According to CNN, Mayor Bloomberg’s voluntary plan, which 27 out of 40 hospitals are participating in, instructs nurses not to give formula to babies unless there’s a medical reason to do so or unless moms specifically request it. Before moms are given the formula, they will first have to hear about the benefits of breastfeeding and why it’s best.
There can be no doubt these days that breastfeeding is best if at all possible. All research points to the amazing capabilities of the human body to feed and protect its young:
- Provides antibodies to protect against illness
- Perfect balance of nutrition that self-adjusts as baby grows older
- Protection against certain childhood cancers
- Reduced risk of developing an array of diseases later in life
- Less likelihood of developing allergies
- May lower the risk of SIDS and childhood obesity
- And the list goes on and on…
It’s easy for a new mom, weary from labor or recovering from a c-section, to give up on breastfeeding in the first 24 hours. I know because I felt that way. There I lay, sluggish under the post c-section morphine, tired after 14 hours of labor and feeling like a big, fat failure of a mother because I couldn’t get my baby to breastfeed. I mean, c’mon, it should come naturally, right? For the next two days I asked every nurse for help in getting my baby to latch. I tried the cradle, the football hold, shoving my nipple as far in her mouth as it would go, and nothing. Every time I brought my baby to my breast, my shoulders stiffened in effort and I wanted to cry because she wouldn’t cooperate. It wasn’t until I was shown the cross cradle position by one nurse, and nearly 48 hours had gone by, that my baby finally latched. Huzzah!
Nursing doesn’t always come naturally. It can be painful, it can be embarrassing and it can be a major hassle. Knowing all the benefits you can give your baby – for life! – is a major motivator when really, you just want to quit. Sometimes it’s just not possible for a mom to breastfeed and that’s what formula is for, but sometimes a mom just needs to know why it’s important and that she’s not alone.