Thursday, May 1, 2008

Breastfeeding Reflections from Clever Mom

Clever Mom contributes the following regarding breast milk:

Dr. Sydney Spiesel wrote about a recent breast-feeding study for They studied breast feeding in Belarus, and discovered that breast feeding played no role in reducing respiratory infections (but did reduce diarrhea and eczema), and in no way affected the behavior of the child at 6.5 years, or the mother's satisfaction with her marriage and family. The author is shocked, I am not. Dr. Spiesel concludes that the child is likely to do best if the mother chooses a method of feeding that works best for the family.

I believe that breast feeding is best for babies, especially newborns. And I think that new moms should be encouraged to give it a shot, because it starts the baby out with a food that definitely will be easily digestible (there are lots of different kinds of formula because some babies can't digest/are allergic to regular formula.) It also saves tons of money, is better for the earth, and helps new moms drop baby weight quickly. But I think the health benefits are very overblown, and I think it creates far too much stress on inexperienced mothers to expect them to care for an infant, go back to work, and be a baby food factory all at once.

I think breastfeeding is likely easier than formula feeding for stay at home moms, but for me at least breastfeeding and working full time was far more stressful than it was worth. I realized that since I spent 2 hours a day pumping and cleaning pump parts, 9 hours working and commuting, and my baby slept for 12 hours I only spent a single hour a day with my baby. So when he was 7 months old I hung up my Medula and got an extra 15 minutes in the morning and hour at night with my sweetie (and I didn't spend my lunch holding bottles to my boobs.) Women flocked to the workforce in the 60s and 70s because they had the option of feeding formula, and I think women are turning each other into guilty slaves by demanding that if they go back to work they still must breast feed. Granted, I think it is great that employers are offering lactation rooms, but I don't like the currently predominate school of thought that you are only allowed to go back to work if you dedicate yourself to pumping full time and working full time.

So basically I think moms should try breastfeeding, but you should ultimately go with the feeding plan that works best for your family. I also think it is important to frequently reevaluate your decision, to make sure that "not a drop of formula will pass through my baby's lips" is really a goal that will make you and your family happiest in the long run.

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