You often ask me about feeding Emma. I will try to answer the most common questions in a few words.
Emma is breastfed, in a few days, we will hit the 8 months. She was breastfed exclusively till 6th month (as recommended by the WHO and many others). No juice, no water, and no porridge. It is not without reason that 6 months is a recommended period of great milk-only. That’s how much time intestines need for proper development. And for these six months, the milk satisfies ALL the needs of the infant. So if someone advises you to feed your baby with some other stuff or suggests that there’s something wrong with your milk, then this person is probably not really familiar with breastfeeding topic. And certainly, he’s no up-to-date knowledge.
Mothers who fed / feed know it’s sometimes a real struggle. You should not feed infants according to some arbitrary schedule but on-demand. The mother’s milk is easily digestible, so sometimes feeding is done every 30 minutes. Emma is a bottle-less and snotty-less child. Not possible? Sure it’s possible. “You baby is probably super-calm, sleeps all the time and then eats some.” Definitely not. A good midwife will advise you to hold on with the snotty for at least 2 weeks, giving your baby a chance to learn how to properly attach to the breast and suck. And if it survives two weeks without a pacifier, it’s very likely it’ll not need it at all. Every case is different and I try not to judge others. Undoubtedly, mother’s milk is the best food you can provide for a baby – its benefits are invaluable in the development process. It might be hard sometimes, really hard, but worth it in the end. Most things go by, but the fact is, I won’t be able to give anything more valuable to my baby. And even though I have no issues with breastfeeding, advices from self-proclaimed ‘advisors’ are super frustrating. Because of them, in 3rd month I was stressed out if my baby is actually eating enough. “She eats for 2 hours? Impossible”. Turns out it’s completely possible, sucking is very demanding for a baby, especially when it’s tired and in the evening – it will make a lot of breaks, take mini naps and so on. At the beginning of my path, while being a novice, despite quite some theoretical knowledge I have acquired beforehand and great care from lactation consultants, there were situations where I started to doubt myself, my milk, etc. Some of the “advisors” even tend to get offended if you don’t listen to them, but well, tough luck.
I really recommend finding a person who is a trained lactation consultant in your city. I remember that in the hospital, the manager (who, incidentally, was a lactation consultant) asked if I’m going to breastfeed. I said, “yes, but I keep hearing that the milk has ended after two weeks for some women, the other was on medications so couldn’t feed and so on”. She said we do not live in the Middle Ages. There are really many ways to maintain lactation and there are also many ways to lose milk. If someone wants to feed, she will. There are really marginal cases where you can’t do anything – and she was right. Currently, I try to avoid stress and problematic situations. Especially that I came back to work, at least to some extent. I want to feed as much as I can – it’s optimal to keep going until the second year. First 6 months are an absolute minimum. One year – quite a good result. 2 years – excellent result. 2 years? Is she mad?
I’ll sum it up with a quote from WHO:
“Over 820 000 children’s lives could be saved every year among children under 5 years if all children 0–23 months were optimally breastfed. Breastfeeding improves IQ, school attendance, and is associated with higher income in adult life. (WHO) “
There are many resources where you can get CONFIRMED information. Personally, apart from a lactation consultant, a doctor, midwives in the hospital – I have read the recommendations gathered by most important health institutes. Books-wise, I recommend the positions from Dr. Sears.