Boob Job and the Right to Choose

Before you all get excited (men in particular), this isn't about the silicone implants.

This post is about the job your boobs are biologically engineered to perform when you pop a baby out (well, most of us can do it).

I have survived the shame and guilt of choosing NOT to breastfeed.  So I now feel comfortable enough to write about it.

Even for awhile after my babies grew into toddlers, other moms would ask me how long I breastfed for.  I was always lowering my voice to a near whisper, covering my mouth on one side and saying, "About 3 months with the first one, and about a month with the second."

There I said it.  I gave it a good shot for 3 months with my first baby.  And to be really honest, it wasn't exclusive and she wasn't always ON the boob.  There was a lot of pumping.  I absolutely hated breastfeeding.

With my older darling I remember being bombarded by hospital nurses for my 3 day hospital stay (c-section) after she was born about breastfeeding.  I was read the benefits of breastfeeding fifty million times. 

Immediately, after my 4 pound 11 ounce baby was born - she was put on my chest- being guided by 2 nurses to my boob.  Like, she's 4 pounds milk hasn't come in yet - shouldn't someone get this low birth-weight baby a bottle with some formula??  That was my maternal instinct.

Day 2 at the hospital, a lactation consultant came into my room, grabbed my boob and tried to get my very tiny baby to suck.  I was like horrified.  And yet, I kept trying.  I would try every 2 hours just like they told me to.  Even though my nipple was the size of my little baby's head.  Even though there was like no way in hell she was going to latch her tiny mouth onto this gigantic watermelon.

As I pumped away at the hospital, I couldn't help thinking, for being the "natural" thing to do - breastfeeding is an awful lot of work.  Complete with pumping machines and consultants for God sakes.

And then it happened - disgusting, grey, black tarry looking colostrum came out of my boob.  The crowd (nurses) went wild.

I had succeeded at the first step of breastfeeding - now I was supposed to feed my baby this shit.  It took about an hour of convincing.

Day 3 I requested to take a shower.  I couldn't even do that alone, the nurse who brought me my meds came into the bathroom to give me the pills while I was in the damn shower.  She proceeded to stay in the bathroom to give me a lecture on why I need to stick with breastfeeding.   Really lady?  I just want to clean myself in silence for 10 minutes, and you're in here talking about breastfeeding and all of it's wonderful benefits. Thhaaannnkks.

Within the first 2 weeks, I knew breastfeeding was not for me.  My baby would sometimes nurse for 40 minutes (20 each boob), I'd have 20 minutes to eat something, take a shower..whatever...and she'd be wailing.  Hungry AGAIN.  I don't know if I wasn't doing it right.  I don't know if my boob wasn't working right...whatever it was ...this was just not happening.

I decided to stay attached to my pump.  Only pumping, and giving a bottle to my baby.  But I was literally pumping for 3-4 hours a day for the first and second month.  That's a part-time job.  I had supplemented formula since birth, so at 3 months old, while on a trip to New York, I left the pump behind and let the boobs dry out.

I never had those "romantic" nursing night sessions with my baby.  You know the ones by moonlight where a precious baby sucks away, totally content, looking lovingly into her mother's eyes.  Giving it up was easy for both of us.  She took to a full formula diet just fine.

And I could finally break free of the being tied down to the pump, being completely alcohol-free all of the time (I mean 9 months of sobriety is enough in my book) and she could be babysat for longer than 2 hours at a time.  Made sense for my life.

With the second child, I did feel the same pressure, but because she was allergic to milk it was much easier to make an excuse to give it up.  She needed a non-dairy formula to survive.  And seeing that I wasn't going to eat a non-dairy diet anytime soon - formula was a given.

I couldn't help being plagued by the thoughts that my formula fed kid was going to be sick 10 x's more than breastfed kids, or that my kid wasn't going to be as smart as the breastfed kids..etc.  You know what, my kids were just as sick as everyone elses - and they're just as smart (if not smarter....hahah), as those boob-lovin' kids.  I have no medical evidence to back this up, but I call it as I see it.

Here's my take on tit-feeding.  Breast is not always BEST.  Above all - happy mommy and daddy's make happy babies.  If you're not comfortable breastfeeding, don't want to be attached in that way, or physically can't do it - then move on.  That's why formula is on the market.  No need to agonize over this decision to not breastfeed.

If you are breastfeeding, good for you.  That's awesome - and I hope more laws are made in support of breastfeeding moms to do it in public.  I don't get grossed out by breastfeeding moms.  I don't care if your tit is out in the middle of Olive Garden - I won't lose my appetite. 

So seriously, boob-feeding advocates - lay off of us formula feeding moms.  We're doing OUR best, just like every other mom.  Sorry if our personal best involves formula.  And where's our advocacy group?  I might have to start one. MFFM: Moms for Fake Milk?

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