Why I breastfeed

And I’ll preface this by saying that this is IN NO WAY a disparagement of bottle feeding; this is just me and my particular baby that I’m talking about here and I’m sure that the experience I’m having is not unique to breastfeeding, it is just where I’m at right now and it’s all I know.

Because breastfeeding is actually not something that I do, it’s something that Miles and I do together.  It took him a loooong time to get his part of it together and I almost had to give up on him. But we got it in the end and that experience has shown me that it is a two-way street with my son.

 Because my body adjusts to his needs and changes the composition of the milk to the given nursing session, day, time, age of baby and his needs at that nursing moment.

Because I give him the benefit of my body’s experience in germ-fighting to protect him from my colds, etc,  and (according to my smart friend, Lisabeth, who is a nurse and knows these things) he gives me his germs and my body creates antibodies for him to protect him from whatever he has picked up that I haven’t and I think that is pretty cool, that biology kind of stuff.

Because it’s cozy and warm. I am all about cozy and warm.

Because he puts his chubby little dimpled hand up to his mouth  when he’s eating just as if he’s telling me a secret.

Because when we were out watching the little kids run around at the La Leche League meeting, he kept popping off to look up at me and laugh because he was so glad there were other kids around while he was eating and it was so funny to him.

Because it gets him into his nap in about 5 peaceful minutes as opposed to 20 minutes of (maybe) crying and fussying (which he doesn’t do for Troy, just me) (and I hope I don’t regret this later but we’ll deal with it down the road).

Because even though we are joined at the hip all day everyday and at the middle of the night and that’s (usually) ok, he can still take his night-night feeding with a bottle from his daddy and have man-to-man time (and sometimes with Nana, if she’s around, in which case it is grandma-to-baby time).

Given that we had an enormous struggle to get where we are, I have come to the realization that I am not opposed to infant-led weaning (given limits, of course. I can’t see the point of it if he’s, say, six).  I don’t know how much flak I might get for this, not that it’s anyone’s business but mine and Miles’s. And perhaps he’ll wean after a year or two.  And that will be fine.  But the point is that it’s a part of our relationship and we will see where our relationship takes us as we both grow and mature together.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. soulsue
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 19:28:08

    Breastfeeding helps define us as mothers. It’s sacred, essential and fulfilling. Thanks for sharing.


  2. The Mom
    Mar 14, 2008 @ 08:55:49

    That’s what real parenting is all about: relationship. What a beautiful blog.


  3. little j
    Mar 14, 2008 @ 14:11:13

    breastfeeding is cool, but as a fellow father I warn troy:

    in the summer, when its hot and you are hanging around without a shirt on, and then you’re holding the kid, even just for a second maybe, —- it may become apparent that “nipple discrimination” is not fully developed in your child. samuel nearly took my nipple off once. I think my startled yelp (and the odd sensation of hair in his mouth) sent his baby discriminator into high gear.

    we can be thankful we don’t have any piercings, troy (at least not that I recall)


  4. ~m
    Mar 14, 2008 @ 15:13:38

    hahahahaha! that is HILARIOUS!!!


  5. Lisa
    Mar 14, 2008 @ 16:08:19

    First–little J, totally hilarious!
    Second–Michele, you have to quit calling me smart; it’s going to my head.
    Third–I remember being so frustrated with trying to get breast feeding going, Emma was doing well but my hormone’s weren’t responding correctly and I wasn’t making enough milk. I went through so much trying to get those pesky chemicals jumpstarted, that I was driving myself crazy (well, crazier, anyway). So, we finally went with one bottle of formula a day, which allowed Todd to play a role, took a huge burden off of me, and there was a lot less crying in the house–me from frustration, Emma from hunger.

    I always thought I’d breastfeed until she was two, but Emma decided she was done at 15 months. She just quit being interested in nursing (she was done with supplemental formula a long time before this, of course).

    One of the things I used to try to impress on my students was that a decision to breastfeed was not an all or nothing decision. That it was possible to balance it with formula (although some infants don’t do well with this), and that it was possible to change your mind, or to stop when you when back to work, or whatever. In reality, if a mom only breastfed for three days, they would have given their child more than medicine can already.


  6. ~m
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 18:23:32

    Lisa, thanks for your comments (by the way, EVERYONE can use a little ego boost now and then so don’t worry about the ‘smart’ remarks–heh, get it? ‘smart remarks’? anyway…)
    I went to several lactation consultants–three, actually–as we tried to get the breastfeeding to work. The first one I went to, and the one that was the most helpful in the end (she was a ped and a fellow of the IBCLC, told me straight off that formula was our friend and that we should never feel like we had ‘failed’ if we had to either supplement or switch over totally.
    I TOTALLY know what you mean about the crying…I was trying to feed Miles and pump w/ the electric pump afterward but he was not the put-downable kind of baby and I had to try to figure out how to pump and hold him/get him to sleep and…well, it was just HUGE nightmare and A LOT of tears went on. So, maybe that’s just a topic for another posting someday 🙂


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