Breastfeeding is a controversy subject, there is always some new scientific study that recommends it and there always will be mothers that refuse to do it because of various reasons.
I was absolutely shocked when i read in a local article that my country occupies the last place in Europe regarding breastfeeding. Only 12,6 percent of mothers choose to breastfeed (a minimum of 6 month). I couldn’t believed it, for me it wasn’t even a question, i always knew that i wanted to breastfeed as long as i could. And i know that if you want you most likely can, because only 2-3 % of the women has problems that can cause them to be unable to breastfeed. I know this because i read and searched all over the internet, i also know that there were even adoptive mother who could breastfeed, because they wanted to, so it’s as much a “want to” thing as it is a “nature” thing. Of course there are some cases, when the doctors aren’t interested, or when they just don’t have the training. Other cases when the medical nurses don’t do their jobs to show the mothers what to do (i know mothers who are unable to breastfeed because she was given medication that stops lactation because it was just the easy way for the nurses and doctors, or because she didn’t gave enough money “on the side” to deserve a better treatment). If you are wondering, yes these thing happen on a daily basis in some countries, even in Europe.
I consider myself lucky, i was pretty well informed about breastfeeding, and i knew what i wanted. Now i just want to write down some stuff that maybe will help other mothers to be, things that i feel important regarding this topic.
- The most important thing is that you know that if you choose to breastfeed, it’s gonna be hard, most likely you wont be able to get much sleep, but it’s a sacrifice you make for your baby to be healthy, it’s also an obligation to him, to make sure that you give him everything you can possibly give for him to grow up healthy. You need to eat healthy, as much as you can, you definitely need to avoid smoking and alcohol because everything is transmitted via breast milk to the little one. It is almost like an umbilical cord but you can attach it and detach it when you want, or when the baby wants :). I think, and every article and study on the internet says that 6 month is the minimum necessary for your baby to be breastfed but it is recommended to go on til 2 years of age. I managed to do it til 1 year, after that he just refused it, but i am really proud that we reached the 1 year mark.
- In some countries, hospitals they instruct you to wash your breasts before and after you breastfeed. This is the worst advice of all, you have to keep them bouncers clean, but not before you give them to the baby. He needs to smell you, that’s how he knows that you are his mother, that’s why he feels comfortable and that’s why he finds piece when he drinks. After he is finished it is beneficial to leave breast milk on them, it has a healing effect. Also you can use protection for your nipples, you can find artificial nipples made from silicone that you can use when your baby starts to grow teeth.
- Try not to breastfeed on schedule, unless your baby develops a schedule. With breastfeeding there is a chance that your baby wants to drink more in one day and less in another day, it all depends on his needs. He drinks when he is hungry, he drinks when he is thirsty, he drinks when he wants to sleep, he also drinks when he feels alone or he needs cuddling.
- Recently there are theories that it is very beneficial if your little one sleeps with you in your bed and that is more comfortable to mothers to breastfeed like that. I don’t want to say that this is not true, i just want to talk about how i have done it and why was that better for me. In the first few month i had to feed him almost every hour at night, so it would have been comfortable having him near me, but i just couldn’t got the spin of breastfeeding side to side. From the start i had a big pillow and i was in seating position i placed the baby over the pillow in my lap first one side then another. He liked it that way, i liked it because i could see him, but also i could do something else too, like watching TV or reading something on my tab. That was my technique during the nights also. I was afraid to sleep with the baby, because when i sleep, i really, sleep, especially when i am tired, and you are always tired…. i didn’t wanted to unconsciously roll over and hurt him in some way, or to fall asleep while he was still eating. I think because of my efforts back then to get up every time and place him back in his crib every time after he ate, now he is still sleeping in his bed and likes it there. When he will get older I’m planing on moving him to his own room, because let’s face it, mama and papa needs a little R & R.
- You also have to know, that your body needs time to regulate your milk production after the baby is born. Your body will sense the needs of the baby while he is drinking and after a few month it will produce just the necessary amount of milk. It’s not beneficial to pump out milk after the baby had eaten, it makes your body confused and it will start producing more and more milk. Of course in the first month you can make a small reserve of milk if you have an excess. You can store breast milk in the freezer up to 3 month, in the fridge it stays good only 1 day. Also if you are working, then you have no other choice than using the pump, and leaving milk at home for the baby.
- A very controversial topic in my country is: When to give a baby cows milk?. There are mothers who choose not to breastfeed and instead of formula they choose to give the baby cows milk. The recent recommendations are that you don’t give your baby cows milk until the age of 3, a few years ago it was only until the age of 1. I don’t know the science of this all, i know only to talk about our case. When my little fellow refused me at the age of 1 year and 2 weeks, i wanted to try to give him cows milk (we live in a little town and i have a good source of natural milk). At the first attempt he developed a sort of a rash on his face, so we hurried t the doctor and made some allergy tests. He was not allergic at all. I decided to wait a couple of month and try again with milk from another cow. So recently at the end of September we tried again, now he got diarrhea. So i decided that i stop for now, i give him formula and we will see later. I consider that the formula can’t be that good and beneficial because it’s made from chemicals and it’s artificial, but i have no choice than to give it to him for now. So my advice for everyone out there, you have to pay attention closely what your babies reactions are and do thing accordingly. And of course make your own research and decide after that.
- Recently i heard that goat’s milk can be beneficial to babies, our pediatrician said that if you give only goat’s milk to a baby it can cause anemia, but the milk can be beneficial like once a week, of course I’m talking about natural milk boiled, not milk from the store which was processed and over processed a dozen times. We didn’t tried it yet, i will wait with it until he gets closer to the 2 year mark.
These are my experiences and advises, in conclusion i think every mother should research the internet or ask a pediatrician when she has difficulties making a decision regarding to breastfeeding and other stuff too. I just want to say for those who choose not to breastfeed, you don’t know what are you missing on. It is a wonderful experience, it’s natural, it’s magical. It can help with postpartum depression also. If you are not convinced, it has a weight reducing effect also :). So think twice before you refuse to do it.