Wednesday, June 04, 2008

How to Survive

I really enjoyed this article about breastfeeding (or not). During this pregnancy I decided I was not going to read a single Le Leche League book (for those who have never had heavily occupied wombs, they are also known as the Breast Nazis). I won't get too personal here (afterall, I don't want to discourage any more men after that underwear link), but when you've had 'breast is best' pounded into your brain long enough only to discover that nature can throw you a curve ball, it's good to have some additional information.

I will also mention a wonder of modern engineering--a baby bottle. This current baby is much pickier than my other two and wouldn't take an Avent bottle without trauma. Because I was getting my Saturday out come hell or high water, we decided, in desperation, to try a new bottle. This one works great for him and he'll even take it from me. Isn't it cool? It's a First Years Breastflow bottle. The two-piece nipple keeps milk in the outer nipple so that just compressing the nipple allows milk to flow (just like moms, and cows, but I don't really want to go there).


softwareNerd said...

Breastfeeding is one of those areas that has too much philosophical baggage (like genetic-effects on IQ, circumcision, or even "global warming").

Before we had our son, we tried doing some research and really did not find enough to convince us one way or the other. I summarize my current "layman" view as being: breastfeeding may have some small advantages.

There was a very recent study done in 31 Belarus hospitals, using over 17,000 kids. The researchers claim they found a small increase in performance on IQ-type tests at age 6, for kids who had been breastfed.

Kim said...

There is also the teeniest correlation between breastfeeding and reduced ear infections. But it truly is teeny-tiny. There really isn't any evidence to say that breastfeeding is worth extraordinary measures like some women have tried. When breastfeeding becomes make-or-break about whether your child is going to be healthy or feel loved(which it really isn't, though all of the messages seem to put that across), it's an amazing blow to realize it's not going to happen. The 'breast nazis' don't even think it's possible that some women are not able to breastfeed exclusively.

I got smart after my first and I do not feel any guilt when it's more convenient to give the baby a bottle.

Now circumcision--there's an issue! This is my first boy so the first time we had to deal with the topic at all. I'll tell you that we did have it done. I can totally understand those who wouldn't. Would it be weird to say I think it's like ear-piercing?

softwareNerd said...

I suppose circumcision is like ear-piercing in this sense: once they put away religious considerations and scary pseudo-science,a lot of people view it as an optional thing... i.e. a convention that is neither good nor bad per se; kinda like boys not wearing skirts.

When we were researching the topic, the part that I found to be frustrating was the inability to find good scientific answers on whether it was a benefit of some sort. Our doctors (other than the pediatrician, we had some pre-natal specialists involved) all recommended circumcision, but only in a very luke warm way. And, I couldn't get a good answer from them. The same from the "American Pediatric Association": they waffle on the scientific side.

Finally, I've concluded that the negative health consquences for non-circumcised boy is small and real, in a third-world context. In a U.S. context, it is a cosmetic procedure [an exception may be boys who are more suspectible to urinary tract infections].

Funnily, there is a parallel to breast feeding. The one convincing study that I found while checking into that, was done in Bangladesh, where breastfeeding cut out steps like putting milk in an unclean vessel, etc., which is a third-world context.

There are some who make an argument that circumcision actually removes an abundance of nerve cells, and that it is therefore not simply cosmetic, but actually a negative. Haven't researched that one, because we don't plan on having any more kids.