In recent years, infant formulas have received a lot of media exposure. Marketing strategies that promote infant formulas may influence how consumers choose to nourish their newborn babies.
There is one type of “formula” that is deserving of more recognition and promotion. This “formula” is, in itself, non-allergenic. In fact, it can actually prevent allergies. It boosts a baby’s own immune system, helping prevent a variety of childhood diseases, even some childhood cancers (66 per cent fewer ear infections, 80% fewer urinary tract infections, 50% lower incidence of diarrhea - claims other formulas cannot duplicate). Studies show this “formula” may also help prevent the onset of juvenile diabetes and provide protection Against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Babies fed this “formula” have a much lower incidence of doctor’s visits and hospitalizations, benefiting our health care system to the sum of millions of dollars annually. This “formula” perfectly meets a growing baby’s changing dietary needs. It is conveniently packaged, requires no sterilization, mixing or clean-up. It doesn’t contribute any waste to our over-burdened landfills.
What is this wonderful stuff? It’s a mother’s own breast milk and it’s free.
Its benefits extend past the infant to the mother as well, not only in convenience, but providing protection against osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life, delaying the return of fertility and increasing the rate of post-natal weight loss.
With proper support (especially from family and friends), accurate information and a little commitment, the vast majority of mother’s can successfully breastfeed their babies. As the Saint John Breastfeeding Alliance, we want to help our community overcome the misconceptions about breastfeeding, and support the idea that it is natural and healthy - best for baby.
Submitted by: Heather McBriarty
At times, I question who does more before 9:00 am than most people do all day? The Army, you guess? Well, yes, but I was thinking more of a mother breastfeeding twins! In New Brunswick many women, myself included, are committed to breastfeeding their babies and appreciate the support received from family, friends, and community.
You may ask why more mothers (and fathers) choose breastfeeding. Perhaps they know that breastfeeding benefits both mother (less chance of osteoporosis, breast and ovarian cancer, faster post partum healing...) and baby (decreased risk of disease and infections, juvenile diabetes and some childhood cancers, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, less allergies, to name a few); maybe their reasons are ecological (breastfeeding produces no waste), or economical (breastfeeding is free); it may be that the mother wishes to experience the powerful bond with her baby that breastfeeding helps facilitate (increased levels of the hormone oxytocin, which triggers nurturing behaviour, is released in breastfeeding mothers); or it could be all of these reasons.
Since World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated yearly in Canada from October 1-7, I wanted to share my experience of breastfeeding twin boys and to show that it is possible even with a busy lifestyle. Being a mother of twins and a three year old daughter, money and time is crucial. Breastfeeding does require that I sit and nurse frequently but there is zero dollars spent on expensive formulas, bottles and artificial nipples; zero waste created; zero time spent preparing formula and sterilizing bottles; and in this case, zero visits to the doctor for illness. I breastfed my daughter for 26 months. Of course, breastfeeding twins is a greater challenge, but any goal worth achieving is a lot of work. I consider it an investment in my children's health now, and in the future. Most days are hectic at best, but when I look at my daughter and my happy, healthy, robust babies, I feel so good about what I have accomplished that I forget about the trying moments, and feel justified in my decision to exclusively breastfeed these babies.
Here is a brief sketch of a day in my life, I would like to introduce my family: Gordon, Matthew, Robyn, Dad and Mom (Cheryl). Oh yes! After every three lines insert the phrase "change diapers!!".
|6:00 am||Wake up, Mummy! - Five month old Gordon needs to be breastfed. Twin Matthew is more patient, so time to breastfeed him as soon as Gordon goes back to sleep. Some people can breastfed both twins at the same time but that didn't work with these two.|
|7:00 am||Dad has left for work. Robyn, 3 years old, is usually awake now, so she and I get a chance to cuddle and read some books until Matthew and Gordon wake up again. Sometimes I get a nap at this time.|
|9:00 am||Breastfeed both twins again. Prepare Robyn's breakfast (this week's favourite is toast with butter, jam and peanut butter and juice). Alright! Time to watch Little Bear on TV! (Remember - Change diapers!!)|
There is no time to waste, so hair and make-up is completed in 5 minute spurts. On a good day there's time for a shower, otherwise, it will have to wait until evening when dad is home.
|10:00 am||We have usually left the house by this time. If it's Robyn's morning at daycare there is time to run an errand. Most other days are spent at the Drop-ins at the Family Resource Centre. Robyn gets a chance to play with the other children while Matthew and Gordon breastfeed and look around. The staff and other parents are very supportive - a nice change from being home alone with the three little ones!|
|11:30 am||Breastfeed the twins again before leaving the centre (breastmilk is easily digested by the babies so they nurse frequently).|
|12:00 pm||Return home. Prepare a quick lunch - leftovers make this much simpler. Robyn likes to help (even though this takes a little longer).|
|12:30 pm||The boys are hungry again. Hopefully, one will wait patiently for his turn to breastfeed. If not, Robyn helps out again by playing with one twin while the other nurses. Otherwise, one nurses, one cries, and Robyn plugs her ears. No time for naps like there used to be when there was only one to nurse!|
|Sometimes between 12:00 and 1:00, Nanny drops by to help with the housework and the babies, and then takes Robyn to the playground. This means a chance to run another errand, go to a meeting, or just go for a walk or drive - especially if the twins are fussy as the activity seems to calm them.|
|1-3 pm||Time to attend a meeting for the Family Resource Centre Parent Committee, Executive, or the Saint John Breastfeeding Alliance. The twins go almost everywhere with me and this is an atmosphere where they can breastfeed at their convenience.|
|3:45 pm||Back home again. The phone is ringing - don't hang up too soon! It may take a few extra rings before a busy mother can get a chance to answer the phone! Sometimes, they both nap for awhile at this time of day!|
|4:30 pm||Mom's milk supply is lower at this time of day, so this is an ideal time for the twins to have some rice cereal. This can be a bit tricky because both of them are fed at the same time. Robyn eats at about 5 pm. Thank goodness for barbecues, microwaves, and meals prepared by relatives! Having guests for dinner is not an option these days.|
|6:00 pm||Dad is home. Dad gets some time now to play with Robyn and help with the babies. These days he usually makes supper too. He can go to his weekly meeting, but only if he finds a replacement to help mom with the children!|
|6:30 pm||To save time, I eat supper while nursing both boys again. Evenings would be more hectic if not for the dishwasher!|
|7:00 pm||Dad gives Robyn her bath, then they read books and she usually falls asleep by 9:00. I bath the two babies, and/or play with them in their room, looking at books and toys and nursing whichever one is fussy. Once a month I attend a P.O.M.B.A. meeting (Parents of Multiple Births Association) with the two boys.|
|9:30 pm||Things are winding down a bit. I'll nurse one baby while Dad rocks the other. Matthew is asleep by 10:00 pm. Gordon hopefully does the same at 11:00 pm.|
|If the house needs tidying this is when it has to be done. It's also the time when I can read the newspaper or check the e-mail or write a letter. I could go to bed earlier, but that would mean giving up the chance to do something for myself (although, sometimes the sleep option wins out!).|
|12:30 am||Gordon wants to be nursed now. It's nice and quiet. It's a good time to just look at his tiny fingers and reflect. Every once in awhile, Matthew wakes up for another feeding but he usually sleeps through until morning.|
|2:30 am||Gordon wakes mom to be breastfed again. Oh well. It's better than when both babies wanted to be fed 2-3 times a night in the earlier months! Those first few weeks are just a vague memory now.|
|6:00 am||Gordon is hungry again - it's a new day!|
Return to the main Saint John Breastfeeding Alliance page.
Author: Thomas Wetmore
Last Updated: Thursday, January 21, 1999