This is a continued post from my first post, The Fanatical Breastfeeder.
I, surprisingly, was not mad or offended when she called me fanatical for choosing to breastfeed, because I could see straight through her. She told me she didn’t breastfeed, so for her to mentally and emotionally acknowledge that a mother would rationally choose to breastfeed, because it is the superior health option, in her mind, that would some how mean that she was a bad mother. Note, I said in her mind. I do not think that mother’s who bottle feed with formula are less of a mother than me. I do, however, know that breast milk is better than formula as far as nutrition goes. Its a simple fact these days, with so much research, its not even a question anymore. Breast milk is better than formula. Period. Formula is not poison, and its a perfectly acceptable substitution for breast milk. But it is not the same. It is second best. But this woman, obviously felt that breastfeeding women think they are better mothers than formula feeding women, and in response to that misunderstanding, she needed to put me down in order to make herself feel better. And under anger, is always sadness. So I felt bad for her, because somewhere deep inside her, she knows that breastfeeding is better for babies and she chose not to give her babies the better option out her own need for her life to be easier. She was not willing to sacrifice personal time or rest or whatever for the sake of her children’s health.
Now, again, let me be very clear here, I have nothing against mothers who bottle feed with formula (I do have an issue with formula companies and how they go into third world countries, including the US, and make it very easy for women to give up on breastfeeding.) I know for a fact, that you can meet all an infants emotional needs through bottle feeding. I was a nanny, long before I was a mother, and I continue to bottle fed Penelope my breast milk because of our situation. I call it bottle nursing. Her cheek touches my breast, so she is getting skin to skin. I did not do this with Ava and Ella (the girls I was a nanny to for 3 years), but I always held them in a cradle position when they got their bottles, and looked into their eyes. And I wore them in a wrap or sling for large portions of the day, just like I do with Penelope and they got lots of eye contact and touch through yoga and massage. I would lay down and cuddle with Ava and Ella to get them to sleep, just like I do with Penelope (but I am nursing Penelope to sleep.) So I know mothers can be just as attached to their babies and babies can feel just as loved and comforted, even if they bottle feed.
But nursing is different. It almost like it takes bonding to the next level. Not only does it meet her needs, but it meets mine. Bottle nursing, left me out of the picture. My milk would let down, but it had no where to go, and it was not a pleasant feeling to be holding a baby, have breasts full of milk but not be able to do anything about it. I remember the second day Penelope started comfort nursing. The first day was actually stressful, because I was holding my breath and afraid to move, not wanting to mess up her groove. I was also stressed that is was just a fluke and she would go back to not wanting to latch the very next day. So the second day I had relaxed. We were laying down and she was nursing to sleep. I felt my milk let down and for the first time it had somewhere to go other than to stain my shirt. I felt her pick up her sucking and swallowing. I could actually feel my milk going into her mouth and then I pictured it going into her belly. It was like I was literally, physically, giving her all my love through my warm, perfect milk. I knew she felt perfectly loved and at peace, which I know she feels when she is bottle fed my milk, but this time so was I.