Monday, April 14, 2008

Breastfeeding, round 2.

I am breastfeeding baby G, and remarkably, she is growing well and eating plenty.

I say remarkably because I had such difficulties breastfeeding my son, O. I must own every apparatus ever created for breastfeeding aid, and I took herbs to produce more. He just couldn't get it from me. I pumped constantly for three months, which was torture.

My first experience was so challenging I felt compelled to respond to an article in the NY Times that featured a review of a government-produced ad to encourage breastfeeding (which I didn't agree with), and a discussion of breastfeeding's benefits (which I certainly agree with). I'm the second letter published:

What's crazy is that last year, 2007, a producer from CNN's American Morning called me at home to see if I was interested in coming on the show to discuss the fact they were no longer providing formula samples to new mothers in NYC public hospitals to encourage breastfeeding--they found the letter in their research, I guess. I declined. I didn't want to be on TV as a counterpoint to the head of the public hospital system, or come off as anti-breastfeeding. (and let's be honest, it was at 5am, I was in my first trimester with G, and they're a cable compensation for the appearance!)

This time is goes to prove that all children are unique. G eats very well. I was worried at the get-go because we were seeing dehydrated diapers at the hospital. So we supplemented a bit at the beginning...but by the time she was a week and a half old, I didn't have to anymore. Kind of seemed like a miracle.

I know so many people with breastfeeding issues. I have a few theories on what happened to me:
  • Some women get their milk in later than others. Maybe this somehow has to do with the fact that a lot of women are having children later.
  • There is so much pressure to breastfeed--well--that women have a lot of anxiety about doing it right. This, of course, just makes the situation worse because the stress often inhibits the milk let-down.
  • There is a very poor support system for new moms with regard to breastfeeding in the US. We are only in the hospital two nights, and while most intentions are good, nurses and hospital lactation consultants often offer conflicting advice about breastfeeding. I had this happen to me not only during one stay, but at the same hospital for both children. And then the advice from my lactation was different, too. Not to mention a good portion of us were brought up on a bottle, so our own mothers can't help either.
Thank God for an awesome pediatrician and a local lactation consultant. And a good baby.

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