Tuesday, December 27, 2005

getting political for a moment

Have you heard about the baby gift bags? Massachusetts has decided they promote the evils of bottle-feeding and have banned them.
Amazing noone trusts us to make our own decisions anymore.
According to 2004 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 74 percent of Massachusetts mothers breast-feed, but only 39 percent are still breast-feeding when the baby is 6 months old, below the federal goal of 50 percent. Nationally, about 36 percent of mothers breast-feed at 6 months.

So Massachusetts has a higher rate than the national norm for the 6 month mark and they're still doing this? My God, does the La Leche League wear armbands and march in that state?

I tried breastfeeding my babies. Flunked the exam both times.
Speaking as someone who can't, I got really tired of that damned 'Breast is Best' slogan.
How (punch) many (slam!) times (thump) do you have to hit me in the head with what a baaaaaad mother I am? For new moms agonizing over every single thing about their babies, the guilt heaped on them is remarkable and incredibly unfair.

Four years ago: Bad latch. Shredded nipples. Low-to-no milk supply. Uninterested baby. (Guess he didn't like the taste of blood?) Fighting a massive c-section infection. I was holding onto the breastfeeding idea like a sword - I was a Good Mom. I would Breast Feed. Daily visits from nurses and lac. consultants. Something still wasn't right. The day we went to the doctor and discovered my son had dropped over two pounds from his birth weight I had a lactation consultant tell me I just wasn't committed enough.

After all, 'Breast is Best', right?

Fourteen months ago: Stormy birth. Infected c-section. Babygirl getting fed both formula and whatever colostreum they could hoover out of my breasts. We were in the hospital for eight days, and by the time we left even the lactation consultants were admitting that my milk wasn't coming in.

Breastfeeding isn't the only way.
It isn't the Great White Way, the Golden Way, or (jesus god) the Easy Way.

It is a CHOICE.

"My breasts, my business," she said. "Stay out of there."

9 comments:

Cat, Galloping said...

isn't it amazing that all this time later you find yourself still defending yourself for not breastfeeding, even though you *know* intellectually it's a choice that you're okay with and that you're a good mom?

i'm intellectually fine with my choice (actually I'm *ecstatic* about it) but i still feel defensive somehow...

daysgoby said...

It just makes me so angry that this still punches my buttons - After my daughter was born (and all the craziness had died down) I went to talk to one of the women that ran the Childbirth and Breastfeeding classes that my husband and I took and tried to tell her how I thought there should be more about c-sections and bottle feeding in her class material. (Because not every birth is a calm contented birth, and not every baby will be breastfed, and I think women should be prepared for that.)

She was aghast. "We don't want to scare people." she said, patting my arm. "Those things are so rare...."

You're right. I'm still defensive as hell.

Poppy Buxom said...

HAHAHAHA rare.

My first was born after 56 hours of labor and a c-section. My milk never came in.I worked with lactation consultants twice--the second time at four months post-partum. At six months I was producing a bit of milk by using one of those weird upside down bottles with a hose attached to my nipples. Even the La Leche people told me that really, the point was to make sure the baby got fed, and to stop stressing so much. My son cried all the time. Now I'm convinced he was just hungry.

But truly, my milk never really came in. I know this because with my second baby, I had a vaginal delivery. A few days after her birth, my breasts engorged all the way from Chicago to Milwaukee. And there was NO QUESTION that I was producing enough. She basically ate and slept.

I'm sure I'm not alone in having experienced a rough time breastfeeding after a difficult labor. I think the medical professionals are afraid to admit that milk supply can be jeopardized by things like c-sections. They're probably afraid of getting sued.

--P.

daysgoby said...

Poppy - That's probably true. One of the dangers in giving birth today is that women are given so little information. I think that's one of the reasons we nitpick at each other (CIO, breast versus bottle, pacifier or no pacifier, etc etc) is we're trying to get a handle on what we've been told as opposed to all the other information floating around out there.

I know, not the point you were trying to make, but:
Seriously? 56 hours? And you did it again?

Whoa.

Penny said...

I have 2 boys. I didn't breast feed either of them and somehow they aren't uneducated monsters. I'm a nurse. So, I think I took a little more flack for not breast feeding. I was just on another blog today writing about the same thing. I am perfectly content with other people breast feeding. Why can't they leave me alone about my choice?

Anonymous said...

Amen Jess!! :) I flunked it too and wanted to smack everyone who kept asking if I was nursing. Why on earth was everyone so damn interested in my boobs?? I just don't get it. There was no freakin' milk to be had - deal with it. {{HUGS}}
Katie

Anonymous said...

I had a c-section, and I'm still breastfeeding exclusively at six months. In places like Scandinavia where breastfeeding is supported by the medical system and society as a whole, studies show there is little difference in breastfeeding rates between women who deliver vaginally and by cesarean.

Anonymous said...

I had a c-section, and I'm still breastfeeding exclusively at six months. In places like Scandinavia where breastfeeding is supported by the medical system and society as a whole, studies show there is little difference in breastfeeding rates between women who deliver vaginally and by cesarean.

Anonymous said...

As I wrote before, I had a C-section and was able to breastfeed. Please don't tar all of us with the same brush.

Thank you.