I'm breastfeeding my baby. As a breastfeeding mama, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about my boobs. More than any frat boy ever thought about boobs, I am constantly engaged in organizing my day around my boobs. I'm pumping as I write this! I've only been doing this for, well, almost 3 months - the lifespan of my little. What I am finding shocking, however, is how controversial breastfeeding has become/is. I have no real reference for if this is a new occurrence, as I only peripherally paid any attention to breastfeeding as a topic prior to becoming a dairy myself.
TIME magazine published a story discussing women who breastfeed for too long. Not to be outdone, US News and World Reports discusses a brewing issue with women in the military breastfeeding. Whether I'm mom enough I don't really care - it's a stupid premise to a topic that isn't all that controversial apart from the fact that it is something that women can do that men cannot, and therefore is fodder for public scrutiny. Comparing breastfeeding, then, to defecation or making it something that should only be done in the secret recesses of our homes, however, is something I do take issue with. Let's focus on what breastfeeding is. Feeding. It is a way to nourish a child. That's it. It's not sexy, it's not dramatic, it's not even political, in any real sense. It's what mammals do.
As far as I can tell, some women find breastfeeding easy and some do not. Some choose to breastfeed for a multitude of reasons, and some do not, also for a plethora of reasons. Cost, time, physical ability, personal preference, access, support and more are named repeatedly as the main reasons behind how a mom feeds her baby. It makes little sense to me, then to pass judgement on the ways that women feed - notice I did not say chooses, because for some there isn't a choice in the method - their young, only that they do in fact feed them.
I do strongly believe that it should be easy for women who want to breastfeed to do so. I have a private office at work, and can pump and work at the same time. I have the means to afford a pump, and I was able to meet with a lactation consultant (the Breastfeeding Center on K Street in DC is an amazing resource in my community). And I had very little physical problems breastfeeding - after a few weeks, it came much more easily to me. Therefore, this was the right option for me and my kid.
I'm still a little shy about feeding in public, although I greatly support those who are comfortable. I tend to carry a bottle around just in case, but I do like the idea that I can just feed T whenever I need to. Plus the pump/boob method allows my husband to also feed Teddy, which is a nice bonding experience that they can also share, and it means that all of the pressure on feeding is not 100% on me. Sure, I have to make sure to have a stash available, which I have found stressful, but overall this is what it is.
I know I won't be a breastfeeding mom to a toddler. If I have another one, I won't nurse them both. I had set a goal of 6 months of nursing for Teddy, and I may end up going passed that, but I will just have to see how it goes. Flexibility seems to be a needed trait in parenting, so I'm just going to go with the (ha!) flow.