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Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"
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Monday, December 26, 2011

Touchy Topic Tuesday- The Breastfeeding Bond.

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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8 comments:

Lacey said...

Okay, I don't notice any difference in the "bond." I breastfed my first baby for 12 months, my second for seven months, and my third for about 16 months (which was longer than I wanted to but our living situations at the time made weaning a long, LONG process). There is no difference. Each of them received the same amount of "skin to skin" contact and cuddle time, and furthermore, the ones who weaned earlier had more time with Daddy because all the feedings were not up to me and me alone. My kids don't get sick all that often but that is because we don't get out much - not because they were breastfed for any amount of time. My mom breastfed all of six of us kids and every single one of us needs glasses (another one of the ailments breastfed kids supposedly do not suffer as often), three out of the six of us have been overweight at one point or another, and my brothers have asthma. We didn't suffer from ear infections, and we did not catch colds as often as other kids, but that probably has nothing to do with being breastfed. It's all something to make other mothers feel better about themselves and I think it's horrible that things like this become a competition. To each their own! Do what works for you and just because you do it one way doesn't make you better than others who don't, right?

Shelomita said...

You are right Brae, there are some pressure out there that moms 'must' breastfeed their babies and if we don't follow sometimes guilt comes along. I breastfed my first son for only 6 months and had to stop because I was pregnant with my second. I breastfed my second son for full 2 years! Now I love both of them, they are healthy and there aren't big gaps or anything like that between the one breastfed for 6 months with the one breastfed for the full 2 years. But then, I am not the kind of person who will judge some moms for their breastfeeding choice. It's really up to us right because we know what's best for ourselves and our children.

Natasha and Ethan said...

I think that all the stuff that they say about breast feeding is just another way for people to "go natural." I don't think it matters what way you feed your baby as long as you are taking care of him or her. I know that with my first baby, I had post-partum depression really bad. It actually got better when I stopped breast feeding. As far as kids being healthier, I breastfed both my kids for around 4 months. My son I stopped because I was in a dangerous place mentally, but with my daughter I stopped because my milk dried up and she started to lose weight. My son has asthma and has more allergies than I can keep track of. He is ALWAYS sick. He has an entire night of vomiting at least once a month. On the other hand, my daughter, never gets sick. She isn't allergic to anything. She has only had one ear infection ever. To me that shows that it can't have anything to do with breast feeding. I have just as close of a bond with both my children. I don't believe it has anything to do with breast feeding.

Malika Bourne said...

Growing up I saw 5 of my 10 cousins attached to my aunt. It was just the way it was. But in 1973 when my first child was born very few mother's breast fed. In fact I was given the shot to dry up my milk out It was a nursing error out of habit because breast feeding was discouraged. I breast fed him for 18 months any way. My in-laws did not approve. They couldn't understand why I balked at them feeding him a bottle. Well after a few times that they did he puked for days.
Since I was a nurse I started a La Leche Legue in my city. But I have to say that I have never once critizied anyone for chosing what was best for them. Sure I bonded withtmy kids by breast feeding. It turns out that my milk was best because they had lots of sensitivies.I couldn't afford formaula and brest milk was free.
I have 6 grandchildren now. I never braest fed them. I fed them bottles. I bonded with them just fine. I am convinced that it is not what you feed your baby but, how you do it. I encouraged my new mom patients to touch the baby's little hands and look into their eyes etc. Sometimes mom's were made to feel guilty if they did not brest feed. I remember a new mother who had a baby boy a few weeks after my 2nd baby was born. She didn't want to breast feed. The others mother's pushed her. She would sit in the church nursery trying to breast feed this starving baby. She was apathtic and bored. They baby actually failed to thrive and nearly died. Still the mom's pushed her. Finally I stepped in to tell her that her baby needed nurishment and to immediately get him to the doctor. It was so pathetic. He did thrive on a bottle and I could see that the mom was now bonding and making eye contact.
Currently I am enjoying living with my daughter and 3 kids. the baby is 10 months old having brest feed until 9 months. While mommy was at school she was bottle fed. the baby and I have a very strong bond. I can never replace her parents but I am a very close Nanna and I bottle fed her.

Melissa Moreno said...

I tried to breastfeed with 3 of my 4 children...just wasn't for me, but I commend anyone who does it!

Grace Pamer said...

I cannot understand as well why many people are making an issue out of this “bond.” The fact that you are mother and child is already a special bond that no person can contest. I am a mother of three and I breastfed them all. But there were also instances I had to bottle feed them and I cannot see any change in this “bond.” I think the claim about the “breastfeeding bond” only applies to mothers who bottle feed their children but are not the ones doing this.

Bianca Roman said...

I wanted to breastfeed with my son, but after getting out of the hospital, he no longer wanted to latch. I always hear about this 'special bond' and think it's crazy. I have an amazing bond with my son and he was bottlefeed. Things like this make us 'non breast feeders' feel bad.

Mimzy Wimzy said...

I bottle fed my first 2 children. After the 2nd was allergic to EVERY formula known to man & had to go on whole milk at 6 months, I chose to breastfeed my 3rd. I was only able to do that for 5 months. I dislike, I mean LOVE all my children equally! Now that my middle daughter (the one allergic to all formula) just had a daughter of her own, she chose to bottle feed. She has had a lot of grief from members of the babies daddys family for not breastfeeding. I supported her choice. She does not eat a balanced diet. She is bipolar & I HOPE she chooses get get back on her medications. She could not do that if she were breastfeeding. As my Husband & I hope to adopt in the next year or two, obviously, I would not be breastfeeding if we happen to adopt an infant. There will be no difference in how much I love the child we adopt because I he or she would be bottle fed. We will have personally chosen to bring this child into our home & hearts!!

So... If breastfeeding creates such a strong bond between the mother & child... what does that say for fathers? Do they not love their children because they dont have leaky boobs??? Really???

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