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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Breast is Best!

This article saddens me greatly. I am a HUGE advocate of breastfeeding. I am currently breastfeeding Aiden, which I LOVE and wouldn’t change for anything. I am unlucky enough to have to work but I express milk when I’m at work so breast milk is all he gets.

This woman’s ignorance and sheer nastiness are enough for me not to mention her name here or the title of her article. Hospitals not giving out formula to EVERY woman that comes through the doors and delivers a baby is not the end of the world. The ban is only against including the free formula in every bag. A woman who is interested in formula and does NOT want to breastfeed her child is welcome to ask for the formula and it will be provided. Of course that is not covered in her article because that would actually explain that the ban isn’t against all formula and there would be no point for the article in the first place.

I try not to be judgmental of women who choose to feed their babies formula but I’m shocked at how judgmental a lot of people, men and women included, are when they find out I breastfeed. First of all, and I’m not sure how this happened, my choice to breast feed Aiden must be publicly accessible. At least that must be what people think because I cannot begin to tell you how often I get asked that question. Now I admit I have GIANT breasts and that could be the cause for the questions but I had those before so I don’t really count them. And just to be clear I am extremely proud of the decision my husband and I made that Aiden would only receive breast milk (and it was a choice made by us both – I wanted to exclusively breastfeed but G’s support has been invaluable in that decision). Anyway, when people ask and I indicate Aiden is breastfed they then want to know what else he eats. I tell them nothing. This is followed by an almost shocked look and a “nothing else??!!” When this first happened I know I was a lot more defensive of my choice and felt a need to explain that additional food is completely unnecessary, he gets all the nutrition he needs, he is gaining weight very well, etc., etc., etc. Now my response is “nope”. When they ask when he will start eating other foods my response is “6 months if he’s interested”. People don’t get this and I’m afraid they think he’s missing out on something, which I don’t understand. He’s almost 5 months old and over 19 pounds and 27 inches long. The boy is not lacking in nutrition to say the least.

I had it relatively easy with Aiden having no latch problems and pretty much breastfeeding like a pro – I know I am blessed – but why do people judge that? One woman I work with brought me formula when I came back to work even though I was clear before I left for maternity leave that I would be breastfeeding. Her response – but you’ll be using formula soon won’t you? No, he doesn’t need it was all I could think to say, I was just that surprised by her assumption and nerve. Why is it that so many see breastfeeding as less culturally acceptable and formula the norm? I know once I was warming a bottle in a restaurant for Aiden and someone referred to his “formula”. I said “that’s not formula” and they were very surprised that I would have breast milk out right there at the table. For some reason formula was “cleaner” or less “gross”.

I don’t know where I’m going with this other than to say I would love to see a day when all women were educated on the benefits – physically and emotionally to breastfeeding. When I lay down at night with Aiden, he closes his eyes (with a little blissful eye roll included) and has a pure look of happiness mixed with sleepiness and I know he’s getting everything he needs from me there truly is no better feeling in the world. That alone makes me want to breastfeed my guy as long as he wants to.

Oh and here's a pic of Aiden in all his chubby goodness in his new bebepod (which he definitely seems to enjoy):

7 Comments:

Blogger DD said...

I admire women who do stick to their decision to breastfeed exclusively. I especially admire the man who stands behind that woman's decision.

Your coworker probably thought that since many new moms do fall back on formula and was not out to undermine your decision.

Frankly, I didn't have the energy to keep trying to breastfeed my son. I also get people's opinions about how I should have tried harder and they even hint that someday the effects of formula will become visible, as if it's come kind of pox.

Everyone has an opinion and unfortunately it seems to always clash with our own on the issues that are either "this" or "that".

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Candace said...

You should not be jugdemental because you do not know why they are formula feeding. I was the very unlucky one that really wanted to breastfeed but my milk supply was to low. My husband supported me no matter what. My son was formula fed and he is very fine. He is 15 months old and is in 95 percentile for height and weight. Just like you do not like to be judge you should not.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

I just read your comment on Karla's blog about your dad. I had a very similar experience. My Friday will be 3 years since my dad died suddenly at the age of 48. I also felt like I was outside my body. It was the hardest, most horrible part of my life.

Then I read this blog post and I see we have more in common. My son is 8 now, but he was exclusively breastfed longer than normal and he was a giant baby. He was 20 lbs at 5 months. He hit 24 lbs at 6 months, and 28 by 7 months. You don't often meet other people with such big babies. Then he grew taller and stayed the same weight for a while, which was good for the sake of my back! Aiden is beautiful, by the way.

11:10 AM  
Blogger KitKat said...

Hi Brandy! OMG, it has been so long since I first read your blog! I am Katie and used to be at the Empty Uterus, but u prob forgot. It's ok if you did. It's been forever since I've blogged too. After the birth of my twins, I just got so busy!

Anyway, wow, I can't believe your little baby boy is here! He is so adorable and well, big! My daughter only weighed 19 lbs at 17 months. She's a tiny thing. I for one, do not feel there's anything wrong with breastfeeding! I wanted to so badly though but I had absolutely NO MILK! I heard sometimes that happens when you deliver early, which I did. I do agree that breastmilk is better than formula and even all my doctors tell me the same thing. Well, you keep doing what you're doing because you're doing a great job!

1:48 AM  
Blogger Flygirl said...

Funny you should post about this right when I'm having my own thoughts about it. Bug and I are only partially breastfeeding now because my supply and letdown is not enough for her anymore (I've had surgery). I am disappointed on one hand that I can't keep going but I'm also so pleased that I was able to keep it going so long. What I'm worried about now is the opposite of you. Dealing with people looking down on me because I DON'T breastfeed. Even though I know there's a good reason for it, I don't really feel like I should have to justify myself.

Also, do you find that most of the people that think that babies should eat more than just formula or breastmilk are the "older" set? Every one of my Mother's friends thinks that I should have been feeding Bug cereal a long time ago. It's crazy.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Tricia said...

I have to admit. It's hard for me to read this post. I was unable to BF because of my daughter's heart condition. She was unable to stay awake at the boob (and eventually couldn't even stay awake at the bottle). I pumped and she had exclusively breastmilk for 18 weeks, and I was heartbroken when she had to have tube feedings resulting in my being unable to keep up with her 8 hour continuous feeds. I am proud of myself for the 18 weeks, but I will likely always feel at least a little guilty about the fact that I couldn't BF/pump longer. It broke my heart. And I feel like other people judge me all the time when they see me whip out her bottle. Everyone makes their own decisions for lots of different reasons. And sometimes, due to healh conditions etc...decisions are made for them. Let's just all try to understand that about each other.

12:43 PM  
Blogger 3XMom said...

Good for you for keeping with it! I had similar experiences -- with three kids I have breastfed pretty much EVERYWHERE. And it was amazing the looks I got from some people. I mean, its not like I just whipped them out and waved them around. I always used a blanket, but sometimes the looks I would get. I actually had someone tell me (at a county fair) that there were bathrooms nearby for that purpose. I looked around and said "the porta pottys?!!" and she said, yes, aren't they convenient??!! EWWW. I won't even go in there to pee, certainly not to nourish my child. Everyone needs to chill out and appreciate we are all trying to do what is best for our children.

8:47 AM  

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