Monday, August 31, 2009

What am I? A Cow To You? Here For Your Nutrition?!

I know a lot of my blog friends aren't parents and obviously haven't breastfed, but I would still like your opinion so read on...

OnFriday night, I'm sleepy and in that mood where I'm fighting going to sleep cause I'm certain that I can find something interesting on the internet to look at... I somehow wander on to the Yahoo newspage and Ca-Blowh there's this big article and attached video about Mayim Bailik (Blossom) and her "EXTREMELY CONTROVERSIAL PARENTING VIEWS". I read the article and was in shock.

Here are the things that were so freaking controversial: co-sleeping and demand breastfeeding. Controversial? Really?
I have nursed four children and it has been one of the greatest and most fulfilling achievements in my life. I'm not saying breastfeeding is going to make every child healthier than bottle fed children, but I always thought, 'I'm here at home with all the time in the world to give my kids, why wouldn't I breastfeed?' It was hard at first but I perservered.

Demand breastfeeding just means that you feed the baby whenever they want, not on any set schedule. I've heard that bottle fed babies get a certain amount of formula for a certain amount of time (correct me if I'm wrong) but breast milk doesn't last as long in the stomach as formula and the baby needs to be nursed more often. There are a lot of sad stories about parents not wanting to 'spoil' their newborn, putting them on a breastfeeding schedule and the baby ending up dead or malnutritioned. And a big part of these horrible tragedies is Gary Ezzo. The author of Babywise teaches parents to disciples young (YOUNG) infants and reccomends babies should only be fed every four hours AND not through the night.

I also co-slept with my baby a month after their birth and for a couple months after that. I think the baby is too young to be 'spoiled' and I also know that breastfed infants need nursed quite often, so I just nurse in bed all night long. More sleep for me, more cuddle time for both of us. Those nights and mornings were some of the best of my life, waking up holding my baby, looking into her/his eyes. dreamy and sleepy.

Does all that sound controversial to you?

I also want to add that if you don't breastfeed, I don't think that you're a bad parent. I would be curious about what led you to the decision, and if you needed help with nursing I would counsel you on it...but I would never judge any good parent for how they decided to care for their child. And I applaud anyone who as at least tried to nurse! The first few days of breastfeeding are very important to a baby's health and to the relationship between the mom and baby.

I hate the feeling that I'm a weirdo or that someone might think that my children aren't being cared for properly. I feel a little paranoid that Rose might be talking about how her mom nursed her and her siblings, or slept with them when they were babies and someone might tell her that I'm a crazy freak...or controversial. ha.

Oh well...what are your opinions on breastfeeding or co-sleeping? Katie Allison Granju wrote the above linked article about BabyWise and Gary Ezzo, here is another one of my favorite articles by her: The Family Bed.


Kristine said...

I co-slept with my babies for mine and my husband's sanity.

(On the couch with the baby. Really.)

I also breastfed on demand with my second. But I did it more on a schedule with my first because he seemed to do well with that.

Each situation is unique, and it's pretty much never safe to say one way is better or worse than another.

Which is why I never feel comfortable talking about this stuff...everyone does what they can, right?

ladytruth said...

One of my best friends had a baby about nine weeks ago and because I visit her ever so often, I have the whole baby-talk thing down ;) She breast feeds her baby and also co-sleep with her. Both of them are healthy, happy and so very at ease with each other. It's a beautiful thing to see, really. So I'm all for both and as for this being a controversial subject, I wonder where abortion ranks? ;)

erin said...

@Kristine: I agree with you...I thought that breastfeeding was easier for me as a stay at home mom, but I couldn't imagine pumping and working...maybe things would have been different then.

@Lady: Babies are so sweet...I mean sweet when they're not screaming their heads off.

otherworldlyone said...

I don't have a negative opinion of breast feeders or co-sleeping.

Personally, the breast feeding thing wasn't for me. I felt awkward about it and I didn't feel that it was necessary in order to bond with my kid. We bonded just fine without it and she's a healthy, happy, and loving little girl. And I do mean HEALTHY.
As for the co-sleeping thing: absolutely not. Hannah slept in a bassinet next to my bed for the first three weeks, and then she was moved to her crib.

She's four now and never sleeps with me unless she's sick or has a nightmare or something. On the weekends, when we all get to sleep a little later, she comes and crawls in my bed in the morning and we lie there and cuddle and play...and that's fine.

Everyone is different and what works for one may not work for the other. I don't think you should worry about people thinking you're weird. I don't think you're weird at all. Just because our opinions differ doesn't mean you're wrong and I'm right...and vice versa.

Good post.

Prosy said...

I haven't breastfed anything yet- but I definitely plan to. My mom breastfed both my sister and I, and I assume that it was 'on demand' because she always said she knew it was time to wean when we would come up to her, lift up her shirt and get to work.

kara said...

i have no issues with breastfeeding with the following caveats...

as a person who goes ventures out public, i really don't ever feel the need to see any of the following:

- saggy breasts just hangin' out pre or post baby attachment. mothers carry around a giant bag filled with baby junk...they can throw a blanket in there for coverage

- anything old enough to speak in full sentences breastfeeding. put it in a sippy cup if needed...but wean the kid. just do it.

- stirrup pants.

Petit fleur said...

This is one of the most emotionally f--ed up countries on the planet!!! We are so male dominated and disconnected and we think this is NORMAL. Oh PLEASE! Infants are infants, they should not be trained like a pet! The deal is that too many people want to have a baby, but then they want to get back to their old life once the novelty wears off. They don't want to really be inconvenienced with parenthood, which is fun, fulfilling and rewarding, but to do it right, it damn hard W-O-R-K.

I also demand nursed (yes through the night too) and I have one of the happiest healthiest kids you've ever met. He is pure joy... NOT only that, he is emotionally and intellectually grounded. I catered to his every whim AND he slept with us till he was 2. Everyone said he would never get out of our bed, and you know what, he did. Just fine. He always hated the crib and went right from our bed to his own, happily.

You cannot spoil a baby and you are most definitely not a freak. And to those of you reading that are contemplating parenthood, NEVER take the advice of a man about how to treat your baby... well, you might make an exception for Dr. Spock.

Sorry for the rant, but I hate it when I know there are sweet babies suffering, especially because of an a-hole undermining insecure parents!

Twinkie said...

I nursed only the six weeks that I was off work and during that time I was misereable. UGH. Nursing is highly overrated and actually I like to joke with my American friends when they ask me if I nursed my kids, "Breastfeeding is for poor people."

Of course it's just a JOKE. Don't anyone take it personal! It's mostly to mock the fact that back in the day when MY mom was nursing it was considered dirty and only families who couldn't afford to buy formula would nurst their kids.

Now all of a sudden it's the "cool" thing to do. LOL

sAm said...

I breast fed on demand for 11 months of my son's life and co-slept. I still do lots of stuff that other people probably don't think makes for "good parenting", yet I have a respectful, hilarious, straight-A son. And...he's not bad on the eyes. So I don't really listen. I also don't pass judgment on "how" others choose to parent - unless it is neglectful or just plain shitty.
Thanks for being #42!!! But I must respectfully disagree with your Dave opinion - I am his soul mate...he just doesn't know it yet. It's ok - I can wait!

Mwa said...

I breastfed on demand. Co-sleeping wasn't for me, because I'm a compulsive worrier and I would wake up taking my pillow out of my pillow case thinking it was my smothered baby.

And yes, the world has issues.

erin said...

@OWO:I know that breastfeeding can be a little weirdish, I had a few weirded out moments when I was first nursing Rose...and after sharing my body with her for nine months, I wasn't sure if I wanted to share it with her for two more years!

@Prosy: Elijah can ask for it, so he's getting to that age...he's my last baby though, and I hate saying no to his adorable face. Jeremiah and I decided I would wean him before his 2nd birthday.

@Kara:I totally agree with you. I nursed in public all the time and nobody was going to see these teats except me, the baby and maybe Jeremiah,if he was lucky. ;)

@PF: If I would have posted about this on Friday night when I originally read the CONTROVERSIAL article, this would have been more of a rant. Have at it, aren't the comments section supposed to be for ranting? Oh, it's not? Whoops...

@Twinkie: I have a few friends in the 'real world' that make fun of me for breastfeeding and I make fun of them for formula feeding. Making fun of someone's parenting choices is so freaking cool!

@sAm:I'm not really a Dave Matthew's fan...but mainly cause I hate hippies and Jeremiah's ex girlfriend loved him. ;)

@Mwa: I'm a very light sleeper, so I never worried about the co sleeping. Plus, babies like an elbow to the head in the middle of the night. It keeps them on their toes.

Ms. Moon said...

If there's anything better than snuggling with your baby in bed and nursing her when she wants it, I don't know what it would be. Certainly nothing I've ever experienced in my life. WE ARE MAMMALS!
And I know and love and live next door to Petit Fleur and she is not overstating the case about her son. He is a joyous and brilliant little man. I agree with her comments. It's completely unreal to think that doing what comes completely natural is any way controversial.

Vic said...

I breastfed both my kids (which I loved most of the time), and did the whole pumping thing (which I hated, but did anyway because I thought it was important). I don't really buy into the whole family bed idea, except for when I was too exhausted to put them back in their bed/bassinet, etc.
My kids slept quickly and easily through the night because they had their own place to sleep. My good friend did the co-sleeping. Her kids had/have still, a lot of trouble sleeping on their own.

Having said that, I don't have much judgement about any of it, as long as people love and care for their kids.

lacochran said...

I toss and turn in my sleep and would be afraid I'd roll over the baby.

Alexis AKA MOM said...

I bottle feed both, tried breastfeeding with the first but didn't produce enough milk got an infection and it just didn't work. Both boys slept next to our bed in a bassinet. I also had to go back to work right away with both and pumping and working just wasn't an ideal situation. I really think it's everyone's own preference and what feels right for them.

Controversial that just cracks me up, I think babies and everything about them is just perfect. Well except the sleepless nights ... LOL :)

Linda and her Twaddle said...

Breastfeeding was tough for me and did not last as long as I would have liked. I had PND, anxious etc. Ancient history now. But I say people should do what they are comfortable with. Not everyone likes to breastfeed and others won't bottle feed. So, whatever is best.

My son was in our bed all the time. Until the age of nine he was in our bed five nights out of seven. I picked him up whenever he cried. No controlled crying for me.

If a child feels safe, loved and nurtured I think that is what counts.