Trying to Do What Is Breast

I haven’t been around in a while. I have been caught up with work, specialists, and parenting and have once again neglected this. Finally, everything seems to have slowed down, in which now I can focus on other tasks on my to-do list, such as finally book editing and a side project I was given to accomplish. My hopes of my book being published this month seems to not be a likely goal, but I’m hopeful if I can just sit down and focus on it long enough without interruptions, I can do this. However, I am a mom of a toddler and a tween so that is all wishful thinking. All I can do is take it one day at a time.

Now, to the real topic at hand: boobs. Well, actually nursing in public. It is a hot topic of debate, especially in my little corner of Western Massachusetts.

I was casually reading my Facebook on Friday, as I had completed all my work and felt that I deserved a day on the couch clearing my DVR. I did clean off most of my DVR, but I also spent way too much time following a series of threads on a page that I liked because it was this amazing place that my toddler loves to play at. I love it, because it’s clean and inexpensive and it is awesome for working on his developmental delays that the specialists work with him on. Apparently they tried to institute a “nurse covered up or in a room” policy, which is illegal in Massachusetts. Okay, we like the law, so 300 comments about how she’s in the wrong and it’s illegal and blah blah, the page takes down the post and changes it to a series of “I didn’t know it was illegal, policy won’t be enacted, please be respectful” posts, to which the owner got equally attacked for.

I sat and read everything that was written. People that had never even been to this small business were giving it 1 star ratings to tank the reviews, which were pretty much all 4 or 5 stars. People posted pictures of themselves nursing, made comments about how formula fed babies should be covered up because it is offensive to see someone be a terrible parent and not nurse their child. People were vicious and cruel and completely out of line. What came out of a “please cover up” post came a torrent of unleashed rage upon anyone who disagreed with them or even said this place was a great place to visit. In fact, even today if someone comments about how it was a great place, someone comments about how it is a terrible place for not welcoming nursing moms. Only to unleash further viciousness upon anyone who dared like this place because it didn’t fit in with their values and views.

I was appalled. I was offended and angry. I was horrified. And it wasn’t the policy that made me feel this way. It was everything that happened afterward that I found so appalling. I think I saw the worst of humanity, the truth in the old adage about how women are the cruelest to one another. It pained me. Every word horrified me and made me wonder what made people so god damn high and mighty that they could belittle people based on their opinions when they are trying to prove a point about how they matter. They do matter, but so do the people that disagree with them. That’s what makes America so great: we are entitled to have our own opinions as long as they match yours.

Do I feel uncomfortable watching a woman nurse in public? Sure, I absolutely do. Does that mean that it shouldn’t be allowed? That’s what I trust our politicians to decide. I didn’t even like it when I was trying to nurse when the lactation consultant watched me. Am I a terrible mom because I couldn’t nurse as a result of my son’s inability to latch on? Absolutely not. Did I pump full-time to provide milk for my son? Yes I did. Does that make me any better than a person who chooses to use formula? Absolutely not, no more than me giving birth naturally makes me any better than someone who used an epidural or a C-section. Nursing or providing breast milk for your child does not make you the best mom in the world, just because. And if you think that, the problem is you. Moms need to stop attacking other moms, because being a mom is the hardest job in the world. As long as your child is nourished with good food, played with, taught lessons, and attended to, you are a good mom. Whether you nurse, bottle feed breast milk, use formula, buy baby food or make it, as long as you make sure your child is provided for that is all that matters. As long as you are there for your child and making sure it grows up with good role models and morals, you are doing it right. As long as your child is succeeding and you are doing everything it takes to allow success, you are a good mom. It’s when you start failing at any of those, that you are no longer a good mom. A drug addict that pawns off their kid all the time on someone else to raise is not a good mom just because she breastfeeds her child.

Then there is this video, from my local news site. I posted it on my Facebook, but I feel it does prove an excellent point here.

Take note of the first mom they keep panning back to outside giving an interview. I was too busy being horrified about the state of that little 8 month old daughter she had in her arms. She discussed about how she wants to empower women in any decision they make and civil rights to nurse wherever they want. Now, for those who do not live in our area, please note that when this interview took place the wind chill was in the negative degrees. Her 8 month old daughter is outside, cheeks red from cold, without protection from the cold.

So does nursing make you a better mother than everyone else? No. Should people be attacked if they prefer to cover up when nursing? Nope. Should a mother be vilified for being unable to nurse or deciding formula is the right decision for their family? Again, I’m going to say no. Should people be vilifying a company that was trying to mistakenly please everyone and put everyone who stands behind the company on some terrorism list? No. Should we start accepting everyone’s differences and opinions because that was what our great country was founded on? I say yes, and no one should ever think they are better than anyone else just because their high horse says so.

Reading Books About Nursing: Part 1

Maybe my nesting instinct has gone into overdrive, but I realized that after all my deciding on breastfeeding I hadn’t bought any books to teach me the basics of nursing. I saw a video on my pregnancy app, and I admit I was completely repulsed and ready to stock up on formula saying “no effing way I’m doing that”. After weeks of nightmares of watching this woman “hand express” her milk, I shook it off like any other nightmare and reasserted myself back into the idea of breastfeeding. I bought some bras and pads, a pump, and I was ready for this. Then I realized I needed to buy books to read up about it, hoping to feel more knowledgeable and ready for this.

Normally, I’d just go on my Kindle and download whatever I wanted. But I was at the mall anyways, and I decided why not just stop in at Barnes and Noble. There, I stood with a few options on which book to pick. My phone’s internet wasn’t working and I was lost staring at titles. Instinctively, the first one I grabbed was the La Leche League International’s book, The Womanly Art of Breast Feeding. This is the book today’s post will be about. The other book I eventually picked, because I like second opinions, was entitled The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding. Obviously the title gives away the fact this is part of a 2 part series about books on breastfeeding. I might be inspired to get another book or 2 and if I do, I’ll share my thoughts on them as well. I might not though, because after only reading one, I might not want to read about female anatomy anymore.

I picked the La Leche League book to read first, because in every app or online site they mention this organization with breastfeeding. I figured if there was ever an informative book, those lovely women would’ve written it. However, I realized shortly after starting the book that this book wasn’t what I was hoping for. For every bit of useful information I read, I read a bunch of propaganda and patronization. For the good majority of the first part of the book, I read about how breastfeeding is the way to go and if you fail at it it’s because you didn’t try hard enough. I felt guilty after reading parts of it as if I was doing something completely wrong for questioning if I really wanted to do this or not. After the guilt, which I’ll admit passed quickly, I couldn’t help but to read the rest of the book as judgmentally as it read me.

As if that wasn’t enough, I ended up raising my eyebrows at this book. It seemed to romanticize the ideal of nursing your child. When I’m thinking about my kids, I’m not thinking of a romantic situation. The way some of the parts were written made me question if I was reading an informative how-to or pedo porn. They made it seem like the only reason someone should nurse, (and nurse for what seems like until you put your child on a bus to grade school) was to create a bond only you and your child can have. It seemed more like a sick power trip than being actually useful to your child. I’m choosing to do it because it’s the financially smartest approach and the healthiest one, not because I want a biting toddler chewing at my boobs forever. I even read parts of the story they tell in the book about a woman breastfeeding her son aloud to my husband, as if I were reciting lines from a cheesy romance novel. He thought I had exaggerated what the book said until he read it himself. Another problem I had involved the fact I was considering exclusively pumping, as the idea of a baby actually suckling from my chest and the idea my husband couldn’t bond with our child. This book gave useful information about pumping exclusively and storage, but I felt like they attacked that idea. They constantly enforced that breastfeeding is about mother/child bonding and pumping ruins this attachment and you’re an awful person for denying your child that magical love boob juice.

For every bit of good this book did informing me about different positions to feed or pumping, I felt awful after reading the book. It was like visiting an ever critical relative that made you feel like dirt afterwards because you aren’t good enough. I doubt I’m the only one who’s opting for this method of feeding for logical and financial reasons, and I doubt I’m the only one who would love to share the responsibility of feeding and would be annoyed for being made to feel like an awful mother for that. I hope the next book is less judgmental or preachy, or I may end up stock piling formula now.

The Breast Thing To Do?

Admittedly, I giggled writing the title. Some days I think I’ve never matured from high school. Back to the topic at hand: breasts, well in this case breast-feeding. With my first son I didn’t breast feed. The idea of having someone attached to my nipple several times a day actually disturbed me, plus I worked way to many hours to even consider breast-feeding as an option. This time around I’ve decided to give it a try, despite the idea of it still disturbing me. Before I get an applause from those fanatics of lactation, the sole reason for this decision comes down to the fact that I’m cheap and this is the cheapest way to feed a child. It just so happens it’s incredibly healthy for them.

I have problems with breast-feeding more than just the idea of it making me cringe. The idea that my husband can’t be hands on in the most bonding experience of a newborn upsets me. It doesn’t upset me enough to want to become a cow that solely attaches to a machine to make milk, but enough that I consider it. There was two of us that created a child, why shouldn’t both of us be able to adequately bond with it. Plus, that means I’m the only one crawling out of bed every two hours to make sure he’s fed. I like the shared duty idea.. because I’ve grown fond of sleep lately and would like to be able to enjoy at least four hours of it.

I also don’t think that there’s anything wrong with formula feeding your child. My first-born was formula fed and outside of bad genetics, grew up just fine. I don’t think that there’s really much of a difference nutritionally between the two. I understand how breast-feeding provides for immunities and such, but when you get down to the real vitamin and mineral content is there really a difference? Obviously not really, as like I said my first-born grew up just fine and I know more people who formula fed than breast-fed and their kids are perfectly fine too.

In my lovely state of Massachusetts, they have recently banned the formula give-aways you would get in the hospital after giving birth to your child. Sorry, they didn’t legally ban it. It just so happens that all the hospitals mutually agreed to voluntarily stop providing this to patients to force.. sorry, encourage breast-feeding to new mothers. They say these freebies encourage mothers to skip breast-feeding and formula feed their children. I’d hate to break it to the world, but news flash: if a mother doesn’t want to breast feed, she’s not going to do it. In fact, forcing her into something that’s uncomfortable for her is probably worse for them and pushes them more towards formula feeding. We also can’t forget that, and I know that this might be a complete shock, that some women actually can’t physically breast feed. There are some mothers that adopt their kids, use surrogates or just have various other medical complications with breast feeding. So let’s have the great idea of making them feel less like a real mother. Because only real women breast feed right?

I don’t like being pressured into anything. Ever. It doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to fail at breast-feeding and have swarms of lactation crazy women saying “I didn’t try hard enough.” Yeah, that’s going to do wonders for my self-esteem. This idea that a group of people can come together and tell me, “yeah, I know if you work this might be hard for you. And there are places online where you can buy other people’s breast milk if you can’t offer your own.” Thanks guys! I love the idea that my only options are my breast milk or some stranger I don’t even know’s breast milk. This idea actually disgusts the tiny bit of feminist in me. Next all women will be forced out of work because them being home is the best thing for their child. I heard the 50’s were such a great time for women. I like advice on how to raise a healthy child. Advise me to breast feed all you want, but my boobs are my business.