Sunday, April 5, 2009

WARNING - Opinionated Nursing/Animal Husbandry Post Ahead!

Well, this subject has been brewing in my mind since I was pregnant with Squeak. That's a long while! (about 19 months). And, I am VERY opinionated on this subject, so I apologise in advance if I offend you (but you should really change your mind & then you wouldn't offended).

I recently read this blog about a mother not being able to feed her child, when her child needed fed. That blog, had me thinking about most mothers and thier attitudes towards nursing, & starting to nurse thier children in the hospital.

Here's the story of the original time I talked about this with another person. I was in my Midwife's office for a routine checkup somewhere towards the end of my pregnancy. We were discussing nursing. Missus D (we'll call her) is quite the Lactivist (what most nursing advocates, or activists call themselves). As a Rancher, I am also quite opinionated about nursing, and also very much as a mother.

Missus D was explaining to me how important nursing was, and that it was important to get nursing off to a good start, IN the hospital. That's when the Rancher in me spoke up (& Missus D listened intently).

If a lamb doesn't get colostrum........Its as good as dead.

If a Colt doesn't get colostrum..........Its as good as dead!

If a Calf doesn't get colostrum...........Its as good as dead!

Then WHY do we think it is ok for BABIES (human babies) not to get colostrum???

I have a VERY wonderful Rancher Friend & Mentor, she chose not to nurse her sons. However, she did INSIST, that she pumped her colostrum for the first day and that it was fed to her sons.

She KNEW how important that this first milk was.

You see, colostrum has thousands of antibodies that provide immunity that is VITAL to the baby's survival. The rates of survival in an animal that does NOT recieve colostrum start dropping dramatically every hour after the 12 hour mark. If an animal has not recieved colostrum within the first 24 hours, their rate of survival is below 25%.

It is so imperative that an calf receives colostrum, that I have milked out 2 cows this year (not an easy feat to milk a beef cow) to give it to a weak calf that wouldn't suck. We tube ALL of our houseguests with powdered colostrum that we mix with hot water. AND we make sure that they drink from their dam as soon as possible.

Now, you should REALLY think about this. How many children do not get colostrum after they are born in the hospital??? How many nurses will provide a child formula in a bottle, because the mother doesn't feel like nursing or doesn't APPEAR to have enough milk? HELLO!!! You don't need that much milk when the size of your tummy is a WALNUT! You don't need very much if that milk has TONS of VITAL immunogens & antibiodies! The "first milk" is also VERY FATTY! (next time I HAVE to get a picture of some colostrum from a cow & then some later milk)

WHY, tell me WHY do we not have powdered colostrum for babies? We have developed (and realised we need) different milk for the first day of a calf's life; WHY haven't we done it for human babies (whose mothers do not KNOW the harm they are doing to their children)??

As doctors, WHY don't they REQUIRE ALL MOTHERS TO PUMP COLOSTRUM? I think that they should insist that mothers give their children MILK, NOT Formula.

Now, if you can handle the opinion.......On to the nursing side of things.

Farmers, if you had to choose between bottle feeding an animal or letting its mother raise it, Which would you choose? - - - - - Mother should raise it, with HER milk

Does a calf do as well on a bottle or bucket, as on a cow?- - - - - NO

Will you have higher death loss of bottle animals? - - - - - MUCH Higher up to 50% more, even under the cleanest conditions

So, why then, do we THINK it is ok for mothers to feed their children formula?

Why do some doctors try to push mothers to wean their children to formula?

I have no clue. It must be because they think they are smarter than Mother Nature! They can replicate everything she does, YEAH RIGHT! It is probably because the pharmaceutical companies pay them, to sell thier formulas.

OK. I'm done, I've said my piece. But, I will say that Missus D (remember my original story) was quiet. She had never thought about the animal side of it, and NEVER had anyone pointed these thing out to her. And she is a Lactivist.

Think about it, if an animal doesn't get colostrum, and just formula, it has only a 50% lower survival rate. Even dairy farmers give their calves colostrum before they pull them from the cow.

But, we (most of our nation) think it is ok to feed our children the same formula for the entire first year of their life.
Oh, and BTW, that is a bottle of Juice that Squeak is drinking. But he did wean himself at ~10-11 months. (Momma is still really sad about it, but it was just too hard for him to hold still)


  1. Interesting about animals and colostrum. I had never thought about that. I am very pro-breastfeeding and surprised that some people don't even try it.

  2. Wow! I found your blog through Hot Belly Mama's. I love this post! And I loved breast feeding my three kids. Your post made me think...I knew that colostrum is very important, but I really have never thought about the impact of babies not getting it or a non-breast feeder at least pumping her colostrum. You are so right about the effects of colostrum on calfs and other animals. Survival does drop dramatically without it. Makes sense that it would also apply to humans!

  3. Very good post! My oldest quit cold turkey on me at ten months as well! Sure glad my youngest kept going till he was 16 months old.

  4. As soon as America stops sexualizing the breast then more women will be willing to breastfeed and more babies will have colostrum. I've breastfed all of my babies for 11 to 18 months. Any woman that says "My breast are for me and my husband," makes me want to smack them. I also try to advocate the importance of some is better than none and some in the hospital is the only way to go. You would not believe the number of women working in hospital nurseries that don't advocate nursing.

    Kudos for posting your opinion and not being afraid to do so!

  5. Excellent post! I nursed all three of my children for 13 to 18 months. I got really angry with a nurse after my second was born. She gave him a bottle of sugar water in the nursery when I was in the shower since she didn't think I had enough to feed him. I certainly gave her a piece of my mind. And really- SUGAR WATER!!! Lets talk about NO nutritional value. After that I insisted that he stay in my room no matter what and did the same with my third child.

  6. Seriously I wondered how no one else ever thought about this....if you watch any animal show they will FREAK out if the baby can't get their mother's first milk....but, like you said--no one says boo about depriving our own children of it.
    Guess I'm going to have to follow your blog now :)