I had decided long ago that if I ever spawned, I would try to breastfeed the kid. While I admit that I had not done extensive research on the pros or cons, I intuitively figured it was natural (after all, it’s one of the characteristics that define us as mammals), and I was willing to buy, sight unseen, the argument that it was actually very good for the baby with respect to antibodies and such. This decision stuck once I got pregnant. Particularly one I looked at the price of a single can of formula (!!).
Over the years, I would hear of the occasional rally/demonstration by La Leche or read the odd tidbit about some poor mother-infant team getting booted from a business for doing what’s “natural.” I never gave any of that much thought, to be honest. I certainly support a woman’s right to feed her kid (and I certainly don’t think she needs to be forced to do so in a restroom…..Hello? Fecal coliform???), but our society is WEIRD about boobs, so neither do I think women should have them flapping about in the open for all to potentially see, whether that’s right or wrong. La Leche has always bothered me a bit, as they seem so militant about the whole thing. It’s one thing to provide information and support, it’s another to be a shrill harpy about it. I’ve read quotes from their representatives attached to some of these stories, and whether they meant to or not, they seemed to demonize mothers who use bottles.
I have always felt that there was a happy medium: feeding your child while sitting in a restaurant booth (or wherever you happen to be), discretely covered with a blanket or wrap. And to be frank, every time I’ve ever seen a mother nursing in public, that’s exactly what she was doing. No biggie. I figured that would work for me or anyone else.
About a month ago, I started to realize that maybe I needed to begin preparing myself. Our local women’s hospital where we’ll have the kid offers all sorts of classes, but honestly, the idea of taking a boob class with a whole lot of strangers and dolls kind of freaked me out. As I am a voracious reader, I figured that some books would do the trick. I found one (I plan on a book review blog, so I’ll withhold the details now) that was written for first-timers, written in a “funny and common-sense way.” I was actually pretty excited, as it seemed perfect.
I think reading any of that was a big mistake. My goodness, this thing seems so COMPLICATED. I’m sure the author meant well, but just in the first half of the book I read, she cited every possible nasty side-effect and possibility of doom that there was (except maybe gangrenous nipples, but maybe that was in the second half). It also got so detailed with things like positioning and latching that I felt panicked for not having a notebook and taking copious notes. Studying for the GRE wasn’t that hard. It’s one thing to prepare a newbie for possible glitches. It’s another to overwhelm and flagellate her before she even tries.
So, I gave up. Call me a chicken. I will still try to breastfeed. But I AM going to rely on the lactation nurse at the hospital and instinct/common sense.