A friend once joked that I should rename my blog The Bouncing Boob. It was especially appropriate at the time because Edie refused to eat except when I was standing and bouncing her, but with my constant talk about breasts, it still fits.
But if this blog is honest, how can I avoid it? During the early months, babies eat constantly. Many women pump on top of that. As a new mother who is breastfeeding, it feels as if 23 hours a day are consumed by feeding the baby. (The remaining hour is taken by changing diapers. Zero hours are taken by sleeping.) And for mothers who aren’t breastfeeding, all that time making bottles, feeding baby and then—the worst part—cleaning all those tiny parts certainly adds up, too.
I once remarked to Eric that I felt like a big boob that occasionally changed diapers.
“Don’t sell yourself short,” he replied. “You’re two boobs.”
At any rate, I wanted to share a few links about, yes, boobs and breastfeeding.
A friend from grad school wrote this tender post about how she and her wife struggled to breastfeed their newborn. “…when no one was looking, I put you back up to my chest. I was worried you wouldn’t know what to do. I was worried you’d start crying and not want me. But you suckled. You knew exactly what to do.” I cried all over my breakfast, so beware.
The Internet is full of articles defending a mother’s right to breastfeed. (And isn’t it ridiculous that we need so many champions of something as fundamental as feeding a child?) There are fewer posts, though, from a father’s perspective. That’s why I especially loved this article. “So how public is too public? If you ask me, there is no such thing. Riding a bus, sitting in a restaurant, in uniform, in Parliament, in front of the Pope—you name it. A nursing baby is so much more pleasant than a cranky, hungry baby. Don’t want to see it? That’s simple: Don’t look.”
I got a kick out of this music video back when nursing was a painful, fraught, emotional topic. A dash of humor makes just about any situation easier to bear.
PS – I love how the still in the video above, the baby looks RAVENOUS. She’s all, “Get in my belly!”
On the flip side of things, a new law in the United Arab Emirates criminalizes not breastfeeding. The council that created the law decided that children have a right to breastfeed until age 2; mothers who choose not to (or can’t) can be sued by their husband. Now, nursing is fantastic for nourishment and bonding, among other things. But sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t work. There are plenty of perfectly valid reasons why a woman would not breastfeed. But beyond that, should this choice ever be delegated to strangers and lawmakers? I know women who feed their babies formula, both exclusively and along with breast milk. They are wonderful mothers who love their children.
Giving a hungry baby formula is not wrong. What would be criminal is not feeding that babies at all. What would be terrible is forcing a mother to breastfeed and risking her or her child’s health because of that. What would be regrettable is creating resentment and alienation between mother and child by taking away a woman’s autonomy.
I am an enormous proponent of breastfeeding. Even more, though, I’m an advocate for mothers making the best choice for themselves and their families. Sometimes that includes formula. Sometimes it doesn’t. Frankly, it’s none of my damn business.
Do you have a favorite post about breastfeeding? Share the link in the comments section!