If there's one thing I regret immensely to this day, then it is not breastfeeding LG exclusively for the first six months. I started on supplement food (Nan formula two times a day) when he was 9 weeks old. A number of reasons attributed to supplementing then - his colic state, bleeding while feeding so much so that I could no longer latch him on without screaming in pain and his incessant demand to be fed like more than 10 hours a day. LG's weight gain was above normal and his Paed reassured me once every 3 days that I need not worry about lack of milk being the reason for his crying. But that was the only way he would keep quiet. Nothing else worked. I remember distinctly the weekend of Feb. 9th last year when I was totally exhausted from the running nose, fever and head ache. And LG's colickyness (is that word?) was at its peak and he just wouldn't sleep until 3:00 a.m. Doctor had advised me not to handle him much and stay away until I recovered from my fever which meant mom kept rocking him through the night. I felt so bad for her for he just wouldn't keep quiet even for a second if she sat down. And it just got worse as the evening progressed. Running out of option, she would hand him over to be fed. I just couldn't take it no more after 5 days passed this way ....and that's how the supplement began with the advice of his Paed. Even then once I healed I consciously tried to get down his formula intake and up mother's feed.

So this is my advice.

  1. See a lactation consultant. I'm not sure if you have lactation consultants in India. I'm positive the metros should. Consult one at the earliest even if you are confident about all aspects of feeding your baby. Expert advice never hurts. There wasn't one in Trichy and they offered little help in teaching the right position to feed a baby. Believe me that matters a lot and if I had known in the beginning, it wouldn't have gotten so worse. Latching techniques if learnt right can make it easier for the baby and the mother.

  2. Colic child: Get to know the symptoms. It is said there is as such no cause for colickyness. However, there are things you can do to help a colic baby. Consult your Paed and try not to calm him by feeding all the time even if he is not hungry.

  3. Do not give into the lure of formula. Formula is like substance addiction according to me. It is easy and fast. Once you get used to it, it takes high mental resolve to get out of it. And even if you do, it is unlikely the baby would. It takes less effort on the baby's part to get more milk, so why do all the hard work of sucking. Natural right? These days formula come with DHA - a key component of mother's milk. But nothing man-made can replace what is natural. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to continue feeding and educate yourself much before the baby is born. You won't have the luxury of time to learn after the baby is born.

This is one topic I could just go on and on and still never get over the guilt. Here's the article on how breastfed children have higher IQs. It's not so much about the IQ for me as it is about the immunity and general health of breastfed babies.

Children who are breastfed after birth are smarter than those who aren’t.
According to the world’s largest study on lactation and intelligence, that followed 17,046 children for six and a half years from birth, children whose mothers exclusively breastfed them during the first year of life had consistently higher IQ and an improved cognitive (thinking, learning and memory) development.
Scientists from McGill University and the Montreal Children’s Hospital conducted a randomized trial involving patients from 31 maternity hospitals in Belarus. At age six and a half the children in the breastfeeding group scored an average of 7.5 points higher on tests measuring verbal intelligence, 2.9 points higher on tests measuring non-verbal intelligence and 5.9 points higher on tests measuring overall intelligence.
Michael S Kramer, lead author and professor of pediatrics at the university, said: “Our study provides the strongest evidence to date that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding makes kids smarter.” Kramer was, however, unable to pinpoint what caused this association. He said: “It remains unclear whether the observed cognitive benefits of breastfeeding are due to some constituent of breast milk or are related to the physical and social interactions inherent in breastfeeding.”
Reacting to the study, Dr Arun Gupta, national coordinator of the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India, told TOI: “This study shows that if Indians can increase exclusive breast feeding rates from 25% at present to 100% in the near future, it will greatly benefit the country’s intellectual capital. Unfortunately, breast feeding rates have hardly improved in India since 1992.”
Dr J P Dadhisch, pediatrician and former secretary of the National Neonatology Forum, added: “India recommends breastfeeding within one hour and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months for every child. However, just a quarter of the children born every year are fed breast milk exclusively till they are six months old.
“Two reasons could link breastfeeding and IQ. Mother’s breast milk contains fatty acids like DHA and AA that play a vital role in brain development. Even thou-gh neurological cells exist in kids, its these fatty acids that help nerve cells to send signals.” The study has been published in the May edition of the ‘Archives of General Psychiatry’.
Breast milk contains fatty acids like DHA and AA that play a vital role in brain development. Breastfed children scored seven points higher on IQ tests than those who were put on supplementary diet within a year of birth
Other benefits of breastfeeding
During breastfeeding, nutrients and antibodies pass to the baby and the maternal bond also strengthens. Research shows a variety of benefits of breastfeeding an infant. These are:
Reduces risk of diabetes, diarrohea, asthma, upper respiratory tract infections, extreme obesity, urinary tract infections
Fortifies the immunity system of the baby
women giving birth annually in India don't follow optimal breastfeeding practices
women begin
within one
hour of birth
infants are fed only breast milk for the first 6 months