GUEST POST: By Lara Audelo, Mom, Founder, MamaPear Designs & Certified Lacation Education Counselor (CLEC)
My journey through motherhood has created a passion for breastfeeding. In my own personal experience I have found such joy, that I strive to help other moms-to-be realize the possibilities in the beautiful relationship that awaits them should they choose to nurse their babies. I also strive to encourage my friends who are also breastfeeding moms, when they encounter an issue that involves breastfeeding.
MamaPear Designs(TM) was born when it became overwhelmingly apparent to me that there needs to be a greater social awareness created with regard to, and a real public dialogue conducted about, breastfeeding. It needs to be encouraged and promoted by health professionals and mamas alike. My hope is that when you wear one of my designs, you will raise an eyebrow, provoke a thought, incite a question, and create awareness for a cause that needs women like you to help promote it.
Most recently my passion for breastfeeding has led me to formal education in this area so that I may help women learn the value of breastfeeding and how to feed their babies. I completed my Lactation Education Counselor training through University of California San Diego, and I am so excited to be qualified to teach and share my passion for breastfeeding with other moms (and dads) to be!
Today I bought formula. Similac formula. I made a $9.99 contribution to a company who makes in billions of dollars per year selling artificial baby milk and advertises in ways that can be labeled predatory and unethical. But it had to be done, and I am thankful it was available.
This afternoon I received a call from a friend in distress. She was at the Emergency Room with her four day old baby. The baby was fine, but she was not. Based on her symptoms, the doctor recommended she have a procedure with which breastfeeding is contraindicated, and it would be necessary for her to pump and dump her milk for twelve hours.
This friend is someone that I worked very closely with to help prepare her for breastfeeding during the third trimester of her pregnancy. I offered to be her “on call”, the person she would contact day or night, when she needed help, reassurance or guidance when it came to establishing her breastfeeding relationship. When she told me that she was going to have to interrupt breastfeeding, she sounded scared, as any new mom would be, and was worried about what would happen to her breastfeeding relationship as it has been going so well. She called me because she needed help, so we talked for a few minutes and made a plan. First and foremost, she needed a pump, she was at the hospital, so the easiest way to facilitate that process was to have labor and delivery bring one to her in the ER. Then we decided that she was going to have to feed the baby something, formula, because she was only 4 days old there was no stored breast milk available. We then decided that her mom would feed the baby the bottles while she was not able to breastfeed. So off I went to the store to buy her formula and bottles, a first for me, as my boys were exclusively breastfed – nothing but breast milk, from nothing but the breast.
When I went to Target I had an idea of what I was going to buy. I learned in my lactation education class that Nestle Good Start formula has proteins that are smaller than Enfamil and Similac , thus making them easier to digest, so I thought that would be the best choice. Yes, my original plan was to buy Nestle, and that was not something I wanted to do either, but I was prepared to do it.
When I arrived in the aisle where the baby formula and bottles are sold, I was a little overwhelmed. There were lots of choices, and I was a little stressed about her condition, so I tried to gather my wits and make the best decision I could for someone else’s newborn baby. After thinking about her being in the ER, and the likelihood and ease of preparing formula from a powdered mix, I decided to purchase a pre-made liquid formula, but that meant Nestle was out of the running, they only had powder in a can. This left me with one choice – Similac, it was the only premade formula that came in small bottles (they package it in newborn sized bottles) that was also “sensitive” formulation, meaning the protein should have been comparable to the ones in the Nestle Good Start (which is now not even labeled Nestle, but Gerber Good Start, I know that they are one in the same though). So I picked up the formula, a Playtex drop-in bottle because the liners were pre-sterilized, and off I went to the cash register.
I really do my best not to judge what people feed their babies, and I am always working to make sure that women have access to good information and reliable resources so that they can make informed, educated decisions about breastfeeding. But I would be lying if I said there was not a part of me that for a second hated giving money to Abbot, the makers of Similac, because as I stated earlier their marketing techniques are unethical at times. But you know what? I got over it because there was a tiny baby who needed to eat, and her mom was worried sick about not being able to breastfeed her. Buying her the formula she needed for twelve hours, kept the baby healthy, and provided some much needed peace of mind to a frazzled new mama.
Artificial baby milk is medically necessary at times, and today I saw that first hand. I never realized that helping someone breastfeed, might mean I would be going to the store to buy them formula, but that was exactly what was called for in this situation. I have a feeling that my friend’s breastfeeding relationship with her baby will be fine, and I would venture to guess that she will have no problem going back to the breast. And thankfully my friend is going to be okay as well. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to support her, even if it was in a way that I never could have predicted.
1/10/2011 Update: Both Mom and Baby are doing well, and breastfeeding is continuing to be a success.