Motherhood

Mother No Longer Knows Best

In mommy world one of the most controversial and political topics is breastfeeding and in turn the “baby friendly hospital” craze.  There were so many articles to digest and link to that I didn’t know where to start for this post. I recently learned from an acquaintance that when she gave birth the hospital banned pacifiers. I googled that to see what’s up and learned its part of UNICEF’s “baby friendly hospital” campaign. A hospital can get this special “feel good” designation by following these 10 steps on breastfeeding.   I knew there was a huge push to get women to breastfeed, but its getting out of control when women are not really free to make the choices they want for their baby and selves. Banning pacifiers makes you feel like you are trying to give your child a drug or something illegal.

I have a real problem when these organizations, hospitals, big government feel movements, like to interject, butt-in and tell mothers or basically force mothers towards what they think is best, ignoring the natural maternal instincts that will guide a mom to make the best choices if she were just left alone. It truly feels like a big-government intervention.  Breast is best, yeah I get it. I mean its common sense that something that comes from your body is the best. However, a very close second is rest is best and if a mom isn’t resting she can’t function and be a good mother and she certainly isn’t going to be able to bond well.

To get the discussion rolling this topic and due to lack of time I am going to focus in on this article to start, but feel I have more to say later:

“To earn the designation, hospitals and birth centers must subscribe to the practice of “rooming-in,” that is, keeping mothers and babies together around the clock. But while hospitals say the practice is beneficial, media coverage has been largely critical, warning that hospitals are robbing weary new mothers ― women who have just done the grueling work of birthing a human being ― of their only opportunity to get some rest.

Exactly. Hospitals for women are no longer a place of rest and recovery. If you are induced you can easily go 12-24 hours without food then have to give the biggest workout of your life with no food and no real rest either. Then with the “rooming in” policies you are suppose to leap out of bed at every cry despite the incredible pain, bleeding and stitches you may be dealing with. Even if you don’t have a C-Section there is some serious recovery that needs to happen. In any other scenario when someone has surgery or goes though such a medical ordeal we would think it harsh to then expect them to babysit a newborn when their stitches are fresh.

The article hits that point well when it shares this story:

In an op-ed for Forbes, mother of two Kavin Senapathy wrote about her experience delivering babies in Baby-Friendly hospitals. With her first, she spent the night “hopping in and out of bed” to comfort her crying baby, “all while cringing at the stinging of stitches” ― an experience she describes as “excruciating.” She insisted her second be taken to the nursery so she could recover, but was told “in no uncertain terms that had this been my first baby, I would not have been allowed to use the nursery because otherwise how would I learn to care for my child?”

In my experience you do basically have to beg to have the baby taken to the nursery or present a really serious case for why you need rest as if it isn’t obvious. The glares you get that you are a bad mom for daring to want to sleep for 2 hours is unreal. The hospitals do act like you are neglecting your baby if you even think to put any of you needs first in those first hours and days after birth. I believe in the thinking “put the oxygen mask on yourself first”.  You are of no use to your child if you aren’t breathing an thriving. How can you bond if you are dead? Or at least dead tired.  However, there are those on the feminist and traditionalist side that will hammer it into you that you are selfish to even think about your self after birth. One nurse replied when I asked, “can you take the baby to nursery so I can rest”, was simply “no, welcome to motherhood”. Its a cruel introduction to motherhood, especially coming from a place such as a hospital that you are under the mistaken belief is there to take care of you–for rest and recovery.  After the first birth, I wised up and took the view that the hospital was more of a prison that you had to get out of as quickly as possible so that you could get home and get some real rest and recovery, so that I could BOND and do motherhood my way, the way that works best for me and my family.   Of course talking about resting at home isn’t saying much as there are way too many distractions there, but still its at least better than supposed hospital rest.

The remark in the quoted section that implies women shouldn’t be able to use nurseries because how else will they learn to take care of their babies is pure BS.  Newsflash—from day 3 and forever women will learn very well and very quickly how to take care of their baby once they are home. The hospital is probably the best and only chance a mom  has for serious rest (given the medical staff); however it has now become the worst place to get rest and can often leave a mom leaving the hospital feeling even worse. A great way to send mom on her way and into motherhood.

Even if breast is best, “mother knows best” has basically been tossed aside and replaced with UNICEF knows best.  There is not a once sized fits all answer to motherhood.

Advertisements

28 thoughts on “Mother No Longer Knows Best

  1. Anonymous said,

    “Same here — no milk whatsoever and a very hungry baby who ended up being developmentally delayed for a time (he’s fine now). Only in my case it was my Mom and my oldest sister who yelled and screamed at me about how “formula is poison”. Yeah, sure.”

    Must be the world’s slowest-acting poison, in that case…

    Not eating or drinking kills a lot quicker.

    That’s the sort of cultural environment that contemporary mothers are dealing with–BREASTFEED OR DIE. In that context, it’s not at all surprising that so many babies are winding up dehydrated and hospitalized–formula is supposed to be literally the last resort.

    In that cultural context, it really is up to the medical professionals to educate patients and take the edge off the pro-breastfeeding pressure. (Psst, taking the high-pressure breastfeeding posters down would be a nice start.) It’s also up to medical professionals to “be the bad guy” who suggests formula when things are looking bad, rather than continue to push breastfeeding or act like there are no risks in pushing forward with breastfeeding under unfavorable circumstances.

    (I’ve been reading more of the Fed is Best archives, and there are women whose babies lost 17-18% of body weight before it was realized that they were in trouble. Ay yay yay! Of course the baby is able to produce wet diapers when they’re in the process of losing 17% of body weight.)

    Like

  2. Same here — no milk whatsoever and a very hungry baby who ended up being developmentally delayed for a time (he’s fine now). Only in my case it was my Mom and my oldest sister who yelled and screamed at me about how “formula is poison”. Yeah, sure. I bottlefed after every breastfeeding, and he did end up exclusively bottlefed after a few months because I got pregnant with my second one when he was four months old.

    No breastfeeding problems after him, though, but I attribute my oldest child’s issues early on to the feeding problems (and the fact that my elders still had their claws in me and I felt pressured like crazy) and a stupid old-school pediatrician who played on my fears as a new mother and hospitalized us for no good reason….I was incensed at him for the way he dealt with my son’s circumcision (I insisted I be present, and he wouldn’t allow me; I told him that I was the mother, he was the doctor, and I was the one paying his bill; he had NO SAY in whether or not I was present, that it was my choice and he’d better do as I said); anyway, I was furious at how he treated my son and I got a different pediatrician. He didn’t like me either; he was used to the meek, quiet little mother who did as she was told. He was one of the older guys who was used to being thought of as practically God. Needless to say, I was present at my son’s circumcision — and my other sons’ as well. I disapproved of the way he did it; the other pediatricians told me that that way had been discontinued many years prior and they were shocked that he’d use that older method. It was brutal. I felt terribly guilty afterward. I never had an opinion one way or the other, being female; that was something that was my husband’s domain. My husband believed it was the best thing to do, and HE was appalled at how our oldest’s was handled, too. The remaining boys’ went MUCH better and were handled with compassion and appropriate anesthetic, and I was right there talking to them and soothing them; they basically didn’t even notice it.

    Like

  3. I’ve been reading through the archives here

    https://fedisbest.org/2017/04/my-baby-had-been-slowly-starving-the-exclusivity-breastfeeding-guidelines-were-wrong/#more-3333

    and wondering–“heroic” pumping and feeding regimens are very popular in the lactation world, but how often do they actually work after a long period of not working?

    “By week six, her nursing latch had deteriorated to the point where it was physical and psychological torture trying to get her to nurse. I just didn’t have the fight left in me to insist on keeping up the triple feed schedule for EVERY SINGLE FEEDING [I believe the triple feed is pumping and bottle feeding-direct breast feeding-formula]. So we focused mostly on pumping, and still practiced nursing a few times a day. My hopes of nursing were fading fast, so I doubled down on my pumping routine. I was an impending failure with nursing, and I refused to be a failure at pumping, even though it was killing me inside. Every time I hooked myself up I hoped I would see a boost in output. And every time, every 2 hours, of every day, when I failed to achieve that increase, I was reminded that I was failing at that too.

    “By week 10, I realized I couldn’t go on. I had nothing left to give. I had literally been pumped dry – of milk, of willpower, of energy, of positivity and joy.”

    You may wonder, why wasn’t it clear at 7 (or even 6 weeks), that this was all futile? This sounds like the definition of insanity–doing the same thing and expecting different results.

    Like

  4. Sorry for being a thread hog, but I just found an answer about diaper count in the thread.

    Christie del Castillo-Hegyi (the mother of the brain damaged 6-year-old) said:

    “Wet and dirty diapers are also incredibly inaccurate for determining true intake because a child can meet all the diaper count requirements from the fluid and stool they are born with. Again, my child got nothing and was able to meet the diaper requirements for at least 3 days, hence the 15% weight loss. Also, the weight of a wet diaper is not defined so 3 wet diapers in one child can be interpreted as 6 wet diapers in another. We are talking about something as critical as preventing starvation in newborn and we are using about the most unproven and inaccurate means to measure it. The most accurate way to detect intake is test weighing, which a mother can do at home as home baby scales are accurate to 2 g (or 2 mL).”

    https://fedisbest.org/2015/04/letter-to-doctors-and-parents-about-the-dangers-of-insufficient-exclusive-breastfeeding/

    Good to know.

    Like

  5. Here are some quotes from the doctor mom whose baby was brain damaged because of jaundice, hypoglycemia and dehydration. Apologies in advance for the wall of text.

    https://fedisbest.org/2015/04/letter-to-doctors-and-parents-about-the-dangers-of-insufficient-exclusive-breastfeeding/

    “My son was born 8 pounds and 11 ounces after a healthy pregnancy and normal uneventful vaginal delivery. He was placed directly on my chest and was nursed immediately. He was nursed on demand for 20-30 minutes every 3 hours. Each day of our stay in the hospital, he was seen by the pediatrician as well as the lactation consultant who noted that he had a perfect latch. He produced the expected number of wet and dirty diapers. He was noted to be jaundiced by the second day of life and had a transcutaneous bilirubin of 8.9. We were discharged at 48 hours at 5% weight loss with next-day follow-up. We were told by the lactation consultant before discharge that he would be hungry and we were instructed to just keep putting him on the breast. Upon getting home, he became fussy and I nursed him longer and longer into the night. He cried even after nursing and latched back on immediately. He did not sleep. By the next morning, he stopped crying and was quiet. We saw our pediatrician at around 68 hours of life (end of day 3). Despite producing the expected number of wet and dirty diapers, he had lost 1 pound 5 ounces, about 15% of his birth weight. At the time, we were not aware of and were not told the percentage lost, and having been up all night long trying to feed a hungry baby, we were too exhausted to figure out that this was an incredible amount of weight loss. He was jaundiced but no bilirubin was checked. Our pediatrician told us that we had the option of either feeding formula or waiting for my milk to come in at day 4 or 5 of life. Wanting badly to succeed in breastfeeding him, we went another day unsuccessfully breastfeeding and went to a lactation consultant the next day who weighed his feeding and discovered that he was getting absolutely no milk. When I pumped and manually expressed, I realized I produced nothing. I imagined the four days of torture he experienced and how 2 days of near-continuous breastfeeding encouraged by breastfeeding manuals was a sign of this. We fed him formula after that visit and he finally fell asleep. Three hours later, we found him unresponsive. We forced milk into his mouth, which made him more alert, but then he seized. We rushed him to the emergency room. He had a barely normal glucose (50 mg/dL), a severe form of dehydration called hypernatremia (157 mEq/L) and severe jaundice (bilirubin 24 mg/dL).”

    “At 3 years and 8 months, our son was diagnosed with severe language impairment, autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, low IQ, fine and gross motor delays. He was later diagnosed with a seizure disorder associated with injury to the language area of the brain. Since my child’s diagnosis, I have been researching the scientific literature on breastfeeding insufficiency, newborn starvation, brain injury and developmental disabilities for over three years. In addition, I have collected the breastfeeding stories of tens of thousands of women through social media.”

    “The answer to the epidemic of developmental disabilities we are seeing may be found in this vulnerable period. The risk factors for neurological disabilities in children all have to do with brain injury caused by excessive jaundice, loss of oxygen, circulation and glucose delivery to the brain. These include pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth retardation and prematurity, which are caused by poor function of the placenta and decreased circulation to the baby. Hypoglycemia, umbilical cord prolapse, nuchal cord (cord wrapped around the neck), fetal distress, low Apgar scores, respiratory distress and other labor complications, events that all cause perinatal brain injury also cause long-term neurological disabilities. Although there are many causes of newborn brain injury that we have no control over, we have control over whether or not a child is fed enough for all their neurons to survive. I believe we may be inducing hypoglycemic brain injury to many newborns by asking mothers who may not be producing sufficient milk for their newborn’s physiologic need to exclusively breastfeed.”

    “In another study, it has been found that 10% of well-monitored exclusively breastfed babies undergoing the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative protocol develop hypoglycemia of less the 40 mg/dL within the first 48 hours. This incidence was even higher in babies born to first-time mothers as 23% developed hypoglycemia. This level of hypoglycemia has been shown in other studies to result in brain injury on MRI and long-term declines in cognitive function. One study showed that a glucose of less than 46 mg/dL within the first 24 hours of life was associated with a 3.7-fold increased risk of brain injury on MRI and a 4.8-fold increased odds of lower motor, cognitive and language scores at 1 year of age.”

    Note the first time mother being at particularly high risk for having a baby with hypoglycemia.

    “While the literature cites poor education in breastfeeding as the cause of these starvation-related complications, in my research of breastfeeding mothers, it is the most educated in breastfeeding that are at highest risk. The least educated will respond to a baby’s cry by offering a bottle. The mothers that are most educated in breastfeeding are the ones who have been taught that offering just one bottle will ruin her breastfeeding and potentially harm her child. I have learned that this is a distortion of reality created by breastfeeding education to pressure mothers to exclusively breastfeed that can put her child’s life at risk.”

    “In fact, a study has shown that exclusive breastfeeding at discharge is associated with an 11-fold higher risk of rehospitalization for underfeeding and dehydration. In addition, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine jaundice protocol clearly states that 10-18% of exclusively breastfed baby develop starvation jaundice from insufficient milk intake, a fact disclosed by no breastfeeding manual.”

    “Any inconsolable child should also have a glucose check as this is an often-missed sign of hypoglycemia.”

    “Not only does supplementation for underfed newborns protect a child’s brain and stabilize glucose but it also doubles the rates of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months.”

    “Next day after discharge follow-up with pediatricians and lactation consultants with universal bilirubin and glucose checks in the office.”

    “Any mother sent home without a supplementation plan is being sent home to potentially starve and disable her child if her milk does not arrive on time.”

    AMEN!

    “The most recent publication on hospitalizations for newborn jaundice at a Baby-Friendly hospital system showed that out of 104,460 babies born in a 3 year period, 10,583 or 1 in 10 babies were hospitalized for phototherapy, the majority of these cases completely preventable with early supplementation. That means millions of babies have been hospitalized since the 1991 publication of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative which codified this protocol. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and the WHO breastfeeding protocol protects the breastfeeding more than it protects the baby and countless babies have endured days, weeks and even months of hunger in order to meet its goals.”

    “The time for magical thinking has ended. Breastfeeding education is based on many premises not consistent with reality. No time in the history of this planet have we allowed babies to cry out for milk for as long as we tolerate for the purpose of breastfeeding. The first law of nature is and has alway been that Fed is Best. Many parents are led to harm their own babies because of what they have been taught about breastfeeding. As you can see, if such a severe case of jaundice and dehydration can occur to two physicians taking home their first-born son, it can happen to anyone.”

    I believe my kids have always lost at least 10% of body weight, and Baby Girl had a very close call with being hospitalized because of her jaundice and weight loss, but we were very fortunate to be able to beat her jaundice and weight loss at home with lots of doctor’s office weight checks.

    I had no idea how dangerous this was until I finished reading this piece.

    Like

  6. Nonya said:

    “Formula was necessary for the mother who didn’t make milk, but it isn’t necessary for most of the women that they are trying to scare into buying formula with that story. Notice that there’s nothing there about detecting the signs of dehydration, just a scary story about an easily avoidable situation.”

    Formula and bottles aren’t, despite what they say, the devil.

    My youngest needed a couple bottles of formula and some weeks of pumped milk because of listlessness from jaundice–BUT she went back to direct breastfeeding after that and barely touched a bottle for the next year.

    This tracks with a recent study that found that early limited formula feeding boosts breastfeeding:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3666109/

    That is a small study (just 40 babies total), but I think the likely mechanism is obvious–a healthy, fed baby is a stronger, more alert and competent feeder.

    Like

  7. How is it unnecessary formula if the baby is truly dehydrated and not getting enough from mom? Is she suppose to get a wet nurse or….?
    Formula was necessary for the mother who didn’t make milk, but it isn’t necessary for most of the women that they are trying to scare into buying formula with that story. Notice that there’s nothing there about detecting the signs of dehydration, just a scary story about an easily avoidable situation.

    Like

  8. (This is a follow-up to a long post in moderation.)

    Also, back to the issue of hospital nurseries–if the inexperienced new mother is the sole care provider for the newborn in the hospital, the experienced nurses often won’t have enough time with the baby to figure out if something is wrong.

    If the baby were in the nursery for six hours at night throughout the hospital stay, the nurses would have a much better shot at detecting dehydration.

    Like

  9. How is it unnecessary formula if the baby is truly dehydrated and not getting enough from mom? Is she suppose to get a wet nurse or….?

    Like


  10. There are some pretty harrowing stories here:
    http://www.fearlessformulafeeder.com/
    Women already try and try and try and try with breastfeeding, to the point of harming both themselves and their infants.
    http://www.parents.com/baby/all-about-babies/after-newborn-died-from-dehydration-breastfeeding-mom-shares-her-heartbreaking/
    I think it’s time for a lot more pragmatism about infant feeding and more awareness that a lot of times breastfeeding isn’t going to work or won’t be enough.
    Formula is not a luxury good.

    When this woman’s baby was dying of dehydration why didn’t she or anyone else notice that the baby wasn’t wetting enough diapers and had other signs of dehydration before it was too late? She had to overlook a lot of red flags to get to that point. Parenting published that story in that way so that nervous new mothers would buy unnecessary formula from their advertisers.

    Like

  11. Amy,
    I think your story and those your linked to are always just written off by the breastfeeding absolutists. There is never a good enough reason to not breastfeed.In talking about what is natural…would we tell a woman with fertility issues about how its just natural to have babies and make her feel like there is something wrong with her for not getting pregnant? Its the same with breastfeeding. If birth is so natural to women, why does God allow for infertility? I think the line of thinking is God gave you these breasts to feed the child and everything God, in his perfect design, is good and should work properly. Therefore if your breasts don’t work or child won’t latch, etc, there must be something wrong with you, your technique, etc. There are no excuses.

    Oh and like I’ve said before if its all about what is natural I hope every single exclusive breastfeeder out there has also had epidural free and narcotic free births. In the spirit of being “natural” and all.

    Like

  12. Nonya said:

    “When this woman’s baby was dying of dehydration why didn’t she or anyone else notice that the baby wasn’t wetting enough diapers and had other signs of dehydration before it was too late? She had to overlook a lot of red flags to get to that point. Parenting published that story in that way so that nervous new mothers would buy unnecessary formula from their advertisers.”

    That was an unusual story in that the baby went into cardiac arrest only 12 hours after leaving the hospital (at around 3 days old). So, for the majority of his short life, he was in the hospital under medical care. Given that, I don’t really see the point of primarily blaming the mom, a (no doubt) sleep-deprived first time mother, who had never done this before and was doing exactly what she was told.

    I think you’re underestimating the amount of happy talk in the breastfeeding world with regard to infant feeding. As long as you’re trying to breastfeed, everything is A-OK, even though real milk may only be coming in at 3-5 days postpartum.

    Plus, there’s been a move away from giving newborns bottles in the hospital–which probably would have saved this child’s life.

    With regard to not noticing the lack of wet diapers–I did exactly the same thing with my oldest as a newborn. Being unfamiliar with newborns, I was sure that she was producing wet diapers and that everything was OK. She was certainly trying to nurse. But she was crying and crying and wouldn’t sleep–Big Girl’s behavior was pretty much exactly that described in the Parents article (aside from the cardiac arrest). Fortunately, we got to the doctor in good time. The pediatrician and staff immediately pointed out to us the significance of the pink crystals in her diaper and her slowness in clearing out meconium. They fixed us up immediately with formula and a breast pump and almost immediately we had a happy baby who SLEPT. It was like magic–and she only needed a bottle or two of formula to get there.

    It was only when I had my third child that I realized that neither the oldest nor the middle child had ever had an adequate suck.

    As Dr. Amy points out, the anthropology of maternal breastmilk-only for newborns is all wrong.

    http://www.skepticalob.com/2016/06/what-if-were-doing-breastfeeding-all-wrong.html

    It’s purportedly based on breastfeeding practices in traditional societies, but in actuality, it’s quite common in traditional societies to provide additional food sources to newborns–wetnursing, water, honey, or ghee.

    That gift tin of formula that’s now going the way of the dodo could seriously be the difference between life or death, or (more commonly) between health and brain damage. Here’s a piece by a doctor whose child suffered brain damage due to newborn hypoglycemia

    https://fedisbest.org/2015/04/letter-to-doctors-and-parents-about-the-dangers-of-insufficient-exclusive-breastfeeding/

    “My name is Christie del Castillo-Hegyi and I am an emergency physician, former NIH scientist, with a background in newborn brain injury research at Brown University, and mother to a 6-year-old child who is neurologically disabled. I am writing you because my child fell victim to newborn jaundice, hypoglycemia and severe dehydration due to insufficient milk intake from exclusive breastfeeding in the first days of life. As an expectant mom, I read all the guidelines on breastfeeding my first-born child. Unfortunately, following the guidelines and our pediatrician’s advice resulted in my child going 4 days with absolutely no milk intake requiring ICU care. He was subsequently diagnosed with multiple neuro-developmental disabilities. Being a physician and scientist, I sought out peer-reviewed journals to explain why this happened. I found that there is ample evidence showing the links between neonatal jaundice, dehydration, hypoglycemia and developmental disabilities.”

    This is very much a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God thing for me, as all three of my children have had feeding issues and two had jaundice, which in Baby Girl’s case made her more and more lethargic and less and less willing to feed.

    Like

  13. TPC said,
    “I don’t take clean water and sanitation for granted, since the infrastructure for it is not exactly being maintained by college-educated women who are blase about something that we’ve had access to for barely half a century (ability to mass produce safe artificial infant milk and safe water conditions under which to use it, often incorrectly) and are extremely likely to lose access to in our lifetimes. The water infrastructure problem is very real and I’m pretty much on team lactivist about taking the conditions for formula use to be safe for granted.”
    Now that I’ve had an actual sucking baby, I realize that Big Girl and Middle Kid never had an adequate suck. In fact, when they were newborns, my husband opened up the bottle nipples with a hot needle to make sure they could get something out of them. (Don’t do this at home, kids!) Otherwise, there was virtually no movement of milk from bottle to baby.
    Big Girl and Middle Kid were A-OK with electric pumped breastmilk refrigerated in an electric refrigerator and fed to them from bottles washed in hot soapy tap water, but I have no idea how they would have been fed under more rustic conditions. And yes, I spent a lot of time with lactation consultants and being lacerated–there was never a latch with either child. In fact, when I was at the hospital with Middle Kid, I was so alert to the possibility of yet more feeding trouble that I had the nurses at a very good hospital put Middle Kid on me every single feeding. And yet he never got it–he always came off immediately. (One of the older nurses said something about “suck training” that I now realize was probably very important, but there was no follow up.)
    Baby Girl, meanwhile, snapped on immediately like a little mousetrap and didn’t let go.
    “I also don’t think time spent nursing is worth nothing. I think what women’s bodies do for their children naturally is valuable enough to be worth supporting and encouraging. Formula use is a luxury good and normalizing luxury goods has plenty of issues compared to helping women work with their bodies to nurse for the first year of infancy.”
    I have a lot of issues with the “what women’s bodies do for their children naturally,” as mine certainly didn’t the first two times. I got support and encouragement like crazy–but it just wasn’t happening, and I hurt myself pretty badly with Middle Kid trying, and all of my children have had substantial weight loss due to feeding trouble, plus 2 out of 3 having jaundice (not severe, but also not a fun thing).
    Sad to say, a lot of lactation consulting is just cheerleading, and the average lactation consultant can no more get a baby to feed successfully than the cheerleader can make sure that the quarterback catches a pass.
    There are some pretty harrowing stories here:
    http://www.fearlessformulafeeder.com/
    Women already try and try and try and try with breastfeeding, to the point of harming both themselves and their infants.
    http://www.parents.com/baby/all-about-babies/after-newborn-died-from-dehydration-breastfeeding-mom-shares-her-heartbreaking/
    I think it’s time for a lot more pragmatism about infant feeding and more awareness that a lot of times breastfeeding isn’t going to work or won’t be enough.
    Formula is not a luxury good.

    Like

  14. I don’t take clean water and sanitation for granted, since the infrastructure for it is not exactly being maintained by college-educated women who are blase about something that we’ve had access to for barely half a century (ability to mass produce safe artificial infant milk and safe water conditions under which to use it, often incorrectly) and are extremely likely to lose access to in our lifetimes. The water infrastructure problem is very real and I’m pretty much on team lactivist about taking the conditions for formula use to be safe for granted.

    I also don’t think time spent nursing is worth nothing. I think what women’s bodies do for their children naturally is valuable enough to be worth supporting and encouraging. Formula use is a luxury good and normalizing luxury goods has plenty of issues compared to helping women work with their bodies to nurse for the first year of infancy.

    Like

  15. Stone said:

    “Besides the fact you can’t seriously hold down a job and breastfeed”

    Women do it in professional settings, but it’s got to be a pain. As an SAHM, there were only a few weeks where I had to pump under field conditions (like in airport restrooms or while visiting relatives) and it was very trying.

    (To be perfectly honest, when my husband was around, I quite enjoyed being able to sneak off by myself to pump and surf the internet.)

    But never underestimate what mothers will do to live up to their peer norms–back when we lived in DC, I was on a big mom listserve, and professional mothers were literally Fedexing breastmilk home while on business trips. Yeah, I know.

    Oh, what a relief and a revelation it was when it turned out that Baby Girl could actually latch! Otherwise, whenever I left the house, I was always on the clock to make sure and get back and pump before I hit the 5 hour point, which tended to be the red zone for mastitis.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis_in_dairy_cattle

    “Mastitis, a potentially fatal mammary gland infection, is the most common disease in dairy cattle in the United States. It is also the most costly to the dairy industry.”

    Like

  16. There is a big WASP taboo about adults sleeping during the day.

    Right, that is how sahms get this reputation as bums. Nevermind if you arent sleeping at night, take a nap and you are deemed lazy.

    While I’m on the subject of what I would do differently, neither of my older children ever latched on. I had a great milk supply, so I pumped a year each for both of them, 5+ times a day, and bottle fed them. Being an academic, my husband was around to help for some of this, but there were a lot of times when I needed to pump while a child was yelling in their crib the whole time. I don’t even remember what I did with the toddler when I was doing this for her baby brother–probably locked her up. So there probably were some times when TWO little children were yelling the whole 15 minute pump plus at least 5 minute equipment washing, at least several times a day when we were home alone. That’s something like 600 hours over the course of a year (100 minutes a day X 365 divided by 60 minutes).

    This reminds me of a quote from this article
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/04/the-case-against-breast-feeding/307311/

    The debate about breast-feeding takes place without any reference to its actual context in women’s lives. Breast-feeding exclusively is not like taking a prenatal vitamin. It is a serious time commitment that pretty much guarantees that you will not work in any meaningful way. Let’s say a baby feeds seven times a day and then a couple more times at night. That’s nine times for about a half hour each, which adds up to more than half of a working day, every day, for at least six months. This is why, when people say that breast-feeding is “free,” I want to hit them with a two-by-four. It’s only free if a woman’s time is worth nothing.

    Its very true. Besides the fact you can’t seriously hold down a job and breastfeed you also really can’t do serious cooking or spend time with your other children etc.

    It sounds nuts to me now (especially since a lot of the benefit of breastfeeding is supposed to be the engagement with the baby, who in my case got to be ignored MORE because of pumping), but I guess we all lived to tell the tale…

    That is a good point. I find bottle feeding is more engaging because I can look into their eyes.
    Again what you wrote reminded me of this quote from the same article:

    “One of them sat on my couch the other day hooked up to tubes and suctions and a giant deconstructed bra, looking like some fetish ad, or a footnote from the Josef Mengele years. Looking as far as humanly possible from Eve in her natural, feminine state.”

    LOL, right. The article talks about how breastfeeding was suppose to return woman to femininity and yeah it is funny how with pumping it is anything but.

    Two more quotes I like:

    “And in any case, if a breast-feeding mother is miserable, or stressed out, or alienated by nursing, as many women are, if her marriage is under stress and breast-feeding is making things worse, surely that can have a greater effect on a kid’s future success than a few IQ points.”

    Right. Marriage and your husband is suppose to come first. How good will breast milk be if a child is in a broken home. It is acted as if breastfeeding is the SOLE determinant of a child’s health and success.

    “Mothers these days are expected to “optimize every dimension of children’s lives,” she writes. Choices are often presented as the mother’s selfish desires versus the baby’s needs.”

    This is so true and really touches upon the message the godly women send out. Women are to be living sacrifices and if you do even the most simplest of things for yourself you are deemed as selfish. 

    Like

  17. Stone,

    I think this is another outbreak of the whole “ends versus means” thing I’ve talked about before.

    People fall in love with particular means (be it breastfeeding, homeschooling, SAHMing or whatever) and lose sight of the overarching ends (health, education, general welfare).

    I have had better luck with the “nap when the baby naps” thing with Baby Girl, but her older siblings were in school at the time. With my oldest (which was when I could have done it), I hadn’t yet discovered the beauty of naps, and I used that time for stuff like laundry or pumping.

    There is a big WASP taboo about adults sleeping during the day.

    While I’m on the subject of what I would do differently, neither of my older children ever latched on. I had a great milk supply, so I pumped a year each for both of them, 5+ times a day, and bottle fed them. Being an academic, my husband was around to help for some of this, but there were a lot of times when I needed to pump while a child was yelling in their crib the whole time. I don’t even remember what I did with the toddler when I was doing this for her baby brother–probably locked her up. So there probably were some times when TWO little children were yelling the whole 15 minute pump plus at least 5 minute equipment washing, at least several times a day when we were home alone. That’s something like 600 hours over the course of a year (100 minutes a day X 365 divided by 60 minutes).

    It sounds nuts to me now (especially since a lot of the benefit of breastfeeding is supposed to be the engagement with the baby, who in my case got to be ignored MORE because of pumping), but I guess we all lived to tell the tale…

    Like

  18. Funny you mention Dr. Amy as I came across her stuff when doing this post. Here are more links:

    http://www.skepticalob.com/2016/02/new-study-shows-that-the-baby-friendly-hospital-initiative-is-a-spectacular-failure.html

    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/efforts-to-encourage-breastfeeding-like-the-baby-friendly-hospital-initiative-bfhi-may-have-unintended-consequences

    http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/10/baby_friendly_hospitals_promoting_breast_feeding_at_the_expense_of_the_new.html

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/08/23/baby_friendly_hospital_initiative_criticized_as_unsafe_in_new_jama_paper.html

    and I am trying to find this other article about how sleeping in less than 5 hour blocks at a time seriously alters brain chemistry and can cause psychotic moments, so yeah great way to send a new mom home. Sleeping 2 hours here and 2 hours there still doesn’t cut it. The whole sleep when the baby naps is BS too.

    More to say later…

    Like

  19. I’m late to the party, but here are some thoughts:

    –Closing well baby nurseries is happening and it’s a travesty, especially for women who have to spend the night without help at the hospital and/or who have had a difficult birth, a lot of sleeplessness, or a c-section, or who aren’t going to have help at home. A LOT of women fall in those categories.
    –There’s a failure to treat the new mother as a patient in her own right.
    –It’s easy for a sleepy new mother without adequate help at the hospital to drop or smother a baby.
    –With my last baby, it turned out that while the hospital had a well baby nursery, they would only take the baby for 3 hours at a time at night. You were expected to have three hours sleep, then wake up for baby, feed, hand over the baby, then repeat in three hours. Needless to say, this was not going to add up to a full six hours of sleep, given time spent recording feeds, going to the bathroom, and trying to get back to sleep. (At previous hospitals I’ve been in, they did a six hour block.) I did pretty well once I got home this last time, but I’ve done this before, my husband has done this before and my big kids were older. It could be a disaster for a woman going home to a situation with other little children and no help and/or for a completely new mother.
    –I think doctors should talk to expectant mothers (and fathers) more about making a plan for the first few days. What will you do if the baby doesn’t eat? What will you do if the baby doesn’t sleep? Do you have anybody to call and help you?
    –I think waaaaay too much time time is spent on childbirth education, and not nearly enough on new parenting education.
    –Breastfeeding is not the end-all-be-all. It doesn’t make a big difference in health outcomes in a developed country with clean water.
    –The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is not substantially increasing breastfeeding.

    “Although we did not find overall differences in breast-feeding initiation between birth facilities that received BFHI accreditation compared with non-Baby-Friendly facilities (adjusted coefficient = 0·024; 95 % CI -0·00, 0·51), breast-feeding initiation increased by 3·8 percentage points among mothers with lower education who delivered in Baby-Friendly facilities (P = 0·05), but not among mothers with higher education (adjusted coefficient = 0·002; 95 % CI -0·04, 0·05). BFHI accreditation also increased exclusive breast-feeding for ≥4 weeks by 4·5 percentage points (P = 0·02) among mothers with lower education who delivered in BFHI facilities.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24625787

    Woohoo!

    –A little formula early on can save breastfeeding. When my youngest was a newborn, she had jaundice and started getting listless and not wanting to breastfeed and I was running out of pumped milk to feed her via bottle. But I gave her a bottle or two of formula, built up a supply of pumped milk in the fridge, and within a matter of weeks was able to switch back to direct breastfeeding. Baby Girl nursed for another year.

    A lot of these points are culled from several years of reading Dr. Amy Tuteur and her satellite bloggers off and on. Dr. Amy is not for the faint of heart (and she does have a tendency to go on unnecessary political detours), but there is very solid information on her blog.

    Like

  20. I got a lot of rest even though my babies stayed in my room at the hospital. But my husband also roomed in and my mother was there a lot too. I believe in breastfeeding for two years and dislike formula but I don’t think that hospitals should be forcing this on people.

    As far as mothers not getting enough help at home goes – I don’t know what to say about a husband who expects his wife up out of bed and cooking, cleaning and caring for older children a few days after birth. That’s not how this is supposed to work. Everyone knew that a new baby was coming. Arrangements should’ve been made.

    I hope when I am that prized “older woman” I can and do actually help young families in this regard. Seems like most women these days are just too burned out on raising kids themselves that its just easier to minister online.

    I’ve actually heard a few older women say that they were tired from raising their own children and will now be busy enjoying their lives, not doing more child care.

    Giving people a few words instead of actual help is easy and lets the self appointed Titus 2 woman feel special and important while contributing nothing.

    Like

  21. Anonymous said:

    “At home, though, I couldn’t get a thing from anybody. All the kids were on me from the first minute the midwife was finished and had gone home; it was open season, Mom is home, so Mom is open for business. About twenty-four hours after the babies were born each time, I finally got up to get myself something to eat, a glass of water and to clean up the absolute pig sty that the house had turned into — I didn’t have any help to come in because we couldn’t afford to hire anybody, the relatives I have in town are too elderly, and — yep, my husband took time off, but that was mainly to be there for the birth and be the adult around. I would ask for things, and everybody sort of looked at me like “huh?”. So I finally gave up; it was more of a hassle to ask for stuff than it was to just get up and do it myself.”

    GAH!

    Like

  22. Anon,
    For rooming in, I suggest the hospital rooms add in a full kitchen so that we can make everyone a hot meal on schedule. In a mom forum I saw a woman “complain” that 4 days post birth and her husband was demanding 3 hot meals a day. Its also funny how you get a wheel chair to leave hospital, but why bother with that. When women are hopping out of bed constantly with stitches and pain…why don’t we just walk, no skip, out of the hospital too!

    ” I would ask for things, and everybody sort of looked at me like “huh?”. So I finally gave up; it was more of a hassle to ask for stuff than it was to just get up and do it myself.”

    I know what you mean. Its more like just get on with it and if these stitches tear open or if I start hemorrhaging or well, deal with that then. I like it when I am asked how long to cook some sort of frozen meal when the instructions are on the back of the box. I think the thinking goes that its quicker to just ask me than to read.

    Like

  23. For those pushing for breast is best and natural why is there not an equal movement out there to get women to do natural childbirth, with no epidurals or drugs? Its selfish to not breastfeed or rest, but when a woman’s pain is at stake—its not selfish at all to want some sort of pain relief. I believe the epidural rate is very high like 80% (need to research more). If the hospital wants to be baby friendly its not too friendly to be feeding a mom narcotics during birth that make its way to the baby. Babies can come out lethargic and non-responsive when moms have narcotics and/or epidurals and they may not be able to latch on well (ironic if the push is to get women to breastfeed).

    Like

  24. Good article. I actually had a different experience; at the hospital I had a lot more compassion and much more rest than I did with my two home births. If I do have another child, I will choose the hospital probably if we can afford it. In the hospital I slept with my baby and I could basically relax and it was nice being able to buzz for somebody and I could get what I needed. At home, though, I couldn’t get a thing from anybody. All the kids were on me from the first minute the midwife was finished and had gone home; it was open season, Mom is home, so Mom is open for business. About twenty-four hours after the babies were born each time, I finally got up to get myself something to eat, a glass of water and to clean up the absolute pig sty that the house had turned into — I didn’t have any help to come in because we couldn’t afford to hire anybody, the relatives I have in town are too elderly, and — yep, my husband took time off, but that was mainly to be there for the birth and be the adult around. I would ask for things, and everybody sort of looked at me like “huh?”. So I finally gave up; it was more of a hassle to ask for stuff than it was to just get up and do it myself.

    But I’ve never had any C-sections. Yep, I’m sore and I’m bleeding, but I haven’t had to deal with that. The last time, though, I was so disgusted with everything and everybody; we had Little League and recitals coming up; I piled everybody into the car and resumed the run on Monday after I had the baby on Saturday morning…..I couldn’t get any help for the life of me. Just the way it was. And then because baseball and piano were on tap and I got stuck in traffic, dinner was late and there was complaining. The ‘spherians would say that is complaining, so would Lori. I’ll just bet they’ll say that the complaining was deserved; obviously I wasn’t being submissive enough. Blech. So what. Who cares.

    Signed, Cynic

    Like

  25. I got great rest at the baby friendly hospitals rooming in with my infants. And formula doesn’t guarantee easy nights and also involves a massive amount of money and resources to be available as a quick and easy option. it’s not really a free choice either, what with the entire breastfeeding push being a response to formula’s extremely heavy handed promotion for decades, along with the view that caregiving was fungible and mom wasn’t really special to her own infant.

    I agree that lactivists tend to go too far and be too pushy but the formula culture wasn’t formed in a vacuum and the topic is complex, as women’s conditions of birthing have changed even further from when formula culture and marketing became so powerful.

    Like

  26. Yes, so much to unpack for sure. Once I found the correct term for what I have always felt a disgust for, I’ve been ferociously googling and this is quickly becoming a topic I am very passionate about. Yes, hospitals are there for medical reasons and should stay out of the parenting philosophy business or on personal choices of moms. Getting rest so you can heal and recover properly is a medical reason and they should do all they can to speed that along, so that you leave the hospital in the best shape ready to take on the next 18 years. I was thinking what is their motivation to get rid of nurseries, and yeah of course it is a cost saving thing. Its a way for PR purposes to look good by getting rid of nurseries under the guise that they are now a baby friendly hospital all the while its really to save money. On the surface it markets so well!!!

    I also think epidurals are pushed on women so much because it makes the nurses job easier (less screaming from mom) and also generates more revenue as epidurals aren’t cheap (or at least revenue for the anesthesiologist).

    You should start such a business. A postpartum doula does exactly that and it easy to get the fancy certification to make you more legit. Funny you mention the gift certificate as truly their is no gift like the gift of sleep. I would like to see churches start some ministry doing this for free too..I mean it seems like such basic common sense, but alas the older godly woman are too busy running online blogs to actually donate their time to real women in the community. This would especially useful for low income families. I was looking at night nurses and its about $25 an hour or easily a couple hundred a night. Great for the wealthy families, but for the average person not so much.
    I hope when I am that prized “older woman” I can and do actually help young families in this regard. Seems like most women these days are just too burned out on raising kids themselves that its just easier to minister online. If the cost for a night nurse or doula that spends the night was $100 or less, I would probably do it at least once a week. Husband would benefit too as they greatly need their sleep as well so the can continue working and providing. Men are often left out of this discussion as well, but the lack of sleep takes a toll on them also then not to mention what both parents not sleeping does to a marriage and intimacy. It all seems like a viscous cycle.

    Like

  27. Stone,

    There is so much to unpack in this post and I wish I had the time to really go into it but we’re busy at home this week. I’ll just say that I agree wholeheartedly that it’s complete foolishness that the mother cannot get the looking after and rest she needs after childbirth. You are right in that learning to mother will happen from day 3 forward and I dare say is a lifelong learning journey. Those first few days should be for both mom and baby to be medically monitored and cared for. The hospitals are probably more than glad to dispense with having babies in the nursery because they can save on the cost of paying someone to personally watch over them. I more and more think about starting a business as a mother’s companion to help in-home after a baby’s birth. Gift certifcates to cover the fee would make good baby shower or welcome baby gifts. In past generations, women had the help of other women during this time but now they just throw new moms back into daily life as if she had gone through nothing other than a hang nail. It’s inhumane.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s