Princess: To breastfeed or not to breastfeed: That is the question
December 17, 2015
So I've been kind of on the fence about this whole breast-feeding thing. And yes, I realize that in that one sentence, I've scared the men away and upset all the women, but hear me out.
What I so totally don't get is this current culture of wanting to do everything naturally. I know plenty of women whose mission in life was to have natural childbirth with no drugs. That was their goal. That was their "birth plan."
Yes, believe it or not, there is such a thing as a birth plan. The medical community has given us women the impression that childbirth is something you can actually plan. From what I can glean, it's kind of like saying, "If you could predict how this entirely unpredictable event is going to go down, what would be your most desired outcome?" If that's not asking for trouble, I don't know what is.
I also don't get why anyone in her right mind would decline pain control. This is the modern world, people! Do you go into the dentist's office and say, "Nope, no Novocaine for me; I want to go natural! Let's just pull those rusty caveman pliers out and let her rip!"
I get it that women want what is best for the baby, but I also would think that taking care of yourself would be a priority, too. How can I take care of a newborn if I'm a complete wreck? This is not to say natural childbirth isn't possible. I have one friend who managed to pop out a kid in her spare bedroom. But the rest of my friends were thrown into the operating room for a C-section after pushing for hours, feeling utterly defeated and totally traumatized.
When my doctor asked me for my birth plan, I said, "Get the baby out?" as if it were some kind of trick question.
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But yeah, so this whole breast-feeding thing.
Basically the doctors tell you that the benefits of breast-feeding your baby are so numerous that if you don't do it, you might as well leave your newborn in the middle of the street during rush-hour traffic because you are that horrible of a person if you don't bestow upon your child the liquid gold that is apparently breast milk.
Here's how I feel: The idea of having milk come out of me freaks me out. Dealing with breast pumps and leaking, sore, cracked nipples — I mean, need I say more? Do those words alone not make you squirm in your seat?
My own mother put it this way: "I'm not a cow. I'm not going to have some kid hanging off my tit."
So I was not breast-fed, and I did not die or become addicted to sugar or drugs or come down with a horrible disease. I turned out just fine. Ryan wasn't breast-fed, either, and he came out better than fine. Come to think of it, maybe all of my problems and issues are on account of my not being breast-fed. That's it! That's the reason I'm so messed up!
I have plenty of friends who just love to breast-feed. They say once they got past the cracked nipples, the excruciating pain and dealing with the messiness, it was the most amazing experience they could possibly imagine. Sure, there was that one time their breast pump broke and their overfull boobs almost exploded as they were driving to a business meeting. And yes, it was a little embarrassing when they were standing in line at the post office only to look down and see two round, wet stains that just turned an otherwise inane errand into a wet-T-shirt contest.
"But it's so convenient," they say. "When the baby wakes up every other minute to breast-feed, you don't even have to prepare a bottle."
Now let's compare that to my friends who bottle-feed. They must remain anonymous to avoid mommy-shaming. They whisper, "He sleeps through the night, every night. With a bottle, he only needs to be fed every six hours."
These friends look happy and well-rested, typically with a glass of wine in hand. Their babies are the happiest, healthiest babies I know.
I have one friend who told me perfect strangers often ask her, "Are we breast-feeding?"
And she'll reply, "I don't know. Are we?"
Or if men ask her, she'll reply, "I don't know. When was the last time you had your prostate checked?"
I ran into a neighbor of mine at Whole Foods who whispered conspiratorially in my ear, "Listen, when you live out in the boonies like we do, I highly recommend giving your baby a bottle of formula in the morning so you have more time to get stuff done." She looked around to make sure no one from the Boob Brigade was watching us. "I mean, you should breast-feed, but I'm just saying, a bottle comes in really handy."
She said this in the same guilt-ridden vein as when someone might go, "You know, if you've never given heroin a try, it's actually really awesome."
My gut feeling is that this is going to be messy and foreign, and I have no desire to do it. I would feel way more comfortable feeding my baby a bottle, and there is no way in hell I'm going to whip it out in public. I'd really like it if other people could feed the baby, too, like my husband, for starters. And no, pumping does not sound like some kind of appealing alternative — sorry.
Yes, I understand that motherhood is all about selflessness and doing what's best for the baby.
Then it hit me: This might be the only time in my life I get to have big boobs and be skinny at the same time on account of all the calories you burn producing milk. It's a no-brainer! Breast-feeding all the way!
The Princess realizes she is probably not going to have that many mommy friends. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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