I’m supposed to be working right now; adding columns of numbers to turn in to the IRS so that my clients can write checks or receive them. Both kiddos are asleep at the same time and I’ve showered for the first time in days and I should really be doing math, but I can’t because it’s happening again.
The last time this blew up I was in the depths of Postpartum depression and anxiety. I was dealing with a traumatic birth and (undiagnosed) PTSD. Every time I tried to breastfeed my son my entire body screamed NO. There was nothing in me that wanted to do it. At all. The physical pain was excruciating and the mental pain… I cannot adequately describe how much it hurt to fail at one of the most basic and essential parts of motherhood. I’m a writer, yes, but I do not have words for what that did to me.
I’ve written before about the breast/bottle wars and about my struggle with breastfeeding. I’ve written about how my PPD affected feeding. I’ve written about this a lot. We keep having the same discussions and though my life has changed, SO MUCH, my position hasn’t.
I’m breastfeeding The Little Miss. It’s going really well. She’s putting on weight like a champ and she latches like a little vacuum. I hold her hand while I feed her and she makes little piggy noises. She can eat in her sleep and I think that’s hilarious. I’m also pretty jealous of that – I mean really?!?!?
I am not, at all, more bonded with her than I was with The Little Monster. She isn’t any healthier. They both have weird stomach stuff and they both have my crappy immune system. I held him in the same position give him a bottle that I hold her in at the breast. Their piggy noises and tiny fingers are the same. Her feet are bigger, but I don’t think that’s because of the breastmilk.
There are so many studies out there about the benefits of breastfeeding. I believe them – because I’m not some strange science denier. I’ve also read them and they don’t show large scale or long lasting benefits.
I don’t think that formula should be pushed the way it is in some hospitals. I’ve read the articles. I believe them – because it’s a major industry and I’m not naive.
Here’s the thing: I’ve been shamed in a bookstore cafe for feeding my son from a bottle and I’ve been stared at while feeding my daughter from the breast in that same store. Both of those experiences are wrong. The important part of the story both times is that I was trying to feed my child and someone who was neither my partner nor my doctor felt the need to weigh in on how I did it.
These are MY babies. They’re MY boobs. I really don’t understand how it is anyone else’s business how I feed my kids.
Feed them from the breast wherever and whenever they are hungry. I will stand beside you and I will get LOUD if anyone tries to shame you.
Feed them from the bottle wherever and whenever they are hungry. I will stand beside you and I will get LOUD if anyone tries to shame you.