Breastfeeding Problems – Excuses, Pressure, and the Real Deal

I read an article this morning that got me thinking.  It seems like whenever breastfeeding comes in conversation (and it does far more than I’d like), the mom who isn’t breastfeeding gives a reason.  Breastfeeding problems are frequently cited as she pulls out a bottle.  Over at The Alpha Parent, the piece Newsflash: Breastfeeding Requires Effort talked about how breastfeeding problems are more often excuses for not breastfeeding.

She’s right.

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The Origin of Breastfeeding Issues and Attempting to Overcome Them

I have never made a secret of my breastfeeding issues.  My breastfeeding issues aren’t things like poor milk supply or latch problems.  Instead, I have breastfeeding problems of the psychological variety.  (Thanks, Mom.)  I grew up with my mother insisting that breastfeeding was trashy, disgusting, dirty, etc.  I had no positive breastfeeding images to counter that.  For a long time, I was uncomfortable with other people breastfeeding around me…  But before you decide to string me up or cite laws, I’ll also let you know that I never, ever suggested that a breastfeeding mom stop breastfeeding.  I was never so arrogant as to presume that my discomfort trumped someone else’s right to feed her baby.  I figured that there were plenty of other directions to look, so I just did that.  My breastfeeding issues are my problem, not anyone else’s.  I didn’t get over my discomfort with being around breastfeeding until I found a lot of mommy friends (mostly online, but a few in “meat space”) who breastfed.  But that just meant that I was okay with being around my friends who were in the act, not that I was okay with it and found it normalized to the point that I was able to do so.  And it was years after my mother’s death that I got to the point of even being okay around it.  But the mere thought of me being the one to do the breastfeeding brings about unpleasant reactions, ranging from discomfort to nausea. [Read more…]

Approaching Crunchy Parenting – Me? Really?

I always scoffed at crunchy parenting.  I mean, sure, if crunchy parenting is your bag, no problem, but I never, ever considered myself to be even remotely crunchy.  I’m noticing, though, as I get older, I seem to lean more towards crunchy parenting than I had ever thought possible.

Cloth diapers – With my first born (who is almost 14), using cloth diapers never even occurred to me.  I thought using cloth diapers still involved those awful Birdseye diapers with pins that my oldest sister and my mother had used.  Fourteen years ago, I suspect that it still did.  I exclusively used disposable diapers, just like most other people.  Now, using cloth diapers means vibrant choices, a variety of closures, and different levels of absorption and dryness.  I love using cloth diapers, and have way too many because they are just so darned fun.

Breastfeeding – My mother had some pretty strong anti-breastfeeding biases that I grew up with.  She passed those biases on to me.  With my firstborn, anyone breastfeeding made me uncomfortable.  (I’d never actually say anything; my discomfort was not their problem, of course.)  With Norton, I was still disgusted with the idea of myself breastfeeding, so I exclusively pumped until I couldn’t stand it anymore.  It was seriously effecting my mental well-being to the point that my lactivist friends encouraged me to quit.  But I was okay with other people doing it.  This time around?  I’m thinking that maybe, possibly, I might consider trying it.  But it still scares the crap out of me.  After all, I tried once with Norton out of desperation, and I almost threw up on him.

Approaching Crunchy Parenting (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

Wearing Norton in a Snugli in front of Lake Louise, Alberta

Babywearing – With my first born, the possibilities of babywearing never occurred to me.  It just wasn’t really done then.  With Norton, we did some babywearing when he was tiny and we were going on some outdoor adventures.  Our adventures in babywearing happened in Hell’s Gate Canyon, Bridal Falls, the Ancient Forest, Lake Louise, and other wondrously beautiful places.  I kicked myself for letting the husband talk me into trying to bring Norton up to the Seattle Space Needle in his travel system since they didn’t allow strollers.  I always wished that we’d gone with babywearing instead of the husband lugging Norton around in his bucket.  I started out with a ring sling and a Snugli.  Now I’ve got a ring sling, a Snugli, an Ergo, and a Moby wrap.  And I really, really want to do more babywearing with this baby.  I figure it will make it easier to chase after Norton.Natural childbirth – I had never in my life really given much thought to looking a natural childbirth option.  After my oh so horrible vaginal childbirth, I knew that I would never have a baby without an epidural.  But now?  I’m bound and determined to have a VBAC delivery.  It was the husband’s idea, but I’m running with it.  Since we’re not able to get a midwife (which has me starting to think about a career path), we’re considering a doula and hypnobirthing.

I’m not sure what’s changed.  Maybe it’s education.  Maybe it’s age.  Maybe I’m just hanging out with cooler friends to influence me rather than my mother’s archaic prejudices.  It’s all possible.  The end result, though, is me sitting here scratching my head and wondering how close to crunchy parenting I’m going to come.