How To Give Up Breastfeeding And Not Feel Guilty About It: Part 1
By Sonja Essen on February 06, 2013
A few days ago I posted the intro to my breastfeeding series. Then I got into an car accident and I've been busy with car repairs. So that's why there was a delay in my follow-up post. My sincere apologies.
Breastfeeding. It's supposed to be the epitome of motherhood -- of womanhood. It's what the educated woman does. The informed, conscientious mother offers her breasts to her newborn to give the milk of life and health.
I've experienced this with two of my babies. I was blessed with the ease of breastfeeding. My nipples seemed to form to their little newborn mouths perfectly. There was only brief pain in the beginning. The only challenge being that my first child was attached to me constantly for the first four weeks of his life -- so much so that I looked at the formula samples in my cupboard with envy. What if I had my husband feed him just this once? Wouldn't it be lovely to have a little break?
I was told formula was inferior.
Not just inferior -- practically poison.
Only "uneducated" moms fed their babies formula. I knew some mom's had genuine difficulty breastfeeding -- that sometimes there were health issues involved that prevented breastfeeding. But I had it in my smug little head that such situations were rare. And besides -- if they really wanted to breastfeed -- they could pump -- or go to one of those breast milk banks. I mean, WHY would you give your baby something inferior unless you were -- I don't know -- uneducated or misinformed?
I know this is a story that's been told a million times. The breastfeeding story. But I strongly feel that you can never offer your fellow sisters enough encouragement when it comes to breastfeeding. Next to abortion, it's one of the other major female dilemmas of choice. But it's a dilemma of choice that we should have -- and a choice that we should not be ashamed of making regardless of the decision we make.
The difference between the choice of abortion and the choice of breastfeeding is -- obviously -- stark. In one, you're eliminating the zygote or embryo for your own human physical and mental well-being -- in the other, you're offering your body for the physical and mental well-being of another.
But there are similarities. With abortion, you're told by old white republican men what to do with your body. With breastfeeding you're told by upper-middle class white liberal women what to do with your body. I'm speaking in generalities here, of course.
Women just can't win.