Thursday, July 1, 2010

To Breastfeed or Not

To breastfeed or not is a big question for many new moms.  But for some, it's not a question at all.  I admit that when I was pregnant with C, it wasn't that big a question at first, I wasn't planning on it.  My mom hadn't breastfed any of us (there for 4 of us) and we all turned out okay (for the most part!)  Sure, we had our fair share of childhood illnesses, but no more than other children, even those who were breastfed.  But as the pregnancy went on, and I read more books and talked to Hubby about it, I started to change my mind.  I never got to the "I WILL breastfeed no matter what" frame of mind many women get to, but I really wanted to try.  I already had such a connection to the little human growing inside of me, and I wanted to continue that bond as long as possible. 

A pregnancy blog I read regularly talked about an article about how one woman chose to formula feed from the beginning.  She was trying to get the word out that it's okay to formula feed.  While I think she chose to get her point across in a way I would not have (calling breastfeeding "creepy") I think she has a good point.  At 6 months I was on antibiotics that made it so I could not nurse while I took them, and my supply dropped a lot even though I continued to pump, and I was not able to get my supply back up (in all honesty, I didn't try that hard) so I stopped pumping.  That means that once my frozen supply was gone, when C was not with me, he got formula.  I did nurse whenever we were together until he was almost 10 months though.  However, whenever people would ask if I breastfed (yes, that is actually a very popular question) and I said yes, but supplemented with formula (this was usually a follow up question,) I got some really interesting responses and comments.  Some of them really hurt my feelings.  I was already a full-time working mom with a lot of guilt because I was leaving my baby with someone else all day, even if that someone else was my mom.  I didn't need the extra guilt over what my very healthy, happy and handsome little boy was eating. 

People can be very judgemental and while I welcome advise and help when needed, I don't think women need extra guilt put on them, by other women especially.  Would I encourage another new mom to try breastfeeding?  Yes, I had a wonderful experience and wouldn't change it for anything.  Would I judge a new mom for choosing not to even try?  No, it's their choice and it's not for everyone.  There are many reasons why women can't, or don't want to, breastfeed and I have no right to expect an explanation for such personal decisions.

Will I breastfeed again?  If the baby and I are both able to, absolutely!  I won't say I had an easy time with C.  I had days where I cried, where I wanted to stop, where it hurt soooo bad I was sure nothing would ever be the same again, but with support and determination, I continued.  However, if I am not able to for some reason, I hope other women will lay off the guilt.  I am after all, just a mom trying to raise two wonderful, well-rounded, well adjusted, non-criminal, good humans in this crazy world. 

1 comment:

  1. What a good topic! I didn't realize that people ask about this stuff and then judge on whether or not you're doing it! Really, I think it's a very personal thing and it's not really my business how you feed your child.

    As almost all my friends have babies or will soon, I'm learning more and more about how other people behave as in their strange questions and reactions to things. I think it's absurd and hope I will have the decency to answer these as friendly as possible, but still let them know they don't have a right to know. What makes people think that because you have kids, they get a right to know everything about you?