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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fighting the Good Fight

Well, I've kept quiet as long as possible.  That does it.  I'm devoting an entire blog to breastfeeding.  That's right, I'm gonna talk about boobs, jugs, ta tas, if it makes you uncomfortable you may want to stop reading.  I would like to start by saying that although I am a breastfeeding mother, and was a nurse on the obstetrical floor I have never and will never be one of those breastfeeding Nazis that thinks that giving a baby formula is going to harm/kill him.  Having said that, I'm also tired of feeling like I need to APOLOGIZE for choosing to breastfeed. 

This is obviously a "hot-button" issue with me.  For some reason it's socially acceptable for someone who chose not to breastfeed to sort of look down on those who do.  I don't understand this. If  a breastfeeding mother were to say something negative about formula, there would be all kinds of uproar.  She'd be called old-fashioned, intolerable, and probably a few other not-so-nice names.  But, if someone decides not to breastfeed and then comes across a mother who is, it is perfectly fine for her to turn up her nose or make some comment about how she thought it was too gross.  I understand that some people don't like it, but just know that the fact that you think it's "yucky" isn't going to be enough of a deterrent for me.

I've heard all of the defensive arguments against breastfeeding.  I've gotten a few of those passive-aggressive remarks this past year because my youngest child is sick often and he's almost completely breastfed.  Well, guess what?  You have absolutely NO idea how much more trouble he would have had if I hadn't been breastfeeding.  He has older siblings and was exposed to a lot because they brought things home from school.  I like to think that he avoided some things because of breastfeeding, but even if he didn't I'd still do it all over again.

Breastfeeding is one of my favorite parts of having a baby.  And if you've ever truly experienced it, you'd know that there is nothing twisted or gross about that statement.  Don't get me wrong, it isn't always glamorous.  Those first few weeks feel like someone is threading a fishhook through your skin every time they eat.  And, I had those moments that my child would be hungry and we would BOTH cry because the girls needed a break!!  But, that eventually gets better and I actually think it's easier than making/cleaning bottles.  I know this because my first son had some formula. 

Breastfeeding advocates also claim that it doesn't affect the appearance of your breasts anymore than pregnancy does.  I don't happen to believe this, but I also don't care enough to make that the reason I would choose not to breastfeed.  I mean, with my first son, if we were ever in a moving vehicle I totally did the "whip it out and sling it over the side of the carseat" trick.  Hell, now with my fourth I can stay in my seat and just stretch it back to him.  So they're a little saggy and's not like I'm in the running for Miss America anymore anyway. 

I'm also the person that will breastfeed anywhere.  That's right, Father so-and-so, I'll feed my kid in church.  If they've got a cry room available, I will definitely use it!  But, if that isn't an option it won't bother me to do it right in the pew.  Gross, right?!?  People are probably doing it around you all of the time and you don't even notice.   And trust me, you aren't going to see more than some people reveal with their tank tops.

I don't understand why anti-breastfeeding people immediately blame breastfeeding for any little thing.  The baby is must be the breastmilk.  The baby cries a must be what's in her breastmilk.  The car broke down...well, you know she DOES breastfeed, so...  Why do we have to be "for" or "against" it?  Why can't we just accept what ever mother has chosen for her own child?

Formula WILL NOT kill your baby.  It probably doesn't even have anything to do with IQ or illness prevention either, but you know what?  Breastfeeding is a choice that I made, and I will not apologize for it.  I'm not saying that you can't disagree with me.  I'm just asking that you become fully educated on the subject before you tell me that it's "icky."


  1. I'm clapping a lot....can you hear it?! Bravo! So well said and I couldn't agree more!

  2. For sure!! I breastfed Bailey until I just didn't produce milk anymore...I was happy that I got to at least do it for awhile...even though it felt as if paranas were chowing everytime I fed...totally worth it, and yes my baby is sick a lot too, but she goes to daycare while I'm at school and is exposed to the germs that are brought home as well...You go girl...props to Breastfeeding!!!

  3. I'm so glad that this blog is now serving as your counseling session for the day. My ears were do take after jacob in that way...hehehehe...

  4. Nice commentary, Shannon. I'm right there with ya.

  5. ok please don't throw rocks at me but i wasn't a breastfeeding mama. here's my reasoning... my daughter was born 5 weeks early and she was in the nicu and for me (for us, my husband and i) really wanted her to come home as soon as she good and that meant she needed to gain weight and eat a certain amount at each feeding, so i pumped. i tried to bf twice, with actual latching on and honestly i just gave up. i did pump for 6 weeks, which was kinda record for me seeing as how i felt at the time. it wasn't how i felt about bfing by any means, i had a whole lot of mess in my head.

    anywhoos, i plan on giving bfing another go this time around. personally i wasn't comfortable with it. i honestly can't explain why since i felt really really good giving my daughter liquid gold in the beginning. i don't think of it as gross and i certainly don't think of it as bad or a result of a baby's problems/issues.

    from the other side of the fence i felt the negative pressure for choosing to start formula feeding. formula is not naturally made and i'm sure there is junk in there, so why do it. i don't know and i don't have very good reason. i just did. it's what i chose. we had to try many different ones bc my daughter was a spitter. i'm sure if i was bfing i would have been told to try and alter my diet and ya know what? new formula, new diet, it didn't make a lick of difference. she was a spitter and there wasn't anything that was going to change it.

    i love your posts and love your honesty.

  6. Stacia- I would never throw stones. That's exactly the point of this post. We all do the best we can. Parenting isn't ever done with a full night's sleep and a completely functioning brain. We're exhausted and weary and confused a lot of the time. If you do breastfeed this time around, look for support because the truth is, it isn't always easy. And you are ABSOLUTELY right about your first one being a spitter and the fact that there is nothing you can do about it. I think we expect to much from little baby stomachs too early. Breast or bottle, they all have some kind of adjustment period. Breastfeeding mommies get told to alter their diet...formula mommies get told to change formulas over and over again. Either way it's frustrating and we need to be able to lean on one another in those difficult times...not have to worry about dodging those thrown stones ;)

    By the way, thanks for reading!!!

  7. This is exactly what i love about being able to talk openly about this... no matter what you choose for your baby, it's what you choose and there shouldn't be any judgement one way or the other. in the end a mom has her reasons so leave the ones alone who don't do it your way... am i right? i don't mean you, you... i think you know what i mean. lol. it's all about sticking together as mothers and support each other.