Friday, September 30, 2011

Ask the Host Q9: The Boobie Brigade

I'm pregnant, due in December. I'm wondering about breastfeeding. When I think about doing it now, it makes me feel weird. Plus, I've been on medication for depression for most of my adult life and I'm worried about taking it and getting it in the milk. I'm already having a hard time with the unmedicated pregnancy. Every article I read says that if I don't breastfeed I'm a bad mother. What if I hate it? Am I a bad mother?

Congratulations! You have so much to think about with your baby coming, please stop reading what the boobie brigade has to say about breastfeeding right now. You're just going to make yourself crazy. The Parasite nursed until she self-weaned at 22 months. According to the boobie brigade, since I didn't breastfeed for the full two years the WHO recommends, I might as well have handed her a bag of Cheetos on the way out of the womb.

Am I a breastfeeding advocate? Sure. I think everyone who wants to breastfeed their baby should have the support to do so. I think it's shameful that the medical community remains so uninformed about breastfeeding. It makes me sad when I hear stories of woman whose nursing relationships were sabotaged by well-meaning but uninformed advisers. And formula advertising in economically challenged areas that has convinced an entire generation of women that their own milk isn't good enough is vile, pernicious and should be stopped. But my support for the "Breast is Best" movement ends there. I don't think to support breastfeeding you need to vilify formula feeding mothers, and I don't think it does anybody any favours.

There are few things on the internet that annoy me more than anti-formula wank. "It's like a home cooked meal vs. McDonalds!" - Yes, I've actually seen that one many times. Well, no it's not. It's much more like the difference between fresh and frozen vegetables. There are pros and cons to both, and nobody should be made to feel bad or shameful for using either. Whatever or however you choose to feed YOUR baby is up to you. Mom guilt is a powerful force, don't let them start getting to you already!

Before I had an actual human baby in my arms, I thought I'd be creeped out by breastfeeding too. Turns out I wasn't when the time came. You don't know how you're going to feel, or how that baby is going to change how you feel until you get there, so try not to fill your head with too many preconceived ideas about your baby, your boobs and what you might think about the milk coming out of them. You just don't know.

If you DO decide you want to nurse, your medications may not the stumbling block you think they are. You'll have to speak to your doctor about your specific medications, but know that it's not like pregnancy when it's a direct link to your bloodstream. There are actually very few medications that are truly not safe for breastfeeding at all. If your particular medication is one of the few that are contraindicated during breastfeeding, you might be able to try something else. Or not. Please don't beat yourself up for circumstances you have no control over, especially not preemptively.

You know how you know you'll do just fine as a mom? Your baby isn't even here yet and you're trying to figure out how to do what's best for them. If you're happy and healthy, you'll be in a much better place, whatever you end up feeding your baby. It's not far away now, Mama!

This post is part of a weekly series, Ask the Host, allowing you to ask any question you want as long as you're prepared for a brutally honest answer. Got a question? Send me an email with "I have a question" in the subject line.


Catch My Words said...

I nursed all of my kids, but never for two years! I think a year is plenty.


Unknown said...

I'm not a mother myself, but one of my favorite mom bloggers, Katie over at Marriage Confessions, wrote this a post few months ago about her decision to not breastfeed. I think it is a great post - and also lets you know that you are not alone! Check it out: Marriage Confessions: Why I Chose Not to Breastfeed

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