I’m an opinionated person. I’m generally quiet about my opinions, and I especially don’t like to speak up if I’m uneducated on a subject. I’m finding parenting subject are hard ones for me to keep my mouth closed on.
So, let me first state, that although I might not agree with a lot of parenting decisions and techniques that those around me use, parent’s have to do what works for them and their child. And even for me, I know things will change, but there are some “OMG, I want to slap that person” things that come up for me.
Today, we went to some friends we don’t see very often. They have a three year old and a 10 month old. Besides us they had an other family over, and they had a two month old. As women of young children and one who is just starting her journey, our discussion typically surrounded breastfeeding. I couldn’t believe the amount of mis-information that this woman has been fed.
I calm myself down, I decided I need to write about it.
Yes, I believe breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby, but I understand that it just doesn’t work for various people, which I get. That’s fine, just say as much and let’s move on.
Here are some of the (what I believe to be) misconceptions I ran into today:
My baby weighed to much and my milk hadn’t come in, so we had to supplement formula in the hospital. What? Are you serious? My beef is that your milk doesn’t generally come in for three days, which is typically after you leave the hospital, so duh…no milk. But here’s the thing, newborn’s stomachs are tiny, tiny…they can’t really handle high amounts of liquid for the first few days so, as they’re stomachs grow, so does your supple.
My baby is just hungry all the time and by nighttime I just don’t have any milk left. So you might be out of milk, whatever. I’m not going to dispute that point, but giving formula at night instead of nursing is not going to help. In fact, it’s going to do just the opposite. Newborns are hungry all the time because they are telling your body to make more milk and they are going through growth spurts like crazy. If you don’t let them nurse, your body will never learn to make more milk.
People are telling me I need to put rice cereal in his bottle in the morning, so he isn’t so hungry. Are serious? Babies are hungry for a reason…see above.
I heard these things over and over. I wanted to tell her, when your supply dies when you go back to work and you really can’t nurse anymore, know that it was your fault and you were on that path from the beginning.
The fact is, newborns are work and feeding is work. Whether you nurse or formula feed, you are going to have work. It’s just what sort of work you want to have. We used a bottle only a handful of times and could have probably gotten away with just having one bottle. With bottle and formula feeding, you have a lot of cleaning to do. And a lot of remembering how long the milk has been out. And then there’s the cost….and I hear the poo is different.
Now, with breastfeeding, you don’t have the bottles (unless you have to pump, and for those that pump for years – Good on ya! You are one dedicated mama), so the cleanup isn’t as challenging. When your baby is hungry, you are literally ready to go. No, bottle to make or heat up. But here’s the thing, breastfed babies tend to want to eat more meals a day (but even in our adult lives, isn’t that what we are told to do…have five little meals, not two or three big meals).
To keep your supply up, you have to be aware. You have drink plenty of liquids. You have to eat well rounded meals. And especially in the beginning you have to nurse at least every two hours, or you need to pump.
To ensure your baby is getting “enough” milk, you have to watch their diapers and count. You have to pay attention to their growth patterns. While babies do eat a lot and our hungry a lot, sometimes nursing is just for comfort. And, part of me believes, if you just plop a bottle that drips milk into a babies mouth, when they are just looking for comfort, you are overfeeding and in the long run, you are probably leading to overeating and obesity problem later in that child’s live. I haven’t done research on this little part, but it would make sense that that is why we have so many over weight people and as a society rely on food for comfort.
In the end, I just want the misconceptions to go away. If you want to feed your baby formula, that’s fine. It’s not going to kill the baby and I’m not ever going to make a woman for guilt for doing so, but let’s stop with the stupid notions and be honest. Instead of saying, “Oh, I just didn’t have enough milk,” it’s probably better to state, “I just didn’t like having my baby attached to me 24/7, so I started skipping feedings and my milk supply dropped.” because in reality that what happened. A nursing mom’s job is never done.