Welcome to the life of an American female. Aimlessly wandering the road of youth and adulthood, she shares her tales of growing pains, discoveries and ideas. There might also be a pinch of happiness, a dash of light, and a micro-amount of wisdom within. The author is not liable for any psychological damages you may incur while reading this blog.

The author put it best when she said, "My humor is like a good martini - extra dry and sometimes served dirty."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I'm Not Starving My Baby

When I got pregnant with my first child, I fully intended to breastfeed. Our bodies are wonderful things. They are made to grow and nourish another human being, then birth that being, then feed them for the first year of their life.

Our breasts are amazing. There is no shame in finding them attractive, and there is also nothing perverted about feeding your child with them. That is what they were made for. Men find them attractive because they are part of the child bearing big picture. It's simply biological.

It's consumerism that has twisted breasts into purely sexual objects. In fact, consumerism has turned women as a whole into nothing but sexual objects to be desired and obtained. This objectification doesn't result in confident women. Instead, it breeds insecurity and dissatisfaction, especially when the ideal woman is airbrushed. This translates into shame.

This lack of confidence and shame is further exacerbated by the medical field and well-meaning advisors when they question women's ability to feed their child with the means nature provided and by those that insist a breastfeeding mother cover herself and her child as though it's a naughty act.

What's worse is how hard formula is pushed. It's as if no one wants to even discuss breastfeeding, much less support it. Consumerism doesn't like breastfeeding. It doesn't make money. Sure, you have to get a pump and supplies, but you can buy most of what you need secondhand. Formula is a constant cash flow.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking formula. It's made for babies and for some it's the only way they can eat. I do, however, have a problem with those that don't even attempt to breastfeed. It's what's best for a baby -- why would anyone deny their child that? It offers closeness and comfort a bottle can't, and it's made specially for your baby.

Our country has gotten baby feeding so backwards that even veteran parents like mine lack an understanding of breastfeeding. Here's some basics:

1. Your milk is made from your bloodstream, so it contains the vitamins and minerals that your baby needs. You should eat a healthy diet so that you are maintaining your own health as well -- like in pregnancy, the baby gets what it needs from your body. You have to consume enough vitamins and minerals to share or your body will suffer.

2. Breastfeeding does not cause sagging breasts. Pregnancy is the criminal here. The weight gain and strain on the weakened ligaments cause sagging, as well as improper support. Wear a supportive bra and exercise your chest muscles to prevent major sagging. Some is inevitable -- that's age and gravity.

3. Your milk is easy to digest. Because it's made from your bloodstream, your milk is the easiest food for your baby to digest. Yes, this means more frequent feedings, but that does NOT mean your milk is insufficient. Instead, it's doing exactly what it's supposed to do. Formula takes longer to digest, so a formula fed baby will go longer between feedings.

4. Your body responds to your baby's needs. If your baby hits a growth spurt, your milk will increase as necessary. Bottles are slaves to the ounce marker and offer a steady flow of milk, meaning a baby may not realize they are full and overeat, leading to tummyaches and spit up. Breasts respond differently. It's not a steady flow of milk...instead it's more like a little here, a lot there, a few drops there. This gives your baby's body more time to register fullness.

5. What you pump isn't indicative of what you produce. Not everyone responds to the pump the same. Some women can pump multiple ounces and others struggle to get one. A baby gets milk by using multiple motions. Your body naturally responds to your baby. A pump is a mindless robot. Enough said.

6. You have a right to breastfeed your child anywhere. Why did they even have to make a law about this? There is nothing lewd about a baby nursing. You don't have to use a cover, either. Do you want to eat under a blanket, especially in summer? I don't. Consumerism and the sexualization/shame it entails has created a stigma around breasts and breastfeeding. It's worsened by other women looking at breastfeeding mothers and calling them gross, immodest, and rude.

I never realized this was even an issue until I had my child. I looked around at other new moms and realized I was the one of only ones not holding a bottle. It should be the other way around, with bottle feeding being the rarity. Our culture is twisted. I'll admit, I use a cover when breastfeeding in public. I'm new to it, so it's always a little awkward until she's latched. Plus there are so many perves out there....and the honest truth is I feel ashamed. And that's just sad. It's not shame brought on by a moral standard; it's society-induced shame.

It's also funny that people get so squirelly when it comes to breastmilk or talking about breastfeeding, yet they take no issue in DRINKING milk from another SPECIES. How's that for putting it in perspective?

Do you think anyone ever asks the cow if she'd switch to formula because her milk may not be "enough?" Has anyone told a goat she should supplement because her kid isn't gaining weight as fast as the others? Who tells the mare when it's time for her foal to wean?

It's not about health; it's about consumerism. Stop buying in.

Utilize your body. It's made that way for a reason, and it's pretty amazing.