Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Why not try breastfeeding?

So this is a question I have thought often, but really had no one in particular to voice it to. Here it is: Why are there so many people that don't even try to breastfeed?

Now, I know what you are thinking.... well, some people can't breastfeed because.... they are taking a medication that prevents it, or some other legitimate reason. I agree, there are some people that can't breastfeed for whatever reason. That is not who I am talking about. I am talking about the people that before their baby is born they simply decide they will bottle feed. And I am not talking about our mothers who were taught that only the underprivileged breastfed and that any women with means should bottle feed.

All the literature, and even the formula companies, tell us that breast is best. And every mother and mother to be will claim that all they want is the best for their child. So why is it that so many women choose to formula feed without giving breastfeeding a try? (Remember Green Eggs and Ham?)

Do they believe that it will be easier? Because I don't know how buying formula, preparing, washing, warming bottles, is easier. Do they think it is easier because someone else can help feed the baby? I know that I felt like a dairy cow in the early days, but really, there are other things people can help with like diapers, baths, housekeeping, thus leaving mom to breastfeed and provide that perfect food and bonding. And certainly it is easier that the milk is always available, always free, and always the perfect temperature no matter where you are.

Are people too uncomfortable with their bodies, and breastfeeding just "weirds them out"? If so, how is that a good enough reason? Isn't it worth it to "get over it" or find a way of getting comfortable? And if you don't even try breastfeeding, then how will you know how you really feel about it?

Are they career women who plan to go back to work after leave and think why bother? Well, all I can say is: Isn't 3 months better than none? And they have these things called breastpumps now.

I know that many people start breastfeeding, and then stop for various reasons. There are a myriad of reasons why people stop, but right now, I am not talking about them. I can't say I didn't comtemplate stopping early on. Breastfeeding for the first month was very painful and I cringed every time he latched on. They even suspected that my little guy had a milk allergy at 3 months and said I would have to switch to formula or cut out all dairy. I cut out the dairy.... you wouldn't believe how many products have dairy in them!

I just don't get while breastfeeding isn't given a chance at all by some women. Do they really know what they are giving up? Do they know that when baby wakes at night, they don't have to fully wake up because you are there to offer the breast much sooner than a bottle would be available? Do they also know that you'll get better sleep because you can fall back asleep while nursing, something hard to do while holding a bottle. Do they know just how much money they'll save? Do they know that breastmilk content changes as the babies nutritional needs change? Something formula could never do. Do they know that the hormones released during nursing help mom to relax and feel love for baby? Do they really know what they are choosing when they choose not to try breastfeeding?

I would love to know the reasons, because I can't fathom what they are. I know I going to piss off some bottle feeding mothers, but that's not my intent. I just really want to understand.

1 comment:

LauraC said...

I don't understand either and some days, it makes me angry because breastfeeding didn't work out for us. And the lengths I went to were crazy, so it's hard for me to imagine why someone with one full-term baby doesn't even try.

I wrote a post for HDYDI about our experience "failing" breastfeeding twins and it was very cathartic. It helped me get over a lot of those resentful feelings.