Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More on milk

The other day, I read Julie's post about breastfeeding #2. I have been thinking a lot about breastfeeding lately (yes, this is yet another boob post), partly because I'm supposed to be stopping soon. The plan was to exclusively breastfeed for six months (check), start introducing solids (check), and then start weaning. This all sounded logical and good when I made the plan. I want to try for another baby. I suck at getting pregnant, so we must assume that it'll take a while, and that IVF might be involved. I'm 39 years old. Clearly time's a-wasting here. Given this scenario, lactational amenorrhea is rather inconvenient, so the sooner we can bring it to an end, the better.

The only problem? I like breastfeeding. It works for me. It is the one step of reproduction that my body seems to be able to handle on its own. I couldn't get pregnant naturally even on the most romantic of vacations, while relaxed, thinking of "just adopting", and doing acupuncture. I failed Clomid 101, 102, and 103. My infertility ate IUI's for lunch. Even my first round of IVF failed. Pregnancy was great, but I had scare after scare, and could never quite relax and enjoy watching my body do its thing. This breastfeeding thing has been different, though. My milk actually came in, on its own, without any heroic measures on anyone's part. Eggbert had an awesome latch. Yes, there was a cracked nipple here and a sleepless night there, but on the whole, it worked. It works! So remind me why I'm supposed to stop doing the one thing that I'm good at to go back to doing the thing that I suck at again?

Julie's post, though, made me wonder about something else. Is it really true that total strangers actually accost bottle-feeding moms to criticize them? I had never imagined that even the most militant breastfeeding advocates could be so insensitive, judgmental, and just plain rude. I guess I've been out of the US for so long, but I had no idea that the mommy wars had gotten that out of hand.

I was also mildly taken aback, at first, when I read a comment that said, in part "That story made me all weirdly booby-achy and wanting to nurse other people's babies. Which is by far the creepiest instinct I've ever felt." For a second, I thought "wow, that IS creepy". Then my mind flashed back to a few days ago, when I was walking home from work and stopped to look at a kitten. I was just thinking "damn that's cute", when I felt a gush of milk came out.

All of a sudden wanting to nurse other people's babies doesn't sound so embarrassing after all.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I understand you, Sara. We finally find the one baby-related thing we are "naturally" good at - breastfeeding - and we have to think about giving it up intentionally. Not fair.
And people ask us all the time if we want another. As if it wasn't bad enough when they asked us if we wanted kids, and I felt like muttering through gritted teeth: "We're trying, we're trying...Got a few needles and 12K to help us...?!"
Now they ask us if we want a second one. I just can't handle thinking about that right now. Nor about what to do with our 4 frozen embryos.
We shouldn't have to be thinking about that stuff, you know?


WaterBishop said...

That would be incredibly hard to wean when you look at it that way. I hope it isn't to emotional for you.
Creepy or not, I think the feelings about BFing other infants is very instinctual.

Sarah said...

i'm so torn too. my ped recommends nursing for a year, but part of me is anxious to get back in the stirrups. part of me is excited to be free from nursing, but that other part is sad about it. i figure i will know when it's the right time, but will i? i keep saying just another month more.

when i watched idol gives back and saw the kids with no mom in africa i leaked all over the place.

Marie-Baguette said...

I followed the pediatrician's advice and it seems to work: "feed him solid and THEN give him milk". He went from drinking 18-20oz during the day with the nanny to 6-8oz. I am aiming for nursing for a year before switching to cow milk. No evil formula for him :-) Even though time is less an issue for me (I am turning 36), it still sucks to think about the second round of IVF and having to wean. I don't think delaying baby #2 for 6 months is going to make a huge difference though. As a doctor put it to me, fertility is not a door that closes down at 40! So enjoy nursing as long as you want!

Samantha said...

You crack me up with the kitten! Good luck making your breast feeding decision.

Tinker said...

I've been out in public bottle-feeding babies from a few weeks of age (though it was breastmilk, not formula), and had no issues. I refuse to believe that people can tell EBM from formula at a casual glance, so please don't worry about weaning your little one.

I hope it all goes well. I recently finished weaning my two in order to cycle again too.

JENN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JENN said...

Sara you know me! I have been wanting to ttc again, but just can ween Little Bean. I keep hearing. " still can get pregnant if you are breast feeding". I don't want to take any health risk.
Good luck with your decision.
By the way. Last night was Little Bean's first night completely off the boob and it wasn't so bad for me or my 2 year old. Didn't cry once.

Tinker said...