I remember when a friend of mine was pregnant she would talk about how mothers that breast-feed looked down on those mothers who formula-feed their babies. Not having much experience with that, I never really thought about it, though her findings were surprising to me. Having been a formula fed baby myself, I saw nothing wrong in not breast-feeding ones child, regardless of reason. Some mothers are unable, some try and find it hurts too much, and others just don’t want to because its more convenient to have a bottle ready.
When I gave birth to Rachel I decided to try breast-feeding. I had been warned by many a mother that it hurts, but if you can stick with it, its worh it…..but most mothers don’t make it past the second week. Armed with this knowledge, I tried it, but wasn’t worried if I didn’t last more than a couple of weeks.
The first month was difficult since Rachel was tongue-tied, and it really hurt to breast-feed. Even with a nipple shield, it was more difficult than I thought and both me and Rachel would get frustrated. I pumped and then fed her through a bottle so I could be sure she was getting food. When she was 3 weeks old she had her frenulum cut and I thought feeding her would become easier, but it took her almost a week before she learned to latch onto my nipple.
Breast-feeding still hurt going into the second month. Not the whole time, it would just hurt when she latched on, the feeding part didn’t hurt at all. During her 6th week she got so constipated (it was so painful she would cry out), her doctor had us giving her apple juice mixed with water once a day, and once a day one meal was to be a formula meal. This would get her moving. It lasted from her 6th through her 12th week. It seemed that maybe my breast-feeding days wouldn’t last much longer.
People were supportive of my breast-feeding, they were also surprised that I lasted so long. I am a spiteful person, so the more people expected me to quit, the more determined I became to continue on.
After the 2nd month of breastfeeding and into the 3rd, all the pain went away and I started to really enjoy breast-feeding. I was venturing out more and discovered that there aren’t many breast-feeding friendly places to go. Even the La Habra Children’s Museum didn’t have a designated feeding area. I would sit in my car, or find some private secluded area, and feed Rachel, and quickly learned it was easier to pack a formula bottle.
Around the fourth month, people started expecting me to wean Rachel since I would be returning to work in December. I had recently learned that my place of work had a room specifically for pumping. I informed my co-workers I would be pumping.
Again, my co-workers seemed impressed, but now that I’m going into my 9th month of breast-feeding, my co-workers seem to be…..annoyed. I am not sure that annoyed is the correct word. I remember last week a co-worker made a comment and I responded jokingly with, “What, you don’t want to seemy diamond studded bra?” I laughed, my co-worker laughed, and 2 more co-workers that were in the elevator kinda sneered and one said, “more like her milk-encrusted bra.”
I was shocked and hurt by the comment. I was also surprised and could not, still cannot, understand why their support turned into…. discrimination almost. Even my boss is pressuring me to stop breast-feeding. Have you seen the May 21, 2012 edition of TIME magazine with the mother breast-feeding her 3 year old son on the cover? My boss shoved her phone in my face with the cover pulled up on it an said, “This could be a picture of you.” Again, I was shocked and hurt.
I never expected this, its like a reverse-predjudice almost. I know they didn’t breast-feed, I don’t remember why, but they seem to think I’ve done it long enough and its time for me to stop. This just makes me want to breast-feed longer. Every time they say something about how long I’ve breast-fed I tell them that the World Health Organization and the CDC say one should breast feed for 2-2 & 1/2 years. If it weren’t for my migraines I’d do it, too.
I just wish they would just shut their mouths. I have never judged them, how dare they judge me.