Friday, February 25, 2011

Boob vs Bottle, a guilty decision either way.

Guilty, guilty, guilty. For any woman that’s recently had a baby (I mean within the last 20 years or so) one of the major feelings you have to battle with is guilt.
Take feeding your child. I mean this should be a basic instinct for our survival. It just goes to show how much brain washing goes into our public. The current trend, and I use this term with a smirk on my face because it seems a weird thing to be trendy, is breastfeeding. I myself was not a breast fed baby, neither was my husband, nor was the majority of my generation. When we were babies the companies that produced formula had everyone convinced that formula babies performed better as they got all the nutrition they needed and then some from their product. I, even though it wasn’t my history, decided to give breastfeeding a shot. Now before people go and get their panties in a knot about whether or not I think one way is better than the other , I don’t. I am not going to bash either way you want to feed your child. I am going to however argue both points.
We can all agree that human breast milk is produced specifically for human babies. Our bodies, due to evolution and I believe our sole purpose here on earth, is to continually try and ensure that we keep the human race going so therefore it is only fair to say that yes breast milk is probably the best choice for your baby. It is perfectly, genetically engineered for our babies. It is also very, very, very convenient, no packing bottles, formula, liners, worries about sanitization (unless of course you get into pumping milk, which is a whole new can of worms). It is always fresh, always available and easily accessible (for the most part). It also beneficial to mommy in ways such as helping you shed those extra pounds faster by ridding yourself of an extra 500+ calories a day and breastfeeding has been shown to help prevent diseases such as breast cancer.
However I must now point out some points that you can argue against breast feeding. First of all it’s a HUGE pain in the ass. Even though it may be the most “natural thing in the world” to do we have to consider our generation. We live in an extremely busy world and things that counteract our over productive society usually don’t mesh well with current living. Not to mention that people may find it offensive for a woman to “expose herself” by taking out her breasts and feeding her child. My second point, and I know that this doesn’t apply to all new mothers, but most women I know that have gone through the breastfeeding ordeal have experienced about a month in the beginning where it feels like razor blades tearing at your nipples before they toughen up. I’ve actually come close to fainting it hurt so bad, my pharmacist even suggested getting a prescription for T3’s just to get through the feedings. Which brings me to third point, maybe our breast milk isn’t as good for our babies as we think, did our ancestors have as much exposure to as many contaminants (drugs, alcohol, preservatives, pollution, pesticides, salts, fats, etc) as we do now, probably not. That formula isn’t sounding so bad now is it?
The guilt does not just stem from our own consciousness.  We have our own opinion, our parent's opinons, grandparents, friends, random lady at the post office, Dr. Phil, Today's Parent, cereal box advice and the dreaded Public Heath Nurses.  I'm pretty sure the Health Nurses are soley to blame for the rising percentages of Postpartum Depression occuring in new moms today. They apparently did not get the memo that every kid is different and therefore come with their own set of rules. I just returned from my son’s second set of vaccinations today but before I even left my house I began getting nervous, not even about the actual needles, but I was dreading the Health Nurse’s inevitable question “What are you currently feeding your son?” Even though prepared with a very reasonable and good answer the guilt was already setting in. I breast fed him for three months in total. The first month was fairly hellish, each feeding feeling as if my nipples were going to explode at any time. After they toughened up I had a really good second month. Then the unthinkable happened and my son ended up with Thrush (a very common occurrence in babies, basically a yeast infection in their mouth) which in turn was transferred to my nipples. This caused my breasts to swell, crack and bleed. Now not sure about you but when something is extremely raw and sore the last thing you want to do is have someone re-open that wound every two hours, which essentially what was happening. So I quit. I said “Fuck it,” and started to use formula.
Does the Health Nurse hear all this now? Nope what she hears is “Breast-fed for three months and then…blah blah blah. They’re response of course is “It is, as you know, recommended that each child is breastfeed until they’re ready to graduate from University.” If you did happen to make it until High School Graduation they may let you off with a slight slap to the hand and manage to let you leave without the smug look of disappointment on their face. Don’t EVER mention to them you might possibly be starting them on solid foods before 6 months of age, they might report you to Social Services.
I realized just how bad the Health Nurse guilt capability was the day I went to the doctor about my son’s Thrush issue. My son is also a puker. He throws up ALL the time, and I’m not talking just a little bit of baby spit up, I’m talking full out projectile vomiting almost every time he eats. Anyhow the doctor recommended that I put a little bit of rice cereal in with his bottle to try to give some weight to the food in hopes to keep it down better. He then looks me straight in the eye and says “ Please under no circumstances tell the Health Nurse you’re doing this or that I gave you this advice.” THIS CAME FROM THE DOCTOR!!!  The look in his eyes told me he was even in fear of the Health Nurse guilt-trip. Made me feel much better about my own guilty conscious.
So if just the subject of feeding your kids can build up this much remorse and dread just imagine how much worse it gets when talking about other aspects of raising your child. Other major subjects of guilt include: Disposable Diapers vs. Reusable Diapers, whether or not you should let your kid watch TV, letting your kids explore or baby proof, structured education tactics, letting baby cry themselves to sleep, nature vs. nurture, forms of punishment (to spank or use timeouts or both), and the list can go on and on and on and on.
I myself have decided I’m done with feeling guilty. Do you think our parents felt guilty, or our ancestors for that matter? I’m pretty sure because of the amount of time our society has on it’s hands due to creation of washers/dryers/dishwashers/vehicles/disposable materials, etc we’re just getting ourselves all muddled up with idleness. But that’s an entirely different subject.

1 comment:

  1. Guilt,ah that great mover and shaker of mankind. I myself spend as little time as possible in the Guilt Mobile, it is one of those thngs that I do not heart, but on occasion I will spend a day, where I am depressed, pulling out a couple of episodes of my life which I am not overly fond of and reliving them just to torture myself a bit. Then when I am done I put it back in the box and go on with my day. Now that is something I can heart.