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A Word About Supplementing

Posted Nov 06 2008 9:44pm

I forgot about a pet peeve of mine as it hasn’t happened to me. However, doing some reading I remember a pet peeve that I’ve always had and that’s “supplementing with formula”. Mainly after a doctor suggests it.

I need to give you a little background first.  From the time I was about 5, my mom started working at an emergancy care facility.  She learned a lot about medicine and became friends with the doctors.  She also made me start understanding that doctors are not gods.  That eash doctor has their own ideas and everyone makes mistakes. I begin to learn about how drug companies work. My house was filled with pads of paper, toys, pens, etc that screamed the name of one company or another. I entered the medical feild myself when I was 14.  I learned first hand about why doctor’s say certain things.  You know all those cute hand outs that were cluttering my house? Well, it turns out that the doctor’s get paid by companies in gifts, promotions and even being wined and dined. The doctors in return push the name brand drugs.  The same thing happens with the formula companies.  Doctors and hospitals and bombarded with gifts from formula companies.  You are almost certain to receive a diaper bag from the hospital from a formula company.  Inside you will most likely find a trial size can of formula and coupons.

So, the doctors are most likely already biased to promote formula. Also, many people think that what a doctor says must be true.  If your doctor knows you’re nursing, why would they tell you you should supplement besides for the formula companies?  The reason is you.  First time moms especially are known to be a little more…shall we say protective of their babies and worrisome.  There are 2 big things they will talk to their doctors about that will make the doctor suggest supplementing.

The first thing is if a mom goes in and the doctor asks how the baby is nursing.  If mom says that the baby is constantly nursing and the baby doesn’t seem to be getting enough, the doctor will most likely tell her to supplement.  This is such a travesty.  The real reason a baby might always be nursing could be a few things.  First of all, the baby might be going through a growth spurt.  Babies grow so fast and by so much in the first year.  If the baby has not had a big growth spurt in a while and suddenly wants to nurse all the time, the mom just might have to wait it out.  If it is not a growth spurt, the baby might not be latching on right or perhaps isn’t nursing long enough at one time.  The mom should talk to a lactation consultant to see if shes nursing correctly.  Also, if the baby falls asleep or gets distracting, the mom will need to correct this.  Moms need to keep the baby awake during nursing and nurse the baby in a spot that the baby won’t have anything to distract them.

Second, if the baby is not gaining weight the doctor might tell mom to supplement.  Before anything new is introduced, the mom should talk to a lactation consultant.  The baby probably is not latching on correctly or again might not be nursing long enough.  Sometimes a baby might have a sore inside its mouth.  A baby will not want to nurse if it is painful.

Supplementing can be very dangerous.  First of all, your baby might totally refuse to take a bottle from you, especially one filled with formula.  Babies know their mother’s scent and will often only take bottles of breast milk from others.  Think about it, a real nipple must feel a lot nicer then a rubber nipple.  Also, you run the risk of babies refusing the breast after a while.  Third, you will most likely increase your baby’s risk of being overweight.  A baby almost never needs more calories.

There are probably some cases where a baby might need to supplement.  For some reason a baby might be severely underweight and the extra formula might be needed to build fat.  However, I believe that the majority of moms who are told to supplement are getting false information.  This is your baby, you need to take control.  Get a second opinion, talk to lactation consultants, nurse longer. Whatever you need to do, please try hard before supplementing.

This is a post from Baby Nursing Blog

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