The Perils of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding in public, pumping at work, sore nipples, engorgement, stringent diet, thrush, constant thirst, raging appetite, extra twenty pounds {post pregnancy}, constant nightly feedings, bite nipples, lopsided breast, resentful feeling towards husband {he can sleep when I can't}, no alcohol {the worst}--- AHHH!! The perils of breastfeeding. In spite of all this I constantly remind myself that to be mother is to be selfless. Giving my baby the absolute best will always be my priority. Every women who makes the decision to breastfeed is making a huge sacrifice, but it's worth it. Shit breastfeeding is by far the hardest task I've ever had to do in life, including birthing little D. Giving birth is a physiological process, my body knew what do do and when to do it, unassisted by anyone. Breastfeeding is a whole nother can of worms. For those women who do it for a week, a month, 6 months, a year, 2 years {God bless you} I commend you. It's a challenge ESPECIALLY if you work full-time.


As Lil' D is eating more solids my supply has decreased. In February, I will begin to wean her, well after I find a suitable alternative to cow's milk{explanation in another blog post}. She has begun to show signs of refusal for my breast already, especially during the day. She would rather eat Cheerios or guacamole. At night and as she first wakes in the morning it's different. She is inconsolable if she can't have "Titty Time". I thought long and hard about weaning her at one year. We plan to have another baby, sooner then later, and I need to get my body in shape. I can not have baby fat from baby number one on top of baby fat from number two. NOPE, WRONG ANSWER.  I got from March to September to get it right. 

Weaning information here.

Breastfeeding on Demand

Lil' D's pediatrician says feed her every two hours. My instinct is to feed her when she gives me the cues that she is hungry. These cues often happen more than once in a hour, but most times every 1.5 hours.

Breastfeeding on demand—-also known as feeding “on cue” and “baby-led” feeding—-is about responding flexibly to your baby’s hunger cues. It means initiating feedings when the baby requests them, and continuing each feeding session until the baby is satisfied. Source

 Breast milk production is keyed to the frequency of suckling. The more a baby nurses, the more milk a breast produces. If a baby suckles less frequently, milk production slows. For this reason, breastfeeding on demand is the ideal way to keep a mother’s milk production in sync with her baby’s needs. Source

For more of the scientific evidence for breastfeeding on demand click here.

 Learned this the hard way:

Just as importantly, full breasts may interfere with the quality of your milk supply. When breasts are full, the milk that comes out is low-fat “foremilk.” Only when breasts are soft—more empty—do breasts start to produce the higher-fat hind milk. Babies presented with full breasts may fill up on low-fat milk, which can cause colic and gastric problems (Woolridge 1995). Such babies may also have to feed more frequently to get enough calories. Source


Nightime feeding have been the toughest for me. Prior to Lil' D's arrival I read somewhere that co-sleeping was the best way to maximize your sleep when feeding on demand. Well from day one of me being a Mommy, Lil' D' and I have slept in the same bed. I've even learned to nurse lying down {the best position ever @ 4 in the morning}. Its been almost 3 weeks and I feel like I've gotten this breastfeeding thing down. I often think that the purchase of a crib was a waste. The idea of her being in a different room than me puts me on edge. Maybe when she is sleeping through the night or when I return to work I may feel differently. 


My MIL and parents don't agree with co-sleeping or picking Lil' D up as soon as she cries. Well 'Rents its called "proximal care" and it works for me. Proximal care is the practice of holding your infant at least 80% of the time between 8am and 8pm, breastfeeding relatively frequently, and responding rapidly to infant cries. Many (but not all) of parents who practice this care also practice co-sleeping.


All-in-all my first 17  days of motherhood have been great! I got over the major aches and pain of labour after a week. There is still an occasional Braxton Hicks-like contraction and back pain when bending over to long {esp. when changing diapers}. My belly looks and feels like a deflated balloon. Next week when I purshase the stroller I will begin to excercise. I feel like a caged tiger because of the pediatrician's imposed "House Arrest" for two months. I never thought I would get such joy from getting in the car and going to fill  up my gas tank or going to the drive-up mailboxes at the post office. I sometimes feel like this experience is part of a 12 Step program and I just have to take one day at a time.



The Fultz Quads

As I was catching up on my favorite blogs I arrived on this blog post from BLACKTATING: Breastfeeding News & Views from a Mom of Color about the Fultz Quads. Prior to reading the post I had never heard about the quads. I was fascinated by the brief depiction Elita provided of their life. Check out the post below:
"During the opening plenary at the Black Mother's Breastfeeding Association's third annual conference, I learned about the Fultz Quads, quadruplet girls born to a tenant farmer named Pete and his deaf, mute wife Annie Mae on May 23, 1946. I'm not sure how I'd never learned about this important piece of African-American history, but I'm happy to be able to share it with you, in case you've never heard of them either.

You can imagine the chances of a couple conceiving quadruplets in the 40s, decades before the availability of fertility treatments, and the fact that the family was poor and black made this a sensational story that garnered nation-wide media attention. The Fultz's already had six children at home when Annie Mae headed to the hospital to give birth to her babies.

The white doctor who delivered the quads, Fred Klenner, gained world renown for attending the birth of the first recorded set of black quadruplets. Dr. Klenner decided to name the girls himself, calling them Mary Ann, Mary Louise, Mary Alice and Mary Catherine. All of the names were for women in his family. The black delivery nurse was quoted in a newspaper article as saying, "At that time, you know, it was before integration. They did us how they wanted. And these were very poor people. He was a sharecropper, Pete was, and she couldn't read or write."

As much of a media circus as the girls' birth was, it seems no one wanted in on the action more than the infant formula companies, whose business was exploding due to the post-war baby boom. In addition to making the girls guinea pigs for his 'Vitamin C therapy,' Dr. Klenner also negotiated a deal with the PET milk company, which agreed to provide the girls with formula, food, medical care, a private nurse and a farm when they reached adulthood, in exchange for using their image in promotional materials.

This is the beginning of the aggressive marketing of infant formula to African-Americans in this country. Surely the wife of a poor sharecropper would have breastfed her children had PET not come into the picture. And of course black women were breastfeeding their children at this time because they really had no choice. Formula would not have been an affordable or viable option for most people. So although white women were turning to formula in droves, the formula companies were missing a huge portion of the market because black women were still breastfeeding. So how do you change their minds? The image of four beautiful black baby girls 'growing up strong' on formula was probably pretty convincing.
You probably won't be surprised to find out that things didn't work out so well for the Fultz Quads. They were eventually adopted by the baby nurse provided to the family by PET. The farm they were promised turned out to be in the middle of nowhere on land that couldn't grow weeds. They grew up embittered over the way PET profited from their image while they remained poor. The public eventually forgot about them and they lived quiet lives.
They got to meet Presidents Harry Truman, John Kennedy and Althea Gibson, appeared on television shows, and in hundreds of ads for PET milk.

But what were the consequences of being fed 'baby milk' in infancy? Well, the three eldest of the Fultz quads were all dead of breast cancer before they reached age 55. The youngest sister, Mary Catherine, also has breast cancer. I'll let you draw your own conclusions."
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For a more in depth story on the Fultz Quads click here.