Saturday, March 14, 2009

Let me tell ya how I really feel...

I'm a totally pro-breastfeeding mom (you mighta guessed?)  who can admit to being a bit judgmental in the past when I'd see women formula feed (FF) for reasons I've perhaps deemed as "selfish." I'm not talking about the "I-tried-and-it-didn't-work" camp. I'm talking about the "my-breasts-are-for-sex-only", "I-don't-want-to-be-tied-down", "I'm-worried-about-my-body" camps.

The truth is there are people who do make choices based on selfish reasons, and what I have realized is that I am no different.

Even as a BFing mother, who certainly has made that decision with "breast is best" in mind in terms of all the health benefits we know exist, there are plenty of reasons why breastfeeding works for ME beyond the needs of my child.

Among them are the facts that I am cheap and lazy but as well:

-I like the fact that it is only something I can do, especially when my babies are newborn and all the extended family wants to hold them for hours. BFing provides me with an excuse to take my child away from well-meaning relatives.
-I like not having to think about sterilizing bottles and packing up formula and all the necessities when we go out.
-I like the snuggle time.
-I like not having to get up in the middle of the night and make/heat a bottle.

Do you see what I'm saying? A lot of "I" in there. I also realized that if the situation was reversed and that the medical community was suddenly touting FFing as the "best" thing, that I probably wouldn't give up BFing... because of all the selfish reasons I listed above.

The fact is, I make a lot of parenting decisions based on a combination of what I think is best for my children, and by what selfishly works for me.

I co-sleep because it allows ME the most amount of sleep (baby cries, roll over, insert boob, resume sleep)and I like having my baby in bed to snuggle with.

I stay at home with my children, because along with the many benefits I believe it affords them, there are a ton for me as well. I selfishly want to be there for as many moments of their little lives as I can.

Along with the self-LESS things I do for my children, if I make some decisions with some selfish reasons in mind, and those decisions enable me to cope with the challenges of parenting, and be a better mother to my children, then in all actuality being selfish can be an act of selflessness.

I have matured enough to realize now that even when a mother chooses to FF (especially for reasons perhaps I once found lacking) that if it helps her to cope with and enjoy motherhood, why should I care?

Preserving sanity, is after all a worthy goal, and if the simple act of choosing to BF or FF can do that for any of us, how dare we make anyone feel guilty about that.

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