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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

10 weeks!

Okay, it is very hard to believe that my little Austin is due in 10 weeks. I just barely pulled out the maternity clothes, and I think I have some I like better than my normal clothes. Why didn't I pull them out sooner? :)

In pulling out my maternity clothes I also found all my nursing stuff. Okay, yes, this blog is probably for women only, so men you can stop here. (Not that I think any men read this other than Paul, and he's obligated to read even if it is a "girl" topic. :)

I haven't decided whether or not to try to nurse this baby. I have had three failed attempts at breastfeeding. (Isn't the rule three strikes and you're out?) I have heard from plenty of women out there who say if you try hard enough you can nurse no matter what. Somehow I don't see how this is any different than any other medical issue -- If you try hard enough can you have a baby if you want? If a man tries hard enough can he grow his hair back instead of balding? You see what I mean. After all, why in history would we have heard of wet-nurses if everyone was so capable? I guess this topic is no different in any other in having people who think they know it all. But somehow with this topic people feel they have a right to tell you their unsolicited opinion (unlike balding men who probably are not approached by strangers to ask why they choose baldness over hair treatments). Sigh ...

We began our attempts with Tyler (of course) more than 8 years ago. I had every intent to nurse exclusively. (Mind you, I always believed in bottles, but I planned to pump and put into bottles as well so my baby could take food from anyone.) However, after working with lactation consultants (I think I consulted with five different ones), he was still losing a scary amount of weight -- even though we were exclusively breastfeeding. We tried recommended herbs, pumping with a hospital-grade pump (try pumping every two hours and getting two drops!!!), a pouch with a tube to attach so he could think he was getting something when he nursed, etc. I don't even remember everything we tried, but it was exhausting. Even the lactation consultants told me to go to formula -- which I didn't think was a part of their vocabulary! I felt a little guilty about my failed attempt, but we were VERY relieved when we had a happy baby gaining the appropriate amount of weight.

Again with Zachary and Shayla we tried again to no avail. With Zachary I had the realization that I heard over and over that breastfeeding is the best thing I could do for my baby. Hmmm ... I just don't think that's true. Yes, nutritionally it is a 10 out of 10 IF I am eating healthy. But from everything I've been told from multiple pediatricians (who have a bit more knowledge, training and exposure to kids and their health than lactation consultants), formula these days is at least a 9 out of 10. The best thing I can do for my baby? Love him and teach him the gospel. Those two things alone trump any breastfeeding I could do ...

And then there are those who insist breastfeeding is necessary to properly bond with my baby. Who are they to say I haven't bonded with my babies like they have because I didn't nurse? I find that insulting. A baby will bond with you no matter what, so I think most women -- not the babies -- are the ones who need the nursing to bond. I'm not one of them. I don't have to be needed at meal-times to feel loved by my baby or to bond with him/her. (As if breastfeeding is the only time a mom is needed by her baby! If so, that'd sure make them eaiser! :) And although it's probably very taboo, I've even talked to several women who resent breastfeeding and have given it up so they COULD bond with their babies. That's an article I'd like to see in a baby magazine! :)

So, why is it that people try to make you feel so guilty if you don't breastfeed? It's so frustrating and annoying! I had one woman insist that I look for donor banks for breast milk if I couldn't produce it myself. Hello! Why would I trust someone else's milk more than I would formula? She insisted they are tested before they can donate. Great -- but are they tested daily?!? Sorry, but I don't have that kind of trust when it comes to my baby's health. (I find it hilarious, though, that this same Nazi-breastfeeder had pictures all over her blog of her kids shoving in all kinds of treats and sweets once they could eat. Am I missing something?)

I also get a little annoyed when people -- especially in the medical field -- ask, "Do you breastfeed or use formula?" Why is it an OR question? Why can't it be both? I know plenty of people who have supplemented with formula, so why not leave it an open-ended question?

There's something about babies that makes people feel they have a right to tell you what they think, and I guess breastfeeding is no different. But why are the adamant ones so vocal on this topic? Annoying. I'm not sure after three failed attempts that I could give it a whole-hearted attempt if I do go for it again, so I guess I better prepare some snappy comebacks in case I get the "or" question or lectures about breastfeeding. Or maybe I should invest in ear plugs? Or just let it roll off my back as I notice their ugly shoes or something. ;)

Okay, enough of MY unsolicited opinion ... but here's my last food for though: If breastfeeding is so detrimental to a person's life-long health, why can't we tell which adults were breastfed and which ones were given formula? I've never even had a doctor ask me that. Just saying ....

7 comments:

Leslie said...

One thing that I had to remember because I had the guilty feelings too is... "ITS JUST FOOD!!!" I tried to BF each baby. Ty I did about 6 weeks worth. He was my longest. IT WAS NOT A BONDING EXPERIENCE FOR ME! Sure I thought it was cool that I was giving him food that he needed but everytime he would cry because he was hungry...I would CRINGE! My stomach would turn and it was NOT ENJOYABLE!!! Such a relief when I put them on formula and pumped every so often until my milk dried up. I was such a happier mom!! And I had such a happier baby!

Bruce & Sylvia said...

this is 100% your decision. No one else can make this one for you. No guilt either. Your children are healthy and emotionally balanced.

Theresa C said...

I was a complete failure at breastfeeding, and I am totally ok with that. It was not an enjoyable experience for me or for my first two babies. ( I didn't even attempt it with the last two). How can you really bond with your baby when you are a tense, stressed mess? I got lectures about it from countless women at church, and strangely enough, an old man at Walmart who saw me buying formula! Awkward, right?! I agree with you 100 percent that the two most important things you can do are love him, and teach him the gospel. :)

Three Little Brown Kids said...

I had the same issues with each of my kids and ended up forumla feeding all of them. Could they be any faster, jump any higher, walk any earlier? (No) Frankly I think forumla is the best thing you can do for your kids!

christibeth said...

THANK YOU Denise. I like you tried every trick in the book with my first 3, and it about killed me off, at least emotionally. Oh the guilt! I even had a WIC lady pull up pictures of all of the supposed chemicals and additives that are in formula, in an effort to dissuade me from my "selfishness" of wanting (needing!) to bottle feed. UGH. With my 4th, I was able to let go of the guilt after a lot of prayer. I BF what I could, but didn't sweat it (much) when milk was completely dried up after 4 weeks. Talk about a much easier transition!! #4 was my best one yet.

Good luck in your decision! I LOVE what you said about loving and teaching your kids the Gospel is the best thing you can do for them. Amen sista!

Park Family said...

I think you do what is best for you. Its not a bonding experience if you are frustrated the whole time. If you want to do it I say try it and if it doesn't work go to formula. You do what you can. I know I am lucky to be able to produce enough milk to BF but not everyone can so people just need to stay out of other people's business!!! You do what you need to do for both your and your baby's sanity!!!!

Jen said...

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!! But you and I have had this conversation. Try this snappy comeback:

Yes, it's too bad that nobody tells you the side effect of breast cancer and double mastectomy would be the inability to breastfeed my children . . . sigh . . .

or

Oooo, as long as we're discussing personal bodily functions like my insufficient milk supply, can I tell you all about the whopper hemorrhoids I had with this pregnancy? Or perhaps you'd like to tell me about your last bought of constipation?

Commenting on a woman's breastfeeding is akin to the comments my sister-in-law got after she adopted a biracial baby. Things like "So, were you like with a black guy before you married him?" People who say such things are just idiots.