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Thread: Multiple issues - help!

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    14

    Default Re: Multiple issues - help!

    Also, I just have to say, as a feminist there is a part of me that is really frustrated by this tone, here and elsewhere I've encountered- which feels like a kind of bullying around breastfeeding. I am a work-at-home parent, and I have a mind and life in addition to a wonderful son who I am doing my best to take care of. Nursing twenty times a day?? Are you kidding me??? All to avoid bottles, even of expressed breastmilk? That's ridiculous.

    I am totally committed to breastfeeding - I have never even considered formula. But let's be fair here - the mother's mental health and personal sense of self MATTERS. If she isn't happy, no one's happy. So I am going to go the distance with this - MY distance. But I'm not going to feel like a failure if I am not ready to sacrifice the little sleep I'm getting and the few moments I've gotten with my son since offering a bottle, where he's not feeding - when he can look at me and smile, when we can do other things beside sit there while he eats - like read a book or take a walk - because of some ideology around breastfeeding.
    Last edited by @llli*hadleymonroe; April 18th, 2013 at 03:57 PM.

  2. #12
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    Jun 2009
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    5,254

    Default Re: Multiple issues - help!

    you bring up many good points in the post about conflicting information. You are absolutely right, parents get lots of conflicting information and it can be very difficult to wade through it all. You will probably find this is true not only about infancy and breastfeeding but about many of the choices you make as a parent.

    However, there are some general ideas that are currently understood about breastfeeding and infant behavior and growth. That information is what I was trying to give you. My primary sources for what I have posted are The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition 2010) and www.kellymom.com particularly these two articles: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/ (nursing frequency)

    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/p...ping_decrease/ (pump output)

    What or how a mother wants to feed her baby is up to her. I certainly do not believe anything different.

    Unfortunately many mothers who want to breastfeed or want to exclusively breastfeed are prevented or discouraged from breastfeeding, or have their desire to do so undermined due to getting incorrect information and, in some cases, due to unrealistic expectations society in general has about mothers and infants. imo.

    You posted here looking for suggestions to some breastfeeding concerns, which indicates to me that you want to breastfeed your baby, and I have never once doubted your desire to do so. I am trying to give you the information that will help you to nurse your baby, as much and as long as you like. What you choose to do with that information is entirely up to you.

    If my post came across as bullying I truly apologies. I am deeply sorry. As I noted in my earlier post, I am not happy with how I phrased everything in my second post on this thread. I considered deleting it, but since I did not think it was all bad, I chose instead to leave it and take the consequences.

    I don’t think I was telling you or anyone else to nurse 20 times a day. I was pointing out that that happens in some cultures, so that you could see that in practice, how often a normal healthy baby nurses is a very wide range. I also mentioned that some babies nurse less than the frequency I was suggesting to you and gain fine.

    I was concerned you had unrealistic expectations of what the early weeks with a newborn were like-ie, what is normal, and that that, along with the weight gain concerns and your breastfeeding challenges, was causing you to doubt yourself, your body and your baby. I do understand your baby was not gaining at a great rate, that the feeds are very long, and you have had breastfeeding challenges.

    I promise you I have no personal, social or political ideology that makes me invested in keeping mothers attached to their babies all day. It is not ideology but biology that dictates that a baby needs to be fed frequently, especially in the early weeks, or baby may not grow well and mothers milk production may not be adequate going forward. Biology also dictates that most babies, nursing or not, want to be held pretty much all the time.

    Based on the evidence, I said bottles and pumping may have consequences, because not doing so would be just as wrong as saying bottles and pumping are never needed. Sometimes they are needed and even when they are needed, they still may have consequences. This is just a fact. If a mother is aware of the potential for problems, then she is more likely to avoid problems. I am not going to get into all the potential issues because this post is a novel already. But quickly-One way to avoid being messed up when pumping is to understand that a pump is entirely different than a baby in how it extracts milk, which means pumps are an unreliable indicator of low production. But pumps do not make milk either. So if a mother pumps in one session what a baby would typically eat in one session (2-3 ounces at age 6 weeks, for example) or more, then that would indicate the mother had at least that much milk in her breasts to be extracted, indicating good or adequate production. But not pumping that much does not mean the opposite.

    The other way to hopefully avoid issues is to give bottles in a way that is more like breastfeeding. http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; April 18th, 2013 at 05:05 PM. Reason: i meant apologize

  3. #13
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Multiple issues - help!

    I AM nursing him on demand. I am not watching the clock or doing a schedule and never have.
    That's good! My concern about his nursing frequency isn't about scheduling, but about you maybe having a particularly non-demanding baby. Most babies are great at letting mom know when they need to eat. But there are a few extremely mellow babies who, when left to their own devices, just don't cue enough. Women who have these non-demanding babies sometimes have to take the lead, offering the breast significantly more often than the baby seems to want.

    I don't know if this fits well with his nursing pattern, which seems to be all about very long feedings- that makes me wonder more about the baby's ability to transfer milk. He's actively sucking pretty much the whole time- so maybe he just has a tough time getting milk out? I'd still love to see you get a professional scale for home use, just so that you could get a better idea of what baby is actually able to do at the breast. Maybe it's overkill, but it's something that really helped me!

    Has anyone checked him really carefully for tongue tie?

    I also don't know why giving a bottle or pumping is necessarily bad, if it's working for us. The bottles have seemed to make him happy and aren't compromising how he's nursing. So can't it be ok for a short while?
    There's nothing wrong with bottles or pumping, when used appropriately. But bottles and pumps can cause breastfeeding problems, even when used for the best of reasons. First of all, pumping and bottle-feeding is just one more thing for a tired new mom to do. I don't want any mom to sit there strapped to a machine unless it's absolutely necessary! Second, babies latch differently on artificial nipples than they do onto the breast, and that difference can cause difficulties with nursing. And third, even though your baby currently goes back and forth between breast and bottle without difficulty, some babies do start fussing at the breast in order to get the bottle, because the bottle delivers a relatively fast and easy flow of milk.

    None of this should be taken as me saying "No, you mustn't use bottles! Bottles are eeeeeeviiiiiil!" Rather, these are just potential pitfalls to be aware of and to watch out for.

    Also, I know that you're trying to be helpful but sometimes there are conflicting things you hear from lactation consultants etc which help confuse the issue. For example, people say that pumping output isn't a good indicator of milk production - but all over these boards when someone says they are pumping a certain amount, the reply will be that (as it was here) it seems they don't have a problem with milk supply. So presumably there would be an amount to pump which WOULD indicate a problem with supply? Then I hear that your breasts are never "empty", but people tell you to let a baby finish one side in order to "empty" the breast - I know they mean relatively speaking, but it's frustrating nonetheless.
    I know, right???! The technical details of breastfeeding can be really tricky. Hopefully I can clear up the two you referenced above.

    First, pumping isn't a good indicator because... It's just too variable. How much you get when pumping depends on when you last nursed or pumped. What sort of pump you're using. The time of day. Your response to the make/model of pump you have. There are moms with great supplies who are poor pumpers. That being said, if a mom was using a good pump with correctly sized shields, using it frequently no consistently, and wasn't getting much milk, that might indicate a supply problem IF she was also having trouble nursing or with getting her baby to gain weight.

    Second, the breast really is never empty. Milk is always being made. When we tell moms to try to "empty the breast" it's shorthand for "let your baby finish the breast at his own pace".

    Finally, I know that the attitude here can come off as hardcore. But as LLLMeg said, it's not ideology, it's biology. I sometimes think that Mother Nature must be the most anti-feminist deity out there, to have set things up the way she did. Because life with a newborn baby is so all-consuming, so self-negating... It would be so much easier if humans were set up to lactate like Hooded Seals, who nurse their offspring for just 3-5 days. Or like rabbits, who nurse their offspring just 1-2 times a day. But nooooo, Mother Nature had to set things up so that humans produce relatively low-fat, high-carb milk- and animals who produce that sort of milk are ones that have to nurse all the time. Lucky us!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Multiple issues - help!

    Thanks for the comments. Re: the idea that it's not ideology, it's biology - this would only be true if we didn't have options other than breastfeeding - such as bottles, pumping, SNS, cups, feeding syringes, etc. But we do. Which means that any conversation around breastfeeding is, in fact, in part informed by culture. For example, I am very committed to breastfeeding because it is the healthiest choice for my son; but I am also committed to it because I believe that our culture has historically discouraged women from thinking their bodies can provide what their baby needs. At the same time, I have been concerned about the militant ("hardcore", as you say) attitude of the pro-breastfeeding contingent, too; I know many friends who have been tremendously frustrated by the way they've been made to feel - by LLL, by lactation consultants, etc. - for supplementing with formula or using bottles or pacifiers or what have you. I don't think that patronizing smart, informed women, or making them feel worse about hard choices is pro-woman OR pro-family.

    Having said all that: the first rule is feed the baby, yes? My son was not gaining properly at the breast, despite my very frequent and long nursing sessions (by the way, I WAS doing 11-12 sessions a day in the first 3 weeks of his life and he still wasn't gaining properly. But once he gained back his birth weight our doctor told us it was all right to let him wake us up at night, instead of waking him up. Perhaps that was bad advice). He was already small, and went from the 2nd percentile at birth to the 1/2 percentile in 5 weeks. So there was a problem. He did have a tongue tie and we had it cut (I mentioned that in a couple of posts). I think that his latch is improving and he is getting more efficient at the breast, in part because of that procedure, but also, I think, because he is finally gaining more. That was the goal with using the bottles temporarily - to shorten the amount of time it would take for him to gain properly and become a better, more efficient feeder. We have decided to phase out one bottle a day (since we don't need him gaining 9 oz. each week!) and will continue with the second bottle for another week or two.

    I already read everything on the KellyMom website, and tons of posts on this forum, and a billion articles about breastfeeding, and have talked to lactation consultants. So yes, I know that pumping and bottles can cause problems - nipple confusion, mastitis, etc. However, my son is infinitely more content seeming. For the first 5 weeks of his life, if he wasn't nursing or sleeping he was fussing or crying - nonstop. Perhaps that's normal newborn behavior but it hasn't been the experience of all of my friends with babies, and he totally changed when we started giving him expressed breast milk. Being in a constant state of anxiety and hunger isn't good for a newborn either!

    That's all I have to say about this - I do genuinely appreciate your time and your thoughts. But I would urge you to rethink the "it's not ideology, it's BIOLOGY" line - it really doesn't honor the complexity of issues around breastfeeding and the messages we give to mothers about their choices (like, for example, essentially saying "Well you know women in many cultures breastfeed an average of 20 times a day - so why are you complaining about feeding 9 times?"). Biology isn't destiny, after all.
    Last edited by @llli*hadleymonroe; April 19th, 2013 at 03:51 AM.

  5. #15
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    May 2006
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    20,784

    Default Re: Multiple issues - help!

    Sorry if any of this has come across as "patronizing"! It can be really hard to provide perfect information in the online context- sometimes there's a "tone" that comes across that really isn't intended. I think I can speak for both myself and LLLMeg in that. Our goal really is to provide usable information, not to imply criticism of people's choices.

    I know a lot of people get frustrated by La Leche League- like friends of mine, who were advised by one of our local leaders to avoid bottles and formula supplements for their newborn twins, if possible, during a period when the mom was in the hospital with blood pressure issues. Unfortunately, what they took away from that was "You need to avoid bottles and formula" instead of focusing on the "if possible" part of the equation. So even in person... What comes across depends both on what is said and also on what is heard.

    Sorry I forgot about the tongue tie! Based on the fact that you had it released and that you feel as if the baby is becoming a better, more efficient feeder, it sounds like you're probably well on your way to being able to do without the supplements. Again, you're currently using a relatively small amount of supplement, so I'm willing to bet you can phase out the bottles pretty quickly. Do you have a plan in place for getting baby weighed rather frequently while you make that transition? Most pediatricians will let you stop by and do a weight check on their scale for free- though not mine, I am sorry to say! If I weigh my kid on their scale, they want a chart and a co-pay!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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