Our two child things (5 and 2) are currently in Hawaii, but we are a military family, and we live where the Army tells us. This blog is designed to keep us in touch with our family and the friends we have made along the way, to offer insight into our turbulent military lifestyle, and to share our experiences as we try out "homing school." So glad you stopped by!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Warning: this post contains both the word "breastfeeding" and the word "HOOAH."

"Did they pressure you into breastfeeding?"

At the time, I found the question curious, and I still wonder about it.

Child Thing #2 had just made his arrival into the world, and I was back at the doctor for a follow-up. Until the very end of my pregnancy, I had been seen by military doctors, but the last month or so I was referred to a civilian. And at this appointment, he basically asked me if my military doctors had forced the breastmilk/formula issue.

I answered "no" because I never felt pressured into it. The nurses asked me if I wanted to and gave me a brochure on the benefits of breastfeeding, but that was it. And actually, when my first baby was born and we had a horrible time learning to nurse, the hospital staff seemed to be pressuring me into switching to formula.

Surely I looked puzzled as I answered this question, because the doctor explained, "I just ask because I have a lot of patients coming from the military, and a much, much higher percentage of them go with breastfeeding."

That has left me wondering ever since then. Is his observation accurate? And, if so, why would more "military women" breastfeed than non military types?

Scott, who was at the appointment with me, said, "That's because Army wives are tough. HOOAH!"

You do have to be tough to go that route because, for me at least, it did not come naturally and was a huge pain at first. But I don't necessarily think that being an Army spouse prepares you more for challenges like nursing a baby.

Maybe it's because military wives have a harder time building careers (hard to do that when you move every few years), so there are more stay-at-home moms. And being at home with your kids definitely makes breastfeeding much more feasible. Props to all those working moms who ARE able to make nursing work, by the way...that is simply amazing!

I'm still curious about this, so I'm looking for input. I'd love to hear any theories or explanations on this topic...from military folks and civilian types. And, if you are in the medical field, have you noticed this trend, as well? Thanks, y'all. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.


Bag Blog said...

I breastfed both my babies, because I wanted the experience and the closeness with my babies. The first one was rather difficult, but the second was much better at it - maybe we were both better the second time around. I think some doctors/nurses push formula because they can be in control rather than the mom. Of course, I feel the same way about public school :)

Steve, Amanda, Kyle & Owen said...

Humm...I guess I really never thought about the difference between on post/off post doctors much. I just knew that I wanted to breastfeed, it was so much more nutritional and cheaper. :) I actually always wondered why the doctors don't do more education on the benifits to breastfeeding. At post they require you to do the "Baby Class(even if it isn't your first)," but they don't cover the benifits to breast feeding much.

Amber said...

I'm not sure how the funding goes for military dr's - but civilian dr offices are in the firm grip of the pharmaceutical companies. Sure, "breast is best" but it's formula that helps feed the bottom line.

Amanda said...

Hmmm...so it seems like the consensus so far is that military doctors may not push breastfeeding, but perhaps civilian doctors lean toward formula? The difference is in the doctors, not the mothers.