29 November, 2010

Breastfeeding...Totally Disgusting!

I was being sarcastic up there in the title. I've been all over the intrawebz reading how disgusting it is to breastfeed a baby, and how no one should have to look at someone feeding their child in public. I'm astonished to be quite honest. Of course, I see breastfeeding advocates all over the place. And while I have a little bit of a problem with the "boob nazis", that isn't what this post is about.

I have many mommy friends. Mommy friends who, as all mommies do, need to feed their babies. I have mommy friends who have chosen to breastfeed for long periods of time. I have friends who have breastfed for a shorter amount of time. I have friends who have started to breastfeed and then had to stop for one reason or another. And I've had friends who have just never breastfed and went straight to formula. I don't judge my friends for their choices and never will. They do what is best for their children, their families and their situation, and that's what all of us should do.

A little background on my experience with breastfeeding. With Reilly, I chose to breastfeed to begin with. I had a very hard time with it. I was too stressed out and emotionally and mentally exhausted, and breastfeeding wasn't working for me. I stopped after three months. I felt it was the best choice for both of us. And it was! We were both much happier. With Ophelia, I decided that I would try again with breastfeeding. It was cheaper, and much greener! And of course its good for baby! I made myself some short and long term goals. Short term is three months. I figure that if I can make it to three months, and still feel good about breastfeeding, then I'll continue. My next goal after three months is six months. And so on until I reach a year, or I decide that it isn't working out for our family.

feeding her baby
So since I'm exclusively breastfeeding (with the exception of Thanksgiving, where I drank a liiiiittle too much, and ended up giving Ophelia formula. But that neither here nor there) I have to breastfeed where ever I am. I don't pump. I tried to make a point to do it for the first month or so of Ophelia's life, but it was too hard. It's time consuming, and it hurts my hand (I have a manual pump) and really...its just NOT the same as breastfeeding. I feel like its a big waste of my time. So I never have a bottle for her. I always make sure I have something to cover myself up with. Breastfeeding isn't disgusting. Unfortunately, it has become the norm in our society to formula feed. And that's fine! If it works for you, more power to you. If you don't like breastfeeding for one reason or another, that's fine too. I won't judge. But to think that doing something as natural as breastfeeding is disgusting is ridiculous. Women have been breastfeeding for as long as humans have been on this planet. It was the only source of food for babies for a very, very long time. People didn't think it was disgusting back then! In fact, women still walk around topless in some third world countries. It makes me sad that, especially in America, breasts are such a sexual thing that we are disgusted when they are used for what they were MADE to be used for. Breasts weren't sexual first. They were sexual second. They are there for food and comfort for our children. Breastfeeding is a beautiful, natural, bonding experience for both mother and child, and hopefully fathers as well, even though they can't feed their children from their chest. I hope that the fathers out there understand and are grateful to their wives who breastfeed. I hope that they can see the true beauty of what their wife is doing. And I hope they can appreciate it with all their hearts.

For those of you (which, I hope if you're reading my blog, you aren't like this, but even if you are, take the time to learn something) who don't like seeing a woman breastfeed, especially in public, I have some advise for you. Suck it up. Avert your eyes. Leave the area. Or just deal with it and go on like nothing is even happening. That's what we do. I don't draw attention to myself when I'm feeding my child in public. I cover up, and she lays there quietly and eats. And when she's done, I put my boobs away and go on with life. Hell, you may have seen me in a restaurant and didn't even know I was breastfeeding. While my parents were in town, we went down to Waikiki to go to dinner. I didn't bring my wrap with me, which I normally wear if I'm going to be breastfeeding, but daddy decided he wanted to carry Ophelia. So I had to hold her and feed her. All while walking down the strip. Most people didn't even notice. And to my absolute amazement, the people who did smiled politely and nodded at me. I was waiting for someone to tell me to take that somewhere else. But no one did! I was WAITING to tell someone that if they wanted to listen to my child cry, that was fine, but I certainly didn't...I certainly don't want to deprive her of her food source just for someone elses comfort. And I certainly never will.  

feeding my baby
I'm lucky. I have an amazingly supportive husband. He tries to do and suggest what is best for me and our daughter. The week after we got out of the hospital, he took Reilly to gymnastics, I was having a really hard time breastfeeding. I had sore, cracked, bleeding nipples that hurt every time Ophelia ate. He offered to buy formula so I could have a break. It was sweet. I mean, I broke down crying on the phone and told him that I would stick it out, but it was a sweet gesture. He helps me cover up when I need it when we're out in public. He is just fantastic. Granted, he still oogles my boobs whenever they are out, but I'm okay with that. He is my husband after all. I have amazing friends and family who are also super supportive. My mom breastfed my brother and I up until we were about a year old (I forget exactly how long) and she did so while she went back to work! I also have an amazing daughter who knows its okay to feed a baby from a bottle or a boob. I made sure to drill that into her head before Ophelia was born. Reilly had never seen a baby breastfeeding...and now she copies me. I have more than one picture of her breastfeeding her baby dolls. And it makes me happy. No matter what she decides to do with her own children, I will stand by her, of course...and I will make sure that she has all the right information. And that she knows that she can do whatever she thinks is best for her and her family. And I will instill those values in Ophelia, and any other daughter(s) that Brad and I may have. And I'll teach our boy(s) about the importance of breastfeeding too...because hopefully one day, they will be parents as well, and they need to know the importance of supporting their wife and child in that way.

So for all of you who are anti-breastfeeding...please...talk to a mommy who has breastfed. Talk to a mommy who has been so desperate to breastfeed that she could cry, but for one reason or another can't. Talk to a mommy who loves the bond between herself and her child. Talk to those mommies and support them. Talk to those mommies who have chose to formula feed their child and support them too. And talk to the daddies who are so proud of their spouses for doing that for their child.

1 comment:

Crystal said...

Amazing post! Congratulations for breastfeeding and standing up for it! I am an extended breastfeeding Mama to a 19 month old. I ave no problem nursing my girl when she needs it. In fact, I nursed her in my living in front of my in-laws who do not approve this weekend.