Sunday, August 31, 2008

Teething & Breastfeeding | AAP and Breastfeeding

Owen grew his two first bottom teeth at exactly 4 months. Cutting teeth doesn't seem to bother our boy. One day Matt looked at his gums and said, "hey, honey, our boys is growing teeth." Everyone gives me this horrified look when I tell them I'm still breastfeeding and my boy has teeth. I'll admit, the thought had me a bit worried too. It was simple though, and once again, nature and instinct ruled. When the boy bit me, and he definitely tried out his chompers on my nipple, I simple over-dramatized the "ouch" and he just stopped. I think he did it about 3-4 times the first week they came in and I could tell he was just trying it out and not being spiteful.

I definitely get the "are you still breastfeeding?" question often. I can remember the days when I thought women who breastfeed for a year (or more) were crazed stay-at-home mothers who would never let their kids watch TV, have a girlfriend, or eat non-organic foods. It's not about that, people. There are significant recent studies regarding breastfeeding. The AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics revised their statement about breastfeeding in 2005. Read full article here. You might be surprised to hear that it includes the following: **note I'm pulling this directly out of the above referenced AAP articles.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.
  • Mother and infant should sleep in proximity to each other to facilitate breastfeeding;
  • Pediatricians should counsel adoptive mothers on the benefits of induced lactation through hormonal therapy or mechanical stimulation.
  • Healthy infants should be placed and remain in direct skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately after delivery until the first feeding is accomplished.The alert, healthy newborn infant is capable of latching on to a breast without specific assistance within the first hour after birth. Dry the infant, assign Apgar scores, and perform the initial physical assessment while the infant is with the mother. The mother is an optimal heat source for the infant. Delay weighing, measuring, bathing, needle-sticks, and eye prophylaxis until after the first feeding is completed. Infants affected by maternal medications may require assistance for effective latch-on.Except under unusual circumstances, the newborn infant should remain with the mother throughout the recovery period. (I believe most hospitals take the infant away for Apgar immediately and return the infant in a swaddled blanket; however, remaining skin-to-skin and all above mentioned procedures are the standard of care for most midwives). I found this quite interesting!
  • There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.
  • Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow's milk but should receive iron-fortified infant formula. I am certainly not sold on the cow's milk for a 1 year old. I will do more research in that dept.
I think we've made some strides in the breastfeeding arena. It seems almost everyone I know breastfeed their baby at least for the first few months. However, that is when society begins to turn their nose up (including my uninformed self). We should be CHEERING to hear that woman and baby have made it to 1 year, 2 years or as long as mutually desired by mother and child. Benefits to the baby are numerous including less ear infections, less risk of obesity, bacterial meningitis, allergies and many if you meet a woman who is breastfeeding into her child's first year and beyond, smile at them, and congratulate them on a job well done.

I enjoy our breastfeeding sessions as does Owen. Now that he's six months, Owen is eating solids... and this boy loves to eat. I am making his baby food with some great advice from a great book, a review is in order.

1 comment:

Mary Jessica said...

Hear, hear! What a great post. Tommy will be 2 next month and still nurses. As you know, he's a very healthy child.

A lot of people can't imagine nursing and's just one of those things that is hard to wrap your head around until you're doing it, I think. Really, it's no more difficult than any other breastfeeding hurdle a woman might encounter, and it's so rewarding to keep breastfeeding!