Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thin Line

During the trip to San Francisco, for the breastfeeding conference, I reflected on my own breastfeeding quandry. Josiah is a wonderfully contented baby who travels well. (He slept all during both flights coming and going and does the same during long car trips.) Since his early hospitalization, he has not been exclusively breastfed. I no longer pump, but let him have formula when he is with his dad during the day. (My husband works 2nd shift and often drops Josiah off at my office on his way into work in the afternoons.) He is round and plump and beautiful and a joy to have around. But it seems I have exchanged exclusive breastfeeding for a busy lifestyle. I don't regret my choice. But I did hear something at the conference that gave me pause. Someone was presenting research that showed that obese women may have more difficulty with breastfeeding. I thought my being old might be the problem, when it merely may be my being fat! At any rate, I found myself giving Josiah a bottle- in the bathroom. I confess, I was hiding out. There was no way I was going to give my baby a bottle in the middle of a breastfeeding conference. But perhaps the pressure I felt (I admit mostly self inflicted) underscored the problem of women feeling guilty about not breastfeeding. I know how committed I am to breastfeeding, but my giving J this one bottle suddenly became this huge problem. I was afraid I'd be judged or worse, my expertise questioned. I'm even nervous blogging about it. I know this is difficult for me because my whole concept of "good mothering" has been challenged by my milk supply issues. I love J with my whole heart and only want whats best for him. At the same time I'm 3 years into a successful business I love. In order to meet the needs of both, I choose to continue supplementing. Its as simple and as complicated as that.


Mimi said...

I went back to work full time when my youngest was an infant, and we did a combo of breastfeeding with a bit of formula supplementing, and I remember being embarassed at Homebirth Network meetings, so I know exactly what you felt.

amelia said...

I can relate...I had supply problems with my first and had to supplement. I did everything I knew to do. Son ended up weaning himself at 5 months old. Now that I teach Bradley classes and we teach about breastfeeding there is always part of me that feels like a "less than" teacher because I had to use formula with my baby. Every class series I have to fight that nagging feeling of embarassment. On the flip side, that experience did give me a lot of compassion for couples that have problems with breastfeeding.