Monday, 15 November 2010

Lactivism, and AWESOME friends, and why I fed my baby formula

 Let me start of by saying that prior to last week, I was proud of the fact that formula had never, by my knowledge, touched my children's lips. I had no intention of changing that. Sometimes though, babies turn your world and what you might think you know upside down.

When I posted this picture on our facebook album my husband wrote:
"Some clarification, Isaac was 5 pounds 4 ounces at birth, 4 lbs 7 ounces after day 1, and slightly jaundiced from day 1. Also because of the c-section Danelle's milk wasn't coming in on day 1 (this is normal). Normally a kid not eating for a day or so isn't a big deal, so most moms won't need formula even if milk doesn't come in for a day or so (just keep counting wets until it does), but we needed to start feeding right away to keep the jaundice from becoming serious. This was one of those medically necessary times when formula saves lives - I'm glad we had the 20 oz or so that he ate, I hope we never need it again. Also, formula tastes absolutely disgusting, and based on how much more breast milk he ate as soon as he got the chance, I'm pretty sure Isaac thought so as well."
Chad fed Isaac the formula (after he taste tested it, and I think it is really cool that he would try it first), I wanted no chance there would be nipple confusion. Our doula called to check on us and drove out to us at 10 pm at night to bring us fenugreek pills and tea, just to help things along. She had JUST arrived at home from vacation too, her back up had attended the birth. I was a little anxious because I wasn't even producing colostrum or feeling the tissue changes that usually follow birth and precede milk flow.
While Chad fed Isaac, I picked up my phone and did something most people would find really hard to do. I called a friend and asked her if I could have some of her breastmilk for Isaac. Before I even finished breathing through that sentence, she said yes. We only needed a little bit, a 1/2 pint, maybe a pint. Just to get him through until my milk came in. She was there, driving 65+ miles, the next morning, milk in hand. 

Then I was worried how the hospital staff would react. Silly me. They all thought it was GREAT! They even separated out the feedings into prepped bottles for us. Seriously, this has got to be the most mama friendly hospital birth center EVER.
We were discharged the next day and my milk let down, pretty much as we walked in the door home. 

I wish there were more milk banks. I wish more mamas and babies had access to friends who would donate the liquid gold that is breastmilk. The sad fact is that most do not, most mamas in situations like ours face the insecurity that the delayed milk let down brings, most have no choice but formula, don't know to keep pumping, don't have doula support that will go to three different stores late at night to bring them tea, don't have the blessing of an extremely mama/baby friendly birth center, friends that will pump and deliver milk......most mom's have formula and panic that their baby is sick. 

We were blessed for true and if I could change the world, every county would have a milk bank or at least a network of mamas in milk that would pump at a moment's notice to help new babies.  

You know what though, the biggest factor in our continuing success in breastfeeding despite difficulties with latch, let down, ect.....was my husband. He researched, cheered me on, bought nipple shields at Babies R' Us, and cheered me on in the middle of the night when things were particularly frustrating. Much of our support system the first time around was very pro formula and even anti breastfeeding. Couple that with our initial difficulties and we would have quit and given in to social pressure, unnecessarily. Honestly, formula is not evil, but it is meant to be a breastmilk substitute in medically necessary situations. Somehow it has become a lifestyle choice, and that is something that makes me sad for mamas and for babies who really want to and are led to believe they can't.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! My heart swells with joy for centered beings doing so much good.

    Looking forward to hearing more stories of your joy.

    Thanks for sharing,



A blog about farming, unschooling, feminism, 22q deletion syndrome, cooking real food, homesteading, permaculture, and motherhood.