Milk Mania

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog (even though today is Wednesday). Every Tuesday (with occasional exceptions) "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Alisa Hamilton

My daughter was three months old when I had to take my first business trip.

Actually, it was three weeks' worth of small trips all over the country. I was breastfeeding exclusively at the time. I just wasn't prepared to introduce formula unless it was absolutely necessary. And as far as I could tell, it wasn't.

I knew for about a month in advance that the trips were looming, which gave me adequate time to stress and panic about how my husband would feed her while I was gone. Would he be able to wake up in the middle of the night? Would he warm the milk correctly? And most importantly, how was I going to store enough milk to sustain our daughter while I was gone?

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I obsessed about my milk production. Every ounce was cherished, sealed, labeled and frozen. When I accidentally dropped an unsealed bottled into the sink, I almost cried as I watched those precious ounces go down the drain. If my husband decided to feed my daughter an extra bottle "because she was hungry," it meant that I had to redouble my efforts to make up the difference. If I pumped less than my normal amount one day, I added another pumping the next day.

In the end, I had enough milk to make it through the first week of trips. Since the new airline regulations meant I couldn't carry liquids onto a plane, I checked a small cooler filled with bottles of milk and freezer packs inside my normal suitcase. All of the milk survived, as did my husband and daughter. But I don't look back fondly on my milk mania.

How have you balanced work, travel and breastfeeding? I'd love to hear more creative -- and maybe less manic -- solutions.

Alisa Hamilton is a market research professional who lives and works in Nashville, Tenn. She is the mother of a four-month-old daughter. You can read other blogs by Alisa at It's Mommy Time.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  December 20, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Supplement with formula. End of problem.


Posted by: experienced mom | December 20, 2006 7:16 AM

People might think this is disgusting but I had enough milk to feed 10 babies. I could have had my own UN program and been dispatched to third world countries.

Needless to say I never had any mania - and I introduced a bottle rather early and there was no confusion. I also never had the travel issues of today with liquids on the plane. I pumped and dumped on the 2 or 3 trips I had to take when I was breastfeeding, I had plenty stored.

Alisa - it sounds like you also had anxiety about leaving your husband alone, which everyone does. I guess my only advise is that it gets easier with each kid. I don't think it is a sin to introduce formula early on either - I know plenty of babies that took both.

Posted by: cmac | December 20, 2006 7:21 AM

I once forgot to bring my pump on a trip. My excuse is that I hadn't traveled before and I was only doing so at that time to attend the funeral of a friend who'd died unexpectedly. I didn't discover my dilemma until about 10:00 at night. Thank God the Super Walmart was open.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | December 20, 2006 7:37 AM

Few things are more impressive than a woman who works AND breastfeeds exclusively! Hats off to those who do this!

Posted by: moxiemom | December 20, 2006 7:46 AM

I can sympathize. I never traveled when my child was nursing. But I remember the day to day stress of having to pump enough breast milk. When she finally weaned 2 years later, I had to throw away a weeks worth of breast milk. I felt like crying too. Best of luck to you and bravo for nursing.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 7:48 AM

foamgnome,

When I was pumping, I had built up a fairly large store. The lactation consultant had suggested that I could donate it to the human milk bank. I ended up using all the stored milk, but I remember thinking that the idea was really good.

Posted by: AnotherRockvilleMom | December 20, 2006 7:53 AM

To anotherrockvillemom: That is cool. I never had more then a two week supply in the freezer. I just didn't pump much when DD was home with me full time. It seemed like she nursed every 1 1/2 for 6 months. But I did only need to formula supplement a few times. So I felt good about it. I also nursed her and pumped for 2 full years. I felt successful in the end. But I remember the daily stress and sense of failure when I needed to bottle supplement a few times.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 7:56 AM

I was only able to breastfeed for six weeks, so I didn't have to worry about traveling and having enough milk. I was in the hospital for a week and my husband fed my daughter formula and she survived. I came out of the hospital on a lot of drugs, so I just gave up the breastfeeding, to be honest I was having a hard time anyway. I wish I could've been like you cmac!

Do they test the breast milk that is donated for disease? Can AIDs and other diseases be transferred through breast milk.

Posted by: scarry | December 20, 2006 7:59 AM

The best (only) way I know how to balance this is to stop expecting yourself to be able to do everything perfectly. Life has a way of humbling you.

I went through this myself -- not the travel issue, but the stress of feeling like it was So Important that my baby had nothing but my breast milk. Problem is I had complications that led to four days in the hospital, and when I tried to breastfeed, nothing came out. I remember sobbing in the hospital bed because I couldn't do something so elementary -- I mean, Every Other Mother in creation could do it naturally, so how horrible a mom was I? And of course the fact that I had just been through physical hell didn't count for anything in my mind. (the nurse kept trying to talk some sense into me, but I wouldn't hear it)

I spent most of my daughter's first 6 months fighting to produce enough milk. I beat myself up about her colic, which I attributed to the formula we had to supplement with, so we spent months trying formula after formula, each more expensive than the last (we magically hit the "right" one at about 12 weeks -- imagine that). I finally gave up breastfeeding entirely at 5 1/2 mos., when I was pumping so much to make a few ounces that I had bleeding blisters.

Point is, all of this was stupid and completely unnecessary -- I wish I could go back in time and slap some sense into myself. I had this image in my head of what a mom is supposed to do and be, and I was determined to live up to that standard regardless of the cost to myself -- or my husband, who had to put up with this crazy woman for months. The saddest part is that I missed my daughter, too; when I think back now, I remember the feeling of failure as much as I remember the joy in this wonderful new life.

It makes me sad, because it was all so unnecessary, but I was too wrapped up in unrealistic expectations to realize that at the time. Now, despite being mostly formula-fed, my daughter is happy and thriving and healthy as a horse -- whereas her little brother, who I breastfed with much less struggle, is constantly sick. Go figure!

Posted by: Laura | December 20, 2006 8:09 AM

scarry - it was recommended that I donate to a milk bank since I was such a prolific producer and I can't remember what the specific testing was, but I know the milk went through some type of process. I do remember that there was a time restriction from the time you pumped to the time you dropped it off and I could never meet the deadline.

8 years ago it was only the level 4 trauma hospitals that had the milk banks - these hospitals treat premies - and most of the milk was used for those babies.

Someone else probably has better information. Oh - I also remember that all the milk was combined, so it wasn't like my milk went to just one baby.

Nothing like talking about donated breast milk at 8 am.

Posted by: cmac | December 20, 2006 8:13 AM

Scarry,

Yes, donated breast milk is tested for diseases. Also, an extensive history is taken of the donor to determine the suitability of the milk. You can find outmore at http://www.hmbana.org/

Also there is an organization for donation to countries around the world. You can view this at http://breastmilkproject.org/

Info courtesy of Fredia

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 8:13 AM

Some information from the Human Milk Bank Association of North America:

"How does a donor milk bank operate?

Donor milk banks receive milk from lactating mothers who have been carefully screened for health behaviors and communicable diseases, similarly to the way blood banks screen donors. Additionally, milk bank donors must:

be non-smokers
not regularly consume any medication (including mega-vitamins)
not consume excluded medications or alcohol within the specified exclusion period

Milk is transported to the milk bank frozen. The milk from several donors is pooled after thawing, and then heat-treated to kill any bacteria or viruses. The milk is processed and then refrozen. It is only dispensed after a sample is cultured and shows no bacteria growth. Milk is shipped frozen by overnight express to hospitals and to individual recipients at home.

The milk is dispensed by physician prescription or by hospital purchase order only. There is a processing fee charged to cover the expense of collecting, pasteurizing and dispensing the milk."

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 8:17 AM

I have to agree with some of the other moms. Supplementing with formula would not have been the end of the world.

While I applaud your effort to do what you thought was right, I wonder if you expected too much of yourself in the pursuit of being the perfect mom. That is how it appears, to me at least. And, that is why I see your "mania" as something that was over the top.

Once we all accept that we will never be the "perfect" parent, and our kids will still survive and be happy, the better off we will all be.

Posted by: JS | December 20, 2006 8:18 AM

I have heard that purchased breast milk is wickedly expensive. A supply and demand thing as well as the extensive testing done to insure the milk is safe. I think if I had to do it all over again, I would not have beaten myself up over occassionally supplementing. But I applaud the great lengths that women go to breast feed their baby. I do believe if I was a SAHM, I would never had a problem with having enough breast milk. It was just that a few times, I did not pump out enough.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 8:27 AM

Scarry,

On a related note, many drugs, both prescription and non-prescription can be passed thru the milk to the infant. One of the major issues for lactation consultants is insuring that the mother is aware of this. The woman's doctor takes the lead in identifying what drugs may be passed along with lactation. LC's provide support to the patient and doctors on this issue.

So, for all of you new mother and expectant ones, please inform your doctor of ANY prescription and non prescription drugs, vitamins and supplements that you are taking!

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 8:27 AM

I had easily a couple hundred ounces (two plastic grocery bags full) of milk stored in our freezer. But when I went back to work, my son would not take the bottle. He eventually did after a few months of complete stress for everyone but I knew we'd never use all that milk. I tried contacting several places about donating the milk and even asked my doctor but no one could ever tell me how to donate. I ended up throwing it all out because it got too old. Now I only have one day's supply in the freezer. What a waste!

Posted by: Maija | December 20, 2006 8:29 AM

Honestly, ladies, stop beating yourselves up, and accept that some choices comes with trade offs. I an passionately in favor of breastfeeding, (18 months for each of my children) but I can't see that it is worth having to hook yourselves up to milking machines like a prized heifer in order to avoid either the occasional or regular bottle of formula. Nursing your child is a blessing, not a chore or a compulsion - do it if you can, as much as you can, but stop the stressing and spend whatever time you have with your child concentrating on the miracle of his/her existence, not the technical details of how she/he is being nourished.

Posted by: mommywarvet | December 20, 2006 8:33 AM

To Maija: When I was home on maternity leave, my pediatrician recommended expressing one bottle to give to baby a day to get them used to the bottle. It was fairly easy because they were not drinking a lot at a single feeding. We started at 6 weeks old. So she was used to the bottle by the time she went to day care. She never went to more then 2 bottles a day while I was on maternity leave. But she was fine in day care. They got her right on a feeding schedule and eating a full 5 ounce bottle in a week or two. Then it was really easy. I hated sending in a 5 ozs bottle of breast milk and have her only drink 2 or 3 ounces. The day care had to throw away the rest. They need a new bottle at each day care feeding. Never an issue with breast feeding.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 8:33 AM

While I'm a big fan of breastfeeding (I nursed both of my kids until they were about 1 1/2 years old), I do think mothers need to relax about this topic a little bit. It is not the end of the world to supplement with formula here and there, if circumstances require it. It's not a perfect world. Consider how well off our children are in many ways, compared to most in many other parts of the world. It seems silly to get so worked up about such a comparatively small thing. And a stressed, "manic" mother is not a good thing for the family, breast milk or not.

Posted by: Ajax | December 20, 2006 8:35 AM

Thank you Laura for some of the best words of wisdom I have seen in a long time. No kids yet, but I think your words will ring in my head when they do come along.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | December 20, 2006 8:36 AM

I have donated breastmilk. Kind of a process, but a worthwhile one!!

Posted by: Lou | December 20, 2006 8:41 AM

My understanding is that some milk banks sell milk (at a high price) and others donate it to preemies and other needy babies. it's worth checking which is which. but either way -- it's wonderful to donate breastmilk if you have extra. and i think some of them will come to your home to get the milk.

The best breastfeeding advice i got came from another mom at my office whose infant went to the same daycare center as my third baby. she clued me in that i didn't have to breast feed continously to keep up a milk supply. I could breast feed once in the morning and once at night for months if not years. So that's what I did. Baby took formula during the day and me in the am/pm. And I never had to pump at work, which was great, since all the rooms on my floor had glass walls!

Posted by: Leslie | December 20, 2006 8:49 AM

But Ajax, if you don't breastfeed them that's a whole 3 IQ points you're costing them down the line!!!! What if they never learn to do geometry? It'll be all your fault!

LOL! I was so paranoid about BF'ing (and with three kids in four years I DID feel like a prize heifer most of the time anyway) and my kids still ended up with learning disabilities and a bunch of weird immune system stuff. I kinda enjoyed it so I'm not too bummed about not getting all the supposed benefits -- but that statistic about the IQ points always just cracks me up! How the heck would they measure something like that anyway?

Posted by: Armchair mom | December 20, 2006 8:49 AM

At the suggestion of our pediatrician's lactation consultant, I pumped each night when I went to bed. We started this when the baby was about 6 weeks old and wasn't eating at that time any more. I also pumped after his early morning feed (4 or 5 am). This way, when I went back to work after 4 months, I had a whole freezer full of milk for the little dude. I mixed fresh and frozen milk once I started back at work, but when I had to travel, he got frozen milk. This liquids ban on planes has been a pain in the neck, though. Instead of flying to NY, I've taken the train several times and on the occassions that I've gone elsewhere, I've had to fedex my milk back on dry ice. Good news is that the little guy turned one last week and we're starting whole milk now!!

I'm interested in the PP who said she nursed until 18 months. How did that go? I've read that if you don't wean at 12-14 months, you're pretty much stuck until the child naturally weans himself -- and that's not likely to happen until 3 years. While 3 years is just too long for me, I could honestly continue morning and night nursings for another 6 months or so.

Posted by: Amy | December 20, 2006 8:52 AM

My momma bottle fed me so that I guess is why I went to a "crappy" state school.

Posted by: anon | December 20, 2006 8:54 AM

Armchair mom, now you got me worried :-)

Posted by: Ajax | December 20, 2006 8:55 AM

Amy: My DD naturally weaned a week shy of her 2 birthday. The statistic I read is 95% of children will naturally wean by 3 years of age. Meaning, a good number wean long before 3. If your baby is drinking breast milk from a bottle, weaning is not that difficult after 2 years of age. Most toddlers do not want to nurse exclusively or use nursing as their sole milk source after age 2. 2 year olds prefer to spend their time running around making messes. The few 3 + year olds that still nurse generally do it out of comfort. So it is not continually.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 8:58 AM

I am currently stressing about milk production myself.

I have a 7-month old that is taking solids and breastmilk. As she takes more solids and drinks less milk, my production is decreasing. I don't mind this so much when she is home with me and I can just nurse her for longer, but she goes to day care 3 days a week, and I stress about not sending her in with enough milk. I pump 3 times a day at work (to send her to daycare with 3 bottles) and worry that she will be hungry because my supply has dropped off so dramatically (from 16 ounces a day to 10).

Until I had the baby, I never realized how much an ounce was!

Posted by: AmyBow | December 20, 2006 8:59 AM

there is a technique for expressing milk using one's hand, rather than electrical equipment.

Posted by: experienced mom | December 20, 2006 9:02 AM

Please excuse the off-topic post . . .

When you are not successful in balancing work and family, and you and hubby are clearly in need of counseling, and hubby has finally consented to doing so, where do you find a good counselor? Location is an issue; Old Town Alexandria. Any suggestions?

TIA

Posted by: Off topic but need help | December 20, 2006 9:04 AM

To Amybow: can you pump a little at home or an extra session at work? I know it may be hard to get more then 3 sessions at work. I pumped three times a day at work and sometimes right before leaving for work. It was rough.
As far as IQ and breast milk, the theory is it is not the milk itself that increases intelligence scores. As much as more educated women breast feed then non educated. So the child coming from the educated family, who may or may not have a high IQ, is also being exposed to a richer learning enviroment. So there is two factors at play, IQ of the parents and the home enviroment. Not breast milk in itself. If the researchers that want to know if breast milk in itself is the key to higher intelligence, they would need to look at different cohorts of people. Like educated who breast feed and educated who did not breast feed. Similarly, uneducated who breast feed versus uneducated who did not breast feed. You get the idea. As far as I know, the studies did not separate the groups that way.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 9:08 AM


As I posted before, on the day we discussed traveling while pumping stories, on the few occasions I traveled while bf, I fedex overnighted home each day's worth of pumped milk. It requires a good 1 - 1.5 day lead time in banked milk, though. Also good to take all the styrofoam coolers and blue ice with you, as they can be hard to find in a strange city outside of what the retailers deem 'picnic season'.

I also warned to ship every chance you get, even the last day when you think you'll be home before the shipment, as I once had the airport close due to weather when I was supposed to return, and so ended up with an unanticipated 18 hour delay. That was very stressful all around and would not have been, had I just gone ahead and shipped the last day's pumping when I had the chance.

My babies were both older by the time I traveled overnight, at least 9 months, as I had enough control of my travel schedule to put off travel til then. Pumping while traveling is time-consuming and draining, especially if you have to arrange access to a fridge and private spot during, say, conference breaks.

Pumping was integral to my everyday nursing, too, though. I credit an alert lactation consultant and my pump for enabling me to establish bf in the first place. The lc on a routine phone followup when my oldest was 3 or 4 days old asked me many questions and was unhappy; she felt my daughter had a sleepy suck and wasn't bringing my supply in. So she started me pumping after nursings. It took maybe 2 days of that for my supply to come in . . . by then the baby had had a ped followup and was put on an every-2-hour cycle of wake the baby, make her stay awake, nurse then supplement her and pump. I was happy to be able to convert her supplements to pumped breastmilk, not formula, within the first day. With my second, when she was very ill at 6 months old due to food allergies and suspected secondary lactose intolerance, we were very happy we were able to break the cycle by pumping all feedings except night-time ones, and treating them overnight with lactaid enzyme drops. (As a severely allergic baby only prescription formulas might have been safe for her, and we didn't want to start a long experiment to find one she would accept and tolerate) That week-long experiment, and elimination of the remaining top-8 allergens from my diet, was the turning point for her health.

So I view breastpumps as a lifeline that got us through the rough points . . . both daughters nursed til they were 2 years and some months old; both had breastmilk as their only non-solid food til 12 or 14 months old, after their first week . . .

Some suggestions that helped me maintain enough supply for workday and get-ahead pumping: we coslept, and my babies did most of their nursing at night, latching on and leaving us both to sleep. More than half my production was in the night hours (as I could tell when pumping on trips). The presence of that baby there all night, with extended nursing sessions, was a real hormonal stimulant to production. Also adding one pumping in the morning after baby's first nursing, as early as you can, lets you capture and maintain that supply.

Good luck! Once you're past the rough spots, nursing is such a wonderful enforced downtime with your baby, bonding and resting time . . . mine always wanted to reclaim me the instant I came back in the door from work with a long nursing/gazing session.

Posted by: KB | December 20, 2006 9:09 AM

"I remember sobbing in the hospital bed because I couldn't do something so elementary -- I mean, Every Other Mother in creation could do it naturally, so how horrible a mom was I?"

Why don't we just stop trying to be EOM?

EOM = Every Other Mom

EOM is just a fictional character we use to create guilt for ourselves and others. She's perfect and she doesn't exist although people pretend to be her. This would end the whole bottle or not debate!

Posted by: d's ma | December 20, 2006 9:12 AM

I nursed and pumped. We started the bottle at six weeks and started filling the freezer with an extra pumping session. Still our little guy didn't much like the bottle. So we ended up reverse cycling, meaning he nursed alot a night to make up for not taking the bottle during the day. I continued to pump three times a day at work. And that is how this cosleeping family was created. After he turned one he took whole milk from a cup during the day and nursed in the morning and evening at home. We stopped nursing at 18 months and when he wanted to nurse he was offered a cup of whole milk. After a week he stopped asking to nurse daily and after a month he stopped asking to nurse at all. For me the effort was worth it but is was never really stressful. I agree that if it is stressful then you should make peace with an arrangement that is not stressful to you.

Posted by: mamamimi | December 20, 2006 9:15 AM

Fred,

Tell fredia I said thanks. I was on morphine and very strong antibiotics. Without going through the whole story, after I had my daughter I had a gall stone stuck in my duct and almost died of pancreatitis. (SP) I was in there for a week and my milk dried up because I didn't make all that much before I went into the hospital. I ask the doctor if I could try to pump at home to bring my milk back, but he told me that the drugs would pass to my daughter, so I just gave up.

I am trying to get pregnant now and want to breastfeed the next baby as long as possible. Is there anything I can do to increase my chance of being successful this time!

Posted by: scarry | December 20, 2006 9:19 AM

foagnome is right adding a pumping session will increase your supply, but is the baby asking for more? It could be that baby is getting enough during daycare hours with the solids and the pumped bm. The body has an amazing way of regulating what your producing based on what the baby is demanding. Unless baby is unhappy try not to stress about it.

Posted by: to AmyBow | December 20, 2006 9:20 AM

I did as Leslie describes - avoided having to pump at work by using formula (or stored breastmilk until that ran out) for the two mid-day feeds, and breastfed twice before work and twice in the evening. This made returning to work SO much easier! I felt like I had discovered a secret code to happiness and balance. My baby got some of my oh-so-beneficial milk and I got to avoid lugging a pump to work and pumping in my office while my colleagues giggled on the other side of the door.

I also echo others' sentiments that breastfeeding is a blessing rather than a mark of mothering worth. And the advice to start introducing a bottle EVERY day to your baby (with formula or pumped milk) after a few weeks of life so that he/she will take a bottle with no problem later on.

One more thought...Alisa's worries included Husband Competence. "Would he be able to wake up in the middle of the night? Would he warm the milk correctly?" This is a catch-22. I think we moms need to believe in our husband's utter and total competence more than question it, and they will be much more likely to rise to our expectations. Yes, of course a full grown man can wake up in the middle of the night and warm the milk correctly. Okay, off my soapbox now...

Posted by: equal | December 20, 2006 9:22 AM

Get support - This was key for me in being successful. There are a few discussion boards out there that are manned by passionate BF mama's who have good deal of experience. Check out the WebMD sight also, it may seem odd, the Bargain Babies (like the book) website has a feeding discussion board that I found very supportive to the BFmama needing some advice during difficult times. You know low supply, cracking, bleeding, pain.

Posted by: mamamimi | December 20, 2006 9:22 AM

I also had to deal with the issues of business travel and young babies. With my first child, I took my husband and my baby with me on my first business trip. I pumped extra milk for the times I would be stuck in meetings and had my husband meet me at the convention center where my conference was being held so I could nurse my daughter. Although it worked out, both my husband and I decided it wasn't feasible to do for future business trips given his job etc.
I have pumped in many different places on business trips, empty meeting rooms, hotel administrative offices (offered by hotel staff), hotel spa facilities, airport bathrooms, airport lounges, department store lounges, hospital empty patient rooms, colleagues hotel room, etc, etc.

It was very important to me continue feeding my child breast milk and to not supplement with formula. In fact with my second child at around 6 months I listened to all the folks who said "supplement with formula end of problem" because I was having difficulty keeping my supply high enough to cover my trips. And do you know what happened my child had an allergic reaction to the formula, and to every subsequent formula I tried, with the exception of an extremely high priced brand. And in the end that hassle and the harm to my child was not worth the convenience to me.

Tips for breastfeeding and business travel can be found on the web. But here are some of my personal tips.
-Call the hotel where you will be staying in advance to arrange for a refrigerator for your room. Don't let them charge you for it. Tell them what its for. Ask about using the hotel freezer (which is much colder than any cooler) to store your iec packs until you are ready to go.
-Bring a soft sided cooler that expands and multiple ice packs.
-Bring more breast milk storage bags or bottles than you think you might need. I found my production increased when I was missing by baby dreadfully on a trip.
-Bring a photo of the baby to help focus while pumping.
- Store as much in advance as possible.
- Do the best you can and try not to worry.
--When you return from the business trip nurse as much as you can so that your baby adapts back to nursing with you.
Best of luck--it can be done!

Posted by: montgomery village mom | December 20, 2006 9:23 AM

You guys are scaring me! OK, so I need to get the baby happily on the bottle between 4-6 weeks, or I'll be up all night feeding once I go back to work, plus pumping 3 times a day! ACK! We can't do the co-sleeping thing unless I want to sleep in a different bed from my husband, which I REALLY don't want to do. (He has major sleeping issues, so a baby in the bed would = no sleep for him.)

Posted by: atb | December 20, 2006 9:25 AM

Wow Alisa - you really need to CHILL OUT! I hope your child is not as high-strung or uptight as you apparently are. Formula is not poison - as I know from my personal experience. Not only was I formula-fed (and turned out pretty well despite the fact that I am an attorney - LOL), but I have two healthy boys that are sick less then most of their breast-fed friends! Calm down and your daughter will flourish no matter what feeding option you choose.

Posted by: chg | December 20, 2006 9:26 AM

I forgot to mention that I breastfed my first child for 14 months. My second child I breastfed for 10 months.

Posted by: montgomery village mom | December 20, 2006 9:27 AM

I forgot to mention I breastfed my first child for 14 months. My second child I breastfed for 10 months.

Posted by: montgomery village mom | December 20, 2006 9:27 AM

Scarry,

Morphine and most antibiotics are drugs that will pass thru milk and effect your baby. A definite No-no to nurse with these drugs.

Fredia cannot advise you about particulars over the internet. Even LC's carry malpractice insurance!

My advice as a lay man in this area would be to speak to your pediatrician to put you in contact with a LC.

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 9:29 AM

We had Milk Mania. My wife pumped and stored a lot -- and when the power went out one night, she was furious that the frozen milk would go bad. Fortunately the power was off for "only" 12 or so hours. When we opened the freezer, the ice cream was soft, the meat was defrosted, the ice was cold water, but the breast milk was still frozen solid! It was a Milk Miracle.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 20, 2006 9:30 AM

Thanks fred, I hope to God next time I don't have to worry about it.

Posted by: scarry | December 20, 2006 9:33 AM

I was struck by Laura's post, as well as how many women on this and other lists have noted that they were obsessed with breastfeeding, driving themselves crazy, even while it wasn't working for them.

I had the same experience. Before I had the baby, I was committed to breastfeeding, but I know the research and didn't think it was necessarily a huge deal if my child got formula. But then when breastfeeding wasn't working for us, I found myself obsessed with my milk supply -- I was suddenly horrified by the idea of giving my daughter formula.

I've seen it with other friends, too. One of my friends told me while she was pregnant that she was going to breastfeed but thought that the movement had gone to far, and that she'd probably supplement with formula. But now that she's breastfeeding, she's absolutely anti-formula. She would never even consider giving her child a drop of it, and she's appalled when anyone asks whether the bottle she's giving might be formula.

What happens to us from the time when we are pregnant to when we have these babies that makes us so passionate about our breastmilk that we kill ourselves to ensure our children are exclusively breastfed? The existing research suggests exactly what's been pointed out -- this is a small small small factor in children's development, and it's probably mostly driven by WHO breastfeeds rather than the milk itself. I am a developmental psychologist and I knew that -- yet I was still obsessed with breastfeeding . . .

Posted by: DC MOM | December 20, 2006 9:33 AM

Hooray for Milk Miracles!!!

Posted by: mamamimi | December 20, 2006 9:34 AM

I know formula is not bad for babies, but when I didn't have a good milk supply and had to supplement, I cried. I don't know if that is because of the way the doctor pushed breastfeeding on me or the fact that as a new mom I was so hard on myself.

I am sure many new moms can relate.

Posted by: scarry | December 20, 2006 9:37 AM

Scarry -- I cried to. For days and days over it. In fact, I've come to wonder how often postpartum depression is related to breastfeeding problems . . . It wasn't until I finally accepted that my daughter was formula fed and stopped worrying about it that I started enjoying my daughter's infancy.

I am still strongly pro-breastfeeding and plan to do so with my next child. But I don't think the world understands how difficult it is for women who try and cannot (or must supplement). It makes me vehemently against any efforts that might inadvertently make non-breasfeeding moms feel guilty, since so many already do. It's one thing to share the research and another thing to overstate it.

A mother's mental health has a much greater influence on children's long-term well-being than breastfeeding.

Posted by: DC Mom | December 20, 2006 9:43 AM

About "would he warm the milk correctly" - my babies both liked it just fine cold at daycare! Makes it real easy.

Posted by: inBoston | December 20, 2006 9:44 AM

DC MOM, you raise an interesting point. (Disclaimer: I am heavily pregnant with my first, and for various reasons planning on exclusive formula feeding, which I am at peace with). I've noticed myself starting to stress out about all sorts of -- in the greater scheme of things -- dumb things since I got pregnant. I want to do things that are beneficial for my baby, but who knows - maybe the hormones make us cross the line from vigilance into ridiculousness at times lol!! If you have ever seen the Christopher Guest movie "Best In Show," remember that scene where Parker Posey is freaking out because she can't find the Busy Bee toy? Lol I remind myself of that sometimes :) For some parents, it's breastfeeding I guess ("NO FORMULA EVER!!"), for me, it would have to be private schools ("PUBLIC SCHOOLS OVER MY DEAD BODY!!") - pick your poison lol, I suppose we all have something we need to get unduly worked up about!!

Posted by: StudentMom2Be | December 20, 2006 9:50 AM

DC mom,

I agree so much, I changed doctors over the formula/breastfeeding issue. At one point, he even ask me if I was breastfed, I told him no and he went on to tell me I would have been healthier and smarter if my mom would have breastfed me.

I left there thinking, geez my mom should have known better, but in truth, he should know better than to say those things. I think the pressure is unnecessary.

Posted by: scarry | December 20, 2006 9:51 AM


Scarry,

I'm not an lc nor do I play one on the net --- I just wanted to encourage you that if your body's established a milk supply once - as you had for 6 weeks - the second time it seems to just remember and spring back to life. After such a slow start with my first, I was so worried about establishing supply for my 2nd that I brought my breast pump to the hospital with me while in labor. And despite a much harsher start, that left me much weaker and unable to even try nursing for 24 hours, my supply boomed in within 2 days. The *only* thing I did right in those first few days was drink loads of fluids. So, be prepared for the worst, but but don't feel sure it will happen --- some problems just solve themselves while we're busy worrying about them:-) I hope that's the case with you.

Posted by: KB | December 20, 2006 9:54 AM

StudentMom2Be:

First off, congratulations. While I obviously had a rough transition to parenting, I can honestly say it is the most incredible thing I've ever done. My daughter is turning a year in two weeks! Yay! And she is just such an incredible joy.

I think you're right that there's something heavily hormonal here. I had a really funny experience when I was pregnant where I cried hysterically to the Jury Duty people because they had summoned me to serve a few weeks after starting a new job (and a few months before I was going on maternity leave, making it a weird time for me to be away from work). There's was something SO off-balance in my response. I sobbed for fifteen minutes even after they told me they would fix it for me. That was my first trimester, and I found I got more reasonable as I got more pregnant. But for me, those first few weeks after having the baby are a lot like what that first trimester was like emotionally (only add no sleep into the mix).

I always wonder how much of it is the very strong societal messages and pressures nowadays about breastfeeding and how much is hormonal (and I don't mean that in a condescending way -- just that hormones influence our reactions, for good and for bad). It's so fascinating!

Best of luck to you! And you are heading in the right direction by making a choice that is right for you and feeling at peace with it.

Posted by: DC Mom | December 20, 2006 9:59 AM

Yup scarry, that was one of the very first questions on my pediatrician interview list lol!!!! Luckily I found a supportive one up-front, but support for my feeding decision was one of the biggest up-front factors in choosing a doctor for me.

Posted by: StudentMom2Be | December 20, 2006 10:00 AM

Thanks DCMom :)

Posted by: StudentMom2Be | December 20, 2006 10:01 AM

For both my kids, I had an ample supply. I coulda fed the whole neighborhood! Not to get too graphic, but when my other friends were nursing and getting pregnant, I was completely shocked, because there was no way that I coulda gotten pregnant until the last drop of milk was drunk by my babies (they were both down to once a day by 13/14 months). My cousin even joked with me once she really enjoyed nursing her kids so much she would even have considered becoming a wet nurse...

For the first, I was with him all the time, but the most freeing part of it all was in the hospital (he was early and a little small) when the pediatrician ordered the nurses to give him formula - then I thought: ya know, there's no poison in formula, he can have some now and then (I do know people who think formula is evil - which it is not). I did go on a trip while I was nursing to see my grandmother (there was ample supply in the freezer), and I just pumped and dumped for those few days because I couldn't figure out a way to store it, etc, and that was many years before any of this no liquids on planes. You people are awesome. It pained me to throw it away, but I didn't know what else to do.

With the second, I went back to work when he was just under 6 mos, and I pumped at work, the whole nine yards, they had a nursing room (thank goodness) and another person in my dept was pumping too (it was a little awkward the first day when I had to ask my new boss where to go, since it's not like I coulda waited a week or two). When the VP, or someone else with an office was out of town, I used their office to pump, and the whole dept knew it! When my boss was talking with me re: traveling, I told him I couldn't travel until the date my son was a year (but just told him the month) and he was a little confused (like, is that when your patrol ends?) - and then I told him it was cause my son was not yet a year
and I wouldn't leave him until I wasn't nursing any longer.

My coworker at that job was telling me about a 3 week trip she had taken to asia and australia where she pumped the milk and took it with her and back - I was amazed.

Interestingly, my second baby probably got less formula than the first. Really.

Posted by: atlmom | December 20, 2006 10:04 AM

To Off topic and need help:

When both of you recognize there's a need and are ready, time is of the essence. If having your insurance cover the cost, you might want to start with the list provided by your insurance carrier. Otherwise, the following is a starting point. Referrals are best, but if you don't have any, start with credentials and your gut instinct when you call to schedule the appointment. Ask about the counselor's interest and expertise in counseling on balance issues so you don't waste a session with someone who works primarily, or best, with couples on communication issues or teens with eating disorders.

The National Board for Certified Counselors offers a referral
service here: http://www.nbcc.org/.

Also - based on a Google search:
Marjorie Bauman, MS LPC
228 S Washington St # 220
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 739-6746

and Debra Henry MD
228 S Washington St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 739-6746

http://www.robynbrickel.com/ (office on N. Pitt Street)

I don't know any of these folks and can't personally recommend them. It's a starting point to get you off the dime. Good luck!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 10:05 AM

Arlington Dad - The milk miracle happened at our house as well! We had a huge full size freezer, it was filled with 4 oz bottles and bags of milk - literally hundreds of them. I also had about 50 4 oz bags stored at my brother's house down the street in his freezer - we literally ran out of space. We had a huge power outage - all night - woke up the next morning and all the milk was still frozen - even in my brother's freezer.

As I worried about possibly loosing all the milk I remember my husband saying - "don't worry, if you put your mind to it you could replace it all in a week."

Posted by: cmac | December 20, 2006 10:07 AM

experienced mom--I second that.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 10:08 AM

Scarry,

I met a woman who couldn't no matter what she did nurse the first. She had no problem with the second.

And don't be hard on yourself...really. I definitely advocate nursing, but understand (usually) when people can't (I say usually because my sis and sis in laws both just didn't think it was important to worry about - formula was good enough for them, it's good enough for the baby - of course, I don't advocating doing something that will stress out your life or anything, but the benefits are definitely known, so it's just odd to me when people don't even try).

Wow re: dr. saying you would be better if you were nursed - I mean - my mom was like: oh, I didn't nurse cause it would make me tied to the baby - drs in the 50s/60s were telling moms the benefits of formula and how much better it was for the baby - no one ever questioned drs - so it isn't unusual (I have a friend who thinks that is the most horrible thing ever - but she is applying her 2000s ideas to the 1950s mentality).

Posted by: atlmom | December 20, 2006 10:11 AM

"What happens to us from the time when we are pregnant to when we have these babies that makes us so passionate about our breastmilk that we kill ourselves to ensure our children are exclusively breastfed?"

DC Mom, you're SO right -- I never had a hangup about formula before I had my daughter at all!

My theory: out of the blue, you're presented with this amazing, perfect little creature that you love more than anything in the world. And you are suddenly overwhelmed with the uncontrollable desire to protect and nurture this precious little being against all evils. But you also realize for the first time how many Big Bad Uglies are out there that could hurt that most precious of all things (I was one of those kids who used to hurl myself down banisters or jump down a flight of steps at a bound, but suddenly found myself terrified even to carry my daughter down the stairs, in case I dropped her!).

Of course, you can't control the Big Bad Uglies -- most times, you don't even know they're coming. I mean, it's not as if there are wild animals roaming around that I need to beat back with sticks. The risks nowadays are things like microscopic bugs, drunk drivers, predators who look like normal people -- all things you likely won't see coming and can't control. So you direct that protectiveness to anything else you can control (or think you can). So with me, the sudden fixation on breastfeeding. I suspect for others, it's daycare -- I suspect that's where some of the stories of "I always presumed I'd go back to work but once I had my child couldn't bear the thought of leaving him/her with someone else" come from. Like StudentMom2Be said, you pick your poison, because you need to feel like you're in control and protecting your baby.

Posted by: Laura | December 20, 2006 10:12 AM

You can explain our hangups with two words: hormones and inexperience. One of the best pieces of new mother advice I got was: I have found that no single decision I made for my child seemed to dominate my child's life. A veteran mom gave me this advice when I was agonizing whether I should put my 2 year old in preschool. Well, you know what, she was right. Unless your making insane decisions like should I beat or starve my kid or not, then most likely the kid will do more then survive. They will flourish. The underlining message kids get is that we love them with all our hearts and mind. That will overcome any silly little issues like should I breastfeed, preschool at 2, summer camp at age 10 etc... Women need to band together and relax. I seriously think all this motherhood angst is because women have less access to other veteran moms. We move away from our childhood homes. We are not in daily contact with older moms, our moms, women we knew growing up, church communities etc... If you talk to more veteran moms, you learn that we just need to relax and enjoy our kids while they are still young.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 10:17 AM

All things being equal, isn't IQ determined by DNA?

Posted by: DZ | December 20, 2006 10:18 AM

For scarry, it is too bad that the doctor didn't suggest you pump and dump. Even if you are on medication that shouldn't be passed on to baby, you can still pump to help supply/production, just dump the milk. The more you empty the breasts the more milk you will produce. Good luck, and listen to your gut.

Posted by: Kathy | December 20, 2006 10:21 AM

My first wouldn't latch so I exclusively pumped for 6 months and had enough in the freezer for another 2 months.

With my second, I had supply issues.
I also had to start traveling sooner with my second, so after much angst I gave up and started formula feeding at 6 months.

My most valuable lifeline during it all was www.lalecheleague.org. There is a mother's board where you can ask questions and communicate with certified lactation consultants and other mothers. It was great. (For those worried about getting hit over the head by the lactivists on the board, the entire philosophy seemed geared towards helping every woman, regardless of whether she pumped, breastfed for 3 years, only did it for 6 weeks, or didn't choose to do it at all. The one instance of snark that I saw was immediately clamped down on by the moderator.)

Posted by: Been There Done That | December 20, 2006 10:21 AM

NO, IQ is not just determined by DNA. If it was you would always score the same score each time you took an IQ test. The truth is people have raised and lowered their scores taking the test multiple times. All an IQ test says is that you preformed at a certain level on some defined test. The tests are highly subjective and also assume certain cultural knowledge. It is also not even an indicator of academic or professional success. I don't put a lot of stock in IQ tests. Unless you are in one of the tails (genius or mentally challenged), it really doesn't say much about one's ability to survive in the world as we live in it.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 10:22 AM

Foamgnome, you hit it right on the head! Or, for some of us, we would never go to our parents for advice, or we can't (dad is insane, mom isn't around, sisters in abusive relationships). I am so lucky to live in an area with a VERY active parent's association, so that I could send an email and in 10 minutes have access to much of the help I need, when I do.
I carpool with a neighbor, and our kids are becoming very friendly - and we end up helping each other out - if she can't pick them up, even though she's *supposed* to, I'll do it, no skin off my teeth, and they'll help out when we need. I try not to agonize over who is doing what (same in my marriage) so that hopefully, we as a neighborhood, can help each other out and be there for each other - as many of us, as you mentioned, don't have family nearby.
That may be one of the biggest reasons I wouldn't move from where we are(except, maybe around the corner). It can be lonely when you don't have people around.

Posted by: atlmom | December 20, 2006 10:23 AM

Does anybody ever consider that all this motherhood-angst here in the U.S. is "cultural"? I'm not from here and certainly have noticed that Americans tend to be a bit extreme in what they do, not just as regards parenthood. Why is the middle-ground not as acceptable as a pure "either-or-approach"? A little bit of formula, a little bit of trans-fat, a few germs here and there, etc.?

Posted by: Ajax | December 20, 2006 10:27 AM

If you have the ability, please donate to milk banks.

For healthy, full-term babies, breast milk or formula is something you can argue about.

For tiny premature babies, breastmilk is absolutely the best. One of the problems with a tiny premie is that they can get holes in their gut. Studies have shown that this is MUCH less likely to happen if the preemie is getting breastmilk. Because they are preemies, very often the mom's milk hasn't come in. Add some stress and milk production can stop or never start.

So please, if you can, you should donate.

Posted by: Milk Bank Advocate | December 20, 2006 10:31 AM

Isn't it time to get over this topic? There is nothing wrong with formula.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 10:32 AM

"One of the best pieces of new mother advice I got was: I have found that no single decision I made for my child seemed to dominate my child's life."

I love that. And it's so obvious, right? There's certainly not any one decision my parents made that had such a dramatic influence on my life.

The other great advice I heard for new parents was this one: "Relax. You are not going to have the only child who is still (FILL IN DEVELOPMENTAL CONCERN HERE) when he/she is forty." It was stated to a friend of a friend who was worried that her preemie would never get over five pounds -- as in you will not have a five-pound four year old. But it's applied endlessly as I find myself obsessing over the things I think I can/should control (e.g., transition to solids, sippy cups, pacifiers, sleeping routines, etc)

Ah, the inexperience. I REALLY REALLY hope I can take these lessons to heart when I have another newborn. I sometimes find myself grieving over the months that I lost with my baby because things were just so outrageously difficult (both because of my own obsessions and the health problems she had).

Posted by: DC Mom | December 20, 2006 10:33 AM

Ajax,
You are correct. There is not as much stress elsewhere - who knows why. We spend WAY too much time here contemplating everything, rather than doing and enjoying. I try to do and enjoy, as much as I can - rather than stress about how I'm not doing things correctly. We're doing things correctly *for us*. Yes, it would be nice some days to not go to work and spend the day at the park, like my nanny does, with my baby. But the reality is, I was SO stressed out being home, me going to work is SO much better for the family (and it relieves stress on my husband as well, he may be laid off by his co. and he *doesn't care*). I didn't spend the day at the park with the baby, there was *so much* else to get done. And I am SO much more organized now, I have to be.
In any event, what you describe is just not in the vocabulary of many people - and I think it should be.

Posted by: atlmom | December 20, 2006 10:33 AM

Alisa, I am impressed. I breastfed for longer than I ever thought I would (2 years) while working fulltime. My husband stayed home. He and my daughter met me for lunch for 3 months (until she started solid foods) for a nursing session as my daughter refused the bottle when I went back to work after 12 weeks. BUT I never had to travel. Nursing was a wonderful way for me to bond with my daughter, especially when I got home from work. I had a really hard time weaning her obviously and finally had to go cold-turkey on her. No regrets.

Posted by: momatwork | December 20, 2006 10:33 AM

True on most accounts. But my mom's decision to 'stay together for the kids' was one of the worst things she ever did. And that was just one single decision.

Posted by: DC mom | December 20, 2006 10:35 AM

Ajax,

The average Washingtonian isn't interested in whether his or her children will merely survive Choice X or Choice Y, we want to determine which of Choice X or Choice Y is the best so that our children have the optimum experience, are able to thrive and perform to their maximum potential.

From day to day I can't decide whether I think this board is a fairly good cross-section of America, or is skewed toward East Coast perfectionists. You be the judge. The middle ground, on most issues, generally is acceptable to the average American, and even to most of us as we age and have our second or third child.

There's something to be said, though, for assimilating information from a variety of sources, evaluating it and determining that Choice X is the best choice, then concluding that, in this instance, for this child, for a variety of other reasons that make sense to our family, Choice Y makes more sense. Each and every choice about how to raise our child doesn't have to be The Best Choice.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 10:39 AM

Arlington Dad -- LOVE your Milk Miracle story. I was obsessed with our power going out while I was breastfeeding for the same reason. Glad the milk made it!!!

Posted by: Leslie | December 20, 2006 10:40 AM

I think you are so right in that point. And I think it's especially true in the DC area, where everyone is constantly thinking about giving their child "the best" of everything.

I wonder if we've taken our affinity toward "perfect information" (needed for a functioning free market economy) to the extreme. So you think about it, we have consumer reports to tell us which is the best car seat. We must buy the absolute best. Yet, we don't give much attention to the fact that the difference between the best and the 10th best is probably so miniscule as to not be noticeable. It's rare to find good advice that says things like, "Yes, maybe that's a little bit better, but given the other factors, it may not be worth it." One thing is the best and the rest are not.

Of course, this is probably more relevant to those who can navigate all the information out there (or at least find it) and who have the luxury to obssess about these types of things. . . those with more constraints in their lives probably don't have the time or resources to do this much obssessing.

Posted by: Ajax | December 20, 2006 10:43 AM

My first post-baby business trip was when my daughter was 7 months old. We had introduced one formula bottle a day -- just to make she would take it in an emergency -- but I still stressed about every lost drop of breast milk.

While on my trip, I pumped in the airport bathrooms, in between meetings, in the car, you name it. Sadly, I had to pump & dump, but it was worth it to make sure my supply stayed up.

I wasn't able to nurse my son for as long as I did my daughter, but the stash of breast milk I'd built up in the freezer really came in handy when he came down with rotovirus and couldn't keep anything else down. Now if only they would make those milk bags a little easier to pour out of.

Posted by: JennyK | December 20, 2006 10:45 AM

Woops -- that 10:43 comment was TO Ajax, FROM me . . . sorry for the mix-up.

Posted by: DC Mom | December 20, 2006 10:45 AM

Yes, it can be difficult to fully breastfeed and work full time. I do it, and I have to say I find it fulfilling.
But it is false to think that a little formula is no big deal. It IS a big deal. It changes the baby's gut flora for weeks. It has no immunities, it exposes them to allergens, it is highly processed and often contains corn syrup, and there are many other differences we don't yet understand. Formula is simply deficient. It is not normal. It is not natural. It is the fourth best option for feeding.

There are very few mothers who cannot make enough milk-- only 3% or so. These mothers should not feel guilty for using formula.

I think it is honorable what the blogger has done. Were I to travel, I would make sure I did the same thing. I wish more mothers would take breastfeeding so seriously, because it really is one of the best things you can possibly do for your child.

Posted by: 2yrs and beyond | December 20, 2006 10:46 AM

I am struck by the number of mothers on this blog who feel compelled to get some mention of how long they nursed -- or how much milk they produced -- into their posts.

It seems like there is a specific script.

First, you sympathize with mothers having trouble producing enough milk. Then you give some advice. And somewhere along the way, you slip in the fact that you breastfed for 18 months, 12 months, 2 years, etc. Some of you even mention the vast quantities of milk you were able to produce.

So, while you're telling these sad women who feel like failures that milk production and length of nursing aren't measures of successful motherhood, you're belying your words by simultaneously boasting about what superior mothers you are.

Kind of unfair, I think.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 10:47 AM

I absolutely hated pumping - hated it. I sprung for the most expensive type and it still felt that I was being tortured everytime I pumped. And I knew that supplementing with formula couldn't be that bad given that my mom did not breastfeed any of her 4 kids and we all turned out to be bright and successful. So when I went back to work at 4 months I went with Leslie's method - formula during the day and breastmilk at night. My son is 3 and his preschool teacher is amazed by how far ahead of his classmates he is[I'll resist the urge boast ;-)].
Moral of the story - take it easy. Supplementing with formula is not the end of the world. And women need to have more faith in their husbands - it's not like a first time mother is an expert at childcare anyway. Why not let it be a time when you learn the ropes together?

Posted by: fabworkingmom | December 20, 2006 10:49 AM

To 10:47: I don't think anyone is bragging. They are simply stating a fact. It is also lets women know it can be done. In some instances people ask specific time frames. Someone asked if you don't wean before 18 months, will the kid nurse till 3 years. The time frame was necessary for the context of that situation. I think when women are saying how long they breastfed, they are simply stating in some cases it can be done. Not every thing that happens to someone is a slam on someone elses situation. Also the poster who talked about excess milk led to milk donation discussion.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 10:52 AM

I'd be interested to hear how the dads feel about breast-feeding and travel, whether it's a non-issue, whether it's more or less difficult for them than single-parenting generally for the travel period. Comments? Thoughts? Jokes?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 10:56 AM

to 10:47: part of it is that people with lots of milk just can't empathize - but we can sympathize. And as *I* said: I definitely understand how people are completely different, and have different bodies - there was NO WAY I could get pregnant while I was nursing, even once a day, while I know plenty of women who have. Even my gyn didn't believe me, but it was true!

to 2yrs and beyond: you must be the best mother ever. I'm glad you can be so judgemental about other people. That will suit your children well. I'm sure they will be just like you and you can tell them how wonderful it is to have you as their mother because if they had had the bad luck to have someone else, their life wouldn't be nearly as perfect. Is one of the other three options for feeding a child to not feed them anything at all as opposed to formula?

Posted by: atlmom | December 20, 2006 10:57 AM

Do people really think that breastfeeding is one of the "best" things you can do for a child? Give me a break - are you kidding me? I definitely agreee that breast is best but there are so many other things we do as parents that are of much greater importance. I don't mean to incite the breastfeeding police but honestly when you think back on your childhood does the thought - "boy am I glad my mother breastfed me" ever come to mind?

Posted by: fabworkingmom | December 20, 2006 10:58 AM

"A little bit of formula, a little bit of trans-fat, a few germs here and there, etc.?"

LOL!

I read somewhere a long time ago that, across the course of a human's life, s/he will consume the equivalent of a bushel of dirt.

So, go to it!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 10:59 AM

"I don't think anyone is bragging"


"My son is 3 and his preschool teacher is amazed by how far ahead of his classmates he is[I'll resist the urge boast ;-)]."


What do you expect the preschool teacher to say?

Posted by: Liz | December 20, 2006 11:00 AM

Ajax/atlmom: good question re: all the angst about the little things. Why? Because we don't have to worry about the big things. Many people here on this board (including me) don't have to worry about having enough food or being able to go to an emergency room -- all tremendous luxuries compared to what many other people (and societies) face. But getting rid of that kind of hardship in your own life doesn't mean that your need for control and urge to protect go away. So the more we get rid of the big things, the more energy we have to fixate on the little things.

Plus even when you're comfortable, I think you're still aware of how tenuous that is. I'm never going to be able to earn enough money to ensure that my children will always have enough food and a roof over their heads -- they are going to have to earn it. So while urge no. 1 is to protect them from harm, urge no. 2 is to give them as much of a leg up as you can -- which is why the breast milk/IQ link resonates so strongly, why you have the public/private schools debate, why Baby Einstein is now worth a gazillion bucks, etc. etc. etc. You want to do everything you can to set your kids up to be ok when you can't be there for them any more.

Posted by: Laura | December 20, 2006 11:02 AM

2yrs and beyond --

Do you even hear what the women on this board are saying? Or are you just hearing that they are not breastfeeding and that they don't think formula is horrible for children (which it's not).

What I am hearing -- and what I was saying -- is that we took it SOO seriously that we jeapordized our own mental and physical health.

Perhaps you don't believe that we tried hard enough. You may not have had the experiences others have had in trying to breastfeed but failing.

I told this story on this board before, but I think it's telling. I went to a LC for weeks trying to work out our breastfeeding. In the end, she revealed to me that she used to believe that EVERY mother-child team could nurse if they just tried hard enough. But then her LC colleague couldn't do it with her sixth child after successfully nursing five children before him. Now she gets it.

Posted by: DC Mom | December 20, 2006 11:02 AM

LIz:
My son is 3 and his preschool teacher is amazed by how far ahead of his classmates he is[I'll resist the urge boast ;-)]."

I thought the that was a joke. I don't think she really meant it? I meant no one is bragging about how long they breast fed versus women who did not or breast fed a shorter period of time.

BTW, I breast fed and DD has a speech delay. So no bragging about children with superior intelligence from me. :)

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 11:02 AM

So - my daughter was a 'breast refuser' and I pumped and feed her breast milk for 9 months (6 months exclusively, starting to supplement with formula only after then). I was great - I would pump three times a day and could fill the fridge and freezer! I stopped when I started to resent the whole process...

I was also obcessed with the potential additional IQ points (we tried sign language for the same reason - did not work either). I then read a report that said breast feeding and high IQ were not exactly a direct link because parents that were higher educated and of a better socio-economic background were more likely to breastfeed and since IQ is 50% linked to DNA it explained the higher IQ of breastfeed children.

I flew with breast milk in my check in luggage and lost about half of it (only the milk in the Dr Brown's bottles) - though it did not spill because the bag was not wet. So it either evaporated or was drunk - still a mystery to me!

Posted by: single mom | December 20, 2006 11:03 AM

to Liz:

I have found that those who brag are typically looking to others to fulfill some need - they want you to know how good they are - they want others to validate them in some way. I typically feel sorry for those people who don't seem to have much inner peace.

Posted by: atlmom | December 20, 2006 11:04 AM

2yrs and beyond,

I'm glad you participated today so that you could restore the guilt of the remaining 97% and provide us with living proof of the obnoxious misinformation spread by the Lactation Police. Your comments are misplaced on a blog about balance. Achieving balance means that one gets to a point of equilibrium where no one obligation, responsibility, issue or concern entirely dominates one's perspective, obligations, responsiblities, issues or concerns -- certainly not the almight 11th Commandment -- Thou Shalt Exclusively BreastFeed Thine Children For Two Years or More.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 11:04 AM

Personally, I'm kindof getting a kick out of the posts today - how often do women get to carry on and on about their boobs? :) I am very pro-breastfeeding, but didn't realize how intense people could be about it - my son had both formula and breastmilk - I pumped once a day, in the locker room at lunch, and carried the bottles home in a little cooler for my mom to use the next day - never had extra for freezing - he took formula and breastmilk equally well and I really didn't worry. I guess I was very aware of the benefits of breastmilk, but never saw them as a requirement for breastmilk EXCLUSIVELY.

Posted by: TakomaMom | December 20, 2006 11:05 AM

I could not breastfeed my daughter directly...I could never get her to latch on properly. But I pumped with a hospital grade breast pump for nearly 6 months.

We lived in New Orleans at the time. When the first hurricane of 2005 came in July, I had forgotten my portable pump at work. I drove just as the eye of the hurricane was hitting at 1030PM that night to pick it up, just in case the power went out. That was stupid and scary. I didn't know how to watch the weather reports closely or which roads tend to flood when those things blow by. The power went out for three days and it was hotter than hell, but my milk that I had pumped in the freezer had kept well.

I had one three day work trip in TX in late July. I pumped in the car, I pumped on the Galveston Ferry, I pumped in my hotel room before dinner. It was just something I had to do or else I would have to deal with engorgement, so it was pretty much at the forefront of my mind all the time to think 3-4 hours ahead about where I was going to be and where was I going to pump and how was I going to store the milk. I just made certain when I made my hotel reservations that they had refridgerator rentals. I also purchased an electric cooler while I was there from Walmart.

I had a conference to attend at a large local hotel. I planned ahead and asked a friend who had a hotel room if I could use her room to pump in and stored the milk in my portable cooler which was left undisturbed in the back of the room. From time to time, I would get up in the middle of meetings and go to pump. I would try to plan the start of my pumping session during a break or during lunch to minimize my absences and disruptions.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, that was the ultimate challenge. I sent my husband ahead of me to Memphis with four days worth of breastmilk. I had at least a one month supply in the freezer at home (I made enough milk to feed three children and had assumed the hurricane would only be a temporary diversion like all of the others...who knew the levys would break ???). Never the less, I lost all of that milk.

I had to stand 12 hour shifts, and I pumped faithfully every four hours by sneaking off to a nearby bathroom. I am in the US Coast Guard and we were one of the last people to leave. I pumped off an on during the entire 12 hour drive about 150 miles away to Alexandria, LA in the back seat of a van with four very weirded out guys sitting in the front benches listening to the whish-whish of my breast pump.

When we got to the hotel we were staying at, they had run out of portable refridgerators. The hotel staff allowed me to put my milk in the hotel freezer until one became availiable. My husband met me in Alexandria after the four day supply ran out and I was able to continue feeding my dd from there (if I knew how or had the time to overnight ship frozen milk to Memphis, I would have done it, but sleep was already at a premium and the rescue operations and long shifts were already starting to take their toll....

A week later, we relocated together to Saint Louis, MO. I didn't want to be separated from my daughter b/c I didn't know how long I would be gone and didn't want to miss out on the first months of her life. I flew with my daughter and my husband drove with the milk I had pumped. Unfortunatly, my husband is an idiot and thought the electric cooler we had was an electric FREEZER (it's not). So all of the milk I had (about a week and a half worth) was destroyed. Anyway, we were very lucky. We only had about $25K in hurricane damages and my job put us in a nice efficiency apartment overlooking the arch in downtown STL. The local daycare took in my daughter with no notice and no problem.....and I continued to pump faithfully and feed my daughter. My milk supply dwindled and stopped around the 6 month mark (Thanksgiving) when I cut calories to try and diet/lose weight and I was glad that it was over so that I could finally get a full nights sleep. We returned to New Orleans a year ago today, but have since relocated to the Northern Virginia Area.

I look back and think that my daughter was worth it. As soon as I stopped giving her breastmilk, she had non stop ear infections. I could only imagine trying to deal with THAT problem during hurricane Katrina instead......I think the pumping was a better deal.....

I am now breastfeeding my second daughter exclusively and am already building up my supply for any potential road trips I may encounter.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | December 20, 2006 11:05 AM

Okay Liz - I'll take you up on your comment and boast a bit (forgive me folks) - my son is only 3 and his reading and counting skills are way beyond his classmates. My husband took him to get some bloodwork the other day and he read the sign "Lab corp". His teacher has to give him a separate curriculum from the other kids in his class because he is more advanced than they are. She's not just trying to make me happy by saying that.
Again - I apologise for this post but I was just trying to make the point that exclusive breastfeeding does not have that much of an impact on intelligence. I also have evidence of myself and my siblings who were not breastfed at all due to the fact that my mother couldn't breastfeed and we all turned out more than fine - one of my sisters is currently working on a Phd in Electrical engineering.
It just annoys me when people get holier than thou on this breastfeeding thing!

Posted by: fabworkingmom | December 20, 2006 11:06 AM

in re: 2yrs and beyond

I would say formula has become infinitely better in the past 20 years, yet there is an entire generation of adults who were exclusively fed sub-par formula who are doing great! You're anti-formula-ism is is border-line apocalyptic!

Also, I have tried and tried to find peer-reviewed science on how horrible formula is, and there is NOTHING out there. I'm speculating, but I'm guessing there's nothing out there because the work was done and the data were non-conclusive and thus unpublishable.

Is is time for someone to say, "Unclench."?

Posted by: atb | December 20, 2006 11:06 AM

I could not breastfeed my daughter directly...I could never get her to latch on properly. But I pumped with a hospital grade breast pump for nearly 6 months.

We lived in New Orleans at the time. When the first hurricane of 2005 came in July, I had forgotten my portable pump at work. I drove just as the eye of the hurricane was hitting at 1030PM that night to pick it up, just in case the power went out. That was stupid and scary. I didn't know how to watch the weather reports closely or which roads tend to flood when those things blow by. The power went out for three days and it was hotter than hell, but my milk that I had pumped in the freezer had kept well.

I had one three day work trip in TX in late July. I pumped in the car, I pumped on the Galveston Ferry, I pumped in my hotel room before dinner. It was just something I had to do or else I would have to deal with engorgement, so it was pretty much at the forefront of my mind all the time to think 3-4 hours ahead about where I was going to be and where was I going to pump and how was I going to store the milk. I just made certain when I made my hotel reservations that they had refridgerator rentals. I also purchased an electric cooler while I was there from Walmart.

I had a conference to attend at a large local hotel in early August 2005. I planned ahead and asked a friend who had a hotel room if I could use her room to pump in and stored the milk in my portable cooler which was left undisturbed in the back of the room. From time to time, I would get up in the middle of meetings and go to pump. I would try to plan the start of my pumping session during a break or during lunch to minimize my absences and disruptions.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, that was the ultimate challenge. I sent my husband ahead of me to Memphis with four days worth of breastmilk. I had at least a one month supply in the freezer at home (I made enough milk to feed three children and had assumed the hurricane would only be a temporary diversion like all of the others...who knew the levys would break ???). Never the less, I lost all of that milk.

I had to stand 12 hour shifts, and I pumped faithfully every four hours by sneaking off to a nearby bathroom. I am in the US Coast Guard and we were one of the last people to leave. I pumped off an on during the entire 12 hour drive about 150 miles away to Alexandria, LA in the back seat of a van with four very weirded out guys sitting in the front benches listening to the whish-whish of my breast pump.

When we got to the hotel we were staying at, they had run out of portable refridgerators. The hotel staff allowed me to put my milk in the hotel freezer until one became availiable. My husband met me in Alexandria after the four day supply ran out and I was able to continue feeding my dd from there (if I knew how or had the time to overnight ship frozen milk to Memphis, I would have done it, but sleep was already at a premium and the rescue operations and long shifts were already starting to take their toll....

A week later, we relocated together to Saint Louis, MO. I didn't want to be separated from my daughter b/c I didn't know how long I would be gone and didn't want to miss out on the first months of her life. I flew with my daughter and my husband drove with the milk I had pumped. Unfortunatly, my husband is an idiot and thought the electric cooler we had was an electric FREEZER (it's not). So all of the milk I had (about a week and a half worth) was destroyed. Anyway, we were very lucky. We only had about $25K in hurricane damages and my job put us in a nice efficiency apartment overlooking the arch in downtown STL. The local daycare took in my daughter with no notice and no problem.....and I continued to pump faithfully and feed my daughter. My milk supply dwindled and stopped around the 6 month mark (Thanksgiving) when I cut calories to try and diet/lose weight and I was glad that it was over so that I could finally get a full nights sleep. We returned to New Orleans a year ago today, but have since relocated to the Northern Virginia Area.

I look back and think that my daughter was worth it. As soon as I stopped giving her breastmilk, she had non stop ear infections. I could only imagine trying to deal with THAT problem during hurricane Katrina instead......I think the pumping was a better deal.....

I am now breastfeeding my second daughter exclusively and am already building up my supply for any potential road trips I may encounter.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | December 20, 2006 11:08 AM

I meant to say that "it was great" not "I was great"... a little bit of a slip

Posted by: single mom | December 20, 2006 11:08 AM

"There are very few mothers who cannot make enough milk-- only 3% or so. These mothers should not feel guilty for using formula."

To "2yrs and beyond" --

Wow. Let's REALLY make these moms feel like crap.

After your diatribe about the evils of formula, you think that your little disclaimer about those few mothers who can't nurse is going to make them feel better?

You are an insensitive clod.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 11:09 AM

single mom:

I hear that breast milk theft is a common problem among thirsty luggage handlers!!! :-)

Posted by: DC Mom | December 20, 2006 11:10 AM

My husband took him to get some bloodwork the other day and he read the sign "Lab corp"

Wow and I thought my little angel was smart when she recognized the Golden Arches and started clapping and saying french fries. She did that amazing feat (sp?) at age 2. LOL :)

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 11:10 AM

Again - I apologise for the boasting. Unfortunately I wasn't joking but I also wasn't trying to compensate for anything. In fact I'm typically the last person to boast about anything (but for the grace of God I go) However, it really gets my goat when mothers unduly stress themselves about the breastfeeding thing and think their kids are going to be retarded if they can't breastfeed exclusively.
IT IS NOT TRUE!

Posted by: fabworkingmom | December 20, 2006 11:11 AM

I attended a conference locally and had to ask the organizer: where do I pump? it was at a local univ. so they actually had a pumping room AND a fridge. I was so happy - I had brought some cold paks to store the milk but I stored it in the fridge. That actually made my day! Something so small...

Posted by: atlmom | December 20, 2006 11:13 AM

Tofaberworkingmom: Unlike our 100% feel good society, I do recognize that some people are naturally brighter then others. My DD is a happy healthy normal intelligent child. Doesn't bother me that your kid can read and mine is still in diapers! And I agree with you about the breast feeding thing. I even kick myself for playing mozart to my baby in the womb. My kid is totally not musical! What a dang waste of time.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 11:16 AM

Hear, hear, fabworkingmom. your tone was clear, and clearly positive, in each posting. We are fortunate to be able to identify extremist nonsense when we hear it, whether from 2yrs and beyond or other insensitive clods, to borrow the perfect description.

and congrats on your wonderful son. I'm sure you love him very much.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 20, 2006 11:18 AM

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this blog is like Lake Wobegon: all the children are above average.

Being 9 months pregnant, I have resisted and resisted the urge to be a competitive parent, or in this case, pregnant person, but it's HARD. I'm insanely proud of the fact that I haven't over-gained weight and people tell me how great/not huge I look. But the truth is, it was all genetic. I didn't no anything special. But boy do I want to strut. This is not a normal thing for me. I'm not insanely humble, but I'm not a GLOATER, for crying out loud. Someone tell me it's the hormones. What kind of annoying momzilla am I going to be? Bleck.

Posted by: atb | December 20, 2006 11:20 AM

Breastmilk is not the cure-all. By the time children are ready for solid foods, we are introducing tons of potential allergens to them every day. Every time they put their fingers in their mouths, in go potential allergens. Every time their skin contacts something, it could be an allergen. And there could be plenty of allergens in breastmilk too. Children begin to produce adequate amounts of their own antibodies at some point (does anyone know when?), so they no longer rely on getting them only from our milk. And breastmilk can contain things we don't want our children to ingest, such as medications - studies on the percent of specific medications that end up in breastmilk and the significance of these amounts are often conflicting (I'm a clinical pharmacist).

So, as a baby gets older, it becomes less and less important that he/she receives breastmilk. Only the convenience, cost, and possibly IQ arguments remain (and I frankly believe the IQ thing is based on confounded data). Finally, women often breastfeed for a long time for THEM much more than for their children (which is not a bad thing). It is captive bonding time with your child.

Breastfeeding is a lovely natural choice. Formula is a great synthetic choice. Just remember 'natural' doesn't automatically equal 'good' as a generalization...arsenic is natural.

Posted by: equal | December 20, 2006 11:20 AM

Thanks to everyone for the adivce.

Kathy,


Kathy,

The nurse in the hospital ask me if I wanted to pump and dumb, but to be honest, I was just to weak to do much of anything.


Obviously 2yrs and beyond thinks that I should have pumped between my last rights, allergic reactions, and drug induced delusions. But hey, there is always baby number 2, and I am sure that number 2 will be smarter, healthier, prettier, and nicer than baby number one just because she got a little more breast milk. (snark)


Posted by: scarry | December 20, 2006 11:22 AM

"You want to do everything you can to set your kids up to be ok when you can't be there for them any more."

Buy insurance!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 11:25 AM

Hi -- I'm usually a reader, not a submitter, but this one grabbed me -- probably bec I too was a "breastmilk all the way" mother BEFORE my first was born.

I believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of bf'ing, but after my son arrived I soon realized the benefits of the bottle -- whether breastmilk or formula -- for my own sanity. Husband/helpers can do it -- and bond with that baby :-) -- and then when the baby can hold the bottle, your hands are free! There's still plenty of time when you can snuggle and/or bf -- let's face it, the kid is not going to forget you are his mother just bec someone else is helping out!

And I love my breastpump -- although it isn't as easy as it sounds to do at work. Somehow those meetings always got scheduled right during the time I needed to pump...

But the other thing I realized was that even if my son was getting formula and breastmilk, he's STILL getting the benefits of breastmilk. Supplementing with formula does not diminish the good things about breastfeeding -- it's not like formula cuts the benefits in half.

I also had to get over my certainty that my son NEEDED my breastmilk after about 9 months. It just became too hard to do the things we wanted/needed to do -- and don't give me grief for putting other family interests over my son's breastmilk needs, bec I gave myself enough grief at the time. But I was going crazy from the scheduling, and he was okay -- did fine on all formula, and then whole milk. So I learned that he could handle flexibility, and I could use a little myself. The 9 months of bf'ing was a success -- he's a genius! (ha ha) But formula didn't kill him.

Later I read in the Post about a study that said benefits taper off after 9 months anyway, then more recently that bf'ing til 6 months is good enough. I did a quick search and couldn't find those, but ran across this link, which says bf'ing after 9 months may increase allergies. So now I can feel even better! :-)
http://www.physorg.com/news73842810.html

I think my big message is that bf'ing is not all it's cracked up to be in terms of convenience, etc... so if you have to make accomodations, do it. You don't get brownie points in life for bf'ing til 2 years old. Bottles, formula, short term bf'ing as long as you can stand it -- your child will survive, thrive and be happy no matter what, as long as the love is there. We should take it a little easier on ourselves, not succumb to the peer pressure, and aim for that elusive balance in life. :-)

Posted by: BF'er with options | December 20, 2006 11:26 AM

To "2 years and beyond" - you are a judgmental idiot who instead of being on this blog should really be bf'ing your kid before someone gives him or her some milk out of sippy cup - which is what a 2 year old should be drinking out of now!

Posted by: formula is fine | December 20, 2006 11:32 AM

I'm nursing exclusively and pumping at work. I've done a few business trips, each longer than the last, including overnights and trips to Europe. I always bring the milk back with me. I've pumped in some bizarre places, and whilst pumping sometimes toy with the idea of writing a book entitled "Restrooms I have known"..

I'm pretty up-front with everyone that I meet with that I need a time and place to pump and preferably a place to store it. I give them a schedule ahead of time so we can work the agenda around it. It's always worked just fine. One thing - I've found that hotels in Europe can't provide you with fridges generally, and the mini-bar fridges are useless. Sometimes hotels have ice machines, and I just keep the milk in the trashcan covered in ice. I've also used soda cans which have been in the minibar for weeks, to keep the milk cold.

The new no-liquids rules are a real pain though. Airlines all have different rules about using ice, dry ice etc, and every airport and security screener interprets the rules differently. I really wish the airlines/TSA would get themselves sorted out.

P.S. I think my husband quite enjoys the Daddy-time, and he's always woken up at night. It was nice to come home and forget the pump for a few days though.

Posted by: smellytart | December 20, 2006 11:34 AM

Bonjour everybody!

I love fresh milk, especially when I obtain it myself. Hee Hee! Human milk is not as heavy as cow's milk.

Hey, did you see Miss USA Tara Conner on cnn yesterday? She was given a second chance by Trump after being caught underage drinking, hard partying and rumors of snorting cocaine. (She inhaled).
She must have been on her knees in front of Trump "begging" for forgiveness, seeing that she almost "blew away" her golden opportunity.
Now she promises to be "the best Miss USA ever!" Maybe I will see her perform at the nudie club next week! ooh la la!

Posted by: Thierry | December 20, 2006 11:35 AM

scarry - I'm not sure how many know how serious pancreatitis is and how many think you may be exaggerating. My mother died from it. It took 3 days, and had she lived, the doctors informed us the recovery would have involved months in the hospital.

Posted by: xyz | December 20, 2006 11:37 AM

This is a very tired and repetitive topic. Is it because it is the holidays and no one wants to think of something more creative?

Breast feeding is not the end all and be all that the media and everyone else wants us to think. Anything beyond 6-9 months is just ridiculous - there are studies showing it is MOST IMPORTANT for only a week or two after birth - but I get it if someone wants to continue for a few months. That's all - can't believe I got sucked into this once again.

Posted by: WAMC | December 20, 2006 11:37 AM

My own personal experience turns the whole premise of breastfeeding being "superior" on its head.

My oldest child, who I breastfed for five months, was constantly sick as a young child, needed ear tubes, and now as a teenager misses at least a few days of school every quarter due to illness.

My middle child, who I breastfed for only eight weeks, has a supercharged immune system. Not only has she gone entire school years without missing a single day of school but she had to have an oral surgery (to expose a permanent tooth stuck in her gum) done repeatedly because the incision kept healing before the orthodontist could install a bracket on the exposed tooth.

My youngest wasn't breastfed at all because she is tongue-tied, couldn't effectively nurse, and my pediatrician refused to surgically correct the tongue-tie because, in her opinion, the surgery posed more risks to my child than using formula. My youngest is almost six and has never had an ear infection, only misses school occasionally due to illness, and is far ahead academically of where her siblings were at the same age.

Now, I am NOT attributing all of these differences to breastmilk or formula. A myriad of other factors affect health and academic progression. However, from personal experience I do believe that breastfeeding a child is not a guarantee that the child will be healthy and smart or that using formula will condemn a child to a lower standard of health and intelligence. There are simply too many other variables involved in human development.

I support women who want to breastfeed and can successfully balance working, traveling and pumping. I also support women who never breastfeed their children if that choice reduces stress and frustration, allowing that mother to focus more positive attention on her child.

Posted by: MP | December 20, 2006 11:37 AM

Oh pleez Alisa! You are stressing over your baby not getting breast milk for a couple of weeks? Gosh, she isn't going to get dehydrated and die, you know? She isn't going to lose 10pts on her SAT, score 5% lower on her MENSA test, rejected by Harvard because you did not pump. Feed her some formula, for goodness sakes!

Give me a break!

Posted by: Thierry | December 20, 2006 11:37 AM

"human milk bank"

what?! where? where?

Posted by: Thierry | December 20, 2006 11:39 AM

Thierry, you are sick.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 11:42 AM

"...good question re: all the angst about the little things. Why? Because we don't have to worry about the big things."

But there DO seem to be plenty of big things left to worry about in this country: environmental protection is abysmal, crime rates are high, etc. Those are the things I tend to worry about when it comes to my children, not whether I breast-fed enough or whether their schools are top-notch enough.

Posted by: To Laura From Ajax | December 20, 2006 11:43 AM

I realize that experts may differ, but I still thought it might be helpful to post this information (see below) on supplementing breastmilk with formula. This was what Leslie wrote that she did with her kids, as did many others of you; I did as well, mainly because I could not get my breast pump to work very well. I did not have money to buy an expensive one, and the plastic hand-pump kind I had just failed me.

This website said that the material below was reviwed by Barbara Homeier (M.D.), and it was posted on www.kidshealth.org. It seems like a balanced, researched view to me.

"The major health organizations - including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Medical Association (AMA), the American Dietetic Association (ADA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) - agree that breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition for babies (especially during the first 6 months). However, it's every couple's choice to decide what's best for them and their babies. And commercially prepared formulas are designed and strictly regulated to provide the nutrients your baby needs.

...
Q: I'm breastfeeding but also want to start giving my baby formula. Is this OK?

The AAP recommends exclusively breastfeeding (that is, giving the baby no other food, beverages, or formula) for the first 6 months. And many of the health benefits of breastfeeding come during the first 2 months from protective antibodies in breast milk that can help keep babies healthy.

Unless your child's doctor recommends it, avoid giving your baby formula and breast milk (this is called supplementing) at least until your milk supply has had a chance to develop and both you and your baby are used to the concept of breastfeeding. Most lactation professionals recommend that parents wait at least 1 month before offering pacifiers or artificial nipples of any kind to avoid nipple confusion. Early supplementing also can lead to a reduction in your milk supply.

If you are having a hard time pumping or need to go back to work, supplementing breast milk with formula may be the only option if you still want to continue breastfeeding. After all, some breast milk is better than none at all.

It's important to remember that your baby's health and happiness is, in large part, determined by what works for you as a family and is not solely based on recommendations. So if you need to supplement or even go to 100% formula, your baby will be fine and healthy, especially if it creates less stress for you."

from http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/formulafeed/formulafeed_supplement.html

Posted by: on supplementing with formula | December 20, 2006 11:44 AM

For those of you being too hard on yourself:
My first child would not nurse. He screamed and fought and vomited and screamed some more until I finally switched to formula, which turned out to not be much better. We ended up having to use the "Liquid Gold" formula that cost us $100 per week. For years he had trouble with food, but no doctors believed us... and deep down I always blamed myself for not nursing him. Recently, at age 7, he has been diagnosed with several things that explain the trouble he has had eating since day one - and not one of them would have been solved by my nursing him.
I did go on to successfully nurse my daughter for 2 years... and learned 2 things in the process: Stand up for yourself and your child when you know something is wrong, but no one believes you; and just because you have trouble the first time, dosen't mean you'll have trouble the next time - sometimes it's the child, not you.

Posted by: InTheMidwest | December 20, 2006 11:48 AM

Leslie is making a mountain out of a molehill by highlighting one woman's obsession with breastfeeding. Most people aren't that anal.

Also an underhanded slap at the incompetent dad. I figured you had to put that in there too, huh? Clueless father...

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 11:50 AM

If you are not finding peer reviewed literature which discusses the benefits of bfing you may not be looking in the right places. Here are two that I found in a few minutes. If you would like more I would suggest you ask your pediatrician or a librarian in a medical library.

Archives of Disease in Childhood - study around July or August of 2006 regarding reduction in anxiety of children who were breastfed.

American Journal of Epidemiology
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/162/5/397?etoc

Posted by: to atb | December 20, 2006 11:50 AM

anon to atb at 11:50: please read carefully. atb didn't say that she failed to find peer reviewed literature discussing the benefits of bfing. She said she had "tried and tried to find peer-reviewed science on how horrible formula is, and there is NOTHING out there." Quite a different point. It's hard to convert people to your extremist viewpoint if you won't even listen to what they say.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 11:55 AM

Leslie, Perhaps we could put a moratorium on blogs about breastfeeding/formula/pumping for a few months in 2007? I check this blog on a regular basis and it seems to me that this debate and discussion have been covered. Any more on this subject and we're going down a very slippery slope of unacceptance, not to mention misinformation.
Many thanks for your consideration.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 11:56 AM

I am so sorry to hear about your mom.

Ladies, it is serious and gall bladder disease and stones can be aggravated by pregancy.

Posted by: xyz | December 20, 2006 12:01 PM

There is no way to shut up the Nursing Nazis.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 12:08 PM

My wife breast fed all our kids. the first time she worked the evening shift, it was up to me to feed the baby with a bottle of breast milk she pumped.

The baby wasn't interested. In fact she moved her head from side to side resisting any attempts for me to get the nipple in her mouth. I assumed the baby wasn't hungry, so I put the bottle back in the refrigerator and did other activities until she went to sleep. I put her in the [family] bed and fell asleep next to her.

When my wife got home after midnight, she found the full bottle and reemed me out for neglecting to feed the baby.

The next evening she went to work, I promised I would try harder to feed the baby. Maybe I wasn't doing it right? there were these new-fangled nipples on the bottle that I had to get the direction correct or they wouldn't work. So naturally I tried for myself, did the hole go on top or bottom? I tried both ways for myself, and for me, when the hole was on top, it was much easier to suck the milk out of the bottle.

So I tried again, unsuccessfully, and again, and again, and again until we were both frustrated. I tried with the hole on top, on bottom, sideways... then I noticed that I drank more milk than I got down the baby. So what the heck, I drank the bottle down until about 2 ounces left, just in case the baby got hungry later. Taste great!

And when the baby fell asleep that night, once again I just laid her in bed and fell asleep next to her. When my wife came home from work that night, she saw the mostly empty bottle in the fridge... and told me that I did a good job.

None of my kids (3 months or older) ever had a problem going without feeding for a 12 hour period.

I firmly believe that the comfort babies get when they nurse from their mothers is much more desirable than the actual milk they receive to satisfy their hunger. by the time we had our 4th baby, I was doing the bedtime routine at least 4 times a week. I could tell from his body language loud and clear that I was actually insulting him by offering him a rubber nipple instead of the real McCoy. He would sometimes go over 18 hours rejecting the method of delivery before secombing to hunger and finally taking the bottle.

My advice to all inexperienced nursing mommies is to make breast feeding the most pleasant experience as possible. Remember, it's the most intimate activity you will ever experience with your child. If you are nervous or uptight about it, the baby can pick up on your emotions, so try to relax as much as possible.

I did learn a little trick to get a reluctant, breast fed baby to drink from a bottle. maybe I'll post it later if anyone seems interested.

Happy Parenting!

Posted by: Father of 4 | December 20, 2006 12:08 PM

Some kids take a long time to wean themselves. My 6 year old is still nursing before he goes to sleep. I am trying to wean him, but he seems to have no interest in stopping.

Posted by: anon | December 20, 2006 12:09 PM

I have been reading this blog for some time and never have written or responded (perhaps out of fear of criticism, which seems to happen a lot). It WAS milk mania for me. I couldn't produce enough for my son. Yet I still felt enormous pressure to do so from doctors, books, my friends and my own conscience. I took medications and fenugreek, pumped several times each day at work (yielding a total of one or two ounces at most over the course of an entire day) and at other times that I could. I did this for six months. Supplementing with formula made me feel guilty. The whole situation was ruining my mental health, my marriage and my relationship with my newborn son. I still felt horrible when I stopped trying. But I realize now it was the best thing I ever did. We all are doing well now. If breastfeeding is not working for you, I beg you to please give yourself permission to stop.

Posted by: GalinCali | December 20, 2006 12:11 PM

thanks, Father of 4.

The comfort for your children of falling asleep next to their dad should not to be underrated (in the swooning by some others over bfing).

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 12:12 PM

Some kids take a long time to wean themselves. My 6 year old is still nursing before he goes to sleep. I am trying to wean him, but he seems to have no interest in stopping.

If you want him to wean, could you just tell him to stop? He may be angry or disappointed but he is old enough to understand. If you don't mind nursing him, then go forth and enjoy. All the power to you. I personally could not do it for six years.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 12:15 PM

ooops, doing to many things at once the post about gall bladder disease was from Scarry to xyz. Sorry!

Posted by: scarry | December 20, 2006 12:16 PM

Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Posted by: Quotable | December 20, 2006 12:18 PM

I realize it's partly because I have not gotten tough about weaning. I know he does it for comfort, and I just hate to reject him. I had hoped for the longest time he would lose interest, but no such luck. I don't mind the nursing sessions at all. They are very soothing to both of us, but I am beginning to worry about his age and whether not weaning now will hurt him long term. In all other respects, he is a very happy, well-adjusted, independent kid.

Posted by: anon | December 20, 2006 12:23 PM

While I totally support breastfeeding, I do think that children who are formula-fed will be fine. For instance, I was completely formula-fed, as was my twin sister, and today we are completely healthy, with no allergies or problems to speak of, fairly intelligent, and happy people. And that was on formula from 31 years ago, so presumably today's formula is way better.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 12:23 PM

you'd better get your 6yr old to stop breastfeeding or he will turn out like Thierry

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 12:26 PM

Ajax, good point on the "big things left to worry about" question. I couldn't figure out how to say it right, but I think it's more about immediate, physical concerns vs. more amorphous, long-term issues. Things like food on the table and a roof over your head are immediate physical concerns, so if you have to deal with those, you're not going to be fixating on breast vs. bottle.

And it's also about control. I also worry generally about the things you mentioned. But I know that even though I can choose a good neighborhood and school and contribute to causes I support, I still can't really control those things. So those worry/protective energies go instead to littler stuff that I CAN control -- in my case, breastfeeding my daughter.

Obviously, not everyone needs to feel in control to the same degree. In my case, it was pretty severe at the time, in part fueled by other things that were going on (my husband's plant suddenly shut down when I was 8 mos pregnant; both my daughter and I almost died in childbirth; had to move to a different state with a 6 wk old; carried two house payments for a year -- I was basically desperate to feel in control of SOMETHING). Now that I've got a little more perspective, it's easy to see how pointless and unnecessary it all was, and how good I have it even to have the mental energy to devote to little things like that.

Posted by: Laura | December 20, 2006 12:29 PM

"They are very soothing to both of us, but I am beginning to worry about his age and whether not weaning now will hurt him long term. In all other respects, he is a very happy, well-adjusted, independent kid."

to anon at 12:23, I'm curious. What are your husband's (if applicable) and your pediatrician's thoughts on continuing to breast-feed your 6-year old son? I'm not suggesting that their opinions are to be more highly valued than yours, but surely they ought at least to be in the mix, particularly since you say you are "beginning to worry".

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 12:33 PM

"stuff that I CAN control -- in my case, breastfeeding my daughter. "

Control - this is what is really going on.

Posted by: G | December 20, 2006 12:34 PM

If you're going to critique another poster, please use enough words so we understand the nature of your insult, not that Laura's comments in any way merit it.

Posted by: to G | December 20, 2006 12:38 PM

Shall I tell you about the week long trial I did 2 weeks after returning to work? I wasn't traveling - but I might as well have been. And it's not like "breaks" are regularly scheduled during a trial. At first I frantically pumped in the courthouse bathroom with my battery operated pump. Then my batteries died and I resorted to RUNNING out to my car at every break to plug my pump into the car. And it's not like pumping is a discreet activity. I covered myself up with my suit jacket, but I swear everyone walking by had to try and peer into the car to see what I was doing.

I was in pain by the end of each day. Luckily I had enough frozen milk to keep my son going for the week.

Posted by: Lawyer Mama | December 20, 2006 12:39 PM

FYI -- I agree we moms usually worry a bit to much, especially at first. But dehydration of infants is a serious risk. It's important to talk to your pediatrician or nurse or other medical professional to make sure your baby is getting enough liquid nurishment, especially the first six weeks. One sign that I remember is if they cry without tears -- shows they are not hydrated enough to produce tears. Listen to your instincts, not to trolls on this or any other blog!

Posted by: Leslie | December 20, 2006 12:47 PM

"i was bottle fed and turned out fine". I'm really, really surprised at the absence of logic with this group. I was expecting a pretty well educated bunch, not people who use poor correlation as some sort of scientific basis for decision making. I'm not saying that formula is or isnt' good, but the logic that you and your sibiling were bottle fed and are o.k. is hardly empirical evidence of its okness. I drove to the store once without my seatbelt - that doesn't mean that I don't need it. Do what you want, but don't justify with lame logic. Get some science.

Posted by: moxiemom | December 20, 2006 12:50 PM

Sorry in advance; I haven't read all the posts yet. I just had to comment on: "The lactation consultant had suggested that I could donate it to the human milk bank."

What a wonderful idea! If you have it, donate it! Such a shame to see it go to waste. I'm sure it's an arduous process to get it there before the deadline, frozen and all, but my hat's off to those of you ladies who have tried to do it. I actually got tears in my eyes. That kind of generosity really renews my faith in humanity.

Speaking of donating that which you don't need: www.locksoflove.org. With luck, my hair's gone by the weekend. :-)

Posted by: Mona | December 20, 2006 12:52 PM

Gah, all these obsessed mothers make me so glad to not have children. I just can't imagine all the guilt, neurotic worrying, and endless picking over tiny details. I can't believe some of my friends when they really do go on and on and on about some little thing their child is doing or not doing that is clearly a phase that will soon be over. No, your child will not be a 5-lb. toddler. Yes, your child WILL learn to sleep on her own. Why must mothers waste so much time agonizing over the small stuff?

Posted by: Jordana | December 20, 2006 12:55 PM

Jordana,

Why are you here? For the sole purpose of convincing us of your superiority?

Do tell.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 1:01 PM

I don't know, Jordana. I ask myself that a lot, too (and I'm a mother), but probably in a lot kinder terms. Maybe it's hormones, or the fact that one is just so emotionally involved. A lot of times, one just does not realize that it's a "phase" or harmless until it's over.

Posted by: To Jordana From Ajax | December 20, 2006 1:02 PM

"NO, IQ is not just determined by DNA. If it was you would always score the same score each time you took an IQ test."

There was a study recently that said vegetarians have a higher IQ. I'm veg, mine's relatively high, I don't know if there is any legitimacy to the study, but I'll be the first to say it doesn't mean ANYTHING. The only potential use it may have is to determine if a prisoner is mentally challenged (IQ below 70) and can't receive the death penalty, or if you're eligible for MENSA. It does NOT mean you are intelligent (I have done some reeeally stupid stuff in my time, and I'll be the first to admit I have a hard time grasping complex concepts). It just means you recognize spatial and numerical patterns pretty well. IQ tests are garbage.

Posted by: Mona | December 20, 2006 1:03 PM

Jordana, first of all being obessed about a 5 pounder, likely means that your child is premature. Unless you've ever seen you child in the NICU in an isolette hooked up to a bunch of stuff, unable to maintain his/her body temperature - I'd back off the mom who was worried about the weight.

Secondly, I think moms worry because they realize what an important task it is to care for and shape a human being. The fear is that if you mess up badly - the cost is greater than simply messing up a proposal. If i were you I'd wait until I had a child before you spend too much time criticizing parenting efforts.

Posted by: moxiemom | December 20, 2006 1:03 PM

I hope this is helpful to the women who are working and pumping. In my office a woman has effectively donated her pump to whomever needs it at the time. The women using the pump bring all the parts that come in contact with the milk, but not having to lug the entire pump is wonderful and makes it easier for women to continue to breastfeed their children.

Posted by: Massachusetts | December 20, 2006 1:04 PM

Because we have an intense love for our child. Because we are raging with hormones. It is nice that you decided you did not want kids. But knock other people for taking their parenting seriously.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 1:05 PM

I meant to say don't knock other people for taking their parenting seriously.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 1:07 PM

I appologize for misreading your earlier messasge about the research you were looking for and then offer a different reasoning for why you don't find that research. Corporate America has alot of clout in deciding what research is done, perhaps the makers of formula have the clout to prevent research about the potentially negative effects of formula or perhaps you are right and science is not there. Babies do fine on formula but there is alot of science out there that the do better on bm.

Posted by: to atb | December 20, 2006 1:10 PM

Jordana,

As far as I know, babies don't raise themselves so if one is going to have one, one best be prepared to be responsible for all the details, the tiny as well as the large.

As you might imagine, there's a lot of self-selection that goes into the viewpoints of who posts and who doesn't on this or any parenting board. Generally speaking, those who care the most, or are the most passionate about, a particular topic, or whom you might characterize as "obsessed", tend to post. The less-obsessed may opt to limit their participation to reading or may not be interested at all. It would be a mistake to extrapolate to all mothers the concerns posited by the moms on this one board. It's also a mistake to insult all the mothers on this board because you don't share the concerns of one or more. Despite the demeaning tone of your post, if you really are you trying to understand what your friends are dealing with, we're glad to pitch in an enlighten you. Otherwise, feel free to find a board that reflects your concept of what's important and what isn't.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 20, 2006 1:13 PM

There is science out there that supports babies do better in cloth diapers.

Posted by: EJ | December 20, 2006 1:17 PM

It's astonishing how many immediate responses there are to Jordana, who was being a tad offensive, in contrast to responses to the anon who is still bf-ing her 6-year-old child.

Does anyone else think there's something way out of whack about a mother who hasn't been able to wean herself from a school-aged child?

Perhaps she can't tolerate the feelings of guilt she creates for herself over the idea of "rejecting him." But that's her psychological issue, not a reason to continue this bizarre practice. She says he does it for comfort, but how long can one make that excuse? He might be sucking his thumb for comfort, as well, and I bet most parents would have been discouraging that from an earlier age.

Shouldn't she be seeking some help and trying to normalize her relationship with her son?

Posted by: dubious | December 20, 2006 1:18 PM

At least none of us obessive parents did this today...

Woman Puts Baby Through Airport X-Ray
By Associated Press
3 hours ago

LOS ANGELES - A woman mistakenly put her 1-month-old grandson through an X-ray machine at Los Angeles International Airport, authorities said.

A startled security worker noticed the shape of a child on the carry-on baggage screening monitor and immediately pulled him out, the Los Angeles Times reported for a story in Wednesday's editions.

The infant was taken to a local hospital, where doctors determined he did not receive a dangerous dose of radiation.

"This was an innocent mistake by an obviously inexperienced traveler," said Paul Haney, deputy executive director of airports and security for the city's airport agency.

The incident happened early Saturday, airport officials said.

Haney said in 1988, an infant in a car seat went through an X-ray machine at the Los Angeles airport.

Posted by: Momof3 | December 20, 2006 1:24 PM

And if you talk to mamas who use cloth there is as much passion about that issue as there is on bf v ff

Posted by: cloth v disposable | December 20, 2006 1:24 PM

NC Lawyer,

What do you think about cave assignments for bottle-fed adults vs. BF ones?

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 1:33 PM

"He might be sucking his thumb for comfort, as well, and I bet most parents would have been discouraging that from an earlier age."

Actually, my 5 1/2 yr old daughter still sucks her thumb when she goes to bed at night. I haven't really spent too much time worrying about it -- it's a minor thing that gives her comfort, and I figure social pressures will make her drop it soon enough. Besides, with the teeth in our family, she's genetically doomed to braces anyway. :-)

Ok, flame away.

Posted by: Laura | December 20, 2006 1:36 PM

we need to discuss more about pumping.
it is my favourite hobby.

Posted by: Thierry | December 20, 2006 1:37 PM

DD 3 sucks her thumb. Her grandfather did till he was 15. Like Laura said minor thing. There are bigger battles to fight. I think less people responded to the nursing 6 year old because people don't have a lot of experience in this area. It is way outside the norm because most mothers do not desire a 6 year old nursing nor do most 6 year olds choose to nurse. Just because it is outside the norm doesn't mean it is wrong. Not sure how to advise except if your unhappy, start to wean. If not, continue nursing. Talk to la leche. I do know two boys who nursed till 5 and 8 respectfully. They are now both in college and are very healthy happy men. Not at all strange or perverted.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 1:40 PM

Is this post just about breast feeding and pumping? I wonder if "milk mania" was a manifistation of some sort of "mommy guilt." It's stressful to leave your child for the first time. I could see a new mother thinking that yes, she could handle the business travel, but career would not interfere with motherhood to the extent that her baby would miss a drop of breast milk. Could this be a way to prove that baby's needs are always top priority? Or am I reading too much into it?

I know I've driven my wife and family crazy over trying too hard to do the "right thing."

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 20, 2006 1:40 PM

Laura,

Well, that makes sense. It seems to me that thumb-sucking is an age-appropriate self-soothing behavior for a five- or six-year-old, while continuing to breastfeed is probably not.

I'm kind of curious as to why no one has responded on this issue. Is it that the topic is too sensitive -- that is, no one wants to offend the mothers who bf well beyond toddlerhood?

Posted by: dubious | December 20, 2006 1:41 PM

to Arlington Dad,

After they have had more than 2 kids, they will not feel (or behave) this way!

Posted by: anon | December 20, 2006 1:42 PM

That's an awful story on the grandma sending the 1month old through the xray machine! What an unfortunate mistake - I feel bad for all involved, including grandma. She must feel terrible.

to moxiemom - I agree that personal anecdotes do not equal scientific research but it makes me feel better when people share their own experiences as opposed to obsessing about various studies that come up with conclusions that are often contradictory.

Jordana - you can't understand what being a mother entails if you're not one so reserve your judgment until you take the plunge.

To the mother breastfeeding a 6 yr old - Breastfeeding is a great time of bonding between mother and child but for this to continue till 6 is a bit much. I'd explain to the child that he/she's a big boy/girl now and it's time to stop and then just stop cold turkey.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | December 20, 2006 1:44 PM

There has been something I've always wanted to know, but has been too embarrased to ask, but since this is an anonymous blog and I get the sense that people are getting bored with the bottle/breast debate, here goes:

I learned pretty quickly after the birth of my child that when my wife got sexually aroused, it triggered the let-down process to the point where she would literally "spill" her milk without any stimulation to her breasts or nipple.

Is she the only woman wired this way?

I doubt it because my wife is quite normal in every other aspect, but I have noticed that the family and friends of mine who have had difficulty breast feeding are also the women who I considered controlling and uptight. Of course, I realize that physical conditions exists that hinder breast feeding, but do you think there may be emotional ones also?

As in the case with the wife and me, is it remotely possible to increase milk production in nursing mothers by increasing their sexual activity? Perhaps nursing mothers who are having trouble producing the desirable amount of milk can get their husbands to help out?

Or am I completely off my rocker?

Posted by: Mystery Father | December 20, 2006 1:44 PM

My wife , Fredia, bf one of the kids until she was 4.

If she ever comes back from her LC meeting today, I will ask her opinion on this.

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 1:44 PM

Fred, All the BFing nazis should be assigned to a single holier-than-thou cave far, far away from all the normal parents, and Jordana's cave should be immediately adjacent to same. (I'm now donning my flame-retardant suit.) The more important cave-assignment question for me is whether UNC and Duke basketball fans, or Redskins and Cowboy fans could ever share a cave. The survival of the species would have depended on the wisdom of the Lead Assigner of Suitable Caves Assigner to just say, "no."

What does Fredia have to say about the appropriateness of breastfeeding a 6 year old? as long as the mother and child mutually agree, it's okay? or no way, Joseia?

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 20, 2006 1:45 PM

Dubious

There probably won't be a lot of negative comments about the 6 year old breast feeding because on this blog "It's nobody's business" blah, blah , blah.

And they would say that you are being judgmental calling it a "bizarre practice" and "I don't care what you think..." and "You can't make me feel bad.." and "Why are you picking on her?"


Posted by: Liz | December 20, 2006 1:48 PM

Frankly, I did not react to the breastfeeding-a-six-year-old post because I thought it was a fake, posted to provoke controversy...

Posted by: Ajax | December 20, 2006 1:48 PM

to mystery father --

no, your wife is not the only woman wired that way.

can't speak to the rest of the questions

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 1:50 PM

today's title milk mania reminds me of a summer evening we were driving cross country from FL to CA. we stopped in a little town in west texas. this place Greg's Ice House had a sign saying Girls Wrestling: Milk Mania Series #3.

i have to say the girls were not that pretty. kinds old, more like country moms you know, sagging boobs, fat butt, wide hips. but boy could they wrestle. i think they wrestle hogs for a living. of course they were topless, and when they were rolling around on top of each other, there was milk coming out all over them. it was quite sexy actually.

Posted by: Thierry | December 20, 2006 1:50 PM

wow, Liz, I hadn't realized we'd developed a reputation for tolerance instead of a rep for being the most interesting viper's nest around. Did I miss a big day yesterday?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 1:51 PM

Once again, we see a failure of priorities. Which is more important: breastfeeding your child or going on a business trip?

Posted by: it's all about priorities | December 20, 2006 1:51 PM

Mystery Father, it must be pretty messy living with someone like that for so many years!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 1:53 PM

Dubious, I don't really know why people aren't responding. I suspect some combination of (1) not being able to relate (like, say, me), (2) wondering if it was a real post, and/or (3) not wanting to repeat the really nasty discussion that ensued last time that issue came up.

Posted by: Laura | December 20, 2006 1:54 PM

NC Lawyer,

Well, they (the LC's) are at their Christmas par---errrr, I mean staff meeting today. Who knows if she will ever come back.

I will point out that Fredia is not a Nursing Nazi. If a mother feels that she cannot BF, Fredia will help with all of her resources. If a mother feels that she does not want to BF, Fredia respects the choice.

As my comments on today's postings, I read a lot of guilt about the right thing to do. Please back off of yourselves and breathe a bit. There is no one right way to do anything concerning childrearing. (standard disclaimer about abuse). I have 7 brothers by the same very middle class parents and all of us are different. We range from very successful to just barely getting by. Fredia and my 4 children have the same range of success.

But, I will NEVER go back to cloth diapers!

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 1:55 PM

After the last breastfeeding blog, I could have gone another year without hearing about it.

Posted by: again? | December 20, 2006 1:55 PM

NC lawyer

Great idea about the holier-than-thou cave. Send my MIL there pronto!

Where did the 15 year old thumb sucker live? He wouldn't have lasted long in my neighborhood.

Posted by: DJ | December 20, 2006 1:57 PM

Women pump their teats, bottle up the milk and ship it to the factory where other people can buy them.
Now I know why people say women are cows.

Posted by: Thierry | December 20, 2006 1:58 PM

There are going to be some days you like the blog topic and some days you don't. On days you don't like the topic - post about something else and see if the posters will bite or move on till the next blog day. It's simple really.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 1:59 PM

my 6 1/2 year old still nurses before bedtime so i wouldn't worry too much about what others say. my son will wean on his schedule not when somebody else tells me that there is something wrong with a 6 1/2 year old nursing.

Posted by: quark | December 20, 2006 1:59 PM

Some men are pigs, some pigs can fly, so Thierry, can you fly away from the blog!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:00 PM

Thierry, tu nous gonfles.

Posted by: Ajax | December 20, 2006 2:00 PM

Fred, Fredia sounds like the lactation consultant most of us wish we'd encountered at the various hospitals where we gave birth, but many of us did not. Fortunately, there are probably more that share her balance and helpful attitude now than there might have been even ten years ago. I am sincerely interested in her thoughts on the 6 year old.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 20, 2006 2:00 PM

"There are going to be some days you like the blog topic and some days you don't. On days you don't like the topic - post about something else and see if the posters will bite or move on till the next blog day. It's simple really"

Leslie, just sign your name instead of hiding behind anonymity, ok?

Posted by: Name | December 20, 2006 2:03 PM

"my son will wean on his schedule"

I pity the person who marries your son...

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:03 PM

NC Lawyer,

More on cave assignments:

Auburn v. Bama

ND v. Mich

UCLA v. USC (go Bruins!)

Aggies v. the rest of the world

Harvard v. Yale

Those damn yankees v. the rest of baseball.

So many cave assignments to think about!

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 2:05 PM

nursing 6.5 year old BOY - I'm sorry but that's CREEPY. I have a six year old boy who started looking at my breasts when I changed a little longer, a little differently. I don't do that anymore. I paused to imagine nursing him and really man, that's just creepy.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:07 PM

"my son will wean on his schedule not when somebody else tells me that there is something wrong with a 6 1/2 year old nursing."

what if his pediatrician advises differently? I'm not suggesting he or she would so advise, but just how invested are you in permitting your son to set the ground rules? Does he also determine his bed-time schedule or the content of the dinners prepared in your household? or is his rule limited to weaning?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:07 PM

"...On days you don't like the topic - post about something else and see if the posters will bite or move on till the next blog day. It's simple really."

Hey, we can talk about caves and crappy state schools anyday!

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 2:08 PM

That wasn't Leslie. It's just tiring reading postings from people who don't like the blog of the day. If the blog is that bad - why waste your time on it?

Posted by: anonforthispost | December 20, 2006 2:08 PM

"my son will wean on his schedule "

if he's still on a binky would you let him wean on his schedule?
if he still needs a comfort teddy, would you let him carry it to school?
if he still needs a sippy cup, can he take it to school?
curious...

Posted by: Frank Stein | December 20, 2006 2:09 PM

I'm going to tell about something that happended to me that I've never heard of before or since. Maybe a new mother can benifit from my experience. When my son was only five days old I was sitting in my chair nursing the baby and watching Johnny Carson with my husband. The baby finished nursing and then he spit up a little milk that was tinted pink with blood. I was horrified. My husband and I rushed the baby to the hospital. We were in a panic. We ran into the emergency room, "our baby spit up blood!!!? The nurse rushed him into the examining room, stripped off his clothes and examined him. He appeared perfectly healthy. Luckily the young doctor on duty figured it out pretty quickly. He asked me if I was breastfeeding. "yes". He asked if my nipples were cracked, "yes". Well, you guessed it. The baby spit up my blood. Even though I had no visible bleeding, he was sucking so hard he drew blood. My husband and I were both so relieved we were laughing and crying at the same time. So, the moral of the story is if your breastfeeding baby spits up blood, it might be your blood. But, of course let the doctor make that call.

Posted by: Melt | December 20, 2006 2:10 PM

"If the blog is that bad - why waste your time on it?"

See earlier comment on train and automobile wrecks. Generally, the blog topic isn't the problem -- although Thierry had a very, very cranky day last week over one particular topic. The problem is many of us don't like each other very much; or maybe it's that many of us don't like a few of us very much, or . . . pick your own explanation.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:12 PM

I had to laugh when I realized I can count one hand the number of extreme nursers (children who bf past the age of 4) and they were always boys. Go figure!

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 2:14 PM

Melt -scary story!

As for the 6 year old breastfeeding sons - I'd be curious to see their relationships with woman and their mother when they reach adulthood... will they be harder to get out on their own? will they have an unusually close relationship with their mothers and not be able to bond with other woman?

Posted by: single mom | December 20, 2006 2:14 PM

I have a friend who thought her child was pooping blood clots then found out he had eaten a red crayon. Kids - whadda you gonna do?

Posted by: moxiemom | December 20, 2006 2:17 PM

"although Thierry had a very, very cranky day last week over one particular topic"

hmm....i don't remember what you are talking about. last week.... ?... maybe i was frustrated because i did not get any nipple satisfaction for some time now.

Posted by: Thierry | December 20, 2006 2:18 PM

to single mom: I'm not sure I'd go that far with the implications of extended bfing itself; however, if the reason for the extended bfing is that mom has abdicated her role as parent and thinks her son knows best about everything in the universe, that attitude will play out in numerous contexts far removed from bfing. Just as I don't subscribe to bfing as a one-way ticket into Perfect Parent Heaven, I don't think this choice deserves to be blamed for the child's failure to connect with women when he's 28. Do you?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:19 PM

When is Thierry not cranky?

Posted by: anon | December 20, 2006 2:21 PM

I would characterize a mother who nurses her 6 or 7 year old to sleep at night as unusual, but certainly not as abnormal. I can't think of a thing where it could hurt the child or mother in any way.

Laura, what your child is developing as she sucks her thumb is a forever lasting method of calming herself that is far superior than smoking, drinking, drugs... And if she continues into adulthood still enjoying her thumb, she will actually feel sorry for those who can't, and never will, be able to experience its gratification.

For the most comprehensive resource on this positive, gentle habit visit:
http://www.thumbsuckingadults.com

Posted by: Father of 4 | December 20, 2006 2:21 PM

perhaps bfing could be a symptom of a larger relationship/bonding issue. just curious if there are long term effects of this sort of relationship.

I feel that it is my job as a parent to raise and independant and self sufficient adult - not everyone agrees this this is a priority.

Posted by: single mom | December 20, 2006 2:22 PM

Doesn't everyone think that a 6 year old should be able to go to sleep alone?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:24 PM

with out a thumb or breast? 6 is still young - they still sleep with lovies at that age and it is normal

Posted by: single mom | December 20, 2006 2:27 PM

to single mom: I'm with you on what my job is, although I'd add that it would be a delightful extra benefit if my son turns out to be successful enough to assist his parents in getting out of this cave and into an edifice, preferably one near a stream.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 20, 2006 2:28 PM

btw, Thierry, remember the guest blog about the mom who ran the funeral home?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:30 PM

All babies need feeding at the breast whether from the breast or a bottle. As I see it, bottle-fed kids won't miss the breast milk, but they may miss closeness with you. The time that they are little goes by incredibly fast. Whatever choices you make, please remember to respect the different choices of others.

Posted by: Old Magnolia | December 20, 2006 2:33 PM

My daughter has been on formula since day one. When she takes her bottle, it is a special time for us. My husband and I cuddle her close and cuddle while she is eating. I usually find myself kissing her head and running my fingers throughout her curls w/out even noticing I'm doing it. She rests her hand on my hands and cuddles in close. Just wanted to note that formula or bottle feeding does not equal a lack of bonding or closeness.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:38 PM

here's my question -- if the point is that the 6 year old is unable (not unwilling) to go to sleep without being breast-fed, then does that mean the mother has NEVER been out of the house at bedtime? If true, her son has never had the opportunity to learn that he is capable of going to sleep on his own, that his parents will always come back, that his parents have a life -- they go out to dinner, to a show, overnight -- and are keeping their marriage healthy. If not true, than he doesn't "need" to breastfeed to go to sleep, he simply prefers it. My son prefers to sleep with us, but we kicked him out at 5. We concluded that regardless of his preference, we needed to encourage him to be self-sufficient. I'm sure some will be adament that we should have kicked him out earlier. C'est la vie.

Still, unless his mom is a single mom, there's a dad in the picture who is letting this continue, in either event, there's a pediatrician who's in on the decision, or being ignored, or not being told that the bfing at nighttime continues.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:39 PM

Father of 4

Thumb sucking as an adult may be a positive, gentle habit, but in my neighborhood, it'll get your ass kicked everytime.

I wouldn't hire anyone who sucked their thumb at a job interview. I wouldn't date anyone who sucked their thumb....

There are lot of cuckoo birds out today.


Posted by: GB | December 20, 2006 2:39 PM

My daughter has been on formula since day one. When she takes her bottle, it is a special time for us. My husband and I cuddle her close and cuddle while she is eating. I usually find myself kissing her head and running my fingers throughout her curls w/out even noticing I'm doing it. She rests her hand on my hands and cuddles in close. Just wanted to note that formula or bottle feeding does not equal a lack of bonding or closeness.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 2:40 PM

I think many here would benefit from an actual look at the data on breastfeeding - http://www.stats.org/stories/breast_feed_nyt_jun_20_06.htm -
It might not make you rational again but at least it will help reasure everyone that the choise around breastfeeding is not worht the angst.

Posted by: aa | December 20, 2006 2:40 PM

I actually did ask my pediatrician her opinion, and she said that it was no big deal. Some kids wean sooner, others later, as long as I felt comfortable it was okay. But I am not sure I would want to wait until he is 8.

For what it's worth, it does not feel creepy or abnormal or sexual in any way. It feels like a mother nursing her child. And it is a lovely experience, even at the age of 6. A lot of people seem to be worried that the kids won't be independent or that he is needy, but that is not the case. My little boy is happy and well-adjusted, enjoys school and friends, is very outgoing and sociable, and never has tantrums or meltdowns. He could not be an easier kid to raise. It is good to know that there are some others who have gone this long also. Since it is such a sensitive subject, most people who breastfeed this long don't admit it to others.

Posted by: Anon | December 20, 2006 2:41 PM

To anon:It seems like both you and your son enjoy it. When it starts to annoy you, then talk to your son and help him to find other ways to comfort himself. But if it doesn't annoy yet, don't fret about some artificial time line. Also kids change a lot in 2 years. You never know when he will just decide he doesn't need it anymore.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 2:44 PM

"never has tantrums or meltdowns"

-- now you've lost me. I don't believe a 6 year old NEVER has a meltdown.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 20, 2006 2:45 PM

I bet this is where the guys who cry after sex come from.

Posted by: to anon | December 20, 2006 2:48 PM

who are you kidding, just like every alter boy world wide!

Posted by: to 2:55 | December 20, 2006 2:59 PM

To the moms-to-be, if your baby does not latch on, does not drink enough, please use formula or pump and use a bottle! So much brain washing causes so many mothers do not give FOOD (formula) to their babies, who end up in the hospital requiring IV's because they are so severely dehydrated.

You can always re-train your baby back to the breast but please, please allow yourselves to give them formula. They will be fine.

Allow for time for this new skill and do NOT beat yourself up if breastfeeding does not work out. You are not a failure, it is a difficult skill for most women to learn.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 3:02 PM

Wow - I know Thierry can be annoying, but the frenchman/altar boy sexual abuse jokes are just in horrible taste. Shame on you people. You should be embarrassed.

Posted by: Emily | December 20, 2006 3:04 PM

I am sure that many of our feelings about feeding our children are based on our cultural background and values, but I thought this research on when physiological aspects of weaning are in place was interesting, too.

"Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler (1995) posed the question of what would be the natural age of weaning, if we were free from cultural beliefs. By looking at age of weaning in other large mammals, particularly primates which are closest to humans, Dettwyler estimated the natural age of weaning to be around two and a half to seven years of age. The markers for weaning in large mammals and primates include quadrupling of birthweight; attainment of one-third adult weight; adult body size; gestation length; and dental eruption. In humans, quadrupling of birthweight occurs at around 27 months for males and around 30 months for females." from http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/sustained.html

Maybe what is most interesting to me about this research was that it was a rather large window of time -- two and half to seven years -- for us, at least compared to other large mammals.

Posted by: anthropology | December 20, 2006 3:05 PM

you mean the doctor who told me to force feed my son because he was small for his age??? no, i didn't listen to her. as for those other objects, he never was interested in them so i don't know. he self weaned from bottles at age 14 months. he never was interested in a pacifer, ever. he ocassionally sleeps with his teddy bear. at night he nurses for about 60 seconds on each side & then lets go. it may take him 5 minutes to fall asleep or 20 minutes to fall asleep. he potty trained on his schedule not mine. as for creepy? well, that's your opinion. shrug. right now he has a wide range of friends of both genders & all ages. he has his quirks but i don't think that they're related to the fact that he still nurses.

Posted by: quark | December 20, 2006 3:05 PM

Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler can shove it.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 3:08 PM

Hey, not that you said she was, but Katherine Dettwyler's no neutral on the topic of breastfeeding.

http://www.kathydettwyler.org/

That aside, to the extent extended breastfeeding is consistent with our obligation to raise self-sustaining, independent kids, fine. If you conclude that it is not, please reconsider.

Posted by: to anthropology | December 20, 2006 3:09 PM

Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler can shove it.

Posted by: | December 20, 2006 03:08 PM


Say Katherine Dettwyler 3 times real fast!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 3:10 PM

Thierry, you should do what the French do best - quit fighting and surrender.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 3:11 PM

Man oh, man that kid is in first grade. he's doing math, he's reading and nursing. Creepy!

Posted by: to quark | December 20, 2006 3:14 PM

I just have a word of caution for the lady who is breastfeeding her 6yr old. I recall an AP story where a 4yr old was suspended from kindergarten for hugging the teacher and allegedly rubbing his face in her chest. We live in a culture where the pendulum has swung too far in labelling males as perverts and sex offenders. I wonder what'd happen if the 6yr old goes to school and talks about breasts and says he sucks on mom's nipples, etc. He might get charged with sexual harassment or something. I know it sounds extreme, but I have learned to be quite paranoid (and safe) in this climate.

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 20, 2006 3:21 PM

as for other rules of the house? no, my son doesn't set them. i find it interesting that so many people assume that i nurse my son to sleep. i didn't say that. i said my son is 6 1/2 & i still nurse him. as for what food he eats, he gets choices - i ask him just like i ask my husband. i don't make food a battle.

Posted by: quark | December 20, 2006 3:21 PM

quark: one question, have you and your husband ever been away from your son for a night? Does he go to sleep without you there?

Posted by: cmac | December 20, 2006 3:24 PM

Sorry - that was 2 questions.

Posted by: cmac | December 20, 2006 3:25 PM

i make jokes but i never joke about anything criminal and illegal. you cross the line.

Posted by: Thierry | December 20, 2006 3:26 PM

Is Thierry a man or a woman? I am confused.

Posted by: anon | December 20, 2006 3:26 PM

Bloggers should heed the golden rule:

Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 20, 2006 3:27 PM

Maybe Thierry can handle it, but some other people (like me) are very offended by jokes on sexual abuse. It's not funny. Thierry's comments were out of line, yes, but the sexual abuse jokes are ugly, mean, and in bad taste. And the offend people other than Thierry.

Posted by: Emily | December 20, 2006 3:28 PM

I apologize for writing this if it has already been said. I honestly didn't read all 290-something of the posts. I recently read a brief history of breast feeding that said when formula first came out, it was the "wealthy and educated" who used formula. People were told that the synthetic formula was superior to mother nature. Now, the reverse is true, and the "wealthy and educated" are the ones who nurse. My point? Well, I guess that my point is we can only do the best with the information we currently have. I am a fervent supporter of breast feeding, and I often find myself scoffing when I see images of women on TV or even women I know so quickly going to formula. But then I have to remind myself that my opinion doesn't count for every woman, and ultimately it's up to the mom to decide. But I do feel that every woman should try as hard as possible to nurse. Not to the point of bleeding blisters as one earlier poster said, but it definitely requires some effort and ingenuity. If supplementing with formula is necessary, then fine. I do find myself wondering though with the women who don't even try to nurse, just automatically go straight to formula.

Posted by: bexie | December 20, 2006 3:32 PM

Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference....

And they will drag you down and beat you with experience.

Posted by: Father of 4 | December 20, 2006 3:32 PM

re the nursing 6 year old

I think he's about to hit that stage where kids start understanding sexuality. He'll get weird about nudity and probably BFing at about that time. It's certainly unusual/abnormal, but not sexual. I would certainly discourage it if it affects your marriage.

re BFing science

Meta analysis of other people's research doesn't convince me. In fact, I'm not a big fan of epidemiology studies in general, but then I'm biased. I'm a cell biology PhD, so I'm more interested in what's happening immunologically, for instance, than in epidemiological correlations between obesity and BFing. There's no way to determine causation. Someone else had a great post on this a few weeks ago...

However, I think breast milk is the best thing to feed a baby. It's very well designed to feed a baby just what a baby needs. And it's free. I'm in no way opposed to formula though, especially if it's just supplemented. I know I'd be disappointed if I couldn't BF, and I'd be worried about him/her getting sick without all those good little antibodies. But I also don't want to get so freaked out that I fail to enjoy the early months...

Posted by: atb | December 20, 2006 3:34 PM

To "to anthropologist,"

Thanks for the information. I didn't know she was a breastfeeding advocate. My only purpose in providing the excerpt about her research was to suggest that sometimes it is helpful to look at issues with fresh eyes, since thoughts about sustained breastfeeding are very enmeshed in our own cultural values. I weaned my son at about a year and half because he was nipping quite a bit, but I'd like to encourage people to be more open-minded about those who nurse considerably longer. I guess I'd just like to encourage less vicious criticism on this site, especially of quark and anon's children. Thanks.

Posted by: anthropology | December 20, 2006 3:36 PM

i have traveled for business & been away for several nights. i thought my milk supply would dry up. it didn't. my husband & i haven't been away for a night alone even though my son can sleep by him. husband has no problem with me going out. he's more of a homebody.

i guess part of the reason the fact that total strangers wigging out about my nursing doesn't bother me is i grew up next to a horse farm. there was always one horse every spring that weaned later than all the other horses born that year. same with the barn cats & the farm dogs. after they weaned you couldn't tell them apart from the others. i guess it's the fact that we're talking about my breasts & all the cultural baggage that goes with the idea of BREASTS!!!!!!!!!!!! really gets to some people.

my son does understand social rules. he doesn't grab other women's breast or nudge them. he doesn't fart or belch really loud in public unless he with his male friends.

i don't expect anybody else to do what i do. a friend of mine had her son self wean at 9 months. she cried to me that she was a failure. i told her that respecting her son's wishes did not make her a failure.

i potty trained my son when he was ready so i guess that makes me a permissive mom, eh?

Posted by: quark | December 20, 2006 3:45 PM

jokester, that was hilarious.

Posted by: aging mom | December 20, 2006 3:49 PM

re the need for counseling. Most churches have a list of counselors they recommend. I'd think they'd do so over the phone if you weren't a member. School guidance counselors may have recommendations also. Ask around, lots of people go, but don't talk about it.

Posted by: experienced mom | December 20, 2006 3:55 PM

Actually there was an episode on Judging Amy about this 7 year old who was still nursing. Again let me preface, I know this is FICTION but it might be telling on societies views of extending bf. Anyway, CPS was called and the parents were hauled into court. Amy's final ruling was that the mother needed to stop and the father supported the judge (in private). But Amy's reasoning is that regardless of this is a normal practice in other cultures it is not normal in the US. And it appeared to her that the son really only nursed to please his mother. And the other kids were making fun of him. I guess my question is do your 6 year olds tell other people they nurse? Are you afraid of CPS?

Posted by: foamgnome | December 20, 2006 3:57 PM

Most of you militant BFers are weirdos and kooks.
And you're setting your kids up for misery if your world revolves around the kids!

Posted by: Marlo | December 20, 2006 4:01 PM

If you don't care or aren't interested in what other people think or feel about what you are doing, exactly why did you post about it?

Posted by: to quark | December 20, 2006 4:07 PM

Be VERY afraid of CPS. It is one of the few government agencies that consistently ignores the presumption of innocence. One call from a stranger can result in all your kids hauled off to a foster home until you prove your innocence.

A good friend of mine went to pick up her 2yr old from daycare and was confronted with the police and cps. Why? An ignorant daycare worker misidentified Mongolian Spots for bruises. This family is asian and mongolian spots are common in asians. The family is normal and the kid is well-behaved. CPS was ready to have them arrested and place the kids in foster care. Luckily, the cop was reasonable enough to intervene and let them go.

Now, CPS has done a lot of good rescuing kids from abuse and neglect. It's just that perhaps they see so many cases that they tend to err on the side of caution and haul up the innocent with the guilty.

Just call yourself lucky if you've never had a visit from CPS.

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 20, 2006 4:09 PM

"My little boy is happy and well-adjusted, enjoys school and friends, is very outgoing and sociable, and never has tantrums or meltdowns."

If that's the case, why won't he go to bed without nursing?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 4:09 PM

quark - I have seen the other side of breast feeding a child until they are 7 or 8. I have posted about this before, but my former neighbor (still a friend) still bf's her 8 year old (he'll be 8 in Jan). This kid is weird, socially awkward, unable to be out of his mother's sight. He is homeschooled as well and he gets absolutely no social interaction. My friend is as sweet as pie, but she completely controls both of her kids. It is just awful.

It sounds like your son is well-adjusted. However, when people hear about bfing a child past 2 or 3 they have the image of my friend in their head. She is bfing her kids for herself and her kids are paying a price. I am not saying you are, just giving what I think is pretty typical response to the situation.

No snarkiness intended, just explaining my experience.

Posted by: cmac | December 20, 2006 4:10 PM


Marlo needs some attention.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 4:12 PM

"Wow - I know Thierry can be annoying, but the frenchman/altar boy sexual abuse jokes are just in horrible taste. Shame on you people. You should be embarrassed."

Emily,

I agree with you. But I do think Thierry goes well beyond annoying. His jokes are also in terrible taste.

It seems that the only thing that works with him is ignoring him. When you do that, he seems to go away -- at least for a while.

Posted by: pittypat | December 20, 2006 4:14 PM

taste is subjective. what you find terrible someone else finds wonderful.

like breastmilk. yum!

Posted by: Thierry | December 20, 2006 4:20 PM

And pittypat comes back, after being cheered by Leslie, and as usual contributes nothing to the topic and only taunts another poster.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 4:20 PM

anthropology --

That is interesting data. But I see one big difference between human babies and other large-mammal babies -- at least those in the wild. Human babies are not being "grown" to go out and catch their own food.

According to the researcher, the markers for weaning include: "quadrupling of birthweight; attainment of one-third adult weight; adult body size; gestation length; and dental eruption."

These characteristics are necessary for large mammal carnivores in the wild to catch prey and subdue it and for large mammal herbivores to be able to get complete nutrition from plant foods.

So, really, there is not a parallel comparison here with human babies, who will only need to learn how to go to the supermarket.

Posted by: pittypat | December 20, 2006 4:21 PM

pittypat, chill out and get some pats on your little hiney. you like spanking, non? your husband likes to give?

Posted by: Thierry | December 20, 2006 4:22 PM

pittypat needs some attention too.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 4:23 PM

I am not afraid of CPS, because frankly, few people know. And my son has never mentioned it to his friends because he is keenly aware that babies breastfeed, and he does not want to be publicly considered a baby by his buddies. Although he does not mind if his dad and I baby him. As for his social skills -- they have always been great. Very outgoing kid who is right at home anywhere. I wish I were that comfortable around people. I don't think anyone who knows him would guess he still nurses. A few people probably would be horrified, as they seem to have been on this blog.

Posted by: Anon | December 20, 2006 4:26 PM

"i make jokes but i never joke about anything criminal and illegal. you cross the line."

Not true, Thierry.

Your comments consistently cross the line over to sexual harrassment. And that IS illegal.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 4:26 PM

To Alison, Scarry, and AmyBow,

There is an organic tea called "Mother's Milk" (I think) by a company called Traditional Medicines. It's primarily fenugreek, but has some other herbs as well. I used this a lot when I was nursing my son, and it really helped to increase my milk production for awhile. Towards the end, when my son was about 10 months old, I also started taking fenugreek capsules as well. Both of these were purchased at a health food store. Maybe they could/would be of some help to you? Good luck!

Posted by: MAY | December 20, 2006 4:29 PM

I saw a movie once about a 12-year-old Chinese emperor who was still breastfeeding from his wet nurse. The communists took over the country and the emperor was arrested and torutured. So see what comes of extended breastfeeding? Plus, seriously, it is pretty creepy.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 4:30 PM

Anon at 10:47 wrote

>I am struck by the number of mothers on this >blog who feel compelled to get some mention >of how long they nursed -- or how much milk >they produced -- into their posts.
>
>It seems like there is a specific script.

You've identified the script well, it seems to me, but I see a different motivation. Moms mention coping with some nursing challenge early in their nursing relationship - to others struggling with or worrying about that challenge - then go on to say how their nursing relationship survived and flourished long afterward. When I've seen or done this it's usually to provide encouragement, a light at the end of the tunnel to a struggling mom. Early issues can be so discouraging, and moms often want to know if it will always be so hard, if they're fighting a doomed battle. Your perception of this as bragging/rubbing salt in the wound versus empathizing/ encouraging turns on what you think the mom wants to hear. Some moms may want support/ validation to reassess their goals and turn to formula, but many don't, at least not at first. Many are committed to breastmilk and want support and encouragement realizing that plan, with a realistic prognosis for how hard/possible it may be; they don't want every obstacle to be an excuse to undermine/revisit their decision again. Telling the first "formula never did a baby harm" *may* be supportive; but many in the second camp find the comment irrelevant at best and flip and dismissive at worst. Most of us who committed ourselves to breastmilk have our reasons which don't disappear with a flip comment; for example in this generation of my extended family every baby has been unable to tolerate milk and soy formulas (or milk and soy in breastmilk, but it's easier to change the recipe for that). You're not contributing to solving a problem if your first suggestion is give up, it's not important anyway (much as if your first answer to any work-balance issue were 'then maybe you'd be happier SAH', instead of looking for solutions). Now for some there comes a time when the costs of persisting - or pumping 100% - outweigh the benefits; this is the mom's decision to make whether willingly or regretfully, depending on their own and their baby's needs which vary widely, and they should of course be supported in it. It just seems to me that many of you automatically classify anyone who writes of any struggle or angst as they manage nursing or pumping as belonging to the time-to-stop-trying-so-
hard-and-accept-it category, versus the looking-for-a-little-help-and-commiseration- respecting-their-commitment-to-nursing one.

As I've always been in the second category, even when I've struggled and asked for information and help, it must color my view of the posts. Posts detailing how moms dealt with struggles and emerged with long-term nursing relationships were exactly the information and encouragement I was looking for in my difficult days.

Posted by: KB | December 20, 2006 4:31 PM

Pittypat -- given some of the comments made by certain men on this site, I should not be so off-put by some of your "anti-male" comments -- sounds like some of them may be justified.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 20, 2006 4:33 PM

"And pittypat comes back, after being cheered by Leslie, and as usual contributes nothing to the topic and only taunts another poster."

To anonymous @ 4:20 --

Could you back this up with an example, please? Are you referring to what I said about Thierry? What was wrong with that? It's considerably less hostile than what several other posters have said about him in the past half hour.

Can you explain why you wanted to say that to me?

Posted by: pittypat | December 20, 2006 4:34 PM

"he is keenly aware that babies breastfeed, and he does not want to be publicly considered a baby by his buddies."

This is a potentially shame-inducing situation for this child. This family needs some help.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2006 4:36 PM

Pittypat,
Don't take the bait. Don't let those idiots provoke you. And you are right about Thierry. In fact, my complaint about the sexual abuse jokes should not be taken as any defense of him. He is a complete and utter pig.

Posted by: Emily | December 20, 2006 4:37 PM

Thanks, Arlington Dad.

But I really did mean my apology yesterday. It still stands.

Posted by: pittypat | December 20, 2006 4:40 PM

"Pittypat -- given some of the comments made by certain men on this site, I should not be so off-put by some of your "anti-male" comments -- sounds like some of them may be justified."

AGREE as well!

Posted by: ditto | December 20, 2006 4:44 PM

Pittypat -- and I'm including a very nice vegetarian dish with Christmas dinner. It would be vegan, but I just can't part with the cheese!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 20, 2006 4:47 PM

I don't have kids, so I apologize if this sounds critical or misinformed...I'm just wondering if anyone else's eyes widened as far as mine when I read about the 6 YEAR OLD still breast feeding? Really?! Is that normal? Healthy? I am totally shocked by that...

Is that appropriate? I truly am curious, I had no idea breast feeding would go on longer than a couple of years at best...please, FILL ME IN!

Posted by: 6YearsOld??!! | December 20, 2006 4:51 PM

to cmac, i saw your post about the woman you knew with the older child. there are extremes on both sides of the equation. i feel comfortable with myself so i didn't feel the need to comment at that time. i posted because another woman posted about her 6 year old nursing & i wanted to let her know that she was not alone. i'm not particularily militant about the fact that i nurse. i just do & if you don't that is ok. like i said, i grew up next to a farm. i have also spent time in the 3rd world where late nursing doesn't seem to carry the baggage it does here. however, as he has gotten older i have looked at why i continue to nurse and i can honestly say i nurse for him not me.

Posted by: quark | December 20, 2006 4:52 PM

Side question for people. As more mothers become aware of PPD, and get it treated, how do you think this will affect breastfeeding? I mean, a lot of pscyhiatric drugs pass into breast milk, (I just did a quick check and Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft all do so) so the choice is to remain untreated, or breast feed.

I know what my choice would be when/if I would ever have children, but I'm curious about other positions. Fred, I'd be especially interested if your wife had seen anything about this. FTR, I'd bottle-feed. Yes, it may be "selfish" to some, or putting my needs first. But I believe that I'd be a worse mother off my medications.

Posted by: AG | December 20, 2006 4:52 PM

Can you give me an example where you added to the topic instead of provoking another poster?

Posted by: 4:20 to pittypat | December 20, 2006 4:54 PM

Arlington Dad,

I'll bet you're a terrific cook. Three cheers for making a veg dish -- with or without cheese! I know your dinner will be wonderful.

Posted by: pittypat | December 20, 2006 4:55 PM

quark - to be politically correct it is the 'developing world' and not the "third world". I spent a lot of time there as well and did not see 6 year old breasfeeding perhaps 2-3 year olds (as a form of birth control) - but by the time the oldest was 6 there would be at least 2-3 more kids behind them...

Posted by: single mom | December 20, 2006 4:56 PM

to 4;20 to pittypat
Can you give me an example where you added to the topic instead of provoking another poster?

----

How about 15 minutes ago when she added some interesting and enlightening information to what Anthropology said about length of time mammals nurse?

it's copied below:

anthropology --

That is interesting data. But I see one big difference between human babies and other large-mammal babies -- at least those in the wild. Human babies are not being "grown" to go out and catch their own food.

According to the researcher, the markers for weaning include: "quadrupling of birthweight; attainment of one-third adult weight; adult body size; gestation length; and dental eruption."

These characteristics are necessary for large mammal carnivores in the wild to catch prey and subdue it and for large mammal herbivores to be able to get complete nutrition from plant foods.

So, really, there is not a parallel comparison here with human babies, who will only need to learn how to go to the supermarket.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 20, 2006 4:59 PM

I had PPD (and had depression while preg) took meds while preg and breasfeeding - it is only trace amounts that get through to the child and the Dr's (and additional research I conducted) said it would be fine.

Posted by: single mom | December 20, 2006 4:59 PM

Thank you, Pittypat, for your thoughtful response to what I had posted on mammals' weaning habits. You make good points, too! Thanks for the civility.

Posted by: anthropology | December 20, 2006 5:05 PM

May I ask what you were taking to deal with the depression? Were there specifically medications that were safe?

Posted by: to single mom | December 20, 2006 5:06 PM

Single Mom,

That's interesting...I know my meds are severely restricted for pregnancy, but I'm on a pretty strong drug. (Not just psych meds...who knew Advair passed into breast milk?)

Obviously if I did get pregnant I'd talk to my doctor about it. I was just wondering if the "no formula ever" camp would have to change their tactics with more women possibly getting treatment. Maybe not!

Posted by: AG | December 20, 2006 5:18 PM

"Once again, we see a failure of priorities. Which is more important: breastfeeding your child or going on a business trip?"

If going on a business trip is the only way to keep your job, which is the only way to pay your bills and keep a roof over your child's head, then going on the business trip is a higher priority. Good grief! Believe it or not, the vast majority of working mothers are not working "just for fun." We need the money we earn from our jobs to support our children. If you could ask the child, I'm sure s/he would take formula feeding and a moderate lifestyle over being breastfed and living in poverty any day.

Posted by: MP | December 20, 2006 5:31 PM

I have seen several question for Fredia but as she is still at work awaiting return of some breast pumps, she will have to comment later.

Also, as she is quite the Luddite, I have to actually type and send any of her answers.

So, in the mean time, let's talk about what to get her for Christmas! Any suggestions?

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 5:41 PM

Interesting sidebar to Fredia's job. She used our youngest child as a live demostration model while attending to her clients. Talk about the ultimate baby friendly office!

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 5:43 PM

if i have to wait for my son to attain 1/3 his adult weight in size i'll be nursing him until he's 12. (this is a joke guys so lighten up.) on my husband side the children are usually small until college when they go through a growth spurt. right now my son is 40 pounds & the smallest in his class. maybe it's because he's breast feed... (another joke guys)

the term 3rd world is an economic definition based on a set of economic criteria. i don't know if it's fallen out of favor with economist but it might have. i was in a remote mountain village in eastern africa. not every 6 year old there nursed but just like the horse farm next door there was always that one.....

Posted by: quark | December 20, 2006 5:57 PM

LOL quark. I personally like the quadruple birth weight stat myself -- if that were the case for my son, we'd be done no later than about 14 mos. even under those "liberal" rules ( 28 lbs at 1 yr; we're currently thinking left tackle, as he seems a mite slow for linebacker). Of course, my daughter's just the opposite, and they both breastfed with some formula supplementation for @ 6 mos. give or take, so go figure.

Posted by: Laura | December 20, 2006 6:08 PM

I just read the majority of the comments and I am a little awed by the insensitivity. It feels like the folks in the "chill out and give formula" camp are just as fanatical as the "you must breastfeed exclusively" camp.

I would guess that the majority of comments are by moms-- don't you all remember the months after you had your a baby and you were trying so hard to do what is right? Telling others to not "beat themselves up" is just beating them up yourself! They have a hormonal, primal need to do what they think is the very best for their child and your telling them to "chill out" isn't going to help. In those first few months I felt caught between a rock and a hard place-- either not trying hard enough by some standards and trying to be "super mom" by others. If she thinks breastmilk is best than of course she will try to move mountains to make it happen!

And as for all the "just give the baby formula" comments-- um, hello? Babies are notorious for not taking formula. Or if they take the formula, for not wanting to switch back to breastmilk. My friend has been going through hell getting her baby to take a bottle at all--even with breastmilk--she's been back at work for months and he still starves himself until she comes home.

Posted by: MLL | December 20, 2006 6:25 PM

Some comments from Fredia about comments and questions from the previous 294 comments.

1. On the question of a 6 year old being bf. Fredia says that she has heard of this. This is more prevalent in other nations. As I said before, F. encourages mothers to BF but is not strident about it.

2. On the question of prescription and non-prescription medicines. This is clearly a decision for the doctor to make in view of the patients and the baby's condition. F. assists by communicating with the doctor any concerns that the mother expresses. One of the standard reference books is "Medications and Mothers' Milk" by Thomas W. Hale, Ph.D. This book is subtitled " A Manual of Lactation Pharmacology". Certainly F. has had patients who suffer from PPD as well as baby blues. She works with the patient, baby and doctor to identify and resolve these issues.

3. Specifically on antidepressants, Dr. Hale advised doctors to generally "Recommend antidepressants for depressed breastfeeding mothers. The risks to the infant of not medicating the mother are simply too high..." Please note that Dr. Hale has qualifications and exceptions around this general rule.

4. A caution from Dr. Hale's book, "Lastly, it is terribly important to always evaluate the infant's ability to handle small amounts of medications. Some infants, such as premature or unstable infants, may not be suitable candidates for certain medications..."

Posted by: Fred | December 20, 2006 7:29 PM

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