August is National Breastfeeding month and we have our own little duo that is happily participating.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months and then continuing to breastfeed with the possibility of supplemental foods until 12 months of age.
According to the CDC’s 2014 report card, the average number of American babies that are breastfed at any point in their lives is 79.2%. By 6 months of age, the likelihood that a baby is being put to the breast at any time of the day reduces down to 49.4%. At 6 months the number of exclusively breastfed babies, those that eat nothing but breast milk, is a little less than one out of five (18.8%).
Clearly there is a bit of a gap between the AAP recommendation of 100% for EBF, exclusively breast fed, and the actual reported number of 18.8% and that in my mind is the point of having a breastfeeding month. Formula companies have an advertising budget and can run tv spots, boobs can’t. So consider this post our advertisement for the original happy meal.
For starters, it helps to move past some of America’s prudishness. Boobs, boobs, boobs, boobs, boobs!!! There, I said it. Women have them for two reasons. 1.) to signal that they can bear and raise children, and 2.) to feed the children that they bear. Thankfully my wife has no such prudishness and will happily feed our son when he is hungry despite where we may be. Take this park bench for example!
Or how about the backseat of a car (don’t worry, it was parked)
Hike or no hike, it doesn’t matter.
What about when moms not around? Here is our stash of pumped milk before Shae’s maternity leave ended.
Three months later and that supply has been all used up so now we are toeing a fine line of pumping supply and demand. Frugal Boy hasn’t quite reached 6 months yet, so the chances that we will start giving one or two feedings a day of formula are creeping up. Will we make it into that elite club of 1/5 that EBF to the recommended age of 6 months? Not likely, but we got pretty close.
Even partial breastfeeding confers a myriad of benefits including enhanced brain development and decreased sickliness. It was very tempting to throw in the towel at the hospital when Frugal Boy was hungry and the milk supply hadn’t kicked in yet. Another period of difficulty was when maternity leave ended and we had to transition to bottle feeding breast milk. In my opinion those are probably the two biggest traps that grab 4/5 moms.
Now that Frugal Boy is closing in on 6 months and has his first tooth, we have experimented a bit with solids. Here he is having baby oatmeal for the first time.
We still haven’t given him a daily feeding of solids and he doesn’t seem to mind.
A little while back one of our friends proudly stated that their one month old baby slept 7 hours straight that night. I can guarantee you that baby is formula fed. Breast milk is easily digestible and no sooner is it in that little tummy it is being processed and used up. The result is that Frugal Boy still wakes several times every night to feed. So why do we sacrifice so much sleep? For starters, Frugal Boy weighed in on the bathroom scale this morning at 19.4 pounds. That is the equivalent to an A or A+ for his age. He is a very happy and intelligent boy. Finally, we are saving a ton of money by not buying formula. Do formula fed babies score A’s on growth charts and developmental milestones, sure they do! Is that something we want to do? Absolutely not if we can avoid it.
If you breastfed your babies thank you! If you are currently breastfeeding, keep it up! If you tried and switched, thanks for giving it a go! If you weren’t considering it at all, learn more about the benefits to both mom and baby!