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June 15, 2006

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You know that's a great piece you've written there. Because from my side of the fence - representing some of those that stumbled at the hurdle, broke their ankle and lost the olympic gold - we are scared of those who did it successfully.

What I mean is I've been had a fear deep down and, I think, a large slice of green envy (to match my vile nipples) that other women managed to do it and I couldn't. I couldn't stand the idea that I couldn't succeed. This need to succeed might have more to do with my childhood experiences, or maybe it is common to many mothers who couldn't make it work. It cut deeply.

So to read an article like this, that shows empathy while retaining your viewpoint, is just uplifting to someone like me. It shows that those is that elusive breastfeeding club judge us without taking mitigating factors into account. That the club doesn't just automatically think all women can do it regardless, with every baby.

Prior to writing my blog, I had stayed away from the debate about breastfeeding. Not because I am anti but because I feel I am in no-mans land. I am pro but couldn't do it and ended up in the "enemy" camp as a result.

I distinctly felt an "us" (formula) and "them" (bottle). But I managed to brush most of it aside after I got proper counselling privately. It's lain dormant deep within until I fell pregnant again. Must be the hormones!

As well as informing people how to breastfeed and giving much more 24-hour support (as not everyone gives birth between 9-5!), I feel it is important to get the view across it is not easy.

I had no idea it was going to be as hard as it was (obviously I am an extreme case). If I can do anything with my blog, I'd like to support people who are struggling with the guilt and feel isolated when it goes wrong.

So thanks again. It helps those of us who are willing to put our hands in the fire, try again and risk getting burnt.

Emily

My friend Christie will love this.

I love the oil metaphor. I've been very lucky to have breastfed 3 girls over a year a piece. Two of them after returning to work when they were only 6 weeks old and all the fun of pumping twice a day at work, running to the daycare to nurse at lunch and fretting over every precious ounce. One had elevated bili levels her first couple of weeks - which resulted in me telling a doctor that I wasn't giving my baby formula for something that could be treated with light. (My thought being if her levels were high enough to risk jeopordizing the breastfeeding relationship - then why not get her under the lights?) Her response - oh most aren't that dedicated. huh?
I have been really lucky in that nursing has been physically easy. But the social issues have been a lot harder. Pressure from uninformed family was terrible with the first - are you sure she's getting enough? when can we have her overnight? just give her some cereal. Pumping at work was always a potential uncomfortable situation. Although my co-workers did get comfortable enough to make cracks about my shower curtain and that odd noise. Then there is the whole nursing in public thing - I have no problem feeding my kid where ever we are; but there are always things like the nusery worker at church bringing me a blanket. I'm thinking - I'm in the nusery who in here cares? Guess I should have just went back to the sanctuary where I nursed her in the pew last week.
Then there are the people who feel like they have to justify their decision to stop or not breastfed to me. How do you respond to those people? One stay-at-home mom commented to me that she just didn't like it so she quit at about 4 months. This was after she'd asked if my 10month old was weaned yet and I responded with not until at least a year. I just told her 4 months was a great start' but it's like she expected me to put her choice down.
The whole breastfeeding thing seems to be turning into something like the mommy wars (stay at home vs working) where it seems that each side seems to think the other side thinks they are wrong. That was what concerned me about the NYT article - the tone seemed harsh that pro-breasfeeders don't understand when it doesn't work out. I think those moms who do try should be applauded. I think we need more education - yes its natural; but just like labor it ain't always easy. There just doesn't seem to be much education for moms on breastfeeding: a 2hr class at the hospital; read a book; read the internet but not much unless she goes looking for it. There does seem to be more articles in all of those baby magazines - which is a good sign. There just needs to be so much more available.

Because I love Nutella just that much (and also because my sister is still breastfeeding thanks to Gladly's support/encouragement), I am happy to provide the Cigna link, at the C. Everett Koop National Health Awards:
http://tinyurl.com/jm73e

The $300K figure came, I believe, from an estimated $240K savings in prescriptions due to healthier babies, and a $60K savings due to lower maternal workplace absenteeism. But I confess I was reading with a distracted mind.

Wish me luck, we are off to sleep in the tent in our backyard tonight. And there are no especially peaceful people in our family, either.

Although I agree with the choices of the woman the Times featured, I thought the inclusion of her within the article was a little bit sensationalistic. It would have been much nicer if they had included two or three women: one who was a working mother who was able to supplement with pumping; one who was a stay/work at home mother who breastfed her child for the recommended one year; and then that woman. That would have showed the flexibility and diversity of those who breastfeed, rather than showing one extreme example of a woman whom very few of us can hope to emulate.

I also found the lack of emphasis on the ability of a woman to work and breastfeed at the same time disheartening. I don't know if you've ever seen it, but http://theunderweardrawer.blogspot.com features an anesthesiology resident who got pregnant in the middle of her residency and who is still breastfeeding her son despite a punishing regimen in her residency. Clearly, that's the other side of the coin, but it at least illustrates that it is POSSIBLE to work and breastfeed and pump all at the same time.

Last, I think it's important to emphasize that ANY breastfeeding is beneficial to the baby. Yes, it'd be great if we could all breastfeed and not worry about formula, but some women have a very tough time doing that, and it's easy to get discouraged when there are such black and white articles out there.

So, yeah, I'd agree that there were some huge deficiencies with that article. On the other hand, it was nice to see an article extolling breastfeeding in such a widely read publication.

Gladly, you're brilliant - I mean, you got it! My first reaction to the article was the same as your husband's, then when I read your previous post I was a bit confused - I thought I hadn't read correctly, but now I completely agree - to say that breastmilk is best doesn't mean the article is being supportive of breastfeeding!! As I emailed Emily today, not enough emphasis is given on how to prepare women to breastfeed and how to solve breastfeeding problems - which are very common and in many cases the main cause for many women to give up breastfeeding.

Ahhhh. Thank you. It's much nicer, getting my daily Gladly fix ... One question - did Mr. Gladly buy your frustration with the article? And one quick comment: people talk often about the importance of lactation support at work. I have to say, my own experience is that having a formal program in place is great, but not always enough to make it easy. Over the last year I've had the choice of pumping in a 'proper' lactation room - but getting there required a 15 minute walk there and back. Without going into detail, I wish the university had spent less on the official support on paper but had more accepting / tolerant people; I think that might have made things much easier, more than yet another committee with well-intentioned recommendations.

I too thought I had misread something until I went back and caught the title. Breastfeed or Else. Or else what? It had a lot of positive information, but I think it is just inborn for the NYT now to present the otherside as the only other alternative. And as far as feeling guilty goes . . . I'm not pointing fingers at women who don't breastfeed for whatever reason, BUT that said: GUILT is the feeling that you should have when you commit a wrong. I'm a little beyond aggravated with this idea that if you are feeling guilty then you are the victim. Guilt is an appropriate response for someone who is conscience of a wrong. Again, this comment is not specifically directed at breastfeeders, just at the notion in and of itself.

Emily, I meant to go back and add in (but unfortunately got distracted by the chaos) my sympathy for you -- what a dreadful experience! I hope everything goes much more smoothly this time around. And I'm glad this post didn't rub you the wrong way.

Amy, thanks for your perspective as a working mother, and Ariella, thanks for the link to the anesthesiologist's blog.

Jody, woohoo! on your sister! I'm so glad I could help a bit. Many thanks for tracking down that reference for me, and I hope you are surviving the night without too much blood loss (either kid- or mosquito-induced).

Lilian, you've hit it on the head about the need to prepare women for difficulties. Thank you for your kind words.

Rachel, I'm more than happy to provide you with a legal and breastfeeding-compatible fix. Perhaps I could change my tagline to "Gladly: easing the jonesing since 2004." :-) Mr. Gladly (you can call him Elwood P.) says it is unreasonable for me to expect the NYT to solve mothers' breastfeeding problems, but that I should feel free to criticize the government. So I will. While I'm at it, I will criticize your university, because 15 minutes is a long way to walk for a pumping session, and unfriendly people make it a lot harder than it needs to be for breastfeeding mothers to keep nursing during grad school.

Hi, Lauren! (waving through the 'puter because we were commenting at the same time) Shouldn't you be sleeping, pregnant lady? (I know I should be sleeping, and I'm not even pregnant.) I am intrigued by the whole issue of bottle-feeding guilt -- will see if I can get a post written on it. But not tonight!

Jamie

I wrote a lot of errors in my post. I meant that a lot of people do take the mitigating factors into account and don't just judge right away. I missed out an important word that changed the sentence. Also said formula twice! All I have as an excuse is that I have baby brain at the moment.

Amy, I am unsure what you mean by feeling guilty is right. In my case it didn't work out because I didn't have ANY support that was of any use. It was the medics actions that caused me so much tissue damage. I felt guilty because I trusted them to get it right and then I couldn't feed my baby the way I wanted to because of the pain.

It isn't so black and white. It is so emotive. Just like there is hardly any support where I live (in one of the UK's most densely populated regions), I know from experience that there is absolutely NO emotional support for when breastfeeding goes wrong or doesn't work out for a number of reasons (many of which are down to lack of support, failure to understand/master the technique and pain).

I've even asked this time if there is any support from the NHS near me. The answer is depends how busy they are when I am in labour. If I fail to get it in hospital then I will have to call on my local midwives and it might not be the one who has listened to my fears and be so understanding.

You also have to understand that guilt is a strange emotion that can be triggered even when you are innocent. Take for example someone who has been sexually abused up to the age of 12. They feel guilty for decades after because of a whole host of reasons: failure to do something to stop it or telling and causing families to split up and disintegrate overnight (including their own maybe). But they are NOT guilty. Their emotions are natural processing of what happened to them.

All I am trying to do through my blog is show that a lot of bottlefeeders are NOT anti-breastfeeding. They are actually pretty depressed with being judged when often they have been unable to access proper support.

Reading a book, accessing the internet and going to classes prior to feeding isn't good enough. Some women need one-to-one practical lessons in private from an expert specifically trained in lactation who has more than five minutes every hour to show you the ropes. The reasons could range from having previous abusive relationships/sexual abuse and not wanting different people handling you roughly in public or going to a public feeding class when you've suffered such failure last time and you are scared of failing again.

I guess, in summary, I am trying to build bridges between the two camps of bottlefeeders and breastfeeders so they can learn from each other. So that there isn't so much of a divide and they can offer support, advice and experience to one another without fear.

Emily

Baby brain again! I didn't mean Amy, I meant Lauren!

Emily

Longtime lurker here . . . I had many of the same mixed feelings on reading the NYT article.

I had tremendous difficulties breastfeeding after my son was born -- severe mastitis requiring hospitalization for days and IV antibiotics, severe damage to my nipple requiring me to pump only on that side for months afterwards (half of it is still missing, and my son is 2 now!). All this although I was very well informed on the subject, took a breastfeeding class, read kellymom, had private lactation consultants and consultation with my local La Leche leader. While it was going on, I was distraught -- I felt so guilty, and angry at the people who were telling me that I was doing harm to my baby by not pushing forward. And yet . . . I did push forward. I'm not sure why. Part of it was, I think, a strong desire not to fail that was not specific to breastfeeding or even to parenting -- just a personality trait. I also think that some of it, as painful as it was for me to hear it at that time, was the public health message that going ahead was best.

I am glad that I perservered -- I am still nursing my son, while working more than full time (since he was six months old), and it has been and continues to be a joyous experience. I also understand completely why one might give up in the face of terrible experiences (and, of course, that some women can't make it work no matter how much they want to -- I was lucky, and I am in no way suggesting that everyone can do it if they just try harder).

So I agree that more needs to be done to support breastfeeding in all kinds of ways -- that just extolling the benefits of breastmilk is not enough. Still, guilt-inducing as it is, I continue to believe that there is also some value in simply getting information out there to people about the benefits of breastmilk.

Jamie, thanks for the illuminating post.

well, I've read and re-read the article and what you wrote. I also didn't care for the article, though I kept saying to myself WHY DON'T I LIKE THIS? I mean - it's chock full of great goodness, all the benefits of breastfeedings being expounded, telling everyone that it's risky not to breastfeed, that it's the norm, all that jazz. So why didn't I care for it?

Three things that I have pinpointed that lead to my negative reaction: 1) This sentence - "I'm concerned about the guilt that mothers will feel," said Ellen Galinsky, president of the center. "It's hard enough going back to work."

Oh, dearie me. We can't say anything positive about breastfeeding because you know what... it will lead to moms feeling guilt. Sigh. That trumps everything else, you see. Mustn't let anyone feel guilt. Now I'm not talking about those who tried and couldn't, or those with extenuating circumstances. I'm talking about the person who looked at the baby and said - nope, not going to do that, not even going to try. Shouldn't that person feel even the littlest bit of guilt that they aren't doing what they know is the best thing for the baby? Why is guilt all bad???????

2) was the way they knocked down the benefits - they can't just say that it's beneficial. Nope, gotta throw in a few disclaimers. After all, breast milk can't be all that great, can it?

3) was the lack of real life breastfeeding examples. What about the woman who teaches and breastfeeds, or the women who breastfeed for months, not years. It made it seem all or nothing, and made exclusive breastfeeding something that is almost impossible to do. When we know hundreds of women who have combined it with all kinds of things. I'm currently breastfeeding a toddler, but that doesn't mean that I don't go on dates, or that I can't be gone overnight if I have a good caretaker for him.

Anyway, sorry to run on and on - but it did leave somewhat of a sour taste in my mouth. Though I'm glad to see something, anything remotely positive out there. But what about an example that more women would relate to? sighhhhhhh.

Thanks for the link to the article and the thoughtful post. My reaction to the message (the gov't program) is that I dislike scare tactics and guilt. However I'm glad to see the gov't getting on this bus. I hope the delivery of the message improves with time.

My reaction to the messenger (NYT) is less positive. What a crappy article! All surface, and flashy info tidbits, with little substance. Yes, they're repeating facts and figures - but where's the reporting? We hear from ONE nursing mother?? Ridiculous.

I remember spending time with a friend and her 8-wk-old twins... she was worn out with the pumping and the feeding and guiltily admitted that her kids each got a bottle of formula every day. Then she sighed, and expressed doubts about continuing breastfeeding at all.

I hope my words conveyed my feelings: sincere respect for everything she was doing, and how hard it must be, while giving her a little cheerleading... "You're doing a great job - these babies are beautiful and healthy, and you've given them a great start. All you can do is take it one day at a time... and every day that you nurse them is another accomplishment." I wanted her to know that I believed in her, that I knew she was a great mom no matter how she fed her kids.

(She went on to nurse them for 18 months, and I fret, in hindsight, about whether I was supportive or only applied additional pressure.)

The media: clueless. The government: hamfisted. The medical profession as a whole: ambivalent.
So it seems to be up to us to support each other, demonstrate what's possible, and rebuild what we lost 2-3 generations ago: a culture in which the care and feeding of small ones on a daily basis were not events worty of a circus sideshow - back in the day when we lived with extended family. Modern parents are isolated; I see breastfeeding education and support as one step we can take to shore up each others' confidence and create, well, *villages* of communal support.

Sorry to get long-winded... it's an emotional topic for me! I had a difficult first 18 months of nursing my daughter. I felt alone, like a breastfeeding "freak" in the eyes of the world, with little support regarding my particular situation (big kid - 20+ lbs at 6 mos - who never took a bottle, didn't eat solids until 20 mos and nursed about 8 times a day).

At the same time, I could see that I'd been blessed with a hale and hearty child! I felt strongly that nursing was the right thing for her. She was clear about what she needed, and we (my husband and I) responded as best we could. And I know that with any subsequent children I'll feel much more relaxed. Oh, and I'll care a LOT less about what others think.

So to end with a question: what's your take on donor breastmilk? This seems to be a missing component in the equation and discussion: folks talk about how many lives formula saves, with the assumption that before formula infants would have died if their mothers didn't have an adequate supply of milk. But such a mother would very likely have found support from other new mothers in her extended family and community in days gone by, yes?

Could donor breastmilk, as an alternative or even an amendment to exclusive formula-feeding, be a balm and a bridge to build support and community between parents... less "us" and "them" and more "we"? Just one Pollyanna's musings...

Jenny

I for one, who wanted to do it but couldn't, found your post really supportive and questioning exactly what we 'the people who desperately wanted to but couldn't (not wouldn't) have been asking since our own crappy experiences.

Sadly, as you stated, there is little help available. In my little corner of the UK - the highest density population in the UK - the NHS resources are stretched to the max.

Again, pregnant the second time, I've asked what support is available to help me get feeding st the hospital. My midwife, while supportive of me in my quest and fear of failing again, has been honest. She said it depends how busy the ward is and who is on. Sadly she won't be attending the main hospital. She only does the maternity unit and I've been refused to be allowed to go there as I am high risk (despite healthy, normal delivery last time and being a heavier weight).

She says she wishes I could come to the unit as they have more time to help people like me and my husband could stay with me out of hours (if you read my blog, you'll know why having him so close is important - as it is for all mums).

It is this "building bridges" that I am looking at and perhaps I should state that this bridge needs to be built between successful feeders and non-successful feeders. Judging non-successful feeders as anti-breast and that why should feeling guilty, is just not going to help people like me. People who are actively seeking help and experience. Being stone-walled makes us feel more isolated and frightened to try.

If those successful feel passionately about breastfeeding, then, surely, in the name of sisterhood, they would want to help people also want to join the successful club?

Shutting the door in our faces is almost as sad as mothers who don't want to even try.*

Emotive this is, of course, but continuing dialoge between us all is the only thing that is going to break down barriers.

Best

Emily

*Please note that this post is meant with best intentions and not directed at any posters on this blog. It is aimed at everyone from health professionals, poor health services and to mums (anti, non-successful and successful) in general and, of course, the media.

Wow, Emily - now that I've read some of your backstory I'm humbled and amazed by what you went through, and that you're ready to try again. Gearing up to fight for what you want, even though you know it may be very difficult, takes enormous courage. Not to mention energy and time! (Scarce commodities for the pregnant mother of a small child.)

I hope the best for you with your second. And on the topic of "success" (which we're obsessed with over here as well) I hope you know that you have already succeeded. Succeeded at educating yourself, standing up for yourself and your children, in the face of callousness and misinformation... and hopefully educating the medical profession a bit in the process.

Thank you for writing about your experiences. You're educating others and furthering an important discussion.

Even some of our Lactation Consultants can be very destructive to breastfeeding:

LC had recommended to the mother of my little patient:
Nurse on one breast for 20 minutes, offer formula or expressed breastmilk, pump. After trying to reason with the mom (LC said it, so it must be true), I finally pulled out the scale, weighed the baby - who had gained 3 ounces in 24 hours and informed the mother that while the LC may have been correct AT THE TIME she made the recommendation (hey, I wasn't there), there was clearly no longer any need for mom to pump and bottle feed.

Just my personal observations on how to improve the dialogue:

Bottlefeeding does NOT equal formula feeding. Being imprecise language-wise is a sneaky way to punish moms for going back to work. Please stop using them interchangably - that's the only way to honor mothers who pump for their children. And you want them to keep bottle-feeding breastmile, dont you? Or is it all about the breast-feeding?
I have to wonder when the language is so skewed in so widespread a way if it isnt deliberate.
Second, make information about breastfeeding more widespread and less judgemental. Trying to find out how you can have an alcoholic drink is a herculean effort. A lot of the answers I got (or non-answers) were designed to shame (We dont want to encourage moms to drink) rather than make it easier for breastfeeding to meld with life.
The whole guilt issue is wrong. Making someone feel guilty over their choices is a sure way to divide rather than unite. Key words like "selfish" and "convienant" need to be thrown out of the vocabulary - I dont care how much formula you use, convienent, when refering to babies, is an oxymoron. So is this myth of the "selfish" mom. Negative labeling - how does this advane the goal of breastfeeding?
My two cents.

Your post seems a little odd. First you claim that the NYT article should have pointed out how DIFFICULT breastfeeding is--how difficult many women find it, how it's not as easy as putting a child to breast, bam, done--and then you claim that the article should have highlighted how "flexible" breast feeding is.

Well, which is it? If it's SOOO flexible, how come it's SOOO difficult, even with the help of LCs, La Leche League, breast pumps, etc.?

The answer is that it isn't BREASTFEEDING that is flexible: it's MOTHERS. MOTHERS try to be flexible. Mothers work EXTREMELY HARD to learn how to breastfeed. They work EXTREMELY HARD at it despite a lack of resources, or significant problems even when they have overwhelming resources.

Yes, your problem with the article was it was about milk, not mothers. You wanted the article to be about mothers.

But that's not what you wrote--you wrote you wanted it to be about breastfeeding.

Proponents of breastfeeding would find it easier to support their cause if they concentrated on MOTHERS rathering than feeding. Even they seem to forget the pain, fear, guilt, feelings of failure, desperation, and tears that breastfeeding mothers go through even on the best breastfeeding days.

So, is your goal to advance breastfeeding? Or to advance the condition of babies and their mothers?

Concentrate on the mothers. Not on the milk. Not on the feeding.

Thanks for another look at the topic -- I spent some significant time writing about it on my blog after I experienced a similar reaction to yours. When I posted on my local AP parenting board, their first responses were similar to your husband's, so I just kept writing...and writing. My posts focus on the problems with the campaign itself (as opposed to the article), so I'm glad to see your take on the article itself.

Thanks to everybody for sharing your stories and opinions here -- lots of interesting perspectives.

Anonymouse, I certainly agree that breastfeeding can be difficult, but I wouldn't say, as an absolute truth, "Breastfeeding is difficult." You say, "Even [proponents] seem to forget the pain, fear, guilt, feelings of failure, desperation, and tears that breastfeeding mothers go through even on the best breastfeeding days." It sounds like you've had up-close and personal experience with tough breastfeeding situations, and I'm sorry to hear that. Sometimes, though, breastfeeding is easy. It depends on a number of factors; it's not always predictable. But I don't agree that breastfeeding is universally difficult, or that there's desperation on the best breastfeeding days for a majority of breastfeeding mothers.

Breastfeeding's difficulty has to do with the mechanics of getting the milk into the baby; breastfeeding's flexibility has to do with mothers' choices about how they want to approach getting the milk into the baby. It is not a contradiction to observe that breastfeeding is both flexible and potentially difficult.

To write about breastfeeding is to write about mothers; to write about mothers is not necessarily to write about breastfeeding. I meant what I said: I'd like to see more media focus on how mothers can make breastfeeding work in their individual situations.

As a breastfeeding advocate, I have more than one goal. First, I aim to offer practical assistance and encouragement to mothers who request it -- to make breastfeeding easier for families, one dyad at a time. In my work with breastfeeding women, my highest priority is to treat them respectfully, whatever decisions they make. No matter what a woman chooses, I am not in her shoes; I don't make the decisions for her kids. The day I lose sight of that is the day I stop working with breastfeeding mothers.

I also hope to provide information about breastfeeding in a broader context -- by writing here about the uniqueness of human milk, by speaking to college classes in my town, by chatting about the work I love with people in my community. I hope to be a part of the sea change that needs to happen in our culture, so that a baby's need for his mother's milk is something we take for granted instead of something we try to explain away.

It sounds as if my post bugged you for more reasons than the difficult/flexible confusion -- please tell me more if you'd like to. I wish you the best.

I think Tracy said it best. Everyone on this blog and Julie's blog is talking about how hard they tried and it did not work for them and how the add is making them feel guilty. The add , although completely stupid, is NOT FOR YOU!!!! So enough of the personal anectodes about how you tried and failed. It's meant for women who don't take the health of their babies seriously, or even give breastfeeding a shot. ( I know lots of even educated women like that.)
And as Tracy said, "Oh, dearie me. We can't say anything positive about breastfeeding because you know what... it will lead to moms feeling guilt. Sigh. That trumps everything else, you see. Mustn't let anyone feel guilt. Now I'm not talking about those who tried and couldn't, or those with extenuating circumstances. I'm talking about the person who looked at the baby and said - nope, not going to do that, not even going to try. Shouldn't that person feel even the littlest bit of guilt that they aren't doing what they know is the best thing for the baby? Why is guilt all bad??????? "

Those that never gave it even a thought or a shot, well frankly, you should bloody well feel guilty.

lolismum

Who said that such a advertising campaign wouldn't effect other mothers. Why is just for people who don't even think about it.

Why can't YOU understand that such a campaign raises all sorts of questions and opens a debate that is well worthwhile with all sorts of mothers with all sorts of experiences.

From quite a lot of the blogs, it seem that quite a lot of the people who are pro-breastfeeding are just as narrow-minded as those who don't even try.

Well Emily, it's also the "Don't make us feel guilty" response to any breastfeeding ad, discussion (pro or anti) that ENDS ALL INTELLIGENT DISCUSSION. I breastfed my daughter, but also sometimes supplemented. I am not anti-formula or bottle-feeding, nor am I narrow minded. Just like anyone who is pregnant should give a 5 minutes thought to not using drugs, not smoking, not drinking etc., people should also give 5 minutes thought to breastfeeding or not. I fully agree that the ad is not very informative or educational, and that there are better ways to educate women, but I am also sick and tired of hearing all the " Well I tried and it did not work for me, wah, stop making me feel guilty" anectodes that terminate all discussion about breastfeeding. Sure breastfeeding is hard, it does not come naturally to most of us, I would not have been able to do it myself if my mom did not encourage me and help my daughter to latch and stay on by dropping milk into her mouth with a medicine dropper. You obviously misread my previous message, and I hope this helps clear up any confusion.

Okay, well, I guess I'm the one in the minority here, but I don't understand why I should feel GUILTY about not breastfeeding my daughter. I mean, really, do I need THAT on top of all the other difficulties, anxieties, post partum depression, doubt, fear, hardships, financial woes, mistakes, unsolicited advice, and JUDGEMENTS about my parenting skills? It's nobody's business but my own as to why I did not choose to breastfeed. They are MY breasts and it's MY milk. Breastfeeding moms seem to have this idea that they are somehow "divine" and "better" than those of us that chose not to breastfeed (and, like I said, I have my own VALID reasons). I wasn't trying to do something NEGATIVE for my child, nor was I trying to AVOID something that I know is very difficult, even in the best circumstances.

Breastfeeding moms seem to want it ALL. For everyone to see it as this uber-glorious maifestation of what a good mom they are, and for nobody to feel uncomfortable when they whip out a boob, or ask for special treatment at work, or do it for YEARS (which, if you ask me, borders on just OOGY).

That being said, I completely respect what Jamie said:
"In my work with breastfeeding women, my highest priority is to treat them respectfully, whatever decisions they make. No matter what a woman chooses, I am not in her shoes; I don't make the decisions for her kids. The day I lose sight of that is the day I stop working with breastfeeding mothers."

It's simply a choice each of us makes. If you breastfeed, then that is GREAT, and I think you should be able to do it in a respectful, unencumbered way. But if you DON'T breastfeed, then you should not be looked upon as if you are a villain. It's FORMULA people, not rat poison!

lolismum

I don't think I've gone out of my way to end any intelligent discussion about the issue. Infact I've gone out of my way on my blog to open it up. Today I posted about what needs to be done alongside shock tactics to increase breastfeeding rates.

What I don't understand is why some women are willing to share certain experiences with certain types of mother but shut out other mothers with different experiences.

I've actively sought other people's experiences by writing to people with mummy blogs and reading theirs.

It's a shame those that feel guilt can't express them to you because they make you sick and tired.

It's a good job that there are others who are willing to listen and support those people.

I'm with you. With my first son, he was born at 9lbs 10oz. We had some trouble breastfeeding. At his one week appt the ped was very concerned because he lost 9 oz and wasn't feeding (he was STILL OVER 9LBS!!!). He insisted I start formula. I fought with him and finally said fine, I will try it and we'll be back in a few days. I walked out of the peds office with my 'free formula' and tossed it in the trash, went home and started nursing again. We went back to the ped's office a week later and he was about 6 oz over his birth weight. The ped said 'see, he needed the formula'. That's when i told him I never used it :) Shut him up good.

With my twins, I tried so hard...but we never succeeded much. They were below 6 lbs at birth (35.4 weekers), but I was under tremendous pressure. My oldest (now 17 months) was suffering from a severe seizure disorder and was in and out of the hospital. The lac consultant and I worked hard, but finally supplemented with formula. I did make it to six months though. Not bad considering we felt.

My oldest is now almost 4 and the twins are almost 2.5. We have had developmental struggles (pretty sure genetic), but they have been healthy, rarely even a cold.

Keep up the pro-brestfeeding work.

Meant to add that I work full time. Had to go back after 6 weeks with my first and went back after 10 weeks with my twins. I pumped for supplement both times.

how DID you advise the mom with a baby with bubble palate? Both of my 10 wk old twins have it and don't nurse efficiently.

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