Candid Chatter

Just Say It

So How Important is it? August 6, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 7:47 am
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I had a comment left on my last post regarding breastfeeding. I have to tell you that I am fully on the wagon for this topic. I support breastfeeding for as long as you possibly can stand it. My stories are that of frustration and disappointment in this area. I’ll tell you about my experiences and then a comment that may or may not draw some discussion.

Brianna: When my precious beautiful almost 4 year old was born I had it in my mind how things were going to be. I knew she’d cry. I knew she’d wake up a lot. I knew all about SIDS. What blindsided me was acid reflux. Personally, in hindsight, I think she was born about a week too early. I have a feeling that if she had stayed in my womb another week this digestive immaturity may have corrected itself. I feel that way because the reflux symptoms started within 36 hours of giving birth to her. I had just finished breastfeeding her and I laid her down in her cart. Remember, I am in the hospital for 4 days because of c-sections. I was there, not at home.

Anyway, I laid her down and then she started to scream. I got to her, picked her up, patted her back thinking there was a burp stuck in there, when all (and I mean all) of the breastmilk she had just consumed came shooting out of her mouth and all over me, her, the floor, and the side of the cart. I thought, “that was not spit up — she just vomited”. I called the nurse and from that moment on the battle began.

I was hooked up with a rented electric breast pump and told to give my poor bleeding nipples a break and start pumping. I was pumping for 20 minutes every hour and a half, then feeding her the pumped milk from a bottle (which took about another 15 to 20 minutes), then she’d fall asleep, then I’d fall asleep. I’d sleep for about a half an hour once I got settled and the cycle would start over. I was getting so little sleep I felt my knees give out sometimes when I would walk. I swear I could have fallen asleep standing.

The reflux was getting worse and sometimes she wouldn’t go to sleep after eating; she would just scream. It’s important for me to say here that I didn’t know it was reflux. I even called 911 one evening because she vomited so much while lying down after her bath that I thought she has aspirated. The EMT guys checked her and told me she was fine. It was so bad that I couldn’t allow the swing to have motion. I couldn’t put her in the bouncy seat. And I had to hold her upright for 20 to 30 minutes after every feeding. There went my sleep; 20 min to pump, 20 min to feed, 20 to hold upright, about 10 min left of real sleep once I got us both settled.

Finally and tearfully, I told my husband I couldn’t take it anymore and I was buying formula. That actually ended up being a great decision because the doctor who finally diagnosed her correctly told me I could start putting rice cereal in her bottles, which weighed the milk down, and kept her from projectile vomiting. He also prescribed her Zantac and the screaming stopped almost immediately. By the time she was 6 months old the reflux was gone. But she was a faaat baby. LOL! That rice made her chunk right up.

Jeremy: I actually went into labor with him. His c-section was scheduled, but he had other ideas. The day after I had him I called a lactation nurse into my room. He was killing my nipples. I was prepared for pain, but he was hurting me so badly I winced every time he latched on. She figured out he couldn’t stick his tongue out past his bottom lip. She told me I would have to latch him a special way in order to keep him from further killing my nipples. Yeeouch! Well after much practice and a lot of latching, unlatching, and relatching I got it down pat. He was doing great and growing right on track.

There was another problem though. Well two actually. One is that I produce so much milk that I could probably feed 3 babies at once and still have milk to spare. When my milk comes in (about 4 days after I have a baby) my boobs go from being a normal “B” cup to a “D”. Super sized porno boobs I call them. The pointer sisters. I get engorged if I’m not careful and I think I was on my way to mastitis with Jeremy too. Fine. After calling the La Leche League, I had to start this feeding pattern to keep Jeremy from choking during let down. He was choking and sputtering and it always happened when I felt my milk let down. If you’ve never breastfed, it’s a feeling of heaviness easing down into your breasts towards the nipple shortly after the baby latches and starts sucking. Let down for me happens fast. It’s more like dropping or plopping down. Anyway, I put up with all of that because I was so happy to finally be breastfeeding successfully. Yay!

Then the news. Jeremy had jaundice that was realized about 24 hours after he was born. The problem was it wasn’t getting better. It was getting worse. I can’t remember the low number, but I do know the pediatrician told me that if he got close to 20 he may be in jeopardy. When I took him to the hospital the day I realized he was lethargic and they tested his blood, he was at 17. Panic set in. His pediatrician told me to stop breastfeeding for 3 days, pump instead, throw away the milk, and then start breastfeeding him again after the 3 day break. I was in such emotional upheaval that I decided to just stop. I breastfed him for 6 weeks. His jaundice went away and by day 3 he was not yellow anymore. The whites of his eyes were finally white for the first time since the day after he was born.

I do plan to try again with this new baby. I even asked a friend of mine who has successfully breastfed twice to help me if I get to that point where I’m ready to quit. She agreed. I am hoping that the 3rd time is a charm. I would love to be formula free for once. That stuff is so expensive and how nice to be able to just latch the baby instead of mixing and such when on the go. Less to carry in the diaper bag too.

Now to the comment that might draw certain discussion.

I don’t believe my kids are any less intelligent or healthy. I don’t think their lack of breastmilk in the first 6 months did anything to rob them of whatever nutrients they supposedly needed from breastmilk. They are both smart. I’ve told you before that Jeremy is so smart he has me spoiled and there are days I forget he’s only two. Brianna is smart as a whip too — beyond her age level. Neither of them has ever had an ear infection. They have not been as sick as some of my friend’s kids who have been breastfed for 6+ months. They are fit, healthy, active, smart, and normal. I have friends who did breastfeed for a long time whose kids have had ear infection after ear infection, croup, high fevers (trips to the ER kind of high fever), and other things. Some have been sick more often than my kids have with colds and regular bugs that float around.

On that same token, my nieces and nephew who were formula fed from day 1 are all healthy, fit, smart, and normal too. No signs of any delays because of their diets.

So how important is it? Are we just being told that it’s oh so much better to breastfeed but it’s really just a theory? I say “a theory” because I have yet to see any proof. I have many, many babies in my life at any given time. Some have been breastfed, most haven’t. Put them side by side and you cannot tell a difference. Give them an intelligence test and again no difference (if there is it’s usu genetic b/c mom or dad is a moron, but that’s a different topic).

Truthfully, I think the formulas made today are so chock full of vitamins, minerals, and such that babies are fine either way. Heck, some babies can’t even drink their mother’s milk because they are lactose intolerant. Then they have to go on special formula. Right?

So what do you think?

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7 Responses to “So How Important is it?”

  1. Heidi,

    Breastfeeding. What a nightmare for my wife! She was a real trooper and give it everything you had in her! But, she simply could not produce milk. She couldn’t! Finally, her OB prescribed something for her to take, even that didn’t work. We tried breastfeeding, pumping, you name it, nothing.

    After repeated calls to the lac nurse, who made her feel so guilty when she told her of the problems she was having, we went to formula. Our baby was getting jaundiced and his Ped said formula or they would have to put him under the lamps at home.

    The Lac nurse kept calling and making us feel more and more guilty of what we were doing to our son! Finally, I told my wife, “Either you tell them to get lost, or I will!” She did…they did…and our son is now a healthy six-month chunk of a boy. Saw his Ped last week, she said he is nearly perfect!

  2. daphne Says:

    Since I believe it was me who made the BFing comment, I will comment again. ; )
    All of my living babies were placed on my chest after dilevery and latched on with the beauty and serinity only found in femenin product commercials. It was super easy for all of us and I only weaned my children when my OB was like, ‘get that one off so you can put the new one on’. I know you can nurse 2 at once but I am not that Natzi on the subject.

    I really try to live by ‘judge not least you be judged’. I said try. I think I want every one to at least try it because, like viewing a child be born, it can be a beautiful thing. To me it was so very beautiful. Unlike watching a gorey bloody goo covered baby squeeze through my vagina which was not in the best shape since I got too big to, ahem, groom down there.

    I never thought formula babies were getting jiped. Now, mothers who smoke and drink and use bottles so they can hit the club and leave their newborns overnight with a sitter, well, just pray for me on that one.

    Ya know what? I was not a Christian when my 1st daughter was born. It happened around the 2nd baby. I felt like I was so missing out because I never went into labor on my own. My first daughter that died was 3 weeks early and so my ob never let me go that far in future pregnancies. So I was induced and never got to have my water break at a super inconvienent time and turn to my love and say “IT’S TIME!”.

    Since becoming a Christian I try to do this real simple thing. Look at the glass half full instead of half empty. What does that have to do with being a Christian? Well, before I was going to hell, now I get to go to heaven and everything else is the small stuff. So if I could not go into labor on my own, or not get to breastfeed (actually have a story about why it did NOT work past a year with my 4th) or had to have a section (was preped for one once-whole other story there!) or have to bury a child or whatever, at least in the end I am going to heaven and not hell.

    Save your hate mail, I do not mean the death of a child is small, I have that t-shirt along with many others but in light of eternal damnation I choose to see my glass as half full. Or the formula bottle as half full. See? Grace & Peace, daphne

  3. Ali Says:

    I just think that each of us has to make a healthy choice for ourselves and our family. If BF’g in the morning is good and everyone is fine with it – GREAT. If in the evening Daddy wants to feed – Whoo Hoo, here is a bottle of “FOOD”. Ultimately, that is all BF or Formula is. It is a form of nourishment that our babies can ingest, digest and hopefully with no major issues grow and become as smart as all of our children are. Even for the ones that do end up with problems (mentally, physically), it doesn’t make them less smart. Their area of expertise just can’t be expressed as easily as it can be for the rest of us.

  4. sjcall Says:

    Hi Heidi,
    I completely agree with you. I breastfed my oldest, Aiden but had the tremendous pain like you had with your little guy so I started supplementing with formula right from the start. I got over the pain after a month or so but it was just so convenient to do both that I didn’t worry about trying to go back to just nursing. After I went back to work, I nursed him in the morning and in the evenings and he had formula during the day at the babysitter. Same for #2, Brady, except for no pain this time. Both my boys are smart as a whip and have been very healthy.

    I have known people who swear by breastfeeding and baulk at parents decide to use formula. I also have a friend who was so scared to use formula, but had no other choice because her milk never came in and her daughter has been just fine too. I think it is all such a rediculous hype. DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU, PEOPLE!!! Who cares what others say. In todays world there is so much out there that is “not good for you” and “you better do this or else” that one could go crazy just trying to follow what the “experts” say. Phooy on all of them!!! Ok, I will get off my soap box now! But seriously, you hit right on the head with your comment about how advanced formulas are these days.
    Have a great day 🙂

  5. sjcall Says:

    sjcall is Jen, Mel’s sister!

  6. Lana Says:

    okay, here I am again.
    One of the first things I had told Heidi about myself when I met her, was that I’m “Granola.”

    If you don’t know what that is… it is sort of like a scholarly-21st century hippie. A naturalist.

    I believe in breastfeeding.
    It hurts. yes.
    Nipples crack and bleed.
    Yes
    Mastitis hurts.
    Yes
    Thrush is painful.
    Yes
    Blocked milked ducts shoot pain through the breasts.
    Yes
    But it is the natural way.
    The purpose of breasts is to feed our babies…
    all the modern day perverted “duties” for breasts has tainted their true purpose.
    women who couldn’t do it in ancient times hired nursing moms to nurse their young.

    Where does the “Breastfed babies are smarter” idea come from? It comes from facts. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition “shows that breastfed infants tested 5.2 IQ points higher than formula fed infants.” Is it a coincidence? Doubt it. Are there breastfed babies who end up being idiots? I’m sure of it. Are there formula fed babies who are members of Mensa? Of course there are… Heidi’s son Jeremy is in it.

    My sister was a formula-fed baby, my mom confesses she craved (and drank) beer during the pregnancy. My sister is a mathematical genius. Truly. Her IQ is like in the 150s, and she has proven some math equations that are like 500 pages long… Got paid big bucks for them, too.

    I, personally, loved nursing my boys.
    I didn’t chose to nurse them because I think they’d have high IQ’s… I nursed them because I could. I had big, fat, juicy boobies that were gushing out milk (literally.) I had the time… and quite honestly, I know that nursing is great for the mommy’s body (especially the uterus contracting back to miniscule size).

  7. candidchatter Says:

    I loved the nursing that I did with Jeremy. There were about 2 days in the hospital with Brianna that I loved it. After that, nightmare! So I’m completely on the boat if for no other reason than the bond I feel and the chance to sit down, get comfortable, and put my feet up. It’s amazing. So I will definitely try again and I’m already praying it works out this time around.

    I guess my point in this post is that there are people out there who do make it their mission, or so it seems, to convince women that if you don’t breastfeed you are somehow less than a good mother or that you aren’t concerned about the best for your child. I call them nursing nazi’s. And they do exist. Steve’s poor wife encountered one. I have too. And sometimes these nursing nazi’s infect other mothers (esp 1st timers) with their ideas to the point that if these mothers can’t breastfeed for some reason or another they feel a tremendous amount of guilt over it.

    It’s the same for the natural birth nazi’s who make women feel less than women for using pain management during birth.

    To each their own.

    But I am curious about one thing. When was the study done that you quoted, Lana? I wonder this because there have been significant improvements in infant formula in just the last few years since I’ve had Brianna (4 years to be exact). If that study was done in the 90’s, let’s say, I’m sure the results would not reflect today’s children. I also wonder how diverse the group was who they studied, how many babies were studied, for how long, and what their parent’s IQs are. It’s all relevant. Right?

    Anyway, I am not trying to argue against breastfeeding. Not at all. What I am trying to do is say that if you don’t want to breastfeed your baby for ANY reason, you shouldn’t feel like you’re hurting your child. That’s all.

    heidi


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