My children were very different when it came to nursing. My first weighed in at a healthy 8.5 pounds, then promptly lost over a pound when she refused to learn how to nurse. She was a struggle for a couple months (she finally regained birth weight at two months of age). I am very glad I had a supportive pediatrician who was willing to continue to support breastfeeding instead of supplementing; my milk supply was not the problem, and my daughter was not in any immediate developmental danger. My second child weight in at 9.5 pounds, and actually gained weight in the hospital because she took to nursing so well right off the bat.
When my children were born, more than 30 years ago, breastfeeding was not as popular as it is now. My daughter in law Laura, who is the mom of 2 with another on the way is a very pro breastfeeding activist. Cody is 6 years old and was breast fed right from the beginning. Earl, just turned 1 this month and Ella is due in early June. I had the opportunity to ask her some questions about her thoughts on breastfeeding.
As I have talked about before with 3 children I have been on both sides of the “feeding your baby” spectrum. With my older 2 they were formula fed and my youngest was breastfed for 18 months. I know the challenges that come from formula feeding on a tight budget (my oldest) and wanting to breastfeed but with a baby that didn’t want to and asking for help and not getting it because it would have been cheaper on the budget (my son) and then having all the help and support I needed to be successful at breastfeeding (my youngest).
When both of my daughters were born they took to my breasts immediately. I was incredibly amazed by that and still am to this day. How did two tiny newborns instinctively know how to breastfeed straight from the womb? After reading many breastfeeding stories and talking to countless moms over the years I know I was one of the fortunate ones who had little problems with breastfeeding. I never had a problem nursing my daughters except for the occasional soreness at the beginning. That’s not the case with every mom, however. Only 6.7% of births take place in baby-friendly hospitals in the United States where moms can get critical breastfeeding support if they need it, according to Save the Children, causing many moms to give up if they don’t get necessary breastfeeding support and education.