I have tried to avoid the ‘fed is best’ vs ‘breast is best’ debate, but I can’t hold back any more.
I really dislike the statement ‘fed is best’ – it's condescending in my opinion. "Best" implies that there is an average or something in the middle that is just OK. Of course you must feed your baby, that’s a given. No parent starves their child on purpose. But if fed is 'best' what is the average or 'just OK'?
If its just ‘feed your baby’ why can’t you feed them vegetable or fruit puree from the beginning? Fruits and vegetables are natural, but they are not suitable for a newborn. Why? Because we are mammals, and mammal babies drink milk from their mammal mothers. Human breastmilk is designed for human babies. And if some reason you can't give your baby your milk you will need to go give them donor milk or formula.
I don’t care how you feed your baby, I really don’t. What I do care about is when people give you the wrong information and you make decisions based on this information, that you may not have made otherwise.
If you want to breastfeed and need help (or even just reassurance) then please seek advice from a QUALIFIED professional.
But know that your doctor is probably not an expert in breastfeeding. Your midwife might not even be an expert in breastfeeding. During my 1 year Postgraduate Diploma of Midwifery course we did a grand total of 8 hours breastfeeding education. As far as I’m aware doctors don’t have to do any (but they may have done some due to a personal interest).
Do you know who IS an expert in breastfeeding? An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. To be an IBCLC you have to do 90 hours of LACTATION specific education.
The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners logo - to call yourself an 'IBCLC' you have to meet the criteria set out by this organisation
Here are some common myths that you might hear and the truth
If your baby cries they are hungry
Babies cry for all sorts of different reasons. Yes, they might be hungry. They might also be tired. Or maybe they have a wet nappy. Or they are scared, or confused, or going through a leap, or who knows what other reason. Some babies just cry! But crying does not always mean they are hungry.
If you are concerned with how much your baby is crying and think it could be due to hunger please see an IBCLC
A sleeping baby is well-fed baby
Just like not all crying babies are hungry babies, not all sleeping babies are well-fed babies. Some say that babies will not starve themselves, but unfortunately this is not true. Some babies will just sleep because they do not have the energy to ask for feeding.
I would even go so far to say that a new baby that sleeps more than 3hrs at time may not be well fed....
If you are concerned that your baby is not taking enough please see an IBCLC
A baby should feed every 3 hours, not earlier (and if they do not settle for that time they are hungry)