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    WPPW (Week 2): Birth





    Throughout April, I'm taking part in Lauren Wayne's Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop. This week's theme is "Emerge", and within this theme, the first prompt: "Labor: Each minute in labor is suspended animation. Describe your labor in a poem." Last week's poem's theme was "Prepare".

    Please do join me in writing! (Obviously) you don't need to be a poet to participate; you need only have a bit of courage to put words to paper (and then hit publish.) :)


    Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop

    Birth

     

    The stream hit my back and time stopped. Suddenly the pain - deep, endless, unforgiving - abated. No longer knocked sideways off my feet with each backstabbing impact, I rocked on the stool, riding the waves. Alone with the water, despite a periodic invading scope, I was alone --- with your heartbeat. My hope.

    I was unafraid.

    Hours? Blissful.

    Then, too soon, I was torn out of my own watery womb and back into the bright lights. Pain like an abyss. And the accursed beeping.

    And hands and eyes and words: asking, prodding, suggestions thrown; but I'm mute.

    Fear crept in nauseating swells up my neck and belly. Fast friends with hurt.

    Hours pass. Fretful.

    Fear: a stealthy, strong enemy. And doubt.

    "You can't do this," doubt whispers with malice, climbing wretchedly up my arm to rest - cold - on my shoulder.

    I agree, I succumb, and I go under screaming.

    And still the beeping - terrifying, reassuring; my connection to you, my baby. Arresting sleep, yet keeping me from panic. I drift.

    The tears, my pain, and I lie legless, helpless.

    Numb.

    Oh blessed curse, painkiller. Physical agony gone briefly, I'm weakened by sickening gratitude.

    Pain usurped by guilt.

    This wasn't in the plan.

    And yet still you came to me, from me, through me. Oh perfect baby, wrenched from my pelvis where you'd wedged yourself.

    Birthed through a clean slice, vibrantly belting out your disapproval, voice urgent: I AM HERE!

    Your immense strength nourished my own.

    My daughter, my heart; you made me a mother.

     

    C-Section as Spectator Sport?





    You may have read about the "First baby born on Twitter" (which is, of course, debatable). The first C-section --- perhaps. But not the first homebirth. Or unassisted birth.

    But let's talk about this Twittered cesarean, shall we?

     

    Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, TX has been advertising their live broadcast of a C-section birth on Twitter & their website, and encouraging people to sign up for an "event reminder" and to "tune in" with varied sensationalized exclamations:

    "C-Section Live on Twitter!"

    " A look inside 2nd most common surgery in the US!"

    " Watch a surgical birth live on Twitter."

     

    They even have their own hashtag.

    Now, mothers (and parents) should be able to make fully informed choices about their own births and should be able to birth in whatever way - and wherever (even on live Twittervision) - they feel most safe.  My issue is more with the hospitals' choice to make a "reality show" out of a surgery, broadcast it on social media, and call it "educational" in the midst of a cesarean section epidemic in this country. The World Health Organization suggests that the C-section rate should not rise about 15% in developed nations, yet, in 2009, 32.9% of all births in the US were cesarean deliveries (compared with 20.7% in 1996 and 5% in 1970).  The rate of C-section in this country is increasing to alarming numbers - in New Jersey, my homestate for example - the rate was 39.4% in 2009 (and NJ is not alone in this), choice in birthing options is becoming less, and this hospital's Twitter account is flaunting the stat of "1 in 3 moms" having C-sections almost as celebratory.

     

    Now, in fairness, Memorial Hermann has indicated on their twitter feed that,

    "We'll explain that C-section is associated with risks & should only be done if necessary."

    I am pleased to hear this, but doubtful; given that they also say:  

    "This is a medically indicated C-section. 39-year-old mom previously had an urgent C-section and chose not to attempt VBAC."

     

    Unless there are other factors we're not privy to, simply having a previous C-section does not make a repeat C-section necessary. Coupled with the following bizarre quote makes me even less than confident that the risks of cesarean sections will fully be explained:

     

    "Join us as we pull back the curtain w/live play-by-play."

     

    Excuse, me? Is this a baseball game?

     

    Cesarean sections are major abdominal surgeries. They are an unnatural state of birth for both mother and baby. They can interfere with bonding, healing, breastfeeding, introduction of healthy bacteria (from not passing through the vaginal canal), and breathing (from baby's lungs not being appropriately squeezed through the vaginal canal). They increase the risk of infection and scarring to mother, and injury to baby. Recovery can be hard. It's not a spectator sport.

     

    I'm in full support of increasing the information to mothers about the choices and options available in birth - from unassisted birth to homebirth to birth with a midwife, doula, doctors, with and without medications, to vaginal birth, to surgical birth. Birth is one of the most amazing and powerful events in a woman's life; and she should always be able to make the choice to birth in the way she wants. But without KNOWING all of the risks and benefits and truths of different birth options, mothers can't make fully informed choices. So when @HoustonHospital says,

     

    "Our goal is to educate."

     

    I'm glad. Education is important and powerful. But can a repeat C-section taking place because a VBAC wasn't chosen, aired and advertised like a sporting event truly be an appropriate or likely venue for educating about cesarean birth?

     

    I am hopeful that the real risks of cesarean-as-normalized-birth will be discussed, that the potential emotional trauma to mother, and challenges to breastfeeding and recovery will be illuminated so that women really CAN make fully informed, educated choices. But, when a birth is advertised as a "HEY! COME CHECK IT OUT!" reality show; it leaves me dubious. It really remains to be seen whether the intent to educate will actually play out.  There's a lot of responsibility wrapped up in this "show".

     

    So, what do you think? Is airing a C-section live going to help educate women about birth? Will it help reduce the rate of C-sections in our country, or will it instead help make C-sections more "normal"? Will you be tuning in?

    Posted: Feb 19 2013, 17:25 by kelly | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |
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    Cesarean Birth: Choose Your Words Carefully





    Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect. For what has happened? A miracle. You have exchanged nothing for the possibility of everything.

    ~William MacNeile Dixon

     

    I’ve had two cesarean sections. I’m part of the growing minority of women in the United States who had a surgical birth. At last count, the rate of c-sections to vaginal births was about 1 out of every three. In some states, like my own fair state of New Jersey, the c-section rate is just a hair shy of 40% (as of 2009; the last year for which I was able to find concrete records).

     

    I also happen to be part of the other minority group – “crunchy parents”. It presents a conundrum for me. How do I advocate for natural things – like birth – when I’m the recipient of two cesarean sections, without devaluing my own births, nor alienating my cesarean-receiving sisters, nor eschewing my crunchy ideals? It’s a thin line to walk. And it isn’t always straight as there are so many variables when it comes to birth.

     

     

    Here’s the truth. The increase in cesarean sections is alarming. Cesarean sections present dangers for mothers and babies that just aren’t there in natural births. Advocacy for natural birth needs to continue.  Work needs to carry on to help women feel empowered in their decision-making surrounding their own births, to increase the number of doulas and midwives available to assist women in birth, and to make home-birthing a safe and legal option for women.

     

    Within advocacy comes support; and the cause of my writing today. We need to be SUPPORTING women – not tearing them down. Too often, I fear that advocacy in natural birth trends towards guilt, shame, and anger.  I’ve read things written about mothers who’ve given birth via cesarean section that make me cringe; that make me SO ANGRY. Women who have had c-sections shouldn’t feel the need to addendum their birth story with excuses, or explanations for their birth. Never should a woman be made to feel shamed, or at fault for how her birth culminated. A birth is a birth is a birth. At the end, every mother who has given birth has the shared experience of growing a birthing her baby. There’s shouldn’t be a dividing line, based on HOW you’ve given birth.

     

    Natural birth is the most likely way to encourage a positive outcome for both mom and baby. There are ways to teach about natural birth and its benefits to both mother and baby, without alienating the very people natural birth will help. There are things you can do to educate and encourage and choices to be made which can increase likelihood of a natural birth outcome. But, it’s important to keep in mind, at it’s core, birth is unpredictable and specifically un-plan-able. The variables are myriad: The ways a woman reacts to pain, fear, anticipation; The support she has through pregnancy and in labor; Health conditions she may have – physical and mental and emotional; Past experiences she’s had – all play a role in how birth plays out.  

     

    It every case, birth is one of the most precious, amazing, challenging, awesome, and MEMORABLE times in a woman’s life. Natural birth advocacy should always be about helping and lifting up women, not humiliation. Empowering women, not disenfranchising.  Above all, supporting women, no matter what choices are made, what direction birth takes, what the outcome is.

     

    So to that end, here’s what I thought I’d do. I’ve prepared a list of things you SHOULDN’T say to (or about) a mother who’s given birth via cesarean section.  These are things which I’ve either heard personally, anecdotally, or seen written. But because I don’t want to dwell on the negative, I’ve also compiled a list of things you SHOULD say to a c-section mom (or one who’s about have one).

     

    Without further ado...

     

    Things you SHOULDN’T say to a mother who’s given birth via cesarean section:

     

    1) “Your C-section wasn’t technically a birth; it was a surgery.”

     

    Yes, cesarean is a major surgery. But a cesarean section is ALSO a method of giving birth. By virtue of the definition of birth:

     

    (From Merriam-Webster)

    birth. noun.

    1 a: the emergence of a new individual from the body of its parent (check!)

     

    birth. verb.

    1 a: to bring forth (check!)

    2 b: to give birth to (check!) 

     

    birth. adjective.

    1 a: biological (check!)

     

    It ALSO is birth by virtue of the fact that mothers celebrate their children’s birth days, not their surgery days. A mother who has given birth via cesarean has as much right to birth as her vaginally-birthing sisters. Saying - or even suggesting - that a cesarean section isn't a birth not only makes you sound ridiculous, it's just plain hurtful, so please, PLEASE don’t do it.

     

     

    2) “Your baby was ripped/torn/cut/pulled/forced out of you - before she was ready.”

     

    We don’t always know what prompts labor, and we don’t always have control over the way our birth progresses.  Sometimes, babies come before they are ready. Sometimes, signals point to babies needing help moving earthside. Sometimes, that help is a surgical birth. Regardless, no one needs to be reminded in such a callous way that they were sliced into, nor should any woman have to face the implication or suggestion that was in some way her fault. The vast majority of pregnant mothers do everything they can to ensure a safe birth for their baby. Their decisions are typically based on the knowledge they have at the time.  There’s no room for inflammatory hyperbole.

     

    As an aside, if a mother wants to talk to YOU about her feelings that her baby may have arrived before he was ready, or that her birth felt less than consensual or not as calm as she would have wished; please listen. Honor her feelings. There are unfortunately cases of women who aren’t treated well in birth and whose wishes aren’t respected. But even in those cases, exaggerating the negative isn’t helpful.

     

    3) “Be happy; at least you have a healthy baby.”

     

    I understand when this is said, it’s intended to be comforting. But really, saying this is a denial of feelings. No mother who is mourning the loss of her birth-as-she-planned-it wants to be brushed off. And every mother is grateful their child is healthy. Having a cesarean is typically NOT a planned event, and even when it is, it’s not what most women choose (in spite of what the media likes to portray – women as “insisting” on elective cesareans for “convenience” reasons). Disappointment or concerns over birth are valid! Listen, reassure, comfort; don't brush aside feelings.

     

    4) “If you’d done (or didn’t do) x, y, or z, you could have birthed your baby vaginally.”

     

    Look, unless you are the attending midwife or doctor, you JUST CAN’T KNOW whether X, Y, or Z would have resulted in a different outcome. Even if you WERE the attending midwife or doctor, you can’t change NOW what has already happened, so keep it to yourself. 

     

    In birth advocacy there is certainly a time and a place for analyzing your birth story, for thinking over what you wish had gone another way, what you’d like to try differently, what you want to do the next time, or even what you wished you’d tried. There needs to be time for grieving and for accepting and healing. But that’s for YOUR OWN birth. It’s not your right to analyze anyone else’s birth for them. Ever.

     

     

    Things you SHOULD say to a mother who’s given birth via cesarean section:

     

    1) “Good job, mama.”

     

    Just that. No matter what transpired, no matter how the birth progressed, no matter how far "off birth plan" things went, a new baby was born to a pregnant mama, and that mama deserves a pat on the back. End of story. If that mama wants to talk about her birth, let her do so. Support her. Be there for her. Without judgment.

     

    2) “How can I help you?”

     

    Cesarean births present unique challenges to mothers and babies. It can be difficult to walk in the first few days post partum. Holding baby, changing your own position, breastfeeding, regular self-care, all can be more challenging after the stress of birth AND a major abdominal surgery. Many doctors advise weeks post-partum without resuming regular activities – like climbing stairs, lifting anything other than the baby, or driving.

     

    Personally, even though I felt my recoveries were quick and relatively easy, there were certain physical challenges that were just a drag. I couldn’t do laundry, I couldn’t comfortably make it upstairs to my bedroom, I couldn’t move baby to where I wanted her to be when I wanted her to be there. Having someone there (husband, doula, friend) to pick up around the house, entertain siblings, cook meals, change diapers/clothes, can make all the difference in the world!

     

    3) “If you need to talk, I’m here to listen.”

     

    Every mother likes to talk about her birth story; it’s a defining moment in life. Some stories are joyful and easy, some are difficult, trying, tearful. Each emotion is real, valid, and needs to be addressed, in order to heal and move on. I’d say this is particularly true for a mother who planned her birth to be natural, who felt like she’d dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s, but whose birth didn’t turn out the way she’d hoped. When you’ve done “everything right” and things don’t go as planned, a shoulder to cry on, a non-judgmental ear to listen is so very important.

     

    - - - - -

     

    The truth is, current birth climate in the US is a challenge.  Birth in the media is still most often depicted as scary, icky, and unnatural. Misinformation and assumptions about the benefits/dangers of natural and/or homebirth birth versus hospital and/or surgical birth are rampant, and the number of cesarean sections is still growing. Advocating for natural birth is necessary; I want my own children to be able to make empowering choices about the direction of their/partner’s future births (if they so choose); I want them to have even better experiences with birth than I did. But to get there, we need positive change. Commentary on what a mom did “wrong” in birth isn’t useful, it isn’t helpful, it isn’t advocacy. It’s hurtful, it’s shameful. The last thing we need in this world is more judgment. You want to see change in the birthing world? It doesn’t come from negativity folks; it doesn’t come from divisiveness. It comes from unity, from sharing our stories, understanding others’ points of view, using your experiences to educate, accepting differences of opinion and experience, listening, empathizing, and learning from one another. Every birthing mother has the right to feel good about her birth; it’s an amazing moment in time; whether it occurred in the birthing tub in your own home, or under the bright lights of the OR.

     

    Words are powerful. Choose them carefully.

    Posted: Nov 01 2011, 15:40 by kelly | Comments (23) RSS comment feed |
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    Breastfeeding is All About Support





    I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed both of my children. I breastfed my daughter until she was four years old. When my son was born, we tandem nursed for a year and a half until my daughter weaned, then continued to nurse my son until he was three & a half years old. My years as a breastfeeding mother were some of my most precious and tender moments with each of my children.
    Breastfeeding was empowering, comforting, and, in spite of occasional discomfort and challenges along the way, it was on the whole, a truly wonderful experience. I would love as many women as possible to be able to experience the wonder of nurturing their babies at their breasts, just as I did.
    The reason I had such a wonderful experience with breastfeeding, was that I had wonderful support - from my husband, my lactation consultant, my family. I'm not sure I would have made it as far as I did without such support. For ANY woman considering breastfeeding her baby, proper support is KEY to her success:
    REAL LIFE SUPPORT
    Let your partner, your parents, your siblings, and your friends know you are planning on breastfeeding, and ask for their support in your intent. Don’t be afraid to tell them WHY you want to breastfeed! Specific knowledge about your intentions will help them help you if you encounter moments of wavering in your commitment. Having people to support you, to cheer you on, to remind you why you’re doing what your doing can make all the difference in the world to your success!
    PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT
    If you’re birthing in a hospital, call ahead to be certain they have a lactation consultant on staff, and find out how often she’s there. If she only works days or weekends, or, if you’re planning on birthing at home, make sure you are in contact with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who can be on call after the birth of your baby. Don’t forget to bring her phone number to the hospital with you! Here’s a listing of IBCLCs by state: http://www.lactivist.com/ibclc.html Another thing to consider is hiring a post-partum doula. Many doulas are breastfeeders themselves, and post-partum doulas are trained to help mothers establish breastfeeding, and help create the supportive environment they need to have a successful breastfeeding relationship. A doula is a wonderful person to have around - not only in labor, but afterwards!
    WRITTEN SUPPORT
    There are plenty of books and websites available with information about breastfeeding; but, unfortunately, not every one has accurate information. Here are a few good resources, I recommend:
    Books:
    The Breastfeeding Book by Martha Sears
    The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers by Dr. Jack Newman
    Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher
    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger
    Websites:
    KellyMom.com - http://kellymom.com/
    La Leche League - http://www.llli.org/
    Breastfeeding.com - http://www.breastfeeding.com/
    Best for Babies.org - http://www.bestforbabes.org/
    EXTENDED SUPPORT NETWORK
    Aside from your lactation consultant, partner, and reading material, it’s a good idea to have an extended network of mothers who have “been there, done that”. Before your baby is born, find a nearby La Leche Leage group and attend a meeting! Having real-life mothers to talk to, cry with, and commiserate with, is vital to breastfeeding success. Knowing that “you’re not the only one” who feels a certain way, or who has experienced a certain issue helps you know everything is a-okay and on track. To find a LLLI meeting or leader near you, check here: http://www.llli.org/webindex.html Remember that LLL leaders are volunteers who love breastfeeding and natural parenting and want you to succeed! Don’t be afraid to give one a call, just to talk.
    VIRTUAL SUPPORT
    In the age of smart phones, online “been there, done that” breastfeeding support is close at hand. How I wish Twitter & Facebook was available to me when I first starting to breastfeed! Keep a list in Twitter of ladies who are lactation consultants, lactation counselors, la leche league leaders, or who have successfully breastfed, for instant on-the-spot help. To start, try following these folks:
    Diana @DianaIBCLC | IBCLC: http://twitter.com/#!/DianaIBCLC
    Liz @askthelc | RN, IBCLC: http://twitter.com/#!/askthelc
    Lara @MamaPearDesigns | CLEC: http://twitter.com/#!/MamaPearDesigns
    Shari @ShariCriso | Nurse-Midwife, IBCLC: http://twitter.com/#!/ShariCriso
    Jessica @TheLeakyBoob: http://twitter.com/#!/TheLeakyBoob
    Doudoubebe @mamabear_ca: http://twitter.com/#!/mamabear_ca
    Infant Risk Center @infantrisk: http://twitter.com/#!/infantrisk
    La Leche Leage Canada @LLLCanada: http://twitter.com/#!/LLLCanada
    Message boards can also be a good resource for more in-depth discussion, though be cautious of any information you receive online; make sure you cross-check your info w/a book or in-person support! Mothering.com has an active board with a lot of caring, experienced mothers: http://mothering.com/breastfeeding
    BREAST SUPPORT
    Having properly fitting nursing bras, washable nursing pads (or disposable, if you don’t have someone who can do your laundry for you right away!), comfortable clothes (don’t need to be special nursing-specific clothes, just easy to access for nursing wherever – try to wear layered shirts with buttons down the front, or in cross-over chest style – nothing that is binding in the breast area or requires removing completely before you can start breastfeeding), and baby-safe nipple cream might seem like unnecessary items, but having them available before baby arrives, can really help with your post-partum, early breastfeeding comfort. And the more comfortable mama is, the easier and more smoothly breastfeeding will go! Make sure you have nutritious ready-made food frozen ahead of time, or have someone who will be helping you cook right after baby arrives, so healthy meals are easy and quick. Keep a travel thermos of water with you all the time (even in bed!) – nursing mothers need lots of water to stay healthy and hydrated. Continue to take your prenatal vitamins after baby is born – they are usually rich in iron and vitamin D, and will help your body continue to heal, while you nourish your new baby. And finally, get as much sleep as you can so your body has time to heal, and make milk! I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but as much as possible: Sleep When The Baby Sleeps! Learn how to nurse in the side-lying position, so that you can lie down with your baby and rest for naptime.
    Above all, take it easy on yourself. Be forgiving of yourself, be patient with yourself & your baby (you are both learning a new skill!), and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can DO it; your body was made to breastfeed your baby, and your baby was made to drink your breastmilk.
    If you’re a breastfeeding mama, I’d love to hear YOUR stories of support! If you haven’t had your baby yet, but are planning on breastfeeding when she’s born, what are you doing to make sure you are supported in your breastfeeding goals?
    Posted: Aug 06 2011, 18:03 by kelly | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |
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    Why Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?





    If you are pregnant, you may be considering breastfeeding your baby once she arrives. Breastfeeding is natural, normal, and healthy – for your baby and for you! You may not know yet if it’s the choice you want to make, but, please consider these reasons why breastfeeding – even if you aren’t sure it’s the right choice for you – is likely the right choice for your baby:

     

    Breastmilk helps fight infection!
    When you breastfeed, your antibodies are passed from your body to your baby. What this means is that your baby will get sick less often [50% reduced risk of ear infections, 64% reduced risk of GI infections, 72% reduced risk of hospitalization from pneumonia | Source: http://www.breastfeedingtaskforla.org/resources/ABMRisks.htm
    ] and when she does get sick, it will likely be less severe, and the duration will be shorter. The antibacterial properties of breastmilk don’t stop IN your baby. You can use breastmilk topically too – to clear & moisturize tiny noses, treat pink eye, and soothe rashes, small scrapes, and other infections.


    [Source: WomensHealth.org]

    Breastfeeding your baby reduces the risk of SIDS!
    SIDS risk is diminished by about 50% in breastfed babies according to a study done in Germany
    . But WHY does breastfeeding help keep your little one safer? There are several reasons! [Eight of which are discussed in detail on Dr. Sears’ website]. The infection-reducing properties of human milk keep baby healthier while sleeping – reducing the risk of RSV which can lead to SIDS. Breastmilk contains vital nutrients and fats to help baby’s brain and nervous system develop more completely. Breast milk is natural – so if aspirated, is less likely than formula to cause irritation or lead to apnea. Breastmilk reduces the severity of GER in infants. Breastfeeding calms and organizes baby so she does not fall into unnaturally deep and potentially dangerous sleep. Breastfeeding helps mom connect more deeply with her baby – and become more sensitive to baby, even while asleep (I have felt this distinctly myself). Finally, breastfeeding is more of a challenge for baby than bottle feeding, so baby develops better sucking, breathing, and swallowing coordination and facial muscle tone – all of which help baby breathe better while sleeping.

     

    Breastfeeding is natural and normal; formula is not!

    Human milk is perfect for human babies! What comes from your body is designed specifically for your baby. If you can’t breastfeed, another human’s breastmilk is still far closer to what your baby needs than formula made from another species' breastmilk or from a plant. Breastmilk is living: it changes with your baby, according to her needs, and is always just the right temperature. Formula is made in a factory, and is mixed with water and served in a bottle. As such, it can be subject to contamination. The ingredients (water and bottle included) can be tainted with pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, cleaning chemicals, dangerous bacteria like salmonella, foreign material, high levels of metals like aluminum (particularly in soy-based formulas), and the list of potentially toxic or dangerous possibilities goes on. While breastmilk isn’t always contaminant-free, you can control most of what is in your breastmilk through your diet. And, even if what you eat or drink isn’t perfect, breastfeeding is still the healthiest choice for your baby. If you’re concerned that what you eat might not be compatible with breastfeeding, check this page out first – you might be surprised! There is very little that a mother can't ingest that would negatively affect baby. 

     

    “…research tells us that the quality of a mother’s diet has little influence on her milk. Nature is very forgiving – mother’s milk is designed to provide for and protect baby even in times of hardship and famine. A poor diet is more likely to affect the mother than her breastfed baby…” [Source: How does a mother’s diet affect her milk?]

     

    The truth is, our bodies do an excellent job of filtering out what isn’t good for baby, and giving baby exactly what she needs, even if we don’t do the best job of eating ourselves. Trust your body to do right by your baby!


    [Source: WomensHealth.gov] 

    Breastfeeding is free!

    This may seem like a simple concept, and as such, it is often overlooked – particularly if you’ve been given tons of free samples in the hospital (and from friends, or in the mail). But the fact is, when the free samples run out, you have to buy formula – and it is expensive; particularly if your baby needs a special formulation due to formula intolerance, or you choose premixed liquid, instead of powder. And as baby gets older, he’ll need MORE formula, as it is always the same and doesn’t change in composition like breastmilk. Going rates are anywhere from $100 - $300/mo. or more just in formula costs – and that doesn’t include bottles, bottle brush, drying rack, etc! Now, if you add in to the equation that breastfed babies are typically sick less often (thus reducing doctor and presccription bills), breastfeeding really is the most economical choice. For an interesting comparison of the cost of formula with the typical costs of breastfeeding, check out this calculator.

      

    With all these benefits in mind, why not give breastfeeding a try? Even if you only nurse your baby for a few days you will have given your baby the natural gift of your milk. I really believe the choice to breastfeed your baby is a choice you won’t regret. I know I never have; it's one of my most amazing parenting experiences so far!