First, a few disclaimers:
1. The comments we are about to discuss did not appear in MY Facebook news feed. The woman who made them is a friend of a friend. But when my friend told me about them five days ago, my blood started boiling and hasn’t stopped yet.
2. Yes, I realize I am probably stepping in a hornet’s nest with this one. No, I do not care. You will soon see why.
3. I try to keep most of my posts here on Bachelor Girl, language-wise, in the PG-13 category. This when veers a little more into M territory.
You will soon see why.
Last Thursday, a friend called me up and told me about something that appeared that day in her Facebook news feed (further proof that Facebook is Of the Devil). Apparently, a mutual acquaintance posted a statistic she got from God-knows-where that went something like, “Mothers who breastfeed their babies are more responsive to their babies’ cries.”
And apparently, this person does this sort of thing a lot: Posts little barbs about breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding that basically equate baby formula with rat poison or giving your kid a steady diet of Coca-Cola Classic.
Here’s the thing:
I don’t think there’s any disputing, at this point, that “breast is best.” Breastfeeding is one of the healthiest things you can do for your baby and yourself. Obviously, it’s super nutritious, and it helps the baby’s developing immune system. There is also evidence that it helps prevent problems like allergies and stomach ulcers. It is undoubtedly one of the most powerful ways for mother and baby to bond. Plus, bonus! It helps a lot of women lose weight after pregnancy. I absolutely plan to do everything within my power to exclusively breastfeed Baby Powell until he/she is at least one year old.
Breastfeeding is simply not an option for everyone.
I personally know at least two women who are physically UNABLE to breastfeed their children. And I don’t mean they gave it one shot in the hospital, it didn’t work out and they said, “Eh, screw it” and went straight to Walmart and bought a can of Similac. I mean doctors and lactation consultants and herbalists and acupuncturists and homeopathic physicians were consulted and hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars were spent, and still, no bueno.
And what’s worse, both of these women TORTURED themselves over the fact that they had to feed their babies something that any (sane) doctor in the world will tell you is a perfectly acceptable food source for a baby: formula!
NO, it’s not “poison.”
NO, it’s not a cop-out for lazy moms.
NO, it’s not a substitute for mothers who don’t love their babies as much as you love your pwecious wittle snowfwake.
IT’S EFFING FOOD, PEOPLE.
Is it the ideal food?
No. But it’s still food. And regardless of what breastfeeding zealots will tell you, babies need to EAT even more than they need to suckle at their mothers’ breasts.
(I cannot believe I just used the phrase “suckle at their mothers’ breasts” on my blog. Jesus, what have we come to around here?)
Here’s the other thing:
Regardless of how you feel about breast milk or formula, I think we can all agree that only a mothereffing concert-grade douchebag would take to for-Christ’s-sake FACEBOOK in order to shame other people about their parenting decisions.
To the people who do that sort of thing, I have only this to say:
I hope the fact that you can make milk come out of your boobs makes you feel super awesome about yourself.
Because I assure you, it does NOT make up for the fact that you’re the sort of person who feels the need to denigrate others simply because you’re lucky enough to have all your ducts in working order.
Of course, not all people who feed their babies formula are unable to breastfeed. Some women simply choose not to, and while I personally do not feel that is the best decision, 1) Nobody asked me and 2) Who the hell really cares as long as your baby is getting fed?
I had a long conversation yesterday with Jessica the Web Mistress, who just gave birth to Sarah two weeks ago. She’s breastfeeding her and finally starting to enjoy it, but she gave me the real-deal lowdown on the first week of nursing:
1. It sucks, literally and figuratively.
2. It hurts like a mofo.
3. It’s exhausting.
Jessica really wanted to breastfeed Sarah, and she’s very happy and grateful that she’s able to do so, but we agreed that we can TOTALLY see how someone would elect not to. Particularly if you have a short maternity leave (and therefore a short learning curve), it would be a heck of a lot easier to feed formula from the beginning and skip the hassle of breastfeeding. And make no mistake, it IS a hassle.
Now, one of the militant breastfeeders’ favorite activities is to raise a giant hue and cry about how a mother just cannot possibly bond with her infant if she does not breastfeed! Why, your darling little baby will grow up to be a cat-burning serial killer with borderline personality disorder if it does not nurse, you boob-withholding monster, you!
Bull corn, as my grandfather would’ve said.
My husband is adopted. He ate baby formula from Day One. When his adoptive parents picked him up from the hospital when he was 11 days old, they told them what kind of formula to buy, and that was that.
The Guy not only grew up healthy, strong and smart, he also considers his parents two of his best friends.
I’m sorry, what was that about “inability to bond”?
And for those who insist breastfeeding ALWAYS produces healthier babies, try this on for size.
The Guy, a Formula-Fed Baby:
–Has been sick(ish) for a grand total of about 36 hours the entire time I’ve known him.
–Does not suffer from allergies.
–Has no stomach problems whatsoever.
Kelly, a Breastfed Baby:
–Is felled by the suggestion of a cold.
–Has spent literally thousands of dollars on various allergy remedies.
–Was diagnosed with stomach ulcers at the age of four.
It’s all the rage now for adoptive mothers to attempt to induce lactation in themselves, but
1. That’s effing creepy, dude.
2. They almost never produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed their babies anyway.
The bottom line is, breastfeeding is FAR from the only way to bond with a baby. I’m reading a book right now that Cassie sent to me, and it’s chock full of ways to bond with babies, including co-sleeping and baby-wearing.
Anybody who thinks they need one of these in order to bond with her baby should really talk to The Guy or his mom.
Either one of them will be happy to knock some sense into you.
Finally, any time you argue with a boobie radical about any of these points, you will inevitably wind up in an argument that begins, “My lactation consultant said! All the lactation consultants say! Lactation consultants know!”
Hm. Do they really?
In order to qualify to take their exam, the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners requires candidates to have about 1,000 hours of clinical practice in lactation care.
That’s a lot, isn’t it?! A THOUSAND hours!
It’s 125 working days, actually, or about 25 work weeks.
Me, I’ll take my advice from Dr. Brandi, who endured not only four years of undergraduate studies, but also eight YEARS of medical school. Oh, AND she exclusively breastfed two children.
A little over six months v. 12 years of education + experience = That’s a big, fat no-brainer, now, isn’t it?
And Dr. Brandi assures me that while breast is, of course, best, babies do not die but, in fact, thrive from drinking formula. One need not nurse a baby in order for it to become a happy, healthy, developmentally normal, functional, responsible, contributing member of society.
So to the woman who thought it was a really great idea to disparage other mothers on Facebook?
Put that in your bottle and suck it.