be fixed before cracked nipples develop! You must have prompt attention to the latch to prevent the painful cracking!! We review latching with you at the birth, but it is up to you to call the midwife if it doesn’t feel right.
2) Let the baby get a big “bite” of the entire areola, keep his tummy pressed directly up to yours with his back and head in one straight line, and your nipple at the level of the baby’s nose (not chin) before baby latches.
3) Drink a full glass of water at each nursing session. Get comfortable in a chair or in bed before you start latching. In the first 24-48 hours, it may be essential to sit up in bed or a chair EACH time you nurse in order to facilitate baby’s latch and your comfort.
4) Treating painful or cracked nipples starts with assessment of latch and possible tongue tie. The latch and positioning during nursing are the most important part of preventing or fixing cracks. Sometimes pumping is necessary to help stimulate milk supply, empty the breasts, and heal the nipples. Use of coconut oil and Lansinoh (lanolin cream) can be helpful.
5) Thrush is a candida (yeast) infection of either or both the baby’s mouth and the mother’s breast. Catching it early helps prevent it from proliferating. Treatment may include home remedies, herbal remedies, or medication.
At Room Temperature
At 60 degrees for 24 hours
At 66-72 degrees for 10 hours
At 79 degrees for 4-6 hours
In the Refrigerator
At 32-39 degrees for up to 8 days
In the Freezer
In a freezer compartment contained within the fridge: up to 2 weeks
In a self-contained freezer: 3-4 months
In a deep freezer: 6 months-1 year
Pumping can be an integral part of the breastfeeding experience for many women and babies. It is a tool to be used to achieve your goals. Sometimes women end up exclusively pumping and feeding via bottles…this IS breastfeeding and is actually a LOT more work than direct latching…so good job mom!! Sometimes we recommend pumping to help alleviate mastitis or high-volume.
Ask your midwife or physician for a referral for a breast pump.
Books and websites
The Breastfeeding Answer Book, La Leche League International
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, La Leche League International
Medications and Mother’s Milk, Dr. Thomas W Hale, 2004
For lots of information, see Dr. Jack Newman’s site
For questions about medications or supplements and breastfeeding, Dr. Thomas Hale is a great resource.
What she doesn’t address is the QUALITY and BIOAVAILABILITY of the ingredients. As we all know, what we eat is what we are. We can’t make brain cells, liver cells, and blood from the “good, healthy stuff” that does not enter our body.
The fact of the matter is that formula:
is made from conventional cow milk that is full of hormones and antibiotics and has been pasteurized (removing all active enzymes and deforming proteins)
causes leaky-gut syndrome in the newborn’s fragile GI tract
includes laboratory-produced or industry by-product vitamins and minerals that are often unusable by the body, are toxic to the body, and/or cannot be broken down by the body
does not contain one molecule of living, active ingredients that promote health in the newborn
is frequently recalled due to contamination
has no health benefit to the mother
formula manufacturers also have a long and negative track record around the world in their efforts to reduce breastfeeding rates and success, to make families dependent upon formula, and to increase their profits at the expense of numerous lives of newborns.
Breastmilk is designed to promote the immediate and long-term health of the newborn and mother. It is perfectly digestible and does not cause allergies or toxic build-up of chemicals in the newborn. It contains pre-biotics (substances that promote the growth healthy gut bacteria), enzymes, and co-factors that promote health in the GI tract and protects the baby from disease. It contains antibodies to multiple diseases and responds to current bacterial and viral exposures that may affect the baby. It contains the right type, amount, and balance of vitamins and minerals for the baby’s needs.
Some say that formula is better than the breastmilk from an unhealthy mother. In a few, isolated cases this is true (such as chemotherapy, certain medications, or certain health conditions). However, the low-quality ingredients of formula automatically make it inferior to breastmilk in almost 100% of cases.
Some say that moms should not be forced to breastfeed if they don’t want to or can’t do so. Giving formula to a baby who would otherwise die from starvation is definitely the better choice. But we should spend our time, effort and money on supporting breastfeeding in all mothers because this is the healthiest, most sustainable option for the whole family. We should also keep in mind that the debate of breastfeeding vs. formula feeding is really only a First World problem. In places where money and marketing are not as plentiful, breastfeeding is not an option, it is part of the whole childbearing package.
As a country, we do not spend enough on promoting the health of our children and mothers, period. We start this process by reducing breastfeeding success but hide it in the breastmilk vs. formula debate. We are making ourselves sicker by the day when we do not breastfeed our children. Life-long health DOES start with breastmilk.
Why Should I Breastfeed?
Breastfeeding, Baby’s Best Start
(from Washington WIC)
Saves money, approximately $1000/year
Saves time, no bottles to wash or formula to mix
Breastmilk is always fresh and at the right temperature
Protects your baby from many illnesses and infections, reduces doctor visits and time away from work
Reduces mother’s risk of anemia and cancers (such as breast and ovarian)
Digests easily and is gentle to your baby’s stomach
Breastfed babies have less colic, constipation, and diarrhea
Promotes good jaw development leading to proper tooth alignment
Breastfeed as soon after birth as possible, usually within the first hour
Newborns need to be fed at least every 2-3 hours both day and night, usually 20-30 minutes at each feeding
Feed your baby as often and for as long as she wants
Watch your baby for hunger cues such as lip-smacking, moving his head back and forth, and turning toward your breast
Crying is a late sign of hunger
Your breastmilk is the perfect food! YOUR BABY DOES NOT NEED FORMULA OR WATER
Babies have growth spurts at 7-10 days, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. Your baby may want to nurse more during these times. This is normal. Don’t mistake this as a sign that you don’t have enough milk.
Did you know there is a breastfeeding law in Washington State?? It states that breastfeeding in public is NOT considered “indecent exposure”, it encourages employers to support their breastfeeding employees, and it explicitly allows breastfeeding to occur in any public location.
Tongue and Lip Ties
A tongue or lip tie can make breastfeeding incredibly painful and difficult! If we suspect a tie is the problem, we will refer you as soon as possible for further assessment and treatment.