Yesterday, a blogger wrote "Breastfeeding Is Not for Me" on momlogic. Here is one mom's response.
Jennifer Ginsberg: When I found out I was pregnant with my son 5 years ago, I was certain of one thing: I would breastfeed. I am not going to bore you with pro-breastfeeding statistics or hit you over the head with "lactivist" propaganda. Because while my brain could not defend against the overwhelming evidence of the risks associated with formula feeding, my choice to exclusively breastfeed came from an intuitive and emotional place.
Some might even call me militant about my dedication to breastfeeding. After 24 hours of excruciating labor followed by an emergency C-section, the last thing I wanted to do was put my newborn son to my breast and try to feed him. When I was pregnant, I had a romanticized vision of me serenely holding my angelic baby as he peacefully nursed at my breast. The reality: I had a screaming, writhing, tiny red beast who was trying to bite my nipples off. When I left the hospital, my breasts were painfully engorged with milk and my nipples were raw. But I told myself there was no other option, and returned to a home free of formula and bottles.
Yes, there was a MAJOR learning curve. It took me many weeks and lactation consultants to help me fix my issues with over-supply, poor latch, and sore nipples. At one point, when my son was about 3 weeks old, I was once again struggling to get him latched onto my breast. He was screaming, and I was also almost in tears from frustration and exhaustion. "He looks so miserable," my husband said. "Maybe he just doesn't like to nurse."
I had every reason to quit. While my baby was getting enough milk, he seemed to hate nursing from my over-producing breasts. Nursing in public was a circus, as my breasts shot like a spout when my milk let down. While I am not particularly self-conscious about my body, I was not crazy about the idea of whipping out my boobs in public to feed my baby. But I refused to throw a blanket over my breastfeeding son because I did not want to reinforce the idea that nursing in public is an illicit act that needs to be hidden.
At about 4 months, the tide magically turned for us. I met an incredible lactation consultant who taught me how to handle my over-production and corrected his latch. I finally had that peaceful, nursing baby that I had dreamt about when I was pregnant. We went everywhere together. I nursed him in restaurants, at my synagogue, at parties, at the museum, on airplanes, and all over the United States and Australia. The bond that we developed during this time was incredible. I had to be so attuned to him and his cues, as I was the sole provider of his nourishment.
I didn't have to deal with sterilizing bottles and packing formula and all its associated gear with us wherever we went. I just grabbed my purse, a diaper, and some wipes and we were off. My breasts were always with us, and there was no waste, no worry about plastic chemicals, no depleting resources from our fragile environment.
When I had my baby daughter two and a half years later, our breastfeeding relationship was far smoother. Now that my children are weaned and I am done having babies, I am so grateful I had the opportunity to share this special, fleeting time with them. I am not going to deny that being on call 24/7 for them felt excruciatingly uncomfortable and inconvenient at times.
But if I was looking for comfort and convenience, I would have booked an all-inclusive trip to a resort in Mexico and not made the choice to have a child.
|Jennifer Ginsberg is a Los Angeles writer and mother to three, surprisingly angst-free children. As a former actress/waitress, turned clinical social worker specializing in addiction, turned full-time mother/part-time psychotherapist/writer, Jennifer is particularly well-versed on the topic of angst. Find out more about her life at angstmom.com|