***note: Before you proceed reading, pls. note that I dont judge or condemn mothers who don’t breastfeed. Breastfeeding is a personal choice and I respect that. However, this is my take on breastfeeding, so in turn, respect it. I am nowhere an expert, just a regular mom who believes that breastmilk is best for babies. I hope I can help other moms who are interested in breastfeeding. Again, this is in no way an entry condemning other moms who failed to breastfeed. This is just me, trying to help others who WANT or who are INTERESTED in breastfeeding.
It doesn’t take a genius to know my answer – of course I’ll definitely breastfeed! Though I don’t look down to mommies who didn’t get the chance to breastfed their babies, I applaud those who triumph in breastfeeding.
Through extensive research, I found out some reasons why most moms don’t or are afraid to breastfeed. Here are some of them:
1. Breastfeeding hurts!
Nobody says breastfeeding is easy. The mom is adjusting to constant sucking of the baby while the baby learns to suck properly. Breastfeeding is a continuous process of learning for both mother and baby. You can’t expect your baby to learn how to suck on her first try right? You have to give her time to adjust and to develop her own style to be able to feed properly. Just remember to hold your baby close to you, belly to belly.
The number one reason why breastfeeding hurts is because of poor latching. Proper latching should start in the areola and not just in the nipple. Latching through nipples results to chafing and thus turning off most moms to breastfeeding.
I also learned that it is a must to wait for your baby to open her mouth wide by tickling her lips with your nipples, tilting her head back slightly, place your thumb and fingers around your areola and offer your breast to her, placing her lower jaw on first. Don’t be disappointed if your baby didn’t get the correct latch the first time. Remember, both of you are learning the process so be patient with your baby! As she learns to breastfeed, it will get easier.
*pics taken from Fitpregnancy.
2. Not enough knowledge on breastfeeding
There are moms who insists that the reason why they don’t breastfeed is because they don’t have enough milk to feed the baby. This is totally false. Mom’s milk usually comes 3 to 5 days after delivery. The first few days we only produce colostrum which is pack with antibodies that is good for the babies.
But my baby will starve! Again, this is false. In fact, newborns stomachs are only the size of a marble so giving them colostrum is enough to satisfy their hunger for a few days until after your breastmilk comes. Breastmilk/colostrum are easily digested so we have to constantly feed them every 2 hours.
Did you know? All newborns are designed by nature to breastfeed. They can lose 10% of their birthweight after a few weeks since they still have the nutrients that they got from the placenta.
So don’t worry and don’t think that you’re starving your baby since she’s so fuzzy and wouldn’t stop crying for hours, imagine you’re living in a close space for 9 months hearing only the familiar sounds – your mothers heartbeat, her breathing and swishing of her blood, then all of a sudden you are forced to leave your most cherished space you call home and thrust into a world full of bustling and hustling and unfamiliar sounds and lights, I bet you my life savings you’ll be scared to death too, now would you?
Most hospitals don’t support breastfeeding that’s why after the mom gives birth, nurseries provides formula milk to newborn and thus giving our newborns a nipple confusion. Think about this: Breastfeeding is a learning process. It’s hard to get milk from the breast than in a nipple in a bottle. Once the baby tries bottle feeding, she will prefer sucking that than your breast.
I asked my OB if ever they have a policy on letting my newborn room-in with us and she told me that they prefer to have the newborns in the nursery so I asked her how I can BF my baby when she is in the nursery? She told me that during the first few days, I will only produce colostrum and babies won’t be fully fed by colostrum. She asked me not to worry because they will provide formula milk anyway. Imagine the horror when I heard what she said! I did a lot of researching and this is just unacceptable. Remember this: You have every right to your baby. You have the last say. If you give formula milk to your newborn they will surely have a nipple confusion and in result wont feed from you thus not stimulating your breast which in turn will make your milk supply stop. BREASTFEEDING IS A SUPPLY AND DEMAND PROCESS. No demand of milk from baby means no supply of milk from your breasts. All of us our capable of breastfeeding. We’ve been doing this since the time begun. Formula milk only came to light in the 2oth century to feed the orphans but because of the rising percentage of working moms, formula use increased.
But she seems so contented when I give her formula milk! If you don’t have the strength to face the other way when you are being forced to suck on a bottle then you’ll have no choice but to suck the contents of the bottle or drown by its content. Imagine this: Baby cant say no to you when you force her to feed on a bottle. It’s her instinct to feed and suck so giving her the bottle will make her suck. However, she doesn’t know how to tell you to stop, milk in the bottle are designed to flow continuously so instead of fuzzing, babies tend to suck everything to avoid drowning thus making them look “comfortable”, “hungry” and “starving”.
4. Not enough support system
Most of us are not breastfed. Most of our moms didn’t breastfeed due to lack of knowledge of proper breastfeeding. My hubby’s mom didn’t breastfeed him. My sisters didn’t breastfeed their kids. My cousins and my aunts didn’t breastfeed. So how are we going to expect to be taught a lesson on how to breastfeed if our moms or aunts or mother in laws didn’t breastfeed either? (just an FYI, I was breastfed for a year).
5. Wrong beliefs/Social pressures
Scene 1: The baby is crying her lungs out. Your mom or mom-in-law is there to the rescue by insisting you feed the baby formula to stop her from crying. You being so anxious and frustrated and helpless give in. You give formula milk to your baby then voila – she stops crying. Then this cycle continues. Your baby prefers the bottle than your breast and you give in to the thought that its better to feed formula than starve your baby. Then after a few days, you stop producing milk and thus giving you no choice but to formula feed. You’re baby is now an exclusive formula fed baby.
Scene 2: It’s already 3 am. You’re baby is crying out loud. You haven’t slept properly for 3 days. You are at you wits end. Your husband is losing his hair (or sanity, whichever is better) over the fact that he can’t sleep properly too and he has to be in his office at 6am. He looks at you pityingly while you try everything to have the baby latch on your breast while baby screams and kicks and kept on refusing your breasts. He gives you formula milk to “try” since almost all your efforts are in vain. You give in. Your baby shuts up and “hungrily” sucks the milk. This cycle is repeated until you no longer have breastmilk making your baby an exclusive formula fed baby.
Scene 3: You are pumping your milk and your breast is very tender, nipples very sore when you see blood coming out of your breasts! You panic and stop pumping and give formula milk instead. Take note: it’s not uncommon to draw blood while pumping your breasts. Your breasts are engorged with milk, sometimes clogging the ducts which in turn makes your breasts tender. So just ignore the blood and after a while you will be able to pump milk instead of drawing blood. However if you draw more than an ounce of blood, better consult your doctor as this maybe a sign that there is something wrong with you or your breasts.
Scene 4: You have colds so for fear of passing it on to your baby, you give her formula milk instead. Take note: Colds comes from viruses. Before showing any symptoms, you probably have the virus inside of you around 2 days already and your antibodies are already fighting it off for you so there’s a possibility that you already passed on the virus to your baby. By breastfeeding her, you are passing your antibodies to her to help her fight the virus caused by your colds but by giving her formula milk, you are hindering your antibodies to be acquired by your baby and it will also cause your breastmilk to stop due to the supply and demand process.
Scene 5: It’s almost time for you to go back to the office so you have no choice but to stop breastfeeding your baby so you give her formula milk instead. You tell yourself that at least you breastfed her for 2 months and that’s enough. Remember: 2 months of breastfeeding is better than not being able to breastfeed at all, however BREASTMILK IS STILL BEST FOR BABIES UP TO 2 YEARS. You can still feed your breastmilk to your babies by pumping enough milk and store it in the freezer or you can bring your pump in the office. I know this is better said than done but if you really put your mind into it that you will give breastmilk to your baby no matter what, no amount of hindrance or obstacles can stop you from giving what is best for your little angel.
Scene 6: You are happily breastfeeding your baby when all of a sudden your pedia tells you that your baby is not gaining weight so she asks you to supplement her with formula milk instead. Remember: You can ask for a second opinion to other doctors! Breastfeed babies have different weight gains than their formula fed counterparts. Most formula fed babies gain weight because of the sugar content of their milk.
Scene 7: You are in a restaurant and your baby demanded to be fed so you whip your boobies out and began breastfeeding her when all of a sudden someone from the other table/waiter tells you that it’s not polite to breastfeed in a restaurant where people are eating. So they ask you to leave and go to the washroom to breastfeed your baby. So the next time you go out, you make sure that you give formula milk to your baby instead of your breast. REMEMBER THIS: When someone asks you to go to the washroom to breastfeed your baby tell them to go to the washroom to eat their food there too! Breastfeeding is a very natural thing. It’s only now that we sexualize the breasts and not see them as what they are intended to be – a form of nourishment and comfort for our babies. Do not let anyone talk you into feeding your baby in a toilet, ask yourself, do you eat your lunch in a toilet?
I know that breastfeeding is not as easy as what I say it is. Breastfeeding is really hard but so is getting pregnant. But if we really put our minds into it, we can do it! I know that it’s better said than done but once you really put your mind into it, you know that you will have to move forward and not give in or to find the easy way out of giving formula milk to your babies. Just remember that all your sacrifices will be rewarded by good health of your baby.
Did you know? Breastmilk is specifically made for the growing needs of your baby. Its nutritional values changes as you babies needs grows. Breastfeeding also limits your risks of cervical, breasts, uterine and ovarian cancers and it also burns hundreds of calories and can actually help moms get back to their pre-pregnancy weight fast!
That’s just a few good things you can get by breastfeeding. So mommies, try it.
Take note: Never give in! Breastmilk is still the BEST for babies! Breastmilk is still the BEST for babies! Breastmilk is still the BEST for babies! (It’s so important that I have to repeat it thrice!) There are lots of benefits that breastmilk can give to our infants that formula milks can’t give. So please, breastmilk your baby. It’s a small price to pay for a life long benefits that your baby can get from it.