La Leche Steered Me Way Wrong

There are not many people who would argue that breastfeeding is not the best way to feed a baby. There are, however, many opinions about HOW important it is or how long it should be done. It is also extremely under reported that not everyone can breastfeed. I, myself, had great difficulty and didn’t find out until after my 2nd baby had weaned that I had only one fully functioning breast. There were reasons why it was so painful; why my children were underweight; and why I was so stressed out.

I never had any doubt that I would breastfeed. I had a few friends who were attachment parenting and breastfeeding on demand and, while I wasn’t opposed to the idea, I just thought I would play it all by ear. From day one, though, breastfeeding, especially on the right side, was extremely painful. My child was colicky so, yes, I was offering the breast around the clock. Truly, I would have done anything to stop the crying. When I fell asleep standing up offering her my pinky finger to suck on in in the bassinet, I gave her a pacifier, something I thought I would not do.

Her colick seemed extreme. I called La Leche and they told me to get in bed with her and stay there. When she was three days old, my daughter stayed awake for 12 hours! I was like “Babies can’t do this!” I remember lying on the floor next to her saying “What do you want from me?” I had just experienced 30 hours of labor with no sleep and it was impossible to catch up.

In the end, we did end up finding a “groove” and most of that came from the fact of my first child being very verbal. I am not kidding when I say she said her first word at five months. She was on the bed with my husband and I had put my hat and coat on to leave for work. I came in to say good bye and she lifted her hands to me. I picked her up and she quickly swung around to my husband, waved and said “Bye!” Like, “I’m going wherever she’s going.”

Not long afterward, I had bathed her as part of her nightly bedtime routine and was rocking and nursing her. She pointed to her bed as if to say “Put me in there, turn off the light, leave me alone.” And that is what I did after that. She was always a baby who cried for 5 to 7 minutes when she went to sleep. There was never anything I could do to stop that. It was like she had to just release in order to calm herself down. But she is an an intense and very bright child. Her mind is constantly working. I do think she just needed to do this. Once I came to accept it, everything was so much easier.

Yet a strange thing happened when she was two. It made me question if all that crying was related to breastfeeding. She, my bright little two-year-old, had come across a brightly colored smallish spiral notebook with many satin ribbons attached to serve as bookmarks. She brought it to me and asked “What is this?” I said, “Oh, this is a book someone gave me when I was pregnant with you. You’re supposed to keep track of your doctor visit and write questions you have for the doctor….”

As I spoke I was flipping through the pages. I was very struck by what I was reading. Her weight gain for each doctor visit was mere ounces! Her doctor had always told me “Don’t’ worry if it’s increasing – that’s the right direction. We only worry if it goes in the other direction.” But she only weighed 10 pounds by 3 months! They say you should double your birth weight by this age and she was born 7 lbs., 14 oz. And I’m realizing all of this for the first time.

By the time she was 5 months old, I was pregnant again and we were looking at houses to move from our condo. We moved into a 100 year-old house when she was 9 months old and I had a 2nd child when she was 14 months old and I just never had really looked at the long view of her weight gain. I was a little horrified. As I turned the pages I said a little “Oh shit” under my breath. But of course she caught it. “What Mommy?” I kept turning the pages. “What, oh shit, Mommy?” Again, because I always answer the question truthfully, I said “Darlin’ I think you were trying to tell me something and I don’t think I was listening.” I have said NOTHING about milk, breastfeeding, weight gain, NOTHING. But she immediately slapped me on the arm and said “I was trying to tell you I wanted more milk!!!”

This is the kind of insightful and bright child she is. Is she psychic or intuitive? Do we have an energetic connection that lets her know what I am thinking? I have no idea but she did indeed know what I was thinking. How is it she had this incredible information for me? I know she was spot on too.

Yes, there I had been – calling an ORGANIZATION and listening to a male DOCTOR! And not listening to my instincts. I refused to supplement as per my doctor’s wishes and La Leche’s consult and my own training. The one piece of advice my own mother had given me about parenting was that I would know the right thing to do. No one knows their baby like their own mother, she said. And I denied all my own intuition and the only good advice I received, and did what I thought I was supposed to do to be the natural hippy mother I dreamed of being.

So, I share this in case there are others out there who are not so sure that strict breastfeeding is right for them. If your instincts say no, please follow them! Women are so gifted in this area. God gave us this incredible ability and we can NOT let anything interfere with what our instincts are telling us about our own babies!

Here is a recipe for natural (preferably raw) goat milk formula from blogging nutritionist http://www.aweber.com/ if you are someone who can’t breastfeed.

Recipe for Homemade Goat Milk Infant Formula
(Note: The proportions listed are for making an 8 oz. bottle.)
1. Goat Milk Powder
1 tbsp. This is the most important part of the formula because it delivers much needed protein, fat, and carbohydrates in a form that is easily digestible and absorbable. If you can get your hands on safe, raw goat milk, do it, otherwise I recommend using CapraMilk.
2. Coconut Oil
1 tsp. This is one of nature’s greatest fat sources. Don’t let our high strung public health officials scare you into thinking saturated fat is all bad. Without saturated fat, we would all be dead. The saturated fat in coconut oil is high in medium chain triglycerides, and contains such important compounds as lauric acid which is found in high amount in breast milk.
3. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Olive oil delivers more healthy fats, this time in the form of monounsaturated fats. Make sure you buy a high quality brand as many olive oils have been adulterated with lesser quality oils. The Kirkland Signature variety from Costco has been a good source for us but you may find others that work well too.
4. Carbohydrates
1 tbsp. There is a bit more room for flexibility in this arena because there are a lot of high quality carbohydrates that can be used. I recommend organic raw, turbinado sugar, lactose, organic maple syrup, or brown rice syrup. This is an important component because the main nutrient in breast milk is carbohydrates. I use the turbinado sugar that I found at Safeway.
5. Blackstrap molasses
⅛ tsp. This thick black syrup is high in vitamins and minerals and keeps baby from getting constipated so be careful not to give too much! Make sure you get the unsulphured variety as it is far better for your little one I bought my bottle at Safeway.
6. Infant probiotic strain
⅛ tsp. Probiotics are a naturally high in breast milk and there are several different strains that are perfectly designed for infants. Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium longum, and Saccaromyces boulardii all have clinical research that shows safety in infants as well as many beneficial effects. I recommend the Garden of Life brand but there are many high quality infant probiotics available. Since most probably will only recommend them for kids 3 and up, I suggest only using half a dose.
7. Natural source of vitamins
1 tsp. I came across an all natural multivitamin drop that is readily absorbable called Country Life: Maxi Baby Care. This is not the only available multivitamin drop for infants but it is the best one I have found.

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About katepflynn

International Montessori teacher (birth to 12 years), RIE Foundations Course graduate, and Infant Development Specialist teaching Bradley Childbirth, Parent-Infant (pre-walkers), Parent-Child (walkers) and Toddlers.
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