Sunday, June 22, 2008

nur.sing wars--how tedious (rant)

can i just say...UGH. or maybe UUUUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

one of the message boards i regularly post to had an all out war for the last week on bf vs ff. i agree, and will not argue, that bm is the optimum nutrition for infants. there isn't really a debate, the science is more or less unanimous. what i will argue to the end of the earth though, is that ff is 'dangerous.' i think to say or allude that is at best misinformed and at worst treacherous. example: infants *can* and *do* grow and develop normally on a diet that consists of ff in whole or in part. this is not so where the main nutritive input is, say, diet soda. or even regular soda. formula DOES supply the caloric and nutritive support needed for infant growth and development, soda does not. whatever. either way, maybe ff is perhaps dangerous if you mix it incorrectly or use tainted water in the preparation, but to call it dangerous under normal circumstances in this country is absurd.

taking it a step further, in my experience, the infants that i've seen on a partial or full ff diet do not, as a whole, differ in any substantive way from their entirely bf peers. i also think that if you took a randomized sample of high achieving amer.ican adults, you could make no estimation of their infant feeding patterns with any reliability. you would be far more successful if you tried to guess the SES, race, gender or educational achievement of such individuals. i would argue that a distressed mother and an underfed bf baby is at far greater risk of poor outcome than a relaxed mother and a well-fed ff baby. after all, the underlying point is FEED THE BABY. babies need adequate food, end of story.

one could read the above and maybe think that i am pro-ff or anti-bf. i am neither. i am just not prepared to denigrate mothers who feed their babies in a way that works for them and the baby, however they accomplish it. some are aghast that mothers could elect to ff knowing that bf is better and label these mothers as misinformed or lazy. i whole heartedly disagree. people are NOT scientific models who are always able to perfectly enact ideal situations. in the real world, people are complex and their lives are complex. their choices are complex and exist in a realm of competing motivations that don't exist in scientific models. people make all kinds of suboptimal health choices for various reasons. they don't get 8 hrs sleep/night, they smoke, they overindulge in alcohol, they get sun exposure between 10a-3p, they eat fatty foods and not enough veg, they don't exercise at moderate intensity for 30min/day 5 days/wk, they watch more than 5hrs TV/wk etc. should we stigmatize all individuals not living at goal? should we assume that their failure is due to lack of adequate information or inherent slothiness? are *we* stone throwers living lives beyond scientific reproach? i believe that mothers who have found a way to rear their infants in a way that works for their family deserve our praise and support, not our scorn.

in a larger question, why can't women and mothers support each other? as long as the baby is being fed in a way that supports growth, why must mothers judge other mothers? what difference does it make to anyone outside of the mother/child dyad how that baby is fed? motherhood is so hard and such a long haul. surely we can support each other along this path, whether their babies are bf or ff.


DD said...

Actually take a poll of those who proclaim FF is harmful to see how many were formula fed themselves.

People need to remember that FF/BF debate is no different than the common egg debate: it's good for you/bad for you/good for you/bad for you since the dawn of million dollar research companies. You can make the compass point whatever way you want it to.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

Well, I would debate that if I had continued to bf my son he would have continued to be labeled failute to thrive and likely would be a very sick little boy. I would have loved to have bf him until he was a year, but with my poor let down and his lack of a suck, slide swallow reflex we wern't a match made in heaven. At birth he was in the 95th percentile for weight and at two weeks old had not gained a single ounce. It took me awhile to let go of my own ideas of how I wanted to feed my son. Thank G*d for formula because if it weren't for it my son probably would have eventually withered away to nothing.

Do I still feel guilt over it? Yes, but I know this is the best thing for him. I have no idea why "some" mothers want to pass judgement and say to them if it isn't your kid, don't worry about it!

docgrumbles said...

Nursing nazis get to me. You are right that the point is to FEED the baby. Adoptive mothers have no choice, nor do those who just can't produce for various reasons - those babies are not "inferior."

Sarah said...

According to the very same breed of mothers.. I'm not even considered a 'mother' because I had the audicity to choose artificial life support instead of 'nature's way,' you know.. the way that chooses a live baby over a dead one.

But, for the sake of bf versus ff, my son has never received sole bm. It was always fortified. I pumped like the dickens and never got the chance to bf, and honestly I don't know if I'd choose it now or not - that is to say if the gods of childbearing ever choose to give in one of those full-term gestation thingies.

Anyway, my son is solely enteral fed - at 18 months - and he's pretty well nourished. I'm all for trying to bf and pumping and bottle feeding of that doesn't work, but I'm not for driving oneself to insanity trying it.

And, if those gods ever do give me one of those full-term thingies and I try to bf and can't, I'll hop in a handbasket and head south, bottle in hand and very relaxed on the way!

Anonymous said...

um, baby sex???

Kristinah said...

Amen, sista. a-freakin-men