Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Great Breastfeeding Controversy

My son is 100% breastfed (of course, he gets some solid foods each day now that he's old enough). I am proud of myself for having breastfed him for almost 7 months, in spite of clogged ducts, mastitis with a nipple infection, and thrush. I know that not everyone is able to breastfeed (let alone for this long), and not everyone chooses to breastfeed at all. I just find it somewhat upsetting that any time someone says anything about being proud of how they've been able to breastfeed for x amount of time, there is usually someone around to try to make them feel bad about their decision. Either they will be told that breastfeeding is gross, that not everyone can bf so they should just keep it to themselves and quit rubbing other people's faces in it, that babies should be weaned as soon as they get teeth, that formula is just as good (which is not true- formula is adequate nutrition, and has helped many babies, but not equal to breastmilk), or some similar sentiment will be expressed. No wonder fewer than 30% of babies in this country are breastfed up to the first year, with such prevailing views.

I know that I am doing what is best for my son. I love the closeness of breastfeeding, and was heartbroken when my mastitis was so bad that I couldn't feed him on the left or it would bring me to tears from the pain. But we overcame that, and I fully intend to breastfeed my son until he's 2. I am sorry that not every woman has a wonderful experience with breastfeeding (not like it's been all puppies and rainbows for me, either), and that some women don't get to experience it if their milk never comes in or something. If you choose to formula feed from the get-go, fine. Just don't take out your anger/frustrations/whatever about it on me and make me feel guilty or bad about breastfeeding when I am not judging you for using formula.

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