Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh No She Di’n’t!

Oh yes I did! I’m going to talk about people who choose to not breastfeed “just because”. Remember that part of my introduction that says I have strong opinions and if you don’t like them you don’t have to read my blog? Well, this post might just put that to the test.

There are women who, for one reason or another, can’t breastfeed. Some have low supply, some have been given poor information and/or advice and a very (VERY) few are incapable of making milk.

To these women, I say “good job in trying!” You put that baby to your breast and it just didn’t work out right. Make a mental note and try to fix it for the next time. And remember to ask for help from those who know what they’re talking about (*waves*).

Now. I’m going to address those who CHOSE to not breastfeed. They chose this for varying reasons, some of which are: formula is just as good (or maybe even better) than breastmilk; human’s have evolved past the point of needing to nurse their young; breastfeeding is disgusting; breasts are sexual, not for feeding babies.

First of all, we are mammals. There’s no getting around that. We are warm blooded, have live births and NURSE OUR YOUNG. That’s what our breasts are made for.

Second, there is NO WAY a laboratory can recreate what the human body does to perfection. Yes, science has come a long, long way. We are doing and making amazing things. We can transplant organs from one human to another and live normal lives. We can even transplant organs from other animals. We can create nourishment for infants that will keep them alive and growing.

HOWEVER, there is no way we can create something identical to the real thing. Formula was a marvelous invention. Infants whose mothers had died or infants who were abandoned and there was no lactating woman around were now able to be fed something to keep them alive. And it was much easier on their tummies than straight goat’s milk or cow’s milk.

Breastmilk is THE PERFECT FOOD. It has the exact amount of everything a baby needs to not only survive, but thrive. It has antibodies, vitamins, minerals and a whole slew of nutrients that make babies grow. The colostrum (the first milk, before the real stuff comes in) lines the baby’s gut to get the body ready for the breastmilk.

Take a look at this:

Formula just doesn’t stack up, does it?

How can someone choose to deny their child all that breastmilk gives? How can someone choose to give their child the breastmilk of another mammal? Would you expect a mother to nurse a baby cow? No? Then why are people letting their children have cow’s breastmilk? Doesn’t make sense, does it?

In my world (the world according to me ;)) formula would be hard to get.  It might even be via prescription.  Or at least behind the counter of the drug store like some cold medicines are.  All hospitals would have Lactation Consultants, not nurses who may (or may not) have gotten a crash course on nursing.

Are you a bad parent if you chose to formula feed? No, but perhaps a neglectful one.


  1. You certainly don't hold your punches. :)

    I know a number of women who chose to not breastfeed or chose to stop after a few months. I haven't heard the reasons you mentioned above so I thought I'd add the ones I did hear (wrong or right). I'm not saying these are more common reasons to stop/not breastfeed, but they're more common among the people I know.

    * Because of stress or exhaustion (most common)
    * Because it doesn't fit into their lifestyle
    * Because they believe it will negatively impact their ability to regain their pre-pregnancy body (usually an incorrect belief except where exhaustion prevents exercise)
    * Because they want to start smoking/drinking/etc. again (boo! :( but surprisingly common)

    I think the most important piece of advice you have above is to SEEK HELP. I found breastfeeding to be incredibly painful for the first two months. While the experts weren't able to fix the problem, they at least reassured me that it was a temporary problem, and they were right. Without that assurance, I might have given up too. They also recommended tools that helped lessen the pain (breast shields in this case.)

    Other problems may be solvable with help other than lactation consultants - mother's helpers, leaning on friends/family, reducing work schedule or resetting work expectations, mom support groups, parent+baby exercise classes, better tools (like a hands-free pumping kit), etc.

    Thanks Julianna!


  2. Thanks, Tori! :)

    There are definitely more reasons to not BF than I listed. The ones you listed are very good examples of my point. Getting back to pre preg body just isn't good enough for me. Pregnancy does a number on the body, too...

    Getting back to smoking or drinking (ugh), again, not good enough. It's been proven that if a mother insists on smoking, the benefits outweigh the negatives. Drinking (to excess) is a different story.

    And lifestyle. Same as pre preg body. Having a child is changing the lifestyle. BFing is just a small (yet so incredibly important) part.

    When Allie (#1) was born BFing hurt. I begged my husband to help me get through to 6 weeks. By 6 weeks I had completely forgotten that was a goal. Things bot better with in a couple weeks. And we nursed to 14 months.

    With Zachary I knew there might be some pain. There was discomfort, but then I knew what to expect. And we made it to 3+ years. :D