Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'll Probably Regret This

I may get firebombed by lactivists for saying this, but I'm gonna anyway. Why doesn't anyone tell new mothers that it's possible to breastfeed part time?

In the last few months, I've run into several acquaintances who are exhausted from stress or pain from nursing issues, pumping, you name it. I tell them that it's up to them what they want to do, but there are a lot of options – one doesn't have to choose to exclusively breastfeed or formula feed. The look of relief on their faces would be comical, if it didn't also make me sad that they'd been suffering. For many women, full-time breastfeeding works great, but not for everyone.

When I went back to work after having Q-ster, I nursed him in the morning, and then he had bottles of formula during the day. I came home early from work to nurse him, then worked from home, and nursed him again in the evenings. I had to gradually adapt my body to the reduced number of feedings, but it worked really, really well. I was able to breastfeed Q-ster for several months longer than I would have otherwise.

I imagine that this wouldn't work for every single woman or infant, but it's definitely a possibility to consider. Especially for women who are actually extending their workdays so that they have enough time to pump at the office. Instead, they can get home earlier and nurse the baby in person!

In completely unrelated news, I saw photos from the San Francisco Black and White Ball last month and thought that it was about time to make big going-out and dressing-up plans again. The Palo Alto Black and White Ball may not quite be in the same league, but it's a pretty cool event, and the shorter driving distance will save two hours of babysitting time. October 4 – plenty of time to shop for new dresses and shoes.

I think I will ping my moms group and other friends to see if anyone is up for it. It's pretty pricey, but $90 of the $135 ticket is tax-deductible as a charitable donation. Wanna go?


Bea said...

It's not just that they don't tell you you can breastfeed part-time - they sternly caution you of the dangers even a tiny little drop of formula can pose to the breastfeeding relationship. And yes, there are some women with supply issues and some babies with latch issues for whom supplementation may cause problems, but it doesn't follow that ALL women should be fed that all-or-nothing mentality.

Binkytown said...

Hurrah. Let me take some of the heat off of you- I preach, alot, about the fact that breastfeeding is ONE TINY part of motherhood- TEENY TINY and it gets way too much emphasis put on it. There. I've said it.

PS- Who did your banner? I'm loving it!

Leeanthro said...

Thank you for this post.

I am not able to produce enough milk and when my first was born I was so exhausted trying to nurse, supplement, pump, just trying to make it work. I was about to go off the deep end trying to exclusively breastfeed. The minute I decided I wasn't a failure and that I could give her formula guilt-free, I felt such a huge weight lift off of me.

My son just turned a year and I had a much more laid back attitude this time around knowing that I wouldn't produce enough. He got bottle and breast from day one and I actually think I produced more with him. I pumped at work until he was nine months (though pumping only yielded a few ounces). Now he nurses in the morning for a little snuggle time and then he if off for his busy day and doesn't want to nurse.

It was really a win-win situation giving both breast and bottle for my son and had I had the positive reinforcement with my first child, I probably would have nursed her longer.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you wrote this. Yay for options!

Fourth Breakfast

kittenpie said...

For me, it was the lack of any information in books about pumping! It was all bottle OR breast. What if you put breast milk in the bottles, as I did? Nothing. and I supplemented a couple of feedings early on so I could get ahead of her and not make her wait, hungry, as I pumped. It saved my sanity to do that one or two feeds - thank god for the nurse who suggested it.

Mayberry said...

Wish I could go to the ball! We had fun at our 40's-themed event, by the way.

And yes. Very sane and helpful breastfeeding advice.

Rose said...

While I was struggling to pump breast milk for my first born I came across a gold nugget of information on the Internet. I don't know if it's true or not, but it became my mantra as I painfully pumped what little milk I could get for ten long months. - 4oz of breast milk a day is all a baby needs to get the necessary amount of antibodies from the mother. That's it.
Knowing that made me feel better about only being able to produce 10oz a day for all those months. It made it all seem worthwhile.

I'm with you on spreading the word. I tell all my new mom friends that they have a choice and they can do what feels right for them and their families.

Mamacita Tina said...

Alleluia for middle ground philosophy! Absolutely each woman's circumstances are different, and so should be their solutions to their problems when raising a family, and that includes breast/bottle feeding.

Dressing up, how fun!

ewe are here said...

I couldn't breastfeed ... I produced so little milk it was funny. So I pumped to supplement formula for a few months to boost immunity, and have lovely big healthy boys to show for it.

Magpie said...

Yes - I basically did that. Over the course of her first year, she got probably 25% formula - anywhere from 2 to 10 ounces per day.

My lactation consultant called it "predominantly breastfeeding".