It’s o.k. not to breastfeed, or is it?

It's o.k. not to breastfeedIt’s o.k. not to breastfeed, or so I thought as my hubby and  I walked into our first appointment with our soon to be pediatrician.

As it took hubby and I three and a half years to have Little Pumpkin Doodle breastfeeding was the least of my concerns. After making it past the 1st trimester, I thought, wow, I’m really going to have a baby! So I put myself into full baby mode and started nesting. First on my agenda was to buy cute baby clothes, second was to start looking for a pediatrician.

Before starting the search I did what most people do, and started asking friends, women on the street and reading blogs for tips on what I should ask while interviewing doctors. Feeling very proud of myself I was fully armed and ready to interview doctors with my two page questionnaire.

Breastfeeding  judgment & our pediatrician

I’ll never forget the appointment where we met our future pediatrician. I asked her several questions and then she asked a question of her own; “You’re going to breastfeed, right?” She clearly saw the look of panic on my face when I said, “yes” a little too loud. I didn’t mean it, and quickly recanted my yes, to an “I’m not sure.” The pediatrician replied quickly with the phrase “no judgment!” I found it funny, since she clearly was judging me. Believe it or not, we ended up selecting the “no judgment” pediatrician. I didn’t care that she judged me, I wanted the best, and doctor “no judgment” was the best in town 🙂

It wasn’t that I was against breastfeeding, it’s just that I thought it was creepy!  All kidding aside, I wasn’t looking forward to it. I had surgery  5 years prior to conceiving and was advised it would probably prevent me from breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding an older child

I admit I have judged other moms for breastfeeding an older child. My husband and I visited a close friend and her neighbor stopped by with their 2.5 year old. The neighbor started breastfeeding her child while speaking with us. Yes, I admit, I judged that mother. My first thought was that if a child has a full set of teeth and can ask for milk, then its time to stop breastfeeding. But after what happened to me, I realized that it’s no fun when you’re the one being judged.

Giving birth at a pro breastfeeding hospital

I had the option of giving birth at a hospital 5 minutes from our home, but selected an OBGYN closer to my work, therefore only giving me one choice of hospitals. What I didn’t know is that the hospital I chose to have my daughter was a pro-breastfeeding hospital.  I know it was my fault for not doing enough research, but I had a lot of things going on at the time. I even had a panic attack on the initial hospital tour with  my hubby. Looking back, the realization of finally becoming a mother after so long had started to hit me.

I didn’t produce much, if any milk, and every time I asked for supplement, a nurse would politely say, “Why don’t you try the other breast.” At one point my friend, my father and I had all asked my nurse for supplement when she became upset with us and walked away. It wasn’t until they checked LPD for jaundice, and realized she’d lost 1.5 pounds (total weight of 4lbs 5oz) causing her to go under the bili lights, were they accommodating with the supplement.

The nurses made me feel like I was a horrible women for not providing breast milk, and that I was whining and couldn’t handle the pain. I wanted to yell, I’ve had three surgeries and waited 3.5 years, I’ve paid my dues, now feed my baby! If I had to do it all over again, I would have selected another hospital.

Balloon animals and breastfeeding

LPD was born 6 weeks early and I was overwhelmed and not mentally prepared to breastfeed. While relaying my breastfeeding experience in the hospital to one of my BFF’s she told me that when she had her baby a lactation consultant, which she later named the lactation “dictator”, treated her breasts like she was making balloon animals at a children’s party.

Final thoughts

I’ve concluded some women want and are able to breastfeed,  some women aren’t able or don’t want to breastfeed; but either way it’s none of my of my bee’s wax.

Did you feel the pressure to breastfeed your child? I would like to hear from you. Don’t be shy.

 

Comments

  1. I find it quite interesting how much society changes through the years. 40 years ago, there was no such thing as formula in every grocery store in town, it had to be special ordered by a doctor. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s nice that women get that option now to choose to breast feed or not to; I’m not knocking any mommy out there who formula feeds. What blows my mind is how women can think that breast feeding is gross/icky/nasty etc. It is what our bodies were meant to do. Breasts are not there for decoration, they serve a purpose like every other part of the body. There is NOTHING more natural than breast feeding your child. After I had my son, I was struggling with some health issues, and felt like the worst parent in the world when I suddenly could not produce milk. He was 7 months old and I felt as though I had failed him. Luckily I had bags of breast milk in my deep freezer, in case something was to happen to me where I could not feed him, we had back up until he became used to formula. While pregnant many of my co-workers who were women shared with me how breast feeding moms were gross. I looked at them amazed. It is now socially acceptable for me to pierce my nipples and genitals, have surgery to make my breast look more full and perky (which when you first start breast feeding is exactly what happens) but if I want to throw a cover over my body and feed my child in public it is considered distasteful because you know that under my cover there is a tiny infant sucking on my boob? When my husband was transferred with his work, I had to find a new pediatrician for my kids. I went to the one most recommended. While he is a good doctor, it bothers me more than anything that he prefers all mothers to formula feed, so that way I know exactly how much food they are eating at a time. Really doc? Read any studies on the benefits of breast feeding not just for baby but for mom as well? ‘Cause there are alot of them.
    I will agree on one thing, I have yet to have a lactation consultant in the hospital that is pleasant. I actually kicked the one I had with my daughter out of my room and told her never to come back. I’m sure there are some amazing ones out there, and I sure hope I get to meet one at the birth of baby #3.
    Either way, breast feeding or formula feeding, please don’t knock on the breast feeding moms. We’re humans, doing what our bodies were supposed to do for our children. There is nothing gross about nursing your baby. It’s the most natural, organic thing you can do.

    • Hi Kacy, thank you for the response. I’m not knocking breastfeeding moms. I stated breastfeeding wasn’t for me due to medical reasons, and was sharing my initial feelings about it. I agree it’s natural, but I feel there is an assumption made by the medical profession that women want and should breastfeed.

      In your example, I don’t think it was right that a doctor tried to discourage you from breastfeeding.

      Once again, thank you for your response:)

  2. I didn’t feel pressured to breastfeed. My hospital was very pro-breastfeeding, but only in the sense that they provided resources and support, not to pressure.

    Breastfeeding was a bit difficult for me (I wrote a post about this that I’ll publish soon) but eventually I got the hang of it. Even then, I knew that if it ever got ridiculously hard that I couldn’t handle it, I told myself that I could quit. I didn’t want to be miserable because of this pressure.

    • Hi Sleeping Mom. Always good to hear from you. It sounds like you had a really great hospital and went into the experience of breastfeeding with a good sense of self.

      I commend you for doing it and for also giving yourself the o.k. to stop if it became to difficult.

  3. Great post. and Kacy I agree with you. I never had a doubt that I would breastfeed any of my children. What WAS unnatural for me was having some random woman grab my breast and showing me how to breasfeed my child. Now granted with my first child I had no clue what I was doing and if the nurse had not done that my poor little son would have gone hungary. None the less it was weird. Imagine if we lived in a world where we did not judge others, what kind of world would that be?

    • Hi Lupuswolflupus! I’m glad you were able to breastfeed and overall had a good experience.

      I’m with you and would love a world where there was no judegment. Always good to hear from you. Hope you have a greatweend!

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