Breastfeeding: Break Through the Rules, Questions and Insecurities

I came to the realization the other day, as yet another mom sat before me in tears wondering if her baby was getting “enough”, that the innate ability of women to feed their babies via breast has gone the way of rules, questions, and ultimately, feelings of fear and lack in our mothers.

I fully understand that the health of women today may be different than it was 20, 50, 100 years ago, but we still have the same parts and the same knowledge that breastfeeding for as long as possible is the ultimate BEST for our babies. Yet as women we’re constantly questioning our abilities (and in some cases so are our doctors and society).

Yes, to add insult to injury, misinformed pediatricians using outdated growth charts add further insecurity when it comes to breastfeeding. Breastfed babies and artificially fed babies tend to grow at different rates. A doctor relying on outdated data will recommend that mothers unnecessarily supplement with formula or cereal (it makes me cringe to even type those words), and sometimes recommend a mother stop breastfeeding altogether (Ugh!!). A mom can’t help but feel inadequate and worried for the health of their child after receiving a recommendation like that!

This is extremely frustrating to me as a pediatric chiropractor who wholeheartedly believes in the innate power within the body, and as a mother who breastfed two babies that are now healthy and growing children. I want to be sure every woman understands these points about breastfeeding…

  • In 2006, the World Health Organization released revised growth charts that more accurately represent the growth of healthy breastfed babies throughout the world. Make sure when your pediatrician in referencing the growth of your baby that it’s these updated charts that are being used as their reference. Familiarize yourself with this information, paying special note to the fact that a breastfed baby is bigger in months 1-3, then smaller from month 3-12. See the charts here.  I also recommend the article, “Average Growth Patterns of Breastfed Babies“, which simply and succinctly explains the new growth charts and other considerations when determining growth of breastfed babies.
  • Always remember that God created our bodies with the purpose of creating life. As a woman, you and your body are good enough. We were blessed with mother’s intuition and instincts. Trust them.
  • Our breasts were created with the purpose of food and feeding; they are not a sex symbol. The controversy over breastfeeding in public is a non-issue in my book. We need to get over our cultural hang ups when it comes to feeding our offspring.

So, go ahead…just do it. Give your little one the ultimate in nutrition. Your baby is getting exactly what he/she needs at the moment. Just a few tips: keep your calories high, from real sources; stay positive and have an attitude of gratitude because your baby receives all of the hormones you make and surely you want to pass on the joyful and positive ones!

Dr. Tiffany

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