Breastfeeding: What's Wrong in America?
Why do so many American women eagerly anticipate breastfeeding their new baby only to find themselves three weeks later partially breastfeeding and then by six weeks not breastfeeding at all? Everyone knows that breastfeeding and breastmilk is what all babies need. We've all heard breast is best. So what's the problem or should I say dilemma?
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If you are wanting to breastfeed, go ahead right now and realize that you need help. Women need other women to help them figure out this so called natural process. Why? Because natural, as it pertains to breastfeeding, doesn't mean it comes naturally. Ahh, is that so? Let me tell you a story:
There was a gorilla living in captivity most or all of her life. There were no other female gorillas around her giving birth and nurturing their young at their breasts. When her first baby was born, she peered at it and threw it over the fence--the baby died. What does one do with this little unfamiliar thing?
Second pregnancy: the very wise zoo keeper called the La Leche League asking for volunteers--nursing mothers to nurse their children in front of the gorilla's cage. Everyday mothers came and nursed while the expectant gorilla and zoo workers watched. What a sight, so wish I had been a part of one of the first nurse-ins. Arrival of baby number two brought anxiety to all. What will she do this time? Take a guess. She put the baby to breast and nursed and nurtured this baby and everyone lived happily ever after.
How are you suppose to know what to do? How many of you have watched nursing mothers throughout your life or even your pregnancy? If you live in America, the answer is slim to none and slim has left town. Sure you can feed your baby at your breast, but will you be able to continue beyond 3 weeks? Will you even leave the hospital without your baby getting formula? Will you be comfortable--pain-free? Will your baby gain weight well? The odds are against you.
Breastfeeding in a world of formula is like speaking an ancient language that know one knows how to interpret. You must find experienced breastfeeders for help, support and expertise. Sometimes other mothers fit the bill; sometimes you need a specialist such as a certified lactation consultant or IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant).
Here are the most common questions every breastfeeding mother asks:
Is breastfeeding suppose to hurt?
Is my baby drinking?
Am I making enough milk?
How often is my baby suppose to eat?
Who do you have lined up to help you? Meet with a lactation consultant--one that works with mothers and babies beyond the two to three day hospital stay--while you are pregnant; many mothers say it was the best thing they did to prepare for baby's arrival. As a side note, budget for lactation help: it's much cheaper to get breastfeeding working well than to pay for formula.