Makes Me Feel Like A Boob

I’ve never expected much from my boobs. It would be like expecting something from the Easter Bunny – hard to have expectations around things which don’t exist. Although I make fun of my flat chest & accept that when it’s cold I look like a wall with light switches turned on, I did expect that since the boobs didn’t score me any tail, they could at least breastfeed my children when I eventually had kids (and I looked forward to actually filling my A cup!).

When I was pregnant with Jude, I joined Babycenter. It’s a great website with lots of info and great message boards – you can find women who are due at the same time as you, which is a huge blessing! You can even become a fan on Facebook (although you should become my fan first!). So I was on Facebook a little while ago and the fan page sent out an update with tips for parents who are formula feeding. The outcome? Yet another breast vs. formula debate. The first comment out of the gate was something intelligent like “if you are breastfeeding then you don’t need formula tips”. Come the fuck on.

The women who get on their lactation boxes and ram their boobs down my throat make me want to strangle them with their own giant nursing bras.

I don’t need to be constantly reminded of what I have missed out on. Or my personal favourite diss, “you just didn’t try hard enough”, so because our kids were on formula, I am a lazy git. Yah, formula is the lazy way. It’s so much easier to get up in the middle of the night, warm formula to room temperature, prepare a bottle and then feed my baby – that’s if the formula is all ready prepared, if not – add another step. Picking up my baby & attaching to my boob wouldn’t be easier at all! Oh yah, and it’s super easy to spend $150 on formula every month! I enjoy making Alec’s wallet hemorrhage every time I get groceries.

After Emmy was born, she latched perfectly. Nursing was a breeze – for a couple of days. The milk never came in. My doctor immediately put me on Domperidone to increase my milk supply. Being stupid & naive, I filled the prescription. I also chalk it up to being exhausted, in pain and in survival mode – 80 some stitches will do that to you! It was only after I was doubling over with stomach pain and spasms (comparable to labour pain) for days on end did we figure out it just might be the new drug. This was what we found – Domperidone is approved in Canada, as a medication to modify upper gastric motility. Use of domperidone for increasing milk supply, through the drug side effect of increasing prolactin levels, is an “off label use” of this medication in Canada. I went off that shit immediately and we stocked up on formula. When Jude was born, he was nursed until my milk didn’t come in and he started on formula. I will not allow myself to be bullied by my doctor, studies or people trying to push their boobs into my life.

If my kid is hungry, I will do what I need to do to feed my child.

Breastfeeding is a priviledge which not all mothers are granted – and for goodness sakes, it is not a reflection of my abilities as a mother. Just like it takes more than sperm to make a father, it takes more than boob juice to make a mother. So if you are a breastfeeder, thank God you were given such a gift and should you come across something designed to help people who are formula feeding, leave it the hell alone. Please recognize that when people are using formula, it probably wasn’t their first choice. And just like breastfeeding, formula feeding has it’s challenges – except there isn’t as much support for us. There’s no La Lache, there’s no consultants. It’s trial and error wading through an ocean of guilt and disappointment, where your only means of support is your partner and maybe the pharmacist.

Since I cloth diaper my baby and use baby sign language, does that give me brownie points with the boob mothers out there – would they accept me if they knew that? Aw, screw it, I don’t need to be accepted.


13 thoughts on “Makes Me Feel Like A Boob

  1. You could mention that those that are able to breastfeed, some may be returning to work at the end of the year. And they will probably put their children in daycare. Now that opens up a whole new debate… that I am sure you don’t mock them for a decision they may not have been given (meaning, they didn’t have a choice)

    Love the blog… point is, life hands us what it hands us… sometimes circumstances are not by choice.

    1. Yah, daycare is a whole other discussion.

      The recession has hit everyone & I’m sure some families need that extra income.

      But yes, I do mock them.

      I’m kidding.

  2. Awesome post. It’s funny, I was about to write a blog about why we women turn on each other. I breast fed my first for a year, formula for my second (she’s adopted), and with my third I pumped for 8 weeks. She never latched on, so I just went with formula. I couldn’t be hooked up to a pump my whole life. And now with my 4th adopted baby, of course it is formula. I honestly have no idea why breastfeeders want to make bottle feeders feel ‘less than.’ Yes, we all know breast milk is best, and we are ALL trying to do what is best for our children. I hear you on the enormous cost of formula, and if you leave home without it, you’re screwed. If you’re nursing, you’ll never leave without your boobs. Why do we want to make each other feel bad when we should just support each other-raising kids is hard enough, without all the unnecessary guilt!

  3. I never realized how lucky I was that I was able to easily breastfeed 2 kids till I started talking to moms who didn’t have it so easy. Even so, w/ kid #1 I was terrified to supplement w/ formula. I don’t know why, the breastmilk police, I guess. With kid #2 I’ve had no guilt at all about supplementing w/ formula.

    Also interesting to me: everyone is SO gung-ho about breastfeeding up to a point, but then they’re like, “What? You’re STILL nursing?” I’m getting this now from my MIL (who didn’t nurse her kids.) Hello?! My baby’s only 7 mos. old. Back off! Everyone has to do what’s right for them.

    1. 7 months old & people are asking why you’re breastfeeding? Because I didn’t breastfeed I’m not sure what’s considered “normal”…but isn’t a year the rule of thumb?

  4. For a whole bunch of reasons, formula was indeed my first choice. I still stand by it being the best possible decision for us, though it wasn’t an easy one. I did, in theory, want to breastfeed. But I wasn’t going to sacrifice my sanity, my health, or my daughter’s health just for one more pat on my mommy back.

    You, my dear friend, are lovely. And from what I know of you, you are an incredible mother – breastfeeding or not.

    1. Thanks Taysha. Honestly I didn’t write this post for the extra pat on my mommy back, but thank you for the compliment 🙂

      I am just tired of the debate. Anyone who has had a baby in the last decade knows that breastfeeding is “best”, but that doesn’t mean it’s best for all.

      Honestly this debate has as much value as a Matthew McConaughey movie. Seems like a good idea in theory, but turns out to be tired and predictable.

  5. Well as you know I did breastfeed. I have to admit, when pregnant, I was adamant I would only breastfeed for the first year. This was because of the noted benefits of breast milk but also because I had concerns with formula (due to my own issues with Dairy and the mixed info on the estrogen in Soy for young children). That said breastfeeding was not easy for me by any means. When Victoria was 4 months old, my cycle returned to normal and my milk supply all but disappeared for 2 weeks every month. I tried 3 different natural supplements and even pumped 3-4 times a day in addition to her regular feedings. This took a huge toll on my body (and my mind as the sleep deprivation increased with each pump session). Finally at 10 months we switched to Goat’s milk (less dense then Cow’s so babies can have it sooner). I got to experience the joy of nursing and the pain of cleaning bottle after bottle. Both paths have their pros and cons and I think each Mum needs to make her own decision based on the info she has. We need to stop being so judgemental of each other. Mums rock and we need to stick together!

  6. I really envy the moms who gush milk, have no problems breast feeding, and can fill their baby up in 10 minutes flat. I was determined to breast feed my first born, and by the time the nurse came to visit on his second day of life my nipples were black and blue and I sobbed right in front of the nurse telling her I felt like a failure because I couldn’t get my baby to latch on. I ended up strickly pumping for the first month, and breast fed normally until I naturally dried up at 5 months. It was easier with baby #2 – I breast fed her till I dried up at 8 months.

    Motherhood is hard enough without being judgmental of one another. Moms who formula feed love their kids just as much as ones who breast feed. Thanks for your awesome blog, Annalisa!

    P.S. For any moms out there having problems with babies not latching on – try a nipple shield. I swear by them! Avent makes them – Babies R Us carries them for $12 a pair.

  7. I’m formula fed (I was uber greedy. I say was like this part of me is actually in the past) and I’m turned out just fine, if I do say so myself. I like what you said about do what you need to do to feed your hungry children. What good are you to them if you’re doubled over in pain from lactation-abuse-pills?

  8. a great post, i have 4children and one on the way and i always gave breast feeding a go. But i never gushed milk and only ever had enough for a week at the most. My babies were hungry and i fed them on formula. I have no guilt. x

  9. Isn’t it sad how we North American women turn on each other rather than giving each other support… it seems that by putting others down for their decision on what is best for them and their child we feel better about our own decision. We should be feeling blessed for the opportunity we have to provide good nutrition for our babies, which comes with either decision of breast feeding or formula.

    Imagine living in a developing nation where formula companies are convincing mothers that formula is the way to go. Women aren’t educated on the benefits of the first milk, etc. Sadly, most of the women cannot afford the horrific price of formula so they are forced to water it down. Not only that, many are forced to use unsafe drinking water to mix the formula, and also to “wash/sanitize” the bottles. And for those who do decide to breast feed, how many of them have access to good nutrition themselves, to ensure healthy breast milk, when more than 2 billion people live in extreme poverty?

    Rather than arguing back and forth as to what is better (don’t forget there are studies to back BOTH sides) we in North America should be counting our blessings… that we have access to good nutrition if we are breastfeeding, that we have access to formula that the government puts restrictions on the content to ensure that it is as close to breast milk as possible, that we have access to safe water for mixing formula, that we can properly clean bottles, and that we have access to information to be best informed on what decision is best for our children. If we want to worry about the decisions others are making, perhaps we should look globally to those who don’t have options. You’ve been blessed with a child, blessed with options. Good on everyone who loves their child and does what is necessary to ensure they are healthy and growing and given the best chances at life.

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