Breastfeeding is the best choice for you and your baby if it is something your body and your lifestyle allows you to do. I wasn’t breast fed as a baby of the 60’s. Formula was the way to go back then and my gut has never had a fighting chance. I have had digestive issues as long as I can remember and it’s no fun, and for babies it is even harder.
In fact, breastfeeding has become so important to the health and well being for both babies and mothers, that the American Academy of Pediatrics1 came out with the following statement on-line on February 27, 2012:
Breastfeeding and human milk are the normative standards for infant feeding and nutrition. Given the documented short- and long-term medical and neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding, infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice. The American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant. Medical contraindications to breastfeeding are rare. Infant growth should be monitored with the World Health Organization (WHO) Growth Curve Standards to avoid mislabeling infants as underweight or failing to thrive. Hospital routines to encourage and support the initiation and sustaining of exclusive breastfeeding should be based on the American Academy of Pediatrics-endorsed WHO/UNICEF “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.” National strategies supported by the US Surgeon General’s Call to Action, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and The Joint Commission are involved to facilitate breastfeeding practices in US hospitals and communities. Pediatricians play a critical role in their practices and communities as advocates of breastfeeding and thus should be knowledgeable about the health risks of not breastfeeding, the economic benefits to society of breastfeeding, and the techniques for managing and supporting the breastfeeding dyad. The “Business Case for Breastfeeding” details how mothers can maintain lactation in the workplace and the benefits to employers who facilitate this practice. For more information go to www.aap.org/
Further, The Center for Disease control made the following commitment:
CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) is committed to increasing breastfeeding rates throughout the United States and to promoting and supporting optimal breastfeeding practices toward the ultimate goal of improving the public’s health.
2 Essential Reasons Why Breast Milk is SO Important For Your Baby.
Even if you have chosen bottle feeding or must bottle feed, most websites and resources out there highly suggest that all women should breast feed during the first month. Breast milk banks are available if you cannot breast feed. And if you think it’s too weird, well feeding a baby milk from a cow is far weirder if you think about it. Why is breast milk so important?
- The anti-immune factors in the first few weeks of mother’s milk are indeed unique to human milk, and cannot be duplicated or provided in any formula.
- Colostrum is so important! The reason it is so important babies get these colostrum’s the first few days of their life, is it lines the gut and prevents pathogens (germs or an infectious agent) from entering the gut. When a baby is born, they have several “open junctions” in the gut and colostrum helps to close these openings as soon as possible. Bottle fed babies tend to have more gut issues if they do not receive colostrum from their mother’s milk the first few days of their life. Mothers can hand express colostrum in the first few days of their baby’s life and spoon feed their babies this nutrient dense magical colostrum, even if they are unable to breastfeed.
8 Breastfeeding Benefits
Now let’s take a look at the benefits of breastfeeding. The following information has been provided through detailed research from the sources listed below. Please go to their websites for more detailed information.
1. Perfect balance of nutrients and contains high levels of nutrients. Synthetic vitamins and minerals are not easily absorbed by the body so your baby is not really getting all the nutrients they need from formula.
2. Early breast milk is liquid gold, as it contains colostrum that mother’s make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby. Although your baby only gets a small amount of colostrum’s each feeding, it matches the amount his or her tiny stomach can hold. Further the colostrum’s line the gut and prevent pathogens from entering into the baby’s intestines.
3. Easily digested and absorbed. It takes about an hour and a half to digest breast milk but can take up to 4 hours to digest formula. Not to mention formula is rough on your baby’s gastrointestinal tract.
4. Content varies according to milk production stage, which meets the changing nutritional requirements. Colostrum’s change to mature milk about day 5 of your baby’s life and this mature milk provides the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein your baby needs to grow.
5. Infant determines amount.
6. Breast milk fights diseases. The cells, hormones and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness.
7. Baby’s poop smells more natural and less pungent. Formula fed babies have really bad smelling poop.
8. It’s Free!! And Easy!!!! Whether you are out and about or trying to sleep, heating up a bottle to the right temperature is a pain in the rear! You have to figure out how to heat the bottle up just right, and with Covid, no one will help you with this task. Late night feedings become a chore when you have to heat up bottles. It is so much easier to whip out the boob and your baby eats in 10-20 minutes and on you go.
Here are 3 tips on helping your milk supply
- Start off letting your baby figure it out, as that is what they are meant to do. As soon as your baby is born, most lactation consultants suggest having skin to skin contact with your baby and allow your baby to crawl on your chest and find your nipple. Given the chance, your baby may latch on immediately and breastfeed beautifully from their first few minutes out of the womb.
- Weston A. Price suggests that mothers who are struggling with poor milk supply should use a device called the Lact-Aid, a little plastic bag with a tube, that lets a mother give her baby a supplement through a tube laid over her breast while she continues to nurse. Sometimes just a few weeks with the Lact-Aid is enough to get mother and baby “over the hump” and increase milk supply for the newly relaxed and rested mother. This device has been around since the early 1970s, but breastfeeding support groups have only recently endorsed it. For more information on Lact-Aid, visit their web site at http://www.lact-aid.com/
- Supplement your diet – Mother’s milk tea by traditional medicinals. They also make an amazing female toner tea. www.motherlove.com has several supplements to help increase breast milk production. I would normally never suggest drinking while breast feeding, but of you are desperate, another way to increase milk supply is to drink a Guiness. I drank half a beer here and there and my milk supply doubled, no joke. Myself and several of my clients tested their breast milk after having alcohol and it did not show up in the breast milk until the third beer. So go easy and only have ½ – 1 beer here and there. The CDC recommends not drinking alcohol while breastfeeding, but goes on to say “generally, moderate alcohol consumption by a breastfeeding mother (up to 1 standard drink per day) is not known to be harmful to the infant, especially if the mother waits at least 2 hours after a single drink before nursing”. If this scares you, don’t do it.
1 cup organic butter
1 cup organic brown sugar or honey
2-4 tablespoons water depending on how firm you prefer cookies
4 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 organic eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour (you can use gluten free flour or Pamela’s Pancake and Baking Mix which is gluten free)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups of oats (you can also get gluten free oats if needed)
1 cup gluten free chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cups organic nuts (optional)
4 tablespoons brewer’s yeast
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Beat butter, sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Add flaxseed meal and vanilla and beat well. Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mix. Stir in oats and chips. Scoop onto baking sheet. Cook for 12 minutes. Let sit for a couple of minutes before removing from tray. Yields 4.5 dozen
5 ways Mother’s benefit from breastfeeding
- It can make life easier, without having to heat up a bottle.
- It helps mothers lose the excess pregnancy weight, it saves money and it feels great!
- Physical contact with your baby helps them feel more secure, warm and comforted.
- Breastfeeding can also help reduce the risk of breast cancer, postpartum depression, ovarian cancer and type II diabetes in mothers. Some studies have shown that breastfeeding moms miss less work, as their babies are sick less often.
- It aids in shrinking the uterus, decreasing back and abdominal pain after giving birth.
4 Tips on what to do if baby pulls away from the breast and How To Improve the Nutritional Value of Your Milk
- If a baby continues to pull away during breastfeeding, most of the time it is due to the feeding position, being pushed too hard onto the breast, or if the anatomy of the nipple to the baby’s mouth is not quite right. Try the positions above and if it continues to happen, consult your lactation consultant if this continues to happen to you.
- Another reason cited by Weston A. Price, is that a baby may pull away from the breast if the milk is not nutritious enough. The article cites that “ideal breast milk contains high levels of both saturated fats and LCPs (Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids)”. This can be accomplished by consuming high levels of animal fats plus eggs, cod liver oil and oily fish throughout the lactation period. Saturated fats in mother’s milk stimulate the immune system and work synergistically with LCPs to develop the infant’s nervous system. Levels of fat in a mother’s milk will decrease with each baby, unless she takes special care to consume high levels of nutrient-dense fats between pregnancies and during each lactation.
- Further research has shown that mothers who eat poorly are deficient in vitamins and minerals crucial to the infant’s development, such as vitamins B6, B12, D, A, as well as calcium, magnesium, copper, potassium, zinc and many other minerals. Remember, mothers can convert some of the precursors in fruits and vegetables into true vitamin A and these will then show up in her milk, but adequate supplies can only be met with consumption of animal foods, rich in the true form of this nutrient.
- Lastly, look at your trans-fat consumption. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are present in margarine, shortening and many processed foods. The accumulated evidence is that trans fats are bad news. They interfere with many enzymatic processes, cause reduced learning ability, disrupt the endocrine system, and contribute to allergies, asthma and many other diseases. (However, small amounts of one form of trans fats naturally occurring in butterfat are not harmful.)
If exposure to trans fats is bad for adults, it is even worse for babies and children during their growing years. Formula makers know better than to put trans fats into baby formula—yet human milk will contain high levels of trans fats if the mother consumes margarine, fried foods and commercial baked goods. The full article can be found at http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/successful-breastfeeding-and-successful-alternatives. This is something to keep in mind if you lived at Taco Bell or McDonalds during your entire pregnancy.
There will be a lot of research out there saying a mother’s nutrition does not matter when they are breastfeeding…but there is also research saying it does matter…bottom line, if you are in control of your diet, you need to do what is right for you and your baby based on the information at hand. Documentaries like “Super Size Me” and “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” present a great case for eating healthy and staying away from fast foods and processed foods as much as possible.
Breastfeeding may not fit into everyone’s lifestyle and not everyone can breast feed, but if you choose not to breast feed for lifestyle reasons, it is important that you understand the benefits of breastfeeding before you decide to bottle feed. Woman who must return to work can still give their babies a healthy start, even if they cannot breast feed longer than a month. Further, make sure you attend a breastfeeding support group prior to giving birth to help answer as many questions as possible. Once your baby is born, you will be sleep deprived and unable to do the research you need should you have problems breastfeeding. For more information on breastfeeding, please visit one of these wonderful groups.
http://lllusa.org/ La Leche League USA
So what Formula do I use if I cannot breast feed?
For anyone that cannot breast feed, I have researched several formulas trying to find those that have as little soy as possible and crazy fillers. Goat milk-based formula is your best bet since goat milk is the closest to human milk and easier to digest for infants. If at all possible, try to feed your baby human breast milk the first month using a milk bank
After that, formula’s are fine. Here are the brands I researched and would recommend:
Goat Milk Based Formula’s
These brands do not use soy.
This brand has rice syrup and rice has naturally occurring arsenic so too much is not ideal for babies. I also had a hard time finding a formula for infants made by them.
Other Organic Brands:
These are much cleaner than the commercial formula’s, however, they both use soy ingredients that can have a negative impact on baby’s. If I had to choose, I would use a goat milk based formula. If you are curious about soy, read The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla Daniel
In every postpartum article I will reference sources on postpartum depression. It is real and it affects so many women. Here are so excellent resources. Please talk to someone if you are experiencing signs of depression or anger toward your baby. Being a new mother is extremely hard, and hormones and sleep are all over the map. You may not feel like yourself, so it is important to talk to someone right away, I did and it helped me so much.
Postpartum depression Resources