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This combined information would have helped me, because the other "piece of the puzzle" that hasn't been talked about is: breastfeeding and formula-feeding does not need to be mutually exclusive! Just as feeding a baby from a bottle could be pumped breast milk or formula. Are we talking about the WAY the baby is being fed (breast vs. bottle) and/or the substance they are being fed (breast milk vs. formula).

I had a preemie, and my body was not able to "catch up" with my son's feeding demands. Believe me, I tried---I saw at least 5 different lactation consultants, liked 4 of them, and was on a very strict regimen. My son was not born with a strong enough sucking reflex, so we had to feed him whatever breast milk I could pump, and supplement with formula, through a syringe.

I struggled with trying to breastfeed, then bottle feed my baby (with pumped breastmilk or formula), then pump to be able to store more breastmilk...even though I wasn't making enough to even feed my baby during breastfeeding.

What I needed was information on how to breastfeed, pump and supplement with formula. Can you imagine---a book with ALL THREE scenarios?! Books either tell you one way or the other, and there are so, so many variations of feeding styles out there! What about women who work outside the home? Women who have preemies? Women who have multiples? Women who have preexisting conditions of the breast? Women who can produce enough milk, but who's baby has latching issues...how to stay motivated to connect yourself to a noisy pump every 2 hours?

The breastfeeding books suggest that if you are not producing enough milk, that you are stressed and need to relax. They then tell you that breastmilk is the only real food to give your baby...like that isn't going to "stress" a non-milk-producer more?!

And, what about the working moms who have to go back to work after only 6 weeks of maternity leave, and don't have a private office, or privileges to leave the work space, in order to pump every 2-3 hours? Why not provide these women with some helpful information about how to nourish your baby with formula AND as much breastmilk as you can pump during the day, with breastfeeding (or bottle feeding) at night.

Plus, I hate to say this, but there were many nights that I was happy that my hubby could assist in the feeding of our baby with a bottle, whether it be breastmilk or formula. (The breastfeeding books make you feel guilty if you bottle feed your baby with any substance, and so it is all left up to mom...no stress, of course).

The breastfeeding books only tell us "pumpers" that you can't pump forever, and ANY supplementing you do with formula will ruin your chances of breastfeeding for long-term. Yet, I know many working women who were successful at this. Can we get off our soap boxes and provide women with this information? The La Leche League was the worst for providing non-judgmental information; I am really disappointed in them and their short-sided literature.

I do believe science has given us a lot of clinical research with results, beyond a benefit-of-the-doubt, that breast milk is better for the baby than formula. This does not mean that formula is harmful; it is also good for the baby. Breastmilk has antibodies in it for the baby that is not included in formula; my nurse told me if I could even pump enough for a few days, that would help give my baby enough antibodies for months! (not sure if this is correct, but sure made me feel hopeful!).

May 20, 2008 - 1:12pm


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