My difficulty with breastfeeding is well documented. Some may curse me for bringing this up yet again, as one would be forgiven for thinking this ship has sailed when it comes to me utilising it as a blogging topic. I suspect my comments will be hovering in the low single digits on this one simply out of reader boredom and disgust, but I have some things I need to get off my chest. CHEST, get it? My humour is just astoundingly complex, I know.
I'll be honest, breastfeeding - don't like it. I am so over reading about the myriad ways I'm putting my daughter at a disadvantage because I didn't breastfeed her. As most of you will know, I pumped for the first two months of her life, but I supplemented with formula from birth. I tried desperately to get my supply high enough that I could give P mostly breast milk, but that opportunity dwindled quite rapidly. I felt guilty at the time, but now I just find myself angry at rabid breastfeeding proponents, and ambivalence toward breastfeeding itself. If anything, I'm edging toward putting it in the category of things I'd like to banish from my brain entirely, along with thoughts of spinach, animal abuse, and tights.
If I were to have another baby (there I go with that humour again), I don't know if I'd try to breastfeed. I think my early relationship with P suffered tremendously as a result of my largely breastfeeding-related depression and lack of sleep. Her reflux and colic were other obstacles preventing me from gushing about loving my preshus baaaaaybee for months and months, but my difficulty breastfeeding was paramount. It's kind of like name association - if you knew a vile little creature in elementary school called Amelia, you aren't going to name your own preshus baaaaybee Amelia no matter how lovely the name might be. It's like that for me when it comes to breastfeeding. I'm sure it's a fabulous thing to do, but it pushed me into a cubbyhole and pinched me on the arm way too many times for me to want to try it again.
I know as female bloggers we are always begging women not to pick on others for their choices, but things don't ever seem to get better. Amongst the more enthusiastic breastfeeding contingent I often read statements granting exception to women who cannot breastfeed for medical reasons (oh, thank you wise, sanctimonious breastfeeding mothers), but those who choose not to breastfeed are self-absorbed and not concerned about what is best for their child. Who are they to judge? It's just so insignificant in the wider scope of things, I can't possibly grasp why perfect strangers feel it suitable to comment on the matter. It's a boob. Milk *sometimes* comes out of it. Who cares? Move along.
As a full-time working mum who didn't breastfeed and possibly doesn't plan to for a subsequent child, I am probably at the head of the queue to be designated as a selfish mother who shouldn't have bothered having children. I fail to understand how it is anyone's business but my own whether I choose to breastfeed my own child(ren). I did not hurt P in anyway by ceasing the pumping session at 2 months, and if it makes anyone feel any better, she has been no more ill than any of the breastfeed babies in her cohort, she says more words than most of them, and she was the first of the 8 babies to walk. Not bad for a kid who was fed poison for the first 12 months of her life, I dare say.
For me, it all comes back to the fact that my breastfeeding troubles made me depressed for a few months and affected my relationship with my child. What more reason do I need to not want to do it again? Is it really worth sacrificing the fantastic potential to bond with a newborn? If I decide that boob is off the menu for petri baby number 2, so be it.
To stand up for the rights of potential bottle feeders everywhere, should I create my own little icon saying "Suck on it rabid breastfeeders", with the image of a baby being fed a bottle to combat all those "Suck on it Facebook" breastfeeding icons?
I shall retire to my hole now and prepare for the flames.