A Greener Mama Part 2: Feeding

This is part 2 in my week long series on being a greener mama!  Yesterday I blogged about diapering and today I’m blogging about feeding!

Breastfeeding was the one and only way to feed every baby born on this planet until 1876 when baby formula first appeared on the market.  (Interestingly enough, the man that invented baby formula was known as the father of the fertilizer industry.  How’s that for useless knowledge?!).  Similac (“similar to lactation”) hit the market in the 1920s and by the 1970s there was a huge shift away from breastfeeding.  In fact, 75% of children were formula fed by the early 70s.

I don’t know a single person my age (myself included) that was breastfed as a child.   My mother told me that doctors encouraged formula back then because they thought it was healthier and better for babies.  I wonder if the formula manufacturer’s had anything to do with that?!  I’m sure that was a lot of “encouragement” by way of monetary incentives for the doctors to recommend formula to moms.  Of course, drinking and smoking during pregnancy and immediately after were not unheard of then–I guess we’ve come a long way in the medical field in the last 30 years!

There are so many pros to breastfeeding.  I’m not one of those nazis that think that all mom’s HAVE to breastfeed.  But I do think that all mom’s should at least try.  Not only is it cheap and easy (once you and your baby get the hang of things) but your baby gets so many antibodies from you during those first few months that really do protect them from illness.  Both of my children were very healthy as infants and I know that breastfeeding had a lot to do with that.

I actually saw a “home remedy” mentioned on The Doctors a few days ago involving breast milk.  A mother mentioned it as a home remedy and the pediatrician whole heartedly agreed and said that his office routinely recommends it.  What was it?  Breast milk as a treatment for pink eye.  He stated that the antibodies in the milk will typically clear up any type of eye infection that an infact develops.  Madalyn had a crazy eye infection when she was born and I wonder if our pediatrician had recommended this if I would have done it or told him he was crazy?!

So here is what I did with my first two babies and our plans for the third:

Annagrace:  Breastfed exclusively for the first 2 months, occasionally supplemented with formula when I had to be away.  I rented a hospital grade pump for when I went back to work and I used it all of two times!  Pumping just was not for me.  I could never relax enough at work to have much success–and had a hard time finding the time while working 12 hours shifts as a nurse!  We stopped all together at about 3 months.  I was back at work, I didn’t like pumping and we just gradually let it go.  We switched to Walmart brand regular formula at that time.

Madalyn:  Breastfed exclusively for the first 2 months–even through a horrible bout of mastitis!  Starting supplementing with formula around 3 months.  I knew I didn’t want to pump when I went back to work (I was working in home health so the thought of sitting in the park with my shirt pulled down to my waist and my boobs hooked up to a machine just didn’t appeal to me).  So we went to formula and I nursed her at night until about 4 months.  Then we switched to soy formula–whatever brand I could get on sale is what we bought.  She spit up horribly bad (her clothes were always soaking wet!) and I often wished I had kept nursing because I don’t think she would have spit up as badly if I had.

Layla:  Want to try to breastfed for the first year.  I’m sure we will occasionally use formula but I really hope that I will be able to either pump during the day or come home for Layla’s feeding times once I go back to work.  It will really depend on which job I am working at at the time (one of my jobs is day shift, the other is night shift) but I am going to try very hard to keep it up until Layla is one and can switch to whole milk.  I’m not into the whole “extended” breastfeeding thing and I think one year will be long enough for me and Layla!

What did you mamas out there do?  Any regrets either way?  I regret that I didn’t breastfeed both my kids longer but working full time and being a mom is hard and it just wasn’t working!

Here are some good websites for breastfeeding support:


La Leche League


**I just finished a very interesting article in this month’s Mothering magazine about breastfeeding in Mongolia.  It is not at all taboo there and pretty much all mothers breastfeed there.  The author lived in Mongolia for 3 years and stated that if a mother was engorged and her baby was going to be away for awhile it was not unusual for her to offer her milk to whoever happened to be in the home at the time.  Mothers may even present a bowl of breastmilk to their husbands or keep a bowl in the fridge for whoever may want it.  I am not kidding about that.  Really.  They don’t see breastmilk as being for babies only–and many adults will admit to liking the taste of it.  I don’t care if we never see that in our country but I would like for breastfeeding to be more accepted in public!

8 Responses to “A Greener Mama Part 2: Feeding”

  1. 1 Lindsey July 28, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Silas was breastfed for the most part. We occasionally supplemented with formula because he seemed to be soooo hungry and the formula satisfied him.

    He nursed until he was about 11 montshs old. At that point he was too distracted by the world around him to focus on nursing. He was also much more interested in food. (We made his baby food…very rarely bought the stuff in the stores) That made the transition fairly easy for both of us.

    Again, it helped that I had a very supportive mom, mother-in-law and husband with regards to breastfeeding. And I was a SAHM. I enjoyed the experience. I believe I was lucky to have such a good nurser. He took to it right away with no issues minutes after he was born.

    The plan is to breastfeed with Savannah as well….although I’d like to keep with exclusively breastfeeding this go around. We’ll see how it goes.

  2. 2 Amanda H. Avery July 28, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Bottle babies for us. Molly and I tried, and tried–no luck. She had a lot of issues latching on (as did Chris and myself as infants our mothers told us) and she lost a LOT of weight in her first two check ups, so her doctor advised us to stick with formula instead.

    I think it’s great for mommies to breastfeed.

    I think it’s great for mommies to formula feed.

    Yea for options! 🙂

  3. 3 Alison July 29, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Breastfed Charlotte until she was 13 months (table food after 6 months and after 10 months was only nursing at naps and night time). Ivy starting getting formula off an on around 5 months and exclusively switched at 9. I didn’t want to but she was a tugger which meant that I kept tearing and then getting infections. Not fun.

  4. 4 Wendy July 30, 2009 at 9:03 am

    I breastfed exclusively until 7 months. Then slowly switched over to formula. I tried to freeze as much as possible but didn’t have much of a surplus. I hate formula, I wish I could have created more of a surplus and kept him on breastmilk longer.

    As for the spitting up. Ethan was totally breastfed and you saw how much he spit up. Now that he is on formula…STILL spits up. It’s getting better but I think it has more do age. I think some babies are just more prone to it.

    • 5 lsaufley July 30, 2009 at 10:03 am

      I didn’t know you had switched to formula Wendy! I agree that some babies are just prone to it. We used soy formula with Madalyn and that helped. Do you remember how wet her clothes always were?! Poor thing spit up all the time!

  5. 6 Heather and Reber July 31, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    I sure do love the free part of breastfeeding. And for moms who need to pump and are eligible for wic, we loan out pumps for free too. Of course everyone has their own reasons for breastfeeding or not, but I like that note about Mongolia because that’s how God set it up for babies to be nourished!!

    • 7 lsaufley August 1, 2009 at 8:05 am

      You should read that article about Mongolia. It is really good. The author talks about how “un-taboo” it is there. She was constantly getting approval and praise from strangers–both men and women–for breastfeeding. She said that men would approach her while baby was latched on to talk to the baby and even lean down and kiss the baby on his head. Sometimes he would unlatch and there she sat with her nipple exposed and no one cared because they were so happy that she was nursing!

      Also, they say in Mongolia that the best wrestlers are breastfed until they are 6 years old. It is not that common to breastfeed for that long there but some kids are and society thinks nothing of it. Not my kind of thing . . . the extended breastfeeding . . . but at least it’s neat to know that there is such acceptance there for something so natural.

      The problem with our society here is that we’ve made everything having to do with the female body sexual. Women feel like they have to sit in a bathroom and nurse their child (I know–I’ve been there!) because heaven forbid if we offend someone! I found it interesting that NC has laws that permit mothers to nurse in public–Virginia is one of few states that have no laws about it at all!

  6. 8 Stacey Adams August 1, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I finally got a chance to read this entry and wanted to let you know that you do have a friend who was breastfed! 🙂 My mom nursed me for 2 months and my sister for 3 months before quitting. She was the only person she knew who did it, and she didn’t receive a lot of support, so I think that made it much harder to continue.

    I breastfed Evan for 11 months, until we found out we were expecting Will. At 2 months we started doing one bottle of formula at night. My husband is fantastic, and would do one (then later, the only) night feeding. I pumped for the first 2 months, but hated it so much, that we eventually switched to formula for that feeding.

    Still breastfeeding Will at 2 months, and plan to continue until around a year.

    I also made all of Evan’s baby food, and plan to do the same with Will. It saves sooooooo much money, and I loved knowing exactly what was in his food.

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July 2009

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