Why do you think Ireland has such a low breastfeeding rate?
Hey! Haven't been on here for a while but just wondering what you mean AC????
Good point re: the baby gaining weight. Those charts are based on formula fed babies. Wwomen also worry about how they will measure if the baby is getting enough. Possible with a bottle - impossible with the breast. the fact remains that brwastfeeding helps protect against osteoporisis providing the woman gets suficient calciumn (and most non-lactating women don't even do so) when she finishes breastfeeding and is building her bones back up - regardless of whether this is by supplementation or from food if the calcium is not in her diet the women cannot absorb it. That's common sense.
Atho you quoted my post I don't think you read it.
I did not say that many women give up breastfeeding after 6wks just because of birth control (not sure what is with your quotation marks given that contraception is a big issue for women particularly post-partum) what I said was that women hold the belief that breastfeeding just for the first six weeks - after which they will have to give it up (to go back on the pill) just isn't worth it.
Regardless of what you think about condoms the fact remains that the vast majority of sexually active women who are in secure long term relationships just will not be willing to go back to using condoms so that is unrealistic.
Medical advice, which is from from medically trained experts afterall, given to women is NOT to use breastfeeding as a contraceptive as it is NOT regarded as sufficently reliable.
Re : "Something you haven't taken into account tho - or maybe you have but it is something that is on women's minds also is that they cannot go back on the pill if they breastfeed. Where the mini-pill od coil is not suitable, as it may not be for some women after birth a commonly held beleif is that they cannot go back on he pill and btreastfeed so they hold the beleif that breastfeeding just for the first six weeks - after which they will have to give it up just isn't worth it."
Tbh I don't know of any woman who gave up breastfeeding after 6wks just because of ' birth control'... It just sounds completely ridiculous.
Re: " the vast majoity of sexually active women who are in secure long term relationships just will not be willing to go back to using condoms so that is unrealistic. "
The mini pill and a condom would offer extra protection.
Re : Natural child spacing, (ecological breastfeeding) When this method is used correctly it CAN be effective. BUT ONLY when used correctly!Ange
I do take your point re: not having a perfect diet. The advice women here get, up until recently anyway and as far as I am awre, still do, is to increase their calcium intake and frankly I would far prefer to follow that advice that risk osteoporosis. I think the IMJ or the Lancet are the medical journals that are more likely to be followed here tho'. The advice tho' would be to increase the calcium intake naturally - i.e,. by taking more calcium risch foods, in preference to supplementation as calcium rich food such as milk, yogurt, cheese etc is far nmore metabolically available thna supplementation. Cwrtainly humans can survive on less than 2L of water a day but standard medicla advice would be that the closer to the optimum intake the better and particularly the better for the mother as producing milk required fluid, whih has to come from somewhere. If it is not replaced then the mother suffers.
Hi again Angela, again your information is most interesting. 100% safest method of birth control = no SEX. very funny. Equally 100% most effective method = tubal ligation but also clearly not suitable unless a woman has completed her family and to be fair, the vast majoity of sexually active women who are in secure long term relationships just will not be willing to go back to using condoms so that is unrealistic. As you say, the pill, patch, nuvaring (monthly shot is rarely used here and the nuvaring is not as popular but worth mentioning of course) are contraindicated and that is off-putting for a lot of women. The mini-pill has a lower effectiveness (92%) rate and more of a margin for error - which is why it is off-outting for some women. The Depo is not suitable long term and has been linked with osteoporisis and excessive bleeding. The Mirena IUS (Progestasert is not used here) may not be suitable for some months following a c-section but otherwise, yes a good idea if suitable (there are certain contraindications such as a history of ecxtopic pregnancy and certainuterine conditions) and is as close to 100% effective as you can get at over 99%, without having a tubal ligation. The implant is a very good suggestion and also very effetive . Not sure where you're posting from but Norplant is NOT available here is it has been withdrawn due to the fact that it is DANGEROUS. I'm not sure where you're posting from (I suspect it is the US as you provide references to the AAP) but women here are advised by their gynae's and gps NOT to use breastfeefing as a form of birth control because even on-demand feeding is NOT considered sufficiently reliable (certainly not compared to the pill which has an effectiveness rate here of over 97%) as women CAN and DO still ovulate even tho they are breastfeeding so this advice should NOT be taken by any woman seeking to prevent another pregnancy. Given the overpopulation of parts of Africa and Asia, it should be obvious as to its unreliability.
Hi Clementine, Re: sling, It was the early days that I found the sling so handy, you know when they just want to be in your arms all the time. But I agree once they reach a certain weight it's hard on the back.
Sorry you had such a hard time in the hospital. I hate the whole mentality of offering " top ups" as a solution, instead of helping the mother by identifying the breastfeeding problem, which in most cases is a latching problem. Fair play to you for sticking to your guns and going on to breastfeed successfully.
Another pet hate of mine is the obsession with weight and breastfed babies. First of all, they use outdated charts from the 1970's that are based on formula fed babies. Formula fed babies grow at faster rates compared to breastfed babies. The WHO updated 'growth charts' in 2006 for breastfed babies but here in Ireland we use the old ' out dated ' ones. The problem here is when a breastfed baby doesn't match up to these 'charts' , the mother is often told her baby is underweight and needs to ' TOP-UP ' unnecessarily... We really do have to step up a gear in this country!
Anonymous, before you come back to me and say that I've contradicted myself regarding ' breastfeeding and bonehealth'. The bottom line is that whether you supplement with extra calcium or not, breastfeeding helps potect against oteoporosis.
Hi anonymous, the point regarding diet was not to suggest that it's okay to have a very poor diet and drink hardly any fluids. The main point was that you don't have to have a 'perfect' diet and drink 'excessive ' amounts of fluids in order to provide quality milk for your baby.
Re : Calcium, " PROVIDED and ONLY provided the motehr is getting enough metobolically available calcium in her diet - otherwise the calcium is NOT replaced in the boes and this leaves er open to osteoporosis. Not including this information is not only misleading but does women a disservce, I believe."
Not true I'm afraid,
Until recently, it was believed that nursing mothers should increase their calcium intake by 400 to 800 mg per day . But according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that increasing the calcium intake in women had no effect on the calcium concentration of breastmilk, and did not alter the pattern of change of bone mineral density associated with lactation and weaning. Breastfeeding mothers, whether they received calcium supplements or not, lost 4 to 5% of their bone density. After weaning their baby, the calcium returned to their bones. Calcium supplementation, or the lack of it had no 'overall 'effect on total bone mass of the mother's body, or the calcium concentration of breastmilk.
Re water : "humans need a minimum of 2 litres daily anyway, on top of the liquid which comnes from food."
I love water and drink a fair amount of it myself, but we do not ' NEED ' 2L daily on top of the liquid that comes from food.
Hi Angela, yes, I gathered our posts got crossed, so to speak. I am glad you posted the information about a perfect diet. So many women I beleive think that their diet isn't good enough to breastfeed or they won;t be able to maintaina good enogh diet and this is off-putting. They feel theyt feel they have to be 'perfect' if such a thing exists. And those who are so righteous and adamantly pro-breastfeeding to the point of making formula feeding mothers feel bad (breastfeeding nazi's as you refer to them) seem to think that pregnancy should cuase perfection - instead of resulting in a baby. However, I tink to say that the quality of a mother’s diet has little influence on her milk, is a little misleading., If the mkoter has a very poor diet then this will not be good for her health and and being in porr health is not good for her or her baby. The quality of the milk has to come form somewhere. By the time you experience thirst, you havge already begun the process of dehydration so waitying for thirst is not a good idea. Wwhich is possibly why health professionals will advise a mother to drink a glass of water while breastfeeding. I don't think anyone intend to force water on anyone however - humans need a minimum of 2 litres daily anyway, on top of the liquid which comnes from food. Dehydration even at its slughtests is not simply signified by thirst but by a range of other symptoms. If your diet is deficient in minerals- then where does the minerals for the brestmilk come from>? Depletion? If so, the nthat is dangerous for the mothers health and women in that sutuation should supplentn when breastfeeding. The mothers health is as important ans the baby's bear in mind so thinking abiout and providing for it is paramount also. "the calcium for the baby's milk is taken from your bones and all the calcium in your diet goes straight into your bones and this effect continues for six months after you wean - PROVIDED and ONLY provided the motehr is getting enough metobolically available calcium in her diet - otherwise the calcium is NOT replaced in the boes and this leaves er open to osteoporosis. Not including this information is not only misleading but does women a disservce, I believe.
Student midwife, you say -I accept for most this is because "they feel they must" return to the workforce. As if you somehow think mothers are duped into doing so and if that is the case, I feel it is rahter insulting. For many or most, it is becuase they DO have to return to the workforce - most women don't have the luxury of either staying at home and not earning or the priviledge of extending their maternity leave - becuase the vast majortity of employers cannot facilitate this. And of course some women return to the workforce because they want to and their career is important to them. I understand we have a longer paid maternity leave than most European countries and certainly longer than the U.S. tho I don't know about Australia.
Hi again! ( pity these messages aren't posted straight away to keep the conversation flowing!)
Birth Control and Breastfeeding
(1) 100% safest method = NO SEX!!! lol..
(2) Condoms ??
(3) (very long winded but a lot of info...)
It's recommended that any estrogen-containing contraceptive be avoided until baby is at least six months old AND after baby is well-established on solid foods.
Combination contraceptives contain both progesterone and estrogen and come in several different forms:
- The combination birth control pill (Alesse, Yasmin, Seasonale, Mircette, Loestrin, Lo/ovral, Demulen, Desogen, Nordette, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Triphasil, Norinyl, Ortho-Novum, Ovral, etc.)
- the monthly injection (Lunelle)
- the birth control patch (Ortho Evra)
- the vaginal ring (NuvaRing).
Milk supply: Estrogen-containing contraceptives have been linked to low milk supply and a shorter duration of breastfeeding even when started when baby is older, after milk supply is well established. Not all mothers who take contraceptives containing estrogen will experience a low milk supply, but these unaffected mothers appear to be a very small minority.
Safety: Both progestin (progesterone) and estrogen are approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for use in breastfeeding mothers. See below for additional information on side effects related to lactation.
Progestin-only contraceptives are the preferred choice for breastfeeding mothers when something hormonal is desired or necessary.
Progestin-only contraceptives come in several different forms:
- the progestin-only pill (POP) also called the "mini-pill" (Micronor, Errin, Nor-QD, Ovrette, Microval, etc)
- the birth control injection (Depo Provera)
- the progesterone-releasing IUD (Mirena, Progestasert)
- the birth control implant (Norplant, Implanon).
Milk supply: For most mothers, progestin-only forms of contraception do not cause problems with milk supply if started after the 6th-8th week postpartum and if given at normal doses. However, there are many reports (most anecdotal but nevertheless worth paying attention to) that some women do experience supply problems with these pills, so if you choose this method you still need to proceed with some caution.
If you're interested in one of the longer lasting progestin-only forms of birth control (the Depo-Provera shot lasts at least 12 weeks, but effects may be seen up to a year; the Mirena/Progestasert IUD and the Norplant implant can last up to 5 years), it may be a good idea to do a trial of progestin-only pills (mini-pill) for a month or more before deciding on the longer-term form of birth control. If you find that you are among the women whose supply drops significantly due to progestin-only birth control, you can simply discontinue the pills - rather than struggling with low milk supply for several months until the shot wears off or you get the implant or IUD removed.
Do note that the Mirena/Progestasert IUD delivers its hormone directly to the lining of the uterus, which only leads to a slight increase in progesterone levels in the blood stream (much lower than that found with the progesterone-only pill). As a result, there is much less chance of side effects from the progesterone than from the Depo-Provera shot or mini-pill.
Milk composition: At higher doses than normal this type of pill can affect the content of breastmilk. At these higher doses it has been shown to decrease the protein/nitrogen and lactose content of the milk. At regular doses, this does not seem to be as likely.
Safety: Progestin (progesterone) is approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers. See below for additional information on side effects related to lactation.
(4) Breastfeeding...... ( the natural way of child spacing)
n third world countries, very few people have access to 'western' birth control methods. Breastfeeding is the only method of child spacing most have access to - and it does have a tremendous impact. One study suggests that if all breastfeeding were to stop, there would be a 20-30% increase in the birth rate worldwide within a year.
How does it work? The Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) of child spacing works primarily due to the pattern of breastfeeding. It offers more than 98% protection from pregnancy during the first six months if a mother follows these guidelines:
- her periods have not returned (no vaginal bleeding after the 56th day after birth) AND
- no regular supplementation (no more than 5-15% of infant's nutrition) nor going for longer than 4 hours during the day/6 hours at night between nursings AND
- her baby is less than 6 months old
The key to LAM is frequent nursings. When a baby starts to go longer between feedings, such as sleeping through the night, this lack of stimulation can cause a return of fertility. The majority of mothers who follow this nursing pattern remain period-free for at least the first six months or longer. LAM is not a new theory. It has been extensively tested, and its effectiveness is verified from around the world.
Every mother is different. Some may follow this pattern and get their period back at three months; some may not resume periods until months after starting solids or ending nighttime nursings. Any bleeding is a sign of fertility - and the longer you go without periods, there is a chance that you could ovulate before your first period. Even with that said, if you meet ALL the criteria above, you are less likely to become pregnant than if you take the birth control pill.
The choice is yours only YOU can decide....
Hi again anonymous,
' From 6mths a breastfed baby is on solids, and breastfeeds a lot less. ' ( what I should have said here is ' By 6mths a baby is breastfeeding less' , (In the early stages when their stomachs are so small they feed a hell of a lot , but as their little stomachs get bigger, they hold more and feed less, they also become more efficient feeders as time goes on. ) Breastmilk is still their main source of nutrition for the first year complemented by solids from 6mths.
Just a bit of extra info on breastfeeding and the mothers diet.
Do I need to maintain a perfect diet while breastfeeding?
The short answer to this question is NO – you do not need to maintain a perfect diet in order to provide quality milk for your baby. In fact, 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. But!..... You will be healthier and feel better if you eat well. It is best for anyone to eat a variety of foods, in close to their naturally-occurring state, but this is not necessary for providing quality milk or for maintaining milk supply. Although it is certainly not recommended, a breastfeeding mother could live on a diet of junk food – mom would not thrive on that diet, but her milk would still meet her baby's needs.
- Liquids: It is not necessary to force fluids; drinking to satisfy thirst is sufficient for most mothers. Unless you are severely dehydrated, drinking extra fluids is not beneficial, may cause discomfort, and does not increase milk supply. It is not necessary to drink only water - our bodies can utilize the water from any fluid.
- The main message on calories and fluids -- Eat when hungry & drink when thirsty.
Breastmilk levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and folic acid are fine even if your diet is deficient. If supplements are needed, they are for your benefit -- not baby's.
( Love this bit!)
The good news is that breastfeeding protects you against osteoporosis!!
When you are growing, your bones get denser, but generally by the time you reach your early 20s, they are set and won't get any better. All you can do is try to stop them getting worse. However, the exception is when you are breastfeeding. Your bones become metabolically active again, as the calcium for the baby's milk is taken from your bones and all the calcium in your diet goes straight into your bones and this effect continues for six months after you wean.. Women who eat only a moderate diet come out with stronger bones. Women who eat a really good diet, and supplement with cal/mag and vit D, have much stronger bones.
That's all for now folks!!
Hi anonymous & clementine,
Just to let you know that I posted the ' Breastfeeding Myths' post before I received your posts ( if that makes sense?).
Just don't want to come across as some kind of ' breastfeeding Nazi '. ( just thought they were interesting!)
Clementine, I'm still reading ' The Politics of Breastfeeding ', ( about half way through)
" “Of course suckling may feel a little strange at first, as any new experience might. Some women may feel a little sore, but if the baby is well attached this decreases quickly. If it gets worse then there is a problem and urgent help is needed” (p.28)
She then goes on to say " Too many women experience sore, cracked and even bleeding nippples and think this is normal. No wonder word gets round that breastfeeding is dreadful. [p28)
What I'm taking from this is ' It's normal to feel uncomfortable at the start but it is not normal to be in pain.'
I thought the ' KMC' ( Kangaroo mother baby care) method was amazing! I had never heard of this before. [p59)
Anonymous, I agree with you regarding " if a woman is too exhausted / ill to do so right away, many mothers do successfully manage to establish breastfeeding the day after the birth also, so just becuase a woman cannot do so straight away doesn';t mean she cannot try the next day and be successful."
I was lucky to have had straight-forward deliveries on both of mine.
Regarding 'pumps and bottles', When I was pregnant I fell into the trap of buying a breast-pump and bottles assuming they were a necessity.. I never used them ( apart from twice) so this was a total waste of money. So what I'm saying is, I wouldn't advise anyone to buy these when pregnant because only once you have had your baby will you know what road you are going to go down regards feeding.
Anthropological studies refer to societies and in this case so called 'developed' societies. Babies left to 'choose' their own time of weaning will wait until well after 2 years of age. In 'developed' society babies are led to wean by their mothers because of familial or social pressure or simply because the mother wants to stop feeding. Personally I think a mother who had fed for 12 moths in todays 'developed' society has done exceptionally well. Most see the 6 month time span as the norm and plan to wean then. I accept for most this is because they feel they must return to the workforce.
Its about time the governement moved into line with other countries with exceptional breastfeeding rates and extended maternity leave. The time a mother (breastfeeding or not) spends with her small infant is beneficial emotionally and physically, in most cases to both of them. It is a shame the constitution that claims to protect the family does not do just that!
Again, very interestign Aanglea. I do know women tho who had low supply rightr from the start and 3 (onw was for medical reasons but the other two weren't) women who could not breastfeed and were actually advised by both their midwives and the lactation expert a tthe hospital to switch to formula, so I do know that it does happen. Very informative too on the subject of iron, I wonder tho why the iron in formjula is so poorly formaulated that the baby doies not absorb it?Fantstic information on pumping and returnign to work tho. This, I think ids the kind of information more breastfeeding mothjers should be aware of. I find the last part a bit contradictory tho' From 6mths a breastfed baby is on solids, and breastfeeds a lot less. Then you say a child is unlikely to self-wean at around a year old because self-weaning babies gets most of his nutrition from solids - but this would actually be the case for a baby who is on solids and who's diet of solids has gradually increased from around the 6 month ,mark when he started to the year old stage.
I haven't read that book Clemintine but if that is what she is implying, then franly not only is it not true - it is totally unhelpful and to be honest, off-putting, which presumably, is not her aim.
The point earlier about pumping just does not ring true to me. If how much milk can be pumped depends on the mother's stress level then surely how much a latched on babay can suck depnmds on this also. If anything a pump is goign to stress the mohter less than a screaming starvign baaby who cannot get enough milk or who cannot latch properly. Good info oin formula tho' and somethign I think that every mother who decides to breastfeed should be aware of. Actually, a breastfeedign mother does need to be careful about her diet as the fods she eats ar ethe ones the baby will be exposed to via breastmilk and can develop sensitivities to vcertain foods in the mothers diet. This, I would have thought, was quite well known. A breastfeeding mother does not need to drink milk in order to make milk but she does need to be very aware that her calcium needs are in fact highewr than a non-brastfeeding mother. These can be fulfilled by drinkign milk to by yogurt, cheese, goats milk or other sources. Spicy or strong foods will affect the breastmilk but that does not mean they should be eliminated. Wwith regard to drinking - not truek, I'm afraid. By the time the bdy needs to give you thirst signals, you are beyond the point where you first need fluids and have started the prcess of dehydrtion. Any medicaly qualified person I have come across encourages women to take a glass of water any time she brastfeeds or pumps. Breastmilk is a calorie dense fluid - in order for the body to produce fluids of any kind it needs to take in fluids. Great points in relation to alcohol and even smoking - as these are things that put some mothjers opff. Yes., it would be great if we could all give up everything that was ever bad for us forever, but it is great to see some acknowledgement that we are not perfect and motherhood does not make us so. " Breastfeeding is to blame when the mortgage rates go up and the economy is faltering" - that was said in ject I know but it made me smile - good to kepp out sense of humour oin perspective. Something you haven't taken into account tho - or maybe you have but it is something that is on womens minds also is that they cannot go back on the pill if they breastfeed. Wwhere the mini-pill od coil is not suitable, as it may not be for some women after birth a commonly held beleif is that they cannot go back on he pill and btreastfeed so they hold the beleif that breastfeeding just for the first six weeks - after which they will have to give it up just isn't worth it.
Hi Angela, great feedback on skin-to-skin contact and of course it's so much easier if the mother has had a relatively easy / straightforward birtht, to get breastfeeding established straight away., but remember even if a woman is too exhausted / ill to do so right away, many mothers do successfully manage to establish breastfeeding the day after the birth also, so just becuase a woman cannot do so straight away doesn';t mean she cannot try the next day and be successful.With regard to money to made, where breastfeeding benefits the baby, both nutritionally, emotionally and developmentally, surely there is money to Saved, when it conmes to babiues getting fewer babyhood illnesses. I agree that pumps and bottles are not an initial neccessity, but obviously if the aim is that the mother continues to breastfeed after 6 months, alongside solids, as you yourself did, then given that most women are back at work by then, then a pump and bottles are a neccessity -if, as you say, a women wants to continue breastfeeding.
Hi again, I just want to add a few breastfeeding 'myths' that I hope you might find interesting.
Ange 13, thanks for the sling tip. the thing is that he's only three months and already 7 kilos! i had my first child in a sling for months but this one's a back breaker ;-)
I have also read the gabrielle palmer book, and while i did think it was very good and really interesting, especially about infant formula marketing etc., and its effect on child mortality in developing countries (which i do think we tend to forget and not make a really causal link with. or forget that it's still happening.) i did find that she is quite aggressive when it comes to dismissing difficulties that people have.
" “Of course suckling may feel a little strange at first, as any new experience might. Some women may feel a little sore, but if the baby is well attached this decreases quickly. If it gets worse then there is a problem and urgent help is needed” (p.28)
seriously - that sounds to me just like all the other "if it hurts then you're doing it wrong" messages that i got. whatever about the first time around, i really felt like i knew what i was doing this time, i know what good attachment feels like, and it hurt just as much until my poor boobs got used to it again!
however i did agree with what she said about the lack of vsibility of breastfeeding women - it seems to be such a medicalised activity.
"Humans in most western societies cannot avoid images of sexual activity, but breastfeeding rarely occurs explicitly in films, magazines, television and daily life. Much of the imagery of breastfeeding information has presented it as a medical issue. Images of bottle feeding are all around us, one example being the universal bottle signs outside babycare rooms in shops and airports. In societies where breastfeeding is taken for granted and practised unselfconsciously and openly, women find it easier” (P.31)
and i agree with you about the pumping thing - i pumped a lot the last time because everyone had made me so paranoid that my first child wouldn't take a bottle if i didn't give her one every few days. looking back i think i was a bit sucked into the idea that even though i was breastfeeding i still had to have the bottles and all the paraphenalia. i've only expressed once this time in an attempt to get him to drink a bottle and then conk out rather than spending the evening feeding him. i bought a pump in the hospital first time around and i don't think i'll ever forget those first few days of complete misery, bleeding nipples and the nurses who kept offering "top ups" - i think they were just being kind, but they kept offering to take away my baby so that i could have a break, which made me feel like they didn't trust me and they didn't think i was really capable. i just needed someone to say that it was all pretty normal and that it would settle down.
Re: Milk Supply, There is no reason why in normal circumstances that a woman shouldn't have a good milk supply. The main reasons for ' poor milk supply' are - (1) Timing feeds on each breast, as in restricting baby to a number of minutes each side. (2) Expressing ( unless for medical reasons) before 6-8wks. Although some women do this and have no problems. (3) The worst culprit of all, introducing formula.
Some, but very few women cannot breastfeed. How is it that in many societies, 100% of poor, undernourished women all breastfeed easily, while in others, groups of privileged,well- nourished women BELIEVE they cannot??
Re: Iron, Breastmilk contains just enough iron for the baby's needs. If the baby is full term he will get enough iron from breastmilk to last him at least the first six months. Formulas contain too much iron, but this quantity may be necessary to ensure the baby absorbs enough to prevent iron deficiency. The iron in formula is poorly absorbed, and the baby poops out most of it. Generally, there is no need to add other foods to breastmilk before about 6 months of age. ( Dr Jack Newman)
Re: Work, From 6mths a breastfed baby is on solids, and breastfeeds a lot less. It is possible to go back to work and continue to breastfeed. I included the legislation to point out the rights women have. There are a few other options available, a woman can pump, freeze milk and leave it with the creche/childminder, therefore the mother doesn't have to leave work, or a woman can replace the daytime feed with formula/plain cows milk ( depending on the age) and continue to breastfeed morning and evening.
What is self-weaning?
A baby who is weaning on his own:
- is typically well over a year old (more commonly over 2 years)
- is at the point where he gets most of his nutrition from solids
- drinks well from a cup
- cuts down on nursing gradually
Child-led weaning occurs when a child no longer has a need to nurse - nutritionally or emotionally. The solids part should rule out self-weaning in babies under a year since, for optimum health and brain development, babies under a year should be getting most of their nutrition from breastmilk.
Hi Angela, that was interesting.
The majority of mothers are capable of breastfeeding their babies exclusively for about six months but I was pointing out that there are some women who have low supply and aren't able to exclusively breastfeed as much as needed and need to supplement with formula. And of course some womnenb who can't breastsfeed.
And there are some babies, depending on their development rate who do need more than breastmilk or formula alone at 4 or 5 months. The some who are are still perfectly well sustained by breastmilk or formula alone at 7 or 8 months. It's not really a one-size fits all. I do agree that all the emphasis on "routine" and "schedule" based on bottle feeding is very misplaced when it comes to women who are breastfeeding or even trying to breastfeed.
If a breastfeedign mother is consuming foods the baby is sensitive to, then he or she still risks developing allergies to thiose foods becuase they are present in the breastmilk being consumed Delaying solids decreases the risk of food allergies.I had thought brastfed babaies were more likely to be iron-defiencient as formula is supplemented with iron but breastmilk, of coursem is not.
Among women I know,their babies self-weaned at around the year-mark, as the variety of solids increased as did their interest in other things, as they began walking. It is of course influrenced by yhr droip ina womens beastmilk around that time too.
Legislation is all very nice and grand afterlal gthe constitution states that all the children of the nation or cherished equally, but that is meaningless. Legislation is of litte use unless it is facilititated in a purely practical way.
Paid time off from work for the purpose of breastfeeding isa hardly practical if the crehe is 30 minutes or more away and feeding takes another 30 minutes, three times a day. That's three hours out of a work day and for women who are pumping, even if facilities are provided to pumpo and alos to store milk, there may well be times when fdue to work pressure, a woman simply does not have time in the day to pump a couple of times. This is reality, I'm afraid.
Student midwife - anthopologival studies, surely are by their nature, or tribal peoples and therefore the same pattern would hardly apply industrialised developed societies. I was talking about thrf 11 to 13 month mark as a period of self weaning by the child, particularly as solids are introduced.
On a more POSITIVE note! I have to add that I think the midwives do a FANTASTIC job!
( seeing your name 'student midwife' reminded me of this)
On my first baby son, I was lucky to have a fairly easy straightforward birth. The support and encouragement from the midwives was excellent. When my son was born we had ' skin to skin ' contact straight away, and we breastfed successfully in the delivery room. ( The trick to breastfeeding is getting the baby to latch on well. A baby who latches on well gets milk well.)
On my next baby, again couldn't fault the midwives, I didn't need any help latching on this time. We had immediete skin to skin contact, I latched my daughter on myself and we co-slept together in the ward.
I am reading a book called ' The politics of Breastfeeding by Gabrielle Palmer', and I can tell you it's a real 'eye opener '.
The marketing of Formula has a huge influence on breastfeeding rates. After all the only ones that benefit from breastfeeding are 'mother and baby' ( no money to be made there!) Oh sorry yes there is! We are now led to believe that in order to breastfeed we have to arm ourselves with breastpumps and bottles. ( keeping the money going!) This is well and good if the mother decides to do this, but it's not a neccessity. I fell into this trap when pregnant with my first son, I honestly thought that pumps & bottles went hand in hand with breastfeeding. I wasted a lot of money unneccessarily.
Hi Clementine, have you tried using a sling? I found this really helpful in the early days for keeping baby settled while looking after a busy toddler.
I think that breastfeeding will take a long time - a generation or two - to become reinstated as the norm. i think that most health professionals are encouraging and try to support women but it won't really start to change until we start seeing it in the community, in public. i have breastfed everywhere, but there are some places i have felt far more comfortable than others. i am breastfeeding my second child now and finding it a lot harder than the first time around - not because of lack of milk or anything like that but he would be happy if i just stayed in bed all day with him and fed him and i just don't have the time because i'm trying to run after the toddler all the time!! i hate the fact that feeding in public still seems to be such a big deal, discretion seems to be a big thing.
Anonymous, just supplied a few facts below that I hope you may find interesting.
The vast majority of mothers are perfectly capable of breastfeeding their babies exclusively for about six months. In fact, most mothers should be able to produce more than enough milk. Unfortunately, outdated hospital policies and routines based on bottle feeding still predominate in too many health care institutions and make breastfeeding difficult.even impossible, for too many mothers and babies.
The following organizations recommend that all babies be exclusively breastfed (no cereal, juice or any other foods) for the first 6 months of life (not the first 4-6 months):
Reasons for delaying solids
Delaying solids gives baby greater protection from illness.
Delaying solids gives baby's digestive system time to mature.
Delaying solids decreases the risk of food allergies.
Delaying solids helps to protect baby from iron-deficiency anemia.
Delaying solids makes starting solids easier.
Re self weaning : True SELF-weaning before a baby is a year old is very uncommon. In fact, it is unusual for a baby to wean before 18-24 months unless mum is encouraging weaning.
Breastfeeding at work
The Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act was introduced last year to make things easier for breastfeeding mothers. It states they are entitled to paid time off from work for the purpose of breastfeeding or the expression of breast milk in the form of one 60-minute break, two 30-minute breaks; three 20-minute breaks or an alternative number to be agreed between the employee and her employer. The employer is also obliged to provide a suitable area for this purpose..
(The above is an Irish legislation )
As someone who has BF a number of children I have some reservations over the suggestion that full time work inhibits BF. I attended fulltime study, often with no breaks and still maintained BF my son.
Also anthropological studies suggest natural weaning occurs between 3.5years and 7 years. (Katherine Detwyller) Certainly not as early as has been suggested here. The earlier time suggest parent/societal led weaning not natural infant led weaning.
Didn't see the show on TV3 as I'm never there during weekdays. Glad it was positive tho'. It may be rare that a woman doesn't have enough milkbut I knoew several women who had low supply and werewn't able to exclusively breastfeed as much as was needed and had to supplement with formula as there wasn't any other answer.
Breastmilk alone might be enough to sustain some babies until 6mths but there are some who develop faster and do need more than breastmilk or formula alone at 4 or 5 months. Most babaiens self-wean at arounf the 11 to 13 months mark anyway - even if breastfeedign was sustainable beyond that, which for most women it really isn't.
Unless you have your own office or are ecxtremely flexible in your work schedule - which many many women aren't, then pumping during work hours (provided a woman can pump) won't be real possibility. It would be a nice aspiration if all women who wanted to, could take a full years maternity leave but for the vast majority of women in industry, this just isn't a possibility.
Student Midwife, That was a fantastic discussion on tv3. It was refreshingly positive regarding breastfeeding.
Anonymous, First of all it is rare that a woman doesn't ' have enough milk'. Building a good milk supply works on a ' supply and demand " basis as in the more you feed the more milk you make. Even giving one bottle of formula a day sends signals to your body to produce less milk and unfortunately a lot of mothers don't realise this untill it's too late. So formula is not the answer.
Re : " Fair play to you for breastfeeding after six months - even when your child was on solids".
Breastmilk alone is definitely enough to sustain a baby until 6mths ( WHO recommends this). After 6mths solids supplement breastmilk for the first year, meaning that their main source of nutrition still comes from breastmilk. The recommended age is now 2yrs and beyond once mother and baby are happy to continue breastfeeding.
Returning to work doesn't mean that breastfeeding has to end. After 6mths when solids are introduced the number of breastfeeds are reduced. Some women express milk for a daytime feed or some supplement with formula. A lot of women take extra maternity leave and go back to work when their baby is 12mths old and continue to breastfeed morning and evening only.
Good article on The Morning Show on TV3 today...
Hi Angela, profesionals advise mothers to top up feeds with formula incases where the women milk is simply not enough to feed the child and lets face it, a baby screaming with hunger is simply not good for baby or mother and the resulting stress may do more to damage her milk supply. Some babies may e ready to move onto solids at 4 or 5 months as breastmilk may simply not be enough to sustain them. Then of course there are some women who cannot brestfeed or who javge to give up breastfeedign for medical reasons. Fair play to you for breastfeeding after six months - even when your child was on solids but remember most women return to work at 6 month when their maternity leave is over so breastfeeding may no longer be an option for them.
Hi haven't had time to read all the posts but just to clarify that 'solids supplement breastfeeding for the first year and not the other way around'!
I think that bf rates are low in Ireland because of a number of different factors.
I think a lot of women want to bf but are often let down by the system. I know from talking to so many mum's that wanted to bf and were given bad advice from hospital staff and phn's. Women are encouraged to bf when pregnant but there's no support when they have their babies. Conflicting advice is often given when breastfeeding problems occur.
WHO recommends that all babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6mths of life ( no formula, water, solids etc) but more often our ' health professionals' are routinely advising new mums to 'top up' with formula in the early days when mums should be building up their milk supply by excl bf on demand! Unfortunately then their milk supply can drop and they end up moving to formula completely.
I bf my ds for 13mths and am currently bf my dd of almost 12mths and am going to continue until at least 2yrs. I have breastfed in public discreetly, not so much now as when they get older the feeds are less often.
Purple, for women who are new to breastfeeding it might not be all that easy to get the baby latched on, hold the baby and also "cover up" simply to avoid oyther mothers sensibilities. These women should be getting encouragement not disapproving looks. Also there's the fact that some babies simply won't tolerate being covered up during nursing. You surely don't expect nursing mothers to be prisoners in her own home and if a mother cannot breastfeed her child, as intended by nature at a pre or post-natal or baby clinic, of all places then where on earth can she?
I disagree. I dont see anything wrong with breastfeeding in public, as most women that I have seen doing it ARE very discreet. If you dont want to see, dont look! I used to live in town off a very busy street with pubs and clubs etc and people used to urinate on our front door so to be honest, there are far worse things that people do!
woman have a right to breast feed their children, but not in a place where others can see in my opinion. i was up in my clinic one day and this woman just took her boob out. all could see. i was not impressed. ok a woman has every right to feed her child anywhere, but please cover up.
breastfeeding also affects a woman's emotional life sometimes, and she wants to return to a normal life.
I recently gave birth to my now 5 month old daughter and found that the hospital staff were extremly supportive when I choose to breastfeed if not a bit shocked as I was only 24. When my daughter 1st latched on I was delighted that she took to it so well. As the days went by in the hospital again I can only praise the staff. The gave me great encouragment and said that if I had any problems I should call them and speak to one of the midwives and if I needed a bottle or anything to just ask. But the whole time they praised the fact that I was breastfeeding.
I found my difficulties came when I started to get visitors. I'm a sports player and as I undress in frnt of 15 women weekly during training and matches I'm not the most shy person. But what I came across really pissed me off. When I said I needed to feed my daughter people (men especially would just say "Ah I'll leave you too it" or "I'll take a walk").
In particular my brother (a 31 year old man who's girlfriend as recently given birth to their son and had tried breastfeeding), kept saying "ah that's my sisters boob I just can't handle it". How ridiculous is that? The only man except from my husband who I fed my daughter comfortably in front of was my farther. Who just said "well sure it's natural and beautiful, to see you doing it". Anyone else including some female friends wouldn't make eye contact with me when I was feeding and made me feel very uncomfortable.
That all said no of this stopped me from feeding. It was an illness I have 'Chrons Diease' that stopped me in the end I went as long as possible without my medication but was forced to stop feeding and take my drugs.
All that said I really really enjoyed my experience and yes my boobs are a little sagger since but what do I care they fed my little one for 3 months.
Work and BFing just doesn't work though and in this economy I don't think many can afford to take the extra 3 months unpaid.
I would love to feed for much longer on my next child but for all I know my next little one might not be interested in the boob at all... Some children can, some children can't, some women can, some women can't, some woman choose not too and some choose to do it. It's my motto that what ever works for you and your little one is ultimatly best for you...
But I must say... I hate serilizing and making those bloody bottles... It's enough to drive anyone mad.
If anyone out there has any idea how to make the irish public change their views and ideas on BFing please put them to someone with a bit of pull in that area because I still know of so many women who won't BF because it's too tabu. That's just my opinion though!
It is also a common practice to lie to midwives and other health care professionals about breastfeeding- for instance, my British cousin, who is a solicitor, said she had breastfed for three months when in reality she had breastfed for two weeks. She said that is what everyone does because of the attitude of staff towards mothers who formula feed. She said all her friends would hide bottles and formula whenever a midwife or health visitor came to the house!
What is worrying is the tension created between mothers and health care professionals who have managed to alienate themselves from those they are paid to help and advise. This moralising attitude about breastfeeding does nothing to improve rates of breastfeeding- the figures look 'better' but in reality little has changed and women who wish to breastfeed continue to receive little support or help to do so. I fear that this will happen here so that we 'look better'. As for respect for the individual mother and her wishes, that goes out of the window in a bid to improve rates- it has now sadly become political issue.
a more positive birth experience, which has been mentioned by other posts, does increase the likelihood of successful breastfeeding - for those who desire to do so.
Peraps this needs to be learned by rote by all the maternity car staff in this country.
Another word you mentioned - Respect - respect for the choice the women makes with regard to feeding her baby and Respect with regard to the choices she maks for her labour and birth.
Not every birth will be test book and not every birth will be complication free but respect for the choices and wishes of the birthing women would go a LONG way. Perhaps staff need to be reminded that it is still her body and to deny an epidural to a public patient and thus leaving her in agony - or pushing medication on a woman who does not feel she needs it will stress and traumatise a woman to the point where after the birth the last thing she needs is further exhaustion, stress and truama in attempting to breastfeed when she is in pain ans weak.
These are just two example- just two I have come across where women wanted to breastfeed but the trauma of the birth experience meant it was absolutly the last thing on their mind afterwards.
There are of course other cases where a woman wants to breastfeed but for whatever reason, cannot do so. Pushing women in these circumstances serves only to alienate them.