Breastfeeding is a learned behavior. It isn’t instinctive as many women are led to believe. Do some women have zero problems with nursing? Sure. But most need some help. Even gorillas and chimpanzees, who have never seen other apes caring for their babies are unable to nurse successfully.
Women don’t need to be told TO breastfeed. Women need to be taught ABOUT breastfeeding, and so do their doctors and support staff. We need to be taught a new idea of what is “normal”, both in terms of infant behavior and in weight gain.
After all, if the average baby is still formula fed, is it any surprise that breastfed babies don’t measure up to “normal”?
Most women I speak to still believe common myths about breastfeeding, the most common of which is this one: (more…)
I want you to meet three women I know.
Mother A is a business woman, well into her thirties, who was bottle fed as a baby. She is a health nut who definitely wants her baby to get breastmilk, but doesn’t want to be tied down by the breast, so she hopes to do be able to do as much pumping as possible and to deliver the milk via bottle much of the time.
Mother B is an older woman who has finally conceived a long-awaited child with the help of a lot of scientific intervention. She has dreamed of being a mother for a long time, and wants to overcome her difficult childhood by showing her child the kind of unconditional love and care that she never received (more…)
A while ago I wrote a post about Breastfeeding, and I asked a question that a researcher had asked me. Today I want to tell you the answer I gave.
The researcher I spoke to, who is also an OB/GYN, wanted to talk to me about infant feeding and my experiences and she wanted my opinion on how doctors can help depressed and anxious women to breastfeed more.
I’m not surprised that they’re asking. The medical profession in Canada is VERY big on breastfeeding.
You have to understand that in a socialized health care setting, it is very much in the government’s interest to push preventive medicine.
Every diagnosis of heart disease or cancer, every gall bladder surgery and hip replacement, gets billed to the government. Obviously, to save themselves – er, I mean taxpayers – money, they want to prevent diseases and surgeries in the first place. So you can understand why they’re so big on pushing breastfeeding.
I don’t need to elaborate on the many and varied health benefits of breastfeeding. I think every mother (more…)
I love research.
I think it comes as part of the “I-have-an-anxiety-disorder” package that I research things obsessively. Getting a dog? Buy ALL the dog books. Having a baby? Spend hundreds of hours trawling through research study abstracts.
So when I saw a notice at the Reproductive Mental Health Centre looking for participants in a study on infant feeding in mothers with depression and anxiety, I volunteered. Why not give back?
Infant feeding and maternal mental health are slightly controversial topic. Research has shown that mothers with post partum depression are more likely to be formula feeders than breast feeders.
What no one really knows is which causes the other.
Does breastfeeding make you happier? Does formula feeding make you miserable? Or does post partum depression just wreck your chances of breastfeeding success? (more…)
People talk a lot about maintaining a sense of personal identity as a mother.
The needs and demands of a tiny human being who has no patience, no forbearance, and no consideration for the feelings of others can be an overwhelming experience.
Many women, especially in places like Canada where we get a whole year of maternity leave from work, find it difficult to maintain their sense of who they are.
Yanked out of board meetings and into a gliding rocker, and dealing with dirty diapers where they once dealt with memos and spreadsheets, new mothers often find themselves thinking “WHAT HAVE I DONE?” (more…)