I suspect I’m about to piss off some more mommies out there with this post. I also suspect that my lack of caring is why I’m about to post it anyway ;p
About a month ago my husband and I took our son over to visit some friends we haven’t seen in a while. While we were there, I sort of got into it with the wife (with her hubby backing her up) over my continued preference for home birth. She cited the usual “baby would have died if I’d stayed home” crap that most mothers take when their “hospital or nothing” stance is being challenged. I refused to bite, because clearly she believes that shit and I commend her doctor for being able to lie to her so easily. But I don’t have time to go into all the things that are “wrong” with her assumptions because who knows how long my son is going to nap for? Nope, instead I’m going to focus on a different issue: Breastfeeding.
See, it started innocently enough with this woman, we’ll call her Kate, going through her daughters’ toy box for toys of which might entertain our then-six month old son. She pulled out a doll’s bottle and jokingly said “think we could trick him?”
My husband responded “actually, he hasn’t taken a bottle that much. He prefers the boob.”
She was shocked to hear this. She said “You don’t PUMP?” I replied that I did, but found that it was a hassle and that it’s just easier to put him on the breast.
She still didn’t get it. She commented that she could “never do that.” It would be too much of a hassle. Sure, she breastfed, but her girls both got expressed milk or formula too, because it was “easier”.
I was diplomatic enough to tell her that if that worked for her then that’s fine, but it doesn’t work for me.
She continued to look at me like I was crazy.
Your arguments about bottle feeding being “easier” are invalid. Your arguments for getting more sleep because the husband can feed the baby? Also invalid. You know what the ONLY valid arguments for bottle feeding your kid are? The ones that involve you being unable to get your milk supply up because of health issues, or your need to pump and supplement because you’re going back to work. Those I can understand. I can also understand if your kid doesn’t correct a bad latch, or if your kid just prefers a bottle to the breast and won’t feed any other way. Those I get. But don’t try to tell me it’s easier.
I don’t get that.
But I didn’t tell her that. In response to her comments about bottle feeding being easier than just lifting up her shirt, I responded “I guess I’m just too lazy to be washing and filling bottles all the time.”
Yeah, that’s my reasoning.
I will be completely honest here in saying that only a quarter of my reasons for breastfeeding have anything at all to do with health benefits for me OR my offspring. I mean, yeah, those are all fantastic reasons to breastfeed, don’t get me wrong, but the same argument can be said for exercise and eating veggies, and we all know I don’t do either of those things on a regular basis. Unless Caesar Salad counts. It should! They ARE leafy green veggies!
But back on topic…
Here are my top reasons why, at almost 8 months, I am still breastfeeding my son.
1) It’s free. Have you seen how much they charge for formula? That shit is expensive! And I heard that you have to do a trial-and-error to find the one that works for your kid. Potentially that’s money going down the drain for shit your kid can’t use. Also, those free samples that Enfamil sent me in the mail? Yeah, I donated them to the food bank.
2) The poop is less foul. Seriously, breastmilk poop is so much nicer to clean up (as far as the niceness of cleaning up poop is) than formula poop. Have you ever SEEN formula poop or smelled it? You don’t want to; trust me. If I can manage to make cleaning up poop even a little more pleasant, I’m gonna do it. And even with my kid on solids now, it’s still being diluted by breastmilk. Win.
3) No bottles to clean. Okay, so this isn’t always true in the event that we were leaving my son with Grandpa for a few hours while my hubby and I went on a much-needed date, but it’s true most of the time. And it was that 1% of the time that I had to clean bottles of leftover breastmilk that made me so thankful that I wasn’t doing it all the time. Seriously, we have a dishwasher for a reason, and back when we didn’t, the dishes usually piled up until we had to wash a plate to USE a plate.
4) Nothing to mix or warm up. If there’s ONE thing that really annoys me about bottle feeding, it’s this. I will freely admit that whenever my husband suggested I “pump a little extra” for us to warm up later, I wanted to kill him. I am not a patient woman and I loathe the fact that in order to use the stored breast milk, I had to first thaw it out and warm it up. All this while a baby is screaming for food. I am pretty sure you are now realizing that I also hate storing solid foods for “later”, because I have to warm this up too. It is SO much easier to just pop the baby on the breast and be done with it. Which is why the introduction to solid food is a little slower than it “should” be. Eh, breast milk has more nutrients in it than solid food anyway.
5) I get more sleep. Yes, you read that right. Breastfeeding my son exclusively allowed me to sleep more, relax more, and do a hell of a lot less work than bottle feeders. How is that possible with baby on my breast all the time? Oh, let me enlighten you on all the ways… Picture, if you will, two scenarios. One is a breastfeeding mom, the other uses the bottle.
In scenario one, mom is breastfeeding. She is lying peacefully in her bed, all cozy and warm. Baby is either beside her, lying in the crook of her arm, or in the bassinet. Baby stirs and starts fussing for the breast. Mom sleepily reaches for (if in bassinet) baby, and then pops baby on the breast while lying on her side. Baby nurses, mom falls asleep without ever having fully woken in the first place.
In scenario two, we have bottle feeding mommy. Baby cries, mommy has to get up, go mix and/or warm a bottle, and then sit there holding that bottle while baby eats. Or, in the rare event that Dad gets up (believe me, he won’t be doing ALL the feeding at night) Mom STILL has to listen to baby screaming for food until that bottle is warm enough.
So again, I ask you, which mother gets more sleep?
6) It’s effortless. If my son starts getting hungry, no matter where I am, I can feed him. I just lift up my shirt (or go in from the top, depending on what I’m wearing/how cold it is) and latch him on. No need to go to the diaper bag or mix up a bottle. No need to carry bottles of sterilized water everywhere.
7) It shuts him up. Okay, this one MIGHT be a little bit like abusing my power here, but it works. If I need my baby to stop fussing because mommy can’t hear her show over his squawking, then mommy gives him the breast. Nine times out of ten this will work and I can watch my shows in relative silence. Sometimes he’ll even fall asleep, which is a total bonus!
8) It keeps people away. Since my father-in-law lives downstairs and has this pathological refusal to use his own entrance (because he’s too cheap to install a proper lock) this works out very well. He comes upstairs and all I have to do is say “I’m feeding the baby” and he goes away again. Like magic! It’s amazing how much space I suddenly get when I’m nursing my son. I get to sit on the couch furthest from the noise of a party and not be considered rude for doing so. I get to go to bed early so I can lie down and nurse the baby to sleep. I get to STAY in isolation for as long as I want, so if I’ve had enough of “being social” I get to just take my son and retreat to a quiet place, and nobody will bug me!
9) It’s like a band-aid for any upset-ness. If my son is hurt, scared, sad, mad, you name it, the breast fixes it. If he’s tired, the breast will help lull him to sleep faster. It’s magic! And to add to the awesomeness, breast milk is an amazing cure-all. My son got an eye infection at about three months old. I sprayed breast milk into his eye and the next day it was all cleared up. It heals cuts faster too.
10) It gets me out of having to shop. I secretly love it when my son fusses for food while we’re out running errands, because it means I get to find a bench and sit down. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping, but it’s the PEOPLE I can’t stand. I hate standing in long lines, or trying to maneuver a shopping cart through those cramped aisles, made even more so by the tribes of families who all had to go out at the same fucking time to buy groceries. But because I have the magic boobies, I get to skip all that. My husband can finish up the shopping and I can sit and relax, with the pretense that I’m still feeding my son, even though he really just wanted out of the shopping cart. Major Win!
And that, my friends, is why I am in no hurry to wean my son anytime soon.