Formula-seeking mums are getting tired of those who say, just breastfeed | Health, Medicine and Fitness
By REBECCA BOONE, LINDSEY TANNER and JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER – Associated Press
As Morgan Fabry wanders around Chicago in search of formula that is in short supply, she can’t help but be disturbed by comments from people who don’t understand why she can’t breastfeed.
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of life by major medical bodies like the World Health Organization, hence the saying “breast is best”. But breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone, and that mantra only adds to the stress Fabry and other parents are feeling as the shortage drags on.
“At the end of the day, it’s better to feed,” said Fabry, 34. “I get triggered by people saying, ‘Oh, just breastfeed. “”
Corryn Chini avoided the baby formula aisle while grocery shopping in Dayton, Ohio this week. With enough formula in her cupboard at home for a week or two, it made no sense to let empty shelves trigger feelings of anxiety and guilt.
For Chini, the guilt stems from a lingering sense of failure after being unable to exclusively breastfeed, starting with her first baby in 2018.
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“Breastfeeding was a huge struggle and I felt immense guilt for not being successful,” Chini said. “In the end, I was never able to produce enough, and we had a late diagnosis of language, and it was a mess. When I got my second, I thought, ‘I can do it, I can defend myself,” and again, it just didn’t work out.
Her youngest, Evangeline, was born three months ago. Chini complete with formula.
There are various barriers to breastfeeding, including medical issues for the baby or mother and working and living conditions.
Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Breastfeeding Group, said exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is recommended and safe for most babies, but sticking to the recommendations can be “very difficult”.
Infants with a rare condition called classic galactosemia are unable to metabolize sugar in breast milk and must be fed formula, Feldman-Winter said.
Certain medical conditions make breastfeeding difficult for women, and it is not recommended for people living with HIV or undergoing cancer treatment. And exclusive breastfeeding is difficult for working women, who have to pump repeatedly throughout the day.
“There are even more barriers in underserved areas, with women working for hourly wages in low-paying jobs. These women tend to have even less support to be able to continue breastfeeding.
Stress releases a hormone that makes it difficult to produce milk, she says.
When Isabel Ramos gave birth in February, she worked hard to try breastfeeding her son, thinking it would benefit his immune system and strengthen the mother-child bond. She tried to express her milk and worked with lactation consultants, but the baby wouldn’t latch on.
“You feel like a failure because you’re not able to give your baby what he needs and wants,” said the first mom from Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Because of the stigma, it took her a while to tell people she wasn’t breastfeeding.
She’s struggling with those feelings again because she keeps hearing things from parents and strangers online, like she should try harder to breastfeed because of the formula shortage. .
“A lot of men have opinions on that. I’m sorry, are you trying to breastfeed? So, no, leave me alone.
Ana Rodney, who runs MOMCares, a Baltimore organization that provides baby supplies and support to new mothers in the city’s black community, said the shortage has hit many families hard. Formula feeding is generally more common among black women — often because they don’t receive breastfeeding encouragement or support from the white medical community, Rodney said.
Breastfeeding takes time, “being able to sit with your baby, being able to bond with your baby and working on your milk supply, not being able to go back to work,” she said. “It’s not that easy for some of us, even if we want to.”
Callie Salaymeh’s baby Hazel was just a few weeks old when Salaymeh found blood in her diaper and took her to the Chicago ER.
The baby had an intolerance to some of Salaymeh’s breast milk proteins, and cutting out foods from her own diet didn’t help. Hazel had to be replaced with a special prescription formula for babies with gastrointestinal disorders.
“The shortage seemed to hit us before it hit the general public,” Salaymeh said, when her pharmacy called to say the prescription formula was out of stock.
When they were down to one box, Salaymeh began mixing prescription formula with over-the-counter formula for babies with sensitive bellies until more prescription formula could be found. They mixed formulas for about three weeks, hoping little Hazel wouldn’t get sick.
Luckily, Hazel seemed to be doing well with the mix, and Salaymeh hopes she may soon overcome the food intolerance, as most babies eventually do.
Before her twins arrived five weeks early, Alexandra Clark of Sawyer, Michigan, decided to breastfeed and supplement with formula. Working full time as the owner of a Detroit chocolate company, Clark knew she would face enough new mom challenges without trying to produce enough milk for two babies.
Clark, 34, said she was grateful for the support even of her friends with a ‘breast is best’ mindset.
“Instead of being judgmental, some of my friends who are really supportive of breastfeeding and who are still breastfeeding have offered to pump for me if I need to, which is about the nicest thing ever. “Clark said.
Tanner reported from Chicago, Sinco Kelleher reported from Honolulu, and Boone reported from Boise, Idaho.
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