Monday, April 25, 2011

The Boobie Monologues

To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? I despise this subject entirely. But I feel as if I need to address it for the non-judgemental community.  There are 2 groups in this world; those that breastfeed and those that do not. Or as I like to address them as the "haves" and the "have nots". I unfortunately was a have not. While pregnant with baby #1 I foolishly could not understand why my neighbor gave up breastfeeding after 3 weeks. What insanity! How stupid! It had to be because she was a lazy mom that wanted to resume her partying ways. Man, if I knew then what I know now, I would have marched right over to her front door and given her a big hug and let her know that she and baby would be okay.

I failed twice at breastfeeding, yes, TWICE! My first daughter had horrible problems latching on. I was inexperienced, without help, and unaware of resources that would truly, truly help. Both my mother and eldest sister were experienced, super breast-feeders, and couldn't understand my difficulty with it. They were baffled and not shy of hiding their confusion. My daughter's 1st pediatrician recommended I supplement because her initial weight gain was slow. That was the end of breastfeeding Georgia, the bottle was just too easy and we kind of gave up on each other.

In fact, my confidence was further destroyed during our short experience with my highly loved (eh hem, I hope you can read into my HUGE sarcasm here)WIC program. Rocky suffered a short bout of unemployment. Though it only lasted 3 weeks, it was enough to bring us down from middle class to poverty over night. Why not take advantage of my tax dollars and utilize programs that I pay into? 7 months pregnant with baby #2, I was required by WIC to take a breast feeding class because I did not nurse my 1st child the "mandatory" 6 weeks. I understand the idea behind the requirement. However, I wasn't about to allow a state agency that told me I couldn't feed my child raisans or 2% milk (but would allow for peanut butter, tortillas, juice, Kix, honey nut cheerios, and whole milk) teach me how to breast feed. In fact, the local WIC office had a huge poster board declaring how bad formula was - according to WIC, it lead to cancer, diabetes, obesity, and enhanced genetic diseases and slowed brain development. Wow?! Right?

Houston arrived and was great at breastfeeding, but I was unconfident, and then the colic kicked in. If anyone has ever had a child with colic, you don't know it's colic till about the 2nd week in. Before we knew the colic diagnosis, I assumed I had an inadequate supply (did I mention I was unconfident), and began supplementing. Once again, we were done breast feeding.

Yes, I failed at breastfeeding 2 babies. I am a horrible mother, or am I? I am a smart, confident, woman, why did I fail?  I don't fail at anything. We can examine all the reasons that breastfeeding didn't work for me, but that is either here nor there. I think what the breastfeeding community doesn't understand about us "have not's" is that we all want to provide what's best for our darling dears. We understand that breast is best. Our babies are still receiving the same love, adoration, and well-being. Yet there is still a community of moms out there that think we are weak, lazy, and living without a conscious. I know they exist, I have read the message boards.

And for those that assume it's "easier" to bottle/formula's not. When society tells you something is so wrong, yet allows for it's sale in every store imaginable, you become a little bit insane. What's right? What's wrong? Why is she succesful at this, but I'm not? When is it acceptable to stop? Is IT acceptable to stop? How will my mother/sister/best friend think of me? I can still remember bawling my eyes out in the shower, accepting my failure breastfeeding Georgia. To this day, it leaves a lump in my throat. Had society's expectations been so high (and brutally opinionated), would I not have felt so miserable? And why am I still so embarassed to admit I failed at breast feeding? HUGELY embarassed!

So where do you fall? Are you a have or a have not? Do you have compassion and understanding for either side? Or is it simply unacceptable to "give up?"

I say, if you are a successful breast feeder, pat yourself on the back - whether it was luck or pure determination - we, the have nots, truly honor your accomplishment. While you're patting your back, reach over and pat the bottle feeding mama next to you and let her know that she's a great mom too. We are all walking the same road in trying to raise happy, healthy human beings.

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  1. I'm a "have" that has breastfed all my children past a year and did it relatively easily. I was also a breastfeeding counselor for WIC and saw a lot of problems while working for WIC. I think way too much guilt is placed on moms when breastfeeding goes wrong. So many of the problems breastfeeding stem from bad hospital practices that get moms off to a rocky start or send them home uneducated in what to expect with a lack of confidence. Pediatricians and labor and delivery nurses do not feel the guilt the mother feels when she is unable to continue nursing but they often did much more to contribute to the problem than the mother did and all her efforts can't always undo the problems caused in just the first couple weeks. I agree that breastfeeding moms need to be quick to remember that formula feeding moms love their babies just as much!

  2. I'm a full time breastfeeder and breastfeeding advocates still scare the ever-lovin crap out of me. My first daughter I did both, at five months switched to only nursing at night, and I don't know when I stopped altogether. With my second... I failed at bottle feeding. I KNOW, RIGHT?! Believe it or not people can make you feel incompetent over your baby refusing to take a bottle, too. So while I planned on doing both with Olivia, Olivia had her own plans, and along the way I learned that unless your baby is acting lethargic, if you want to breastfeed you throw down and breastfeed. Your supply will go up with the demand, there will just be a few hard days in between. And at the end of the day, its nicest if your baby will take both. Because guess who can't go out without her baby? Me! Yayyyy! But outside of that, man, nursing is way easier, when I'm home alone with the kidlets. I'm too lazy to make a bottle. I wish I could breastfeed forever instead of making food. lol.