The Breast Feeders, The Breast Needers and The Breast Greeters: WE ALL LOVE OUR BABIES
Women can typically be divided into two groups: THE BREAST FEEDERS and THE BREAST NEEDERS. You don't even have to be a mom to be in one of these groups. You may know which camp you'd fall into if the day arrived where you were able to choose.
The Breast Feeders, of course, feed their babies breast milk either exclusively or not. The bra-ttom line is that these women pop out a boob from time to time to quench their babies thirst or hunger.
The Breast Needers have decided they'd rather not feed their babies breast milk and opt for formula instead. They need their breasts to be their breasts, you know? These women may have bumper stickers that say, "THE MILK IS IN THE FRIDGE, NOT THE BOOBS".
The fact is, some women like the idea of breast feeding and some do not.
Everyone in my family was a Breast Needer- my mom, aunts, mother-in-law. The breast feeding business was a new one for most of them. I'm fairly certain they may have whispered things to each other as I ducked into the other room with my rootin' child.
It's actually kind of fun for me to watch the faces of Breast Needers when the subject comes up and I tell them that I breast fed my boys for a year. Their faces sort of curl up when they say, "You did?" Some have been known to utter an "ew!" It's as if they don't realize I used a Hooter Hider or something. I kept it on the down low!
Although when I got pregnant I already saw myself as a Breast Feeder, there was a time at the beginning of the journey that I thought I was going to be a Breast Greeter, the third group. A Breast Greeter introduces the boobs to the baby and gives it a shot, but then realizes it's just. not. going. to. work. out. The boobs greet the baby with a big smile all ready to do their job but then starts to frown.
Breast feeding is hard and sometimes, despite the best efforts, just doesn't work out. Maybe the milk supply is low, maybe the baby isn't latching on right, maybe this, maybe that.
There is no judgment here.
Honestly, I can see why some people would want to throw in the milk-soaked towel in the beginning, though, even if they do have a good milk supply. It hurts at first. It does. The nipples get all cracked and sore. The baby doesn't care. It's like a mini honey badger. It doesn't give a bleeeeeeeep. That baby wants his milk. He will clamp down and he will go to town.
And you will wince.
And you might cry.
And you might wonder why you are even giving this a try.
And if I make another rhyme, will you just sigh?
But, then, it gets better. You heal. You get in a rhythm with your little dude and it becomes second nature. Well, the act of feeding becomes second nature. The amount and timing of feeding didn't necessarily become second nature for me for a while. I had an INSANE log that I kept of the time I started and stopped on each boob. I was down with OCD ("Yeah, you know me!"). I wanted to make sure that he was eating long enough and that I was switching out the boobs right. I tried one of those bracelets for a while to keep me straight but then I got confused and couldn't remember if I updated the bracelet the last time I fed the baby.
Then I realized he would be fine even if I mixed up all the details.
All of our babies will be fine if we mix up the details because we love our babies no matter if we are a Breast Feeder, Breast Needer or a Breast Greeter. We love our babies and we are going to give our babies the food and nutrients the babies need. Plain and simple.
I still miss breast feeding. I miss their little warm heads, their hair, spraying them in the face when they came up for air but the milk flow didn't get the message (I do! It was sort of funny!), our time just to chill...and I totally miss the free gym membership. Not everyone loses weight when breast feeding, but I did. I did and I didn't do anything to deserve it. It was really awesome while it lasted. For a time (mere nanoseconds, really), I considered going all The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and pumping even if I wasn't giving him milk anymore, but then I realized guests may mistake breast milk for coffee creamer and I couldn't have that. I decided avoiding a black eye was more important than being skinny.
Seriously, though, breast feeding to me was a blessing all around. I was fortunate in that I had lots of milk to give. So much so that I had a freezer full of frozen bags of it that I had stored up. Sometimes I would have throw some out because I had too much and it was going to go bad. At that time, I had never heard of any type of organization that could do anything positive with excess breast milk. At that time, there was no International Breast Milk Project, the sponsor of this post.
If you are a breast feeder and have milk you wouldn't mind sparing, please spend some over at the International Breast Milk Project website and learn about how you can help infants in Africa and critically ill infants across the United States.