"How Can You Have Too Many Children? That's Like Saying You Have Too Many Flowers" ~ Mother Teresa

A Peek Into Our Hectic, Crazy & Loving Family of Eleven

~♥~

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Breastfeeding

Well, I'm truly hoping that this topic doesn't go and get me called any names. But, if it does, so be it. I thought about why I wasn't bothered by being called such a lovely name on my CIO comments. I suppose it's because there is a ring of truth to the fact that I was called a 'judgemental bitch'. I will take credit for being judgemental. I am. When someone does something that I would consider harmful to their child, I will judge them. If someone is doing something, maybe not wrong, but could be doing it better, especially if there is actual proof that it is better, I will judge them. Sometimes silently, sometimes not. I would never walk up to a mama in public and chastise them for bottle feeding, after all, maybe its breastmilk in that bottle? I would however, very vocally express my feelings for someone who is, for example, careless in carseat safety. With that being said, my blog is about the choices I am making and why. The links I provide are how I have come to that conclusion. I provide them so that you can see where I am getting my information. If you disagree with what I write, no problem. Different strokes for different folks. That's what makes the world go 'round.

But I am NOT a bitch.

Main Entry: bitch
Pronunciation: \ˈbich\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English bicche, from Old English bicce
Date: before 12th century
1 : the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals
2 a : a lewd or immoral woman b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse
3 : something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant
4 : a complaint of or about


Whew, ok, With that off my chest,

Breastfeeding. This will probably skip around alot, as there is so much to say. I'm just going to say what is on my mind right now and again, provide some links. I'm sure there is a ton more to say, but at the risk of making this the worlds longest blog entry, I'll try to keep it simple. I'll try.

I will say that breastfeeding is my biggest passion. I believe that ''Breast Is Best'. I also believe that there are very few instances in which a woman cannot successfully breastfeed, although I hear so many excuses as to why one doesn't. I'm not going to get into why/how/when/what here. I don't think I need to state the obvious, although, who knows. If you didn't breastfeed, please don't take offense to what I've written, again, my blog, my opinion, your choice to read it. Why someone didn't breastfeed is their decision that they live with day to day and if the are ok with that decision, then fabulous.

What I will say, with great pride, is that I spent every waking moment, every ounce of energy that I had, getting my triplets to be exclusively breastfed. IT CAN BE DONE. Whether you have 1 baby, or 3. Breastfeeding is possible.

All of my children have been breastfed. 1 just a few weeks, and a few for a few years. I intend to go as long as possible with the trio. The WHO (World Health Organization) is now recommending a minimum of 2 years of breastmilk. TWO YEARS.

And, since I've done both formula and breastfeeding with my children, I do feel I have a right to voice my opinions on both.

**I'm adding something in, after reading the comments, again :). Please don't think that I feel that someone who doesn't BF is inferior. That is not my itention in this post AT ALL, and if it came across that way, I apologize. My intention was to let everyone know that just TRYING to BF is possible. There are a TON of reasons why someone would choose not to. And if you read down farther, I did say CHOOSE. It IS a choice. CAN'T and CHOOSE NOT TO are two very different things. All these topics are not as black and white as some are taking them. I know that being able to BF triplets is an oddity, at best. lol. And it is NOT EASY. There are days I want to quit, believe me. But it is do-able. So, please, do not take offense. I mean nothing negative. This post is MY THOUGHT, MY EXPERIENCES. I have triplet mommy friends who did not BF and I love them all the same. :)**

Study after study has shown that breastmilk is best. You have a baby human, baby humans need human milk. Baby cows need cows milk, baby goats need goat milk and so on.. Formula is just a powdered version of cows milk. Again, I have baby humans :).


And in our society, yes, again with the society thing, breastfeeding needs to be the norm. Not formula feeding. We need more information and more help for breastfeeding moms. All to often, a mom struggling with breastfeeding is told to "just put him on formula" instead of getting her lactation help. We have formula promotion comercials. Do we have breastfeeding promotion commercials? Why not? Peurto Rico does. In our country, we promote formula. It's no wonder we have a lack of breastfeeding moms and support for them.



My 1st daughter was breastfed just 8 weeks. We had issues. I was young, I didn't get the proper information, so I gave up. I didn't want to, but I did. And put my daughter on Soy Formula (which, is now shown to be worse than regular formula, although at the time, I had figured in my head that soy was better than cows milk). My daughter has struggled with her weight since she was a toddler. I blame formula. None of my other kids have weight issues, and they all breastfed much longer. With each subsequent baby, breastfeeding got longer. My wealth of information grew, and I grew in my ability to know what is best for my baby.

Fast forward to the triplets. When I was pregnant, I had the best plan worked out. Oh, it'll be easy. Baby A and Baby B each on a boob, Baby C with a bottle of breastmilk. I soon found out some things weren't meant to be planned. I couldn't follow the scheule. I always had a baby crying and a baby hungry. Not fun. Now we do feeding on demand. When the babies are hungry. Now, there is less crying. And THAT is always a good thing.

The babies all had donor milk in the hospital. No formula. No bottles, at first, gavaged feedings only. Unfortunately, as well meaning as the NICU is, they don't know everything. I was told that breastfeeding is very hard for a preemie. That it takes a ton of energy for a preemie to nurse.

WRONG.

FALSE.

NOT TRUE.

Breastfeeding is natural to a baby. Bottlefeeding is not. Bottle feeding, in fact, takes more energy than nursing, nursing just takes more TIME. (Unless your my 6 month old Rosalie who can nurse down an entire feeding in about 7 minutes)

It takes TIME. And time is something that the NICU needs more of. Or, less schedule, but that just can't happen so....

Truth is, babies, preemies, do better when they can nurse on-demand. They learn hunger cues.

But that is hard to do in a scheduled setting. Especially in a NICU and especially with multiples.

This is an instance where bottles were a stepping stone.

But this is not about bottle vs. breast. This is about breastmilk vs. formula. I kind of got off track there for a bit. Sorry.

Babies are born to breastfeed. They come out knowing where they need to be. Have you ever seen a just born baby do the breastcrawl? It's amazing.



Formula is 'man-made'. Who knows what is actually in it? Or ,here you go. This looks healthy. Chocolate formula. Yummy.

Breastmilk? Natural. Doesn't get much more natural than this. Breastmilk is perfect for every baby. The milk that a mom makes is designed for her babies. Allergies are rare, although babies can be sensitive to a particular food that a Mom eats.

Babies are born with a specific 'gut-flora'. If babies are exclusively breastfed and maintain a virgin gut, they develop natural healthy gut flora which are full of good bacteria which aids in digestion, which serves as a natural immunity.

Great explanation of Virgin gut and gut flora

Breastmilk provides fabulous immunities against illnesses.
Breastmilk is easier to digest.
Breastmilk prevents obesity.
Breastfed babies have healthier teeth and better jaw alignment.
Breastfed babies have a higher IQ.


So, with all this information, why would a mother CHOOSE to feed her baby with an artificial man-made formula if she didn't absolutely have to?

I have no idea.

Even The Occasional Bottle Has It's Risks

Breastfeeding Boots IQ's

Breastfeeding Builds Brighter Brains

Risks of Formula Feeding

Risks of Formula Feeding

Formula and Obesity

Diabetes and Formula

Breastfeeding Multiples

Kellymom. Great info on everything!

So, with all this information on the benefits of breastfeeding, why would you NOT, if you have the choice?

I have no idea.

*I would like to clarify something that I said in my CIO post. "Those people who say "Oh, my baby slept through the night at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 6 months, I say "Lie". Not possible. And especially not for a breastfed baby".

I would never want to discourage a new mama from breastfeeding. You never have to choose breastfeeding over sleep. Studies actually show that breastfeeding mamas get, on average, 1-1.5 hours MORE sleep per night than formula feeding mamas. Probably due to the fact that you can just hook a baby to the boob and go back to sleep.

It's just MY babies that won't sleep. Well, Gwendolen does. She only nurses 1 or 2 times per night, whereas Emilia nurses all night long. Alot of that is just the babies personality, and with 3 at the same time, well, you get 3 different personalities.

My thoughts?

Lazy? Breastfeed! No formula to fix or bottles to wash.
Tired? Breastfeed! No need to even get out of bed at night.
Stressed? Breastfeed! There is nothing more relaxing than nursing your baby. Nothing.

Now, please keep in mind these are directed at ME. I am, in no way, saying that breastfeeding mamas are lazy, tired or stressed. Just I am. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that I have 9 children. And triplets. Possibly.

It's not rocket science. It's natural. It's what we, as women, were designed to do.
If I can successfully exclusively breastfeed triplets, anyone can breastfeed their baby/babies. Or at least give it a really good try. Do it for your baby!

Again, an apology on the jumpiness of the post. It's hard for me to write as fast as my brain is thinking. Especially when it's something I'm so passionate about. I may even add stuff later as I think of more.

25 comments:

  1. Once again, I just think that it is so awesome that you're bfing triplets. Amazing! Kudos to you! And great article! I love the breast crawl.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Im so happy I found your blog! I am exclusively breastfeeding my 9wk old twin girls. It hasnt been easy. I had one baby who latched in recovery no issues whatsoever. Then my other baby really struggled. She would latch...pull off and scream. I pumped for her. I was devastated. I kept telling myself well at least she is getting breastmilk. I still wasnt happy. So I practiced with her as much as I could. Even the LC's were not much help. I had never done this before but I refused to give up on her. Miraculously at 5wks she breastfed! It was amazing and awesome. I will never forget that day. I looked at her with wide eyes brimming with tears and she looked back at me just as wide eyed. She was doing it. People always look so amazed that I breastfeed twins. Here is my thoughts: If they were born separately I would have breastfed them so why just because they so happen to have been born together would I not give them the same benefits? They deserve it. Thank you again for your honesty!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amber, my thoughts exactly. My triplets didn't ask to be born together so why would I deny them what I would give each of my other singletons?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Also, congratulations on sticking it out with the breastfeeding! That is AWESOME! Hard work in the beginning, but the pay off is so worth it! I can just imagine how you felt when she nursed for the first time! Probably the same way I did when my girls finally 'got it'

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am working on breastfeeding my triplets! They were 5 weeks early and had trouble with it until they hit their due date. Then 2 out of the 3 magically got the hang of it and can now nurse efficiently enough to not need a bottle afterwards. I'm still working with the 3rd on her latch. They're all getting only breastmilk, whether through breast or bottle, which is the most important thing to me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. YAY!! My triplets were 5 weeks early too. Born at 34.2 weeks. Im so happy to hear your BF them! And so proud of you too! Hang in there, it really does get easier and easier!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What an inspirational story - I often talk to mums who have doubts that they can breastfeed, and I have used you as an example. "I know one woman who has breastfed triplets - the human body is truly amazing", and I know these mums are inspired too.

    Thanks for telling, and continuing to tell your story.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Are you freakin serious? You were called a bitch because of your parenting style and beliefs? Goodness, someone out there is feeling mighty insecure in their choices for raising their own kids, methinks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Maybe you are judgemental, but I don't know anyone who isn't. Even when they try their hardest not to be!
    I had to come back to this post because it struck a very raw nerve for me.
    I used CIO with my firstborn on the advice of just about every Tom, Dick and Harry who asked about how she slept.
    I was young, ignorant, depressed and TIRED. I was desperate to get her out of our bed and sleeping for more than a couple of hours at night.
    I didn't know any better and this was in the days before I was internet savvy. I figured since all of these random people were in agreement, they all had children themselves who seemed (to my knowledge) relatively unscathed, that CIO was just what you did.
    My oldest is now almost 6, she is a fabulous kid and is (in my eyes) perfect and perfectly normal in every way.
    Despite this, I am eaten up with guilt every time I think about how I let her CIO.
    I wish I'd never done it, I wish I could take it back and just pick her up and comfort her every time she cried back then.
    I wish I'd listened to my heart instead of all that outdated but well intentioned advice.
    So, your judgement hit a nerve for me and I closed my computer last night wracked with guilt and fear that I'd irreparably harmed my poor child, through my own ignorance and selfish craving for sleep.
    I was going to stop following your blog, it made me feel so bad.
    I realised today though, I need to let go of the guilt and move on.
    We all make mistakes and regrettable choices as we learn how to be parents. I've got to be glad that she has grown up beautifully and is a well adjusted, affectionate little princess, despite the mistakes and because of the successes.
    So I guess my point is thankyou for inadvertently helping me come to this realisation.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think this post is absolutely awesome. I wish there wasn't such an easily taken offense over breastfeeding FACTS, and I think if those facts were out there for more people to see and hear (like this!!), that there wouldn't be. Really, our society has GOT to get over our selfish issues with breastfeeding. I know some people who physically cannot breastfeed (breast reductions, mostly) and they wish more than anything that they could. And it's insulting to them to see people choose not to breastfeed because it's "gross" or "too hard." (which THAT never makes sense to me- dealing with bottles and formula and having to pack around cans and water all the time- THAT seems like it would be hard to me!)

    You are quite the inspiration. If we ever have multiples I plan to breastfeed them as well. I'm currently breastfeeding my 3 children (ages 4 years, 2 years, and 3 months) and it always makes me sad that I feel like I need to be so "hush hush" about my older daughter still nursing. She's total proof that child-led weaning (or "natural" weaning is more appropriate since I have younger nurslings that get "priority") is a real and perfect thing, as it's obvious that we're nearing the end of our nursing relationship. But it's been SO worth it.

    Oh and I haven't read your CIO post yet but what you said in this one kinda made me laugh. My 2nd daughter was sleeping 6-8 hours a night from about 4-12 weeks. Obviously she was breastfed on demand, and our babies sleep with us, and I know the benefits to babies nightwaking...so man, as thrilled as the average American mother would be with that, I was somewhat terrified. LOL I tried to wake her to feed her for the first couple of weeks but she just wanted to sleep and couldn't have cared less about eating, so I gave up after a while, but I still woke up constantly to check on her. She stopped sleeping like that after about 3 months anyway, but yeah...the grass isn't always greener. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh and I also wanted to say that I think it's awesome that your babies were on donated milk when they were born. I donate as well and just took a bunch down to a mama and her baby in a children's hospital. She wasn't "allowed" to use my milk IN the hospital since I'm not certified (because I usually just donate locally but just happened to come across her in the time we'd be travelling there) but she did anyway. I feel like since I've been blessed with so much milk that the least I can do is offer it up to other moms who need it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Just a note- good for you for breastfeeding your triplets! That's amazing. I will say there is one thing you present as a lie that isn't, at least for me- my little girl was exclusively breastfed until she was about five months- and she slept through the night at three weeks, and has ever since. So, it is possible for exclusively breastfed babies to sleep more than 2-3 hours at a stretch, just very, very unusual, I think. It probably helped that I would feed her at 8 p.m. when she went to bed, pop in at 11 and nurse again before I went to bed, but she consistently slept until 6-8 a.m. from three weeks on, and still does (she just turned a year). Anyway, I know it's very rare, and I don't tell many new parents that, because it's irritating to hear from someone, I think. But if someone tells you that their kid is EBF and sleeps through the night, don't call them a liar. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have a friend who just found out she's expecting trips. A bunch of people recommended your blog and I find it so great and informative. My daughter is 5 mo old and we are still struggling to exclusively breastfeed. But, everyday, we are closer to it. When we're together, she is exclusively breastfed, but since I have to work I can't seem to pump enough for her while she's in daycare or with daddy! But, we are working at it and I commend you for your perserverance w/ the trips!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I wrote a post about breastfeeding a few days ago, and I've gotten a lot of heat from it. I only tried breastfeeding for 3 days while my daughter was in the NICU. It was awful. So I quit.

    You ask, why would someone not breastfeed? I ask, why would someone not formula feed?

    I see the benefits you've listed, but if you'll take a moment to see my point of view. Perhaps a selfist point of view, but my point of view nonetheless:

    Cons of breastfeeding:
    -painful
    -leaking nipples for as long as you breastfeed
    -breastmilk really does get digestd faster, so the baby is likely to wake up more
    -engorgement if you're away from your baby
    -necessity to be around your baby every 2 hrs (i.e. no one else can feed your baby)
    -I got to enjoy my baby without feeling like a human pacifier

    Pros of formula feeding:
    -it's not poison
    -it's easy: boil nipples every few days, fill a bottle with ready to feed formula as needed
    -my hubby or mom or brother or great aunt's niece (aka anyone) can feed the baby
    -breasts do not ache, do not have yeast infections, do not bleed, are not engorged, etc

    Again, just my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I, personally, agree with the majority of your points. I think it is unfortunate that so many people do not even try to BF when it is clearly the best possible food for babies. I think it is unfortunate that more hospitals do not encourage BF'ing. I think it is unfortunate that more hospitals do not have available, active lactation consultants to help new moms with the often difficult BF'ing path. I think it is unfortunate that BF'ing has become a "choice," when it is something as intrinsic to health and wellness as a proper, rear-facing carseat for an infant.

    That said, I find it just as unfortunate when other mothers and the medical community at large brushes off the challenges many women face to BF. WHY aren't there more studies into why women have the supply problems they do, even when they feed on demand and even pump in between? WHY aren't there more questions being asked about what is causing so many difficulties getting babies to suck? Is it the food we eat, the environment we live in, our overall declining fitness? I have no idea, but these are real problems plaguing real mothers.

    I went into my last twin pregnancy bound and determined to BF my twins for 1 year. I BF my first son for 8 weeks before having to stop due to a medical issue and surgery, and I BF my first set of twins for 6 weeks before my supply utterly ran out. So, last time, with twins again, I was DETERMINED. I had 32-week preemies and, guess what? They had no interest in sucking anything. They had to be tube fed. They might nipple at my breast for a moment or two but they consumed literally almost nothing. My choice was to remain in the hospital with babies sleeping on my boobs and not eating (and then being fed by tube) potentially for months or to start trying to train them to suck on the faster flow bottle. I wanted my babies home, so we had all expressed BM in bottles for them but continued to attempt to nurse prior to every feed.

    They came home one month later, and we struggled to get them to take feeds by bottle for almost the entire duration of their time with bottles. They had even less interest in the breast. It was an absolute battle to get even the bare minimum of BM into them. Still, I pumped every 2 hours, around the clock. I didn't mind pumping, really, and devised all sorts of ways to do it... even driving and pumping at the same time!

    In order to maintain enough supply for twins, even while pumping with a hospital grade pump every 2 hours around the clock, I had to take Reglan, Fenugreek, eat lots of oats, and eventually had to order Domperidone from Mexico. As time went on, my supply grew smaller and smaller. At around 3 mo postpartum, I was producing 50 oz of milk per day. By 6 mo postpartum, it was about 30 oz, and by 9 mo postpartum it was down to 3-4 oz. No amount of pumping, or discussions with LCs, or anything else helped. I have PCOS, hypothyroidism, myasthenia gravis, etc. Probably that was the best that my body could do.

    In the end, my girls had nothing but BM for 6 months of their lives, solids/BM/small amounts of formula topped off from 6-10 mo, and solids/formula only when my supply entirely ran out at 10 mo. It broke my heart not to make it to 1 year. No matter how hard we try, some of us cannot successfully nurse and can't even successfully provide BM for 1 year, much less 2.

    I am pregnant with twins again and will try just as hard again, but it's really up to my body. I just wish there was more support out there for people like me who strongly believe that breast is best, and do everything we can, but still have to rely on some formula in the end. It is difficult as a mother to care this deeply and still fail.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've been breastfeeding for 20 years straight, with a 3 month break between #6 self weaning and #7 being born. I was very skinny until my last 2 kids, both c-sections, I could eat whatever I wanted and still lose weight while breastfeeding. I also get more sleep, a plus to working mom of 10. We have 3 hospital grade pumps in the lactation room near my office, so I could pump every 3 hours when my youngest 2 were younger. I'm lazy, why would I want to wash more bottles than I had to from when I was at work?

    ReplyDelete
  17. While I do agree with your views for the most part, I wonder if you might catch more bees with adding a little honey to your blog.
    As a doula, mother of multiples, ESL teacher of refugee students and a childbirth educator, may I also remind you:
    "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

    ReplyDelete
  18. My mom BF 8 kids, without her support and encouragement when my first was born I may have given up. All the info. out there says it isn't supposed to hurt. Well guess what, it just does, but not forever! And, just like my mom said, between 4 and 6 weeks, I stopped hurting, baby started smiling (doesn't that make all the difference) and life was beautiful. I loved it, loved the closeness, loved the quiet, yeah, you give up a little freedom and the chance for others to feed. You know what, too bad! I'm the mom, I have the boobs-it's MY job, all MINE. Besides, kids have the rest of preschool to learn to eat, Daddy can give them their peas! :-) So, now that I'm expecting number 2 there is no hesitation, no questions, we'll get a bottle or 2 for expressed BM and emergencys. Otherwise, that is baby and me time.
    Huge kudos for BFing triplets! I think that is amazing-but totally, totally worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  19. As mothers, I think we all know the benefits of breastfeeding. I agree with you on several points. However, I hope you realize that you are an exception when it comes to breast feeding multiples.

    There may be few reasons why someone with a single baby cannot breast feed, but there are countless reasons for a mother of multiples. Prematurity, extended NICU stays, medical issues that arise with the mother after birth ...

    I don't want other Moms of multiples to read your blog and feel like failures when they aren't able to breast feed, or have to supplement. Trust me, we get that enough from other people.

    I think your prior experience with breast feeding your other children set you up for success with your triplets, and I applaud you for that. I just hope that on some level you can empathize with your fellow Moms of Multiples who weren't able to provide the same experience for their children.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I just browsed through all the comments but just wanted to say a few things. Thank you everyone, for all your comments, Im learning so much from alot of information Im getting through here!
    @Alyssa, Thank you for your point of view, Im going to go over to your blog and check it out! And your right on alot of points. As I said, there was so much for me to write that I left alot out. BF was not easy for me at first either, and it did HURT! The engorgment alone was worse than labor I swear!
    @Kristina, I do realize that I am in the minority. That is why I share my story. My only wish is that everyone TRY to BF. Just try.
    @Randi, I agree. But I never really thought my blog would become so big. lol. Its mainly written as an online diary for me, family and friends. Im so glad that people are finding my information useful. I LOVE that I have so many followers and that my experiences are possibly helping someone, somewhere. But I dont have any degrees, or anything other than my personal experiences and opinions. And where I get my opinions from. Thats really all I can offer. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. And Kristina, I totally understand that alot of MoM's cannot breastfeed and I am so sympathetic. I guess in my posts I need to more carefully 'map out' what I am going to say. I leave alot out. I just have oo much in my head. lol. All of my triplet mom friends did not nurse or stopped shortly after their birth. And I do not judge them for that. What I should be more clear about is the mamas that do not even attempt BF'ing because they dont want to, or its 'gross', or its inconvienent, or it hurts or all the other excuses that I hear. I think I will add that. Thank you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. @ Jody, you are the example I was referring to when I said that my hope was that everyone TRY to BF. Girl, you TRIED. and TRIED and TRIED. My gosh, I'm not sure I wouldv'e lasted that long YOU GO! YOU, are amazing! So awesome that your babies have such a tenacious mama giving her all to get BM into her babies. And I agree, education has GOT to change. Mamas need more support!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Nicole, I would LOVE if you could read my post and leave me a comment. (Don't forget that my post is full of my opinions, not necessarily the "right" things).

    ReplyDelete
  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete