When Breast is Not Best

“Breast is best!” How many times have you heard that slogan? Although I am an advocate for breastfeeding moms, I do believe that every woman has to make her own decision about what is best for her and her baby. There are no right answers. Repeat, there are no right answers.

When Baby C2 was born I had him at a hospital that was competing for the title of “Baby Friendly Organization.” One of the pillars of being baby friendly is that all moms leave breastfeeding their babies. This is an idealistic goal, but definitely not a realistic goal. Baby C2 had borderline low blood sugar. In order to be discharged they had to have a specific reading three times in a row. Whenever his blood sugar fell below the desired number they would provide us some formula. When he drank the formula in combination with nursing the number would go up, but when I would nurse exclusively the number would go down. There was a simple reason for this. My milk had not come in yet. Despite pumping and nursing it just wasn’t happening yet. This is why his blood sugar would drop. I didn’t have anything, but a few drops of colostrum to feed the poor child.

I knew from H’s birth that it took three to four days for my milk to “come in.” So I knew exactly why we were having this problem. When I asked the nurse for formula I received a huge lecture about how breastfeeding was important and the best way to feed your baby. The second time Andy stepped in and tried to get formula and the nurse lectured him. The third time Baby C2’s blood sugar dropped I had had enough.

In an angry voice I said, “The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result. I don’t have milk yet, so his blood sugar will continue to drop. Bring me formula, now.”

I was fortunate. A few days later my milk came in and I was able to breastfeed BabyC2 without even needing to pump from that day forward. However, it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes your milk doesn’t come in, you don’t produce enough, your baby has an allergy… The list goes on and on. Sometimes, the stress of wanting to breastfeed prevents it from being easy or possible. I remember the shock and dismay that I felt because this nurse was so rude about the choices I was trying to make for my baby. Every family has unique needs. Every baby is unique. No woman should be made to feel badly or less than for choosing to breastfeed or to use formula.BOG-22902-3

Just like with H, I will probably need to supplement for Baby C2 at some point before he starts whole milk. Before I picked a formula I was comfortable with, I did a lot of research. Most infant formulas, even organic formulas, use high fructose corn syrup. I was so disheartened. As a family we have decided to eat organic, real food whenever possible so choosing an organic formula was very important to me. The Cornucopia Institute provided me with some great information about how to pick the best organic formula for H and so I am sharing with you this wonderful guide by Charlotte Vallaeys. She provides detailed information and even graphs to help you quickly access and choose the best organic choice for you.

GUIDE: Finding the Safest Organic Infant Formula 

Peace, Love and Choosing What is Best For Your Family,

Kristen

Breast is Not Best is the Last Article in a Series About Breastfeeding & Pumping for Your Infant.

Read Part 1: USAirways & The Breast Pump Drama
Read Part 2: Swallowing the Pumping Pill

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4 thoughts on “When Breast is Not Best

  1. crazygradmama says:

    Good for you for sticking up for what your baby needed! I feel like the “breast is best” pressure is definitely starting to interfere with what’s *really* best for any individual baby and mother. I’ve met so many women who felt horribly guilty that they had to stop breastfeeding for one reason or another, and I wish they didn’t feel that way.

    Like

  2. Adrienne says:

    Amen sista! I was so disheartened by my inability to produce enough breast milk that my first few weeks of being a new mom were overshadowed with stress and inferiority. Thankfully a lactation consultant reminded me that the most important thing you can do is be healthy in mind, body and spirit for your baby. If nursing jeopardizes your ability to be happy and well balanced, it’s not the best option. Thanks for reaffirming this message, Kristen!

    Like

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