Thursday, May 28, 2009


Let me begin by stating that I am not talking about women who can't breastfeed for medical reasons. I also am not talking about women who attempt breastfeeding and are not successful.

Breast milk is a food made specifically for your child. There will never be a recall on your breast milk, you never have to worry about it being too cold or too hot and there's no mixing involved or concern about how you're going to pay for another can. Breastfeeding also helps the mother lose much of the weight gained during pregnancy. For more benefits, please visit here.

Formula costs anywhere from $12-28 per can. I know there are some pre-mixed and special formulas that cost even more. I honestly have no idea how many cans of formula are consumed weekly by infants, but let's assume that it's just one can per week and that it costs $20. Multiply that by one year and you get $1,040. 

If you look at breastfeeding from a financial only stand point it makes so much more sense to me to, at the very least, attempt to breastfeed. When you consider all of the other benefits of breastfeeding versus formula feeding, I truly cannot understand why someone would choose the latter. 

I was told today that a soon-to-be first time mother is not going to breastfeed. Or try to breastfeed. Or have any interest in breastfeeding. In fact, she thinks it's repulsive. Repulsive to feed her child with her breast. Right. Because breasts are only intended for nipple rings.

Obviously this has struck a nerve with me.  I just don't get it. I can understand being hesitant about breastfeeding. I suppose I can even understand not really wanting to do it, but I can't understand a first time mother not even giving it a chance. At least give the baby some colostrum while in the hospital. 

The person telling me about this first time mom defended her choice by saying that she'll be a wonderful mother and will throw herself in front of a bus if it means saving her child. To me, breastfeeding is sort of throwing yourself in front of a bus. It's giving your child the best possible start and is a completely selfless act. Yes breastfeeding can be challenging. Yes breasts leak and are a bit of a nuisance for awhile. But isn't your child worth it? And if the answer is no, why not? You're willing to give your brand new baby a possibly not-so-safe kind of plastic nipple and bottle filled with a man-made substance with a very long ingredients list that you probably haven't read?

Breastfeeding is not a death sentence for a mother. It's not some horribly complicated thing that consumes all of your free time and prevents you from doing anything fun. Heck, you can still give the baby formula if you need to get away and don't want to pump. 

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd nurse my children beyond a year and I am in no way suggesting that others need to nurse that long, although the current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is at least one year and the World Health Organization says at least two years.  I do think that all first time moms should attempt to breastfeed. If they end up hating it, fine. If they never nurse subsequent children, fine. But at least they can say that they actually tried breastfeeding instead of having a completely closed mind.


Jen said...

I definitely plan to breastfeed when I have a baby. It's so much better for you & the baby. One of my girlfriends nursed for almost a whole year & went from a pre-pregnancy size 14 to a size 4 within about 8 months! It was pretty impressive.

Mama Podkayne said...

GreenRanchingMom wrote about collustrum and breast feeding a couple months back. To sum up: In the farming/ranching world, a babe or pup or calf or foal that doesn't get it is as good as dead. As good as dead. That's why they sell special collustrum mix to feed them if their mums can't (or won't) but we don't have that for human babies? Crazy.

Captain's Wife - Jennifer said...

I breastfed all three of my kids and would do it again in a heartbeat. :) There are so many advantages for mom and baby. And it is such a great bonding experience. I don't understand why some people won't just try it either but I think it is largely and unfortunately a reflection of society. I do think that is changing with time though. :)

GreenRanchingMom said...

Mama P did quote me right. We in the agricultural world have developed specific formulas for "first milk" (colostrum), because if an animal doesn't get colostrum, it won't thrive as well, and may die.

In addition, why do you think all formula cans, say "more like breastmilk"? Because, BREASTMILK is BEST!

here's the link if you would like to look at my post.

Heather said...

Thanks for posting a link to your blog. I actually did read it awhile ago and thought it was interesting. I think it's amazing that colostrum plays such an important roll in animals and that it's perfectly acceptable for human infants to be fed formula from the beginning.