Monday, May 1, 2017

Some Thoughts about Feeding Babies

Something that I have been thinking about for quite a few months now is all the "controversy" surrounding feeding a baby. And the first thought I have is why??? Every few months or so I see articles and videos circulate on the internet about women getting shamed or harassed for breastfeeding in public. One just happened this week in Utah. It absolutely boggles my mind.

First of all, some of these videos are blatantly fake, which bothers me because it's just trying to rile people up. But the stories that are real are so baffling to me, because I have breastfed in pretty much every public place imaginable and have never been harassed about it. Restaurants, museums, airplanes, hotel lobbies, the beach, public swimming pools, church, the car, taxi rides, and many more. And as you can see in the picture (one of my very favorites), I don't like to use a cover because the first few month's of my baby's life were very hot months. But at the same time I do feel that being discreet is important, but where do you draw the line? A baby needs to eat and sometimes trying to be discreet with a hungry crying baby who is still learning how to eat is NOT easy.

As if all of that isn't hard enough, then there's the internal and external pressure women face regarding breastfeeding. The pressure to teach the baby to latch correctly, the pressure to have a great milk supply, the pressure for how long to breastfeed. This pressure caused my a lot of anxiety before I had a baby, and I wish I would have spared myself the stress and known what I know now: that a FED baby is the best kind of baby, indifferent of how that baby is fed.

That being said, I had a very happy and enjoyable 11 months of breastfeeding my first baby. Some of my most favorite memories. I do believe that breastfeeding is preferable, and I don't feel like it's right to not even try to breastfeed before someone says it isn't for them. My viewpoints shifted a lot between my first and second baby, because I had different feeding experiences with them.

When my milk supply went down after about 6 weeks, my second baby was not a happy baby. I didn't know it was a milk supply problem until I pumped to see it was not a lot of milk, and when I gave him a bottle of formula, he guzzled it down. This was after a few very emotionally draining weeks of a fussy baby, while also trying to meet the demands of a 17 month old. It was one of the hardest times of my life, and when I was faced with supplementing with formula, it was an easy answer, because I was willing to do anything to just have a happy baby for my sanity.

It shouldn't be a conflicting choice. At first I felt like a failure that I couldn't get my supply back up, and I worried that people would judge me that I didn't breastfeed for that long, but I quickly got over it when I saw a nice change in my baby that made all of our lives so much better.

So I guess my point is, if you feel inclined to complain about someone breastfeeding in public, or you are afraid to breastfeed in public, or you are stressing out about breastfeeding in general, or you judge yourself or other women for formula feeding: just STOP IT. Just worry about what matters most: snuggling a happy well-fed baby and enjoying those precious months, because way too soon do the become toddlers who are absolutely crazy. I forever cherish those moments of feeding my babies indifferent of whether the milk came from my body or from a bottle.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully said. I couldn't agree more! We all have different kids and circumstances. I feel like the sigma around breastfeeding is like assuming everyone has the same size and style shoes but we all know that would be just ridiculous. Fed babies are the best no matter how you get there!