Sunday, April 7, 2013

HAWMC: Day 7, Sensationalize

Today's prompt is to talk about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard about my condition. And, since I find myself needing a bit of a break when it comes to infertility, I'm going a different direction today. Welcome to "The Stupid Things People Feel the Need to Tell Me About Breastfeeding".
  • That baby obviously isn't getting enough because s/he's_______ (fill in the blank with any number of options: like eating every hour, not sleeping at night, not where s/he should be on the CDC growth chart, etc...). - the best way to know if any baby is getting enough is to pay attention to the baby. Is baby having frequent wet diapers? Poopy diapers after the first few days aren't a good indicator because it's normal for even bf babies to go a day or several in between bowel movements. Is baby continuing to hit developmental milestones? Is baby continuing to gain weight? Yes, even if s/he drops % on the CDC growth chart (see this blog post for more info about that). The WHO growth chart is much more appropriate and accurate for bf babies.
  • My pediatrician said ______ about bf - Usually the statement(s) made by pediatricians about bf are inaccurate. Friends, MD's - for the most part - don't know squat about breastfeeding. Like, nothing. So, if there is ANY kind of bf issue, get thee to a certified lactation consultant. Please.
  • You have to eat a perfect diet to breastfeed - Honestly, this blog post responds to that stupidity better than I could. But also there's this from Dr Jack Newman (the bf guru who is an MD who knows a helluva lot about breastfeeding):
    • "Studies also show that mothers who are malnourished still produce adequate milk and it shows once again that if the Weston Price Foundation says any formula, even homemade made from raw milk, is better than the milk of a mother whose diet is anything but what they think is ideal, they also don't know what they are talking about.
      I should add that even if any formula were as good as breastmilk (impossible), breastfeeding is so much more than breastmilk and the special, intimate relationship of breastfeeding cannot be duplicated even by the "best" formula fed in a bottle."
  • After a year, there are no benefits to breastfeeding for a child - Oh really? Like, when my child turns exactly 365 days old, magically breastmilk changes drastically and is just crap? I mean, how does that even make any sense? At 364 days of age, or 345 days of age his needs are so drastically different than they are when he's 366 days of age, or 395 days of age? Of course not. The real magic about breastmilk is that it changes based on a child's age. It provides each child with what that child needs at that age. That, my friends, is actual magic. Whether the child is 2 weeks or two years old. Also, the WHO recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of 2 years, with as long after as is mutually desired. None of this, "a year then cut that kid off" business. Hhere's a post I previously wrote about weaning baby E that also discusses this.
  • You should stop breastfeeding when your baby starts to walk - no one can tell me the "why?" behind this nonsense. Though they tend to say it in a "If your kid can walk, they're obviously too big to be on the tit" kind of rude way that really irritates me. I mean, the kid started walking when he was right at a year old (a week after his 1st birthday, I believe). So I can see, based on the assumption that one should stop nursing at a year, how one might assume this (though, of course, I refer you to the point above). However, baby E was walking at 9 months, and no one recommends stopping nursing that early. So, again, this makes no sense whatsoever.
  • You should stop breastfeeding when your baby gets teeth - So, I get why mamas may want to stop nursing when their nursling gets teeth. A nursling's latch can sometimes get all funky when they're teething, which can admittedly be uncomfortable (in my experience, this is brief). Some other nurslings can bite, which, I'll be totally honest, hurts like a sonofabitch. The kid was a biter. And holyjesus did it hurt. There was cussing involved. A lot of cussing. Unfortunately, I didn't know what to do when he bit and was afraid that stage would never end. It's the biggest reason we stopped nursing (which I still, 6.5yrs later, regret). Baby E, however, was not/is not a biter. Seems like once or twice he started to bite down. I firmly told him "we don't bite" and briefly interrupted the nursing session. That worked for us. At any rate, the kid got teeth when he was about 3.5mon old. Baby E when he was about 9mon. Having teeth isn't a good reason to stop nursing either.
  • Also, don't get me started on all the stupid things people have said about nursing in public, and being "discrete", "modest", and "covering up". Just ugh. If my baby needs to be fed, I will feed him. I will not put a blanket over his head just to make you more comfortable. I will also not strip my whole shirt off, because that makes me uncomfortable. But, should another mama choose to do that, well, it is a safe assumption that it has nothing to do with you. So, if it makes you uncomfortable, don't look. (Though, to be honest, I have never, in my 34 years, seen a mother be anything other than "discrete". Most of the time, no one even knows she's nursing.)

Today's Lesson - I am saddened by how little we, as a society, know about breastfeeding. Somewhere amid the last few generations, we have lost so much of what we used to know. How rare it is anymore to see anyone breastfeeding outside of her home. How can we expect to know how to nurse without seeing others do it? For the most part, that is how we all learn best. Also, how can we expect others to not freak out and consider it a se.xual act when those of us who are nursing feel like we can only do it in the privacy of our own homes? Breastfeeding will again become the norm, simply stated, when we make it so.


Maria Rothenburger said...

Here, here! LOTS of great information!

Elizabeth said...

Grr... I commented on this earlier on my phone, and it obviously didn't take. Anyway, great post. And I wanted to thank you for the information about the WHO vs the CDC growth chart- big difference! I hope I can BF past a year- but I will admit, I'm scared of those teeth!

Alex said...

I love this post! I was shocked when I had Alex how none of the doctors - pediatricians and obstetricians - had no clue! I tried getting help from the lactation consultants at the hospital for supply issues and they were no help at all! After about 3 months, I finally went to a LLL meeting that had a good leader. But after moving, I have now discovered that leaders vary widely in their knowledge! Now that I'm pregnant with twins, I found a really good board certified lactation consultant, and have already met with her to develop a plan. And I know who to call when/if I have problems! Great post!

Em said...

Amen. Amen. And amen. Thanks for sharing all of this. I have seen/heard similar things and it never really affected me one way or the other because I loved nursing so much that their comments just didn't matter. I still feel so regretful about weaning my daughter (to start fertility treatments).