Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Boobs vs. Bottles

Boobs vs. Bottles: My Thoughts on Breastfeeding

I think the most surprising thing I discovered while being pregnant was how complete strangers and acquaintances felt it socially appropriate to ask me if I would be breastfeeding my child.  When I told them I was going to try and see how it goes, they would then go into the many benefits of breastfeeding.  I got asked about breastfeeding more than the typical "how far along are you--when are you due--boy or girl--baby's name" type of questions.  People really care about how you will feed your child.  People who didn't care enough to ask my name, ask my well being, or even acknowledge me at all before I was pregnant, REALLY cared what I was going to do with my boobs.  I even took a breastfeeding class (and dragged along one of my closest friends--a true friend indeed to attend a 3-hour class that included instructions on how to get on all fours and feed your child like a cow to avoid clogged ducts).  When the time came and sweet Lil Miss was born, I did try breastfeeding and I let at least six certified experts fondle my breasts to make sure there was a proper latch--eventually there was.  What I hadn't been told is that I would be so exhausted from waking every 2-3 hours that baby's naptime became my naptime and food became less and less of a priority.  Since I wasn't eating regular meals (nowhere near enough to take care of myself plus another human being), I wasn't able to produce enough and was given the directive after 4 weeks to start supplementing.  Once I started supplementing, I started sleeping and eating--parenthood actually seemed like something I might be able to manage.  With formula, my daughter gained back her birth weight plus so much more.  Breastfeeding was so not awesome for me--my daughter would cry and use my other boob as a kick bag throughout the whole feeding for 8 whole weeks.  She did not like having to work for what little food I was able to provide, and there were times when I cried along with her.  Due to all of the inquiries, online articles, and baby books, I had a tremendous amount of guilt about stopping breastfeeding, but it was the best decision I could have made.  It was not until I gave her the bottle that I truly felt like we were able to bond during feedings.  I wish when I was pregnant less people asked me about the issue altogether, but if they did it would have been nice to hear that it is a personal decision, and that each person needs to do what is best for their body and baby, be it by giving baby boobs or bottles.