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Breastfeeding IS for Me

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Yesterday, a blogger wrote "Breastfeeding Is Not for Me" on momlogic. Here is one mom's response.

Woman breastfeeding

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.


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30 comments so far | Post a comment now
Samantha May 27, 2009, 3:32 PM

I am officially over the breastfeeding wars. Who the hell cares as long as the baby’s fed? Who’s with me???

Queen Bee May 27, 2009, 3:36 PM

ME!

ame i. May 27, 2009, 3:41 PM

I had to laugh at the “maybe he doesn’t like to nurse” comment. Breastfeeding IS NOT a new concept. All babies will do it, they have no idea that there is an alternative until someone offers them a bottle. Babies have trouble nursing when a mother is so nervous it projects onto the baby.

drmom May 27, 2009, 3:44 PM

Yah, none of this is news to any of us. It doesn’t make you a better mother or your kids any more special (or healthier) than a formula-fed baby, all other things being equal of course. So not interested in this perspective anymore. Had three kids, struggled with each to varying degrees, did breast, pumped, formula. All kids are super- healthy and smart. I wish parents paid as much attention to the food they feed their toddlers as they did to the breastfeeding mania.

Michelle May 27, 2009, 4:26 PM

As a former breastfeeding mother of 2 one of whom I nursed for 3 years I think your article is well said. I know it’s not for everyone, but I can say for myself and my girls it was the best thing I did for them and myself. Very rewarding and convenient. In the beginning it was tough and inconvenient, but was a very good decision!

NELL May 27, 2009, 4:28 PM

The tone of this post sounds so self-righteous. Did you feel good after writing this? I don’t see how this post helps others who are/were struggling.

Secret Mommy May 27, 2009, 6:36 PM

I don’t think this post sounded self-righteous at all. Not any more than the related post sounded cavalier or irresponsible, anyway.

I’m surprised that there are anti-breastfeeders out there and agree with the person who said that all babies will and know how to nurse. THIS is the way we feed babies, after all. Bottles and formula, while in my opinion a much less healthy choice, are also an “invention” that babies just don’t know about until we deprive them of what they instinctively want and need. Breastfeeding is hard, but so are all other aspects of parenting. If I didn’t want to put in the work and long hours, I wouldn’t have had children at all.

Sarah B May 27, 2009, 6:59 PM

well, all I have to say is that your self-righteous, “angst” tone has lost you a follower on your website and all future articles on momlogic. I am so sick of moms thinking they no what is best for EVERY child and every family. Why can’t everyone just do what is best for them and leave everyone else alone?

Nursing mama May 27, 2009, 8:47 PM

Very well done article! Breast is best so they say

Angela May 27, 2009, 9:39 PM

I enjoyed your article. Thank you for sharing.

Samantha May 27, 2009, 9:53 PM

Even though I enjoyed reading the article - I found it very self-righteous. Breastfeeding is a choice. Some decide not to do it and some decide to do it - but either way (and for whatever the reason) it is a mothers choice whether or not they want to breastfeed their child. You make it sound as if it’s a mothers obligation to breastfeed - and it’s not. We all know that breastfeeding is good for children - and what you did is great FOR YOU and YOUR children. Other people bond with their kids in other ways. It doesn’t make you a better mom or show you love your kids any more than someone who makes the choice NOT to breastfeed. Get over yourself!

latinamomof3 May 27, 2009, 11:54 PM

I am happy you wrote this!!!exactly, if you are not committed then wth did you have a child?

Women keep saying their formula fed babies are healthy and fine, but what about skin problems? what about allergies due to too much exposure to cow’s milk (or formula), what about long term effect like Cancer or Diabetes? what about the kids that are battling with weight issues? what about the impact to the environment that formula also causes? what about the health of the mother? breast cancer? heart health? arthritis? Did you all know all these are linked to women that breastfeed or not? Cow’s milk are tailored to build cow’s brains, human milk to build human brains & bodies. It’s a no brainer.

Thanks for writing this, I love it!

p.s. to Samantha, is not the right to breastfeed your child but the Child’s right to be breastfed.

Faye May 28, 2009, 1:09 AM

Breastfeeding was one of the best experiences in my life, and I am glad I worked through the early difficulties of nursing my children. Bottle-feeding is not always smooth sailing; many babies cannot tolerate formula, get constipated, have terrible tummy upsets, etc. And, formula can be a financial burden, not to mention the possibility of being caught w/o formula on the same night that you are snowed in, experience horrific storms, etc.

However, I do agree that it should be a choice, whether to choose bottle or breast. What I deeply wish is that breastfeeding could be treated in a kinder fashion, and that mothers who choose to breastfeed would receive the support and encouragement they need. Not just from family and friends, but also from the general public. If that could happen, I think more moms would be willing/able to give breastfeeding a good try, rather than giving up in a few days. It is SO worth it! If you want to breastfeed, find a good lactation consultant, plus friends/new moms who are breastfeeding. It is much easier with support!

Whatever you choose, I hope all moms will treasure their little ones—they grow up far too quickly…

RachelAZ May 28, 2009, 3:16 AM

“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.” This is as if you are saying that those of us who formula feed our kids are only looking for convenience or that we do it for selfish reasons. Gimme a break. I agree with a previous poster in that this article has a very demeaning tone. I’m so over this whole “breast is best” crap. No baby has ever died SOLELY for the fact that it wasn’t breastfed. My son will be JUST as healthy as yours and he was only breastfed for 6 months.

LorieWI May 28, 2009, 7:56 AM

Whats with everyone getting so defensive about this article. This is just ONE womans experience. What I took from the article, is breastfeeding can be rewarding at times, and a pain in the butt at others. Who cares if you breastfed or not!I would never think someone is a bad mother because they did not breast feed, the most important thing is not how you fed the child, but that the child got fed. If someone says breastfeeding is the best option and you decide not to…WHO CARES! Each woman is different, so no matter what anyone says do what works best for you!

here we go again... May 28, 2009, 8:40 AM

“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.”
WOW you must be tired from always patting yourself on the back! However I bet you were all about convenience and YOUR comfort when it came to disposbale diapers over cloth diapers and premade baby food over making your own. And I’m sure you never indulge in the convenience of letting your kids eat pre-made processed snacks and candy over a bag of chips or ice cream or allowing them watch tv so you can have a break, right? I used to be an reader of your columns but not anymore.

When will people realize that breast/formula doesn’t matter? Get a group of babies or adults together and you will not be who was or wasn’t breast fed. If those who breast feed are so “enlightened” and such “better moms” than those who don’t why are they so insecure that they have to put others down?

Emma May 28, 2009, 9:09 AM

I’m with Samantha in this one I’m so done with this and all of the other senseless mommy wars out there. Do we really don’t have anything better to do than attack each other? really? Why can’t we just respect each other’s decisions? I breastfeed my baby but I don’t think of myself as a better mother than someone who didn’t. I’m human and I am far from perfect. Breastfeeding does not make you perfect. People please grow up and let others live!!!!

Heather B May 28, 2009, 10:29 AM

I don’t feel the author is judging anyone in this article, rather detailing her own experience. I am actually shocked to see all of the negative feedback and the mean remarks about the author. People need to get a life and not get so defensive about their own decisions.

This is getting old May 28, 2009, 10:31 AM

Count me in Samantha! It seems that every mommy website has crap like this, and they put it up now and then to spark “mommy wars”. This seems like such a waste of time and energy for moms to attack each other or justify how they fed their kids.

Rachel May 28, 2009, 10:46 AM

I’m starting to think that momlogic is run by a bunch of prepubescent boys getting their kicks from these virtual catfights. It’s ridiculous. How about some leadership here?


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