Posted by: Indonesian Children | August 15, 2009

BREASTFEEDING AND LACTATION : FAMILY RESOURCES AND INFORMATION

Barriers to breastfeeding

“Human milk [should] be made available to all human babies, regardless of other circumstances” (Source). Despite this many women artificially feed their children.

So what are the “barriers to breastfeeding that affect both its initiation and duration?:

Misinformation and lack of knowledge – frequently perpetuated by health professionals
Personal attitudes
Cultural norms
Lack of support – by family, partner, hospital and workplace
Hospital practices and policies
Formula companies’ advertising and hospital practices
Rare maternal or infant medical conditions” (Source).

Suck On This by The Ecologist (April 2006)

Women lack support

Most women in Australia giving birth to their first baby have never seen a child being breastfeed.

Today’s mothers are the least likely to have been breastfed themselves (In Australia, in 1970, only 40-45% of women breastfed their infants after being discharged from hospital. By 2001 this figure had jumped to 83% (Source). While this represents a significant increase, breastfeeding rates in Australia “are stagnant or declining, with an increasing proportion of infants receiving breastmilk substitutes before six months of age” (Source).

Our society does not trust the natural process of breastfeeding – “the workforce of midwives and nurses attending to maternal and infant care” has for many years been dominated by a generation of women who were sold the ‘science’ of artificial feeding and who did not breastfeed themselves (Source). In Baby friendly problems, midwife Joy Johnston looks at criticism of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.

We haven’t grown up surrounded by breastfeeding women and so:

we don’t know what good attachment/positioning looks like,
we can’t ask our mums/aunties/mother-in-laws for help, as they were unlikely to have breastfed their children, or if they did it was for a short period of time
we don’t know that many common breastfeeding difficulties (engorgement, mastitis, abscesses, over or under supply) can be treated by improving attachment and/or natural remedies
we are given well meaning advice like ‘just let dad give her a bottle so you can have a break’. This suggestion undermines the mother’s attempt to breastfeed her child. Instead of offering advice people could offer support like taking on household chores so women can spend their non-breastfeeding time on themselves. See Formula Beware.

Women lack information

Fear of guilt

“Health professionals’ advice is often the single most common reason for mothers’ failing at breastfeeding! Why? Because even some strong breastfeeding advocates are worried about making mothers feel guilty about not breastfeeding. There is a feeling that there is no need to make such a big deal about women not breastfeeding because formula companies have convinced most of the world that formula feeding is just about as good as breastfeeding. As a vice president of Nestle in Toronto said “Obviously, advertising works”.

If mothers get the information about the risks of formula feeding and decide to formula feed, they will have made an informed decision (as long as the information on risks does not come from the formula companies!). So, who feels guilty about breastfeeding? Not the women who make an informed choice to bottle feed. It is the woman who wanted to breastfeed, who tried, but was unable to breastfeed. In order to prevent women feeling guilty about not breastfeeding what is required is not avoiding promotion of breastfeeding, but promotion of breastfeeding coupled with good, knowledgeable and skilful support”(Source).

 

“Well-informed mothers who struggle unsuccessfully to establish breastfeeding, will turn to bottlefeeding with a sense of acceptance because they know they did their best. Less well-informed mothers later rage against a system that did not give them the resources they later discovered they needed. They don’t feel guilty, they feel betrayed and cheated.

Health professionals who say ‘we don’t want to make women feel guilty’ are trying to protect themselves not the mother. Instead they should be supporting them when breastfeeding doesn’t work, and help them move beyond guilt which is an inaccurate and ineffective word”(Source).

“While it is the women’s choice to decide whether to bottle-feed her child, it is the health professional’s responsibility to inform her of the hazards, as would be done if a patient announced that they had just taken up smoking. It is hypocritical and irresponsible to take a clear position on smoking and “let parents decide” about breastfeeding. Life choices are always the individual’s to make. That does not mean health professionals should be mute, nor that the parents who opt for bottlefeeding should be denied information that might prompt a different decision with a subsequent child”(Source).

How to know a health professional is not supportive of breastfeeding by Dr Jack Newman

Watch Your Language! by Diane Wiessinger

 

Why women stop breastfeeding their small babies

“We were mammals long before we were intellectuals. We can use our intellect to overcome birth and breastfeeding problems, but it’s much easier if those problems aren’t there in the first place”(Source).

Not surprisingly, women are more likely to stop breastfeeding if the natural breastfeeding relationship is interfered with. For example, if there is a delay in putting the baby to the breast at birth and if bottles are introduced whilst in hospital there is a greater likelihood that women will stop breastfeeding (Source). As with labour and birth, one intervention leads to another (see Casscade of Interventions).

The most common reasons women give for not continuing with breastfeeding their under 6 month old are:

‘insufficient milk’ / the baby was hungry
pain
the baby wouldn’t suck / rejected the breast
breastfeeding takes too long
returning to work (Source)

Women from non-western societies, where breastfeeding is considered normal, are able to overcome these difficulties. It is the cultural context of breastfeeding in the West that creates these barriers.

“No child should have to settle for bottle-feeding because his mother thought it was ‘just as good’. No child should have to settle for bottle-feeding because his mother thought she ‘didn’t have enough milk’. No child should have to settle for bottle-feeding because his mother thought breastfeeding would be painful, or could only be done in private. No child should have to settle for bottle-feeding because his mother wasn’t allowed enough maternity leave, and/or couldn’t find child care near her workplace. No child should have to settle for bottle-feeding because her father wants her mother’s breasts all to himself. The path to a ‘Breastfeeding Friendly’ society is open before us. We have only to take the first steps”(Source).

Suck On This by The Ecologist (April 2006)

 

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Breastfeeding challenges

Comprehensive breastfeeding information

These websites are an excellent source of accurate and up-to-date information about breastfeeding.

 

Australian Breastfeeding Association Breastfeeding Informatioin
La Leche League Breastfeeding Resources
Handouts & Videos by Canadian pediatrician Dr. Jack Newman

 

Kelly Mom Breastfeeding & Parenting

 

Breast pumps

The Australian Breastfeeding Association can provide information on hand pumps, electric pumps and the type that would best suit your needs. They also hire electric pumps and have a booklet on Expressing and storing breastmilk. See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for their contact details and other resources.

(Also see Work – returning whilst staying attached)

 

Breast refusal

Breast refusal by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

Is Your Baby On A Nursing Strike? by Alisa Ikeda

 

When the baby refuses to latch on by Dr Jack Newman (see articles list)

 

Breastfeeding aids – an alternative to bottle feeding which help maintain lactation

Women who feel they need to supplement breastfeeding with formula, due for example to low milk supply or insufficient weight gain, need not risk their breastfeeding relationship by introducing a bottle. Supplemental Nursing Systems have been developed to allow baby to continue to feed at the breast while receiving additional calories. The SNS is a bottle which hangs around the mother’s neck which can hold expressed breast milk or formula. A fine tube, which extends from the bottle, is attached near the nipple. The baby takes this tubing into its mouth as s/he feeds.

These are ideal for stimulating milk supply while feeding a baby:

  • expressed breast milk (for a premature baby)
  • formula (due to low milk supply or insufficient weight gain. See Low milk supply or ‘Insufficient milk’ for alternatives to supplementation)

See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for suppliers of breastfeeding aids.

 

Breastfeeding & fertility

Breastfeeding Through Pregnancy and Beyond by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

Breastfeeding and Fertility by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

 

Breastfeeding & illness

You should continue breastfeeding (2) (Illness in the mother or baby) by Dr Jack Newman (see articles list)

 

Postnatal Depression and Breastfeeding by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

Breastfeeding & medication

You should continue breastfeeding (1) (Drugs and Breastfeeding) by Dr Jack Newman (see articles list)

 

Antidepressants by Dr Sears

 

Other treatments for depression and anxiety: Fact Sheet 14 from Beyond Blue: the national depression initiative

 

Breastfeeding during pregnancy & tandem feeding

“The common term (in the USA) for breastfeeding siblings concurrently is ‘tandem nursing’. Mothers have practiced breastfeeding siblings concurrently nursing for centuries, and today there are still many families with nursing toddlers who do not wean when their mother becomes pregnant, or who resume breastfeeding after the birth of a new sibling.

Some mothers express concern that their toddler may be taking milk meant to nourish their baby. These mothers may take comfort in the fact that breasts are marvellous things that can adjust their production to meet the demands placed upon them–if they are asked to produce enough milk for two, they usually can! Also, most toddlers breastfeed considerably less frequently than an infant, and get most of their nutrition from other foods”(SOURCE).

Artices

Breastfeeding Through Pregnancy and Beyond by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

Is It Possible to Breastfeed Both an Infant and a Toddler? by La Lecheleague International

 

Nursing During Pregnancy & Tandem Nursing by KellyMom

Book

Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond by Hilary Flower

The first book devoted to tandem breastfeeding, Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond is available from the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s online store Mothers Direct.

 

Breastfeeding multiple babies

(Also see Breastfeeding during pregnancy & tandem feeding)

Breastfeeding Multiples by KellyMom

 

Breastfeeding Multiples by Breastfeeding is Normal

 

Breastfeeding Twins by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

Breastfeeding Triplets, Quads or More by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

Nursing Multiples (Twins, Triplets, and More) by La Lecheleague International

 

Twins & Tandem: Questions answered about nursing twins (and triplets and more), and tandem nursing by Breastfeeding.com

 

Breastfeeding myths & why they are incorrect

 

De-bunking Breastfeeding Myths & Old Wives’ Tales by Breastfeeding is Normal

 

Breastfeeding myths & realities by Promom

 

Some Breastfeeding Myths by Dr Jack Newman (see articles list)

 

More Breastfeeding Myth by Dr Jack Newman (see articles list)

 

Still More Breastfeeding Myths by Dr Jack Newman (see articles list)

 

More and More Breastfeeding Myths by Dr Jack Newman (see articles list)

Breastfeeding premature babies

“Babies that are born pre-term have a special need for their mother’s milk.

The milk produced by the mother of a pre-term infant is higher in protein and other nutrients than the milk produced by the mother of a term infant. Human milk also contains lipase, an enzyme that allows the baby to digest fat more efficiently. Your breastfed premie is less likely to develop infections that are common to babies fed breastmilk substitutes. S/he will be protected by the immunities in your milk while his own immature immune system is developing.

Your fresh milk is best for your baby. Donor milk must be pasteurized, which kills the infection-fighting live cells (though it is certainly the best alternative when a mother is unable to provide her own milk). (Link to Mothers milk Bank)

Research has found that breastfeeding is less stressful than bottle feeding for babies, so let your doctor know you prefer to put the baby to the breast when s/he is ready, instead of using a bottle. To encourage a reluctant baby, you may want to try a special tube feeding system on your nipple or finger. See the Directory for suppliers of tube feeding equipment (under…)

Providing your milk, either directly at the breast or by pumping, benefits you and your baby in other ways. The loving bond you feel as the milk flows is good for your relationship. When you pump milk for your baby or breastfeed him, you secrete hormones that enhance the bonding process. It helps you to think of your baby as a person first, your very own beloved child, and not just the doctor’s medical case. This bond will sustain both of you through any difficulties that lie ahead” (SOURCE).

 

Breastfeeding Premature Infants by La Leche League International

 

Breastfeeding a Premature Baby by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

 

Breastfeeding takes too long – a look at expectations

Some women find that breastfeeding takes too long and so choose to artificially feed their babies (SOURCE). If there is an expectation that feeding a baby shouldn’t take long then women will be confronted by the reality of breastfeeding. Similarly, people who think babies should sleep through the night may identify frequent waking as a ‘sleep problem’ and so adopt measures such as controlled crying.

We won’t be surprised by reality if we know that breastfeeding a small baby is time consuming and that it is normal and healthy for babies and small children to wake frequently through the night. People with realistic expectations find it easier to adapt to the needs of babies and small children, rather than trying to make children meet the needs of adults.

Women who breastfeed are more likely to have:

realistic expectations
good self-esteem
a supportive mother/friend
a partner who was not against breast feeding
the ability to cope with the perceived temporary social isolation (SOURCE).

Most women given time and support, can and do breastfeed.

Breastfeeding education classes are a great way to gain confidence to successfully breastfeed your baby. See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for courses and other support services.

Breastfeeding whilst carrying your baby in a sling can free hands for other tasks.

Also prioritizing tasks in the home may be necessary to make the time needed for breastfeeding. An Australian Breastfeeding Association booklet called Survival Plan has practical suggestions on balancing household requirements with the care of a new baby or your children.

 

Food Intolerance & very unsettled babies

Food Intolerance Network

For an excellent source of information on food intolerance see the Food Intolerance Network, established by Australian Sue Dengate (author of the ‘Fed Up’ series). Her website provides independent information about the effects of food on behaviour, health and learning ability in both children and adults. It also supports families using a low-chemical elimination diet free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers (FAILSAFE) for health, behaviour and learning problems.

 

Articles & stories about food additives and breastfeeding by Sue Dengate

 

Lactose intolerance and the breastfed baby by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

‘Allergy info’ and ‘Food Intolerance’ from the Allergy Unit at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

 

Low milk supply or ‘Insufficient milk’

“Many moms think that they have a low milk supply even though their supply is just fine”(SOURCE).
“The feel of the breast, the behavior of your baby, the frequency of nursing, the sensation of let-down, or the amount you pump are not valid ways to determine if you have enough milk for your baby”(SOURCE).

Low supply a cultural phenomenon

Low milk supply can be caused by poor positioning or feeding to a schedule. Hence ensuring correct positioning and attachment, increasing the number of breastfeeds and other breastfeeding management suggestions are usually sufficient to increase a woman’s milk supply (SOURCE).

“Human children are designed (whether you believe by millions of years of evolution, or by God, it doesn’t matter) — to nurse very frequently, based on the composition of the milk of the species, the fact that all higher primates (Primates are the zoological Order to which humans belong, higher primates include monkeys and apes) keep their offspring in the mother’s arms or on her back for several years, the size of the young child’s stomach, the rapidity with which breast milk is digested, the need for an almost constant source of nutrients to grow that huge brain (in humans, especially), and so on.

By very frequently, I mean 3-4 times per hour, for a few minutes each time. The way in which some young infants are fed in our culture — trying to get them to shift to a 3-4 hour schedule, with feedings of 15-20 minutes at a time, goes against our basic physiology.

But humans are very adaptable, and some mothers will be able to make sufficient milk with this very infrequent stimulation and draining of the breasts, and some children will be able to adapt to large meals spaced far apart. Unfortunately, some mothers don’t make enough milk with this little nursing, and some babies can’t adjust, and so are fussy, cry a lot, seem to want to nurse ‘before it is time’ and fail to grow and thrive.

Of course, usually the mother’s body is blamed — ‘You can’t make enough milk’ — rather than the culturally-imposed expectation that feeding every 3-4 hours should be sufficient, and the mother begins supplementing with formula, which leads to a steady spiral downward to complete weaning from the breast. Human children are also designed to have breast milk be a part of their diet for a minimum of 2.5 years, with many indicators pointing to 6-7 years as the true physiological duration of breastfeeding — regardless of what your cultural beliefs may be”(SOURCE).

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Is your baby really too small?

Mothers are often told, by early childhood nurses and doctors, to supplement breastmilk with formula because their baby is not gaining weight fast enough. For three decades the growth charts upon which this assumption is made have been based on formula fed babies. Now, since April 2006, new World Health Organisation charts are available which are based on the breastfed child as the norm for growth and development.

Ensure your baby is being compared to the new growth charts for breastfed babies. Note that the ‘Blue Book’, issued to newborns by the NSW Department of Health, still has the old charts in them. New charts will be issued when the old stock runs out.

If your supply is genuinely low get help from a breastfeeding professional – that is a lactation consultant (early childhood nurses, GPs and pediatricians are not experts on breastfeeding). See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for breastfeeding support services.

Increasing your supply

An acupuncturist, naturopath or herbalist , who is experienced in working with fertility issues, can help to increase your supply once a genuine undersupply has been established – preferably by a breastfeeding professional (early childhood nurses, GPs and pediatricians are not experts on breastfeeding: lactation consultants are). See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for a list of natural therapists.

If supplementary feeds are needed, after seeking support from a lactation consultant, consider feeding your child with a Supplemental Nursing System rather than from a bottle. See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for suppliers of breastfeeding aids.

 

Increasing Your Supply by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

Not enough milk? by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

GALACTAGOGUES (substances that increase milk supply) by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

What is a breastfeeding supplementer? by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

Increasing low milk supply by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

 

Got Milk: milk supply issues by KellyMom

 

 

Mastitis – alternatives treatments to antibiotics

‘If I had known about herbal remedies, I would not have ended up on antibiotics with a ten day old baby with both of us being treated for the resulting thrush’ (Jenny, mother of 2)

Natural remedies can be highly effective in treating mastitis. An acupuncturist, naturopath or herbalist , who is experienced in working with fertility issues, can provide alternative treatments to antibiotics. See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for a list of natural therapists.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (via Mothers direct) sell breast warming pads called Mastitis Pads which are recommended for “Prevention and relief of pain and discomfort associated with mastitis, blocked milk ducts, engorgement and nipple vasospasm”(Source).

 

Plugged ducts and mastitis by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

 

Mastitis: a non-antibiotic treatment by KellyMom

 

Mastitis – Plugged Ducts and Breast Infections by Bonnie Tilson

 

UK Midwifery Archives: Mastitis

 

 

Nighttime feeding

(Also see Co sleeping – why it benefits the whole family & why it is safe & Sleep

“When my kids breastfeed less during the day they make up for it during the night. When a friend night weaned her son he went back to breastfeeding more during the day to make up the difference. It’s a great natural system. Other things that affect night feeding are changes in environment (e.g. house guests) and the amount of protein they are taking during the day. If their needs for protein are not being met a common sign can be increased feeds. The way to sort that out is to increase the protein in your diet and in bubs diet if s/he is on solids. It did the trick for us” (Sam, mother of 3)

Articles

Night weaning By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

 

Sleep problems by Dr Sears

 

Nighttime and sleep by KellyMom

 

Books

Sleeping Like a Baby: Simple sleep solutions for infants and toddlers by Pinky McKay

Pinky, who is based in Melbourne, is also the author of the acclaimed ‘100 Ways to Calm the Crying’ and ‘Parenting by Heart’

 

The No Cry Sleep Solution & The No Cry Sleep Solution for toddlers and Preschoolers by Elizabeth Pantley

The No Cry Sleep Solution is an excellent guide on practical alternatives to the harmful practice of controlled comforting/crying, which is often the only option given in many parenting books. It provides tips on gentle ways to adjust your child’s sleeping patterns that are applied over time – there are no quick fixes. It can be used by parents who co-sleep or cot sleep and it has great ideas for those who breastfeed to sleep.

 

The Science of Parenting by Margot Sutherland
A practical guidance on sleep, crying, play and building emotional wellbeing for life.

 

Talking with other experienced mothers is a great way to boost your confidence and to get ideas for dealing with sleep issues. See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for a list of support groups – both in-real-life and online.

 

Oversupply

For natural remedies to reduce supply see an acupuncturist, naturopath or herbalist who is experienced in working with fertility issues. See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for a list of natural therapists.

 

 

Here is some information on managing an over abundant milk supply, leaking breasts and/or a forceful let-down reflex.

 

Too much milk by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

 

Forceful Let-down (Milk Ejection Reflex) & Oversupply by KellyMom

 

 

Engorgement by KellyMom

 

Pain – address the cause so breastfeeding may continue

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (via Mothers direct) sell breast warming pads called Mastitis Pads which are recommended for “Prevention and relief of pain and discomfort associated with mastitis, blocked milk ducts, engorgement and nipple vasospasm”(Source).

Nipple problems

Breast and Nipple Care by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

Nipple Problems by La Leche League International

 

Poor attachment

Seek help from a breastfeeding professional – that is a lactation consultant (early childhood nurses, GPs and pediatricians are not experts on breastfeeding). See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for breastfeeding support services.

Nipple pain, cracks, blisters

 

Breast and Nipple Care by The Australian Breastfeeding Association
Healing Tips for Nipple Cracks or Abrasions by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

 

Nipple Problems by La Leche League International

Mastitis

Mastitis

Thrush

Natural remedies can be highly effective in treating thrush. A naturopath or herbalist, can provide alternative treatments. See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for a list of natural therapists.
Thrush by KellyMom

Nipple blanching and vasospasm

Seek help from a breastfeeding professional – that is a lactation consultant (early childhood nurses, GPs and pediatricians are not experts on breastfeeding). See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for breastfeeding support services.
Nipple blanching and vasospasm by KellyMom

Flat or inverted nipples

Seek help from a breastfeeding professional – that is a lactation consultant (early childhood nurses, GPs and pediatricians are not experts on breastfeeding). See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for breastfeeding support services.

 

Flat or inverted nipples by KellyMom

 

More information on common breastfeeding concerns

Common Breastfeeding Concerns by KellyMom

 

 

Relactation & adoptive breastfeeding

Many will be surprised to learn that it is possible to breastfeed adopted children and to relactate at a later date if at first breastfeeding is not successful. You will need support from your partner and may benefit from assistance from a lactation consultant and natural therapists, such as naturopaths or herbalists. See the Natural Parenting Directory (on the left hand side of this website) for breastfeeding support services and natural therapists.

 

Breastfeeding the Adopted Child by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

Adoptive Breastfeeding Resource Website

 

Adoptive Breastfeeding Support Group – Online Forum

 

Breastfeeding your Adopted Baby by Dr Jack Newman (see articles list)

 

Relactation: a review of experience and recommendations for practice by Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, World Health Organisation

 

Mental health, attachment and breastfeeding: implications for adopted children and their mothers by Karleen D Gribble

 

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Breastfeeding successfully

How do you establish and maintain a successful breastfeeding relationship?

WHO (World Health Organisation) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) recommend:

Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life
Exclusive breastfeeding – that is the infant only receives breastmilk without any additional food or drink, not even water, for the first 6 months
Breastfeeding on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night
No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers/dummies (Source)

Baby-led attachment by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

“Baby-led attachment is the term given to the process where your baby follows a pattern of instinctive behaviours to get to the breast. This can be for the first breastfeed or at any time when the attachment is not correct and your nipples are damaged” (Source).

 

Examining the Evidence for Cue [on demand] feeding of Breastfed Infants by Lisa Marasco, BA, IBCLC & Jan Barger, MA, RN, IBCLC

 

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Breastmilk – the NORMAL food for young humans

“Breastmilk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life” (Source).

Regardless of where in the world you live, the World Health Organisation recomends,

exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months
from 6 months up to 2 years of age or beyond infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding (Source).

Breastfeeding fosters independence – “Breastfeeding is the best and easiest way to ease your child’s transition from babyhood to security and independence and this reason alone should be sufficient for you to continue to nurse beyond infancy” (Source).

BABIES that are breastfed for longer than six months are less likely to develop mental health problems in childhood, new research shows (SOURCE)

“Breastmilk changes to suit the babies needs and stimulates immunity*

Breast milk is low in fat compared to the milk of other species

Breast milk has sugar for brain power

Breast milk provides zinc, iron and iodine (which are essential for brain development) in the most easily assimilated form

Breast milk has high water content – there is no need to offer extra water, even on very hot days

Breastfeeding calms mothers by releasing the hormone prolactin, which has been called ‘nature’s Valium’

Breastfeeding is pleasurable for women and babies/children as it releases oxytocin, the same hormone that is released at orgasm

Breastfeeding delays the return of menstruation and fertility

Breastfeeding assists in weight loss

Breastfeeding protects women against disease, namely osteoporosis, ovarian cancer and pre-menopausal breast cancer” (Source)

* More on breastmilk stimulating immunity

Examining the Evidence for Cue feeding of Breastfed Infants by Lisa Marasco, BA, IBCLC & Jan Barger, MA, RN, IBCLC

“One of the lesser-understood roles of human milk is to supplement the young child’s immune system until his fully matures. … As baby grows older, human milk continues to pass on antibodies for all those organisms to which the mother has developed her own immunity. Even more amazing, if a baby contracts an illness that mom has not been exposed to previously, he will transfer this organism through his saliva to the breast, where antibodies are manufactured on site and then sent back to baby via the milk to help him cope. Science does not come even close to duplicating this feat!

…Mothers who wean their babies from the breast during the first and even second and third years of life often notice that their child becomes sick more than before, or for the first time; the immunological advantage of human milk does not disappear after a set period of time and also cannot be scheduled.” (Source)

Breastfeeding & brain development for human love & peace

“Only in the human mammal do we find the newborn separated from its mother at birth and the mother not breastfeeding it’s newborn and infant. We have discovered that such aberrant behaviors which violate millions of years of evolutionary biology and psychobiology have exacted a terrible price upon the physical, emotional and social health of the newborn and infant and as a child, adolescent and adult – depression, impulse dyscontrol, violence and substance abuse” (Source).

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Feminist economic analysis of breastfeeding

Mothers Milk and Markets by Julie Smith

“In a world where not valuing something in dollar terms means it is not valued at all, [the] economic invisibility [of breastmilk] ca have major consequences for the ‘market’ for mothers milk, for infant and maternal health and well-being, and for appropriate public policy” (Source).

 

Mothers’ Milk and Measures of Economic Output by Julie Smith & Lindy Ingham

“Human milk is an important resource produced by women. Significant maternal and child health costs result from children’s premature weaning onto formula or solid food. While human milk production meets the standard national accounting criteria for inclusion in GDP, current practice is to ignore its significant economic value and the substantial private and public health costs of commercial breastmilk substitutes” (Source).

 

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Formula beware

“Formula feeding is the longest lasting uncontrolled experiment lacking informed consent in the history of medicine” Frank Oski, M.D., retired editor, Journal of Pediatrics (Source)

Risks of artificial feeding

“The use of infant formula doubles the risk of infant death for American babies”(Source)

“Formula fed infants are at a high risk of exposure to life-threatening bacterial contamination [in the US]” (Source)

“For years it was believed that the risks of illness and death from bottle feeding were largely confined to children in developing countries….but babies in affluent societies are also falling ill and dying due to an early diet of infant convenience food” (Source)

Compared to breastfed babies, formula fed babies are:

twice as likely to die from any cause in the first six weeks of life
five times more likely to be admitted to hospital suffering from gastroenteritis
twice as likely to suffer from diarrhoea
twice as likely to suffer from inner ear infection
twice as likely to develop eczema or a wheeze if there is a family history of atopic disease
five times more likely to develop urinary tract infections
six to ten times more likely to develop necrotising enterocolitis – a serious infection of the intestine, in the first six month of life
twice as likely to develop juvenile-onset insulin-dependent (TYPE1) diabetes (Source).

Artificial feeding does not stimulate immunity

Artificially fed babies have higher illness rates and hence greater medical costs (doctors & prescriptions) and (potentially) lost wages (Source)

Artificially fed infants are 30-50% more likely to become obese as adults – conversely “breastfed infants [are] 20-35 per cent less likely to become obese….The sharp rise in artificial feeding during the 1950s and 1960s may help explain the sudden rise in adult obesity since the 1980s [in Australia]” (Source)

“There is a 33-1/3% increase in breast cancer rates among women who were artificially fed” (Source)

“Artificially-fed children, like children of smokers, have lower IQs” (Source)

Formula cannot change to suit the baby’s needs, unlike breast milk, and it is difficult to digest

Artificial feeding can result in incorrect facial development – more bottle fed babies need orthodontic care and are slower to develop clear speech patterns (Source)

Artificial feeding is inconvenient and impractical – it’s very demanding of time and energy: shopping for formula and supplies; preparation, cleaning/ sterilising; etc.

Artificial feeding is very expensive – formula feeding costs about $135 per month ($1620 pa) while hypoallergenic formula costs $270 per month ($3230 per annum)

Just one bottle of formula can…

“Did you know that just one bottle can have serious consequences for both mother and baby? Unfortunately it is very easy to give a breastfed baby ‘just one bottle of formula’ and the reasons for giving the bottle often show concern and compassion. For example:

Letting the mother have a well-deserved rest after a long delivery.
Settling a hungry baby who is difficult to feed or calm.
Giving the mother’s sore nipples a rest.
Raising a baby’s low blood sugar in the hospital.

But studies have shown that ‘just one bottle of formula’ can be harmful to both mother and baby by:

Increasing the likelihood of serious allergy to cow’s milk protein. Formula is like any other drug; it is a foreign protein to the newborn’s gut.
Increasing the chance of bowel infection and diarrhea by changing the pH of the bowel. It may take up to one month to return to normal, safer levels.
Causing nipple confusion, flow confusion or flow preference. Bottles and breasts don’t feel the same in the baby’s mouth, nor do they flow at the same rates.
Affecting the delicate supply and demand balance. Delays in feeding at the breast will result in a decrease in production of mother’s milk.
Increasing engorgement by not emptying the breasts.
Decreasing a mother’s confidence in her ability to feed her baby.
Reducing the duration of breastfeeding.
Increasing expectations of an infant for “more”.
Changing the infant’s suck (may not be as effective at breastfeeding)” (Source).

“When babies are born, they have sterile gastrointestinal tracts. If babies are exclusively breastfed, they develop a natural healthy gut flora. … This means that the major flora in breastfed babies has reduced numbers of bad types of bacteria and increased numbers of good bacteria. Formula-fed babies have increased numbers of bad bacteria, leaving them at more risk for illness” (Source).

Formula is the fourth best choice for babies

“The next best thing to mother herself comes from a breast, not from a can. The free sample perched so enticingly on the shelf at the doctor’s office is only the fourth best solution to breastfeeding problems.

According to the World Health Organization the best way to feed babies is:

 

1st breastfeeding;

 

2nd the mother’s own milk expressed and given to her child some other way;

 

3rd the milk of another human mother (see Mothers Milk Bank); and

 

4th artificial milk feeds.

 

We need to keep this clear in our own minds and make it clear to others” (Source).

 

Artificial feeding is less than adequate for those in poverty and at times of disaster, as evidenced by hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2006.

 

What’s missing from formula?

Suck On This by The Ecologist (April 2006)

“Formula is the only manufactured food that humans are encouraged to consume exclusively for a period of months, even though we know that no human body can be expected to stay healthy and thrive on a steady diet of processed food” (Source).

MORE

 

Comparison of Human Milk And Formula by Dr Sears

Marketing of breastmilk substitutes

“The human species has been breastfeeding for nearly half a million years. It’s only in the last 60 years that we have begun to give babies the highly processed convenience food called ‘formula’. The health consequences are staggering. With UK formula manufacturers spending around 20 pounds per baby promoting this ‘baby junk food’ compared to the partly 14 pence per baby the government spends promoting breastfeeding, can we ever hope to reverse this trend?” (SOURCE).

 

“To increase profits, baby milk companies have to persuade health workers and mothers to bottle feed. Their tactics range from advertising and misinformation to sending sales reps into hospitals to promote their milks to sponsoring health workers, conferences and even health facilities.

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981. The Assembly is the policy-setting body of the World Health Organisation. The Code applies to breastmilk substitutes, bottle-fed complementary foods (‘toddler formula’), bottles and teats.

The International Code aims to protect all mothers and babies from inappropriate company marketing practices. It bans all promotion of breastmilk substitutes, bottles and teats. It aims to ensure mothers receive accurate information from health workers. Subsequent Resolutions of the World Health Assembly have clarified and amplified the International Code.

Baby food companies may not:

Give free supplies of baby milk to hospitals;
Promote their products to the public or health workers (ie. they may not advertise at all);
Use baby pictures on their baby milk, bottle and teat labels;
Give gifts to mothers or health workers;
Give free samples to parents;
Promote baby foods or drinks for babies under 6 months old;
Labels must be in a language understood by the mother and must include a prominent health warning.

The Code is intended as a minimum requirement for both developed and developing countries”(Source).

 

How breastfeeding is undermined in Australia

Many marketing practices in Australia undermine breastfeeding and violate the Code, its spirit and intent.

Code Violations 2007: Look at what they’re doing – Monitoring Marketing Practices in Australia
This pamphlet is an excellent summary of how the Australian Code of Practice breaches the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

 

How breastfeeding is undermined in the USA

“In the USA, in what has been called a battle between mother’s milk and corporate power, the companies that make infant formula put intense pressure on the government to change its approach in a new advertising campaign to promote breast-feeding” (Source).

How breastfeeding is undermined globally

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1.5 million infants die as a result of diarrhoea every year because they are not breastfed. Despite this, companies continue to promote artificial feeding in ways that undermine breastfeeding. The International Baby Food Action Network (a network of over 200 citizens groups in more than 100 countries) works to protect breastfeeding and to ensure that mothers receive correct information about infant feeding free from commercial pressure. IBFAN also works to improve the safety of artificial feeds (Source).

“Use my picture if it will help,” said this mother at the Children’s Hospital, Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo: UNICEF (Source)

 

How breastfeeding is undermined by IBFAN

Explains the ways in which formula marketing endangers breastfeeding success.

 

Monitoring the baby feeding industry by IBFAN

This link takes you to a page that gives guidelines for monitoring and reporting breeches of the code.

 

Baby Milk Action

“Baby Milk Action is a non-profit organisation which aims to save lives and to end the avoidable suffering caused by inappropriate infant feeding. Baby Milk Action works within a global network to strengthen independent, transparent and effective controls on the marketing of the baby feeding industry” (Source).

 

Articles

The deadly influence of formula in America by Dr. Linda Folden Palmer

The Risks of Infant Formula Feeding by Breastfeeding Taskforce of Greater Los Angeles

Suck On This by The Ecologist (April 2006)

Baby food marketing and fat: The contribution of infant food marketing to the obesogenic environment in Australia by Dr Julie Smith

Just one bottle of formula… by Lactation innovation

The Case for the Virgin Gut: Even the occasional bottle of formula has its risks by Ann Calandro, RNC, IBCLC

 

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Growth charts for breastfed babies – commonly available charts are based on formula fed babies

Mothers are often told, by early childhood nurses and doctors, to supplement breastmilk with formula because their baby is not gaining weight fast enough. For three decades the growth charts upon which this assumption is made have been based on formula fed babies. Now, in April 2006, new World Health Organisation charts are available which are based on the breastfed child as the norm for growth and development.

“The new international Child Growth Standards for infants and young children … provide evidence and guidance for the first time about how every child in the world should grow” (Source).

Growth charts used since the late 1970s (including those in the ‘Blue Book’ or Personal Health Record issued to newborns by NSW Health) have been based on data from a limited sample of children from the United States who were given breastmilk, formula or complementary feeds. Since the rates of growth for formula and breastfed children differ, generations of children around the world have been incorrectly diagnosed as underweight and moved from breast to formula due to these faulty growth charts.

“Healthy breastfed infants tend to grow more rapidly than formula-fed infants in the first 2-3 months of life and less rapidly from 3 to 12 months” (Source).

“The new WHO Child Growth Standards confirm that children born anywhere in the world and given the optimum start in life have the potential to develop to within the same range of height and weight”(Source). Ensure the growth charts your child is being measured against are the World Health Organization’s new Child Growth Standards.

 

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Mothers Milk Bank

“The next best thing to mother herself comes from a breast, not from a can. The free sample perched so enticingly on the shelf at the doctor’s office is only the fourth best solution to breastfeeding problems. According to the World Health Organization the best way to feed babies is:

1st breastfeeding;

2nd the mother’s own milk expressed and given to her child some other way;

3rd the milk of another human mother; and

4th artificial milk feeds” (Source).

 

“Every body knows that for the best start in life a baby needs mother’s milk. But what happens when a mother has insufficient milk glands, has had past breast surgery or is taking medication (e.g. chemotherapy for cancer) and breastfeeding is not an option. What happens when a mother has an infection that could be spread to her baby through breastfeeding, such as HIV or hepatitis or a health problem that prevents her from breastfeeding. For these babies an alternative must be sought” (Source).

All about Human Milk Banking by Sam Pearson

 

Once there were many mothers’ milk banks in Australia which have since closed. However there are mothers milk banks currently in the planning stages in Victoria, NSW, Brisbane and North Queensland. The Department of Health and Ageing’s recent Inquiry into Breastfeeding has been tabled in parliament with a specific recommendation regarding milk banking:

Recommendation 8 – The health and economic benefits of breastfeeding: That the Department of Health and Ageing fund a feasibility study for a network of milk banks in Australia including the development of a national regulatory and quality framework within which a network of milk banks in Australia could operate. The feasibility study should include funding pilot programs at the Mothers Milk Bank at the John Flynn Private Hospital Medical Centre, Gold Coast and the King Edward Memorial Hospital milk bank in Perth.

Milk from the milk banks below goes exclusively to premature babies at the moment because they do not have enough to spare for other babies.

To donate & receive milk in Australia

In Western Australia:

Prem Milk Bank

Dr Ben Hartmann
Neonatology Clinical Care Unit
King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women
(08) 9340 1260
ben.hartmann@health.wa.gov.au
www.wirf.com.au (select Prem Milk Bank)

 

In Queensland (Brisbane & Gold Coast):

Mothers Milk Bank

Marea Ryan, Director

0413 727 545

marea@mothersmilkbank.com.au

www.mothersmilkbank.com.au

Australians can obtain human milk from overseas milk banks and recipients only have to pay for the shipping fees.

 

Other Milk Bank websites

Human Milk Banking Association of North America

 

Mothers Milk Bank at Austin, Texas, USA


Banking on Breastmilk from Breastfeeding.com

 

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Weaning

“Sometimes a mother is pressured to wean, even though both she and her baby are enjoying breastfeeding. She may have been told to wean for one of the following reasons:

Milk quality or quantity
Going back to work
Sick baby or mother
Troubles with biting
Refusal to suck
Return of menstrual cycle
Pregnant and still breastfeeding
Community pressure
Breastfeeding Problems” (Source)

You don’t have to wean for any of these reasons – find out More

Before weaning your child consider that, regardless of where in the world you live, the World Health Organisation recomends:

exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months
from 6 months up to 2 years of age or beyond infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding (Source).

Also weaning is not an all-or-nothing process. You can always keep one (or more) feedings per day and eliminate the rest (see Partial Weaning).

 

Child-led weaning (full-term breastfeeding)

“Child-led weaning occurs when a child no longer has a need to nurse – nutritionally or emotionally. A baby who self-weans is usually well over a year old, is getting most of his nutrition from solids, is drinking well from a cup, and cuts down on nursing gradually. If children are truly allowed to self-wean in their own time, most will do so somewhere between the 2nd and 4th year. Obviously, some will wean before this time and some will wean after this time, too”

(Source).

Weaning by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

Just Breastmilk, Thanks! by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

Weaning: How does it happen by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

What is child-led weaning like? by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

What to expect when breastfeeding a toddler

Toddler nursing: What to expect by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

Do babies under 12 months self wean?

“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 mom is encouraging weaning. However, it is very common to hear a mother say that her baby self-weaned at 9 or 10 months old, or even earlier. How do we reconcile these statements?” (Source).

More

 

“Babies in breastfeeding cultures usually nurse for at least 2 years. Yet babies in the United States often “wean themselves” before the age of one year, even if their mothers had hoped to nurse longer. What’s going on? It’s often ‘Triple Nipple Syndrome’: Breast, Bottle, and Pacifier” (Source).

More

A natural age of weaning by Katherine Dettwyler

“The minimum predicted age for a natural age of weaning in humans is 2.5 years, with a maximum of 7.0 years”

 

Mother-led weaning

“If you feel that you need to encourage weaning before your baby is truly ready, it is possible to gently and lovingly “help” your child along the way, while at the same time remaining as flexible and as respectful to his needs as possible. Some children, even though they’re not truly ready, can be gently weaned without too much of a protest. It’s important to always conduct mother-led weaning in a way that is gentle, gradual, flexible, patient, and as respectful to your child’s needs as possible. Be aware of any signs that the weaning process is going too quickly for your child and be ready to slow things down some if necessary.

If you want to take an active approach to weaning before baby show signs on his own, you might consider waiting until at least the age of 18 months. At this age most children can be told “no” and asked to wait on nursing more easily than a younger child can”(Source).

More

Gradual weaning

“Gradual weaning allows you to gradually substitute other kinds of nutrition, affection and attention to compensate for the loss of nursing. Gradual weaning also allows the immunity levels in your breast milk to increase (as overall milk supply decreases) and thus give your child a last bit of extra protection against infection. Weaning should occur as slowly as your situation permits to make it easier on both you and your child” (Source).

More

 

Partial weaning

Weaning is not an all-or-nothing process. You can always keep one (or more) feedings per day [or night] and eliminate the rest.

(See Work – returning to work outside the home whilst staying attached)

 

Partial Weaning & Combination Feeding by Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC

 

Night weaning gently

Night weaning by Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC

 

Changing the Sleep Pattern In The Family Bed by Dr Jay Gordon

Child-led introduction of solid foods

 

Baby Led Weaning by Kate Roger
When your baby is around 4 months old you may find “Everyone else is weaning but somehow it doesn’t feel right for you and your baby? Stop! There is another way. A fantastically instinctive and intuitive approach to weaning has been developed by writer and researcher, Gill Rapley.

Baby led weaning basically is what it says – you do not even offer solid food until the baby shows signs of internal and external readiness” (Source).

Solid foods & the breastfed baby by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

Kelly offers an excellent guide to starting solids for a breastfed baby for whom breast milk will remain the primary source of nutrition past 6 months.

“Most of the advice on starting solids seems to have been written on the assumption that baby will be weaned (or mostly weaned) between 6 and 9 months. The relatively large amounts of solids suggested early on are simply not consistent (for most babies, at any rate) with keeping breastmilk primary in baby’s diet for the first 12 months, as is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organisation and breastfeeding experts worldwide” (Source).

 

Guidelines for implementing a baby-led approach to the introduction of solid food by Gill Rapley

Baby-led weaning (referenced)
“Baby-led weaning means forgetting baby purées and weaning spoons and simply letting your baby feed himself” (Source).

Guiding Principles for Complementary Feeding of the Breastfed Child by the World Health Organization, 2001

 

Just Breastmilk, Thanks! by the Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

Breastmilk does provide enough iron to babies over 6 months

When your baby is around 6 months you may hear that the introduction of solids is necessary as breastmilk no longer provides enough iron. This belief is based on past research which was done by looking at formula fed babies, because formula contains more iron than breastmilk.

“The three important minerals calcium, phosphorus, and iron are present in breastmilk at lower levels than in formula, but in breastmilk these minerals are present in forms that have high bioavailability. For example, 50 to 75 percent of the iron in breastmilk is absorbed by the baby. With formula, as little as four percent of the iron is absorbed into baby’s bloodstream” (Source).

More recent studies have concluded that the earlier research was flawed due to its selection criteria and that unless the mother is anemic there is no evidence that breastfed babies need to start solids at 6 months to sustain good iron levels.


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