Normalising Breastfeeding

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Normalising Breastfeeding

What a priveleged country we live in here in Australia to ask ourselves, how are we going to feed our baby? Bottle or breast? And when I say bottle, I mean formula. This should not even be a question, or a choice. It should not be as simple as; shall I use huggies or cloth? Puree or BLW? Stroller or carrier? This is a choice you are making which affects your child’s short term and long term health. However in developed countries such as Australia, we do have that choice. I may sound judgemental but believe me, I do not blame the parents. I blame the multi-million dollar Formula companies marketing Formula, insinuating that formula is as beneficial as breastmilk. I blame health professionals telling mothers they are not making enough milk and baby needs a “top up” of formula. I blame society for the sexualisation of the female breast, making woman uncomfortable to breastfeed in public or even at all.

In this post I’m going to express exactly why this choice needs to STOP! We need to get back to basics and breastfeed our babies without thinking twice!

I decided to breastfeed Fin from the word go. It never occurred to me that I could formula feed. Picturing my baby at my breast just felt so natural. At 16 weeks pregnant I told my GP I wanted to breastfeed and I asked her if my antidepressants were safe to take while breastfeeding. She told me I was getting ahead of myself and we would just wait and see. Looking back I see she was so wrong. Being prepared is the best thing you can do in regards to birth, post part and breastfeeding.

When I was in hospital, post C-section with my son, the midwives would quiz me every shift on how much he had nursed. How long for? What times? How many wet nappies? I answered with 9am, 1pm and 5pm. half an hour each breast and yes plenty of wet nappies. “He may need a top up” WHAT ON EARTH? “We don’t want him to become jaundice” How do they come up with this shit? Had my answer have been “He nursed at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm and he nursed for 15 minutes each breast and yes TONS of wet nappies!” She probably would have replied with, “Wow he seems hungry a lot, maybe he needs a top up, you might not be making enough milk!” Health professionals DO NOT always know best. If baby is happy at the breast, good latch, wet nappies and if YOU feel ok, then baby is fine. MOTHER knows best! It might not feel like it at first but you do and you always will. Midwives told me Fin was a “big baby” (4970g / 10b 15oz) and there was a possibility I would not make enough milk for him and because I’d had a C-section, my milk would take longer to come in. But day 3, ready to be discharged, and there it was. Breastmilk in all its glory.

When I say “In all its glory” I definitely mean it! Take a look at the poster below, developed as a student project for the Breastfeeding Course For Health Care Providers, Douglas College, Canada.

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That says it all to me. Even if your diet is not perfect, your body still makes perfect milk for your baby, you will be left deficient yourself to give your baby the vitamins and minerals it needs in your breastmilk, just as your body did when you were pregnant. My iron levels are always borderline low, my GP keeps a close eye on my bloods regularly for many reasons. When I was pregnant with Fin, I became anaemic, because Fin needed Iron, and my body gave it to him, leaving me deficient. It is actually very common during pregnancy.

Over the months following Fins birth and my experience with post natal care and how my health professionals had spoken of breastfeeding and formula I began to research. I found out that Australia actually has ways of regulating the sale and promotion of Breastmilk substitutes (formula).This is referred to as The WHO code. The following is taken directly from the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

“The aim of the WHO Code is:
To contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding, and by ensuring the proper use of breastmilk substitutes, when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution.

The main elements of the WHO Code are as follows:
-There should be no advertising or other promotion to the general public of products within the scope of the Code; ie, breastmilk substitutes (including infant formula and complementary foods), bottles or teats
-Health facilities and health professionals do not have a role in promoting breastmilk substitutes
-Free samples of breastmilk substitutes or items that promote breastmilk substitutes should not be provided to pregnant women, new mothers, or health facilities
-Health risks to infants who are artificially fed, or who are not exclusively breastfed, should be highlighted through appropriate warnings and labelling
-Labelling of breastmilk substitutes should contain instructions on how to use the product to minimise the risks of use.
-Pictures or text that idealise the use of breastmilk substitutes should not be used.”

Now tell me why would something that is “just as beneficial as breastmilk” need this? Because it is not. It also needs regulating because Formula companies are greedy, money hungry and they DO NOT care about your child. I was speaking to a friend about this topic the other day, as you may be able to tell, I am quite passionate about it and I said “Formula is evil” I’d like to retract that statement and instead say “Formula companies are evil.” For those who disagree with me check out this article, it explains in detail why I hate formula companies and why they are just after money.

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/nestles-infant-formula-scandal-2012-6?op=1#still-third-world-women-yearned-for-westernization-4

The more I researched, The more I found out facts that cemented my decision to breastfeed. There are many health risks associated with infants not recieving breastmilk. The following text is taken from an article in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812877/

“Health outcomes differ substantially for mothers and infants who formula feed compared with those who breastfeed, even in developed countries such as the United States. A recent meta-analysis by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reviewed this evidence in detail1:

For infants, not being breastfed is associated with an increased incidence of infectious morbidity, including otitis media, gastroenteritis, and pneumonia, as well as elevated risks of childhood obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, leukemia, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Among premature infants, not receiving breast milk is associated with an increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
For mothers, failure to breastfeed is associated with an increased incidence of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, retained gestational weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome.”

I couldn’t believe it at first. Everyone should know this! This information needs to be widely promoted, maybe our breastfeeding figures would rise. Part of the reason I want to become an IBCLC, a breastfeeding educator and I am writing this post. I want to raise awareness of the wonder that is breastfeeding and breastmilk. I could go on for hours and hours, pages and pages. I dream of a world where Formula is only available on prescription and is not advertised anywhere or anytime. I dream of a world where everyone looks kindly upon a nursing mother and baby and offers her a chair, a drink, hell even just a friendly smile from afar.

I am on a mission. I will help normalise breastfeeding.

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1 year 7 months & 17 days

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My son has been earth side for this long.
I have had many ups and downs in this time, it has definitely not been easy but it is worth it. I look at photos of Finlay and see what a beautiful charming little boy he has become. Full of life, laughter and love.
He smiles when he sees me, he giggles randomly at the TV, he squeals with delight when he plays with his cars, he says “whastha?” At everything now! He hugs me and pats me on the back, he waves goodbye but cries when I go to work, he wakes me up at 4 every morning… I love all these things and so much more and I look upon him in astonishment that rob and I have created something so perfect. I really do cherish every second I have with him. He is growing so quick, but he will always be my baby.

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Fuck Society.

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Yesterday at work one of the residents had someone visit her who happened to be transgender. It was obvious to everyone. I was chatting with a colleague who told me she thought she was a stripper, which in itself was offensive but I ignored it.

I spoke to this woman, she was friendly, she radiated confidence wearing a beautiful smile, bright colourful dress and of course, gorgeous heels. Hats off to her – I’d love to dress like that everyday and be as confident as she was.

After she left the subject came up with the same colleague. She referred to the woman as a ‘he’ this immediately got my back up and I corrected her. “She” I said. “She’s a woman.” She argued with me. “Oh come on Jade, if there’s a penis in between those legs, it’s a man!” I argued back. “How do you know there’s a penis there?” “Well judging by the voice…” I stopped listening at this point.

The transgender woman had chosen to live as a woman so I chose to respect her and refer to her as a female. She introduced herself as Diane.

Why are some people so narrow-minded?

I’m thankful I’ve been raised with an awareness of diversity in our society. I dont see “normal”¬†anymore. Everything is normal.

Man dressed as a woman? Normal.

Woman as a man? Normal.

Same sex couple? Normal.

Breastfeeding a six year old? Normal.

I’m going to raise my son to appreciate diversity. He will not know labels. “Transgender, gay, straight” etc. He will just know that whatever people want to be is fine. He will know that whatever he wants to be or do with his life is fine. I shall support him a thousand percent. Because fuck societies stupid view of whats normal.

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Comparing myself

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I think most of my troubles start with me comparing myself to others. I know this and I’ll be damned if I put this on my son too. It’s perfectly fine that he’s not walking yet at almost 18 months. He is his own person and I wont compare him to anyone else.

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I need to stop comparing me. My body, my life, my relationship. I need to do this. It tears me apart every time I do it. This behaviour seems to be ingrained into me for some reason. Now time to get rid of it. It doesn’t provide me with motivation to be better it just depresses me.

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My body has made a human being! A 5kg human being at that. My stretchmarks tell a story, my story. My life has not been perfect, but it’s not where I’ve been that’s important, it’s where i am at now that matters. My husband isn’t perfect, but he is perfect for myself and Fin. I’m not a perfect mother and Fin’s not the perfect son. We are both learning.

New year coming up. Time for a new years resolution that I can really work on.

Stop Comparing!

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One day remaining…

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… Of this wonder week. Now I’m not stupid, I’m not expecting miracles but I am expecting a massive improvement in behaviour soon! Hopefully sleep might improve as well, he’s really learning to walk right now, he is taking more and more steps very cautiously every few days. Tonight’s been brilliant for him learning to walk, he’s been balancing almost perfectly and I’m pretty sure we managed about 10 steps!

You might warn me against this but I’m so very excited to have a walker finally!

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Little steps

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Fins starting to walk more and more. Taking his first independent steps. Little steps. He’s getting his balance more and in turn more confidence to let go of the side and reach out for whoever or whatever he has his sights set on. It really lights up my day to see him learning so much every day.

Just as Fin is taking little steps, I am too. My little steps are towards peace and positivity. My first little step (One that I’ve taken many times now.) was deactivating my Facebook account. I have done this because I am so tired of all the negativity that it produces and all the Negative emotions it brings about in me. So it’s gone! For how long I do not know. Hopefully for good.

I’ve also done this because I find myself staring at my phone screen instead of playing with my son. I’m missing out on precious moments that are gone in the blink of an eye. I don’t want to say I missed something because I was on my phone.

So onwards and upwards. Finding peace is not a destination for me. It is a journey. One I will share with you all here.

Positivity

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My last post was pretty negative so I’m going to counter it with a nice positive post.

So I’m trying to relax about Fins eating a little more, he eats a good breakfast; either toast, cereals or eggs. Lunch time sometimes he has crackers, cheese, toastie, banana or yoghurt. Dinner time is challenging as he doesn’t normally eat much if anything. He still breastfeeds frequently and thats something that we’re both happy with. I need to remind myself that if he’s hungry he will eat and if he wants solid food he will eat his solid food. If he wants breast milk then that is what he needs. End of.

Regarding his sleep, we’ve been co-sleeping recently. Putting him to bed in his cot as usual and then when he wakes we bring him into bed with us and we can nurse and sleep and it’s great! He used to play whenever we co-slept before but now he seems to have gotten used to it and is sleeping great with us.

Today we met up with some new mums and had a great time. Socialising is such an important part of my life, I need interaction and I love to see Finlay playing with other kids.

So I’m feeling a little more hopeful and positive recently and I’m trying to keep it up. Everything is looking up but I think it all depends on how you perceive things.

I wish I could be happy, so Life gives me situations to see the positive side of things.
I wish for patience so Im given trying times with Fin so I can learn to be patient.
I wish for peace, I’m still working on that one!

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Exhausted

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Seriously, Finlay is such a handful right now. I don’t know how I cope. Oh wait, I don’t! Eating, sleeping, simple things are all a major effort at the minute.
Does he want to eat his dinner? No. Does he want to eat pudding? You bet ya!
Is he tired? Exhausted! Does he want to sleep? Of course not-he’s too busy! He doesn’t even enjoy his baths at bedtime anymore.
I’m beginning to think we will never get into a routine with Fin.
I’m so tired from stressing. I need to go to bed. Yes it’s only 6.46pm.
On a plus note we have a slab down on our block now though. Yay!

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