Have you heard? There is a rumor floating around, thanks to the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), that a woman should ONLY breastfeed IF she is eating the perfect, nutrient dense diet as outlined by the WAPF.
There is no other way to say this, so I am going for it.
THIS PISSED ME THE HECK OFF!
Now I am ALL FOR mothers eating the most nutrient dense diet that they can afford and that they have access to. However, I would NEVER tell a breastfeeding mother NOT to breastfeed if she wasn't consuming organ meats, grass-fed beef, fermented cod liver oil, and the like. I certainly would offer what information I could about how to boost the nutrients in her breast milk (coconut oil consumption being a biggie) but I would never suggest she stop breast feeding.
You see, the WAPF seems to think that their recipe for homemade formula somehow is BETTER than breast milk from a mother who is not eating a traditional diet. And while it could have some nutrients that are lacking in a mother's breast milk when she is consuming every addictive aspect of the standard American processed food diet, homemade formula is still missing sooooo much.
Did you know that the breastfeeding baby/child's saliva “talks” to the breast milk? Yep – the two communicate which is why breast milk is the perfect food. It knows when baby is fighting off a germ and therefore, rushes to supply it with the proper antibodies. NO FORMULA can do that.
Breastfeeding is also so much more than nutrition. And yet, the WAPF never mentions any of the other amazing benefits of breast milk both for baby and the mother. And they claim to be advocates of total health. Ha.
Anyway, I want to take a minute to debunk the claims of the WAPF from my personal experience, both as a breastfed child and as a breastfeeding mother. Did you read that – I'm not making medical claims here. Just sharing MY experience.
I was breastfed until I was three years old. My mother was underweight, battling her own host of health issues. Her diet wasn't perfect. It was carb heavy. Now of course, the 70's were a different time in-so-far as our food supply is concerned, but even so, she was not getting close to the nutrient requirements outlined by the WAPF. And yet, I was a happy, well-nourished, chunky baby.
My mother's milk was rich! I have read all of the journals she kept when I was a baby and seriously, I barely breastfed. My mother produced liquid gold and I was satiated for long periods of time. I was always well above average in both height and weight, and developmentally I hit milestones early. To this day, I have never had a cavity, have strong, well developed bones that don't break, and a well-functioning brain. (Maybe too well-functioning…it never shuts off!) So despite eating a less-than-WAPF-perfect diet, my mother gave me what I needed.
Tiny is now four years old and we are still enjoying a successful breastfeeding relationship. For the first 9 months of her life, I was NOT consuming anything close to the diet I am today. I didn't exactly eat the typical standard-American-diet, but my eating wasn't great and I certainly did not cook as much as I do from scratch. And you know what, Tiny is just fine. Her immune system rocks! Despite being born with neutropenia, she is able to fight off her illnesses quickly and without any complications. She is a small child, smaller than I was as a baby, but she grows steadily, not dropping off her little curve. She is happy, bright, with gorgeous hair, skin, and nails. She is rock solid, not one to break bones.
The only regret I have is NOT fixing my gut health before getting pregnant or during pregnancy. Since Tiny was born via c-section she came into this world already battling improper gut health. I didn't realize the impact that would have until she was 14 months old. However, had I not breastfed because I had a less-than-perfect diet, Tiny's gut health would have been even more precarious. Breastfeeding helped her gut more than any homemade formula ever would.
For me, the bottom line is that we don't need to give mothers ONE MORE REASON TO FEEL GUILTY. We pile enough on them as it is, often times to the detriment of successful breastfeeding. So do some research about breastfeeding and proper nutrition and then DO YOUR BEST! Your baby will get what he or she needs. Your body will make sure of that.
I wrote a pretty comprehensive post which discusses all kinds of things related to breastfeeding. There are tons of links to check out as well. So be sure to visit my post Breastfeeding Lists, Advice, Links, and More. Here are a few other posts I have written about breastfeeding as well:
- Coconut Oil And Breastfeeding
- Toxic Breastmilk
- A Tale of Two Titties
- My 3 1/2 Year Old Breastfeeds As Much As A Newborn
Keep Calm and Breast Feed On!