Tuesday, August 13, 2013
There was a fun family event in the park a couple weekends ago that supported breastfeeding. By now, it's well-known that breastmilk is best for babies, with a few very rare exceptions. However, it's not always easy to nurse so there is a community of support in lactation consultants, doulas, midwives and other mothers. I was able to meet like-minded mothers at this event and make some friends, one of who gave me all those luscious diapers!
I wonder how many mothers of adopted babies would have loved to breastfeed them. I even know some that are. Yes, it's possible to lactate without pregnancy! It's also possible to nurse a baby with an SNS, or supplemental nursing system and formula. I am doing this with Apple for her milk bottles. Besides the closeness and bonding, the muscles used to nurse are much different than those used to draw on a bottle nipple. With all the craniofacial issues facing Apple, it's important for her to develop these muscles. The side benefit in our home is that my older girls get to learn how a mother nurtures a baby. They've seen nursing mothers and babies before from afar and we've talked about how it's best for babies to get their mother's milk, but now they can ask questions about it and see their baby sister doing it. They think it's really neat. When they are grown with babies of their own, they will have had this example of nurturing to guide them since they didn't get this as babies. Studies of large zoo animals have shown that when baby animals have been separated from their mothers at a young age, they themselves don't know how to be mothers and often kill their young with their mistakes. This is particularly true with great apes and elephants. In humans, it can lead to child abuse/neglect and bonding issues. Having a baby in the house is a great benefit to my girls and I'm loving every minute of having a baby myself!