Laboratory tests of canned infant formula conducted by the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) and a certified commercial laboratory reveal
that a plastics chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) leaches from metal
can linings into formula. According to a new EWG analyses, the amount
of BPA ingested by some bottle-fed infants exceeds the doses that
caused serious adverse effects in animal studies.
If you are using infant formula, or considering ever using it, either completely or supplementally, please, please, please, read this article!!!
We should not be surprised to see yet another finding of this type. When we try to substitute man-made items for the perfect provision that God intended for us, we are bound to discover dangers and flaws.
Breastfeeding is God's gift to mothers and babies. It is simple, readily available, delicious (not that I would know, but my babies sheer delight at having "milkies" would suggest to me that this is true), and perfectly designed to give babies complete nutrition, so that they are healthy and not lacking anything.
I know the arguments, and have even experienced a few of these bumps in the breastfeeding road myself. Not enough milk (due to diet, stress, and sometimes, regardless of trying other methods for the unfortunate mother), extreme pain, cracking and bleeding, unexpected pregnancy while nursing, infections, and the like.
My advice is simple. Do not stop breastfeeding your child, as long as you are physically able to, in any manner, in any quantity, even if it is once a day. If your milk is insufficient, please examine first whether you could do anything to to improve the supply, and if all else fails, read these informative articles on breastfeeding and homemade formula.
If you are finding that your supply is low, as I have on many occasions with this current little nursling of mine, here are a few suggestions that have greatly helped me:
- Rest. Even if you can't nap, even if it's just sitting or lying on the couch for 20-30 min. while you read to other siblings, etc. Resting, especially in the middle of the day (when milk supply can be at it's lowest), can be very instrumental in replenishing milk supply.
- Drink water. Most adults require 6-8 glasses of water per day, just for good health and hydration. When you are nursing, you need to virtually double that amount of water. My suggestions are to choose special water bottles or jugs to fill up and use throughout the day, to help you guage how much water you have actually had, and still need to have. Another thing that has been key for me is to get a glass of water before I sit down to nurse each time. I also try to have a drink (water or herbal tea) each time I sit down to the computer.
- Eat more. Pregnant women require (keeping in mind everyone is slightly different) 300 extra calories a day to nourish their babies in utero. Nursing mothers require more like 500 extra calories. And one of the best places to get your calories (aside from nutrient dense foods like vegetables and whole grains) is through protein. Ensure that your calories are coming from the highest quality and most nutrient dense foods possible. Not only is it difficult for our bodies to make milk when they are lacking in certain nutrients, but the quality of the milk produced will be inferior as well.
- Nurse your baby more. The more we put our babies to the breast, the more stimulation is created to let our bodies know to produce more milk. If you are on a strict schedule or routine with your baby, adding in one extra feed a day can often make a huge difference. I have a very established routine for my little guy, but when I notice my supply is down, I will feed him first right after his nap (as is my usual routine) and then again 30-45 min. later, after I have eaten a snack and downed a couple glasses of water. This works well for me.
- Try a natural supplement. Consult with your midwife or naturopath first. There are many supplements and herbs out there, that have traditionally been known to increase milk supply. Personally, I am using a tea called Mother's Milk, made by Traditional Medicinals (you can often purchase it at health food stores, or even Walmart!). I drink a mug when I feel my supply slipping a little. I'm not sure if it's truly the supplements helping, or just that I feel more relaxed and more hydrated, but either way, it works for me.
I wasn't intending to write such a long post, but this is a subject that I am passionate about. I desire to have the healthiest babies possible, and see it as my responsibility to do everything I can to ensure that my body is capable of nourishing them thoroughly.
And may I add to that very small percentage of women, who despite everything, truly cannot nurse their babies- there is no condemnation. I believe that God knows your heart and desire to provide for your baby. But I just want to encourage you to take ownership over whatever you are able to reasonably do, to continue breastfeeding. And when you come to the end of the line, and the options have run out, then trust God and ask him to meet your babies needs and to guide you in deciding which route to take.