|Similac: Good to the la$t drop|
The moderators of the fan page posted this thread recently: findings suggest babies who die of SIDS have "significantly lower levels of Seratonin." No mention of breastfeeding and how that can greatly reduce the risk. I suppose it would be a conflict of interest for them to drop that bomb - why, then, would anyone want to buy their product?
Shockingly, breastfeeding as a way to reduce risk doesn't appear anywhere in the article, either. (Isn't it ironic that they'd pick this article? It appears that a few people who left comments aren't buying it, either: I don't know if they're nurses, birth/breastfeeding advocates or what, but one woman said, "The greatest risk for SIDS occurs when babies are NOT breastfed. Period." Wait...listen for it: can you hear the pin drop?)
Another commenter felt, as I did, that the findings were inconclusive: what about Pitocin? Mothers who use antidepressants such as Zoloft? Another reader remarked, "Abbott Nutrition has no business getting in bed with Night Nurse Nation."
In Amy's blog post, she included a photo of RestFull, a product made by Enfamil designed for "bedtime feeding." From the descriptions I've heard, it's designed to keep babies' tummies full longer. Supposedly it's "thick" - honestly, it sounds like sludge. I couldn't think of anything scarier or more ridiculous: not only is it like "gassing up" your car before a long trip, but it's almost saying, "That stupid ol' breastmilk - your baby's going to starve on that stuff!"
Recent studies have shown that formula-fed babies do wake up just as often as their breast-fed counterparts. So, even though breastmilk is easier to digest than formula, it doesn't mean that formula feeding will lead to fewer sleepless nights. (So, does that mean Enfamil will have to retract their claim - or perhaps pull their product - because of false advertising?)
As a graduate of the Bad Sleepers Club, I can tell you from my experience that it doesn't have anything to do with it. My oldest - my first, most perfect child LOL - was exclusively breastfed and slept through the night at four months. I was in heaven, ecstatic to tell my grandparents over the phone that their grandson was already sleeping through the night! Yippee!
Fast forward to his Princess Cranky Pants sister - or even to his baby brother - and neither of them slept through the night consistently until at least 18 months. All were exclusively breastfed for the first six months before the introduction of solids. And with Little Tater Tot, we're still perfecting it at nearly two years old (I say that in my best ass-dragging, I've been awake all night voice.) So don't tell me that formula will make my kids sleep. Every child is different.
Aside from all that, my post really isn't meant to reiterate Amy's, or even to go into the whole formula marketing debate. She does mention one thing that piqued my interest - about seemingly well-intentioned nursery nurses who want the mother to "rest" so they can feed their babies. Maybe they buy into the whole "formula will make your baby sleep longer" theory, or perhaps they ignorantly think breastfeeding is a waste of time. It's not unheard of for nurses to openly knock it and discourage mothers from even trying, perhaps because their own experiences with breastfeeding might have been less-than-perfect.
I have a different theory: that there is some kind of "baby fix" thing going on.
There is something special about feeding a baby. I often wonder if some people are jealous of breastfeeding moms because of the special mother-baby bond that is created. Perhaps they couldn't nurse, didn't want to, or gave up too easily and feel defensive about their decision, yet have regret at the same time; I don't know. Especially if the baby is bottle-fed, it seems like there is never a shortage of grandmas, aunts and others clamoring to feed your baby. Some even react with hostility towards breastfeeding moms because they feel they can't participate in that aspect of the baby's care.
I once heard the story of a mom who's mother and grandmother were so insistent on feeding the baby a bottle that they did so behind her back, even though the infant was breastfed. Therefore when it was time for the baby to nurse, she refused the breast.
A friend of mine who is in her 70's told me that when her sons were babies, her husband adamantly told her he didn't want her breastfeeding. His reasoning was that he wanted to take part in feeding the children, especially at night. He was a psychologist - I'm still wondering if there were deep-seated territorial issues the man had over certain aspects of parenting or something. I kind of looked at her and thought, Have you ever heard of a breast pump?
Some nurses feed your baby without asking. They did this with my youngest because his 'sugars were too low' - "We just do it, we don't ask," I was told by the nurse (as if she was expecting a fight). I was ticked, though, because if something was abnormal or wrong with my baby, I would expect her to tell me about it. And hey, breastmilk is nature's perfect food - how about putting him to the breast and seeing what happens with his supposedly bad "sugars?"
With my second, I staggered into the nurses' station in the middle of the night to get my daughter for a feeding. I don't even know why I did it; something in my internal clock (I could always tell right before my milk was about to let down) told me to go get her. I'm sure I looked a wreck, but the nurse asked me, "Wouldn't you rather me give her a bottle so you can get some rest?" I kind of looked at her like, "Why the hell would I do that? She's breastfed." At one point they wanted to take the baby back to the nursery so I could sleep, and I said, "Why? She's going to be waking me up all night long while I'm home - I might as well get used to it."
While I certainly never got any rest while in the hospital, I also fail to see how skipping a nursing session is going to help a new (or any) mom who is learning how to nurse, and can just result in painful, engorged breasts.
Amy West is cautious about how aggressive formula marketing and some nurses' persistence about bottle feeding in the hospital will encourage parents to use it solely in order to get more sleep, perhaps further undermining the new breastfeeding relationship. That still doesn't explain why my nurse would approach me about formula feeding after I've already successfully breastfed a child for a year and a half, other than she maybe just wants her baby fix. It seems that with some people, they get very territorial and protective of their 'right' to feed your child, as if it gives them some kind of control or a role in The Most Special Job Ever that normally is reserved for the mother. Aside from the obvious nutrition your baby receives at each feeding, there is the comfort aspect - the ability to provide emotional nourishment as well is a very intimate relationship that some people get very defensive about wanting to take part in.
While the formula marketing push certainly doesn't help, I think it's also rooted in psychology - I would venture to guess that some nurses (hopefully all!) get attached to their 'babies' and want to interact with them on some level, too. I just wish they'd find a more productive way to do it than sticking a bottle in their mouths. Rather than push formula, they should encourage parents, telling them that sleepless nights won't last forever, but to enjoy those nighttime feedings, however tedious they are - because you can never get that time back, and someday will probably miss it.
MomBlog Network: SIDS and Enfamil "RestFull Formula: Yes, the Connection Exists"
The Case for the Virgin Gut - by Ann Calandro, RNC, IBCLC