Posts Tagged ‘Sleep’

Why is formula the saviour?

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and we are celebrating at Fusion Parenting.  Come back for a new post on breastfeeding every day!

 

I have had 2 friends in the past few days tell me that they’re so tired they almost gave their baby formula. Both of them have children under 16 weeks. I haven’t slept more than 4 hours in a row for over 17 months and it has never once entered my mind that formula would be something that might be my saviour.

Not that this is a sleep-deprivation competition! There seems to be many other reasons why people state that formula is their saviour whilst in the same breath saying “I wish I could breastfeed though, I would have if I could have”. However if you sit down and nut it out with them their love for formula seems to stem from either ill-advice or expectations of their baby that just weren’t realistic.

I do not judge parents who feed their baby formula – that should go without saying. We’re all trying to do the best job we can do and that also goes without saying. However when I get my back up is when I’m accused of making someone feel guilty because they fed formula. “Not everyone’s as lucky as you Tiff” or “I wish I had as much milk as you” are comments I have heard frequently. Why have I not needed formula? Why do I have so much milk? Could it be because sleeping through the night is not a priority for me but feeding my baby regularly whenever they tell me they need me is? Sure, what I wouldn’t give for a block of sleep longer than 3-4 hours but not at the expense of my milk supply and certainly not in the first 6 months. That’s not to say that breastfed babies don’t sleep through the night (considered a 5-6 hour stretch) and formula fed babies don’t wake during the night but by and large it seems that many people consider formula to be the sleeping through the night saviour. Formula top-ups for babies that could be exclusively breastfed without a problem seem to be becoming the norm. Recommended by child health nurses and GPs are routinely as the reminder for your 2, 4, and 6 months vaccinations. Why? I have no idea! My breasts work just fine, my babies love breastmilk and it wouldn’t occur to me to buy a tin of formula let alone hope for better sleep patterns after giving it!

The old “breast is best” debate seems to be frequently rehashed when it comes to the question of whether formula was necessary in a breastfeeding relationship. This is where the guilt-trips come into play too. I hear “I was exhausted and it was best for my baby because I wasn’t the best mother I could be. You are not going to make me feel guilty for doing what was best for my family”. Ummmm no. I have no intention of making you feel guilty. In fact a guilt-trip was never on my list of things to impart when we sat down and started chatting about our babies yet it is the first thing I am accused of giving when I dare to mention that I have been breastfeeding my 2 children for 39 months.  Why is that? Are Mum’s feeling guilty for their own choices and looking for someone to blame? Is the media responsible with it’s “breast is best” message? I read an opinion piece in Saturday’s West Australian Newspaper that ended with (paraphrasing) “it doesn’t matter if my baby suckles on a human nipple or a silicone one” – well of course it doesn’t but what is coming out of the nipple DOES matter. Breastmilk can come out of the silicone nipple in the form of expressed breastmilk or it can come straight from the breast and there is no debate that that IS best for both baby and mother.

If you chose not to breastfeed and you made an informed choice then own it. If you ended up not breastfeeding due to misinformation and poor advice then own that. The more we place formula on a pedestal as the saviour when it comes to infant (and toddler) feeding the more I believe our breastfeeding rates will decline. With only 1 – 2% of women actually medically unable to breastfeed there is either a lot of women given poor information so that they think they couldn’t breastfeed, had no milk, their milk dried up or was bad or their crying baby wasn’t crying because that’s what many baby’s do but because of a problem with their milk supply or that figure of 1-2% is incredibly inaccurate.

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FAQS

I thought I’d kick off with something light hearted and general for my first ever blog post! Thanks to the Mums and Dad of Fusion for welcoming me on board.  

The other night I was catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in over a year. We were chatting away and the topic of children came up, as can often happen when you’re a mother. My friend casually asked, “So when’s the next one coming along?” I paused and said, “I really need to put that on my page of FAQs!” We both laughed, and continued talking. Hence  the idea for this post, which I know will ring a bell with most parents out there. Before I became a mother, the most common question I got was “When will you be having children?” And before marriage, it was “When are you going to get married?” Since having my daughter, the questions I get cover a wide range of very important topics. So here we go:

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

1.    When’s the next one coming along?

Now that I’ve had one child, the automatic assumption seems to be that I want to have as many as I can in as short a space of time as possible. I think the first time someone asked me this question, my daughter was 2 hours old. You can imagine the horrified look on my face!

Now she’s much older, and I love the thought of having more, but who knows what the future holds?

2.    Is she a good girl?

What does that mean? She is a child, and she behaves in an age-appropriate manner. She doesn’t intentionally try to push my buttons to get a reaction, nor does she cry just to be annoying, but because that is her way of communicating to me that she needs something.

3.    Does she still wake up at night?

Yes, and so do I. Sometimes I need to get a drink or go to the bathroom, so how can I expect her to sleep through when I don’t?

4.    When are you going to move her into her own room?

When she says to me, “Momi, I don’t want to sleep next to you and Baba anymore. I want to sleep all by myself while you two sleep together.”

5.    Are you still breastfeeding?!

Yes! We’ll think about weaning when we’re ready.

6.    a) Why do you carry her around all the time?

Because I couldn’t afford to buy that really expensive swing/hammock/rocker that is supposed to be a replacement for my arms, so instead I have to lug her around. No, actually, it’s because I’m her mother, she asked me to pick her up, and I enjoy cuddling her.

        b) Didn’t you know that if you pick her up whenever she cries, she’ll start to expect that?

That’s fantastic! You mean she’ll start to depend on me, and understand that as her mother, I will meet her needs?

7.    What do you do all day?

This question bothers me. The asker seems to have the preconceived notion that being a SAHM is a piece of cake, and that there’s really not much to do in a given day, as opposed to being in the  workforce, or a student, where I would actually be busy! No one would dream of asking a childcare worker that same question!

8.    When are you going to have another one?

Please refer back to 2.