[Parentsgroup-list] anti-breastfeeding article in the Atlantic Monthly

bagneris at fas.harvard.edu bagneris at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Mar 16 13:41:20 EDT 2009


Another mommy who felt the article contained a lot of truths.  Read on if you
are so-inclined

Confession of a Breast-Feeding Failure:

My second child is now 5 months old.  After an already rough go with early
breastfeeding and struggling to gain weight in the early weeks, at about five
weeks, she refused to nurse period.  Since she refused the at-the-breast
nursing supplementer, I diligently cup fed breast milk to her for weeks,
knowing from all my pre-natal research that giving her a bottle before
breastfeeding was firmly established would leave her hopelessly nipple
confused.  I spent most of the early weeks of Z's life in the lactation
consultant's office, both of us crying our eyes out.  Having faithfully read
the Nursing Mother's Companion, the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, any article I
could get my hands on, and taking TWO pre-natal breastfeeding classes, I just
KNEW that I could do this.  It was hard work, but it was what my body was made
for (I mean my boobs were freaking huge 32H!!!).  I was determined to make this
work.  But I just couldn't.

Once the lactation consultant finally concluded that my daughter was "a real
toughie" and "quite a character with a real mind of her own" (heavens, I hope
so!) and gave me the go-ahead to give her a bottle (her weight had dropped
bigtime), I pumped breastmilk for her for 5 months, but  I couldn't balance
being a good mom to my five year old and a non-evil partner to girlfriend let
alone trying to finish a dissertation with pumping 8-12 times a day.   And
despite the name of of Medela's most popular pump, there is nothing "stylish"
about pumping; it's really hard work.  My daughter may have been getting those
drops of "liquid gold" as my pediatrician called them, but everyone but her was
pretty miserable.  Finally, I decided I wanted to really enjoy my daughter and
my family.

On her five month birthday, I just decided to forgive us both for "failing" to
breastfeed.  I fully support breastfeeding--have proudly nursed in public,
supported pro-breastfeeding legislation, etc.--and never thought this would be
me, never thought I would be one of those moms that other moms looked at and
said, "She just didn't try hard enough."  As a feminist, I know intellectually
that women have more than enough crap to feel guilty about...and yet, I still
feel tremendously guilty about our (my) breastfeeding "failure" and am very
self-conscious every time I whip out my poor bottle-fed daugher's "artificial
baby milk." I know that I'd happily nurse her until she wanted to stop if I
could get her back on the boob, but, you know, she never really did like a
bottle either.  Turns out, all this time, she was really trying to say, "I'm
hungry; just give me a freaking spoon!"  So we just bought one of those
infusion pureers thing-y so we can make our own, organic, locally grown baby
food (said, of course, with a note of irony, but also true : ).

Mia,
ABD, cloth-diapering, co-sleeping, baby-wearing vegan mom to Izzy (5) and poor
little bottle-fed Zora (5 months)




Quoting Eunha Chang <eunha.chang at gmail.com>:

> Dear All,
>
> Thanks Irene for the article. This is exactly what I wanted to hear from
> ANYONE for the last five years of raising my two kids ( I breastfed both)
> Despite all this euphoria about breastfeeding, I found many "cons" to it,
> but was wondering why no one mentions about them. After having exclusively
> breastfeeding two kids as a full-time student mom, I now advice other
> moms-to-be that formula is OK, and sometimes even better for some kids.  My
> younger one had a serious atopic dermatitis and food allergies, and whatever
> I ate affected him through breast milk.  My diet was restricted, and I had
> to always worry about anything that I unknowingly ate -- which was another
> stress in addition to what I already had.
>
> In addition, in oriental medicine, they say breastfeeding is "extracting the
> bone marrow of the mother." Despite the Western medicine's argument that it
> does not affect mother's health, and even good for burning calories, my
> oriental doctor said I will be left with only "packaging" (with no content
> inside) after breastfeeding. Whenever I went to him for chronic fatigue and
> illness, he advised me many times to change to formulas. But because I was
> hoping my son's allergies would get better from exclusive breastfeeding, I
> just couldn't stop.  My younger son is now 27 months old, and his allergies
> has not gotten better, if not worse.  In addition, I did not come back to my
> normal weight until I weaned them -- breastfeeding made my appetite
> crazy.
>
> Anyways, I would still choose breastfeeding over formula for many other
> reasons, but shorter in duration or with some sort of "compromise."  I just
> think it would be fair to give mothers the complete picture of pros and CONS
> of the breastfeeding, and have them choose, and no more stigma about the
> formulas.
>
> Eun Ha CHANG
> Visiting Fellow
> Harvard Yenching Institute
> 2009/3/16 Irene Newton <irene.newton at gmail.com>
>
> > Hi parents,
> >
> > I wonder what you'll make of this provocative article.  I feel like I also
> > had my issues with breastfeeding (especially the inequality it sets up in
> > the parenting between mother and father) but I feel quite strongly that it
> > is the best option for my child.  The article below brings up a lot of
> > questions about breastfeeding and I wonder what the highly educated members
> > of this listserve will make of it.
> >
> > http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200904/case-against-breastfeeding
> >
> > -Irene
> >
> > --
> > Irene L.G. Newton
> > Postdoctoral Fellow
> > Tufts University - Microbiology Department
> > Jaharis 424
> > 136 Harrison Ave.
> > Boston, MA 02111
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Parentsgroup-list mailing list
> > Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> > http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/parentsgroup-list
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> Eun Ha Chang
> Visiting Fellow
> Harvard Yenching Institute
> http://www.harvard-yenching.org
> 617 999 6370
>
>
> "Enter to Grow in Wisdom"
> "Depart to Serve Better Thy Country and Thy Kind"
>                  ----Inscription on the outside and inside of the Dexter
> Gate at Harvard (1901)
>






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