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The Trouble With The World Today
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18th-Aug-2012 11:07 pm(no subject)
New New earth
I've seen breastfeeding and formula feeding in the spotlight on various websites a lot in the recent months, and it really got me thinking about a lot of things surrounding some of the debate. What really got me thinking was when a friend mentioned on facebook that she feels that breastfeeding mothers look down on formula feeding mothers like herself. She was angry about the new york hospitals adopting a lockdown on formula, only making their free samples available to mothers after they sign a consent form acknowledging that they were educated on the benefits of breastfeeding before agreeing to formula feed.

As a breastfeeder, I saw the same article in a different light- restricting the hospital staff from freely giving out free formula. I didn't see how it was a problem to have a woman sign before receiving a free sample. After all, it is just a freebie- if you know you want to formula feed, there's nothing stopping you from bringing your own formula from home and feeding that to your baby. I felt the lockdown was to stop hospital staff from pressuring a breastfeeding mom to supplement, and was not in any way infringing on a woman's right to choose. If she wants the formula, she just has to ask and sign. I really didn't see why that was a big deal.

But I'm starting to see now. Formula feeding moms have to deal with a barrage of questions and criticisms from "lactivists" every time they encounter one. It's the shame thing. Women are made to feel shame if they don't want to breastfeed, or they can't breastfeed. That policy wasn't designed to shame the woman who wants to formula feed, it was designed to control hospital staff's behavior. but it inadvertently shames them and that's not going to help anyone. The policy is useless unless hospital staff are trained to help moms who want to nurse, as well as not to harass moms who don't want to nurse. Oh, and they really need to work on educating women who plan to breastfeed. I think that, rather than force a woman to sign a paper saying she knows all the 'risks' of formula feeding to the baby, she needs to be given a speech about how formula can sabotage your milk supply. Breastfeeding is supply and demand. If you start to supplement, it puts you into a cycle of supplementing more, because your body doesn't think it needs to produce as much because the baby didn't nurse every 3 hours like it was supposed to, so you supplement because you're not producing enough, and that causes you to produce less, so you supplement more.... You can see how that can screw up your breastfeeding, right? I think that's the only education we need to be offering women in the hospital after birth. There's enough education elsewhere about the benefits of breastfeeding. And you know what- If she says when she gets to the hospital that she plans on formula feeding and does not plan to breast feed, that should be that. No need to make her sign anything. Just jot that down on her chart and call it a day, and let her have all the free formula you can provide. No need to shame her.

As parents, we have strong opinions about what the right way is to raise our kids. And sometime, we think the right way to raise our kids is the right way to raise other kids as well.... and that's just not true. And maybe someone well meaning comes off as judgmental when they question another parenting style:

"Oh, you're formula feeding? You know that breastfeeding is better for the baby, right?"
"Oh, you co-sleep? Aren't you worried that you'll kill the baby by rolling onto her?"
"Oh, you stay home with your kids? Aren't you worried you won't be able to provide for them with just your spouse's income"
"Oh, you work? Who's going to raise you're baby while you work?"
"Oh, you want to schedule a C-section? Don't you know that a vaginal birth is much better?"
"Oh, you put your 3 month old in their own room already? Don't you know that increases his risk for SIDS?"
"You're still breastfeeding you're 2 year old? Isn't it time you weaned her?"
"You want to have a home birth? What will you do if the cord is wrapped around the neck or she isn't breathing?"
"Oh, you're planning on breastfeeding? Don't you know you won't get any sleep if you breastfeed"

The list goes on and on and on. We judge each other all the time, not just over formula. Half the time we don't even realize it. We just assume our way is better and we should enlighten all these other poor, uneducated mothers about our way is the best way.

For example; I love breastfeeding. I love it so much that I plan on nursing my baby until she's at least 2. At least. And by the way "don't offer, don't refuse" is a weaning meathod. So I plan to continue offering the breast to my daughter when she's 2. And I don't think I'll stop there. I think 3 would be great.

Do you remember that Time magazine cover that said "Are You Mom Enough?" with the picture of the little boy breastfeeding? Oh my lord. I heard so many people, both in real life and online, commenting on how TERRIBLE that cover was. One woman at work said to me "Did you see that magazine cover? A woman was nursing a kid that looked about 5! That's just sick!" (By the way, the kid on the cover was 3-going-on-4) At first I felt persecuted- I planned to nurse my baby until that age, so these comments stung. But I just held my head high and said "Whatever works for her family. The average weaning age outside of the states is 4 anyway, so she's right on the mark with the rest of the world." and I left it at that.

I think breastfeeding is the best thing in the world. It certainly wasn't easy at first, but once you get past the learning curve it's GREAT. So easy, so quick, so not messy. No bottles to wash, no powder to mix, I just whip out my boob and we're good to go. And everyone knows about the proven benefits of breastfeeding. Formula does it's best to imitate breast milk, but it lacks a few things that I just wasn't willing to compromise on.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't hate formula. I don't think it's bad. It has adequet nutrition to support a growing baby. My problem is with formula COMPANIES. They're sharks. They're vultures, swooping in on vulnerable mothers with free samples and coupons to get them hooked... then they have a customer for life. The supplementation cycle I was talking about? Formula companies know ALL about that. They thrive on it. They don't care if you are dedicated to breastfeeding or if you plan to formula feed from the get go. The moment they have you're information, they're on you with a sample can of powder formula. They send tons of free samples to hospitals. A kind gesture? Not so much. It's a marketing ploy. The more they send to the hospital, the more the hospital will give to mothers- even if the mother is breastfeeding with no problem. Hospitals will send a gift bag home with mothers with formula in it. And when your baby is going through her growth spurt at 4 weeks, and she wants to nurse every hour, it's easy to just stick a bottle in her mouth just to get some relief. But those growth spurts only last a couple of days, and you may have just created a supply issue by not nursing on demand- and I don't think that one night of a little extra sleep is worth sabotaging your breastfeeding relationship for! There needs to be more control on formula companies free samples. It's a little out of control when I realized that I had enough formula to feed my baby for 2 weeks in my cabinet, but I had never wanted to formula feed! Something needs to be done about the formula companies shrewd marketing techniques that are deliberately geared toward ruining a breastfeeding mother's milk supply.

One last thing I need to touch on- I hear a lot of reasons that women choose to formula feed. They have a special medication that they need to take that isn't safe with breastfeeding; they are worried about sleep deprivation, and feel that if they formula feed the will have more chances to sleep and that will make them better mothers; They want others to be able to feed and bond with the baby, their nipples are sensitive and they don't want to experience the discomfort of nursing. There's lots of reasons to formula feed, but there's one that bothers me when I hear it. I'm not bothered by women who use the following reason for not breastfeeding, but rather by society as a whole for it's backwards views on the female body.

"My breasts are sexual objects, and I just can't stand the though of my baby sucking on them."

I hate that this is a reason. Our society is so repressed sexually, that breasts are viewed as a taboo, sexual, arousing thing that must always be covered and never allowed to see the light of day. It's a dirty thing for some reason. The scientific truth is that the only reason breasts are arousing to a man is because he is biologically drawn to a mate who looks like she might be good for bearing children. Not logically, of course, but a deep, primal, biological arousal that ensures the survival of our species through evolution. A firm, supple breast is a sign that a woman is in good condition to nurse a baby and ensure that baby's survival. Even their round shape is purely for the baby's survival (Because humans have noses that jut out from the rest of the face, the rounded shape is necessary to allow for breathing!!!) They are sexual because their purpose is to feed children. But somehow, our society got that mixed up. They're sexual, so it's weird to feed a child with it? No no no. That is so wrong. Come on, society. Women should be allowed to go topless. Their breasts are not purely for the existence of a man's carnal pleasure to look at and touch, and they should not be covered up like they're something dirty and secret. If we could all just chill out about boobs and quit acting like they're totally inappropriate, then maybe women wouldn't be so freaked out by breastfeeding.

There. That's my 2 cents. I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of a crunchy, granola mom when it comes to certain things. Especially breastfeeding. But hey. It's not for everyone. If Formula else works great for you, then who am I to tell you you're wrong? You do what works for you. If it makes you a happier mom, then do it. I won't tell you that you made the wrong choice, because it's the right choice for YOU! Just make sure you extend the same courtesy and don't make me feel like a sick freak for nursing my daughter til she's 4.
7th-Oct-2011 05:05 am - Birth Story
New New earth
I've had a very rough time after giving birth to my baby girl, so I apologize if there are typos and confusion. I'm currently at home while my little Evelynne is in the hospital still, being treated for Jaundice, and it was the hardest thing in the world to leave the hospital empty handed. My husband and I are confident that we're doing the best thing, but it's so hard not to cry just thinking that she's not here when she should be.

So, I had an induction scheduled for 7:30 am on Monday morning, October the 3rd. Some of you probably saw my post about how scared I was, etc, I came to terms with it, and I was happy that at least I knew for sure I'd be meeting my baby soon. Well. So much for that. At 11 am Sunday morning, I started having regular, timeable contractions. They varied between 6 and 9 minutes apart. Never went more than 9 minutes without a painful contraction. And, I'll note, that at this point, I started feeling some back labor. I was pretty nervous, I took a walk around the little lake at our apartment complex, called my mom to let her know what was going on. Hubby was home and we had a couple of friends over for a little grown up time before the induction the next day, so they got to see me start labor.

So, after 6 hours of the contractions, they weren't picking up, but they weren't slowing down, so I called my doctor. I would have waited til they started getting closer together, but with the induction scheduled the next day I wasn't sure what I should do. Doctor told me to go ahead and go to the hospital if I felt comfortable doing so, and that they would definitely admit me even if I wasn't very dialated much because of the induction.

So, we got to the hospital at around 8:30, 9ish at night. I had to be on constant monitors because of the possible IUGR (the reason I was being induced), but they had telemetry units so I got to move around with a lot of ease. I was only about 2 centemeters when they admitted me, and my contractions had not sped up, but I was still feeling pretty good. I was very able to relax and breath through my contractions. Sat on the birthing ball, got in the shower (the monitors were water proof!) leaning over the bed. I was even able to sleep a bit, for able three hours I would doze off in between contractions and just gently rock my hips when I would have one and that would ease the pain without having to move around too much. The whole time, the baby (whose sex was still unknown at this point) was doing great, maintaining a really good heart rate that never dipped between contractions

As we got into the next morning, they checked me, and said I was only about 2 and a half. They reassured me that that's good: early labor is the slowest part so don't get discouraged by slow progression.

I had some visitors during labor, my mom and dad, my husband's mom and sisters, and everyone was commenting on how well I was handling the pain. I'd just breath through them and do various things with my hips to make the pain managable. (I used to belly dance, and I found a lot of my belly dance moves, hip circles, rotations, figure eights, etc, really helped with the back labor). Most of the nurses were commenting on how well I was doing as well, saying things like "wow, I was begging for my epidural at this point! look at how relaxed she is!" It made me feel really good and made me feel like I could have a natural labor.

We just kept going like that til early afternoon on Monday, and then I was checked again and I was only about 3. I'd been having contractions for over 24 hours now, so I was starting to get pretty exhausted, and I was getting pretty scared because the baby was pretty posterior and I was having pretty intense back labor the entire time, so we started talking about nipple stimulation to spur on more contractions. We did alternating cold and hot compresses, then some shower time with the water running right on my nipples, then some pumping. It didn't really do much.

I feel I should point out that my husband was amazing this whole time, and did everything he could to ease my pain, massages, holding me, letting me lean on him, all that good stuff.

So, we started talking about pitocen. I was really scared to start it, but like I said, I was starting to get exhausted and realized that my goal of a natural, intervention free labor might just not be something that my body and mind could handle. I agreed to pitocen, and they started me on a low dose, but it really kicked my butt. it made the contractions quite strong, and I was still having the back labor even though when they checked me, the baby had turned and wasn't posterior anymore. I think the combination of exhaustion from the long labor and intensified pain from the pit really sent me over the edge at this point. I finally asked for something for the pain. I cried really hard when I talked to my husband about whether I should, because I felt like such a failure since I really hadn't progressed that far and I was already asking for pain meds. He was really wonderful and reassured me that no one was going to judge me for asking for medication, that I had already endured labor for longer than anyone else we knew without medication, and that I shouldn't be ashamed to ask for help with the pain.

They gave me nubain, which did help, but made me a bit loopy. I was able to really divert my focus from the pain, but in doing so all I realized was how HUNGRY I was. I'd been keeping myself hydrated with lots of water, and I was allowed to have anything on their 'clear liquid' list, which included jello, apple and prune juice, lemon ice, chicken broth, so I certainly wasn't starved, but I was thinking about how I had half a cheesecake at home that I really wanted, and gosh, it's halloween season and I really want some candy corn right now, I could eat a whole bag of reese's cups too! My poor husband had to listen to me go on for an hour like that, just saying really weird things that I shouldn't really have been thinking about whilst in labor.

So, once I got a little less loopy from the Nubain, they checked me again. I was ALMOST 4 centimeters. That was my breaking point. It was well after 7 pm at this point, and I'd been having laboring for over 32 hours. When the nurses left the room I started sobbing uncontrollably to my hubby about how I couldn't do it, It was going to be way too long and I couldn't keep going like this, but I felt like the biggest wuss in the world for thinking about an epidural so soon (well, so soon in my opinion, but jeez, 32 hours? I don't know how I made it as long as I did) Kyle did all the good husband talk and told me how brave I was, how strong, etc, and that sometimes strength doesn't mean stubbornly enduring something, but being strong enough to know when I need help. He told me he would keep doing anything I wanted to help ease the pain, but that he felt that the exhaustion was more of a concern right now, because at this point we were looking at a very long, sleepless night of labor if we kept going this way. So, even though I really did feel like a failure, I asked for an epidural. The nurses had to get my midwife on the phone to approve the order (She was the one on call for deliveries, but no one was close to delivering at that particular moment so she was home), and she spoke with me on the phone before approving it, and just wanted to make absolutely sure that I wanted the epidural since I was really trying for that fairy tale, intervention free labor. I love my midwife for that, by the way. She approved it, but not before talking to me and personally making sure that it was my decision, that no one had pressured me into it or anything.

before the epidural, I should mention that when they did the shift change for the nurses, my new nurse for the night, Terri, was a woman that I used to work for in a franchise ice cream shop! The franchise went under, and after she had to close up, she went back to school to become an L&D nurse. It was the craziest coincidence because she only worked at that particular hospital 2 days out of the month, and what are the chances that I would be in labor on one of those days!

So, 8:30 pm, the anesthesiologist came in, Terri held my hand as I got it (I really hate needles... Getting the epidural was actually really scary). But you know what, it was amazing. I was numb from the waist down by 9 pm. You know, looking back, I really went a looong time before getting the Epi. it was a total of 34 hours, I'm kind of amazed I was able to do it as long as I did. I got some much needed sleep, napping for about 2 hours before they checked me again. And this is where things got really, really awful.

So, it's about 11, 11:30 pm on monday the 3rd by this point. I was still very numb, and I was still having regular contractions, probably with a little help from the pit, but I was just happy that labor didn't stall. HAHA. Labor stalling. That's funny. Because the nurse check me at 11:30, and got this look on her face... I was like, what, is everything okay? She said "Well, it's time to call your midwife, the baby's head has started to descend" Uhhh... Wow. I went from 4 to baby descending in 2 and a half hours?? Apparently that can happen when you get ab epidural, because you are able to truly relax and without all the extra tension, the cervix can dialate better.

Now, with epidurals, I totally understand that you feel numb at first, but they back off the meds before pushing time so that you can at least have some control of your muscles to push and to feel when to push, so it's normal to feel some pressure that might be uncomfortable. An Epidural lessens your pain, it doesn't necessarily take it away completely. But, there's also a small percentage of women who get an epidural, and it doesn't totally work. I was in the latter group apparently. As the baby started to descend, I suppose I got what you call a "hot spot" with the epidural. My back labor came back, and it didn't just come back, it came back with a vengence. It was the worst pain I'd ever felt in my whole entire life, it was just this searing, intense, tight back pain, and I think the epidural made it worse because I could do NOTHING about it. my legs were still dead logs, I had no control over my abdominal muscles. I started to lose it. I think I started to go deliriouse with pain in a matter of minutes. The midwife was on her way, but it would be about an hour before she got there. I was freaking out. I wasn't close to crowning or anything, but I could stick my fingers into my vagina and feel the baby's head, and then I'd get a back contractions every minute or so and it would last at least 90 seconds. I was sobbing with pain, and I couldn't move or change positions to make it go away, which made it a hundred times worse. The nurses and Kyle tried to help me lean foreward to ease the pain, but there was nothing else they could do, really, because there was no was I could do hip movements or rock back and forth on my hands and knees. The only thing that was able to distract me was the baby's heartbeat monitor. Every now and then, the baby would move and you couldn't quite hear the beat, and I would start to freak out and make my mom tell me what the heart rate was, and is the baby still okay, And my mom and husband are telling me not to worry, the baby is fine, and I YELLED at them "I'm going to worry because the baby is the only reason I'm doing this!" Haha. I think that was the meanest thing I said to anyone while in labor

So, at this point, they're wheeling everything in, and the midwife is on the phone, updating us that she's about to pull into the hospital parking lot, that I'll be fine, if I'm not crowning then don't worry. Oh, and then my water broke, which freaked my husband out because he didn't know that it could be bloody, so he's starting to panic and loose it because I'm crying that I can't be in pain like this anymore, and maybe they should just put me under and do a C-section because I just couldn't do it anymore. Of course, that's absolutely rediculous because the baby was so far down that it would have been very hard to get it out through C-section, but at this point I was just insane, I think,. And my Mom and Dad are in the room, and my poor dad had to walk out for a minute because he just couldn't see me like that. My mom was just A-Okay, though, having given birth to 6 children herself, she was just excited to be able to see it from the other side. Haha, my mom has never really been one to coddle us, she's kind of no-nonsense. I'm sure it was hard for her to watch, but that god someone was able to keep it together, because Kyle was freaking out and she was able to reassure him that everything would be fine, and it wouldn't be much longer til we met our baby.

So the midwife got there, got the bed set for delivery, and finally, at around 12:45 I started pushing. Oh my god. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I was in so much freaking pain from my back, and pushing made it feel better, but it also was difficult because I was so tired and I just couldn't handle that daggone back pain. At one point during pushing, I started dry heaving from the pain, and the nurses are running around trying to find a puke bucket, and they kept having to tell me to slow down my breathing because I was definitely not controlling my breath and was about to hyperventilate from short, shallow breaths. oh, then my water REALLY broke, and gushed all over anyone who was within 3 feet of my vagina, including my poor husband. after pushing for like, 10 minutes, I started saying that I just couldn't do it, and my mom's over there like "AMANDA. You HAVE to, you don't have a choice." So I kept pushing for another 5 minutes, and my midwife grabbed my hand and brought it down and HOLY MOLEY, there was a baby head halfway out of my vagina, all the way up to the eyebrows!!! Then I proudly announced to everyone "I CAN DO IT" and 5 more minutes of pushing and that baby was OUT!

Now, before this next part, I need to explain this: We did not know the baby's sex, we decided to be surprised. But I just KNEW it was a boy. I was totally mentally prepared for a boy.

Midwife doesn't announce the sex, she just plops the baby on my belly and says "What is it, Mama?" I move the umbilical chord, and wouldn't you know it, there was a little vagina! I was like "It's a GIRL! What am I going to do with a little GIRL?????" My midwife was like "uh, same thing you'd do with a boy?" Haha, I was so not prepared for that, and I don't really know why I said it like THAT, but yeah, it was kind of funny looking back.

So that's my birth story. At 1:10 am, October 4th I gave birth to a beautiful, precious little girl, Evelynne Hope. I was discharged yesterday, october 6th, but she had to stay so that we can get rid of this jaundice, and I'm really upset about it, but I know in the long run it's really not going to be that big of a deal. I miss her tons right now, but hopefully I can take her home tomorrow morning (Her biliruben levels did finally go down a bit) so we're hoping it just keeps going down throughout the night so we can get her out of there and home with us where she belongs!

Here's pics:


About 30 minutes after she was born, after they had weighed and measured and eye gooped her.


Without her hat: she has quite a head of hair on her!


Our little family. Probably about 12 hours after birth, when the hospital photographer came and took pictures we got this one on our camera.


Here she is when she was still rooming with us after the jaundice started. The hospital has portable bili blankets that they lay under the baby that you can swaddle them with, so they can still have that special light to lower the bilirubens without having to take the babies out of the room. We did eventually have to send her to the nursery to start full phototherapy, but this was nice while it lasted.
29th-May-2005 06:16 pm(no subject)
New New earth
Friends only.

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