Thursday, June 9, 2011

Babies are...

Let's get one thing straight.

Babies are not convenient. 

Not from the moment they attach their minuscule selves to our insides, making us crave bologna sandwiches for breakfast, yet sending us running for the nearest thing to hurl into at the faintest whiff of a vanilla-scented candle.  And certainly not when we become completely wiped out after such rigorous activity as, say, making ourselves a piece of toast.  And later down the road, when their presence is more visible and they instigate a fun game of Guess Which Limb That Is, Jabbing Me in the Ribs/Stomach/Bladder/Kidneys/Liver and God Knows What Else.  And as for the poor mom who endured the bizarre sensation of her baby using his teeny, pokey little fingers to tickle the very bottom of her uterus before he was born, and  no amount of jumping, pressing, or yelping would make it stop, her baby was certainly not convenient. 

Most of us are familiar with the numerous trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, the attempts at turning over onto our other side without trying to wake up all the way, and the ridiculous feeling that we've swallowed a beach ball as we try in vain to put on our own socks.

Certainly, none of that is convenient.

The simple, natural act of relocating those babies from within our bodies, into the outside world, is probably the least convenient thing that I can think of.  Natural, yes. Convenient, no.

Guess what?  That amazing creature who amused us with its inconvenient antics, gave us great material with which to bond with other mommies, not to mention a trump card to win any argument with our spouse for the rest of our lives, will not suddenly become convenient after he has moved out of our uterus.

We accept the fact that our children do not come into the world ready to use the toilet.  We spend a bundle on diapers and accept the whole poop thing, and hope we have a camera ready the first time daddy gets squirted in the face by his new baby boy.  We have a child knowing we will change their diapers and wipe their bottoms some eight or nine thousand times before they are potty trained.

Then why on earth do some not accept that feeding and nourishing their child may not be the most convenient thing for mom?  Why do some parents decide it isn't worth the investment of a little more of their time and effort to give their baby the most superior nourishment, designed just for them?  Let me put in the disclaimer here: This post does not refer to that tiny percentage of moms who, despite their absolute, very best efforts, and due to very special circumstances, wound up having to bottle feed.  I am talking about all parents who decide it's just not worth the "hassle" for mom to have to be the one to feed the baby all of the time.  There is a biological reason for this setup.  A baby is meant to have lots and lots of close cuddling with their mama, and nursing encourages this close contact. 

It has been proven that breastfed babies have lower obesity rates later in life, along with fewer allergies and a better immune system, along with countless other benefits.  Plus, it's free, always at the right temperature, and frankly, I thought this was a tremendously convenient way to feed my baby.  No powder, cans, measuring, or getting the water to be just right. Baby's hungry? Lift shirt. Baby's happy.

I just think it would be lovely if people everywhere would view breastfeeding as the most natural, logical thing.  I never want to hear another story of a woman being told to feed her child in the bathroom or being given dirty looks for nursing in public.  I would love to hear mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and husbands encouraging the new moms in their families to breastfeed.  A positive environment can go a long way for a new mom who is nursing. All of us can support them. Yes, it can have its challenges, so negative comments, or talk of giving up breastfeeding, in favor of what is "easier", can be very discouraging to an already tired mom.

We are supposed to be an evolved society.  Let's behave as such and encourage all new moms to give their babies the best possible start in life by breastfeeding.  It has been scientifically proven to be the superior baby food, the absolute best thing we can nourish our babies with.  Don't they deserve our absolute best?


  1. I never did understand why a lot of people think bottle feeding is "easier". Nursing is difficult the first month, when you're so exhausted, and I did have a lot of problems with my first because he didn't want to latch right. But a good lactation consultant and family support goes a long way. Plus, after you get the hang of it, it's much easier than mixing bottles or worrying if you brought enough food for a day away from home.
    When I was pregnant for the first time, a lady I worked with told me that she had her third child just so she could experience breastfeeding again. She said it was the most complete form of love she had ever felt. I thought she was nuts at the time, but now I get it.

  2. I was reading your post as I pumped for the second time today, so that my son can have at least one bottle of breastmilk while he's away fom me during the day. Yes, it's inconvenient, but it's a sacrifice that I'm willing to make as long as my supply lasts. I too share your sentiments regarding the love and support a breastfeeding mother needs/deserves and don't understand why society doesn't embrace breastfeeding mothers!

  3. Anonymous,
    Pumping is definitely not convenient! It's moms like you who make the effort and stick with it for the benefit of your child who should be applauded! I'm so glad for your little one and hope you have lots of support!