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Katrina: breast is still best RIGHT??

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
I just got into a heated arguement with a friend of mine over this. She works in a labor and delivery unit as a surgical tech. She has no kids. Once again this is an example of someone who knows NOTHING about lactation spouting off at the mouth with all sorts of imagined authority. I am really miffed right now. We were talking about the sad state of affairs in New Orleans and she said "yeah, those poor babies. Especially the breast fed ones". That shocked me because in all the news coverage I had been noticing all the people worried about getting "baby milk" aka: formula. I asked here what the hell she was talking about and explained that you not only have to come up with formula itself, but you also have to have sanitary water for it as well...which there is neither. She said she thought bfing would be worse because the when a woman is so under stress her milk will dry up. WTF??!! She claimed that she sees all the time in her crappy materity ward new moms who are under so much stress (hmmm...I wonder why??) that they have trouble producing milk. I said ok, if I had just given birth and was trying to establish a milk supply and then my body was also recovering from birth, no food, water, stress, etc. I can see how the milk supply might be jeoparized. However, if you already have an established milk supply your body will suck everything you have to make milk as long as your baby is still nursing at the breast. Right? Your milk is not going to go away in 4 days time just because your body is taxed right?? Either way, I thought it was positivley idiotic for her to think formula fed babies had it better at this point, with all the disease that is floating around. Ugh. She made me so mad. I told her I'd like to know how she thinks she knows anything about lactation? She works in a l/d unit for about a year now and she seems to know everything about conception, pregnancy, labor and delivery and nursing. I'm so mad right now. Am I totally wrong with my facts?

post #2 of 68
It's pretty scary that somebody who works with postpartum moms knows so little about human lactation!
post #3 of 68
Wow.... Um, someone should remind her that breastmilk is probably 2000000 times better than little bits of formula diluted in contaminated hurricane water...
post #4 of 68
I just scanned LLL's info about bfing in an emergency and there was no mention of stress drying up a mother's milk, in fact they talk about how the hormones will be relaxing to mother and help her stay calm.

They go so far as to say even if it has been up to six months since the baby last nursed, if the mom will put the baby to the breast she will produce milk at an increasing rate of an ounce per day (ie today she'll make one oz, tomorrow two, next day three) and that could mean the difference between life and death for the infant. That is what an LC needs to be telling moms during conversations about emergency feeding.
post #5 of 68
If a mother is moderately malnourished, she will continue to make milk of good quality, better than infant formula. If she is severely malnourished, the quantity of breastmilk produced for each feeding may be diminished. In both cases, for the health of the mother and the child, it is safer and better to feed the mother adequately while helping her to continue breastfeeding.

When supplies of food or vitamin supplements are available it is best to give them to the breastfeeding mother rather than the infant. This will improve the mother's health and well-being, ensure adequate vitamins in her milk, and protect the infant from the risks of artificial feeding.

During an emergency, breastfeeding and the use of complementary foods are disrupted. The result can be feeding difficulties, or, alternatively, women may decide to breastfeed for longer. In one case in Ethiopia, mothers who had already weaned their infants reverted to breastfeeding [30]. Breastfeeding, virtually always desirable, is even more important in emergencies, as it may be the only sustainable form of food for the child [31-33]. Breastfeeding is of special importance in refugee emergency situations, because the risks of diarrhoea! and other infections usually increase dramatically due to poor hygiene and crowding, complementary feeding is likely to be inadequate and contaminated, and bonding and care, always essential components of breastfeeding, are enhanced [31]. Often, however, support for women to breastfeed their children in a refugee camp falls away. Women may have walked long distances and already be very weak and exhausted; they may be without the support and advice of their own mothers. In some instances women may have been raped or find breastfeeding shameful. Within the camp they may have to perform tasks that are incompatible with breastfeeding because they require long periods away from the child, such as water-carrying. There may be many disruptive elements in the new environment. As part of emergency relief, breastmilk substitutes may be promoted that can create extra health risks as water sources become more contaminated.
She has got to be nuts to think that a feeding choice that requires a specific product... a clean bottle and clean water... could be more superior to something that could be made by you eating whatever you can find and drinking any liquid you can get your hands on. A one hour blackout in a thunderstorm was enough to make me appreciate the disaster preparedness benefits of breastfeeding.

Love Sarah
post #6 of 68
the thing that's ridiculous is that even if a mother's supply eventually dries up under stress, malnutrition, etc - that's more of a food supply than a formula fed baby would have from the begining!
post #7 of 68
I wonder how she's seeing these women dry up from stress if she works in a L & D ward. How long are these moms staying? It takes days for milk to come in sometimes...

I agree, scary that she works around new mamas and knows so little about nursing!
post #8 of 68

I have been thinking about this issue a lot re: Katrina. There was a woman on TV who had a newborn saying that she had nothing to feed the baby. I felt sorry for her, of course, but also felt sad to think that she could be breastfeeding.

I am wonderinging what the breastfeeding story is in Katrina's wake. How many moms are? And are they nursing other moms' babies? I would. Oh my god, I would!

FTR: My youngest weaned in November--that's what, almost 10 months ago? I STILL have milk in at least one of my breasts--I leak fairly often.
post #9 of 68
I was just thinking about how lucky we are, nursing moms, even in the event of an emergency our los would have excellent food, always available and sterile. No need for anything else.
post #10 of 68
Thread Starter 
Good, then I'm not wrong!
I too have been thinking alot about bfing and the terrible huricane disaster. It really makes me angry that these folks, these people who are very finacially poor (before the hurricane) are using formula. WHY!?!?!? It cost $$$! Alot of money! Bfing is free free free! I find that just ridiculous. I know that bfing is "coming back" but it seems to be in more educated, affluent groups only. The poor and under educated, the ones that REALLY need the extra money and health benefits that bfing provides, are the ones that formula companies can really get their hands on. I cringe when I see commercials on TV..."comfort protiens"...what the hell is THAT!! I don't like to even walk by formula in the grocery store. I know that there is a place for formula in the rare circumstance that a woman is unable to bf her baby. I just hate seeing a big tall wall of the stuff
My baby loves to nurse and I feel sad for babies who don't get that opportunity.

Sorry for the rant...
this has really been bothering me. Those poor babies. I wish I could nurse just one of them
post #11 of 68
she is commenting about women having trouble producing milk while they are in the labor and deliver ward?

Ok first of all most women probably stay 2-4 days right and I would say it takes at least a week to have a well established supply. I would also think it isn't uncommon for women to leave the hospital still producing colostrum. That probably has noting to do with stress just the fact that their colostrum has not changed over to milk yet.
post #12 of 68
I'm totally with you on this too. I had milk for probably a year after my last babe weaned himself. I just can't believe newborns are starving because they have nothing to eat. So sad. But it speaks volumes about the education needed with regard to breastfeeding ESPECIALLY in our poorest communities. Formula IS expensive to buy, but not if you are getting WIC or some other support to buy it. It is shocking the money our country spends on "feeding" infants, most (I know, not quite all) of whom could be breastfeeding for free.

I can't remember if it was an article or an actual book, but I remember reading the memoirs of a woman from another country who had been taken against her will from her home with others from her village to work as slave labor. She was a nursing mother and she tells of nursing other babies and even older children on the way to where they were being taken because they weren't being fed properly and she had this food source available to share. I wish I could remember where I read it because it was really a testament to how life-saving the simple act of breastfeeding can be in a crisis.
post #13 of 68
I had to formula supplement my baby for a while due to low milk supply. With alot of hard work, herbs, and finally domperidone, I was able to stop the formula when she started solid foods.

Still, even my low supply would be enough to keep her alive in a crisis. She wouldn't grow much, might even lose some weight, but she'd survive.

Besides, the rare particularly sensitive mom whose supply did drop off or even dry up (?) in a crisis (my supply diminishes significantly if I don't eat and drink enough, but at worst, her weight gain stopped, she didn't lose any ground) would still have a baby no worse off than the ones who were formula fed to begin with.
post #14 of 68
I shudder to think of what the environment must be like in that L&D ward. I wonder how many moms leave totally FF because "they have no milk...."
post #15 of 68
well this was the same line (stress causing drying up) that the formula companies used earlier this year to move into the tsunami hit areas and "save" all those tsunami survivors.
While it is quite possible that stress can reduce supply in the short term, I don't think it is a permanent effect (unless the formula companies "help" you out) so the options are slightly underfeed your baby for a day or two or fight loot and take whatever risks to MAYBE get some formula (that you will have to use polluted water for anyway, unless its ready to use stuff, which would be very heavy and thus less likely to be brought in in the rescue work).
Actually the bigger risk to the mother's supply is probably dehydration due to lack of safe water, but I guess even that is short term? I assume they will eventually get aid in there?
post #16 of 68
uh, someone needs to teach your friend a thing or two about lactation. That's just scary, her ignorance.

I am wonderinging what the breastfeeding story is in Katrina's wake. How many moms are? And are they nursing other moms' babies? I would. Oh my god, I would!
They're barely even covering the babies stories, forget about getting breastfeeding stories But I'm so with you on nursing other babies. I'd be nursing my nursling, forcing my 4 and 6 yo's to nurse (they're both weaned) and I'd nurse ever baby I could find.
post #17 of 68
I just heard tonight that the mother's milk is drying up because the mothers are so dehydrated in the heat that they are unable to feed their babies. After 5 days I can see that happening.
post #18 of 68
I have been thinking about your friend's POV all night and I just can't shake it- I know that this idea has already been expressed here in several different ways... but where is the logic of this...

So you have a breastfed baby in a crisis situation... the mother is so stressed that her milk supply is dropping... and this apparently means that had she been feeding the baby FORMULA, your nurse friend believes that under that extreme a circumstance, what?... Sterile Liquid Enfamil and clean bottles just rain out of the sky like manna to the women who are NOT nursing their babies?

At what point do product dependent women EVER have an advantage in feeding their children in a crisis situation?
post #19 of 68
Originally Posted by Sarah
At what point do product dependent women EVER have an advantage in feeding their children in a crisis situation?
If they were stranded for days at Enfamil's warehouse. :
post #20 of 68
Originally Posted by Jadzia
If they were stranded for days at Enfamil's warehouse. :
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