Friday, May 05, 2006

Breastfeeding study

A member of one of my mommy lists posted a link this week to an article in The Times of London in which the World Health Organization admitted that breastfeeding moms were wrongly advised about the growth of their babies. Why? Because the growth charts used are based on the growth rates of formula-fed babies. I had learned early on when I had Becky that breastfed babies generally gain weight more slowly than formula-fed ones. Our pediatrician was never concerned about Becky's growth; she was more concerned about how Becky followed her own growth curve, which was consistent throughout her infancy. Obviously a lot of pediatricians in Britain (and here in the US too, according to online mom friends who were harassed to varying degrees about their children's size) didn't know this. How awful for the parents who were made to feel like they were starving their children when they were in fact perfectly healthy. How horrible for the babies who were force-fed formula or extra solids when they weren't hungry. Hm, maybe those insanely large restaurant portions we see these days get their start in babyhood?

I am very much an advocate for breastfeeding, having nursed Becky for 18 months. Unfortunately Carly did not take to the nipple, despite giving a good showing of it in the hospital. I saw lactation consultants and tried very hard at first to make it work for us, but she was an extremely sleepy baby who just did not want to work for her food. Coupled with that was post partum depression that hit me like a brick to the head 3 days post partum. Now in hindsight I wish I had worked harder so that maybe she would have caught on to the process. But then I remember my near hysteria when she wouldn't even latch, and how my emotions were making me sick and worrying Jim enormously. Thanks to Jim, I did decide to pump once I gave up on the breast, and so she's gotten a bottle a day of breast milk. I feel guilt at times that I didn't get into a more frequent pumping routine so that a higher percentage of Carly's diet could have been my milk. But again, my fragile mental state at that time kept me from it, as did the demands of recovering from my c-section and dealing with a jealous Becky. (Becky has been wonderful overall but did experience some of the expected emotions about being displaced as the center of attention here.)

A friend at work is pregnant and so this week I loaned her three breastfeeding books; So That's What They're For, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and The Complete Book of Breastfeeding.
I had the Complete Book when I had Becky and found it enormously helpful. I had borrowed The Womanly Art from my Bradley instructor but didn't buuy a copy until I was pregnant with Carly. (figures) And So That's What They're For was highly recommended when I was on the Pumpmoms Yahoogroup. My friend told me that she is unsure what she will do about breastfeeding and doesn't think she could maintain the pump schedule I did with Becky and have with Carly. I told her not to worry about what I did but just educate herself and see how it goes. I know that there are good Lactation Consultants attached to the hospital where she'll be delivering, so that's a positive.

After I had Becky I was pretty militant about breastfeeding, though I did understand some of the challenges when I met the moms on the Pumpmoms list (some of whom have become good friends due to that list and its "graduate" list). Now I'm a quiet advocate. :-) I pump twice a day at work and while I don't shout from the rooftops what I'm doing when my door is closed, I also do tell people. (one of my colleagues refers to it as "multitasking", said with awe.) There are a number of young women in our division these days so hopefully some of them will see that working and breastfeeding is not an insurmountable challenge.

Here was a cool article about breastfeeding in the Phillipines. Those Filipinas rock!

2 comments:

Sarah said...

Multi-tasking...I like that. You rock, Liz!

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