I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
May 8, 2009
>(Note on 5/13/09): The latest Backtalk has now replaced the Breastfeeding Backtalk, so click on the “Breastfeeding & Blogging link in the playlist at the bottom of the video player to see the Backtalk referenced in this post.)
This week’s Backtalk is all about breastfeeding. It’s a perennial source of controversy in the blogosphere and, while Kelly, Erin, Chris and I are very different women who generally have very different opinions, we were all pretty much united on this one. You can view our discussion here.
This was also a problem because the vast majority of women who write about the subject online are or have been breastfeeders themselves, and are very passionate about it. On the Internet, it would appear that intelligent, caring mothers all breastfeed, or at least make an attempt and then feel horribly guilty if it doesn’t work out.
In real life, though, I find that’s not the case at all.
I can’t tell you how many friends I know in real life who found breastfeeding to be too difficult or their jobs too demanding to keep it up for long. Some breastfed for a week or two, some breastfed for a few months, and some didn’t breastfeed for a single day. I know what the recommendations are regarding breastfeeding. I know that research seems to indicate that breast is best. I know that I chose personally to breastfeed for those reasons.
I also know that most of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s were not breastfed, and we all seemed to turn out just fine.
I know that many women are not in the same position I was in when I had both my children. I had hours and hours at home, in total privacy, to get the hang of breastfeeding. If I had had to go back to work and bring a pump with me, I’m not sure I would have lasted very long.
And I know in my heart that a happy mother is better for a baby than all the breastmilk in the world. I feel like society has gone all nazi (‘nazi’ as defined by Mirriam-Webster: a harshly domineering, dictatorial, or intolerant person) about breastfeeding, shaming mothers into pushing themselves to extraordinary lengths to try and make it happen. I would like to see everyone relax.
I may have followed my doctors’ breastfeeding recommendations, but there are other recommendations she’s made that I’ve ignored (the vaccination schedule being a big one- I’m a staggerer). As far as I’m concerned, that puts me in the same boat with the moms who’ve chosen not to breastfeed. None of us can be a “perfect mother.” None of us will do everything the way the experts say we should. The sooner we recognize that in ourselves and others, the better off we’ll all be.
With all that said, I’d like to see more blogs out there by women who bottlefeed their babies and have no qualms about it. Women who don’t feel guilty that breastfeeding didn’t work out. Women who know they’re doing the very best they can for their child, and know that whether or not they breastfeed doesn’t define them as a mother.
And I’d love to know what you think about all this. Did you breastfeed? If not, are you afraid to write about it?