August 19, 2009

It's NOT Black and White!!!

While I'd like to think that I am finally over my inability to breast-feed PK and all of the lack of support and dirty looks from some moms in the mommy group, I have to admit that whenever I hear somebody speaking adamantly about breast-feeding, it really gets to me. As I've pointed out, I'm all about breast-feeding. If it works for you, then great. If it doesn't work for you at first, try to get some help. Some people succeed. Others don't. I didn't, and I'm okay with that. What I'm NOT okay with is the fact that some of the pro-breast-feeding types think that if you don't breast-feed your baby, you're somehow depriving your baby. And they make moms who have trouble breast-feeding (or can't) feel bad because of it. Just because you have an easy time breast-feeding your kid doesn't mean that it's easy for everyone else.

I know one mom in my mom's group who tried so hard to breast-feed her baby boy. Like me, she had a low milk supply, and decided to up it by taking Domperidone. Domperidone, if you don't know, is a drug used to treat grastro-intestinal problems, and it so happens that one of its side-effects is that it causes people to lactate (I think that this can even happen in men who take the drug). I had a prescription for Domperidone, but I didn't take too much of it, fearing that pumping some drug into my body that wasn't even meant for increasing lactation per se might do more harm than good to PK. Anyway, this mom did take it, and after struggling with breast-feeding realized that her kid also kept puking out her milk when he did take it, and had to keep him upright in a baby carrier after breast-feeding because of the acid reflux. What a struggle! This poor mom was so hell-bent on breast-feeding her kid that I personally think that she lost sight of what was really important - ensuring that her baby was properly fed! When I quietly suggested to another mom that maybe this mom should just supplement with formula, I got an evil look.

Another mom I know of had to supplement her breast milk with formula because, in spite of having an adequate milk supply, her son was still HUNGRY! So she did what her instincts told her to do: she supplemented with formula. Unfortunately, she got an earful from her pediatrician. Her husband ended up having to tell off said pediatrician.

And finally, here is a case that just boggles my mind. A mom friend of mine had her son on formula not long after he was born. She'd ended up with a C-section because of a uterine tear, and ended up with a nasty infection. She ended up on antibiotics and could not breastfeed. One of her mom friends suggested that she just keep pumping her milk and throwing it away to make sure that she still had a milk supply once the antibiotics had left her system, so that she could breast-feed her baby. As if it's not hard enough to take care of a baby, this poor mother had to deal with an infection after giving birth. Why on earth would she also put her body through more stress by pumping milk while SICK just go keep the milk supply going? Fortunately, the doctors at the hospital where she was staying were sensible, and told her to not even entertain this ridiculous pumping idea. People like the mom who suggested the pumping make me sick.

In case you're wondering why I've had the sudden breast-feeding outburst, it's because I came across a mom and baby boutique called Dool Boutique last week. It's an online baby boutique that specializes in products that support breast-feeding moms and baby-wearing parents. It's definitely a nice concept. I do think that many breast-feeding moms get evil looks from people in public and that's totally not cool. What I DIDN'T like was the preachy nature of the Web site when it came to breast-feeding. When I read this page, all of those feelings of inadequacy and anger over the lack of support for formula feeding flooded right back in. I don't appreciate being told (even if indirectly) that I am somehow a bad parent for not having breast-fed that much. And you certainly can't imply that my baby is being deprived somehow because I was incapable of breast-feeding her for too long. Imagine how moms who can't breast-feed AT ALL must feel. NOT cool.

This breast-feeding thing isn't black and white. You can't go around preaching breast-feeding as the be all end all if it ends up harming both the mom and baby. Some people are so adamant about it that I swear that they'd rather see a baby starve than supplement with formula or switch to formula exclusively. Formula is pretty good these days. I can vouch for that. PK is 12 months old and she is a very alert, happy, and energetic little girl. She's smart as hell, and I don't think that her being on formula deprived her of anything. Suck on that.

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