May 19, 2005

Got Milk? Then grab a bottle

Afternoon tea
Originally uploaded by GeoWombats.

I came across this picture in flickr and knew I had to blog it. What a sweet, sweet face. And what a wonderful gift he's being given.

Breastfeeding is a natural thing, but it doesn't always feel that way. It's a lie to say there won't be problems, obstacles, reservations, or complications. Uh, there's small human being attached to your n*pple which is attached to a curiously swollen and often painful mass that was once known as a br*ast, but is now acting like an active volcano.

I nursed three out of four children. J was both breastfed and formula fed. LiL' J was more of a connoisseur and inisted his bottle be filled with breast milk. To prevent my child from starving when I worked part-time or had the rare occasion to leave the house without him, I took of the hobby of pumping milk. A girl has never known so much fun. What with the gadgets, hoses, seals, suction cups, and painful tugging. But a mother does what a mother has to. So why all the judgment? I am so over the whole debate. I still see it raging in every support group I'm a part of.

Yes, br*ast is best. But not all moms can or want to. It's just plain mean to make women feel bad when they can't. Most women who haven't gone into motherhood with the express decision to NOT breastfeed, feel like total failures when it doesn't work out. It's one of the first instances of lifelong mommy guilt.

I got an email from a woman named Misty who has been blessed with an adoptive baby. For them, this isn't an option, although some try to stimulate milk, its not that common. I wonder how many times an adoptive mom was unknowingly judged about not breastfeeding. I'm an s attachment parent, and I think breastfeeding is one of the best ways moms can start their child on a healthy road. But, I don't think if you don't breastfeed you can't join the ranks of attachment parentings. Breastfeeding is only one of many ways to practice attachment parenting. Not to mention that children do BOND and ATTACH to their moms with or without breastfeeding. Breastfeeding just takes it to a whole other level.

I've been a mother for almost fifteen years now even though I'm only thirty-two. I've been around moms of all walks of life. We share our joys, hopes, fears, tears, frustrations, reservations, confidence, guilt, desperation, pride, and all things wonderful.

When asked what I think, I always tell new moms to at least TRY breastfeeding. I've never once heard a mom say "I regret
breastfeeding my children." But, I can't count how many times I've heard a mom get emotional or show regert over NOT trying or not sticking it out long enough to make it work. It's nothing to beat yourself up over though.

Misty, emailed me to ask me what attachment parenting was for me. It's really fairly simple. I've had a child attached to my hip or leg since I was seventeen.

Really though, it's just about listening to my own instincts and not the well meaning, but often ill advice of a lot of "experts". There's been a few times where I've ignored reason and tried seasoned advice for various annoying aspects of having small offspring around. Mostly things pertaining to lack of sleep. Like the time where LiL' J decided he was unable to nap anywhere other than my lap or bed. He slept with us at night, but I needed him to nap somewhere safe. Since I've been responsible for four out of four children rolling off of the bed and onto the floor, I've had my share of the got-dang-it-I'm-going-to-make-my-child-brain-damaged moments.

When LiL' J was smaller I decided that I'd try the much debated Crying-it-out method of putting a child down to nap. I did what I was "supposed" to and "kept to my guns" when he continued to persist in his crying. Everything I had read or been told said that was the first stage where the child "tests" me, the parent, and I, the parent, must resist the urge to get the child.

Well, after like twenty minutes I finally decided the hell with that and to my horror I found LiL' J's leg STUCK in the bars of his crib. The boy shook and fussed every time we went passed his room for MONTHS afterwards. I felt like loser mom of the year.

For me, attachment parenting did have a start with breastfeeding but I think I've always had the mind of an attachment parent, long before I knew there was a word for it, and I don't think one has to breastfeed to attachment parent, nor does the presence of breastfeeding mean attachment parenting. I have a friend, who is extremely passionate about breastfeeding She jokingly refers to herself as the "breastfeeding nazi". She's extremely educated on the subject and if she wasn't always pregnant or lactating herself she'd be the richest LC in her town. She could write a book about the 1001 ways to make breastfeeding work and we've had some great chats. I think her mom might have feared she was losing her daughter to some strange lactating cult. She's currently nursing her third child. The woman's a wonder.

For me, attachment parenting really is about all the 7 baby B's

I'll try to post more about my journey into motherhood and what it's like to be an attachment to children who are no longer in diapers, but I just have to figure out this space-time continuum first. Things around here keep vanishing into space and I never have the time to figure it out.