Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Breastfeeding Best Option for the Lazy Mom

An article in this morning's Columbus Dispatch shows that hospitals are not doing enough to help new mothers learn to breastfeed. In some ways, I see that things haven't changed.
When I gave birth to my first child, Grace, 19 years ago, the hospital in Florida told me I had to give her a bottle of water everyday and sent me home with formula. I didn't know then that those things could have sabotaged our nursing experience.
Luckily, other than when she got a cold and couldn't breath through her nose, she was a good nurser. She nursed til she was over a year old and Spencer was almost two when I weaned him. Tucker was 3 and able to unbutton my blouse when I finally went on vacation to Paris with my friend Michelle to wean him.

I'm not saying anyone else should nurse their children forever like I did, but I do believe that nursing is the best option for the lazy mom. I sterilized no bottles. I bought no expensive formula. I warmed up no bottles in the microwave (which you aren't supposed to do) or pans of hot water. When my kids were hungry, I whipped out a breast and plugged them into it.
At first, I was shy about it. I'd retreat to a bedroom and nurse in private. After awhile, I was in department stores, on airplanes, on trains. I could even nurse sitting in the backseat leaning over a carseat.
The woman across the street is getting ready to have a baby. The other neighbor tells me she plans to pump her breast milk and feed the baby. What the heck?
That is like three times the work. That's more work than feeding the baby formula. Don't these women know how exhausted they are going to be once the baby is born? Maybe not.
Pumping breast milk is a tedious and unfulfilling venture. The relaxation that comes while holding a soft warm body curled againt your midsection, its tiny pink mouth sucking at your breast, its clenched fist waving in the air, does not arrive with the breast pump's plastic suction cup and whine of machinery. Once the breast milk is pumped, it has to be stored in a sterilized bottle. It goes in the freezer or the refrigerator. Then when it is fed it must be warmed up. All those bottles have to be washed and sterilized. That breast pump must be taken apart and cleaned too.
Pop that baby on your nipple and feed her!
Breastfeeding is an excuse to sit and do nothing. Curl up on the couch and hold your baby as she nurses. If I had a small paperback, I might read with the other hand. When I had more than one child, the other child would snuggle up next to me and turn the pages of a book. I could satisfy both children at the same time.
I haven't even mentioned the other benefits of nursing: the health benefits to the baby, the weight that melts off the mother, the brain power that babies gain, the reduced risk of obesity and diabetes to the babies.
Nursing is something that every mother should take the time to enjoy with her children. And if she won't do it for her children, do it for herself. It truly is the lazy's mom option. And I'm proud to say I took it.


BFF said...

I talked to a mom last week who was in tears. Not enough milk. Her baby was nursing all the time and the hospital told her he would only nurse every 4 hours. She was going to have to put him on formula. I still thank the lord for older sisters and nancynfrom la leche league who set me straight so I told this woman to put away the number for her "nurse" and call la levee league. Get a good book. Put on some comfy clothes and plan to devote the next few weeks to this baby. It takes enegy and food to grow. If she decides to bottle feed no one will judge her - at least not those of us who have nursed. It is a commitment. But don't listen to the health care professionals who don't know what to tell you. Only a mom really knows if it is worth it. It is

Lucia said...

I know it's worth it but I just couldn't do the every 20 minutes anymore. After 4 months I gave her a bottle at night and it saved my sanity. she would sleep at least 4-6 hours and then I would breast feed. But one day she would not take my breast anymore and decided the bottle was the only way to go...and that was at 5 months, just before I went back to work.

aguja said...

Tghis post is wonderful as it gently invites the reader to enjoy the eaperience o9f breastfeeding. I agree that this is ideal, if one is able, and I breastfed both of my daughters. I found it so satisfying and, as you say, a chance to do nothing but bond with your child. I am so glad that I took this option and really enjoyed reading your post.

Stephanie said...

I bottle-fed my first 3 children, mostly due to self-consciousness, but when I was pregnant with my 4th, I decided that I would breastfeed. It was the best decision I ever made. The bond that I developed with him was so much deeper - it's hard to explain really. And you're right when you say how much easier it is. I hate that I didn't nurse my other 3, but thank goodness I had the experience with my last. I nursed him for 15 months.

Paulita said...

Lucia, I agree that breastfeeding can be overwhelming. Believe me, it got easier or I wouldn't have kept it up so long.
I also used it to comfort my children, which became a problem when I weaned them. Oh, well. No option and no mother is perfect. I'm just saying it's definitely the easiest way to go, for awhile anyway.

Delana said...

Oh many cherished memories of nursing my children. Truly the best moments of their first years. The worst moments? American society's (and medicine's) inability to really accept it. Accept that it's natural, accept a bare breast as a gift to a child, not an aberration.My children were enormous, and I couldn't delicately nurse them while wandering through a store. But there was never...ever a place in the restroom or anywhere else where I could sit and relax and nurse them. Drove me nuts and it still goes on today. WTF? And you're right. It's SO much easier. And lovely.

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