Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breastfeeding class

DH and I went to our breastfeeding class this week, and found it somewhat interesting...

First, the class was call "Breast, Bottle or Both", and was billed as providing information on all forms of feeding. Not quite. It was definitely a breastfeeding propaganda class. How beneficial it is, and basically how crazy you'd be not to use this method.

Now, I have already decided that I would like to breastfeed, but I also realize that I may have difficulties, and it simply may not work for me. I don't want to be made to feel guilty if that's the case. I am very educated and I try to inform myself on all sides of issues, so I get annoyed when something that is advertised as balanced ends up being completely biased, even if it supports my beliefs. I'm smarter than that, I want all the facts and then I want to make my own informed choice.

I wanted more information about the different types of bottles and nipples available. Whether you really need to sterilize or is the dishwasher fine? Do you really need to warm the bottles? And this, for me, is about bottles of BREAST MILK (hopefully). I think they don't want to go into bottles at all because they think women will take that as a sign that bottles are "OK". Which, in my opinion, they ARE, if that works best for that mother. How long can you freeze, refrigerate breast milk, what are the differences between formulas, powder vs liquid, when should you start pumping to get ready to go back to work... all of these questions were left unanswered, unfortunately.

She also trotted out all these stats about "exclusive" breastfeeding being the most effective, almost to the point of detriment if there was any supplementing with formula. I asked her point blank if one or two bottles of formula negates the benefits of breastmilk, and then she backtracked a bit and did say that any breast milk is better than none. There just seemed to be a lot of misleading implications like this that I kept having to clarify with her. Probably making me look like I was opposed to breastfeeding, which is not the case at all.

All that being said, I did learn more about breastfeeding techniques and tips, which I thought was helpful. I have started reading a few books on the subject, but the video clips they showed were definitely more helpful than words on a page, so I appreciated that. I guess if the class was called Breastfeeding (period), I would have known what to expect and would have been more satisfied overall.

And here's the best thing I learned, that I'm happy to share with all of you....

It's OK to drink (in moderation) while breastfeeding!

And this is coming from a breastfeeding fanatic, so I'm inclined to believe it. Someone asked about coffee, and she said you can absolutely have a cup or two of coffee, that it would take around 6 cups of coffee to affect the baby. So I piped in to ask about a glass of wine, and she said that's also OK. That the amount of alcohol from one glass of wine that goes into your bloodstream is very small, and it stays in your breastmilk from about 30 mins after you drink it to 60 mins after you drink it, then it leaves your breastmilk. So a well timed glass of wine in the evening (or afternoon depending on the day!), wouldn't even pass a minuscule drop of alcohol to the baby.

After almost a year of completely abstaining from alcohol (between IVF treatments and pregnancy), it's nice to know I'll be able to indulge a little!


  1. Breastfeeding is the new "in" thing to do. I'm on the same page as you: I believe it it's value, I intend to do it, but I'm open to the possibility that despite my effort, something could happen that would cause me to switch to formula. And I'm okay with that. I resent those "boob nazis" who would make a woman feel guilty and as though she is harming her child for not BF'ing. So many women out there are young, uneducated and/or reliant upon the advice of "experts" and I feel badly for them if they do not succeed with BF'ing. I feel badly only because I worry that boob nazis will be out there to terrorize them and impose such overwhelming guilt that the women will continue to try LONG after it was healthy to do so - mentally and physically. So I'm glad you challenged the "expert" a few times.

    As a former pediatric nurse, I might have some suggestions about some of your questions. As for what kind of bottle/nipple to use: use what works for you and the baby. Obviously you want to keep air from baby's tummy, but that's achievable with any system and depends more on positioning the bottle. Different babies prefer different nipples: some are round, the Nuk is flat on one side, some are more oval. Just buy a few different ones and see what baby prefers.

    I don't believe that bottles need to be sterilized (as in boiled), dishwasher is probably okay, but your pediatrician may have a preference for cleaning bottles.

    As for formula type, most of them are designed to be nutritionally complete and so probably any of them that your baby likes and tolerates is okay. Some babies develop particular nutritional needs, and if so, your pediatrician would recommend a "special" formula. At most hospitals I worked at, the standard was Enfamil. Again, your pedi doc may have a different recommendation.

    I am THRILLED to learn about the wine! Yay! I SO missing having a little sip of wine. The other thing is that even if you wanted to "overdo" and indulge a little more, use breast milk you've frozen for the baby and just express and toss the "boozed up" milk.

    Speaking of milk, at the hospital moms could provide frozen breast milk for us to feed their baby with. We just thawed it in a hot water bath until the milk was warm when tested on the wrist. Don't microwave the milk itself. I can't remember how long we permitted milk to be stored in the freezer, but I'm sure your pedi doc would know or you can find it online.

    I hope this was helpful!

  2. I could not agree with you or Best anymore. I did BF my son for the first 6 weeks and then found it to be way more than I could handle. First, the demands and no help, second I did not seem to be producing enough to keep him full and satisfied. Therefore, I went to the formula. Because I had lactose "issues" when I was born, I went (with the pediatrician's support) straight to soy based formula. It was great.

    One thing I will share that took me a LONG time to find out is that powder formulas have corn meal in them. My son did not tolerate the powdered formula well, but the ready to fed fine. Only after weeks of research and consulting my pediatrician did I figure this out. So, it was ONLY ready to fed for him and it went very well.

    As for the bottles, I tried numerous different bottles, nipples. He definitely preferred and tolerated the Dr. Brown's the best. As for washing and sterilizing, I did initially sterilize the bottles, tubes and nipples, but then under the advice of my pediatrician, dishwasher was fine. I did find that I had to keep constant track of the # nipple he was using. He definitely stayed on track with the stages of the nipples. (this confused me and my husband in the beginning b/c we didn't realize we had different # stage nipples all mixed together).

    We did not buy a breast pump prior to his birth. I did use a hand held, manual pump in the hospital that they provided. After I came home, we weren't sure I would be able to continue and did not want to spend $300 on a pump that wouldn't get use. So, we rented one from the hospital. I am sorry I did not do this directly at the hospital and start with the hospital grade straight from the beginning. All of the tubes are brand new for you and the milk does not come in contact with the machine at all. Therefore, I felt this was safe.

    Sorry I have written a novel here, but I hope some of this maybe be helpful!!!!