Touchy Topic Tuesday
The Breastfeeding Bond
Now, breastfeeding may very well be THE touchiest of Touchy Topics. And believe me, I could go on ALL.DAY.LONG about my opinions on the subject. And they're very STRONG opinions. But there are so many PARTS to the breastfeeding controversy. So, in this discussion, I don't want to hear about how wonderful breastfeeding is (sure, okay), or how every woman can do it (not true), or how it's your right to do it in public (debatable), how it's best for baby (again, debatable), their poop smells better (in what world does poop smell better?), prevents obesity (bull sh*t), makes you lose weight (actually, it made me fatter), and is natural (yeah, but...I won't go into it here.)- I don't want to debate ANY of those topics, so don't do it. Today, I want to talk about the "breastfeeding bond"
Go ahead. Google it. The breastfeeding "bond" is plastered all over everything- magazines, birth boards, parenting books, you know- everywhere.
The idea is that mothers who breastfeed their babies build a strong bond that can't be broken.
And I have to ask: As opposed to what? The bottle feeding mom who doesn't care about her baby? The bottle feeding mother, who, if Rumplestiltskin were still out collecting first born babies, would be more likely to hand the little tyke over?
Considering the pressure put on women to breastfeed, and the insistence that if you can't do it (yeah. Some people can't.) or, heaven forbid, you CHOOSE not to breastfeed, I really only see this as a guilt trip into doing it. And a terrible, insulting one at that.
Now, before anyone judges this book by it's cover and decides that I'm one of "those" women, I want to make it clear that I am NOT anti-breastfeeding at all. I breastfed 3 of my 4 babies for 4-5 months each- no, it's not 2 years, so, inevitably my kids will probably be sick constantly, obese, and stupid compared to their breastfed-til-kindergarten counterparts, but hey, it's a decent start.
See, maybe it's just that I didn't breastfeed LONG enough...you know, like maybe that (almost creepy the way some women talk about it) unmatched bond kicks in at 6 months, or 9 months or so...or maybe it's just me, because when my milk dried up spontaneously (more on that another Tuesday) around 4 months postpartum, every single time, and I began giving my babies bottles and formula, I didn't notice a change in my "bond" with them. I didn't suddenly love them less because I couldn't breastfeed. I didn't suddenly favor a child who may have been breastfed longer. And when I suffered from a terrible infection after the birth of my 4th child, and wasn't able to breastfeed him beyond 2 weeks due to medication that not only got rid of my infection, but was also toxic to my baby (no breastfeeding) and it dried me up nearly over night, (Within 48 hours, I couldn't even pump a half ounce.) I didn't look at him and think "huh...I don't care about him nearly as much as I do my other babies....I just don't have the bond with him that I do the others..." As a matter of fact, I very devotedly held my sweet, fat baby in my arms, kissed his fluffy cheeks, and gazed into his big blue eyes. Every 3 hours. Every day. Every night.
You see, my baby, though he wasn't sucking on one of my body parts, was still getting the same skin on skin contact (kisses, stroking his little cheeks with my fingertips, rubbing noses, and so on), the same quiet time snuggled with mommy. We cuddled and cooed and kissed and got all drooly just as much with our bottle time as my previous children did with my breastfeeding time.
On top of all of that, what, exactly are people saying about women who adopt their children and cannot breastfeed them? That, since they don't do that, they will never be able to achieve the max level of parenthood? The ultimate level of love for their child? How absolutely horrible an accusation! And to be honest, I find it a perfect personal insult from anyone at all who might insinuate that their bond with their child is better (you know, thus insinuating that they are a better, more loving, closer parent than I am) than mine is because they breastfed. It becomes very mommier-than-thou, and I think it's time someone called BS on it.
Tell me how you feel about this whole thing. What "bond" have you experienced? Remember, this isn't about being for or against breastfeeding. I assume we're just all "pro feeding"- it's about this claimed "bond" that breastfeeding mothers have that bottlefeeding mothers apparently don't. Please, chime in!
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