Monday, June 6, 2011

On Breastfeeding

While pregnant, I dreaded the question "Are you planning to breastfeed?" I answered yes - and then proceeded to listen to (or nod along to) yet another horror story about someone's lack of milk production, latching issues, you name it.

It's weird how even the word "breast" feels vulgar and wrong outside of the "motherhood" circle - so if it feels too weird - just X out of this blog! But seriously, I won't get too TMI on you.

I was nervous about two things during my hospital stay. #1 - Having a c-section. #2 - Having trouble breastfeeding. After getting over the c-section - mentally and physically - I realized how wonderful it is that we don't have any issues in the breastfeeding department (knock on wood). 

Just because Ingrid is a natural and my milk production is A-Ok, this is still literally (said like Rob Lowe on Parks & Rec) one of the hardest things I've ever done. Everyone talks about the physical limitations surrounding breastfeeding - but I've found that it's just so insanely physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. Think about it, every two to four hours she needs to be fed, and if a feeding takes between 15-30 minutes (it used to be around 40) - it leaves little time for anything else. Which is fine - this is what I'm supposed to be doing. But, every now and again, I feel like a leaky cow, glued to my glider. Thank goodness I'm committed to breastfeeding otherwise, we'd be saddling up to the formula aisle and forking out some dough. Here's why I'm committed:

During my Plants and Society class at UWEC, we learned about the benefits of breastfeeding (why during a Plants and Society class? Who knows.). I always knew it was the best stuff, but I didn't realized HOW amazing it truly was. A mountain of health benefits for baby, mom drops the weight (still waiting...) - and a recent study shows that there are reduced behavioral issues too. I remember saying that it was basically magic and my teacher dramatically responding - "It's BETTER!" So, then and there at Phillips Hall I told myself that I would breastfeed my baby as long as reasonable possible in order to provide this "better than magic" magic.

Also, all of the other obvious reasons, it's free, we bond. Yada, yada, yada.

So why do I even bother typing or pondering this issue? Because there's a lot of conflicting information coming at me from a few angles. I am now inundated with formula coupons and samples. "Parent" emails and sites encourage breastfeeding (slightly) but really make a big stink about how "if breastfeeding is challenging, don't beat yourself up about formula feeding!" Let me be clear, I completely agree - if it's challenging, why stress about it? Feed your kid! And, Ingrid gets a formula bottle everyday (as I work on building up a supply). But, don't let every woman off of the hook by simply giving them an out at the peak of their frustration. It's such a great marketing plan - but I'd really like to get off of these mailing lists! 

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