Birthing or Breastfeeding?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Birthing or Breastfeeding?
6
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 1:27pm

So, since I got pregnant a few weeks ago, I've been revisiting my daughter's birth experience and doing research on the type of birth I'd like to have with the upcoming one.

It made me think about the significance of birth experience versus the significance of infant feeding method on infant health outcomes. If you had to choose, which would you say is more significant and why?

Now, I'd like to set the parameters a little bit. Obviously an infant who has extreme difficulty due to extreme circumstances during birth (e.g. being born at 24 weeks gestation) is going to be affected by his/her birth more than a baby born at full-term. And an infant who cannot tolerate almost any food in the mother's diet and cannot digest any formula is obviously going to be affected by his/her diet more than a baby with no such sensitivities. So how about a typical birth with a typical infant?




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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2010
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 3:43pm

My experience colors my view of course. I feel that (since both of my kids are considered normal) the birth was successful only because a healthy baby was produced, but I failed at the type of birth I consider to be the standard. However I have been more than successful in breastfeeding both kids, and much longer than the minimum.


I think in my case breastfeeding has been more significant, for many reasons, but the first one that comes to mind is duration. Birth is one (or two) days out of their life. Breastfeeding is an on-going relationship.


Now if you had said *pregnancy* vs. breastfeeding, I'm not sure how I'd answer. I think people will have different interpretations of "significance," too.


Kevali


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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 9:45pm

Planning for a certain type of birth, might be a little like planning for a certain type of earthquake. You hope to ride it out and come out as unscathed as possible, but you have to plan for other possibilities and in the end of everyone is safe you count that as a win.

Out of three births, I got one that was what I had hoped for. The others followed the contingency Plan B and that is okay. I couldn't have prevented it anymore than I could pick the size of earthquake. But in the end I was happy with all three experiences, happy with all three outcomes, and I don't feel I could have asked for any more or better than I got.

I'm not sure how to assign significance to that.

The first time I breastfed I got what I wanted. The second time I did not get what I wanted both at the beginning and at the end (having to pump the first couple months, and having to wean prematurely). But there again I know I did my best, I did my research, I couldn't have asked for it to go any better than it did given the circumstances. I'm not sure how to assign significance to that either.

I guess I would have to say breastfeeding was more significant because it was a lengthy process and signifies a mutual experience between mother and baby that occurs day in and day out. Whereas my births were over and done with in a day or less. I had a harder time accepting the loss of breastfeeding than I did the lost of natural birth experience. Also I think from the standpoint of health impact, breastfeeding is more significant as well. But there are so many factors that affect the meaning and importance of birth experience and breastfeeding experience, it's really a hard question to answer.

"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."

John W. Gardner



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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Sun, 08-29-2010 - 1:50am

You could discuss pregnancy too, of course. This is intended to spark discussion. But I think that what I mean is this: there is lots of discussion about the types of interventions used/not used during birth that can affect a newborn's health after birth and in the following months. Epidural is believed to make them sleepier, cause more breathing issues. C-section is believed to do the same. Yet other people claim that not getting an epidural leads to stress on the mother that can raise blood pressure, and so on.

So what I'm asking is, of the typical scenario in birth and the typical scenario in breastfeeding, which do you think has a greater impact on infant health outcomes overall?




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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Sun, 08-29-2010 - 2:39am
So what I'm asking is, of the typical scenario in birth and the typical scenario in breastfeeding, which do you think has a greater impact on infant health outcomes overall?



I think never breastfeeding has a bigger impact than c/s, but c/s has a bigger impact that EN. I'd rather my baby and I endure a c/s and then breastfeed for some duration, than get a natural childbirth and never breastfeed. However, since breastfeeding can be a long-term proposition, it changes the older the baby gets. From a purely health standpoint I'd pick natural childbirth and having to wean at say 9 months, over c/s and being able to EN. If we weren't talking health outcomes and purely experience and preference, I'd pick c/s and EN because although I loved, loved, loved my one natural birth experience, I loved nursing past a year more.

"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."

John W. Gardner



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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 08-29-2010 - 2:56am
If I had to choose I'd take the difficult birth over not being able to breastfeed as birth is a one-time event (even if the consequences may be further reaching) but breastfeeding lasts for years. The problem is that one of the greatest risks of many birth interventions is the effect on breastfeeding so a traumatic or intervention heavy birth is going to reduce the chances of successful breastfeeding.





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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sun, 08-29-2010 - 12:18pm

"If I had to choose I'd take the difficult birth over not being able to breastfeed as birth is a one-time event (even if the consequences may be further reaching) but breastfeeding lasts for years. The problem is that one of the greatest risks of many birth interventions is the effect on breastfeeding so a traumatic or intervention heavy birth is going to reduce the chances of successful breastfeeding."

ITA!

(I tried to say this earlier but the words weren't flowing right. I'll just park here.)