If you don’t like people who pass judgment on others, well, then you’re a liar because you can’t say you’ve never done it. And I’m about to do it. So if you don’t want to read it, find your way to the little red X in the corner of your screen and come back tomorrow when I may or may not have posted pictures of my current crafting endeavors. **There is a disclaimer at the bottom of this post because what I’m about to write will likely rub MANY people the wrong way.
I’ve posted before about my little breastfeeding crisis. In fact, I’m pretty sure I wrote about it in the post immediately preceeding this one, so if you need a refresher, you don’t have to go very far to find it. Breastfeeding has been a sacrifice, to say the least. I haven’t had cheese in five months, and I went an ENTIRE SUMMER without ICE CREAM. For real. All because I believed and still believe that breastfeeding Joshua would be the best thing for him. There will never be any convincing me otherwise.
Has he had formula? Yes. Do I think it’s poison? No, or I wouldn’t put it in my son’s body. Will he probably be going to formula full time sooner rather than later? Yes, but I’ve almost made it to my goal of six months and I’ll continue to pump until I don’t want to anymore. At which point I’ll stop. I’m sad that he no longer nurses, but he’s happy and healthy and the nighttime feedings are over in 20 minutes now, so I’ll take it.
Here’s where I get judge-y.
Breastfeeding was HARD WORK in the beginning. Seriously hard work. I felt like I nursed Joshua AROUND THE FREAKING CLOCK for the first six weeks of his life. It seemed like every hour and a half I was nursing him again, for up to 45 minutes at a time, which basically left me time to pee before it was time to start nursing him again.
THIS IS NORMAL.
This is how it’s SUPPOSED to work to ensure that A) the baby doesn’t die of starvation and b) the mother’s milk supply is well established and maintained. I know that it shouldn’t matter to me, but as someone who has overcome quite a bit to be able to breastfeed, I would’ve rather someone not even try than to “try” and quit after two weeks because her baby wanted to eat all the time and she (the mother) just couldn’t handle how time consuming it was to FEED her child.
Okay…back to the topic at hand…
While I listened to a conversation the other day, I developed a feeling of smug superiority for my breastfeeding success. Thankfully, Joshua has not yet been really sick. He’s had a snotty nose and he’s run a low-grade temp a time or two, but as far as illnesses where Dan or I have to stay home from work to be with him, we’ve been extremely fortunate.
Yes, I realize that the chances of me being thwarted by the universe have just gone up exponentially for publicly proclaiming my good fortune at having a healthy child, but still…this needed to be said before I exploded.
I suppose that part of the reason I’ve been feeling so underappreciated lately is because this exclusive pumping business has added yet another ball to the many I’m juggling already. I am now responsible for finding an extra 80 to 100 minutes a day to prepare my child’s food for the following day. BUT–but–and here’s the point of my post.
I firmly believe that breastfeeding Joshua has kept him healthy. It has protected him from illness thus far.
I truly, 100%, without a doubt believe that. (and really, there’s no changing my mind, so there’s no point in trying.)
Moms with sick children who have chosen not to breastfeed get these “Oh you poor thing” looks and comments all the time, like they are so put-upon to have to take care of their babies when they have colds and ear infections.
I get no “Wow! You ROCK” comments from others when I politely pick up my bag and my keys and lock myself in the book room and strip down almost naked and pump while eating a sandwich and grading essays and praying to GOD that the janitors don’t pick THAT DAY to sweep the floor in the book room. Or when I have to excuse myself from social gatherings to pump milk for my child’s bottles the next day.
A lot of people look at me as if I’ve sprouted three heads when I tell them I’m going to be in the book room (which is code for “do NOT come in here under ANY circumstance”). Many have asked me how long I “plan to keep this up” like it’s some sort of nasty habit.
Where’s the love for breastfeeding mothers?
Oddly enough, typing this has not served to make me feel better about my feeling of underappreciation but has instead made me want to be the champion of breastfeeding moms everywhere.
**Here’s my disclaimer–if a mother chooses to not breastfeed, that’s totally her choice. I don’t think mothers who choose to feed their children formula are doing a bad thing necessarily. But, I do think that some recognition for those of us who make this sort of sacrifice is warranted from time to time and I’m feeling a lack of said recognition.**