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The case against breast-feeding

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 Leave a Comment

I keep reminding myself that even though I'm tempted to complain incessantly about the fact that I can't eat, can't sleep, can't bend over, can't pick up my 3 year old, have to pee constantly, not to mention the huge torpedo shape my belly has taken on -- these will be my last few days of relative calm before I take on the role of baby-feeding machine for the next six months. There will be days I won't have time to brush my teeth or get dressed.

Then I found this blog at the NY Times: Is breastfeeding the new vacuum cleaner?

I'm a little dense right now -- and I adore my Dyson vacuum cleaner to a perhaps unhealthy extent -- but really, I didn't find breastfeeding all that constricting. I enjoyed it, I missed it when it was over. Then again, I don't work. I don't pump. But I do have a 3 year old, and unlike an office door that I can shut, 3 year olds are demanding. They haven't yet learned patience. How will I ever find the time for those 45 minute nursing sessions?

The whole article, The case against breastfeeding, is over at The Atlantic. I don't have time to read the whole thing -- my 3 year old is demanding that I play marching band with him -- but by the first paragraph I already like the author:

"One afternoon at the playground last summer, shortly after the birth of my third child, I made the mistake of idly musing about breast-feeding to a group of new mothers I’d just met. This time around, I said, I was considering cutting it off after a month or so. At this remark, the air of insta-friendship we had established cooled into an icy politeness, and the mothers shortly wandered away to chase little Emma or Liam onto the slide. Just to be perverse, over the next few weeks I tried this experiment again several more times. The reaction was always the same: circles were redrawn such that I ended up in the class of mom who, in a pinch, might feed her baby mashed-up Chicken McNuggets.

In my playground set, the urban moms in their tight jeans and oversize sunglasses size each other up using a whole range of signifiers: organic content of snacks, sleekness of stroller, ratio of tasteful wooden toys to plastic. But breast-feeding is the real ticket into the club..."

Well, she's got to be talking about first time moms. By the second kid, you have to let go of all that other stuff. Sure, we'd all love our kids to eat organic vegetables all the time, but sometimes the occasional McDonald's drive through gets the job done. I don't know how I'll handle the breastfeeding, but I'm sure this one won't get the undivided attention my first son got. There's just no way. And I'm sure he'll be OK.

So let me know how the article ends and what you think of it!


  • Kristy said:  

    I read this article the other day. I was impressed, actually. It takes guts to say what she said. I think everybody just has to do what they can do. No need to drive ourselves crazy about what other people are going to THINK! There's no need to look askance at someone for doing things differently.

  • Anonymous said:  

    (This is Penny) I had heard about the article, but couldn't bear to read it. Ho hum. Backlash against the breastfeeding nazis.

    I'm with you; I loved it, I missed it. I worked full time during the majority of it, though, and the pumping wasn't great - there are tales I could tell of airport bathrooms and clients walking in on me - but for the most part, you develop a routine, and as long as you have an actual office with a door and one of those band things that keeps the pumps in place, it's not a huge amount of work. Really, the thing I hated the most was cleaning the equipment all the damn time.