Monday, May 20, 2013

End of Pregnancy Poem

This is a poem written by a friend of the family back in 1959 when Audrey was within due date range with her first baby. Its funny but true!! :)


Every day ten times or so,
The telephone rings.

Friends and relatives asking:
"How's things?

Are you still there?
Why don't you go?

What's the matter?
How come so slow?"

And every day I get fatter and more round
It's harder to stand, and WORSE to sit down!

Each day goes more slowly,
My spirits more lowly.

Wearily I ask my mate,
"Is this to be a PERMANENT state?!"

And so dear friends and relatives who call,
Please reconsider, one and all.

If you think about it, you'll conclude that MAYBE
NO ONE WANTS MORE THAN ME TO HAVE THIS BABY!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guest Post: My 1 in 100

Being pregnant for the second time seemed like it would be a piece of cake, I mean I had already done it before, so naturally it would be exactly the same, right? Well, throw in a crazy case of the pukes ALL 37 weeks and add a crazy toddler to the mix and it's nothing like the first time being pregnant! My pregnancy went very well up until the 20 week scan. We were so excited to find out if we were going to have another little girl or would there be a boy in our near future, not to mention the excitement of just getting to see your baby on the screen, it truly is an amazing thing. We could see for ourselves pretty clearly that we were going to have another little girl and  we were thrilled! The tech was taking the usual measurements but always seemed to keep coming back to the heart. After about 2 hours the tech gave up and said the baby was just not cooperating, they just couldn't get a clear shot of the heart so we should come back in a week to try again. No harm no foul, I would get to see the little nugget again, how could I complain about that! I honestly was not worried at all and went ahead and scheduled the ultra sound. A week later they still could not “see” what they wanted to see, once again blaming it on the baby not being in the optimal position. Because of this it was suggested that I go to a specialist to get a fetal echo. This freaked me out, “what does that mean is there a problem!”. Once again I was reassured that it is usually nothing and the only reason to see a specialist is because they have much better equipment. So we made the appointment. At the time I thought waiting a week for the  fetal echo was the most stressed out one could ever be, I now know the body can take on much more. The fetal echo came and went without a hiccup, it literally took 5 minutes for the doctor to tell us everything is perfect and we have one healthy little girl :)

Fast forward about 15 weeks...

11/2/11 at 11:00am our sweet 8 pound light brown hair, blue eyed baby girl was born. Jordan Paige. I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to love another child as much as I did my first, boy was I wrong! She was precious and perfect, I couldn't wait for our family to meet her. After being transferred to the postpartum wing I was anxiously awaiting for the nurses  to bring Jordan back to me (after her bath and check up). They soon brought her back but the head nurse informed me that they had heard a heart murmur. To be honest I didn't know what that meant and honestly I wasn't even freaked out when she told me. Just as a precaution they wanted a pediatric cardiologist to do an echo on her and it just so happened that one was coming in to see another baby. Once again no big deal, right, RIGHT?

“your daughter has a very large hole in her heart, it is called a Ventricular Septal Defect or VSD and she will require Open heart surgery with in her first year of life.”

Before then I had no idea that Congenital heart defects are the number 1 birth defect in America, heck in the world! Did you know 1 in 100 children are born with CHD? I also didn't know that Jordan was very lucky to have been diagnosed within hours of being born. 2 out of 3 babies with CHD get sent home undiagnosed where they can then suffer life long effects and even death! I kept thinking to myself this is an emotional roller coaster from hell. Once minute on a complete high of becoming a mother for the second time only to be knocked down into a whirl wind of the unknown.

We were able to take Jordan home but had bi weekly cardiology appointments, bi weekly pediatric weight checks on top of regular new born appointments. By 2 weeks of age Jordan was in congestive heart failure. By 4 weeks her weight gain had essentially stopped. I nursed my first daughter until she was 7 months old and was completely prepared to do the same with Jordan; however Jordan's heart was pumping too much blood to her lungs which in turn made her heart work in over time making her burn more calories then what she was taking in therefore breast milk just wasn't enough :( She had to go on a strict diet of what we called “protein shakes”, pretty much breast milk mixed with a TON of formula and not that much water. I know the benefits of nursing, especially a sick child, and it crushed me everyday to know that I literally could not provide her with what she needed. I made it my mission to have a stock pile of breast milk for whenever her surgery was and for after. Hahah my husband made fun of me because I filled 2 freezers with expressed milk in a relatively short amount of time. I had so much that I actually started donating the excess and at one time I was single handedly “feeding” 4 babies! Back to little miss Jordan though :)

The beginning of February 2012, at a routine cardiology appointment, Jordan's echo showed that her right ventricle had developed what are called muscle bundles or right ventricle hypertrophy. This changed the game and we now had to schedule surgery to prevent permanent damage to her little lungs. She was only 3 months old.

Those few weeks before surgery were very intense. My husband was out of town, the girls and I were on lock down and couldn't go anywhere for fear of germs, and well let's be real my baby was going to have Open Heart Surgery, that was the only thing on my mind 24/7. Her surgery was actually bumped up by 3 weeks, by request of her surgeon, which was a shock, but later I realized this truly was a blessing, it was 3 weeks less of stressing out about, “what if”.

Feb 29, 2012, leap day, my husband and I handed over our almost 4 month old 10 pound  baby. We waited the 5 hours only receiving a text here or there about Jordan's progress; “ surgery started”, “By pass machine on”, “by pass machine disconnected”, “sewing up now”, ect. After Jordan's surgery the Doctor told us she actually had  a more severe defect then they had thought, her new diagnoses was/is Tetrology of fallot. They were able to patch her VSD and close a PDA(patent ductus arteriosus) in addition to shaving down the right ventricle muscle bundles. Now came the hard part, being reunited with our sweet girl.

The cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) just plain sucks. It is all babies or very small children who are all very very sick. Seeing Jordan for the first time is something that will haunt me forever. A tiny lifeless body with tubes going every which way, the humming of the ventilator breathing for her, the various alarms going off every few seconds, it is just something no parent should ever have to see their child go through. Jordan was a rock star and was able to come off the ventilator about 12 hours later and after 26 hours of being in the CICU we said PEACE OUT and were moved to the heart and kidney unit. We “slept” on chairs and not so comfy couches while getting up every few minutes to check on Jordan. She just kept doing awesome and within 5 days of having open heart surgery we headed home!
Slowly but surely Jordan stated gaining weight, on breast milk only by the way :) she started rolling over and surprised everyone at all her post op appointments. 8 months after her surgery we were given the clear from the cardiologist for 1 year, that's a HUGE step for her and for us!

Today Jordan is 15 months old and so full of life. She has the most amazing blue eyes and the best raspy little laugh :) Although a bit under weight she can still out eat her 3 year old sister haha. Jordan Paige is my hero, how someone so small can endure so much in so little a time and still be genuinely happy I will never know. I am proud to be Heart Mom and I am proud to have a Heart Warrior, My 1 in 100.

February 7-14th is congenital heart defect(CHD) awareness week. Jordan's story is just one, one of the lucky ones. Every year more than 91,000 LIFE years are lost due to CHD.  Something needs to be done. To put it in perspective twice as many children die from CHD each year then from ALL forms of childhood cancers combined, twice as many! Please spread the word, learn, educate. Who knows could your child be the next 1 in 100?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Guest Blog: Generations of Breastfeeding


One of my first memories is right after my brother was born. I was two years old in March of 1975 and he was born the following July. He was born early in the morning, at home. I remember walking down the hall, through a doorway and seeing my mother propped up in bed with him. The doorway is hazy in my memory – my mother looks like I’m seeing her through wavy glass. According to my mother (I don’t remember this), when I walked up to the bed and started talking to Matt, he unlatched himself from her breast and turned towards my voice. This was about 15 minutes after he was born. Then, in two-year-old fashion, I ran up and down the hall, saying over and over again, “It’s a baby! It’s a baby! It’s a baby!” I was just a little excited, apparently.

I also remember nursing. I nursed until just a few months before my third birthday. Matt was closer to three and a half when he weaned. My few memories of nursing are like the memory after Matt’s birth – hazy and dreamlike. I remember my mother asking me if I wanted ‘na’ after I had been upset about something and walking across the room towards her. I remember the feeling of being cradled in her arms. When I think about these memories, when I call them up in my mind, there is a warmth in my being that I had not experienced in my life until I had my own children.

My mother was a La Leche League leader and a homebirther when both of these things were much less common than they are now (although as a midwife, I must say that we help a dismally small percentage of women, even now!). I remember going to La Leche meetings with her and hiding under the plastic stacking seats in the back of the room while she was showing a childbirth videos. She tells me that I would go home, pretend like I was giving birth to my dolls on the couch and then nurse them.

I know that these early experiences shaped who I am today, just as my mother’s early experiences shaped her expectations and ideas of what is normal in parenting. My grandmother, in 1948, nursed my mother until she was one. I am still amazed by this. Can you imagine? My grandfather was in the Marines when my mother was born, so my grandmother had my mother in a military hospital. My grandmother told me that when she would breastfeed my mother, the nurses would pull curtains around her bed, because “nobody wants to see that.” My grandmother had no support, no direction from nurses or doctors. She is one of my breastfeeding heroes.

I feel fortunate to have grown up in a family where extended nursing was the norm. I never questioned that when I had children, I would nurse them for at least a couple of years. That’s just what you did, right?
  
Now I have two nurslings of my own - a beautiful girl who will be three in about a month and another daughter
who just turned six months. They are the light and greatest loves of my life. They are the sun that my husband and I dance around every day. They dictate my schedule, my sleeping and waking, my playing and cleaning. The three year old is just learning to use a butter knife and loves to help me get dinner ready. This evening, she pulled a package of mushrooms (one of the things I let her cut up) out of the refrigerator and said, “My cut mushrooms, Mom. My big girl.” The baby is often riding on my back while we cook together, either soft and curled up against me, asleep – or cooing and trying to look around me to see what is happening. It is a magical time. They are both changing and learning so much every day. I try desperately to be present with them as much as I am able – to really and truly give them my attention so that I can savor every moment. Some days I do a good job, some days, not as much.

One of the ways I do feel that I can give them both my attention is by breastfeeding. My job as a midwife allows me to be with them most of the time. The oldest went with me to prenatals until she was mobile, and my youngest is doing the same. I do not take them to births, but I average around one or two births a month, so while I may be gone for a long time when I am at a birth, I am able to pump, have someone bring me the baby, or a combination of both. I feel very fortunate that this is the case for me. I know many moms who have to work regular full-time schedules and it makes it very challenging to breastfeed. Don’t get me started about paid maternity leave!

So far, I haven’t felt the need to wean my oldest, although I do understand completely how someone would. Nursing two children can be overwhelming, and even though my oldest doesn’t nurse a lot these days, I still often tell her no if she asks to nurse during the day or she wants to nurse while the baby is nursing. I understand that our nursing relationship is a two-way street, and if I am not enjoying it, that my feelings will affect her experience as well. That being said, I don’t feel the need to completely wean her. I feel very strongly that meeting a child’s early needs for attachment leads to greater independence later in life. Forcing independence before they are ready rarely ever works. The ‘sacrifices’ I make to continue nursing my oldest do not seem like sacrifices to me at all. My children are young only once, and their need for me will only be this great for a relatively short amount of time. It is okay if my wants get pushed to the side for a while.

Breastfeeding was easy for us from the beginning. They both latched on within minutes of being born and went from there. In this, I also feel very fortunate. I know through my job as a midwife and through friends that this is not always the case. I also have no doubts that my early exposures to breastfeeding with my brother and other children in La Leche formed the ideas in my mind about what is normal. Seeing a baby bottle feeding is odd to me. Seeing my own babies eat out of a bottle is disturbing on a gut level, even though I know it is sometimes necessary and that it’s my own milk.
 

Recently, my oldest has taken to “wearing” her dolls and teddy bears. She either puts them down the front of her shirt or has me put them down the back. A few times she has asked me to make her a backpack out of a scarf so she can wear them on her back without them falling down. Sometimes when she does this, she will walk around the living room, making little bouncing motions with each step and saying, “sh sh sh sh” as she walks. She is calming her babies, just like she sees me doing with her little sister.

The first time I saw her do this, the feeling I had was something akin to de ja vue. I felt a moment of stillness and depth and awareness of connections. I could see and sense the connections between the parenting choices of my grandmother, my mother, myself, and some day, my daughters. I wished for someone else to see what I was seeing, just so I could grab their arm and ask, “Do you SEE this?”

My oldest also nurses her dolls when she says they are sad. When she hears a baby crying in public she will let me know that the baby needs to nurse. Just as my ideas about what is normal were formed at an early age, my daughters are learning the same things. They are learning that it is normal to respond to your children’s needs, not ignore them. They are learning that it is normal to breastfeed – even in public! They are learning that holding your baby close is the best way to calm them. That sometimes a cuddle and a little bit of nursing is all you need.

I am a Licensed Midwife in Arkansas and a Certified Professional Midwife, working at Birthroot Midwifery in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I am also a student and breastfeeding advocate. I am married to the best hubby I could ever want. In response to being asked to cover up in public while I was nursing my youngest (which I did not do, by the way), I have started an organization called Breastfeeding Friendly Arkansas. Our mission is to normalize breastfeeding through education, support and empowerment. I feel tremendously lucky to have the support I do in terms of breastfeeding. Many women do not. Our organization is working to change that! You can find us on Facebook and at BreastfeedingFriendlyArkansas.
org

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Seeking Admins for the Normalizing Nursing in Public League


After running The Normalizing Nursing in Public League Facebook page nearly solo for two years I'm looking for some extra help. I'd love to have some NNIPL members to help manage questions, promote appropriate links to share, field questions, and just be a super NNIPL helper in general. If you'd be up for the job, please send a little paragraph application to thegoodletdown{at}gmail{dot}com with a description of your breastfeeding experience/knowledge and ways you'd like to help out. I have many other passions than just breastfeeding, and I'd like to get as many like-minded folks as possible running the page so they answer questions similar to my way. Thank you!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Shaking Things Up to Bring You The Best!


So, coming up on 3,000 fans, we are thinking of changing our question format a little over on the Facebook Page. From now on, instead of reposting each question we receive through the wall and private message directly to the wall, we will address each mother individually first. Helping her to find resources and solutions to common questions and referring her to her local in person resources as neccessary. After these personal conversations with mothers posting or messaging for help, we will share her question and some solutions in a post asking for further input from moms.

There are a few reasons for our change!


  1. We want to empower mothers to learn and problem solve, like the old adage says "teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime." Adult learners retain 80-90% of what they say AND do, so it is helpful to do your research and in the process above, others will be graced with the resources that can help them in the future. 
  2. We want moms to get the research based answers and solutions FIRST, saving personal, experiential, and anecdotal evidence for input after the issue has been assessed and resources have been given.
  3. We want each fan to see a bigger picture when scanning their newsfeed, so you'll see a brief synopsis of a mom's question/problem/concern, the symptoms, as well as resources and suggestions and a request for YOUR experience and input (and further questions?) if you should choose to respond! By doing this, you learn a little something even if you choose not to read through the comments, and better yet, you'll see what resources and evidence supports different solutions to different problems...and some day you'll perhaps have an issue and you'll remember "Oh yeah! I can check out Kellymom.com!" or something like that. 



This format is more personal, and we want to be able to help mothers more directly. We will be engaging some of the experienced friends we have in our village to help us handle the volume if we are unable to address a large number of questions. We also would like to take one or two volunteers to help in moderating the page. If you are interested, please write to us a short blurb about why you would like to help, what your qualifications are, training, certifications, accreditation, etc. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding story, things you overcame and how, how you think your experience may help other moms...anything that you feel makes you qualified to help mothers with breastfeeding problems. We'll select two applicants after a little back and forth and when they are all set, we'll introduce you to them.

Please feel free to share any posts you think are new or interesting from the facebook page with friends who may benefit from even just skimming those details. It's funny how the brain works. We may one day be talking with a mother about newborn feeding habits because she is afraid baby is not getting enough...another mother may read that and not need it, but later if or when she does, she will pull it from the dusty corners and she'll know what to do or at least how to get information and support.

Welcome to virtual breastfeeding education readers! We hope our experiment improves our service to you and sets us apart from other breastfeeding pages and blogs out there!

(and the other mamas too, obviously)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bursting Bubbles

Last month we had our Third Annual Breastival of Nurslings photography event. It was a huge success and we had 41 mamas come to get their portraits taken while nursing their children. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded mamas and just chat the afternoon away.

During the photo shoot we realized just how many of us were tandem nursing mamas, so we took the opportunity to do a group shot of all of us nursing!


Allison Kuznia Photography - http://www.facebook.com/allisonkuzniaphotography
Age of Nurslings from left to right; 3, 1, 1, 3, 2, 0, 0, and 1

The four of us are regulars at playdates, and this sight is actually a pretty common one in my backyard. The only usual thing about it really is that we are in a line instead of in a circle. This is our norm. We often spend playdates nursing our babies (and by babies, we mean the children under the age of 2) frequently with the older ones occasionally coming in for a quick nurse, before they run off to play. We have been so immersed in a breastfeeding friendly culture like this that we kind of forgot that we aren't "normal." We posted the photo on our FB fan page... and quickly thereafter came some negative comments of how "gross" we are and how our children are "too old." I will say, 99% of the comments were gushing over how we are the most awesome women on the planet and how they wished they had friends like this in their community. The handful of negative ones were kind of a shock as we have been living in this little happy bubble of absolute acceptance and love for our full term breastfeeding.

The natural age of weaning is between ages 2 and 7, with the average being between 3 and 5 years of age. These children are all well within the normal breastfeeding age for humans. It is only our society and myths that are leaving people to feel like this is somehow wrong. News flash... breasts are not sexual organs! If you are someone that has a foot fetish... does that suddenly make feet sexual organs? Breasts can be used during a sexual act... but their main purpose in life is to supply breastmilk to children. Surprise!!! There is nothing sexual about breastfeeding children. Breastfeeding does not suddenly become inappropriate or no longer beneficial at 366 days of age (or whatever you think the cut off should be.) 


Here are some great resources about full term breastfeeding and the benefits of nursing older children.

http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html

http://www.llli.org/ba/aug94.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2720507/

http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/ebf-benefits/

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday with Megz - An Internal Struggle or External Bullying?

I want to share with you what it is like to be a breastfeeding supporter and activist in a community that is so full of passionate, intelligent, and opinionated women, and how this has impacted my nursing relationship with both of my sons.

If you have followed our blog for any amount of time you know a few things about me...My first son, Aiden, was only nursed for 8 months, for a variety of reasons. You know that I am not a tandem nurser, that it just is not for me and you know why! You also probably know that I am a doula, and that my general perspective on all things parenting is moderation...that mothers need to meet their needs AND their child's needs and that when these things are in conflict, mother and child need to reach a compromise. You also probably know that while I am an avid breastfeeding advocate, educator, supporter, etc...I believe, in the end, we all love our babies and try to do what we feel is best.

When Aiden was a baby I was immersed in the birthing community and had many connections but no true friends who nursed beyond "infanthood." My one close stay at home mom friend was an avid bottle feeder, early solids feeder, sleep trainer, etc. I respected her parenting choices although I mostly disagreed with them. It's OK to disagree, and we can be friends with folks we disagree with.However, we do what we feel is "normal" as humans, we mostly want to fit in, and when we start to approach things that are far beyond what is normal in our community, we need points of reference...and my point of reference was my family history, and my friend J. It put me in a position where I felt compelled to both be an attached and breastfeeding mother, and to be a moderate and "normal" mother for the community I was in. I did not spend much time with my birth community women outside of a professional setting, so that was not my "normal" community. This put me in a weird spot where I felt like I "knew better" but became SO uncomfortable about nursing for "so long" that I weaned but felt IMMENSE shame about it.I existed in a no-mom's-land between the extended, exclusive, and tandem breastfeeding moms, and the bottle moms. I felt "weird" and ashamed when nursing around J, but felt "weird" and ashamed when bottle feeding around my birthing community.

I think that experience gives me a unique perspective on the bottle vs breast debate and the bottle vs breast culture that has developed in the mom world. Because I have been in both situations. No one ever said anything to me. No one put me down for either choice (J didn't put me down for breastfeeding directly, but I knew how she felt about it because she had talked about it before my son was born and her daughter was tiny, to her it was "gross," I'll come back to that), no one gave me dirty looks or attempted to make me feel uncomfortable. My shame, weirdness, and discomfort was an internal struggle based on a perceived "dialogue" between the two camps. I think this happens on both sides. Breastfeeding mothers often feel defensive. By the same token, bottle feeding mothers feel defensive because there are some vocal, aggressive breastfeeding advocates out there who are flat out abrasive, and borderline abusive. There is a silent dialogue happening in public when  breastfeeding mom and a bottle feeding mom are feeding their babies...the breastfeeding mom thinks many things:

  • "if she says something to me about this I'm going to go all lactivist on her and tell her what's what"
  • "I hope I'm not making her feel guilty or pressured, and that she doesn't think I'm judging her just by sitting here. I don't want to make her feel ashamed of her choice."
  • "I wonder if she wanted to breastfeed and didn't ask for or get the help and support she needed?"
  • "of course I'm the only one here breastfeeding, this is so awkward."
  • The list goes on and on...have you been in this situation? What crosses your mind? Really, think about it!
The bottle feeding mom may also think many things
  • "I just know this woman is judging me."
  • "this bottle is just as good as that breast." (yes, I know this is a false message, but this is what is taught)
  • "I bet she thinks she is better than me."
  • "I breastfed for ____ weeks/months, I wish people knew that."
  • "I was unable to breastfeed, I wish I could have, and this is making me feel regret/shame"
  • "This was my choice, I'm sure she wouldn't understand."
  • There are many more thoughts, many. I've thought them, because I bottle fed for a while. Have you been the bottle feeding mother in a similar situation? What did you think? 
I truly believe half of this debate, and MOST of the fall-outs about it in online forums, are about an internal struggle. Bottle feeding moms taking it personally when breastfeeding advocates quote FACTS about the differences between bottle and breast, and breastfeeding moms taking it personally when bottle feeding moms react negatively, and thus we have Boob Wars. 

Here on The Good Letdown, we  respect a mother's decision on how she feeds her baby. However, we want to put an end to the posturing, the lies, the mis-information, and the lack of support so that mothers who DO want to breastfeed can succeed. That is our goal here, our job, and our passion. When a mother tells another mother "i just couldn't make enough milk for my 10lb baby" (or any other observation about why she "couldn't" brestfeed) she is instilling doubt in that mother. This impacts her nursing relationship. The truth is, MOST WOMEN CAN MAKE ENOUGH MILK! There is only a VERY small percentage of women who cannot. I won't say that there are no resources available, that support does not exist. I won't do it. Because that is untrue

The problem is no longer a lack of resources, it's a fear of asking for help and a refusal to demand change. The resources are available but we are afraid to use them. Women seem to think that asking for help with ANYTHING (housework, kid care, getting a shower, parenting topics, BREASTFEEDING) is a sign of weakness, and that if we can't get it right on our own or with limited help, it's not worth the blow to our ego to continue seeking answers. I don't know how women got this way...it has something to do with the women's rights movements I'm sure...our growing independence in our ever shrinking world...who knows. It doesn't matter. I am a firm believer that in most communities, a woman who is having trouble breastfeeding and who needs help, can find it. If she does not get the help she needs to be successful from one source, she can move on to others. Sadly women wait a long time to ask for help when they are having trouble so that once they do finally seek help, the problem is so great that it becomes very difficult (please note I did not say impossible) to fix. The way I see it, there are three types of moms:

  •  Moms who will bottle feed, hands down, that's what they'll do and they aren't even going to consider breastfeeding. 
  • Moms who will breastfeed, tell others they will be "trying" to breastfeed but if a speed bump or roadblock appears, they will not be the moms giving it their all. 
  • Mom who will breastfeed if it kills them. These moms tell people they will breastfeed (they do not say "try"), they go to extremes to ensure the best possible start, they research the hell out of it, often lining up resources and help before baby is born, surround themselves with information, often attend support meetings before baby is born, the works. When bumps and blocks appear, they find help, if that help doesn't solve the issue, they find more help. They really give it their all. 
Personally I think the mothers in the above groups are all equals, they are all peers. They are all mothers (although I won't lie to my readers here...if a mom doesn't do ANY research on breastfeeding and makes a decision from there...I can't say that I think she is being a very responsible mother...because making a decision based on societal myths and zero research is just plain irresponsible...no matter what that decision is...breastfeeding, car seats, making babies, selecting your child's schools, circumcision, etc. It's not an informed and responsible decision unless you've done some research into the topic). They are all trying to take care of their families in the best way they know how. My problem arises when a mom who thinks breastfeeding is "gross" or "nasty" or "disgusting" and chooses not to breastfeed based on this opinion, goes around telling other moms, other women that she feels that way about breastfeeding. Spouting this opinion biases other mothers. It makes them feel shame and insecurity about breastfeeding around you and anyone else who has this opinion. If it's your personal reason, fine. Keep it to yourself, don't go poisoning other moms' minds with this kind of ignorance. I respect your opinion, and your right to have it, but you should respect the impact it has on OTHER mothers as much as I respect your right to choose how you feed your baby. 

I also have a HUGE issue with mothers who say they "tried" to breastfeed...but due to whatever circumstances be they perceived, created, or real "just couldn't" even though they didn't give it their all. I'm not going to say that it's easy to breastfeed in our society. There are so many reasons it isn't as easy as it should be in our society. We'll talk about it another day. But I will say that if you get the help you need...chances are it won't be hard, and you will be able to breastfeed. I'm not going to discount the situations where a mother repeatedly bumps into issues and does not get adequate support and recieves awful advice that eventually buries their nursing relationship despite their best efforts. I'm not talking about these moms. These are the 3rd group of moms who are dedicated but faulted by the system. I'm talking about the 2nd group of moms, the portion of them who hits a speed-bump and immediately throw in the towel. Sadly, many of these women use their speed-bump as justification for not breastfeeding. They blame milk supply, sore nipples, the baby, the doctor, telling others it was just too hard when in fact...they threw in the towel before they left the hospital even and really just didn't want to breastfeed. It's ok to not want to breastfeed. But if you didn't REALLY try when you had trouble, then you shouldn't tell people you "couldn't" just tell them you chose not to. There are so many women in this category, telling this story, that it's impossible to dispell the immense myths mounting about breastfeeding! There are more, noisy women telling people it's "SO HARD!" that we just can't debunk the myths fast enough! Own your decision, be proud of what you chose to do as a mother, just be OK with that! You don't have to justify yourself at all. This makes me batty! 

But Wait a minute. Why does the above mentioned group 2 mom feel the need to justify herself? To provide explanations in the first place? It comes down to that internal struggle again. Where we are in a society so conflicted that we assume everyone wants to know why we are or are not doing something. A society where breastfeeding moms are so ostracized that a noisy, abrasive, obnoxious minority has made themselves SO prominent in the breast vs bottle debate that they overshadow all the respectful, moderate breastfeeding supporters and advocates...their "noise" and nonsense, their online bullying and shaming of mothers and their choices makes the group 2 moms feel like the only reason they can give for not breastfeeding...is some kind of mechanical or systemic failure. She feels the need to say she tried so hard, even if she didn't. So in trying to get the bullies off her back, she tells everyone how hard it was...even if it wasn't...and something happens. People believe this...because moms are trying to preemptively defend themselves, we hear it ALL the time. So even though no one has necessarily called this mom out, made her feel shame...she is already afraid of it! 

What a complicated world we are in where this is even a debate at all, but also within that debate...bully moms exist.  So is there really a battle being fought here? Or do the bully moms just need to calm their S*** down and back off? Maybe then there could be some clarity and fewer moms telling stories, feeling ashamed and unsupported.

Listen up mom bully lactivists. Formula...it's not poison. it's MILK. And while it's not perfect and doesn't begin to touch breastmilk in terms of health benefits, it's just milk. For what it's worth, while generations of women successfully breastfed and are responsible for the perpetuation of the human race before the development of milk substitutes...at least a couple of generations have continued to thrive...even though the majority of us were formula fed. Just sayin!