Apparently, there was an episode of 20/20 featuring a mother breastfeeding her six years old daughter. I read a related article in here. The author of Family Health and Safety has a strong opinion on the support of extended breastfeeding and breastfeeding in general.
This is wonderful, and I'm all for breastfeeding. But I have to say the competition between mothers on breastfeeding is not healthy. I have to tell my story for those mothers who can't breastfeed their kids and feel guilty.
When my son was born, he was healthy and they released us from hospital in normal time. We came home. My son was crying constantly and was constantly on my breast for one week until we went for his first checkup with our GP. I thought well this is having a baby, the last thing in my mind was that he may be hungry. The minute the doctor saw him, he noticed my son was yellow beyond normal and send us for blood work. We ended up in the emergency room, he had baby jaundice and his numbers were way above normal.
We spend almost five days in the hospital and he was under the light all the time. They weighed him before and after breastfeeding and noticed that I didn't have enough production. The nurses told me that because of lack of production, my son couldn't get enough liquid to be able to pass the extra iron in blood to prevent baby jaundice.
So he got better and we came home. I was attached to the breast pump for weeks, drank all I could but nothing happened. I had only enough supply for two serving a day. I had no choice other than substituting other servings with formula. I had no problem with it. It was what my child needed and as a mother, I had to provide the best I could for him.
My problem was other mothers, who would lecture me on the benefits of breastfeeding and the ways that I can produce more. I had to go over the story all the time and tell them about all the things I did to be able to breastfeed exclusively.It was exhausting, even strangers would come to me in public and lecture me when they see him feeding on a bottle. I was always feeling guilty and tried to avoid other moms for two years until breastfeeding time was over. (At least for most of people)
My point is that, yes, breastfeeding is great and everyone who can do it should do it. I can
3 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Competition”
I had a minor stroke when I was pregnant with my first and after having an allergic reaction to heparin was placed on a different blood thinner that was fairly new on the market. I was told that I could not breast feed while on this. I had to listen to months of comments on how horrible I was for not breastfeeding my child. I had strangers come up to me in shopping malls commenting on how horrible it was that my baby was getting a bottle. They made assumptions about me and I was even told I was selfish a few times. A good friend of mine had this problem as well but her daughter had a poor sucking reflex and couldn't latch. She was being fed breast milk from a special bottle but still people made assumptions.
When I was in the hospital after I had my daughter the lactation police came around and suggested that I not take the blood thinners so I could breastfeed. They stood one on each side of my bed and tried to strong arm me into it. There is no way I would risk losing my life to breastfeed; my daughter is much better off having a mother that is alive and here to see her grow up. My two year old formula fed daughter is the healthiest kid I know and is the size of an average four year old. Formula did not stunt her growth, she does not have allergies and she is not unhealthy.
Breastfeeding is great and I wish that I had been able to breastfeed my children. Does it make me a bad mother because I didn't? No! It breaks my heart to see young mothers stressed over breastfeeding and in tears because they have to supplement their supply with formula. Its horrible that women who can't or have problems breastfeeding are made to feel like they are bad mothers. The lactation police at the hospital really worried me that they would suggest to stop taking a drug that could potentially kill me if I didn't take it. I am strong, educated and think for myself. What about the young mothers that are scared and think these ladies know best?
Well said Stacey,
I feel for you there is nothing wort than being advise in hospital, by people who are suppose to support you and the baby, to risk your life to breastfeed. I don't know don't they teach them that a newly mom is dealing with lots of issue like hormones and postpartum depression, and there is really no need to put more pressure on them!!!
I'm happy that you made the right chose. And yes our kids are as healthy as breastfed kids.
Thank you for your comment
Because of my gender, saying "I know how you feel" can only mean so much.
My 2nd child (first daughter) was to be born naturally, however, she ended up being born C-section because my wife (at the time) became ill with a bowel infection. When my daugher was born, she seemed fine to the doctor, and we brought her home. A day or two later, she only cried and would not eat. We brought her to the doctor and he sent her to the emergency room. She was admitted with the same bowel infection that my wife had had and jaundice. So she was there for a week.
On another note, I had twins with my current wife and they were planned C-section after the point where they stayed 1 head up and 1 head down. They were also required to stay in the "Bili" lights for jaundice, although it was just for the lenghth of time my wife was there for recovery. She really wanted and tried to breastfeed them, but it didn't work out. I don't know if it was the timeing of the c-section or if there is something physiological about natural childbirth that jumpstarts the flow of milk, but that was the problem. She was able to breastfeed her first child for a time, but that was 20 years prior, so, therein may lie another reason (in her case anyways), her age.