Friday, April 9, 2010

Activist Lactivist

I'm an activist. I am extremely passionate about a lot of thinks. Jesus, Breastfeeding, baby wearing, natural child birth, Abortion, Adoption, Home-schooling... I could go on. But, this week a study came out that backed one of my passions.

I'm definitely not the first to write about it. Right now, in most circles, it's a huge controversy. I'm okay with being controversial. Here's the gist of the article.

Breastfeeding saves lives.

Period. Exclamation point. In fact, the article that was published in the journal "Pediatrics", and then later reported by CNN on Tuesday, stated that an estimated 911 babies die each year because they were not breastfed.

"Well." You might say to yourself, "That's all fine and well, but what can you expect from third world countries? People die there from diseases and starvation all the time!"

I'm not talking about a third world country. I'm talking about America. Where we have all the medical advancements and technologies, we still lose 911 babies a year. Because of one thing, their mothers don't breastfeed. These babies are dying from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), pneumonia, and necrotizing enterocolitis (a condition that causes the intestines to die).

If you want to talk numbers, we can do that too. $13 billion. Is that a big enough number? According to Pediatrics, that's the amount of money that could be saved every year if mothers breastfed for the minimum amount of time (which they suggest as being 6 months). The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends breastfeeding for one year. The World Health Organization recommends two. I plan on breastfeeding for two years.

We have a rise of "I tried to breastfeed, but I didn't make milk" in this country. A lot of this, I believe, is because starting at the hospital, formula is shoved down new mom's throats. In our hospital room was a free Similac sponsored bag for new breastfeeding moms. It included a few bottles and a insulated bag to keep the bottles cool. Because it's such a crime to breastfeed in public that you have to pump and take bottles with you everywhere you go. Oh, and formula samples and coupons. Just in case you want to supplement in the first few weeks and possibly wreck your supply.

The biggest cause, in my humble opinion, that women don't succeed at breastfeeding? I think there are two. Lack of support and fear. It becomes an endless cycle. The mom doesn't have the support they need to feel confident in their bodies and confident in their bodies ability, and they become afraid that they are starving the child, then they don't have the support to reassure them that they're doing fine, and the cycle just continues and continues.

Did you know a baby only needs to receive a teaspoon of colostrum per feeding for the first few days? You heard me right, a TEASPOON. God knew what he was doing when he created the mother/baby relationship.

And I'm not saying this should be on the mothers shoulders. I think the medical community as a whole has sabotaged breastfeeding for a LOT of moms. I'm sure there are lots of moms who would have liked to have breastfeeding, but were told they shouldn't, or couldn't.

I'm also not trying to make you feel guilty if you did exclusively formula feed your child. I'm just trying to make it a more socially acceptable behavior to do what's best for your baby. To feed them how God made you to feed them.

Finally, want to be totally selfish for a minute? Do you know the benefits for Mom that breastfeeding provides? Not many do. In 2007 the AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) released a study that said that Mom's who breastfed had lower rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
So, be sure to research your options. Even working mothers can successfully pump enough milk to feed their babies. Seek out that support! Contact lacation consultants, the La Leche League, or just ask your friends. My Mom was my biggest support when I started because she had breastfed me. You CAN do this!

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to breastfeed my lil one! 33 weeks today!!!


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