Paula Spencer is the author of Momfidence! An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happier Parenting. She also writes a blog by the same name about relaxed, confident parenting. I’m almost afraid to send you over there because you’re going to have so much fun reading her, you may never come back here 😆 .
As a seasoned breastfeeding mother of four, Spencer has written an amazingly good (in a funny-but-serious way) article in Parenting on how she managed to be a breastfeeding mother despite breaking all the ‘rules’. I suspect, however, that if I showed this article to my mother-in-law (who breastfed her own 3 children back in the late ’50s/early ’60s, because “that’s what was always done in my family”), she would recognize the same healthy attitude. At least, that was very similar to what she expressed to me on the subject when it came up with my little ones. Key quote:
It’s a shame, really. Instead of being a natural extension of pregnancy and childbirth, something you just do right away to pass on all those protective antibodies (and save a little cash at a time when it’s flying out of your wallet as if it had been sprinkled with pixie dust back there in the delivery room), breastfeeding has been turned into a statement. A chore. Another series of tests on the way to “good” motherhood. I breastfed because I was convinced it was a smart start. I kept at it because it was much more pleasurable than I’d imagined (not that one can accurately imagine much about breastfeeding before actually doing it). I made it work for me. And then when my baby grew teeth and I grew tired of being tethered to the baby or the pump, I quit.
The message to mothers-to-be and new moms should be: Take breastfeeding one day at a time. Try it in the hospital — you’re just lying there anyway. And people there are glad to show you how. Then, if you and your baby are getting the hang of it, stick it out during maternity leave to pass all those health benefits to your baby, and to yourself. Plus, it’s free, and it can be easier to stuff a ready nipple into a hungry mouth than to prep a bottle while suffering extreme sleep deprivation.
And then, see how it goes. Maybe it will be easier, and more enjoyable, than you thought, the way it was for me. Maybe you’ll move on in a few weeks or months. Maybe you’ll stick with it right through toddlerhood. Whatever follows, everybody will be okay.
That’s the real definition of success: everybody coming out okay.
Filed under: Breastfeeding |