Monday, July 19, 2010


I took an online survey today about breastfeeding and whether today's moms were pressured to do it. Everyone says that "breast is best," which makes the mom who decides not to even try it feel guilty.

I went into breastfeeding with eyes wide open that this was more likely not to work than to work. I was then pleasantly surprised when it DID work, with few problems. And then it worked well for a second child, again with few problems (so far, knocking on wood!). We mainly made this choice because of the health benefits to the baby, but cost was a big huge factor for us too. There are a ton of other reasons that never would've occurred to me:
1. The gaze. E just looks at me with this adoring gaze--Oh Earth Mother, thank you for this nourishment!
2. The poop. It washes out sooo much easier.
3. The waist. Breastfeeding requires more calories than even being pregnant, so the waist whittles faster than you can say Royale with Cheese.
4. The boobs. Breastfeeding is supposed to help protect the mother from breast cancer.
5. The cheeks. "Booby juice" has given my A chipmunk cheeks, and E seems to be on the way to them too (slower, but still there).
6. The smell. The pediatrician at the hospital made me supplement E with formula. I was awed by the smell of his spit up, and the color was gray.
7. The portability. At the grocery store today, E was crying his eyes out. The man in front of me told me that it happened to them lots of times that they were out at baby's feeding time, and they "had a lot of oh shit moments." It's just not the same when Mommy is right there and baby can be fed any time.

None of this is to say that I think formula feeding is a bad choice. I was formula fed! Both my boys have been formula fed! There is a certain tie to the baby that feeding via Mommy's body locks you into--being away from the baby for pretty much any amount of time requires a LOT of planning (will I be home before the baby wants to eat? Do I have enough milk defrosted? When/where will I pump while I'm away?). The things that go into the body require a lot more thought--how much booze (I love that there is now a TEST STRIP, which is used to determine if Mom has had a little too much fun to nurse her babe!), which medicines.

Argh, now I'm rambling. The short of it: I'm so happy that I am able to breastfeed my baby. I feel so fortunate that it works well for us and that we have the means for me to stay home with him and do it. I in no way think I'm a better mom for it, or that my kids will be better because of it.

(One, short, aside... the mom of my students once confided in me she did extended breastfeeding for both of her kids. Her son and daughter were two of the smartest kids with whom I've ever worked. Coincidence? Dunno. She definitely thought there was something to it, though)