To Breastfeed or Not to Breastfeed?
Breastfeeding is a hot topic right now. Some say that every woman should do it and others say that it is gross, plus you have believers to all degrees in between. The truth is that breastfeeding has been proven time and time again to be the most beneficial way to feed a newborn, for both mom and baby. However, not all circumstances and people are the same, so breastfeeding may not be the right option for all mothers. The AMA recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of 12 months, and continuing for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby (1).
The benefits of breastfeeding include, but are not limited to: Passage of antibodies from the mother to the infant, in a time when the infant does not have their own immune system to speak of. (2) Reduced risk of certain types of breast cancer for mother. (3) Economic benefits due to reduced cost of formula, storage, delivery, and time to prepare. (4) Easier portability. If you choose to exclusively nurse, food is ready and on tap at all times, in all places! And if you choose to pump, your partner or another caretaker can take turns feeding the baby. There is also a lot to be said for the bonding that can happen between a mother and infant, though this bonding is possible to achieve with bottle feeding as well. Closeness is the important thing to take from your time feeding baby, no matter how you choose to do it.
Formula feeding is trying very hard to catch up to the nutritional benefits of breast milk. It may never get to 100%, but the overall benefits of breastfeeding long term have been overstated in recent years (5). So if you try breastfeeding and choose not to continue, remember that you helped even in whatever time you got in, and that formula feeding is safe and effective… and will still result in a healthy, happy, and full baby! And that’s really the biggest goal.
If you choose to breastfeed, remember that it may not be an easy journey, but there are resources out there to you.Tennessee law states that a mother has the right to feed in any place they are legally allowed to be. Do not ever let someone bully you into a bathroom stall or your car. Federal law states that your employer is required to provide you both breaks and a safe, clean, private location to pump breastmilk while at work.
There are plenty of meetings, organizations, lactation consultants, and hotlines in the area that will provide everything from quick answers to in-home, hands on help.
o La Leche League http://www.lllofkytn.org/find-a-leader o St. Thomas Midtown Breastfeeding Outreach Clinic o Vanderbilt Breastfeeding Support (lists free support groups meeting almost every day) o Nashville Breastfeeding Coalition o TN Department of Health Breastfeeding Support Hotline 1-855-423-6667
I have breastfed all 10 of my babies and it has not been easy and as glorious as I had hoped. First, I did not have the support of everyone around me plus, it was awkward and uncomfortable despite the fact that I wanted to breastfeed. I had issues with postpartum depression, low milk supply, sleepy NBICU baby, inverted nipples, cracked nipples, tongue tie, lip ties, and more. What got me through it? My mom. She stuck by me and saw past all my complaining and helped me push through to be successful. That is the only reason I was successful and breastfed all the rest of my kids. She helped with my first and set the pattern for all the rest of my babies. I knew I could and was willing to try!
For all you ladies out there, I have a few tips: 1. Get educated about breastfeeding and resources near you.2. Find a group of ladies that you can reach out to for support and questions.3. Get help early if you are having issues beyond the first couple of days. Most of the breastfeeding issues can be solved by people who have training. These are called IBCLC's and they can work with you to solve any latch issues, soreness, low milk supply, etc. 4. If you believe you can, you can! Don't let the fact that you had a hard time breastfeeding your first child, stop you from trying with your second child.5. Be patient. The first few weeks might be hard, but the payoff is worth it.
1. AAP Reaffirms Breastfeeding Guidelines 2. How Breastmilk Protects Newborns 3. Association Between Breastfeeding, reduced Risk of Aggressive Breast Cancer 4. The Economic Benefits of Breastfeeding: A Review and Analysis 5. Breast-feeding Benefits Appear to be Overstated, According to Study of Siblings Additional Resources:https://www.blissfulbirthingtn.com/nashville-breastfeedinghttps://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/ACOG-Departments/Breastfeedinghttp://www.nashvillebreastfeeding.org/
Meet other breastfeeding moms at the Big Latch On August 4th at Baby + Co.