I Found A Way To Not Only Give My Son Breast Milk, But Also Bond With Him While Feeding Him.

Before my first son was actually born, I had all these goals and plans and expectations. Things rarely happen just as we want them to or plan for them, especially when children are involved.

I intended to breastfeed. Or rather, I intended to breastfeed via direct nursing. That was my plan all along. I never even researched other feeding methods. Everyone said it was going to be beautiful and natural. It was neither for us. 

From the beginning, it did not come naturally for us. And it HURT. I thought for sure once we got home we would settle into that elusive beautiful nursing relationship that everyone talks about. I was wrong. It felt like his gums were sharp and grinding against my nipple with every pull. We saw his doctor, and another doctor at the practice, and a few lactation consultants. Everyone said his latch appeared fine. Every time I fed him, I inwardly cringed. We used a nipple shield. We used different positions. We latched and unlatched. It never came naturally or stopped hurting. Continue reading

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“I Made An Informed Decision To Formula Feed My Baby And It Was Perfect For Us

Before I ever became pregnant, I knew that feeding my future babies formula would be the right way to go. I have fibromyalgia, several chronic stomach problems, and mental health struggles, so it made sense to formula feed. I would need to go back on medications I’d have to stop while pregnant. My husband agreed that formula feeding would work best for us.

When I got pregnant, I felt sure of that decision, until I started reading, prepping for the new addition to our family, and talking to other people about the baby. I, much like every parent-to-be, was bombarded with the message everywhere that “Breast is Best”. It was in articles and books. It was labeled on everything related to baby feeding. It was in every online forum regardless of the topic. I was even hit by it when I went shopping online for car seats and strollers. But I expected all of that. So, when I came across it, I would roll my eyes and laugh about it with my husband.

I was not been prepared for the well-meaning friends and coworkers who hit me with the same message. They all said it in different ways and tones, but the meaning was the same. Sometimes it was an assumption: “You’re obviously going to breastfeed, right?” Other times it was an attempt to convince me: “It’s so much cheaper and better for the baby to breastfeed!” I even got the plea: “Just do it for her for a little bit!” Even my obstetrician assumed that I would breastfeed, judging by the time I tried to ask her for a refill on my anti-morning sickness medicine and she finished my sentence thinking I was asking for a referral for a free breast pump through my insurance.

This message coming from all directions put me into a position where I felt like I needed to justify myself. Suddenly, I doubted my decision. What if I wasn’t doing what was best for my baby? Obviously, I wanted to. What if I was being selfish about wanting to go back on the medicine that made me feel like I could function? I wondered if maybe I did not need to go back on my meds right away. If I had gone this long without my meds, what was a little longer, if breastfeeding was that important?

Thankfully, I am surrounded by amazing and supportive family. My husband has seen me on my worst health days and knows how much my medicine helps my quality of life. He reminded me how important it is for me to feel as best as I can, because there is so much more to caring for our baby than just how she is fed. My mother was a voice of reason. She agreed that I needed to take care of myself to take care of my daughter. My mother-in-law added her support for us to formula feed. She knew formula was a great way to feed a baby and was not buying into the supposed “facts” from the “Breast is Best” message. My sister-in-law reminded me of how much formula had helped her when she struggled to produce enough milk for her daughter. My sister-in-law was also the one who introduced me to The Fed is Best Foundation’s website, which is filled with scientific facts and resources about all types of infant feeding.

By the time I was five months along, I was once again sure of my decision to formula feed my baby from day one. I was armed with an explanation why I was not going to breastfeed and why formula feeding was going to best for my family. I noticed a significant difference in the way conversations went once I made my statements with the confidence my family helped me find. And then, another phrase came along…

“It’s okay because you have a reason not to breastfeed.”

Woah, okay. Let’s unpack that statement, shall we?

First and foremost, this statement does not actually provide any support. It is non-support veiled as a supportive comment. By someone stating my choice is okay, it means they are passing judgement on my decision. THEY deemed it was acceptable for ME to feed MY baby this way because of what THEY considered to be appropriate reasons. It did not matter to them that I had decided this was appropriate reasoning and only my husband and I could decide what was best. My decision was acceptable because the person speaking decided it was. The focus of the statement is still on the fact that I won’t be breastfeeding.

Why does the focus of this conversation need to be about breastfeeding? Why can’t the focus be on my informed and logical choice to feed my baby formula?

Ultimately, I realized that this conversation has absolutely nothing to do with what’s “best” for me and my family and everything to do with the way everyone else feels about infant feeding. And that positively infuriated me. Who the hell did these people think they were? But despite raging hormones, I just smiled politely and moved the conversation onto a different topic. I had no desire to start a fight at work or in a group of friends.

The last several weeks of my pregnancy were filled with extra appointments and ultrasounds to watch my daughter’s growth. At the first trimester screening, the scan showed that my placenta never formed correctly. It had a fold down the middle and looked like a coffee bean instead of a pancake. The doctor thought that my placenta may not be working as well as it should, so my baby’s growth needed to be closely monitored. At thirty-six weeks, she had dropped from the fortieth percentile to the thirteenth percentile in growth. By thirty-eight weeks, she had dropped below the tenth percentile, so I was induced during that week. After several days of hurry up and waiting in the hospital, my daughter finally came out and was 20 ½ inches and weighed only 5 lbs., 6 oz. You could see her ribs, she was so scrawny. Within an hour of being born, she took right to the bottle and ate about 10 mL of formula.

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The first weeks of her life are a blur, even though she was only born about nine months ago. We had to do a few formula changes before we realized that our baby had inherited my acid reflux. She had a terrible time with sleeping at night for the first month and a half or so. I struggled with post-partum depression and anxiety, and recovery was a little tough with my fibromyalgia.

 

My husband and I just kept saying, thank God for formula. Our daughter was gaining weight. Her pediatrician was so pleased with how well she put on weight. Thanks to formula, we never worried if she ate enough or was getting the proper nutrition. Thanks to formula, I could take my meds that helped my body and mind transition from carrying a baby to caring for a baby. Formula feeding truly was best for our family.

So, mothers, fathers, non-binary parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents, and anyone else who cares for a baby, I have one plea for you:

Do what is best for your family. Your baby matters. You matter. Your significant other (if you have one) matters. It can be hard to feel sure of that when you have people talk to you this way. It can be horrible to read the wrong, nasty comment from some judgmental stranger online. If you are struggling with your decision to formula feed your baby, just remember, you do not owe anyone an explanation. And if you need support, I and everyone at The Fed is Best Foundation have your back.21034329_1906956496188877_3625144469078855676_n

FedIsBest

 

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST

There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:

  1. Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
  2. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
  3. Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  4. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
  5. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
  6. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
  7. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
  8. Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child.  Your messages of support keep us all going.
  9. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
  10. If you need support, we have a private support group– Join

Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!

 

Questions to Ask Your Health Providers to See if They Believe that Fed is Best

Maternal Mental Health Feels Like it Comes Second to Breastfeeding When It Should Be First

Advocating For Lactation Consultant Services When You’re A Fearless Formula Feeding Mom

Why we shouldn’t demonize formula feeding

A Formula for Success: The Ultimate Guide to Infant Formulas

 

 

 

 

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Dear Doctors: Just One Bottle Would Have Let Landon See His First Day of Kindergarten

Written by Jillian Johnson

Dear Doctors,

My name is Jillian Johnson and I am speaking to you on behalf of The Fed Is Best Foundation. I am mother to Landon Johnson of Landon’s Legacy. Landon was my firstborn son who died because he was starving while exclusively breastfeeding.

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Today has been a very bittersweet day for me. My littlest babe turned two. And while we celebrated from the moment she awoke to the moment she laid her head down for the night, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad. You see, today, my sweet Landon should have started his first day of Kindergarten. I should have been able to make him a special breakfast, pack his backpack, and walk him to his classroom for the first time. I should have been able to meet his teacher and new friends. Today, I should have packed his lunch and left a sweet note like, “You’re going to be amazing today!” But, I do not get to. As I made my daughter her birthday breakfast, my heart ached knowing we have an empty seat at the table that should be filled. As I baked her cake with her older sister, I knew there should be an extra set of hands helping me stir the batter and fight over who got to lick the spoon. I’ve always looked forward to being able to create the “my first day” sign for my children, and as I made Landon’s today, I couldn’t fill in the blanks. So I wrote this letter instead–requesting that medical professionals step up and help fight for change, and support the cause that would have saved my son’s life. Continue reading

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My 6th Lactation Consultant Saved Me When She Focused On My Needs First

By Beth Kao, Fed is Best Mom and Advocate

When I finally got pregnant via IVF with my son Ike, I decided that I wanted to breastfeed him. Why?  Immunological benefits, possible lower obesity and diabetes risk, possibly smarter… As a scientist, I didn’t quite buy the higher IQ selling points of breastfeeding, but the immunological benefits seemed plausible to me. My two siblings, who seemed to have far fewer instances of illness and health issues, were breastfed while I was exclusively formula fed, so anecdotally, it seemed that breastfeeding made a positive impact on health. I delivered my son at a hospital that was touted to have one of the best birth centers in the Bay Area.  One of the key takeaways from the birth center tour was that breastfeeding was specifically embraced and emphasized, so I put on my birth plan that I planned to breastfeed.   

Labor and delivery was difficult. After 27 hours of labor, nearly 4 hours of pushing, and a failed vacuum extraction, Baby Ike was delivered via C-section. When the nurse handed Ike to me to breastfeed him, he would not latch, but would push me away and scream like I was trying to murder him–and this would happen each time I tried to breastfeed him.  Despite this, the nurses had me adhere to a breastfeeding schedule every 2 hours (because, they reminded me, my birth plan stated that I wanted to breastfeed). Each time the nurse or my husband handed Ike to me to breastfeed, I was filled with dread. I fought the urge to break down into tears as Ike pushed me away and arched his back while screaming as I tried to coax him into latching onto my breast.

 “I think our baby hates me,” I said to my husband after the umpteenth failed breastfeeding attempt.

My milk did not come in while I was in the hospital recovering, and did not come in until 9 days post-partum. Since my baby wasn’t latching, a breast pump was delivered to my room to help stimulate milk production.  I was not given instructions on how to use the pump and I used the wrong size flange and made the mistake of turning the suction power all the way to the highest level.  I also was pumping dry breasts for over 45 minutes which led to sore, cracked nipples and not a drop of milk!   So I hand expressed as much colostrum into a 1 cc syringe and fed my newborn whatever I could squeeze out of my breasts.   Continue reading

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How Even Two Moms Couldn’t Make Enough Milk For Their Baby And Were Forced to Sneak Pumped Breast Milk Into The Hospital

We’ve had two sad experiences with the ‘Baby-Friendly’ aspiring hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital. Both issues involved two things: the fact that I had breast reduction surgery and unknown/limited milk supply and the fact that my wife induced lactation.

With our first baby, my wife breastfed her immediately after birth while I recovered for a minute (fast, unmedicated, and awesome labor). She then refused to latch on to my breasts and the hospital encouraged (kind of forced) my wife to put the baby to her breast. She was in med school and had wanted to pump and never wanted to be the primary nurser.  She started to cry because we were offered no information or choice in the matter. I was encouraged to continue putting a crying, non-latching baby to my breast over and over. It was horrid. We left the hospital with the advice to “Keep switching her back and forth,” which resulted in her becoming malnourished.

This experience greatly impacted our experience of early parenthood. We felt that we had no choices and that the hospital was myopically focused on breastfeeding and not on baby feeding. They kept saying, “You never know! You might have a full breast milk supply!” But after surgery, my chances of full milk supply were very, very slim. I was pumping and getting a dime size (flat) drop of colostrum.

They kept saying that it’s normal to have very little colostrum.  The hospital absolutely refused to face reality. This makes me really sad to write about. But it’s important.

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During our second baby’s birth (same moms, same roles) we brought my wife’s pumped milk and she actually left the hospital to take care of the older kiddo. The nurse really really didn’t want me to give the new baby our pumped milk. I ended up sneaking it to her from a little cup. I had to sneak around to feed my baby.

Once again the hospital nurses (all lactation consultants) kept having me nurse and kept telling me it was okay if the baby didn’t get any milk in the first 24 hours.The thing is, I didn’t want to deprive her of milk. I wanted to start her off strong, with milk from both moms and I did.  To deny a newborn baby food and fluids is cruel and is child abuse.  

 

Continue reading

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I Stopped Pumping and People Were Mad, Spewed Hate, Judgement and Called Me Selfish.

By Tiffany, Fed is Best Mom and Advocate

When I was pregnant I had already decided to formula feed my baby.  My family (even some cousins) thought it was strange and tried to talk me out of it, and I had family delete me on social media because we disagreed on this topic. My midwife was amazing and encouraged me to consider breastfeeding, but if I didn’t want to, that was perfectly okay. By the time I was 30 weeks pregnant, I changed my mind and wanted to try to see if breastfeeding would work for us.

I delivered after 2 days of labor, 2 hours of pushing followed by 5 hours of waiting then some more pushes, a vacuum, and then some panicked doctors who rushed me to an emergency C-section at 41 weeks plus 2 days. My daughter was immediately sent to the NICU from the stressful delivery.   I saw my baby following the surgery about 6 hours later and she was being tube fed. The next evening, they let me begin to try to feed her which went wonderfully! She latched, it didn’t hurt, but she was still hungry. My colostrum came in quickly, followed by my milk within 3 days in full.

But something was off. I ended up getting ill every time I breastfed her. I would get a fever, chills, and extremely tired every time I nursed her. I would have to sleep about 6 hours to feel normal again. The NICU asked if during the times I was sleeping they could supplement with formula. I said of course! If she needs fed, we feed her!  Putting essential vitamins and nutrients in her tummy is what needed to happen.  Over the course of her five day NICU stay, she breastfed, got breast milk from a bottle, and was supplemented when there wasn’t enough breast milk. I believe that supplementing her was what made her healthy and strong enough to recover and come home with us.

I was “encouraged” to keep pumping, so she could have “liquid gold” and that led to having no time to do anything. I was eating once a day and drinking very little.  I became so ill, my husband spent multiple nights feeding her because I was shaking and couldn’t move due to weakness. I was not healthy at all. I couldn’t be a mother to her; I hated being a mother to her at that time; I regretted her. It was awful. Finally, at 3 weeks I decided I had enough and my health and sanity was crucial for my daughter to have the mother she deserves. I stopped pumping and switched her to formula completely and never touched that pump again.

This was the Best. Decision. Ever. She continued to thrive, continued to eat just the same, and my body and mind healed. I loved feeding time with her and that magical bonding of looking at her, each time, was so very special to me. But people were mad! People argued that I wasn’t doing what was best for her, only for me. People continued to judge and spew hate about making a deeply personal choice that worked best for me.  This is when I found the Fed Is Best Foundation. In their support group, which is private to keep it safe, I found the Foundation encouraged breastfeeding, pumping, supplementing, tube feeding, and formula feeding! They encouraged putting baby’s and mother’s health above an obsession to breastfeed. I fell in love with the information and the people surrounding this movement. I would come to find mothers in similar predicaments were being “encouraged,” but really, they needed a solution – not encouragement to continue something that wasn’t working for them. I brought many struggling mothers to our private support group.  I continue to advocate for #fedisbest because until every mother can achieve the goal of a thriving, healthy baby in the health care system by whatever form of feeding suits their own family and babies the best, we have to work to make changes!

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Tiffany22Meet Tiffany, a new mama to her sweet baby girl and both are thriving and celebrating her first birthday!

Do you need genuine help and support for yourself and your baby?  Please send us a message on our Facebook page.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST

There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:

  1. Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
  2. Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  3. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals
  4. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
  5. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
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I Didn’t Make Enough Milk Like So Many Other Moms: Supplementing Saved My Breastfeeding and My Son

A Message from Jessica Hickey, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Mom and Fed is Best Advocate and Volunteer

Hello, I just want to say thank you for making this information free and available on the internet. I was made aware of your website by my husband’s aunt, who is a pediatric nurse practitioner, about 6 weeks after I gave birth to my first child in December of 2016. Prior to giving birth my husband and I attended a birthing class that had a breastfeeding component. In hindsight the class was completely inadequate and a waste of time. My labor was long as my son had flipped posterior at some point during the labor process, but I was able to have a vaginal birth with an epidural. I had decided to breastfeed exclusively and things went alright while in the hospital. The pediatrician who saw us while still in the hospital sent us home with some formula, just in case. I continued to breastfeed once we arrived home and my milk came in on day 4.

I had no idea that supplementing was even something that I could do to prevent jaundice and weight loss during those first few days. Around day six I noticed that I was nursing him on both breasts, but he was crying and inconsolable after eating. Both my husband and I tried walking him around, putting him back on the breast, anything to calm him down. My parents were staying with us to help with the baby and my mother suggested that my son was probably still hungry. At that moment I felt like a failure, but I warmed up a half ounce of the formula and offered it to my son. He drank it down and was content and went to sleep. At every feeding after that I continued to nurse and then offer formula at the end of the feeding, in case he was still hungry. If it hadn’t been for that doctor sending home formula and my mother being there to tell me my baby was hungry I don’t know if I would have supplemented.

I didn’t have the proper information to make that kind of decision. I looked at the pregnancy books that I had bought and been given, I read back through the pamphlet about breastfeeding that I was given at the hospital, I checked websites. Every single resource told me that all women have enough milk to feed their babies and that insufficient milk supply is rare. I beat myself up for the first month and felt terrible every time I made him a bottle. I had no idea how toxic the “breast is best” message that was seared into my mind had become.

The light at the end of the tunnel was being referred to your website by my husband’s aunt. With tears streaming down my face I sat and watched one of your presentations on infant feeding on YouTube and finally found the information I had been seeking. There was nothing wrong with me, I just didn’t have enough milk for my baby like the 20-40% of other first time mothers. I was completely normal! I cried again when I read about what could have happened to my son had I chosen not to supplement so early on, or if I had waited, blindly believing all the incorrect information that I had read that all mothers have enough milk for their babies.

I have continued to nurse and always offer a bottle of expressed breast milk or formula after nursing. Supplementing definitely saved my breastfeeding relationship. My son is now 6 months old and is thriving on combination feeding of breast milk and formula. I wanted to share my story with you as well as partner with you if possible. I am a board registered and licensed Occupational Therapist and I work with adults and the geriatric population. The most enjoyable part of my job is patient education. Since having my son and going through what I did with my difficulties with producing enough milk, I want as many women as possible to know how to safely feed their new babies. I feel like this information should be shouted from the rooftops and that every woman should have easy access to the information disseminated by your foundation.

I don’t know if you have any representatives of your foundation who lead classes or a one-time class to share safe feeding practices with soon to be and seasoned parents in a group setting? I would love to find out more about possibly offering a recurring class in my area or help with starting the process of the foundation offering classes. The internet is great, but meeting with moms and dads face to face is also a powerful way to educate on this vital information concerning infant feeding.

Thank you for your kind consideration,

Jessica Hickey, Lexington, KY

Dear Jessica,

We hope to get a large network of Fed is Best Advocates and Educators to provide support in the community. We hope to build this from licensed professionals with medical training including nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians and therapists like yourself.  In order to provide the safest level of care, we will need to build the training program in order to make the advice standardized and safe. As with any non-physician feeding advice, we always recommend that parents check with their pediatricians or family practitioners regarding any concerns about the health and safety of their child. If there are any doubts about a child not getting fed enough, we recommend supplementing until the child gets evaluated after nursing sessions to prevent complications.  For now, we are hoping to raise enough money to start up an online infant feeding class to provide live Fed is Best support with to goal of developing a large network of live Fed is Best feeding classes and support groups. Anyone who wants to be part of the change, please contact us at contact@fedisbest.org. 

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Why I’m Angry With My Baby Friendly Hospital in Texas

As mothers, we always want the best for our babies and we worry what we do is never enough. 6 years ago, I had my first child when emergency C-section delivered her.  She was 8 pounds 12 ounces and healthy.  I was immediately told by my OB-Gyn to supplement her since she was such a large baby for 37 weeks.   The hospital had LCs and we requested to see her several times but she was a no show. We figured out fast we were on our own with breastfeeding, however we did take our OB-Gyn’s advice and started supplementing right at the start to maintain her glucose levels.  She never perfected her latch, so I exclusively pumped and she got everything she needed and we both liked our routine.

6 years later, I delivered my son early for pregnancy complications at 36 weeks but he was much smaller weighing 6 pounds 11 ounces. This time breastfeeding protocols were very different.  Formula was considered evil and no one could supplement their babies and exclusive breastfeeding was the only way to breastfeed my baby. However, after day one things gradually started going downhill.  My son latched very well and it was determined he was nursing perfectly. He nursed every one to two hours and we even had the second night “cluster” feedings we were informed about.

Little did I know, he was starving and not cluster-feeding and I had no idea!   But as you can see in this photo- he. was. starving!

 

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Continue reading

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Just One Bottle Would Have Prevented My Baby’s Permanent Brain Damage From Hypoglycemia

Written by Holly Lake

I wish I had known about the Fed Is Best Foundation before my 1st son was born. I felt enormous pressure to exclusively breastfeed at my hospital. My son was born at 37 weeks, weighing 5 pounds,13 ounces and he struggled to latch-on and breastfeed at each feeding. When I told the midwife, she came back with a leaflet which described how to hand express. She told me to express 1 mL of colostrum into a syringe and feed that to my baby whenever he struggled to latch.  I asked her if 1 mL was enough and she said it was because his tummy was very small and this amount would be fine until my milk came in. Note: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml.

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I was discharged hours later not feeling confident my baby was getting enough colostrum.  A midwife came out to see me at home on day 3 because I said I was worried about his feeding. He became extremely yellow (jaundiced), not very responsive (lethargic) and would let out random high pitch screams and would sleep all of the time and never wanted to feed by this time.  He also would have random body spasms which doctors shrugged off as normal baby reflexes (later we found out different).  The midwife said I could wait and see how he did overnight or go to hospital.  I chose to take him to the hospital. When arriving, we found that he had lost 12% of his body weight and his blood sugars levels dropped dangerously low to 0.2 mmol/L (4 mg/dL) and he was jaundiced. Continue reading

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Why Were My 35 Week Premature Twins Fed More on Their First Day of Life Than my Full Term Breastfed Baby

I have three beautiful children: one nearly three year old boy, and one set of boy/girl twins, who are just three weeks old. If I could go back and change my eldest son’s first feeding  experiences on this earth, I would. I would have been happier and my baby healthier if he had just been fed while attempting to exclusively breastfeed.

When I was pregnant with my eldest boy, I fully intended to breastfeed him. We were delivering in a Baby-Friendly Hospital. I had never heard the term “Baby-Friendly” before becoming pregnant, but when my husband and I attended the hospital tour, we were told that the Baby-Friendly label meant that the hospital had achieved what was considered the gold standard in breastfeeding support. We attended the available lactation, birth, and parenting courses at the hospital. Whenever I was asked if I was planning to breastfeed my son, I proudly said, yes, I would. I was 34 years old, and I had never really considered infant feeding practices before becoming pregnant. From the information presented, it was obvious that breastfeeding was optimal.

I was told that babies did not need very much food in the first days of life. I was told that I would always make enough to feed the baby. I believed that the information I was receiving in these courses was truly the gold standard.

My son was born naturally after an unmedicated labor. He was placed on my bare chest, latched and I was told that we were doing great. I would nurse him and then he started screaming after each nursing session. Later, I learned that newborns aren’t meant to continuously scream after attempting to feed. They are meant to be satisfied and then sleep. The crying and screaming means something is wrong. I did not realize that my colostrum might not be enough to keep him fully fed before my milk came in. If I was informed that different babies have different caloric requirements at birth, and that my colostrum might not be enough right away, I never would have consented to not feeding my newborn for any period of time.  Continue reading

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