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WHY WE BREASTFEED OUR BABY

(or, THE FACTS ON FORMULA)

(If you are already bottlefeeding your baby, mentally retitle this section, Why I Will Breastfeed My Next Baby. If, like many parents of a firstborn high-need child, you have decided you will never have another baby, and you are bottlefeeding, click here for survival tips with the one you have.)

Things You Might Want To Know About Breastfeeding

All this sounds really good, but I'm already bottlefeeding. What should I do? First of all, don't waste time on guilt. Guilt is a luxury for the parents of easy babies to indulge in. You have probably in your baby's short lifetime already experienced enough guilt as six of them combined.

Second of all, buy that baby a Binky. Augh! I can hear the AP mothers screaming now. Most of them are breastfeeding, though. It is not fair for that child to have to suppress her natural need for sucking comfort just because she happens to be bottlefed. Give her a pacifier, but carry her while she uses it, and once she hits three or so, you might want to start putting limits on its use, just as many breastfeeding mothers do with nursing. You can also try a freshly scrubbed pinky finger, but Abishai would never go for this.

Third, don't let anybody guilt-trip you about your choices. So what if you chose to bottlefeed? You most likely didn't have all the facts about the risks involved. Doctors aren't taught more than two hours' lectures' worth of lactation science, so s/he probably didn't tell you anything either. So what if your kid uses a paci? I squirm now when I recall how I used to tease my brother-in-law and his wife about their four-year-old (bottlefed baby) still using his pacifier. It finally occurred to me that I would not be at all weirded out by a four-year-old still nursing. It was reverse prejudice on my part!

Fourth, consider giving her smaller, more frequent feedings. It is sometimes easier to schedule a formula-fed baby because ABM is not nearly as easy as breastmilk to digest. However, if you start considering mealtimes as opportunities for bonding instead of obligatory nutritional tasks to be completed, the four-hour schedule may lose some of its appeal. Also, remember that a baby's tummy is about the size of her fist. Hold that fist next to a full bottle and you'll see before you one of the reasons ABM-fed babies are at higher risk for childhood obesity.

Fifth, consider using a Supplementary Nutrition System, which is a package of formula hooked up to two tiny tubes you adhere to your nipples, thus simulating breastfeeding (and also slightly stimulating your milk supply!). If you do decide to stick with bottles, I highly recommend the Adiri Breastbottle, which is the only bottle I know of to model itself after the original, perfect design: human breasts. Click on this link to discover more about this exciting product (by the way, I receive no money from them, I just think their product's so cool).

Sixth, please, please, please, don't use Carnation, or any other Nestle product, for that matter. I know it is much cheaper (the ads say, "It's like getting the fifth can free!"), but there are literally millions of reasons why any responsible adult should not support these jerks. Click here for the reasons why.

I tried to breastfeed, but I didn't have enough milk. Will this happen if I try with my next baby? Not if you read up on breastfeeding from pro-breastfeeding sources (by which I don't mean a helpful how-to pamphlet from an ABM company), most likely. (See Resources page) Probably the reason you didn't have enough milk (if indeed you really didn't) is because you tried to schedule your feedings in the early weeks, or used unnecessary supplementary bottles or pacifiers. Or maybe your baby wouldn't stop crying, and you thought it was because he wasn't getting enough to eat, when really it was simply because he's a high-need baby. Or maybe you were never shown how to latch your baby on correctly, so he couldn't get to your milk.

What's the point of me trying to breastfeed when I'm just going back to work anyway? Contrary to popular belief, you can breastfeed while working, and it's well worth the effort. Ask my aunt, who breastfed four children while working as a nurse. (And two of those were high-need!) You need to check up on it and read about it (I know, time to read is exactly what you don't have). Try So That's What They're For! (See Resources) And even if you only breastfeed for six weeks (the usual maternity leave), it still gives your baby so many benefits that it's really worth the effort, and will give you time to gradually wean her to bottlefeeding instead experiencing the sore engorged breasts you'll have otherwise. Be advised, though...it's addictive for the mommy.

When are you going to wean Abishai? When he's ready, which probably won't be for a few years. Why should I deny him the benefits of my close-to-perfect milk just because he hits the big 0-1? That's my choice, and I don't want to hear any "pervert" remarks from the peanut gallery. In return, I won't bombard you with angry remarks about how breastmilk was good for him when he was 11 months old, so why not 12 months. Deal?

So what are you saying, just because you breastfeed, you're a better mom than bottlefeeding moms are? That is exactly what I am not saying. I have known very loving and competent bottlefeeding moms, and some not-so-loving or -competent breastfeeding moms. I am offering the facts behind our feeding choice, and offering you the opportunity to draw your own conclusions based on those same facts. If you are feeling defensive about past feeding choices, don't bother! Just, please, make the breastfeeding choice next time, now that you're more educated about the inherent risks of ABM.

Interesting Link: What if breastfeeding were marketed as agressively as ABM? See an ad here.

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Home What is a high-need baby? Why We Had A Gentle Birth Why We Breastfeed Our Baby
Why We Carry Our Baby So Much Why We Sleep With Our Baby How We Respond to Our Baby's Cries Resources for the Parent of a High-Need Baby
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