So just a minute ago, this article on my Facebook news feed caught my eye.
Breast: Incompetent but Best.
So we're going to talk about boobies today, folks.
So, as most of you know, I've shot three kids out of my vagina. G came along when I was 19, L when I was 21, and S when I was 27. With G, I tried and tried to nurse him. L, I made nothing. Not even that fun stuff that leaks out of your boobs when your pregnant... But my life was also different with G and L. Dave was a different person with a different career- And I knew he wasn't going to be around, and I was going to be alone those days that I wanted to drown the kid in the bathtub for biting me for the 27th time that day.
When we got closer to S's due date, I knew G and L were going to be out of the state for an extended period of time but that I was also going to have issues- So I gave it my all. I tried to nurse, which he hated because there wasn't enough to keep him interested. So we bottle fed and supplemented with breast milk- The whole 5 ounces I got pumping 10 times a day. I took herbs. I took Reglan. I drank that god awful tea. I got advice from every Know-Everything. I attended La Leche League meetings. (Never feed your child a bottle at a La Leche League meeting. They will chase you out of there with pitchforks and torches) I returned to the lactation consultant at the hospital. (90 dollars that my insurance didn't pay for, BTW. Where's the fucking justice in my 14k a year policy, Aetna?)
I tried and tried and tried... And for 8 weeks, S got every bit of breast milk I could give him. Then G and L came home. Do you have any idea how draining it is to pump every 8 hours, on top of doing most of the baby's feedings and trying to take care of (then) 5 and 7 year olds? Yeah.
So I quit. Not without it's share of guilt, though. And now, I have quite a few friends who are on the 'Boobie Brigade'. You know the type... The militant breastfeeders- The ones who will breastfeed until their child is 2 or in Kindergarten or whatever. The ones who's first assumption is 'What a terrible mother' when they see you pop a bottle in your child's mouth. I also have friends who are on the bottle side of life. I also have friends who see women breastfeeding a 9 month old and their first thought is "Ok. So now that he's old enough to ask for it, when are you going to stop?".
So, honestly, I think that we all know that breast is best. But there comes a point in life where our choices are just that. I don't think that any of my breastfeeding friends are any less competent than I am at parenting or life because they nurse. Nor do I think that my bottle feeding friends are any more competent. (Most days, I think they are all more competent than I am.) In the 50's, American culture's love of big Pharma took on this pedestrian view of breastfeeding with the dry up shots and the invention of formula... But science is now telling us otherwise.
But being judgmental of either camp isn't going to change minds or hearts in our lifetime... Because the very person that you're judging could be someone like me. And labeling breastfeeding mothers anything short of dedicated isn't going to help anyone.
Side note: Turns out, I had an underlying medical condition. Had it been diagnosed, I would have been able to almost completely nurse all three boys.