Breastfeeding-At Least Please Try…

Ok, so I know this is going to generate some serious controversy, but that is not at all what I’m trying to do.  I’m just genuinely confused by something, and have been confused by it in the past, so I’m thinking my online blogger support team might be able to help me understand the rationale behind something.

Look at the photo contained in the link below and think for a moment, I mean really reflect, on the feelings it evokes. (I can’t link in or post the actual picture here right now, because of the ridiculous blocks this place has on my Internet-good thing I only have 26 days left here).

Anyway, for now, just click on it-the article is interesting too:

The reason this comes to mind yet again, is because someone I know just had their second child.  This person did not breastfeed the first daughter.  Now that in my mind is fine, it is one’s OWN choice after all, I’m not about requiring it to be mandatory.  But my question is about the fact that this person chose this option before ever even trying it ONCE.  As both an immunologist and a mother, I can’t understand it.  Maybe you can.  And you’ll help me to get it too.

First of all, I would not have been able to withstand the unending curiosity of what the whole process would BE like.  Second of all, in this era of all the moms who try to “one up” each other with all the advantages they give their child, it’s hard to believe that one would not at least give a little attempt…even a couple days of trying…  Trust me, it wasn’t a breeze for me.  Not by a long shot.  I had a hearty little eater in Miss B.  She latched on very easily, and she had an easy time of it.  However, I went through several rounds of infections, a few rounds of really embarrassing moments and one really, really gross incident that my ex-husband recalls all too well, where he came home from work to find me pumping bloody milk into a bottle while our daughter slept.  He asked me what I was doing and I said through clenched teeth “This little girl WILL be breast-fed for AT LEAST ONE  YEAR!”.  I threw out that milk by the way-I just wanted to keep pumping until I healed so that my milk would not dry up.  Ok, so even the ex will attest to my stubborn streak-which is even stronger when it comes to my little girl.  But it wasn’t just my obstinance that made me keep going this time.  I could not, in my right mind, give her that nasty tasting formula.  I tasted it out of that unending curiosity that I am made of and I nearly vomited.  For real  It.  Was.  Disgusting.  And yeppers, I tasted my milk and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t some really good stuff.  And I don’t even like milk!  It tasted like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of Lucky Charms!

And also, as mentioned before, I’m a scientist who once planned on going to med school.  All those hours spent poring over medical books and studying MCAT study guides affected me in many ways and I’m just a tiny bit passionate about the health and well-being of our children.  I get why women stop after awhile.  It’s not convenient I know.  I leaked all over my best friends bachelorette party when B was just days old.  I then proceeded to bust out of the dress for her wedding a few days later and wound up pumping in a janitors closet.  Yes. I leaked all over that dress too.  (Laughing as I type this).  There were times I wanted to quit and it was certainly bittersweet when B was done and started to walk up to me to get her milk (happy to be “free” of that, but sad to be “free” of that)-but I couldn’t have imagined it any other way.  I want the best for her.  Always.  And that won’t always be convenient for me.  So when you have a baby, don’t you feel that you should TRY to breastfeed, unless it’s medically not possible or there is some substantial reason not to?  I guess I just can’t understand why you wouldn’t even try it ONCE?  I’m going to censor myself now and cut this post off…because I’m sure someone will be offended.  But I just really want to know a legitimate reason that will make me understand why a mother wouldn’t just try it.  Once.  That’s all.

For me

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stepalicious
    May 07, 2009 @ 14:59:17

    I don’t see how your post would be offensive…you are trying to be3tter understand why a new Mother wouldn’t try it. I too always wondered why…for me, it was natural to breastfeed…and I loved the experience. For some though, they are just flat out uncomfortable with it…or have some fear that makes them anxious to even consider it. I had a friend who refused to try…she thought it was “gross” her word.

    Beautiful image by the way! Made me remember how wonderful and beautiful the experience was for me.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    Reply

  2. Cathouse Teri
    May 07, 2009 @ 15:19:15

    When I was pregnant with my first child (28 years ago), of course I wondered if I should breast feed. EVERYONE said it would be better for the child and a very important bonding experience for both mom and child. I spoke with my sister about it, because she is ever-so-wise and had breast fed her children and also ~ she is very into natural things. In short, she could compare what she knew of breast feeding and what she knew of me. She said, “There is nothing like the experience of breast feeding. But if you are not 100% sure you want to do it, you won’t make it past the hard part in the beginning. It really takes a commitment to stick with it, because it’s so painful at first.” I said, “Cool. Because I’m only like… 15% sure I want to do it.” So I didn’t. And I never regretted it. I have been very close to all three of my babies. In fact, I can’t imagine being closer. My babies are now grown, and I am just as close to my grandchildren. Just as a sidenote, my children were all very healthy; very rarely got sick. Oh, and I’m closing in on fifty and still have great tits. :)

    Reply

  3. Tricia
    May 08, 2009 @ 12:53:11

    I totally understand your question. I would NEVER judge anyone else, ever, but you have to wonder about nature and curiousity here. I think much of it is cultural – when I visited my parents in South Africa with my then nine week old daughter, it was perfectly acceptable to breastfeed discreetly or openly at restaurants, public places and in fact anywhere. Europe is the same. I think when it’s a natural part of culture, it makes it easier for mothers to consider it.

    My opinion is coming from mother who REALLY struggled with my first born and nursing. I had infections. She never really latched on well. (At least when I compared her to my second). I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and had some very nasty lactation nurse yell at me on the phone one night when I was in floods of tears. But,. I kept trying and it did get better. Unfortunately, I developed post-partum depression at about six months p partum and had to take medicine and at that time (11 years ago) there was apparently nothing safe to take while you nursed. Giving it up was heartbreaking. I think my hormones were in more of a mess from stopping than doing it.

    My son was a different story. I had a doula at his birth and had no medication. I bonded with him much quicker. (it still pains me to admit that). He and I took to breastfeeding with ease. I loved it and was much more relaxed with him. It takes a lot of persistence and effort, but it pays off. The post-partum hit at about nine months with him (much later but much more severe) and I had to stop then too. I know it’s a sensitive topic, but it’s SO WORTH it to give them a good start. I think if you can even do it for a few weeks, that is better than not trying at all. Again, I am not judging and don’t want to appear to be.

    Thanks for the subject. It is one close to my heart. They are some of the most beautiful moments I remember about my children being babies. (When I wasn’t crying and hurting that is – only in the very beginning). I wish Americans would become more open about something so natural and make it easier for moms to relax and be open to it to. I think it makes a huge difference. :)

    Reply

  4. QTMama
    May 08, 2009 @ 13:35:16

    I tried and tried, my daughter rejected me completely. I remember pumping my breasts till my nipples were the size of pencils, and still, she rejected me. But, I did try. When I cried to the doctor about it, she said that Emilee could still go to Harvard even if she drank pumped milk mixed with formula. Heh.

    I’ve known some that have chosen to never even try. One was young, in her 20’s and didn’t want to be bothered by it. :( I remember being confused by that.

    I’m not sure I get it either, the whole not trying thing. I know of one woman who decided she didn’t want her breasts to change, so she decided no breastfeeding.

    Yeah, I don’t get it either.

    Reply

  5. Shannon
    May 08, 2009 @ 13:46:08

    Thanks ladies. :)
    Teri, that’s exactly the kind of thing I was wondering about, so you are just the person I wanted to answer the question for me! The fact that you never regretted it is very powerful in itself. I’m not sure the person that I know who is going through this, will feel the same. Her first daughter seems to be much, much more close to her father. She doesn’t spend much time at all with the first baby, but that might have happened even if they had “bonded” over breastfeeding-maybe just the way this person fundamentally IS.
    Tricia, it’s true that it might be a cultural thing, that’s a really interesting piece of insight.
    QT, I applaud you for trying even though it was so difficult for you! I guess that’s the main thing I felt like most women would choose to do-try it, if only for a couple weeks and see if it works. The first several weeks are the most critical in breastfeeding, it seems a small sacrifice to just attempt it-but I do think some women just think it’s “gross”. I’ve heard that from lots of women. I guess the selfish reasons should count as reasons too, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. The informed judgement and decision Teri made, makes sense to me. Just thinking it’s gross…and not considering it…that is the part I don’t get.

    Reply

  6. Cathouse Teri
    May 08, 2009 @ 16:53:48

    All very thought-provoking. I think everyone is different and they are comfortable with different things. It is possible that you may be closer to a child you have breast fed. As for me, I’m close to every child in the world, so I doubt if it made a difference in my experience. But then again, I have nothing to compare it to. I can only tell you that I was very close to my babies. I held them when I fed them. I spent every moment I could adoring and nurturing them. They were very healthy and strong. I saw absolutely no setbacks in choosing not to breast feed. But I can see how it may be an important bonding experience for some mothers and should most certainly be at least considered.

    Reply

  7. jenn
    May 09, 2009 @ 00:59:15

    I had no doubt that I would breast feed, and I’m stubborn, so even though I was back at work six weeks after having my daughter, I faithfully spent my lunch breaks in the bathroom pumping for seven months. Of course I nursed her in the mornings and evenings. I was really disappointed when I started having to send formula to daycare. I just couldn’t pump enough milk, no matter how hard I tried. I still did what I could, but after seven months I decided it was good enough. It was a relief to be done, but I felt a little guilty for being relieved. I’m glad I nursed as long as I did, and I would do it again if I ever had another child, but it is a big commitment.

    I agree with you though, I don’t know why women won’t just try. But I guess everyone has a right to their own opinion. And QT, I know a few women who tried and couldn’t make it happen. I was lucky with Shiloh, I had no problems from her.

    Reply

  8. Jolene
    May 12, 2009 @ 15:46:31

    Wow, you brought back memories. I planned on breastfeeding from the get go. My OB and Ped were all about breastfeeding, didn’t want to hear about alternatives. Let me just say – breastfeeding with my first baby was pure hell. She was tongue locked and would not latch on correctly. I had to use a crazy apparatus while at the hospital and then the Ped decided she needed to be supplemented with formula while at the hospital. That was a huge let down and the guilt. I tried and tried and pumped. I even had to resort to pumping and using a syringe-like dropper because I didn’t even have bottles, that’s how determined I was to breastfeed.

    After a week of basically starving my baby (she even had pink crystals in her diaper from being so dehydrated), she lost all sorts of weight and wasn’t gaining, daily visits to the PED, no sleep, guilt, someone at the Ped’s office told me to go ahead and supplement with formula while pumping and continuing to try throughout the day. That was one of the happiest days of my life. It took a whole week for someone to give me “permission” to try something else. I continued to pump for two months. With the pain and cracked nipples and infections, I said screw it finally and Ashley was a formula fed baby from then on.

    Morgan was another story. She latched right on from the beginning. One hell of a nurser. I never had to use a bottle until 5 months in. I finally gave it up for a variety of reasons one of which was terrible sibling rivalry. Ashley turned into the devil around 18 months and she was not happy to have a little sister encroaching upon her time with me. Every time I would sit to nurse Morgan, she would hit the baby and hit me and cause so much trouble. Morgan would get tense and stop nursing and look around and take my nipple with her. It got to be a major battle every day.

    Nighttime nursing was the best and most special. Ironically, I did miss it when I gave it up. I do have to say, I hated letting down though. Hated that feeling.

    Reply

  9. Shannon
    May 14, 2009 @ 08:23:11

    I sometimes have “phantom” letdown Jolene! LOL…and I agree it wasn’t all that lovely of a feeling. I missed nighttime nursing too. And I never knew this story about you. I’m very proud/impressed with how set on nursing you were-another similarity for us.
    Jenn it’s funny how you felt guilty for being relieved to be done…that’s how I felt too…oh the guilt of being a mommy is endless. And worth every second.

    Reply

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