Tag Archives: parenting

Really? It sounds like you already feel a little guilty

Sorry — You Can’t Guilt Trip Me About Bottle Feeding My Kids.

This post appeared on Jezebel today. The same argument appears over and over again in different forms all attempting to justify bottle-feeding as an equal choice to breastfeeding or in some way less stressful. I will be the first to admit that some “lactivists” (and I honestly don’t like that word) do actually use tactics that are borderline inappropriate and often ineffective if not counter productive. However, feeling the need to shout from the rooftops “you can’t guilt-trip me!” sounds like someone already did.

To Sarah Fister Gale (author of the piece): I’m very sorry that you had such a horrible breast-feeding experience. It must have been extremely stressful, and by comparison bottle-feeding probably did seem like an easier alternative. Everyone has the right to feed however they see fit, and everyone’s experience is valid, but the entire tone of this piece is troubling to me. You’re discounting decades of scientific research from extremely credible sources, recommendations from ALL leading global  medical entities, and in essence doing the same thing that was done to you but in reverse. You may have felt bullied, and that is unfortunate, but trying to influence you to feed your child the substance that was made for them to ingest, that helps protect them from disease before they are able to be vaccinated, and helps you recover more quickly from your birth experience is not necessarily bullying though there are some who can come across that way.

I cannot understand the defensiveness that comes up from women who choose to bottle-feed. Yes, you made that choice…make it then. If you feel defensive is it possible that you feel guilty? One of the first ingredients in formula is corn syrup. How is that in any way healthy for an infant?  Especially a premie. I can’t imagine what it’s like to deliver a premie, but the benefits of breastmilk for them is especially noticeable and may have been the source of your doctor’s apparent annoyance. This post, while possibly validating some women who had a similar experience, probably also scared some others who were on the fence.

Breastfeeding is amazing. Yeah, it hurts sometimes. Yeah, you are the kids’ sole source of nourishment. But why can’t women find that empowering instead of limiting? YOU are your child’s lifeline! YOU are capable of supporting that child the same way you did when it was in your womb. If you make the choice to bottle-feed, cool. But please don’t try to make it sound in some way righteous. I was bottle-fed and I have a Ph.D., so yeah, people who say that formula-feeding will cause your child grievous harm are not necessarily correct. Saying that breastfeeding is the only way to bond with your baby is also incorrect, but it sure helps. My main issue with this argument (that is regurgitated in different forms all the time) is that trying to say that formula-feeding is on par with breastfeeding IS simply incorrect, and formula companies have been getting in trouble for making that claim for decades. Is it hard? Sure. But how is it easy to get up in the middle of the night a heat a bottle? And if husbands or others tell you they feel left out, give them diapers or tell them they can burp the baby. Feeding is not the only way to bond with a child.

I combo-fed my second child, and it almost broke my heart. The first time I bought formula I cried. I looked at the ingredients and put it back twice, but I was in so much pain because of her poor latch that I felt like I had no choice. I didn’t know what resources I had available to me for support. I didn’t realize that there were several people I could go to to help me with the issues I was having. But, in order to move past the guilt, regret, and sadness I felt, I have now made it my mission to help women understand what resources they have available and to be one of those resources. Yes, breastfeeding requires a commitment, but I do not understand the ridiculous notion that it is somehow “anti-feminist” or “being strapped to your child”. Hanna Rosin is the “feminist” who is most often credited with the argument that breastfeeding is a step backward for women, but she is definitely not the only one. How is nourishing the child we chose to bring into the world “anti-feminist”? How is doing the most we can to insure our child’s health and well-being a step backward?

We need to reframe the argument.  Breastfeeding is power. Breastfeeding is something that only women can do. Breastfeeding is the absolute best source of nourishment for a growing brain and body. Breastfeeding is normal and beautiful. Change the message. Claim your God-given power to see that your child has the best start in life. Sure it’s hard! But didn’t you just have a baby?! THAT was hard!

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Filed under Breastfeeding, Momma Musings

What do you do when your kids annoy you?

Don’t pretend like your kids don’t annoy you. And if you don’t have kids, don’t pretend that some kid in your life (niece/nephew, sibling, student, kid you babysit) doesn’t honestly annoy the crap out of you from time to time. This e-card really got me thinking this week:

My kids are in weird stages right now. It could be argued that ALL stages are weird in their own ways, but having a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old is really borderline insanity.

I’ve just navigated the second night in a row of a screaming 5-year-old and a calm 2-year-old going to bed. No, I didn’t write that backward. Since the 5-year-old turned 5, about 3 weeks ago, she has been a certifiable nut job. She wanted to sleep with us. Apparently her bed, that she’s had since she was 2 1/2, is suddenly extremely uncomfortable. It took about 40 minutes to get her to calm down, and another 40 to get her to sleep. Twice in these last 3 weeks, I’ve had a teacher at school tell me that she spent the entire afternoon crying because she thought I was coming to get her early (which I actually did), but not early enough to suit her. She took a full 10 minutes to walk from the car to the pool Monday for her first day of swimming lessons because she was nervous, and then took another 10 to get into the pool (where she was actually physically placed by the swim coach), and then another 10 minutes to get into the car with her swim teacher who was taking her back to school (after being in the pool for approximately 5 minutes).

Seriously?! What the frick is going on around here? I honestly think my child has cried more in the last three weeks than she did in her first 5 years. She has never been a crier. Even from birth she has never really cried much. Now, I will be the first to admit that part of why she didn’t cry much is because we didn’t let her, and I think that’s why she’s crazy now. If she started crying, I pretty much just stuck a boob in her mouth or soothed her in some other way. I’ve never been a fan of letting kids cry when there’s no reason they should. I honestly don’t have a problem laying in bed with my kids until they go to sleep. I used to. I used to think I was doing something wrong because “everyone else’s kids” just get into bed and go to sleep! Of course, then I found out that that was crap, and it made me feel better. I sort of figure, they’re only kids once, so why not soak up all the kid-dom you can. But mother-of-pearl sometimes I want to run away from home when they really get going.

Two weeks ago, we had a melt-down situation while heading to the doctor’s office for a check up. She had actually been looking forward to it, which I thought was weird in itself, but when we got there it was like her butt grew roots and she wasn’t going to budge. “I’m not going to the doctor!” It was quite hilarious to the people in the waiting room, and bless Little Bit’s heart, she just drank her juice and watched her “Big” sister like she was nuts. She threw in the occasional “She’s cryin'”, but that was it. I had to physically remove her from the car because it was well over 90 degrees, and Little Bit and I were in direct sun. The car was getting hotter and hotter, and I refused to even pretend like I was going to leave her there. I told her that I was going to cancel her appointment and we would come back another day, but that didn’t make a difference. Then I had to man-handle her across the street at which point I told her to sit on a bench outside the office so I could talk to her. She apparently thought I was going to leave her there and go inside which just started a fresh round of hiccup-crying. After telling her “there is NO WAY I’m going to leave you out here all by yourself on a bench!” I left her all by herself on the porch and went inside. She finally dragged her sobbing self through the door I had left open, and sat down on the chair next to me. Everyone in the waiting room was smiling and trying to hide it, but they didn’t do a very good job. Then, after about 5 minutes of ignoring her she grabbed my arm, snuggled next to me and said, “I’m sorry, Mommy.” Well, melt my heart! I said, “Thank you, baby. Are you going to be a big girl and go to the doctor?” Nods.

Almost immediately after that, the nurse came out to get us, and then Little Bit started! She had been cool as a cucumber the whole time, and then it was like someone flipped a switch. Luckily, Big Sister had calmed down enough to reason with her, and she agreed to go first. That was all it took. Everything went better than I would have ever expected after that. It was actually quite bizarre to watch. So, we just went through 10 minutes of complete crazy to be completely calm and cooperative at the place you said you weren’t going to go? Really?!

So, what is going on at my house? My hubby thinks Big Sister has been jealous since her birthday that she was no longer the center of attention. I think that has a lot to do with it, and it DEFINITELY has a lot to do with the last 2 days (Little Bit’s birthday was yesterday…post to come), but I don’t think it explains everything. Developmentally, she’s going through a lot…they both are! They are both capable of doing things they weren’t capable of doing in the very recent past, and that is a lot to adjust to. But seriously, if they don’t settle into some reasonable facsimile of normal human children very soon, their father and I will be forced to pretend that they do not belong to us which, considering that they are mini versions of us (Big Sister is my mini-me, and Little Bit is his), that will be very difficult to pull off.

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Filed under Kids, Momma Musings