Thinking Critically about Breastfeeding

We went to breastfeeding classes and agreed that it was a no-brainer and breastfeeding was clearly the way to go.  But we just gave her formula, and I know it was the right thing. Here’s why: 

I’m no doctor. But my wife and I just delivered a baby yesterday. I write this from our hospital room.

My wife had high blood pressure, so our doctor recommended we deliver early. It was high before the pregnancy, and during the pregnancy. The doctor recommended that we induce a couple weeks before our due date. He is the expert, so we obviously said OK.

We induced. We got an epidural. Everything was going relatively smoothly, but we had some major issues at the end of delivery. The cord was wrapped around her neck, and she was stuck in the birth canal for over a minute. With some quick work from several nurses, they had her back to form quickly. It was dramatic, but all-in-all successful.

Now we’re into day two. Everything is going as suspected, but the more questions I ask, the more I realize that no one is really sure about anything. In the past twenty-four hours, our new baby has been screaming at the top of her lungs for almost half of it. Here is what they’ll tell you:

  • The first couple months are terrible.
  • It takes them a while to get used to the world.

Whatever. To me they eventually started to sound like excuses for being miserable. But if there is one thing that I’ve discovered through this journey is that we were designed to be happy.

So let’s go through the same process: we tried absolutely everything. New positions, new people. Changing this and checking that, nothing worked for a about twelve hours. Her base level was screaming and crying. Here’s what we know:

  • She was designed to be happy.
  • She is clearly not.

She doesn’t have many basic needs at this point. At least not many that require feedback from her. We’d covered everything else, and I just couldn’t get around what our “lactation consultant” was saying about how little she needed, or how all babies lose weight after birth.

We had the baby early. We were both on board with it. We talked about the pros and cons with the doctor, and decided that it was the right thing.

We got an epidural. The plan was to try to do things as natural as possible, but my wife was having back labor, and was being induced anyways, so she decided that this was best for her and the baby. And I truly believe that it was necessary in our circumstances.

You don’t get it both ways. Yes, your body is perfectly programmed to provide for your baby. I’m not arguing with that. But when you set things in motion that weren’t ready yet, we need to think critically about our process. My wife was not going to deliver naturally for another two weeks, so obviously her milk was not ready yet. Here’s are some other birth interventions and how they may effect your feeding. 

I completely agree that breast milk is the best thing babies can eat, and in the right ratio, But if there is not much breast milk [or colostrum], formula is way better than nothing. It’s common sense, but don’t get so stubborn about it that you hurt your baby. Just remember, the goal is a happy and healthy baby. And we were already designed for that. 

Extra credit: The only difference between the baby now and in ten years is time, food, and size. But we’ve proven over and over again that time does not exist. Connect your own dots. 

Update: Our plan is to still breastfeed as much as possible for the health of the baby and her mother, once her milk comes in. In the meantime, we’re going to keep our baby happy with what we have.