The Failure to Share Useful Information | Giftie Etcetera: The Failure to Share Useful Information

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Failure to Share Useful Information

I would say, at this point, I am exclusively breastfeeding. Who would have thought, me, breastfeeding? Five years ago, it would not have occurred to me to breastfeed. I still think formula is pretty okay. I would NEVER try to talk a friend into breastfeeding. It's sort of like preaching about Jesus. I never did buy that you get someone to believe in Jesus by TELLING THEM TO BELIEVE. People who really believe, and live a peaceful, loving life, were always the people that made me believe. Preaching never worked. Showing did. Evne my atheist friends, when they live a positive, loving life, remind me of why I believe Jesus exists. Who but God could make someone without a belief in God still know how to be a good person? That is a miracle!

So how do I show people that breastfeeding is good? I blog ('cause you don't have to read a blog unless you choose to) and I feed and I support. I am honest about the pros AND the cons. (No one ever said being a Christian is easy. To have to follow the rules all the time - it sucks! To be attached at the booby all the time -it sucks, pun intended.) If someone is going to choose to breastfeed and put in all the required hard work, I want them to know what they are getting into, so they can succeed.

Unfortunately, I'm feeling like I am in the minority. You see, I am finding that when I seek out advice, I get a guilt-trip. I do NOT feel guilty about the way I am exclusively breastfeeding. I do NOT feel guilty about using a nipple shield or pumping a nighttime bottle or minimizing public nursing or covering-up or trying to create a schedule instead of purely feeding on demand. My way might not work. I get that. It's risky. But my baby, other than 24 hours at home for jaundice (while I continued to pump every 3 hours) and a tiny bit of formula in the hospital over three days (always mixed with breastmilk) in an attempt to allow my baby to NOT be strapped, down to bili lights, has only had breastmilk. I definitely would call that exclusively breastfed. But some psychos out there will not answer my questions, because I am not constantly baby-wearing (I use my sling mostly only for public nursing), because I am using a nipple shield (apparently, S-I-N-F-U-L...who know? LMAO), and because daddy is bottle-feeding. Oh, yah, and because I am not baring my breasts, which are "not sexual objects"...didn't I know? [Of course they are sexual. Are you joking? Can't breastfeeding be natural and my boobs be sexual? Why can't they be both?]

Let me take a second to say my real-life friends have been INCREDIBLY SUPPORTIVE! Ebeth, Stac and Stac, Leah, my LSMSA peeps, Rach, Paca, and even my "nonbreastfeeding leaning peeps" like Michelle and Brien (though Brien's nonleaning comes more from his lack of breasts, I suspect ;))'ve all offered great advice and no judgment, even when I KNOW you have a different philosophy than I do about some aspect of nursing, like extended feeding or public nursing. Thanks.

But on-line and with strangers, even of the support breastfeeding persuasion, people are judgmental. Do NOT use a nipple shield (with no explanation...thanks, Bethany of LSMSA, for actually taking the time to give me the information and an explanation so I can decide for myself). No need to cover up. (Of course there is. If mom is going to be uncomfortable uncovered, then covering up only helps the nursing relationship. It's common sense. D'uh. Being a mom doesn't make me a different person. And I'm not saying you have to cover up. I am saying that I have to cover up.) The LLL website doesn't do a good job, at all, of supporting combo feeding. I'm a working mom! I have an involved daddy who wants to feed the baby. I have health issues that require sleep (a bit, at least) if I am to survive. Combo feeding (and come on, people, it's with BREASTMILK...though formula would be okay with me) is my solution to the inability and inadequancy of my character that keeps me from being a 24/7 stay-at-home mommy. (Yes, I said inadequacy of character. I am an honest woman. LOL.)

Some of the judgment sort are really smart. They know tons about breastfeeding. They just can't get over themselves enough to share the knowledge. It's like it's 100% or 0%. Either you sit all day, nursing on your couch on demand and with your top off, or you are a failure. Well, they are the failures. Their extreme position and narrow thinking means that they are putting women in the position of remaining uneducated about breastfeeding OPTIONS. Yes, I said it. There are OPTIONS. And more babies would get more breastmilk if women were encouraged to exercise the options.

I know all this breastfeeding blogging is getting old. Goodness, Kristy, talk about something otherthan your boobs! :) But, somewhere out there, some woman is reading this. She wants to do the best thing she can for her baby, but she is realistic and doesn't want to burn out. And she stumbles upon this blog. And she realizes she is not alone and that others who preach and make different choices do not get to make her feel guilty. They don't have the power. They SHOULD either share their useful information, without judgment, or feel guilty themselves for discourging breastmilk - however it arrives and however much gets to baby.

So here's my chance to guilt-trip the crazies! Take that, crazies!

For the rest of the world, the saga will continue. Stay tuned.



Brien Louque said...

"Can't breastfeeding be natural and my boobs be sexual? Why can't they be both?"

Of course they can - don't you know boobs are magic?

Anonymous said...

I've been a bit busy here...what with Mason splitting his chin open and a trip to the emergency room and all...and work...and more work...blah I am just getting to ready your posts from the last week.

First let me child was EBF and never took a bottle - I would have preferred that he did, but despite the help of several lactation consultants and a lot of work, he refused the bottle. Dut to immediate issues at birth with Mason's blood sugar, he had to have formula + an attempt at nursing every 2 hours until my milk came in. I hated doing it, but I did what I had to do so that in the end my baby would be healthy and be breastfed. Boo to anyone who would have told me what I was doing was the wrong decision.

And as for nursing in public - if someone wants to bare their breasts in public to nurse their baby, go for it, but not me honey. I never let my baby go hungry in public, but I always managed to nurse discreetly and in a way that made ME comfortable. I could never have just bared it all in public and far be it from anyone to tell me that was wrong either. My decision had nothing to do with whether it was right or wrong to do it, it was purely because my breasts are my breasts and whether they are viewed as sexual objects or natural tools for feeding my child, they are still mine and not for everyone else to see. We used a Milk MuMu, similar to a Bebe au Lait cover, it was wonderful! Mason refused to nurse in a sling, so I had to find a good cover.

I am so proud of you for sticking with it and for your honesty about it. Nursing is not easy and more people should be prepared for that going into it. I truly believe if more Mama's should know the pros and cons going in. I very much believe in breastfeeding but I certainly wouldn't leave out the difficult details if I was trying to talk to a new mama or mama to be about breastfeeding. Keep up the good work mama! Leah

Frog said...

I am definitely impressed that you are doing so well! Hopefully next time I can do as well as you!!

Emma's Mommy said...

I am one of those that has stumbled across your blog. I am one of those that WANTED to exclusivley breastfeed my baby. But I was a working mom and was not able to produce enough milk when I pumped. So starting at four months, I had to supplement with formula. Though, that was not my first choice, it was what worked for us. I also was not comfortable with nursing in public. It just wasn't my thing. But I have no problem with other moms that do. And I really didn't want anyone telling me that I couldn't. I wanted to have the option if I ever needed it (and I did a couple of times).

I was fortunate enough to have a lot of friends that supported me while I was breastfeeding/pumping. I know not everyone has that and I do think that it makes a big difference. My best advise to any new mom would be to give it a try and then do what ever is best for you and your family. You are blessed to be able to breastfeed. You are blessed to be able to produce enough milk when you feed and pump. You are blessed to have a husband that wants to help. You have found a system that works for you and your family. But if at some point you find that formula works best....don't feel guilty. Loki is YOUR child....not anyone elses!!!