Is It REALLY Best? *

I’m not smart, but I’m not stupid, either.  I heard again very recently…probably via Twitter, which, thanks to my new iPhone, I consult on a (probably far-too) frequent basis, that breast is best. The often-used term refers to breastfed infants surpassing formula-fed infants in terms of health and intelligence.

I’m here to tell you, all of nobody whom I’ve told about my presence on this forum, that that is crap. While it may be that some studies on some infants have shown that the antibodies delivered through breastmilk – and by the way, lots of guys who aren’t dads, think breast = good, milk = good, breastmilk in one word = um, uncomfortable…sorry, you can stop reading now – put babies ahead of others that are given formula…I’m a walking, talking study that says formula is A.O.K.

Not many babies from my generation were breastfed. I wasn’t. And while I have a healthy diet purely because I tend to prefer healthy food, not out of discipline or willpower, I’ve not led a particularly healthy lifestyle in any other sense. I always (touch wood) get an excellent bill of health.  In fact, when I was younger and wasn’t a mom yet, and was partying and smoking my brains out, my doctor would tell me with chagrin that I was way healthier than I ought to be.

Oh, and P.S., the IQ factor that is constantly referred to in these breastfed infant studies…well, that’s crap, too.

When my son was born, he and I had a miserable time getting the breastfeeding thing together. We just couldn’t do it right. I was recovering from a c-section and in a lot of pain, sleep deprived like only a new mom can understand, and so determined that I had to breastfeed that when it was unsuccessful, I was propelled into a deep postpartum depression that lasted months. My mom and then husband told me much later that it was a really scary time. I don’t remember much. I just felt like such a failure, my poor son had a mom who couldn’t give him what seemed to come so easily for all the other new mommies around her. Those babies were lucky, and this precious boy was stuck with a useless mommy who couldn’t get her body to do what it had to do. I managed to get my weeks old baby out one day after I started giving him formula, to a mommies and babies step class. Things were going pretty okay until the part of the class where the instructor called a break so all the babies could get fed. I was the only one who had a bottle. They probably didn’t, but I felt like the other mommies were looking at me with pity/disdain/reproach. And I pretended like I didn’t care, but I did. And I made up some excuse and left. My family and doctor tried to convince me that I had to go on some anti-depressant medication but I refused – I thought that to have postpartum depression you had to have thoughts of harming your baby.  The one and only light in my life at the time was looking down into my boy’s precious face. So I didn’t do the drugs. And continued to cry all day for months – so yeah, I know now what I had.

Anyway. This boy is healthy. He is SMART. His classmates are all sick all year long…they bring their runny noses and sneezes to school and on playdates, and this boy has the constitution of an ox, rather disappointed he doesn’t get to take a lot of sick days like his friends. And he was a formula baby. So every time I hear of all the hardcore breastmilk propaganda, I tell my pregnant friends to do whatever is best for THEM. I’ll never forget the day I let go of the feeling of failure and decided to enjoy motherhood and not care. A thousand-pound weight was lifted from my shoulders, and the proverbial sun came out again. I know that a happy mommy is best for baby, breastmilk or formula, end of story.

By the way, when my daughter came along, after another caesarean, for whatever reason, she and I had absolutely zero problem, and she was breastfed like crazy. And my doctor and family who were so worried I’d get an even worse depression with the second baby, which I was supposedly susceptible to, were surprised when I didn’t have it for even a moment. Another reason I attribute the previous postpartum depression in part to unrealistic expectations of new moms, and the unrealistic goals new moms believe they have to achieve. My daughter is also super healthy and smart, so it COULD be in the genes, but the point is they’re no different, no matter what they received at the start. The crazy pressure on moms who don’t breastfeed is unwarranted and infuriates me.

* above post was copied and pasted from a blog I started yesterday on another site and already abandoned.

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  1. […] blah blah. Throughout the years sanctimommies continued to plague me, from their opinions on breastfeeding, their tut-tut-tutting over the horrible affliction of my son’s soother-sucking, to how it […]

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