Monday, June 3, 2013

Feeding Babies

Warning: Don't read this post if you don't want to see the word "breastfeeding" several times.

I just thought I'd share my experience with breastfeeding Clark, because a lot of people are a little overzealous about "breast is best" and need to realize that it's not always so black and white. One of my friends here adopted her baby, some women have to go back to work right away, and for some people it just doesn't work.

 I was dead set on it from the beginning. There was just no other option in my mind. At first it was the most difficult and frustrating thing ever--all discomfort aside. Clark could NOT figure out how to latch. Isn't that supposed to come naturally? Long story short, we kept on because I was determined that this was best for us. Finally he got it, and all was well.

Fast forward three months and for whatever reason (Drs say reflux), he was done. Refused to breastfeed and arched away from me screaming every time I tried. Eventually when he was losing weight, grumpy, and starving, I decided it was more important for him to just EAT. We got a special gentle formula and instantly he was back to his normal happy self and eating plenty. But I felt so guilty, and I spent a lot of time stressing and crying about it. And a lot of that guilt came from all the rude, self-righteous comments I'd heard about women who don't breastfeed being selfish and formula being of the devil. And then all the "facts" about how kids who drink formula have lower IQs and aren't healthy. How about my formula-drinking nephew reading and solving math problems at the age of 3? Or my own kid who's just as bright as any kid his age?

Anyway, I had pretty much gotten over all the negative feelings when I went on a trip with Clark. I gave him a bottle as I waited for my flight. (Sidenote: feeding a baby in public is a lose-lose. Breastfeeding in public will surely get you some dirty looks--really people?--and bottle-feeding will win you some critical looks and comments.) A middle-aged woman came over to me and patronizingly asked, "Have you ever considered breastfeeding?" I can't believe I didn't punch her in the face or make some snarky remark like, "WHAT? My boobs can feed my baby?! I had no idea!". Instead I politely said something like, "ya, that didn't work out for us". Do I know you? It's none of your business! (And that goes for all aspects of parenting. Please people-of-the-world, enough unsolicited parenting advice to complete strangers.)

I very quickly learned to just laugh at or ignore any comments people made, but it's all just a little much. Yes, we should be educated on how important breastfeeding is, but we should also be a little more understanding about when women have to fall back on Plan B.


amanda and clay said...

The best thing for you and your baby is what works!! I'm glad you were able to stop beating yourself up about it, you definitely made the right choice!

Still can't believe that lady. Gesh. I wish you wouldn't have been so polite ;)

Cassie Traasdahl said...

oh yes, this is perfect. i'm already opinionated about it so we'll see how much worse it gets when people make comments to me (just for the record, i have every intention of breastfeeding, but like you said, sometimes it doesn't work and i think i'll be okay with that). i found an instagram account the other day that was called breastfeed without fear or something and it's all pictures of women breastfeeding in public and i was like NO! it was so weird.

Alyssa Monahan said...

I second that Natalli! I hate that feeling of critical eyes when you pull out the formula in public! I am so mad at that woman that said that! My production lowered around 3 months so I had to supplement half and half with formula. I wish people could see what a wonderful thing that formula is to help get our baby any nutrition we can when it is a struggle.