Thursday, February 5

boobs

I had fantastic experiences nursing my punks. They nursed often and grew well. I didn't have to worry about preparing and cleaning bottles or where we were going or for how long, and probably a whole long list of other things that bottle feeding requires that hasn't occured to me. It just worked really well for us.

So, seeing how wonderful all this was, I became a big supporter of breastfeeding. I scowl when I see bottles used as a symbol of motherhood or infancy. I cheer when I see moms nursing in public. I made a point of choosing a pediatrician that didn't hand out formula samples. I don't buy bottle oriented gifts for pregnant friends. I even hand out breastfeeding information if they're interested.

But I have a big problem with a fraction of the "ban-the-bottle" culture. The anti-bottle-feeding-mom people. It is one thing to try to change the culture of breastfeeding where you live, quite another to scowl and give dirty looks at a woman just because her baby is sucking a bottle. That's just simply mean and judgemental. No matter what her story, even if she just simply decided not to nurse, for whatever reason, she doesn't need that kind of crap. Mothers are entitled to make their own choices for their families. It agonizes me to hear about mothers ridden with guilt because they feel like they gave up or made a bad choice. Guilt is not something mothering needs. Guilt is not something babies need to feel. Assume that every mom is doing the best. The best for herself, her family, her time, and her culture.

17 comments:

  1. That's brave! I wanted to hold onto the formula packs, just in case:)

    I'm all for nursing and the mother- child bond that comes with it, but sometimes, just sometimes, bottle- feeding is so convenient... doesn't draw much attention, and why not?

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  2. It's funny... I think in California bottle feeding draws a lot of attention... negative attention... thus the direction this post ended up going. I don't have any first hand experience with it though. I couldn't imagine anything more convenient than breastfeeding. As far as why not... depends on what exactly you're referring to. The benefits of breastfeeding are many.

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  3. Also... I too held on to those formula samples from the hospital... just in case. But ended up giving them to someone who was already using formula after a few months. And now that I know how much they can stall the progress of a breastfeeding relationship that is struggling, I campaign hospitals not to give them away. It's a form of promotion. At the very least they should also promote breastfeeding.

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  4. I agree with you completely. I always breast fed my four, but the last one for not so long. It just didn't work well that time. I was older. You can't judge other mothers fairly. You don't know their circumstances.

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  5. You are completely right. I had one friend who never got enough breastmilk with her first and had so much guilt over it. I think whatever works best for you and your family is what is important. I breastfed my first for 11 months and the second for 9 months and I don't feel any regret for switching to the bottle. Moms have it tough enough without more guilt from other Moms no less put into the mix.

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  6. Being judgemental is the only way "these people" feel better about themselves. They have absolutely no clue as to what's happening in the mother's life or if she's even capable of breastfeeding. They need to get off their soapbox and coo over the healthy baby and not direct negative attention towards the mother.

    Whew, thanks for that, I feel better. :)

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  7. I just got nother great word identification upon completing my comment post.... "Burba."

    Isn't that what a baby does after it's done nursing/taking a bottle. Is this thing rigged?

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  8. I would generalize this to a frustration with everyone who feels like what works for them (religion, politics, diet, whatever) must, therefore, be the right answer for everyone!

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  9. Well said! And you have an award to pick up at my place :)

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  10. bobbie: exactly, every situation is different
    lisa: you're welcome! and I agree, I think the word verification is rigged.
    Jeanne: good point.
    Crazy charm: Thanks! twice.

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  11. oops
    Janna: Yes, no more guilt for moms. Even though extended nursing worked for us, I encourage mom's to think both about their needs and the need of the baby when they ask me about it. It's not right for everyone.

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  12. You're right not to jump to conclusions-I was unable to nurse my youngest because he was in neonatal ICU in one hospital and I was in the hospital in another state for so long my milk dried up before I got to join him. You never know another mom's circumstances.

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  13. Amen, great post. Funny I posted about boobs today (Thursday) at my blog! LOVE your mothering outlook. Lucky Punks! Aloha-

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  14. It's amazing, isn't it, once procreation comes into the picture, how many people feel free to touch you, scold you, tell you how they personally feel about what you're doing... I breastfed my son and loved every minute of it. As far as other women giving a bottle, we have no idea if that's breast milk, if she's sick/unable to feed, if she's on medication or in a hurry or what her deal is. Sometimes, things are just none of our business!
    Pearl

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  15. I have heard this rumor about California glaring at moms who bottle feed. What about moms like me that adopt their babies? If someone dared give me a look, or approach me, I would flip my lid!

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  16. My mantra always was and still is, "If the momma ain't happy, the baby ain't happy." I've had all sorts of friends doing all sorts of combos with bottle and nursing. I was a working mom, so I had the pump and everything. And don't forget, some of those bottles may hold breastmilk that a mom has so diligently and patiently pumped and may be feeding to her child due to a medical condition, or some other problem she was dealing with. Moms have to do what's right for themselves as much as the baby, or all the stress will transfer to the baby. We should really stop being so judgmental, because none of us know what the underlying situation is.

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  17. You're right on the money on this one.

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...and you may ask yourself, well...how did I get here?