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Old 06-05-2008, 09:14 PM   #1
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Question opinions on breast feeding?!

OK, so i am contemplating whether or not to breast feed.. ive heard its healthier for the baby.. but i talked to my ob/gyn and she said really only the first few weeks matter because they get certain nutrients to help fight infection after that its the same as formula and that breast feeding really doesnt make a difference.. there are a lot of rumors i heard that it makes your baby smarter, healthier etc but then again thats if you are eating EXACTLY day for day what your supposed to be and lets face it how many woman really do that? taking your vitamins or not its the same as formula .. hmmm so after i took all this into thought along with a looot of other things.. i am wondering for those of you who HAVE and HAVENT breast fed and your experiences?! I heard if you breast feed that your breasts get sore every hour because its a way of your body telling you to feed your baby.. so people suggest getting a breast pump.. i heard some pro's and con's about breast feeding.. i heard it helps you get your shape back faster ( dont know how but i heard this SEVERAL TIMES) but i heard that if you breast feed your breasts get really big and stretched out and may get stretch marks you didnt get while pregnant.. also that when you stop breast feeding and lose the milk your breasts sag ALOT because there is no longer any milk in them but they are stretched out as big as they were when you were breast feeding.. someone help me bust these rumors and tell me please whats better breast feeding or formula?! and any with ACTUAL experiences please tell me how it did or didnt effect their bodies?! either to get me prepared or eliminate my worries! THANKS!

 
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:03 PM   #2
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Re: opinions on breast feeding?!

Well, I'm very, very slowly weaning my two year old, so you can probably guess what I think.

First, I would not advise relying on an ob/gyn's opinion of breastfeeding. It is not their area of expertise. Talk to a lactation consultant, preferably one with IBCLC certification. Most hospital L&D departments have one on staff.

Second, much more than potential slightly higher IQ, the primary reasons I chose to breastfeed were health--mine and the baby's--and convenience.

On the health issue: My daughter just turned two. She has been sick one time. That's it. Many families who breastfeed experience similar excellent health. The immune system benefits are ongoing. In fact, when I told her her doctor that I was planning on starting her in daycare this fall, the doctor asked me to continue nursing her so that she wouldn't be as susceptible to the illnesses that get passed around most daycare.

I was also at risk for post-partum depression and breastfeeding can decrease the chances of PPD occuring. Breastfeeding stimulates hormones that help your uterus clamp down and return to its ordinary size and position after the birth. It burns a lot of calories, and therefore is an excellent way to lose residual baby-weight.

It is a myth that your diet needs to be perfect for your milk to be the best food for your baby. Yes, if you eat a perfect diet, your milk will be perfect. But even on an average diet, human milk is still the most digestible, most immune-boosting, most perfectly tailored food for human babies.

As for convenience, well, no bottles. No warmers. No stuff to tote along. Fewer things to buy. A couple of nursing bras. Apparently, even Victoria's Secret makes nursing bras now.

Now, about your concerns about your breasts. First, yes, it is more than a rumor than breastfeeding immediately after birth helps your body return to normal. It is also true for most women that it can help you lose the extra weight. It is also true that extended breastfeeding can change the shape and texture of your breasts. However, most of these changes begin during pregnancy. Your breasts will become engorged shortly after birth, whether your decide to breastfeed or not. If you decide to breastfeed, in a couple of weeks, your supply will regulate and you will no longer experience engorgement.

I have definitely noticed that my breasts are not nearly as perky as they were before the baby. But, I've also been nursing for two full years, and for most of the first year I was donating milk as well. If you only nurse full-time for six months, and then cut down to just as bedtime until a year or so, your baby can get lots of benefits from breastfeeding without the floppiness that can go along with extended nursing.

Finally, about pain. I personally never experienced pain with breastfeeding. Once, I was away from my baby too long and got a plugged milk duct, which went away within a few hours of starting nursing again. One of my friends experienced terrible pain on and off for months because of recurrent thrush. Most women's experience in somewhere in the middle. Many women experience some pain at first. It almost always goes away by six weeks postpartum at the latest. The baby's mouth gets bigger, which helps. Your nipples get used to it. Your supply regulates.

Finally, I mentioned up above that I donated milk. The reason I did this is that a woman in my community who was unable to breastfeed due to her prior medical history had a baby who did very poorly on formula. This is more common than you might think. Most babies can do ok on milk or soy formulas, but many cannot. GERD, excessive fussiness, spitting up, horribly stinky diapers, constipation, etc, are all quite common among babies, and most common among formula-fed babies. If I were to choose to formula feed, I think I would feel obligated to start off breastfeeding and wean to formula. That way if it was difficult to find a formula that worked, I could go back to breastfeeding. Once you lose your supply it can be very difficult to get it back.

I strongly recommend reading some of Dr. Sears's books on babies and nursing. There are definitely pros and cons to each approach, but I think that for nearly every woman and baby and family, breastfeeding could be the optimal solution, especially with adequate support and information.

 
Old 06-06-2008, 05:29 PM   #3
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Re: opinions on breast feeding?!

I highly recommend breast feeding just as snowdrift indicated, neither of my boys got sick the entire time I nursed.

However, you must prepare your nipples in order to be a comfortable and successful nurser. If at all possible go with out a bra and wear loose shirts that will help toughen up your nipples and go bare chested whenever possible. I used a sea sponge while in the shower to help. At first you can only rub lightly over your nipples until you can get use to it.

I nursed both my sons up to a year, I worked 12 hour swing shifts and would pump my milk at work. I used a cylinder type pump that they gave me at teh hospital. Using a bottle also let other people enjoy feeding my babies so they could bond as well. Keep in mind too that all babies nurse differently. My oldest son, was sweet and gentle often smiling at me with a mouth full of milk only to have it all pour out from grinning. My second son was a rough if you have one like this, just gently stick your finger into the corner of their mouth and break the suckon. Whenever, I did gradually introduced formula, neither of my sons liked the taste and would make bad faces.

As far as weight lost, it is the greatest. I gained at least 75 lbs. with both my sons, (185 when they both were born) I was back in a size 7 within 3 months. Foods to avoid however, are gas producing foods, chocolate, cabbage, broccoli stuff like that,rule of thumb: if it gives you gas baby will have gas.

And as far as your breast sagging, if you maintain the muscle behind the breast you won't have sagging, My size has gone up and down over the years, currently I am thankful that I still have a 44 DD size and I still do not sag, (my children are 21 and 18).

When I made the decision to breast feed it was "not in style" my mother even told me to do the "natural thing and give my baby a bottle" too funny i thought. My advice is prepare yourself, give it try if you don't feel it is working at least you tried and know from the experience. Hope this helps.

 
Old 06-06-2008, 09:58 PM   #4
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Re: opinions on breast feeding?!

I don't understand your OB at all. Most encourage women to breastfeed. Sure, no one eats a perfect diet, but you do your best and continue to take prenatal vitamins throughout the time you nurse. Formula being the same as breastmilk???? I don't get that at all. Turn on TLC and watch those commercials for formula. If you read the print that is on every one it says "breastmilk is best, consult your doctor" Read a can of formula. I've read ones that have said "if you can't breastfeed, then....." The formula companies even know breastmilk is best, but they know many mothers won't, so their formula will still be bought.

From what I've read there are over a 100 components of breastmilk that they have tried to reproduce in formula and can't. Breastmilk carries Mom's antibodies. When you are nursing a newborn, that baby has your immune system. He/she, in those early months, is protected from every cold, disease, etc that Mom has built immunity to. Formula can't do that.

Convenience is definitely a plus. No bottles to wash. I would much rather lift up my shirt for a 3 a.m feeding than prepare a bottle! And I remember when I did give a bottle to my babies and thinking, "oh, what a pain, I have to hold this thing" No holding anything when you nurse (expect the baby, of course). I had a free hand to eat, read a magazine, answer the phone, even walk around and stir something on the stove.

As far as the boobs go...yes, mine are definitely not as perky or firm as they once were. Doesn't bother me though and apparently, doesn't bother my husband either

I did experience pain, but only in the beginning. I won't lie, the first two weeks were terrible for me. But I stuck to it and ended up loving it. I nursed three children for a year each. Never bought formula. I find it one of the most rewarding things I could have ever done for them. I loved looking at them all chubby around 4 months old (before solids started) and think "I did that!"

I did have to watch my diet in the beginning too. My daughter was very sensitive to dairy that I ate, so I had to eliminate it for a little while. But I was told she could have a hard time with most formulas too.

And oh, the cost!!!!! Formula is sooo expensive. It can be up to $1500 for the first year. Breastmilk....FREE!


It can be hard if you're shy about nursing in public, which I was with my first, but got over that as I had another. I live in a very liberal town, so it's common to see woman with a blanket over their shoulder in the mall, at a restaurant, or at a park.

It's not for everyone, I agree. I applaud you for doing your research and finding what is best for your baby and you.

 
Old 06-10-2008, 08:54 PM   #5
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Re: opinions on breast feeding?!

wow thank u everyone all this really helped me! i have decided that i will breastfeed.. im due in about 2 months now so ill def. give it a try see how it works out for me im excited about it thanks again so many helpful tips and advice and opinions!!!

 
Old 06-11-2008, 07:55 AM   #6
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Re: opinions on breast feeding?!

Just a bit of flip side here. I was going to bf my first son. Yep was but when we tried he kept refusing. You read right he refused and even cried and turned away whenever it was attempted. The bfing nurse at the hospital kept pushing and making me feel horrible that it was my fault my son wouldnt bf. I finally had to get my dr to tell her to stop because she was causing more problems than fixing.
I even tried several more times at home but he still refused.
But you know what both he and my youngest son turned out just fine. With my first I can count on one hand the times he was sick his first year. He is also very smart almost too smart for his own good.
Our second son was not sick once during his first year. He did get rosalla(sp) the day of his first bday. We were all surprised.
I'm not opposed to bfing in the least just know that even though there are some benefits they arent always true for everyone.
I can sit here and tell you about several friends who had issues with bfing. One dear friend of mine who had to stop bfing her son because he was actually allergic to her breast milk. It took the drs over 6 months to figure out what was going on with her son. They tried everything from changing her diet to running several tests on him. But once she stopped bfing him he started thriving.
Not trying to scare you but there is a flip side to bfing that few seem to know about. It wasnt til I had my first son refuse that I learned what I had to about that side of bfing.
I wish you the best and hope all turns out wonderful.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:36 AM   #7
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Re: opinions on breast feeding?!

I agree that it is terribly frustrating and upsetting when you try to breastfeed your new baby and the baby is just not interested. Some LC's (lactation consultants) tend to forget that people skills are important too, and that being demeaning is not helpful.

My baby also refused to nurse immediately after birth. I had had a thirty hour labor because the baby was malpositioned, and she was exhausted. But even after the first day she still refused to nurse. I was getting scared. I started pumping on day one, both to encourage my milk to come in quickly even though she wasn't nursing and because I planned on donating milk. We called an LC, who demanded that we feed her formula. This was maddening, since I had plenty of pumped colustrum (pre-milk) and transitional milk (shortly after birth but before the milk really comes in, there's often a yellow, slightly watery but still milky looking milk) in the fridge! We called our midwives. Our midwives suggested cranial-sacral therapy. This is a form of manipulative therapy that is commonly used to resolve post-birth trauma and nursing issues. So, a day after giving birth, we drove down to therapist's home and she worked with the baby for while. There, in that office, my baby latched on for the first time.

The an hour later, once again, she refused. And an hour later. And all night. We fed her with a syringe of pumped milk. And took her to the pediatrician, who insisted again that we feed her formula. Again I was frustrated. No one seemed able to process that there was plenty of milk! It was sucking that was the problem. The first LC wouldn't see us for several days. I started calling every LC in the phone book. Finally, I got someone who would come by the house that night. She helped me get the baby latched on. And she suggested I get something called a nipple shield. This is *not* something that is generally a good idea, but in my situation, it was a lifesaver. After about three weeks, we were sneaking in one feeding a day without the nipple shield. By five weeks, we were done with it, and were nursig great on our own, and producing huge amounts of milk to donate.

And we're still going strong, although at about eighteen months, I cut down to about twice a day, unless she is sick or we just have a lazy day at home and there is time.

Anyway, that's my story.

To the op, I want to say Congratulations! You've chosen not only the best way, but the way that is, long term, almost always the easiest. I can almost promise you that will there be moments when you regret your decision. But there will be whole days and months and years when you are glad you chose what you chose.

Personally, I disagree that you must prepare your nipples for nursing. A lot of women do. A lot of women don't. I didn't. My breasts were very sensitive when I was pregnant, and it would have hurt a lot to do any of those "toughening" things that some women do. And then I ended up having no pain with nursing. Some women use lanolin (Lansinoh) on sore nipples.

There are lots and lots of problems that can crop up. If you have a c-section, your milk is likely to take longer to come in. Some babies refuse to nurse. Some are too sleepy. Some women have trouble with thrush. Some women have trouble with sore or bleeding or cracked nipples. Some babies have allergies or intolerances to things in the mother's diet. Some babies get reflux and this can require the mother to change her diet.

The VAST majority of these problems can be overcome. A lot of it depends on the resources available to you. IBCLC's are generally good. La Leche Leaders are generally good. Family Practitioners can be pretty ok. Pediatricians are sometimes knowledgable, but this is more rare. OB's rarely know much. Really, breastfeeding is not a function that is emphasized in medical schools. And because a newborn needs to eat just about constantly, you will have very little time and energy for finding the right resources once the baby is born. The reason we were able to get started nursing instead of switching right to formula is because I had a breastpump and knew how to use it, had done a *lot* of research and reading, and knew that the vast majority of problems can be overcome.

The odds of you not being to nurse are very, very, very low. Something in excess of 90% of moms/babies can nurse. A lot of the ones who cannot know that in advance (because of previous surgery, inadequate tissue, medications mom must take, birth defect, etc.). The chances of a healthy mom/baby being physically unable to nurse is very, very, very low.

The chances of not finding the help and support you need in time to get off on the right foot are much higher. That came close to happening to me. It's happened to lots of women I've talked to. There's no way to guarantee it won't happen to you, and there's no guilt or shame in changing plans. But if you are determined to breastfeed, don't get discouraged when people tell you you can't, it isn't working, you need formula, etc. Start pumping and keep looking for better advice.

 
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