Ali's Adventures

January 16, 2013

Breastfeeding supporter

Filed under: Kids,Learning — by Alison @ 5:03 pm

Annie from Phd in Parenting recently asked on twitter “Do you consider yourself a Canadian breastfeeding supporter?”. This seems like a simple and straight forward question but it seemed to raise a lot of questions.

For me, the answer was ‘yes’. I support breastfeeding. I breastfed both my kids. There were challenges at the beginning with both, and I did supplement with formula within the first week for various medical reasons. With E, I think some of the challenges had to do with misinformation. I was instructed to switch sides after 20 minutes, but E was a slow feeder and once I realized this and let her eat for as long as she wanted things got easier. I was also lucky enough to see a lactation consultant in the hospital the day after her birth, and then again at 6 weeks. She breastfeed for 18 months, and probably would have kept breastfeeding but I returned to work and the timing didn’t work. H was severely jaundiced at birth and had to be under the blue lights. I pumped and bottle fed him, and he was supplemented with formula. Once he got home, he decided to refuse all formula and then bottles. It seemed to work out okay, as he breastfeed until he was almost 2.

I know these issues are minor compared with what others have faced. I was also lucky enough to have support from my doctor and my family. My mom was a strong supporter of breastfeeding even when it wasn’t considered the thing to do. Many women don’t have this support or are faced with issues that seem insurmountable, and even though they try they aren’t able to continue breastfeeding. I support those women.

I feel that Canadian moms should try to breastfeed. With the extended maternity leave, I think the main benefit is the ability to breastfeed for longer.I won’t engage in conversations with people who try to justify not breastfeeding with arguments of ‘my mom bottle fed me and I turned out fine’ or ‘it’s too much work for me, the dad needs to be involved too’. And it’s not to be mean, but I know that any pro-breastfeeding arguments won’t convince them otherwise. I think it best to just change the subject. I’m not negative when I see someone formula feeding and I don’t feel formula is poison, but I think that if women can, they should breastfeed. On the other hand, I’ve also been the person saying ‘it’s okay to give the baby a bottle if you need a break’, especially in possible cases of postpartum depression.

Now that I’m in the US, I am just amazed that any mothers are able to breastfeed after they return to work. I can’t imagine having to leave a 6-week old during the day and still try to breastfeed. The women who do this amaze me. I was recently asked about breastfeeding by a friend of a friend, and I had to qualify my comments with ‘but I was home’. My idea of pumping to get a bottle for a rare night out, is not in the same ballpark as needing to pump every three hours at an office to get enough milk for the baby the next day.

To answer Annie’s question, yes I’m a breastfeeding supporter. But I’d also say I’m a supporter of mothers and policies that provide mothers with the freedom to make the best decisions for their baby and their families.

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