At a fundamental level she's saying what I believe: breastfeeding *is* better, but sometimes it just doesn't work for mother or baby and a mother should be able to decide to do one or the other as long as it results in happy and healthy mom and happy and healthy baby, without people judging her.
So here's a woman who breastfed for months, finally switching to formula completely when it became apparent that she just couldn't breast feed any more. And I'm a gonna cut the chick!
It is pregnancy irritability? Am I actually a terrible person who tries not to judge, but then totally does?? I agonized over this post. At first I didn't want to write it. After all, I'm still pre-baby, I have no idea how breastfeeding is going to go! Who am I to talk? And the last thing anybody needs is another irritated mommy-blogger bashing another mother!
So I read the article again. ARGH! *stomping about* I am so bloody IRRITATED BY THIS WOMAN! Then I read the comments. Maybe that would help get my usual "hey, lay off the mom, you horrible women"-juices flowing. Well, FAIL to that, but it did finally clue me in to what was pissing me off.
I think commenter #8 put it best:
Breastfeed, don't breastfeed. Just don't feel smug about either decision.And that's the problem. This entire post if filled with smugness, from beginning to end. I hate smug.
First, she's still going to a breastfeeding group, even though she's no longer breastfeeding. It's a support group for women who breastfeed, for Christ's sake, when you whip out the bottle of formula and start feeding your child, OF COURSE THEY ARE GOING TO LOOK AT YOU WEIRD! It's like going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and cracking open a Pabst Blue Ribbon (it's a cheap American beer).
Believe me when you are thinking,
"Listen, you crazy mamas, it's not all about the breastfeeding. I'm sure you can bond with your babies in lots of ways that don't involve turning your lives inside out just to make sure you never expose your baby to an ounce of formula. It's not poison."They can see it on your face, and you know what, they don't appreciate it. They've decided to try to breastfeed through the problems and challenges, they do not need you sashaying in and acting all superior. You even say you are! You say you go to these meetings,
Maybe just to kill time, but maybe also to feel better about the formula thing because these moms look downright miserable. In the end, instead of feeling inferior, I just feel relieved.That, right there? Smugness. Insufferable smugness. That has earned you one bitch-slap.
The second comes with this line,
The dark secret for me is that I had to work.Oh my god, someone call the Pope, a woman had to work so she just couldn't breastfeed any more. I'm sorry Teresa, but you are not the world's first working mom. Other women do it. Work is not the reason you couldn't breastfeed any more. It may have contributed, but citing work as the "dark secret" is ignoring all the women who work full-time and pump as well as all the SAHMs for whom breastfeeding just didn't work out. Especially since it turns out you were only working 4 hours a day. I mean, good lord, where did you find the time to have a child?! Call Ripley's Believe it or Not, call the Guinness Book of World Records, let's get this story out on the wire! This earns you bitch-slap number two.
Then we have this,
I'm angry that the unintended consequence of this well-meaning "breast is best" movement is to guilt working moms into nursing on demand, all the time, all night long, for six months or until most jobs won't want you back. The accidental message is that if you don't press the pause button on every aspect of your life to nurse your baby, you are the worst thing in the world: a bad mom.I'm with you on the unintentional "breast is best" guilt that leaves women stressed out, freaked out, and babies unhappy and in some cases, starving. I'm also with you against the "pause every aspect of your life to nurse your baby or be a Bad Mom" trolls. But uh, "for six months or until most jobs won't want you back"? Honey, wake up and look at the nation around you, most women do not have six months maternity leave.
"Actual paid "maternity leave" — while the norm in every other developed country — is unusual in the United States, although some enlightened companies do offer new parents paid time off, up to six weeks in some cases." Babycenter.com on maternity leave in the US
Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of the best employers for working mothers provide four or fewer weeks of paid maternity leave, and half (52 percent) provide six weeks or less, according to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research analysis of data provided by Working Mother Media, Inc., publisher of Working Mother magazine. Institute for Women's Policy ResearchHeck, the New York Times ran an article today about The Fight for Paid Maternity Leave.
Oh, but maybe these nursing moms have saved up money so they can take unpaid leave?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires certain employers to allow eligible workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid, job-protected leave each year. Columbia University Clearninghouse on International Developments in Child, Youth & Family PoliciesSo, six months, Teresa? You are living in a fantasy world. The "Breast is Best" tigers may also be living in a fantasy world, where all women have the freedom to breastfeed for six months, but a shocking amount of moms manage it with breast pumps and bathroom stalls for even longer.
Teresa, I'M NOT SAYING YOU ARE A BAD MOM! I'm just saying that you cannot use work as your shield in your fight for formula feeding. You profess several times how much you just loved nursing and how you
... did feel like a natural woman. At the pediatrician, I felt like a rock star. Around formula-feeding moms, I felt a potent mixture of superiority and pity.Mayhaps this was a case of the lady doth protest too much? Or are you just kind of a smug bitch? Because you seem to feel superior whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding!
Get off your high horse, look deep inside. Why did you stop breastfeeding? And then tell it like it is and stand up for that reason. Women will support you for that, as long as it's honest. Anyone who doesn't can go kiss your ass.
And for the love of GOD, stop going to breastfeeding groups! If you are lonely or guilty, like you say, form your own group of formula feeding women who support each other in their choices!
Finally, I find that you blame working on your book "Exploiting My Baby" which has now been optioned by Sony as the reason why you feel like you might be neglecting your child ABSOLUTELY FREAKING HILARIOUS! Seriously, do you not see the irony? 'Cause I'm shrieking with laughter over here.
***EDIT: For a woman who is not going to breastfeed and who I support whole-heartedly, read this blog post on Babble.com. Monica has thought long and hard about it and researched and decided that she's going to do what's best for her as well as her baby. She's extremely open and honest about it, not the least bit smug, and I wish her all the best. Read those comments.