I’m not sure if you’ve heard that research shows breast milk is best…if only someone had told me. Ha. I can remember waking up one morning with the desperate hope that I could begin pumping my milk and feeding by bottle to relieve my pain. (The fact that the pediatrician had already informed me that my milk supply was insufficient did not deter me. We are supposed to breastfeed!) I made a panicked drive to the only local store selling a breastpump, and prayed that poor little Frannie could survive long enough to wait for me to pump for the first time. For some reason, the ounce that I produced did not seem to stave her hunger.
I felt a lot of breastfeeding pressure from “society” — don’t you love that overused scapegoat — but it was mostly self-imposed. I also wanted to give it my best shot because my husband’s sisters and sisters-in-law (big family) almost all breastfed, and I thought there was something wrong with me as a mother if I didn’t. Not that any of them ever made any judgments.
The funny thing is, I wonder if it’s almost like the working mom/stay-at-home mom debate…it’s made to be such a big deal, but really, does that tension exist anymore? How could it, when those categories have certainly evolved and subdivided…and we’re definitely all working. Do you think women are really still judging each other, or is someone, somewhere making that up to drum up a good story? Are there truly women who would think I was terrible for ceasing my breastfeeding efforts? I mean, hey, I am impressed by women who choose to, and are able to, breastfeed exclusively for a long period of time (and I think they still enjoy the moral highgound), but I certainly don’t judge those who make other choices. My brother’s wife seems (correct me if I’m wrong, A) quite secure in her choice to start her kids on formula right from birth, and that’s terrific.
I think we judge ourselves much more harshly than anyone else. What are your thoughts? How did you feed your children? For my friends and readers who are “expecting” (or hoping to be), what is your plan? Have any of you felt pressured to make a certain decision, or do any moms out there regret the choice they made? I’d love to know.