Monday, December 14, 2009

Jill's Thoughts on Breastfeeding

Since Kris was musing about Breastfeeding, I thought I would chime in with my two bits. Since I presently have a two week old baby, I apologize in advance for typing in a state of ridiculous sleep deprivation.

I did exclusively breastfeed both my boys for 6 months, and nursed them all the way to two, as per the World Health Organization's reccommendations. With my first son I swore I was quitting every two months. But it was such an easy way to get him back to sleep. It was so much easier than messing with formula and bottles. It would quiet him when he was overstimulated in the middle of grocery shopping. And weaning was such a chore that I just kept putting it off until, frankly, I was pregnant again and fed up with nursing. Basically, after the first few months, I breast fed because yes, it was healthy and good for his tummy and his brain and etc, etc.; but mostly I breast fed because I'm lazy and cheap, and I was staying home anyway, so there was no reason not to.

I think that most women, if given the right information and the time to get a good start in the first few weeks with their baby, can breastfeed. And I get frustrated that so many women feel like failures because they followed the wrong advice or were too overwhelmed by other concerns or had no help in their first weeks or months of breastfeeding, and quit before they wanted to. I feel like we are letting people down to promote breastfeeding as the best option, then berrate people who struggle and eventually give up on something that is causing them a lot of pain and heartache. At the same time, I think that women who choose to formula feed or pump and use bottles should not apologize for doing so. It is their choice to feed their child in the manner that works for them and their baby. I don't think it is our place to judge women's choices until we have heard their entire story.

I am also a total feed anywhere, anytime kind of person. I have buckled myself into the middle seat of the car and nursed my son as we drove through rush hour traffic (yes, I'm quite flexible). I have plunked down in the middle of a quiet aisle in clothing stores and grocery stores to nurse my baby (because I don't like eating my lunch in the bathroom, personally). I have nursed my baby in a sling in the middle of a dramatized tour of the tunnels of Moose Jaw, and in the middle of a hallway in a castle in Ireland. And although I do use a sling a lot of the time, other times I simply have a camisole with the front cut out under my t-shirt, with a zip-up hoodie in case its cold. You know what? I get less stares than you would think. I often have people come up to me and chat for 5 minutes before they realize that the baby is latched on. And when I do get stares and glares? Well, I have red hair and a flamboyant sense of fashion, so I generally get stared at anyway.

The thing about doing anything unusual in public (trust me on this one) is that if you act like its a normal thing to do, people will generally just filter it out of their field of view and assume you are doing something normal. If you are visibly nervous, you will attract attention. On the other hand, if your posture and facial expressions are aggressive or challenging, people will feel uncomfortable and you will attract attention. So I think the key to nursing in public is simple: wear clothes that are easy to nurse in or bring some kind of cover that you are comfortable with so there is no hassle. Maintain the mindset that you are doing something normal and everyday. Let your body reflect that reality, and generally people will follow suit. And if not, well then you will have a funny story to post on your blog later that day.

1 comment:

  1. Great looking Blog! Following from MBC... I would love it if you would follow me too!!




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