Monday, March 22, 2010

breastmilk is not free!

men, you have permission to skip this post (if any men read this blog besides the hubs!) =)

i NEEEEEVER would have thought that i would breastfeed my baby, even for a few weeks.  it was not in my plans at all.  my hubby wanted me to try it, if only for a few days, and i agreed, but told him that at the very most, i would only breastfeed for 6 weeks.  here i am, 6 months later, and still going strong.  i have to say, i am so proud of myself!  =)  it was a rough beginning, but it has been wonderful for peanut and i both.  stressful at times, because i am used to be very modest about nursing in public, so i would hurry back to my vehicle, or hurry home.  now, i couldn't care less.  i will nurse in public any day of the week.  and nurse proudly, i might add.  yea, i get some weird looks.  the other day, our waiter at lunch looked a little startled to see me nursing (hello, i was covered with a blanket!), and i got a kick out of it.  it was a young guy.  hahahahahaha.  he will grow up one day and realize what breasts are really made for!  =)

if you are a nursing mother... kuddos to you!  maybe you nursed a few times... kuddos to you!  and maybe you didn't nurse at all... kuddos to you, still, for being a mom!  once, 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year... we need to stick together and support each other!

can you tell that i'm starting to encourage everyone to breastfeed?!  in my opinion, our local hospital did a horrible job encouraging breastfeeding.  they did more encouraging of formula feeding, which now really aggravates me.  so if you know a new mommy, or a nursing mommy, encourage them!

anyway, i found this post that i think everyone should read!! enjoy!


Breastmilk Is Not Free
Posted by: milkhelp on: February 7, 2010

When discussing the advantages of breastfeeding, some advocates claim that nursing a baby is less expensive than formula feeding.  It’s easy to understand why someone would believe that.  Aside from the optional paraphernalia like pumps and special pillows, the milk itself doesn’t seem to cost anything– especially when compared to formula which must be purchased in a store.  Although well intentioned, this “benefit” may be useless or worse in terms of breastfeeding promotion.  And furthermore it’s not really true.

When presented with two choices people often perceive the one with a higher dollar value as having more innate worth.  ”Free” suggests “cheap” and “expensive” may as well mean “valuable.”  If you were choosing between a freeware computer program or a similar one that retails for $300 which one would you expect to be better?  When we call formula expensive we are probably unwittingly making it more appealing.  And by labeling breastmilk as free we are probably encouraging people to discount its value.

There’s a whole lot wrong with “The Case Against Breastfeeding” but Hanna Rosin does get one thing right.  Breastmilk is not really free.  ”It’s only free,” she writes, “if a woman’s time is worth nothing.”  What Rosin doesn’t seem to consider is that everything you do for your child– from birthing them to hugging them to teaching them right from wrong– has a cost.  Parenting requires huge investments of time and energy that are not generally rewarded with a paycheck.  Like most things that are worthwhile, and like parenting itself, breastfeeding can take some effort.  Something that valuable doesn’t come free.

Breastmilk is also only (monetarily) free if you can make it yourself.  If you cannot make it yourself, breastmilk is incredibly costly– if you can get it at all.  Some babies do not tolerate an artificial diet and are switched from formula to formula while failing to thrive and/or having one allergic reaction after another.  Eventually (if they’re lucky) they’re put on a normal diet of real human milk.  Banked donor milk costs around $3 per ounce.  If breastmilk could be sold in 730 gram standard canisters like formula, how much would one of those canisters cost?  Let’s break it down:
  • 730 grams of formula reconstitutes to approximately 167.5 ounces at a cost of $26.50.
  • At $3 per ounce, the cost of 167.5 ounces of donor milk would be $502.50.
  • To feed a baby donor milk for the first 12 months of life it could cost well over $30,000
Although it is supposedly expensive to skip breastfeeding, mothers on WIC pay little or nothing for formula.  How can these huge amounts of artificial milk be given away by the government?  Simple.  Formula companies can bid to sell their product for pennies on the wholesale dollar because formula costs next to nothing to make.  The ingredients are dirt cheap.  They are by-products from other industries.  Cow’s milk and soybeans aren’t used because their proteins or nutrient content is particularly suitable for human babies.  They were picked mostly because of their availability and low price.

Let’s start getting this straight.  Formula is cheap.  Formula is overpriced.  Breastmilk is expensive.  Breastmilk is valuable.


you can go HERE to see the post yourself!


Veronica said...

I LOVE this post, Ashia and couldn't agree more. I am one of the only breastfeeders I know personally. I started off with the same mentality that you did when I had Alyssa. I really didn't give it much thought and it was my hubby that encouraged me to try. I had the hardest time and for a week straight, I struggled and cried every single time I had to nurse her. If it wasn't for my hubby's encouragement, I would have never succeeded! I managed to nurse Alyssa until the day she turned on and I was so proud of myself! I was also so excited to share everything I knew about nursing with other people I knew too. When I had Audrey, I was much more confident at the whole nursing thing and I ended up nursing her until she was 15 months which I never expected to do.

I'm hoping that things go well with Alivia and I'll be able to nurse her too.

So proud of you! You are doing an awesome thing!!!

*Jess* said...

I've never thought of it this way! And I'm super pro-breastfeeding! I do know why people call it "liquid gold" though!

I wasn't going to nurse either. Then I was only going to "try it". Then I was only going to nurse 6 weeks. Then only 3 months. Then only 6 months. Then only a year.

I nursed both my kids for 27 months. Go figure!

Unknown said...

Aisha, I am so happy for you that breast feeding has been such a blessing for you and your little one. I really enjoyed it and it worked for me. I will never forget the time I was nursing Owen and had an eye doctor's appointment. He went with me and of course as I waited he woke up and decided he was hungry. I figured it would be a while before the doctor got to me so I got started and covered up with a blanket. Just as we hit our stride, the doctor came in! I figured he saw the blanket, but he never said anything and got started with my eye exam. He finished and we talked and then he said they would call when my contacts came in and that I was free to go. I asked if it would be alright if I stayed in the back until I finished nursing my baby. He said "Of course, where is your baby?" When I explained that he was right there under the blanket, he started stuttering and stammering and blushed bright red. It was a visit I'll never forget and I'll bet he won't either. Keep up the great job you are doing with Peanut!!!

Judy - said...

Excellent post - thanks so much for sharing it