Let us breastfeed our babies in peace!
What I like the most about the new breastfeeding policy released by the American Academy of Pediatrics this week is that it continues to promote that breastfeeding should be considered a public health issue and not a lifestyle choice. This is very important in light of all the recent high profile cases related to a woman's right to breastfeed her baby.
When will others get it through their thick heads that breastfeeding is the most natural—not to mention healthy—way for a mother to both feed and nurture her child? Evidence of the beneficial effects of breastfeeding are readily available everywhere. In fact, if you don't believe me, all you have to do is just look at breastfed babies, like my own who, with some exceptions, I'd say are remarkably healthy. I'm 100% convinced that breastfeeding them is the reason why.
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The policy also reaffirms the AAP's recommendation that babies should be exclusively breastfed for at least six months, at which time their mom's milk can be complemented with other foods. The statement, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, is mostly aimed at pediatricians, but it can also be used to guide hospitals and businesses as to the importance of breastfeeding. Everybody should be involved in supporting breastfeeding moms, especially those who are having trouble or first-time moms who have no clue what's going on.
Like I was when I had my first child. Way before Vanessa was born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed her. She latched on fairly quickly and easily a little bit after we met each other and things seemed to be going well. But a couple of months into her life, things got complicated and I felt like she wasn't getting enough milk. She was always fussy and breastfeeding was no longer as enjoyable for either of us as it'd been at the beginning. To make a long story short, her pediatrician suggested that I start introducing formula and alternate both methods to feed her. I was resistant, but when my daughter turned 4, I caved in.
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We did that for another month before I basically started running out of milk. Since she wasn't breastfeeding as much, my milk production got lower and lower. Eventually, it was gone. We barely made it to 5 months and I was very sad. I had tried my best, but I should have looked for more support. All moms should have access to that.
The story was a bit different with my son. I breastfed him exclusively for almost 9 months, when I went back to work and started introducing formula. I'm not really sure what was different, me, him or both, but it definitely helped that I had already done it before.
Did you breastfeed your babies? For how long? How was that experience?
Image via HoboMama/flickr