Okay, so I know this picture is old, but I just can't take it down! Imagine the same kid, but walking, slim, and still gorgeous (and still covered in cookies)!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Breast is Best, But...

Okay, so here's another side to our trip to the pediatrician this morning: they gave me formula! It came in a (get this!) "breastfeeding support package". They give it out to all the moms who breastfeed. It's put out by Enfamil, and it comes with some brochures, a few Lanisoh breast pads, some DHA vitamins for pregnant & lactating moms, and two sample boxes of formula. Is anyone else confused?!?

First of all, it's hard enough to breasfeed in today's hectic society. Then add to that the constant message that you won't be able to exclusively breastfeed (I mean no one exclusively breastfeeds! Apparently our bodies just weren't made to feed our babies without outside help. After all, formula has been around for almost a century, so it must be vital to the survival of the human race!!).

Second of all, let's reason out the logic of this: Medical science has proven over and over that breastmilk is medically superior to formula. Breastmilk makes healthier, smarter babies. So what do the medical doctors do? They find out you're breastfeeding and give you formula. Not "congratulations on making the choice that is clearly healthier for you and your child" (no one can argue against the fact that breastmilk is better, which makes this whole thing more bizarre). Instead, they're saying, "I see you've made the healthier choice - but here's a free start on the second-best choice, just in case". Just in case what? I don't get it! And I don't see anyone going around saying "Oh, you've chosen to bottle feed? Here's some sample breastmilk, just in case..." (Hey! I've just found the perfect use for my 200 extra ounces of frozen milk!! Lol...)

The nurse also mentioned in passing that they don't see many breastfed babies. The overwhelming majority are formula fed. That really surprised me! It just seems so common-sense to breast feed. It's your body's natural progression, from menstruating and ovulating, to pregnancy, to labor, to lactating... Not doing it is the harder thing!

Yes, breastfeeding is hard, and (okay, I'll say it!) miserable in the beginning. Thank God for my midwife, my mom, and my husband, because I would've given up a hundred times over during those first weeks! And yes, pumping at work is awful. It's inconvenient and stressful. And yes, there are even (very short, fleeting) moments when I wish I could just have AJ feed him a bottle so I don't have to completely stop whatever it is that I'm doing (but it's always a bottle of expressed breastmilk in my mind - I never wish for formula).

So I understand why people switch to formula, especially with the amazing marketing that the industry is doing. They're preaching, "Breast is Best, But We're Just as Good", and pediatricians are bribed to keep their mouths shut, and it's politically incorrect to state the fact that breastfeeding is better (but it's quite alright to ask why someone has chosen to breastfeed, as if we need to justify it!). Add to that all the hardship of the first few weeks, and it's no wonder! It just makes me sad that there's so much misinformation, and women aren't as proactive as they need to be. They just take what everyone else tells them as the gospel truth - never mind their instincts - if the doctor said it, it must be true - and they're selling themselves and their kids short!

I want to tell women about the choices out there and that all of these natural choices - natural birth, breastfeeding, cosleeping, babywearing - are just as valid, and perhaps more so, because they reaffirm our mothering instincts instead of make us doubt ourselves!. I just want to tell everyone how easy it is to mother this way!! It's so, so EASY! Just relax, trust your instincts, never-mind the doctor, go with the flow, do what's best for your kid, and enjoy it! Enjoy it! Mothering really can be fun!

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