You know I don’t post ranty posts too often. It’s just not my style. But when something gets under my skin and I think the message is important, well…
Tonight I received a press release (surprise surprise) with the following subject line: “Early Formula Use Helps Some Mothers Breastfeed Longer” I’m not going to use any links because frankly, I don’t want to spread what I feel is misinformation or give anyone any page views.
Ok, so before I offend anyone, let me preface this by saying I am NOT anti-formula. Not at all. I am very PRO-FEEDING your baby.
The whole press release, which I am sure many of my fellow blogging friends received just irked me.
And while I’m totally yanking this paragraph out of the middle of it, and it may be construed as taking it out of context, it just screams bullshit to me.
“Women do not immediately produce high volumes of milk after childbirth. Instead, at first mothers secrete small amounts of colostrum, which contains high concentrations of nutrients and antibodies for the baby. During this period, babies often lose weight and new mothers may be concerned that their babies appear fussy or hungry. “Many mothers develop concerns about their milk supply, which is the most common reason they stop breastfeeding in the first three months,” said Flaherman.
“But this study suggests that giving those babies a little early formula may ease those concerns and enable them to feel confident continuing to breastfeed,” she said.”
Ok, so first of all, it’s nothing new that a woman’s milk doesn’t fully come in for a first few days. The small amounts of colostrum should fill their small tummies up just fine. In fact, MOST lactation consultants will highly discourage the use of formula in these early days.
The problem with this press release is it prays on uneducated and exhausted moms who don’t understand that its NORMAL for a baby to lose weight during those first few days after birth and that it is NORMAL for breastmilk not to come in right away.
Get as much skin to skin contact with your baby as possible. It will help your supply and it’s wonderful for bonding too!
So what do you to do to breastfeed longer?
- If you’re concerned about your baby’s weight, talk to your pediatrician or a lactation consultant.
- Drink lots of water. LOTS of water.
- Make sure you’ve increased your calorie intake by at least 400 calories per day.
- Make sure you’re eating foods that help increase the production of breastmilk (Almonds, Apricots, Asparagus, Dark Beer (especially Guinness), Beet greens, Carrots, Coconut, Chickpeas (hummus!!), Chicken (bone-in), Cumin, Fennel, Ginger, Green Beans, Lettuce, Oatmeal (steel cut or slow cook, not instant), Parsley, Peas, Pumpkin (and seeds) just to name a few things)
- Talk to someone about taking a supplement like Fenugreek or drinking Mother’s Milk Tea
- Talk to a lactation consultant about pumping between feeds to boost your supply (the added benefit of this is you may also get a stash of milk that you can keep in your freezer for your baby)
And remember, breastfeeding is based on the supply and demand principle: the more you breastfeed your baby, the more milk you produce, so supplementing with formula? In my opinion it’s NOT going to encourage you to breastfeed longer.
If you’re struggling with breastfeeding the first few hours or days you’re in the hospital, please do not let “studies” like the one in the press release I received or the formula companies bully you. It’s PERFECTLY normal that you aren’t producing milk.
Do I believe there is a place for formula? Sure I do. Do I condemn mothers who chose to formula feed over breastfeed? Not at all. But I think that companies that PREY on mothers when they are vulnerable and have just given birth should be ashamed of themselves. Especially when they ask bloggers to share their message!
Edited to add: The “study” SHOULD say MOST woman don’t produce high volumes of milk after childbirth. When Quincy was born via crash c-section due to my pre-eclampsia, I pumped EIGHT OUNCES within 12 hours of her birth. So……