Breastfeeding Peer Pressure
Wake up and smell the breast milk!
Several sensitive topics like illegal immigration, religion, politics are openly discussed and it seems BREASTFEEDING is as well. I'm totally serious.Breastfeeding is the topic du jour. A very private matter that everyone has an opinion about.
As with many sensitive topics, it comes with opposing sides and severe judgement. If you breastfeed you have nipples of gold. Mother of the year awards are reserved for breastfeeders. If you tell someone you don't breastfeed they look at you like you killed the family dog with your bare hands. Wake up people!!! I'm not here to discuss the negatives of breastfeeding, just the truth.
"Breastfeeding is best"- when have you not heard or seen this plastered everywhere. But nobody warns a new mother breastfeeding can be more difficult than childbirth. First comes engorgement if you're lucky to produce enough milk. Then you have to wait for it to be released, which is a magical wait-and-see-how-much-pain-you-can-tolerate process while just one of your boobs becomes the size of your pregnant belly at 7 months- not a pretty sight.
Stress can keep the BF process from going smoothly and who's not stressed during the first few weeks of motherhood? Engorgement is painful, but that's the least of a breastfeeding mom's worries. How about mastitis, low milk supply, baby with colic/milk sensitivity, plugged milk ducts, sore nipples, public privacy, weaning, biting, chafing, candida, and sagging breast tissue and I don't know any women who lost weight because of breastfeeding. The joys are endless.
Those that promote breastfeeding can't possibly promote happy motherhood synonymously. They represent a breastfeeding cult (only half joking). Here's where the endless promotion comes from: Doctor, nurses, family, midwives, the old lady across the street, lactation specialists (the hospital sent one in to bug me every 2 hours after I had my baby), media, and more media. Maybe even your spouse bugs you as if he wears the boobs in the family.
Luckily I had an open mind going into breastfeeding and wasn't completely stunned it turned out to be such a nightmare. We always hear about breastfeeding successes- the warm fuzzies, and not much about the failures and risks. Those that fail, keep their mouths shut and heads hung low. I would like to be their voice right now. They're usually no match for the eager breasfeeding bottomfeeders that promote their superior choice- they're relentless.
Why I don't fall for BF promotion: the most important thing is a baby's health and bf's (breastfeeders) will have you think that breastfeeding is the single best thing a mother can do for her baby healthwise and where a relationship/connection is concerned. Wrong!
Health: Breastfeeding doesn't always give adequate nutrition to baby. For example, I've witnessed may mothers refuse to supplement with formula when their baby is losing weight fast and becoming malnurished due to mother's low milk supply or lack of nutrients. Extra vitamins are usually needed to supplement breast milk too.
In my case, my baby was milk sensitive and when I discussed her symptoms with my doctor or anyone, they all vehemently said to continue breasteeding. I followed my intuition and stopped immediately. I gave her hypoallergenic formula and she was 100% better overnight.
Many lactation specialists will insist you make enough milk for the baby. In their calculation/formulation, they consider baby's weight and ounces you supply by a mechanical pump. What they don't consider is you may have a baby that is growing at a faster rate than the average 7 pound baby. My lactation nurse insisted I had plenty of milk for my 7lb baby, but I knew my daughter was still hungry. She was simply growing at a faster rate and is now a head taller than peers her age who were born at 7lbs. too. So you're telling me my daughter, growing at that rate, needed the same amount of milk as the other kids?
Mother- baby connection: For many mother's breastfeeding takes up an infinite amount of time and even stress to learn to do. It can overtake your thoughts. It takes 8 weeks for BF to become natural, not comfortable or problem-free though.
I was so concentrated on BF that I didn't realize what the hell I was breastfeeding- my baby!!! The connection was betwen her mouth and my nipple, not between her and I bonding as mother and daughter. As soon as I stopped breastfeeding, my connection with my baby was so much better. I could relax and enjoy her and not be constantly thinking of how to get the hang of BF. I could get some sleep while my husband fed her a bottle too.
Prenatal breastfeeding awareness: The entire prenatal process is devoted to having the baby and labor- least of your worries soon-to-be mothers. Mothers that want to breastfeed assume they will be breastfeeding and it's as simple as that. The nightmare I experienced is not that uncommon, but all I heard about brestfeeding pre-baby was the old repeated mantra "breastfeeding is best and natural". Then they lay it on you, after you have the baby, about how many problems can occur with breastfeeding. You've spent 9 months picturing yourself happily connectiing and breastfeeding and when it doesn't turn out that way, because nobody gives you an alternate reality, you can be very disappointed.
Research: ALL research states "breastfeeding MAY be good for your baby's health". I've done my fair share of research, research reading and reviewing to get a good idea of how to determine validity. I wish so many people were not fooled by the word "may". This means there is a 50/50 chance it has any acutal and notable benefits. You may step outside your house and get hit by a bus. There's always a chance but it doesn't usually happen and that's exactly what the word "may" means in studies. Nobody knows and nobody can prove it. "It boosts immunity"- if that is true tell me why I was breastfed for 2 years and now have an immunity illness (Rheumatoid Arthritis). You can't sell me on any statements on health and breastfeeding.
Formula: Since when does our culture shy away from man-made forumlas of any kind? Why are so many people on prescription drugs? You here all the negatives about formula because it's not natural, yet if we get cancer the majority of us will choose a man-made formula/drug and treatment as opposed to anything natural. When it matters most, majority people depend on something scientifically formulated.
Breastfeeding and weight loss myth: Another incorrect formula! Breastfeeding burns an extra 600 calories a day, however you must have calorie deficit to promote weight loss. If you go into a period of caloric deficit while breastfeeding then you do not produce enough milk for the baby. Aha! Catch 22! So, yes you get to enjoy 600 extra calories a day, but no it will not cause actual weight loss.
Studies measure a bf woman versus a non bf woman and there is sometimes more weight loss in the breastfeeders, but they don't take into account that overall, bf moms are more likely to be concerned about their health, watch what they eat, and are eating more nutritiously for baby's sake. That would explain the weight loss myth. Personally I didn't lose weight until I stopped breastfeeding. Breastfeeding took up so much of my time that I wasn't able to prepare healthy foods for myself.
More by this Author
Not all couples experience an exponential drop in their sex lives post marriage- or so I hear. I'm still waiting to meet the couples that continue vigorous and enjoyable sex lives consistently throughout their marriage-...
Just as there's a wide range of mental illnesses, there are as many children and adult children of a mentally ill parent who have suffered without a voice. It may come as a surprise that many mentally ill people have...
There may come a time when you have endured a harmful and stressful family relationship, and you may wonder if cutting ties is right for you.