***DISCLAIMER: This post is written by a woman who is 9 months pregnant and sleep deprived. This woman is also incredibly politically incorrect and if you find offense in anything she says, you are more than welcome to curse under your breathe and get over it***
Early this morning I was having trouble getting comfortable and decided to go ahead and get up before I drove my husband crazy tossing and turning. I got onto one of the baby sites that I read and after a few clicks read an article that has me fuming. I won't link the article because I think the author is a quack and refuse to give publicity to her insane rantings. My insane rantings are the only thing publicized here. The article centered on the breast vs. bottle feeding debate. Any woman who has been pregnant knows that this is one of the most heated debates revolving around child rearing. It is right up there with spanking vs not and circumcision vs. not. To summarize the author of the articles view (this is totally my paraphrase of what she said): Breastfeeding mothers are all part of a cult in which they look down upon those mothers that use bottles. Breastfeeding mothers do not have brains. Breastfeeding mothers are so wrapped up in their children that they breastfeed in order to be able to control every aspect of their young child's life and to block the father from having bonding experiences with their child. Breastfeeding mothers are granola eating, birkenstock wearing, hippie women. They only breastfeed for their own gain.
Anyone who knows me knows that I completely and totally support any woman's decision on this issue....either way. I do not think how you choose to feed your child has bearing on how much you love that child, unless of course you are choosing to NOT feed your child either formula or breastmilk. I think "Bottle Moms" are just as loving and caring as "Boob Moms". I am not a member of the Le Leche League because I think their tactics stink at times. Many members of that organization make it their practice to make other mothers feel like less of a mom because they choose the formula route. This HORRIFIES me. However, why is it now ok to attack those mothers that are quietly, after careful thought and consideration, choosing to breastfeed their children???
This is not just an issue with breastfeeding...it is an issue with Americans today. Everyone has an opinion, but when called on it they can't back it up. I can back up my decision to breastfeed....rather well.
While pregnant with my oldest son, Austin, I began to think about this. I originally had the typical woman's thought pattern on this. "Well, I guess I can TRY to breastfeed". I decided that I really needed to do some more research. My own mother did breastfeed, but I really had very little exposure to breastfeeding. I read several books on the subject and decided that given all of the benefits that *I* saw that I would be breastfeeding. It was an absolute, no try about it. I prepared by reading and by realizing that breastfeeding IS NOT EASY!!!!! It just isn't. It isn't all that natural anymore (a lot of this comes from our bombardment with formula and bottles in our culture). When Austin was born their were complications and I ended up with a C-section. I did not get to hold my son until he was 5 hours old. This wasn't the way I wanted to start out. Breastfeeding started off HORRIBLE. Once home from the hospital things only got worse. To make a long and tearful story short I ended up in the ER when Austin was only a few days old with mastitis in both breasts. The ER doctor told me, this is where most women stop breastfeeding. In my mind that was not an option. Luckily the hospital at the Marine Corps base I lived on at the time had a wonderful Lactation Consultant (if you plan on breastfeeding find you one of these people BEFORE the birth of your child). After a few days more of torture and having to literally break open milk ducts (sounds pleasant right?) Austin and I got the hang of the whole deal. Things went MUCH smoother with Brodie as I knew what I was doing.
I tell this story only because I want to illustrate that I did not breastfeed merely for myself. Don't get me wrong, their were wonderful benefits for me. I was hellbent on breastfeeding because I thought and still do that I wanted to give my child the benefits that I saw. As for the bonding issue with the fathers, when did we get the notion that the only way to bond with our children is through food? That is all I will say on that subject because this to me is a scapegoat reason for people who feel guilty about their choice.
My point in all of this is that whatever your choice in feeding your newborn...OWN IT! If you choose to bottlefeed then do so. There is no need to come up with a million excuses as to why you don't want to breastfeed. That is YOUR child and YOUR choice. No one has the right to make you feel guilty about your choice. If asked about your decision all you have to say is, "I decided that this was the right thing for our family." And leave it at that. If someone chooses to judge you, then that is their own superiority issue. Be like my friend Shana...say, "I don't do the boob thing"...amen sister. No further explanation needed. I am tired of hearing women who choose formula say "Well I tried to breastfeed for a day and I just couldn't do it. I am just one of those that can't". Sorry, that doesn't fly. Own the fact that you just didn't want to. It is FINE. Just own it. 95% of woman CAN breastfeed if they choose. That is just fact. (I, of couse, am only talking about healthy newborns born with no complications.)
However, it is NOT ok for formula moms to make breast moms feel bad either. I will breastfeed my child in public. I will not however flash you. If it makes you uncomfortable to hear slurping behind the blanket draped across my chest, MOVE AWAY. I will not retreat to a bathroom to feed my child. Do you go to the bathroom to give your child a bottle? Do you eat your hamburger while sitting on the toilet? I will not be made to feel like I am some sort of sicko because I breastfeed and enjoy it. I enjoy the experience of it. God put the boobs on my chest for a reason. It is not wrong or sick. It is MY CHOICE.
I can defend my choice....can you?
*I will now step down from my soapbox*