World Breastfeeding Week 2010

“If a multinational company developed a product that was a nutritionally balanced and delicious food, a wonder drug that both prevented and treated disease, cost almost nothing to produce and could be delivered in quantities controlled by the consumers’ needs, the very announcement of their find would send their shares rocketing to the top of the stock market. The scientists who developed the product would win prizes and the wealth and influence of everyone involved would increase dramatically. Women have been producing such a miraculous substance, breastmilk, since the beginning of human existence…” — Gabrielle Palmer

It’s World Breastfeeding Week, starting today. Check out this link for more information, and if you want to join in, help celebrate and/or raise awareness, you can change your facebook profile picture for this week to an image of yourself or someone else nursing. For more quotes about breastfeeding, click here.

Oh, and please remember your phrasing — it’s not “the benefits of breastfeeding”… it’s, “the risks of formula-feeding”! Breastfeeding is (or should be) the norm, so it is what formula should be judged by, and not the other way around. Since breastfed infants have lower risk/rate of ear infections (and many other diseases and even death) than babies fed by formula, that is not a “benefit of breastfeeding,” but rather is “a risk of formula-feeding.” Words are powerful, so let’s use them powerfully.

Also, be sure you read this awesome new NICU breastfeeding policy — “Breastfeeding IS our babies’ food!” — which will undoubtedly help save babies’ lives (for example, premature babies fed artificial formula have, I believe it is, twice the rate of necrotizing enterocolitis than babies fed their mother’s milk) and help improve breastfeeding rates.

Are you having trouble breastfeeding, or are you worried about breastfeeding in the future? Have you experienced or been told “horror stories” about breastfeeding, including cracked and bleeding nipples, and a latch so painful it takes your breath away or reduces you to tears? Let me tell you that that is not normal, and certainly not inevitable. Have you ever wondered why American women have so much pain and trouble breastfeeding, when breastfeeding is a normal and natural function of the body, and women in other cultures don’t have these problems?

The answer is often an incorrect latch, brought about by women not growing up seeing successful breastfeeding. We unconsciously imitate what we see or have seen; and what we tend to see is bottle-feeding, since “nursing in public” is often frowned on, so even if women do breastfeed in private, they will give bottles in public. Babies fed by bottle are held differently from babies fed at the breast… then if women hold their babies in a bottle-feeding position even though they’re breastfeeding, the baby won’t be able to latch on like he should, which will usually lead to pain for the mom and frustration for the baby. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy can give you the right “mental picture” of how breastfeeding should be, and with its clear, simple text, help you prevent or overcome difficulties with nursing.

5 Responses

  1. Few issues with video, namely “facts” about fussy and colicky babies – fussy and colicky is normal even when they are breastfed properly. Normal comes in happy babies (which are rare) to ones that cry a lot to ones that just scream, and it’s a disservice to mothers to imply that a fussy baby isn’t being cared for properly – often they just cry and usually the crying is worst around 6-8 weeks, when most mothers who stop nursing give up thinking that they’re doing something wrong when in reality you could do it all differently and the child would still be fussy.

    • I’m surprised that was your “take away message” from the video, because that certainly wasn’t the intended message at all. Laura Keegan, the author of the book, has helped hundreds of women breastfeed, throughout her 20+ years of experience as a Family Nurse Practitioner, many of whom had given up or were ready to give up as a result of these “myths” that they were told or that they believed as a result of their experience. They were the ones who pressed her to write a book, so that others beyond her FNP practice could be helped. They and their babies are the living testimonials that her message is true: that small (or big) adjustments to positioning and latch can mean the difference between successful and easy breastfeeding, and difficult and painful breastfeeding, or giving up breastfeeding altogether.

      This isn’t an issue of a baby “being cared for properly” by his mother; it’s an issue of mothers giving up breastfeeding because their babies are screaming, and the mothers are being told (by themselves or someone else) that it’s due to some problem with their milk or with breastfeeding itself, and encouraged to switch to formula. Laura’s experience has taught her that women often believe these myths that “fussy babies need formula,” when that simply isn’t true, and some minor adjustments that the mother can make while breastfeeding can make the difference in breastfeeding success.

      The issue is not whether 100% of baby’s fussiness is somehow due to breastfeeding; the issue is whether mothers believe that this is so. It is true that sometimes a baby is fussy due to something wrong with the mother’s milk (my friend’s oldest daughter is allergic to eggs, and screamed nearly constantly due to the reaction she had from the allergen in her mother’s breastmilk), and it is true that sometimes there is no known reason for babies to cry. But for women who have given up breastfeeding, or who are on the verge of quitting because they are suffering while breastfeeding, or believe their babies aren’t getting enough nourishment from their own milk, for these women to find out that the troubles they are encountering can be overcome without resorting to formula, is a tremendous service to mothers.

  2. Have to admit that I did not see the video but feel that I have something to say along this topic. There are many factors that effect the decision to stop breastfeeding and there may need to be more research done to find out if there is a coorelation between the time of stoping breastfeeding and the impact of variables. It inly takes one comment about “whether the infant is ‘getting’ enough to put doubt in the minds of the mother on her ability to be a successful mom”. Education supporting a mothers decison either way must be available. When a mom is able to feel successful at the breastfeeding process, a huge sense of empowerment is instilled in her. Women are strong. Opportunties to cite these instances are rare at times. thanks for the post. I just wanted to get my two cents in.

  3. Its also true that the timing of the termination of breastfeeding can be linked to the timing of the end of paid maternity leave. My paid leave ended at 6 weeks and I think that’s fairly standard. While a return to work can be combined with continued breastfeeding its not yet as easy as it should be. I’ve done it but I have really lucked out to be employed in jobs that made it easy.

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