Okay. I'm going to take a short minute to use my little space on the internet here to do some self-indulgent whining.
More and more I'm seeing posts on social media about how proud people are to breastfeed, or that their partner is breastfeeding, etc.
I get it. It's a big deal! It's hard. It can take a lot of work and can be agonizing for months before a groove is ever found, if at all. It's a natural, healthy way for moms to feed their babies and we should stop giving these moms so much crap about it when they do it in public.
Yes, I do think moms who bust their ass (their breasts, really) to breastfeed their babies deserve a hell of a lot of credit. Kudos. SUPPORT. And they do this often under scrutiny of the general public, braving the glares, the disapproving stares, the requests for them to feed their babies somewhere more private, like a public bathroom, or while covered up. Because babies LOVE to be covered completely. Because it's so easy to see what you're doing when you're wearing a shroud.
I admire my friends who breastfeed their babies whenever/wherever their babies need it. I think they are rock stars.
I chose not to breastfeed. I had a great supply. I also had a baby who wouldn't latch. After two weeks I chose to stop trying to force it. The kid liked the bottle. I kept pumping for another two weeks, but that also sucked major donkey b's. Nope. Nope nope nope.
So I switched to formula and haven't looked back. For the most part.
It sucks to be a formula-feeding mom sometimes because we really don't get any credit at all. Honestly. We're called lazy. We're called incompetent. We're told that we're poisoning our child. We're told our child will never measure up to his or her breastfed classmates down the road. We're told our child will get sick all the time. We're told that we failed. We're told, "at least you tried." We're told, "even a little bit helps." We hear that breastfeeding is hard and not every mom is lucky enough to be able to do it. We hear that breastfeeding is natural and every mom can do it if she tries hard enough, which she should.
Here's the thing. I'm not lazy. I had unexpected major surgery. I had postpartum depression-like issues. I spent more time learning about different formula and bottles and digestion issues and reflux than a normal person probably should. I spent more time on the phone with nurses trying to figure out the best feeding plan than I did when trying to get the kid to latch. I chose to direct what little energy I did have into something positive instead. None of these things make me lazy.
Being a mom isn't easy for me, either, despite having taken what so many think is the "easy, lazy road" of using bottles and formula. You may think it's easier because I never have to endure the shame that comes with breastfeeding in public. You'd think so, except there are just as many crazy people out there who think it's their job to shame a mother for using a bottle or for buying formula. There was actually a lady in Target who stood in the formula aisle just to tell moms how they were poisoning their baby by using formula. Enduring that was not easy Refraining from unleashing a torrent of angry profanities on her was not easy.
You may think it's easier because I don't have to pump every few hours when I'm at work or away from my baby.
Yes. You've got me there.
I want to support breastfeeding moms and I want support as a formula mom. Is that too much to ask? Why does everyone have to parent the exact same way?
I know. It's self-indulgent. I'm entitled to five minutes of whining ever other month.