Thursday, May 26, 2011

The "Scarlet F"

Can I just say that I was totally touched by Mama K's post (below) about stopping breastfeeding? I was going to leave her a comment, but then I ended up writing so much, here is what I was going to say to her:

Oh Mama K, throw away that "scarlet F" and be happy. The mommy guilt trips that we so often throw on ourselves (and unfortunately, others) are so unproductive. They distract us from the goal we all want: To have healthy, well-adjusted children.

To the guilt trippers, I say: Make your homemade organic babyfood. Buy your European chemical-free toys. Breastfeed exclusively until the child can speak. But don't make all of this about you. There is no "mommy award" that the bestest mommy wins.

And if some other tired mommy is popping in a video and handing out vending-machine chips to her kids, for crying out loud, don't smugly feel superior to her. Say to yourself, "That mommy loves her kids and is doing the best she can." And drop it. Or better yet, lend a hand if you can.

Mama K, take a page from my mother, who, having put little me on formula from day one (I was born in those days when formula was de rigeur), took me to the seashore at the tender age of six weeks, and then dumped me with my grandparents all day while she gossiped on the beach with her friends. No "scarlet F" for her - there would not have been room on her swimsuit for one!

For the record, with the Duchess I breastfed for six months precisely. The process had actually worked pretty well, but I felt like I had put my time in and it was time to move on. I fed her a bottle of formula with a bit of triumph and a lot of relief. Of course, the minute after she finished her first bottle, she projectile-vomited the whole thing and burst out in hives. That was how I discovered her fierce dairy allergy.

With little Honey, I breastfeed for four months until I Just Couldn't Take It Anymore. It was too hard simultaneously feeding the baby (who, since she was a snacker, ate about every two hours despite my best efforts), and managing the Duchess, who has made distraction an art form. Meanwhile, I was making enough milk, but hardly any extra, which meant that anytime we had plans to go out, I had to start pumping days in advance to have enough milk saved up for the sitter to give Honey. Enough already. I phased in formula (after testing her for a milk allergy, which she didn't have) and haven't looked back.

So Mama K, I am glad little S is doing fine. And it sounds like you are too.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! I appreciate your story - and your perspective! Have to love the infant food allergy...