This week is world breastfeeding week. It is to remind us of the importance of breastfeeding and of course promote this natural phenomenon, which is so good for our babies, around the world.
While everyone can choose what is best for his/her family and babies, what I find disturbing is the amount of publicity and promotion of formula to 3rd world/underpriveleged countries. The disposable diaper industry has already corned appx. 25% of the monthly income of a lot of young couples, who 10 years ago would have simply used rags or leftover clothing to cloth diaper their babies. Sure, it might be convenient, but they are struggling to keep up with demand. I shudder to think if the formula market took hold there, how LITTLE disposable income there would be left for couples with children.
I struggled so hard with breastfeeding at first. Keeley was a preemie, and had severe jaundice. Just about the time she was starting to latch the day she was born, we were told we could no longer pick her up and hold her, that she couldn’t be kept out of her ‘warmer’ to nurse, because it was taking too long and jeopardizing her health. We were pressured to use formula. A breast pump was brought in ‘to supplement’. Well, Keeley immediately projectile vomited the formula. She happily took pumped colostrum, and eventually milk. Because we were not allowed to even attempt to nurse anymore (can’t nurse without holding*), I ended up pumping milk for 3 months. I was sick of pumping, and although I had managed to get her latched and fed her on one side, I had been pumping milk out of both sides for so long that I was getting 16 ounces at a go, and to NOT pump one side would have been disastrous. * Later we found out that we could have gotten a blanket with the special warmer in it for her and could have continued nursing attempts. You have no idea how livid I am about finding this out, literally when we were packing to leave. I could have had a much easier time….
Finally, I stuck out the ‘cold turkey’ away from the pump, and with some help from the la leche league, managed to get her latched on both sides. A couple of weeks later, she was a nursing champ and I was a very relieved mommy! Our nursing relationship lasted for 14 months beyond that. The day before Easter was her last nurse. I do still feel sad about it from time to time, but I know her personality would not allow for her to be a great nurser right now anyway. She has been extremely healthy, and although some of that can be contributed to staying at home and being away from other kids, a lot of it also has to do with getting antibodies and building a rock solid immune system for almost her first year and a half of life. Would I do it again? Absolutely. There were good times and bad times, funny times and poignant times, and downright painful times as well. I never had infections and I haven’t experienced stretched outedness or anything that other moms seem to complain about. All in all, a good experience. It’s all worth it in the end.
What is your story? How long did you nurse? Once in the hospital? Not at all? What do you think about formula being mass marketed to underpriveleged countries. Is this American companies epitome of greed? Tip your sippy cup to someone who breastfeeds/breastfed their babies this week!