On January 15, 2008 my oldest daughter enjoyed her last drink of milk from the tap. Just a month and a 1/2 shy of her 3rd birthday, how time flies. It’s been one week today since she has weaned and we are both adjusting well. I think this process has been easier for me than I expected it to be because I am still nursing her 6 month old sister. Had I just stopped breastfeeding altogether I am sure that the resounding feelings would have been much different from the hormonal shift of no longer nursing. Many mothers go through a type of depression almost when they wean. Luckily for me, I still got a babe on the boob and I am feeling great.
I think the adjustment has gone well for my oldest daughter because she was closer to being ready to wean than I ever could have guessed. She was only nursing for her nap (1x a day at my limitation) and has asked at nap time to nurse everyday this past week but accepts my playful response of, “No way Jose’, you drank it all!”
Tandem nursing was quite an experience and if given the opportunity to do it again I absolutely would. I’ll never forget how grateful I was to have my toddler in those early weeks postpartum when engorgement was so uncomfortable (and messy!). I think continuing to nurse my 2 year old after the birth of her sister allowed my daughters to bond in a way that I just can’t really explain. And it allowed me to bond with my girls in a way that I’ll always remember.
As it stands I’ve I got quite a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance from the weaning and the baby has been a bit gassy with neon green poos from too much foremilk. I didn’t realize how much milk my toddler was getting until she weaned. I can seriously pump 5oz of milk at the previously scheduled nursing for her AFTER the baby nurses! On the up side, my big girl thinks it’s cool that I can pump my milk and enjoys drinking it from a cup just as much as she did from the tap. So I can still get that liquid gold into her day in and day out. Plus, I can build a stash in the freezer for the baby in case, Lord willing my hubby and I ever get a night out without our girls!
For more information on the many benefits of nursing past one year of age, read HERE.
What is in formula?
Most infant formula comes from cow’s milk (the exception is soy formula), but a lot has to happen before it goes from the cow to the can and, ultimately, babies. The short, blunt version is that the manufacturing process literally takes cow’s milk apart and puts it back together again with some components left out and others added.
Cow’s milk is very high in saturated fat, which human babies have trouble digesting, and low in monounsaturates, the main fats in human milk. So the first step is to remove all the fat. The resulting skim milk is heated, then dehydrated if it’s going to be in powdered form. Then new fats, in the form of vegetable oil blends, are added along with proteins, milk sugar (lactose) and a long list of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are required by federal regulation to approximate their levels in breastmilk.
Cow’s milk has three times as much protein as breastmilk. Calves need this because they grow so quickly, but for human babies it would put too much of a load on the liver and kidneys. Cow’s milk also has a higher proportion of casein to whey — the two kinds of proteins in mammal milks — than breastmilk does. So formula manufacturers must reduce the overall amount of protein and add extra whey to mimic the protein balance found in breastmilk.
Other ingredients prevent the mixture from separating or going bad. Some formulas have thickeners, and specialized formulas for premature babies have enhanced levels of nutrients. Any newly developed formula must meet a number of safety and nutritional standards, including clinical evidence that it is nutritionally adequate to promote normal growth.
What’s not in formula?
Human milk is a complex substance which, even now, is not fully understood. The list of known breastmilk components not present in formula is too long to go into fully and includes enzymes, hormones, growth factors and substances that fight infection and help develop the immune system.
Simply put, human milk is alive, says James Friel, professor of human nutrition at the University of Manitoba. “Some components are biologically active. They play a role that goes far beyond nutrition,” he explains. “For example, if you put an oxidant stressor — something like cigarette smoke — in breastmilk, it resists the stressor, and breastmilk does this better than formula even though formula contains more antioxidants. That strikes me as odd and I wish I understood it better.” Friel thinks it might one day be possible to add biologically active material to formula, but doesn’t expect to see this any time soon.
One important biologically active component of human milk is a protein called secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), which has the ability to bind to foreign substances (including harmful bacteria) so they can be eliminated from the body. It lines the wall of the gut, which is one of the main entry points for infection. Colostrum, the thicker milk that a mother’s body produces in the first few days, is especially high in sIgA.
Formula contains these little fighters as well, although they’re less plentiful and they’re bovine (cow) immunglobulins which are programmed to recognize micro-organisms that cause disease in cattle rather than humans, and operate in the bloodstream rather than the gut. Bottle-fed babies still develop immune systems, obviously, but they miss out on some of the early and long-term protection provided by sIgA.
The most immediate threat from lack of sIgA is during the first weeks of life, when a baby’s gut is vulnerable to infection. Advances in hygiene and sanitation, plus ready access to treatment, have made life-threatening gastrointestinal infections rare in Canadian babies. But they still cause considerable illness and many infant deaths in the developing world, where powdered formula is sometimes mixed with contaminated water.
Another biological capability, present in breastmilk but not formula, is the ability to alter itself. Breastmilk changes, both as the baby grows and during each feeding. Foremilk, which is produced at the start of each feeding, is relatively low in fat. As the baby sucks, the level of fat rises, satisfying him and lulling him into that blissful state a nursing mom loves to see. The fat levels of human milk also change in the baby’s second six months, when his growth rate slows. In recent years new formulas, called follow-up formulas, have been designed to more closely match some of the nutritional needs of an older baby.
How close is formula to breastmilk?
Both are milks that can sustain fledgling human life, but the similarity ends there. Nutrients in a man-made substance do not work the same way as they do in a naturally occurring substance. As dietitian Cristine Bradley, senior manager of medical affairs for Indiana-based formula maker Mead Johnson, puts it: “Compositionally, I’d call it apples to apples but functionally, it’s apples to oranges in many ways.”
A couple of examples: Iron was added to formula in the 1980s. However, the iron in formula is not nearly as well absorbed as that in breastmilk, so formula must contain considerably more for a baby to get the same amount.
Another example is nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA and RNA and help strengthen the immune system. After they were added to formula in the ’90s, Bradley says, the expected immunity benefit was not borne out. “There was some excitement about this for a while, but after inconsistent research findings it was generally agreed that this was not as promising as we first thought.”
What are they doing to improve formula?
Although formula is still fundamentally different from human milk, several significant improvements have been made in the past 30 years, including fine-tuning to improve the balance of proteins and the blend of fats. Manufacturers have added new varieties, including lactose-free formulas, special formulas for premature and ill babies, and hydrolyzed formulas with predigested protein, for infants with digestion problems.
The most recent innovation is the addition of two long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid). Both play a key role in brain development and it has been theorized, though never proven, that the presence of DHA and ARA in breastmilk may explain why breastfed babies score higher than formula-fed babies on toddler mental development tests.
This past winter Canadian babies got their first taste of formula with DHA and ARA (made from algae and fungus, respectively). The question is, will these additives make formula-fed children smarter, as the “A+” in one product’s name implies?
Sheila Innis, a professor of paediatric nutrition at the University of British Columbia, says the clinical research is mixed. “I would be very cautious about making that statement for a healthy full-term baby. In one small study, 18-month-old babies fed formula with DHA and ARA scored higher as a group than babies fed standard formula, but four other larger studies showed no difference. The evidence is much clearer for premature babies, who are born without stores of these and other nutrients.”
What are the risks associated with formula?
There are risks associated with formula feeding. To help mitigate them, parents need to fully understand them.
Improper mixing: Formula should be mixed exactly according to directions. Some parents have made mistakes, sometimes because of literacy or language problems. Some have over-diluted powdered formula, which can lead to malnutrition, or failed to properly dilute concentrated liquid formula, sometimes in a misguided attempt to increase nutrients. The result can be dehydration and kidney problems.
Contamination: Formula manufacturers say their quality control and product safety are the tightest in the food industry. Still, any man-made food carries the risk of contamination. In recent years there have been several small, isolated outbreaks of serious illness and a few deaths (mostly premature babies or those with immune problems) caused by a bacterium called E. sakazakii which was found to have come from powdered formula. (The outbreaks prompted Health Canada to recommend liquid formula — which is less likely than powder to be contaminated — for bottle-fed babies who are immuno-compromised or in intensive care.)
The take-home message is that powdered infant formula is not a sterile product and must be handled and stored properly. Dawn Walker, a nurse and former executive director of the Canadian Institute of Child Health, says that one of the most common infant feeding questions she hears is, “Can I reheat formula?” “The answer is no,” Walker says. “Once formula has been warmed up for use, if you reheat it, bacteria growth increases exponentially. It’s very risky.”
Illness: Statistically, formula-fed babies are more likely to get colds, ear infections, milk allergies, diarrhea, urinary tract infections and bacterial meningitis. How much more likely? That’s hard to say. Obviously, few babies (formula fed or not) get meningitis, so the risk is very low to begin with. With more common illnesses like ear infections, other factors also increase the risk — such as whether mom smokes or the child is in group daycare. One large study of two- to seven-month-old babies found that the risk of ear infection increased with the proportion of formula in the child’s diet; those fed entirely on formula were twice as likely (13.2 percent) as those who breastfed exclusively (6.8 percent) to have had an ear infection in the past month.
Bottle-fed infants are also at greater risk for becoming overweight; they grow and gain weight more quickly and, on average, are less lean than breastfed babies. One large German study of five- and six-year-olds found a 4.5 percent rate of obesity among those who had been bottle-fed, compared with 2.8 percent for breastfed children. Since it’s mom or dad who decides how much goes in the bottle and when, a formula-fed baby may not learn to read his body’s signals as easily as one who nurses on demand. Stephanie Atkinson, professor of nutrition in paediatrics at McMaster University, comments, “I’m concerned that there may be some kind of metabolic programming going on that may explain the increased rates of obesity in formula-fed children.”
Another concern is that formula-fed children may face an increased risk for developing Type 1 diabetes. Some studies have found a higher incidence in children who were exclusively formula-fed or who were breastfed for less than three months. Other research has found that early exposure to cow’s milk increases the likelihood of developing a type of antibody that can be found in children with diabetes. No clear link has been established, but a major ten-year international study was launched in 2002 to compare the rates of Type 1 diabetes in babies fed standard formula versus those fed hydrolyzed formula.
When you add up all the risk factors, it sounds daunting. However, trying to predict the likelihood that any one child will get any one illness is impossible. Likewise, lower risk is no guarantee; some breastfed babies get ear infections and some bottle-fed babies don’t. And let’s face it: There are a lot of healthy adults walking around who were raised on formula.
If we look at formula as a medical intervention, a way to nourish a baby when breastmilk is not available, it stands up fairly well. The problem is that this substitute became a competitor. And formula simply can’t compete with human milk. Here’s how James Friel views it: “We’ve been making formula for over 100 years and I’ve spent 20 years of my life trying to make formula better. All the people I’ve dealt with in the industry are honest, hard-working and dedicated. In spite of that, we are still unable to make formula that comes very close to human milk and, for me, that’s a disappointment. We try to break human milk down into its components and put it back together again, but it really doesn’t work that way.”
Formula’s greatest achievement may be that, although it still doesn’t really compare to human milk, it has become a reasonably safe substitute that has improved over the years. Perhaps that is all it ever can be.
Women who breastfeed are constantly indecently exposing themselves. It really is quite offensive and someone should make it stop.
Look at this gal, did the modesty gene skip her?
Wait…Well, this is a bad example. Let’s try again.
Hmm…Just a minute. I’m sure I can find better ones than these…
Eh, still not offensive enough. I’ll check one more time.
That is better. LOOK AT THAT! I see about a half inch of boob. DISGUSTING.
UGH. Look at that indecency! She must be from some third world country to be exposed like that!
Now that’s just…There are no words to describe how inappropriate that is. Something needs to be done!
But why stop at breastfeeding women? There are boobs everywhere. Beware! If you thought the above photos were offensive, you WILL DEFINITELY be offended by the photos below.
Not this one, though. This one was in plain view on news stands and in mail boxes in 19 countries world wide!
Not this one, either. This one actually won an award!
Oh, and I guess this one is fine too. Everyone knows you can’t sell jeans without someone being topless.
Or movie tickets.
You know something just isn’t right with the world when the first series of photos are seen as offensive yet the second series are applauded and paraded around the country for all the world to see.
Which message is healthier?
Breastfeeding which is medically approved to give HUMANS the best start in life. . . or
Which would you rather your daughter live up to?
If you think women have the right to breastfeed their children no matter where they are, please re-post this. Let’s support mothers in the most important health choice they make for their baby! Breastfed babies have lower instances of obesity, asthma, allergies, certain childhood diseases, learning disabilities, and other health problems. For each woman who feels like she shouldn’t be breastfeeding right where she is, there is an innocent baby who is losing out. Breasts were put there for a reason. And as pretty as they may be to some, their original purpose was intended for the sustenance of our young. Support breastfed babies and their right to eat in public like the rest of us.
If you loved this post, then you’ll love THIS!
The fifth image on this blog is courtesy of Imagery by Saci: Model Deshaine with son Jet.
Okay Mamas…Here’s my challenge to you!
For all who are reluctant to NIP even though it’s your God given right and even if you don’t believe in God, it ain’t against the law so get hip with it. You are paving the road for our daughters to NIP as well! I challenge you to make a list of 5 places you are hesitant/reluctant/afraid to nurse in public.
Next, I want you to go there and DO IT!! And post to us all about how friggin’ liberating it was! Be sure to send this link to your mama friends!
Dr. Seuss for Nursing Moms
Would you nurse her in the park?
Would you nurse him in the dark?
Would you nurse him with a Boppy?
And when your boobs are feeling floppy?
I would nurse him in the park,
I would nurse her in the dark.
I’d nurse with or without a Boppy.
Floppy boobs will never stop me.
Can you nurse with your seat belt on?
Can you nurse from dusk till dawn?
Though she may pinch me, bite me, pull,
I will nurse her `till she’s full!
Can you nurse and make some soup?
Can you nurse and feed the group?
It makes her healthy strong and smart,
Mommy’s milk is the best start!
Would you nurse him at the game?
Would you nurse her in the rain?
In front of those who dare complain?
I would nurse him at the game.
I would nurse her in the rain.
As for those who protest lactation,
I have the perfect explanation.
Mommy’s milk is tailor made
It’s the perfect food, you need no aid.
Some may scoff and some may wriggle,
Avert their eyes or even giggle.
To those who can be cruel and rude,
Remind them breast’s the perfect food!
I would never scoff or giggle,
Roll my eyes or even wiggle!
I would not be so crass or crude,
I KNOW that this milk’s the perfect food!
We make the amount we need
The perfect temp for every feed.
There’s no compare to milk from breast-
The perfect food, above the rest.
Those sweet nursing smiles are oh so sweet,
Mommy’s milk is such a treat.
Human milk just can’t be beat.
I will nurse, in any case,
On the street or in your face.
I will not let my baby cry,
I’ll meet her needs, I’ll always try.
It’s not about what’s good for you,
It’s best for babies, through and through.
I will nurse her in my home,
I will nurse her when I roam.
Leave me be lads and ma’am.
I will nurse her, Mom I am.
Tara…tandem nursin’, co-sleepin’, babywearin’, non-vaxin’, homebirthin’, cloth diaperin’, earth conscious, full-time student, wife to Kristopher &
Mama to my still nursin’ fire cracker Trinity Jade &
my home birthed water baby Journey MaeAnn
How incredibly amazing! I think it it truly wonderful that our country is finally recognizing the dangers behind supplementing with non human milk. I feel it is vital that all babies, especially premature babies receive mothers milk and now mothers of preemies don’t have to hear the funk about how their milk doesn’t have enough protein to help the at risk child. It’s actually more important that preemies receive their mothers milk because they are at risk. And hopefully soon there will be no more instances of mothers walking into the NICU to see their child being artificially fed because they weren’t “making enough milk” or because the caloric value wasn’t great enough for the child. The breastfeeding community now has more support and recognition…now everyone else needs to jump on the wagon and support this health related issue.
“Making milk public controversy”
By: Charles Winokoor, business writer
So there I was grocery shopping the other day when, just as I reached for a quart of skim milk, I noticed the strangest thing.Women – mothers, to be exact – began dropping to the floor and breast-feeding their babies. Hurrying out of the dairy section, I found myself surrounded by pet supplies, but again was confronted with a surrealistic sight: Unsupervised canines and tabbies relieving themselves willy nilly, and then sauntering off to leave the mess for the night crew to clean up. Get out now, I told myself, as the sweat trickled down my brow. And wouldn’t you know it, just as I scurried past the Health & Beauty aisle I spied a group of men, shirts off, nonchalantly spraying and rolling their underarms with the deodorizer of their choice. Decorum precludes me from detailing what I witnessed in the place where they sell the Charmin. Knocking over a shopping cart with a child’s seat, I ran into the parking lot and headed for my car to make a getaway. As I fumbled for my key, I realized it was too late; I was surrounded.
Waking up in bed, I took stock of my nightmare. What in the world had
inspired my subconscious to unleash such nocturnal torment?
Then it came to me. It was nothing more mysterious than this week’s story
about a Hingham mom who managed to cause a stir by breast-feeding her infant
in the middle of a store.
Last Friday, Brockton cardiologist Dr. Melissa Tracy, while shopping in the South Hingham iParty store, dropped to the floor and began breast-feeding her ostensibly starving 2-month-old child. “Rather than let him become hysterical, I sat down on the floor and breast-fed him,” Tracy told the Boston Herald. What happened next, she said, caused her to feel humiliated. The store manager, a regular Darth Vader it seems, had the gall to admonish her. “He stood over me and said ‘You can’t do that here,’ ” she was quoted. “I’ve never felt that badly before.” Feeling emotionally scarred, Tracy did the honorable and proper thing: She ratted out the iParty blue meanie to his corporate superiors – who issued a knee-jerk, please-don’t-hit-me mea culpa, faster than CBS Radio and MSNBC gave Don Imus the bum’s rush. What she’s failed to mention, either in print or on TV, is why she was so compelled to plop to the floor instead of walking to the ladies room. Would she have jeopardized her child’s welfare, his very life, if she had simply made the effort? Or was she more interested in making a point about who she is and what she thinks she represents? During a TV interview, her husband said in his native Germany breast-feeding in public is an accepted practice and one that is
“not vulgar.” Not vulgar for sure – but how about annoying? Not the act of breast-feeding, mind you, but the behavior of well-educated parents who want to impose their version of an enlightened society upon the rest of us, without regard to our
sensibilities. That sort of selfish, guerilla mentality is not just inconsiderate to those
of us backward Americans who are not used to seeing babies suckling while we’re shopping for party supplies or dog food, it’s also unfair to the companies whose employees are only trying to do the right thing. Now, if any business – be it retail chain, a local independent store or a car dealership – announces a policy explicitly allowing open breast-feeding then that’s their prerogative. But one also has to ponder how this type of
adult-baby behavior will eventually affect the child. No wonder there’s a legion of kids nowadays who have grown up thinking they’re extra-special, entitled and oh-so-superior; after all, it’s been imbedded into their id since they were fed mother’s milk. This whole silly episode reminds me, in a way, of the case of the “flying imams,” six religious Muslims who were removed from a flight last November after they insisted on standing up in the plane for evening prayers. They knew exactly what they were doing. They wanted publicity and they got it, in spades. That’s not to say the good doctor from Brockton intended, ahead of time, to use her breast-feeding as a publicity stunt to teach the rest of us a good lesson. From what I’ve read and heard, she comes across as a decent, sincere individual. What I do suggest to her and other mothers who act rashly, and then condemn anyone who complains, is to grow up before your child does. And next time you go shopping with your infant in your arms, try bringing along a baby bottle.
Charles Winokoor is the business writer for the Taunton Daily Gazette.
You are brave man to have included your e-mail address in your “business article.” That or you are just plain stupid, I am leaning towards the latter. I absolutely loathed your comparison of feeding an infant in a grocery store to animals urinating up and down the pet food aisles. I’m following you here with regard that both urine and breastmilk are in fact bodily fluids. But considering that one is used to nourish a child through its infancy (and beyond) and the other is waste matter excreted by the kidneys, I’m not really seeing the connection in your comparison. I am also not seeing the connection between mothers and infants in a grocery store and dogs and cats in a grocery store. Maybe you were unaware that women and infants are in fact permitted into grocery stores and permitted by law (in MANY states) to breastfeed in any public place that they are allowed to be. Maybe you are unaware that only service animals that DO NOT “relieve themselves willy nilly, and then saunter off to leave the mess for the night crew to clean up,” are permitted in these stores as well. But sure, compare the breastfeeding mother to an animal relieving itself in the middle of a store –
Once again, I am having trouble establishing the connection between grown, shirtless men engaging in personal hygiene routines in public and mothers feeding their children. This comparison is less offensive yes, but still as far fetched as you calling this a “business article.” And secondly, I am willing to bet my milk-makers that if this mother you are attacking was shirtless, you wouldn’t have complained one bit about what she was doing with her breasts (provided there wasn’t a feeding child on the other end). As ignorant as you obviously are, I still can’t let this slide -
Now your comment about what was going on in the aisle where Charmin toilet paper is sold was completely out of line. Somethings are just better left unsaid, as you obviously know because you only had the nerve to imply that defecating in the middle of a grocery store is equivalent to nursing a child. For this one, I’ll just be honest…YOU’RE AN ASS.
If seeing a mother feed her child in the way that was intended by nature causes so much of an upset in your life that you in fact have nightmares from it, then you should certainly reevaluate your mental health. There are highly qualified individuals who can help you with this. Or you could just come to Central, Fl, call me up and I can slap you in your face a few times -whatever works for you :)
“Last Friday, Brockton cardiologist Dr. Melissa Tracy, while shopping in the
South Hingham iParty store, dropped to the floor and began breast-feeding
her ostensibly starving 2-month-old child.” Okay Charles, do you even know what ostensibly means? Are you implying that a 2 month old child has ulterior motives to crying out in hunger? Oh that’s right, let me guess…maybe the child cried out in hunger but was really just trying “to impose their version of an enlightened society upon the rest of us, without regard to our sensibilities. ” Who knows?
“That sort of selfish, guerilla mentality is not just inconsiderate to those
of us backward Americans who are not used to seeing babies suckling while
we’re shopping for party supplies or dog food, it’s also unfair to the
companies whose employees are only trying to do the right thing.” Again Chuck – not sure that guerilla is anywhere near appropriate here:
|a member of an irregular armed force that fights a stronger force by sabotage and harassment|
While I am certain that this cardiologist had every intention of making you “backward Americans” (as you so accurately labeled yourselves) uncomfortable, I assure you that just because you aren’t used to seeing women feed their children in the manner which was intended, that does not make it any less natural or appropriate. Furthermore, if it makes you uncomfortable to see an infant eat, than again I highly suggest seeing someone who can help you overcome your sexualized perception of what is in fact not at all a sexual organ. Or maybe it isn’t that the breast has been sexualized in America that makes you quiver at the sight of an infant nursing. Maybe it’s your own insecurity in your ability to do something as powerful as grow, birth and provide nutrition for a child all with your own God given body alone. Am I sensing a little envy here? Or is it just back to you displaying ignorance in it’s purest form? Again, who knows? I am interested to know why it is that you feel sorry for company employees “trying to do the right thing” when these company employees are violating the rights of others? How is this the right thing?
“What she’s failed to mention, either in print or on TV, is why she was so
compelled to plop to the floor instead of walking to the ladies room. Would
she have jeopardized her child’s welfare, his very life, if she had simply
made the effort?” Would she have jeopardized her child’s welfare? Oh right, now you are concerned with the child’s welfare, Chuck. No one expects you to eat your lunch on a public restroom toilet, why should her child be expected to? Oh that’s right, because you think so. This woman is making an effort. She is making an effort to provide for her child in the best way possible. And she is doing it with a lack of support in this country from idiots like you. Everyday mothers feel embarrassed about breastfeeding and even quit breastfeeding because morons like you try to make it something more than what it is.
“What I do suggest to her and other mothers who act rashly, and then condemn anyone who complains, is to grow up before your child does.
And next time you go shopping with your infant in your arms, try bringing
along a baby bottle. ” WOW, I sincerely hope that no one asks you for suggestions on a regular basis. Breastfeeding a crying, hungry child is by no means “acting rashly.” Defecating on the grocery aisle floor, sure, but not breastfeeding. And as for ASSuming that all mothers who breastfeed are capable of expressing their milk so they can bottle feed their child for your convenience – once again shows how ignorant you are. And secondly, even if a mother is capable of doing so, it certainly shouldn’t be something she’s obligated to do to keep from offending someone like you. If you have a problem with seeing a child eat from its mothers breast, then I suggest you sir, be the one who takes a trip to the toilet. That is ironically, where all of your statements belong. YOU’RE OUT!