I recently read this article on the Bust Magazine site, http://www.bust.com/blog/2009/08/05/kid-tested-mother-approved.html. I commented about my feelings about breast feeding and I wanted to expand on those feelings here.
Truth be told, I don't want to breast feed. I think that it's really gross. I'm going to do it because I don't want to be labelled as the worst mother ever within the first weeks of giving birth (I have years to earn that title). I don't intend to do it for longer than 6 months and I will supplement with bottles. What surprised me about some of the comments on the site was the fact that a lot of women believe that breast feeding is not encouraged in our society. Really? Because, as I said in my comments, I feel completely bullied into breast feeding. Every piece of literature out there blathers on about the benefits of breast feeding (always sympathetically mentioning that you shouldn't feel bad if you can't breast feed for some reason but making sure that you certainly will).
I have a few bones to pick with breast feeding Gestapo. If it's all so wonderful and natural, why do so many women have problems with it? I shouldn't need a graduate level course to accomplish what is supposed to be an instinctual task.
Then there's all the “benefits” attached to breast feeding. Weight loss is one of the big ones used to cajole women into the cult. Yes, it's true that a woman will burn more calories while breast feeding. What most of the lit I've read fails to mention is that a woman will also be more hungry because of the energy needed to breast feed. I've seen plenty of women not lose the baby weight even though they were breast feeding. Like any weight loss, baby weight loss depends on eating less calories than a person is burning.
Okay, I could go on about supposed health benefits, higher IQs, etc, etc. but I won't. Breast feeding should be a choice and if a women is comfortable whipping out one of the girls in the middle of a restaurant, well, more power to her (I personally think it's right up there with a man peeing wherever the urge strikes him just because he can). However, if a women is uncomfortable with the whole process I think that there should be some kind of support out there for women like me who just really aren't wild about the idea of becoming a food source.
I'll probably blog more about this as I enter into the whole crazy process.