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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Breast milk vs Formula milk

Come across a forum few days ago, a mom started a topic talking about she had to give formula to her newborn, as the baby was not growing well. The baby is losing quite a bit of weight in the first week and not gaining much weight since then. The mother was breastfeeding the baby. The paed recommended to add formula to help the baby gained weight. The mom thinks she made the right choice of giving the baby formula and she should not feel bad about not able to fully breastfeed the baby.
From the reply, majority of the moms agreed with her and think that we should not too worry about not able to breastfeed. While there were few mothers think that most mothers gave up breastfeeding easily and formula milk should be given only when there is a real need. Therefore, these two groups of mother were debating there.

I think we just have to go with what we think is the best at that time. I’m sure if given a choice, most mothers would like to breastfeed their own babies if possible. However when they could not do so, we should not look down at them. Breastfeeding is not an easy journey, without proper guidance, encouragement and support from people around us. What I dislike most, is the people around the mother interfere with her choice. They will say things like breast milk is not good, too watery and baby get hungry too soon; not every mother can produce breast milk bla bla bla.

These people have very negative mindset about breastfeeding and they do not know any knowledge on breastfeeding. They don’t know that the beauty of the breast milk is its composition will change according to the baby’s need. Breast milk composition also varies by diet as well. Some women may produce more calorie-dense milk more than others. For those mommies who produce fewer calories on breast milk will need to nurse their babies more frequently. This is where the old people will always comment why the baby get hungry so soon, must be not getting enough milk from the mother that kind of talk. Well yes, baby on breast milk tends to get hungry fast. Why? This is because breast milk is easier to digest compared to formula milk. And what makes the breast milk easier to digest? It's the protein. There are two classes of proteins in milk — the caseins and the wheys. Caseins turn into clots or curds in the stomach. The wheys remain liquid and are easier to digest. And there are about 60% of the proteins in breast milk are whey, while most baby formula milk are high in casein.

If the mother is willing to try breastfeeding her baby, or wanted to breastfeed her baby, the people around her, especially the family members should feel happy and give encouragement to show support. I have witnessed how the negative statements and mindset, has made the mother feel so stressful and believe herself she does not have enough milk to breast feed, her milk is not good enough as the baby keep on crying for milk etc. When I was breastfeeding Hao for the first 2 months, he could cry for milk for every one hour. It is absolutely normal for a newborn to cry for milk more frequently. When Hao was 2 months old, slowly the interval become about 2 hours. Until now, his milk interval is still every 2 hours. Therefore, because of the discouragement from the family members, the mother was so stressful that she could hardly produce breast milk and given up breastfeeding the baby, just after about 1 week the baby was born. They do not understand, breast milk will not produce by itself, unless you are really gifted with lots of breast milk. We need stimulation, the baby needs to suck to send signal to the brain for the body to produce the breast milk. The more stimulation we get, the more breast milk we could produce for the baby. Despite lots of effort being done to create awareness to everyone that breast milk is the best for the baby but there are still some people especially the older generation think that formula milk is better. I think it’s difficult to change their mindset. Nevertheless, I’m glad that both my parents and my in-law are very supportive on my choice wanted to breastfeed both my children. They do believe that breast milk is the best for the baby. Of course not to mention hubby too. Support from family members is important on the success of breastfeeding.

13 comments:

reanaclaire said...

i agree with u, i truly support that breastfeeding is the best for our babies, but meanwhile, for those who really not able to breastfeed, we should not think negatively about them.. it is like, not everyone can give birth and we do sympathise with those who really cannot..

little prince's mummy said...

Agree with u, too! Nice sharing~

cleffairy said...

Now, I have a few things to say about breastfeeding.

First, I always think that if the mother is comfortable enough to breastfeed the baby, then she should breastfeed to baby until she's ready to weaned the baby. It comes both ways, if the mother is not comfortable with breastfeeding because of sore and cracked nipples (because of the sucking as well as the usage of breast pump) or feel self conscious about herself and chooses to give the baby formula milk, then it is okay too. It is up to the mother, and not anyone else to interfere on whether she chooses to bond with her child through breastfeeding or not. People should respect the mother's choice, regardless. What matters most after childbirth, is not just the baby, but mother's mental and physical well being is crucial too.

Secondly, I agree fully that breast milk are baby's best food. Great brain food, easy to digest, etc. People's mindset are hard to change, because the older generation always thinks that they are better at children's upbringing... but then, in some ways, they are ignorant because they are not exposed to all of these infos. What to do...try explaining, then they will say we disrecpect em... susah... have to send back all these old farts to take some science class and educate em instead of letting em loose on the street, telling ppl what we should do and should not do in the way we raise our children!

Kit76 said...

I feel blessed that you breastfeed Hao and Lynn, cheeyee. Yeah, support is real important. I can't advice on the breastfeeding but I do advice dads-to-be that the support they give is really important. I pretty much witnessed the same things cheeyee has, and these becomes a "list of things to look out for" that is in my advice.

I support clef's statement about the mother's condition too. It takes both physical and mental tenacity to breastfeed. If the mother chooses not to, Mr-main-support should not berate her for making the choice. If she knew the benefits of breastfeeding beforehand, you can be sure that it wasn't a choice she took lightly.

cheeyee said...

Reana - Yeah, we all are women. We should treat other well.

Little prince's mummy - Thanks. :)

Cleffy - Yeah, when the baby is out, everyone just focus on the newborn and neglect the mommy. Sigh...

Kit - I do this so that I won't feel regret when I look back later in my life. At least I have done my best.

Mummy to QiQi said...

knowing the benefits of it, i wish i could bf my boys FOREVER, haha...

Jenny said...

hi! thanks for dropping by. i think the reason why a lot think that formula is better is because of marketing strategies by formula companies which is widespread and prevalent, especially in Asian countries.

Oliveoylz said...

I heard that during our parents time, it was more "in" to give formula milk but times have certainly changed. B'feeding is therapeutic to the mom too. Sometimes I fall asleep while feeding...ha ha.

Broccoli Ginger said...

Agree with you. BF is a tough journey.. I am still battling with it everyday.. people around are not so supportive so I need to be firm and stand strong!

Alice Phua said...

Chee Yee and Cleffairy has put it very well about how old people think (I mean those who think formula milk is better than breastmilk) and how old people like to interfere with a mother's decision to breastfeed her baby or even how the mother intends to bring up the child. I myself can relate to such situation. Yes, my mother-in-law said such things as,"Your milk is too watery, that's why your baby cries in hunger so often!", or "I think your milk is not enough, that's why baby wakes up so often to want to drink milk!" or "Who has brought up more babies than you? (referring to herself).So of course I'll know better about how to take care and bring up babies!"

And all these remarks had made my heart burn inside, and I kept it inside until it exploded one day! So there were family quarrels before but luckily the issue was resolved because my father-in-law is a good moderator. So after the quarrel, I know how much of things my mother-in-law say to not to take to heart, and on her own part, how much remarks not to say to me that can make me feel hurt.

cleffairy said...

@ Alice Phua- My mother in law is a bitch, an absolute bitch that if I'm given a choice, I will not hesitate to kick her in the butt and get rid of her. Just because she was a babysitter, she taught that she knew everything about children's upbringing. She also got this bloody "Who brought up more brats than you" issues that pissed me to no end. Well, excuse me, she may bring up more babies and is more experience than me, but that does not mean the rest of the bloody world is not fit to be a mother and that entitles her to do whatever she please with her grandchildren WITHOUT the parents permission. Plus, all children are unique, and one cannot just use one way to teach or handle all kids.

While beating and scolding work for some kids, it may not work for some others.... don't you agree with me? Same goes with die. If a child does not take rice and whatnot, it can always be replaced with other form of cereal or other source of carbs. It's all about science, and have it my way, I'd probably send her back to school to learn at least some common sense so that she could at least think twice before spreading ill gossip to anyone she come across about her DIL who she tinks is not feeding her grandchildren and stuff.

I for once, would be happy if I can avoid her. I avoid her like a plague, in fact. Thank god for my FIL who I can relate to very well, or else, I'll certify that in laws are sent to make your lives miserable~!

cheeyee said...

Broccoli Ginger and Alice - Thanks for visiting. Well I'm glad that my parents and my MIL do not interefere with me on my decision to fully bf the kids. But I have witnessed such things happened and it really saddened me. I always think that we are the mother of our own children. We should have the right to decide what is the best for our children. Our parents can give their opinion, suggestion and advice, but the final decision should be on our hand. Now is new generation, the older people should not use the same method as how they raise us (or our spouse) apply to our children. We have to think the best for the children, and not doing things for our own convenient sake.

Alice Phua said...

cheeyee, Cleffairy and Broccoli Ginger, just something humorous to share...

Recently someone (anonymous to me) sent me a virtual gift in my Mommyhood community in Facebook. Guess what's the gift? It's an in-law spray aerosol repellant! And the gift came together with a note: "In-laws are a no-no in parenting."

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