Sunday, January 09, 2005

Breast Nazis

I wanted our baby to be breastmilk only, mostly because of second hand, possibly apocryphal things I had heard long ago about the Nestle company killing babies with free samples of formula. The idea is formula is like crack: once a baby tries it, she'll never go back to the boring old breast. The way I heard the story about Nestle was that they'd have a free sample of formula and then never eat from the breast again. (Googling around for it just now I came across this, which makes it sound like the Nestle company is not as evil as I was led to believe.)
So, when we were starving our baby with breastfeeding, I came off high and mighty. "We'd really rather not use any formula," I said. (BTW, I hadn't done the math right and didn't realize just how much weight our baby had lost - I thought it was under 10% but really it was over 15. If we were metric I wouldn't have made the mistake...) Our pediatrician ignored me and gave Sofi some right then and there, and gave us instructions to supplement and to figure out how to actually breastfeed so the baby gets some.
In order to solve our problem we had to pump breast milk. Pumping breast milk is one of the strangest things I've ever seen, like something out of some kind of science fiction S&M movie directed by David Cronenberg. There's nothing natural about it, and it's bizarre how we have to go through this unnatural act in order to finally accomplish something that's supposedly natural. Breastfeeding is cheaper than formula but after what we've spent on pumps and cushions and consultants we may give formula a run for its money.
We also had to use formula. And guess what? Our baby did not take to it like crack. In fact, the first time we tried to give her formula, we couldn't get her to figure out how to drink from the bottle. (Side product-endorsement note: Playtex nipples worked better for our baby than Avent.) When we finally did get her to drink from the bottle, we had no problem getting her to go back to the breast. Right now, we bottle feed her a couple times a day, usually from pumped breast milk but not always, and the rest of the time its breast feeding. I figure she gets about six ounces from the bottle and the remaining eighteen or so from the breast each day.
Which means, thanks to our pediatrician, and despite breast nazis like Dr. Spock and crowd, we've accidentally stumbled on a best-of-both-worlds scenario. Sofi's getting all the nutritional and health advantages of breastfeeding, plus I get to feed Sofi too, plus when Cathy doesn't feel like breastfeeding she doesn't have to, plus we can have babysitters, plus Cathy isn't chained to the baby.

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