Thursday, October 25, 2012

Breastfeeding a Baby with CF

Do everything this book says.  The end.

I should talk more ~


Ecological breastfeeding is what it's called and here's how it works:

Frequent and unrestricted nursing for nutrition and nurturing, without the use of pacifiers or bottles or cups or pumps.  This requires a mother and baby to be physically close for a good year, which means that it's for full-time homemakers only.  Giving a baby everything he or she needs at your breast keeps up milk production, rest, and health.

Here's why it's especially good for babies with CF:

Good nutrition that is easily digested and strong emotional bonds give medically fragile children comforting support.  Of course, this is true for all kids; my point is simply that when a child has health problems and already operates at a deficit, ecological breastfeeding is a very real way to put an ace in their hand. Our firstborn was diagnosed failure to thrive at 6 weeks, put on formula, then diagnosed with CF at 9 months.  It was too late to fill him up with breastmilk.  Our babies after him were fed on demand as we awaited the genotyping results.  Four became rolly-polly Mama's boys, without CF.





(You get the idea!)
And a chubby little brunette girl, too (Can't find any digital photos...).

Then we got another, littler girl with CF.  Ecological breastfeeding took on new intensity as her symptoms became clear and the diagnosis finalized.  She has not gotten chubby with frequent nursing, but she has held her own and remains healthy.


Desiring both to make sure that she was getting the most amount of good calories and that I was not nursing to fulfil my needs,  I recently compared nutritional information for breastmilk with a few of my favorite first foods for babies (whole milk yogurt, sweet potatoes, bananas).  I promptly shelved the idea and settled down on the couch with my current book and my baby, thoroughly convinced (again) that the perfection of breastmilk is all that's needed!   A bit more googling of babies with cystic fibrosis and breastfeeding yielded disappointing results (Not in the information, but the amount). This wonderful article from the LaLeche Leaguethis encouraging one from a center in UT, and this interview by a popular CF blogger were all I found.  Since they are awesome, maybe that's fine.


I've also enjoyed carrying my babies in a sling, as it keeps them upright to aid reflux and near my heart to aid breathing.  Plus they're fashionable and an adorable accessory!  


 

So it is absolutely possible to successfully nurse your CF baby.  It is at least absolutely worth committing to try a month of frequent, unrestricted everything at the breast (food and pacification) and check weight.  If it doesn't work, then you'll know that you gave it your all and that you can embrace and thank God for life-saving formula.

With affection and support,
Allison


"You drew me forth from the womb and made me safe at my mother's breast."  (Psalm 22:10)




1 comment:

  1. Hi, I've been reading your blog and I really enjoy hearing about your family and how you live with a large family, including two with cystic fibrosis.
    My youngest child also has cystic fibrosis and is breastfed. I believe this is a huge contributing factor in how well he's doing. Even when everyone else in the house has caught a cold or a flu, he stays well.
    My only problem with feeding on demand (as I did with my oldest child, without CF) is that each feed requires enzymes and if I was feeding him on demand he would be exceeding the maximum dosage of enzymes per day. When he was diagnosed he was very tiny and his maximum was only 8 full scoops, so I had to put him on a three-hourly routine. It has worked well for us but I'm not sure what we would have done if he had been any younger than he was at the time of diagnosis, when it is important to nurse constantly to gain the milk supply. How did you manage to nurse on demand with giving enzymes?
    Hope you are all well,
    Lauren

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