Brits and Breastfeeding
What is up with these British women? This is the second article I've seen in the last week out of a British paper about the horrors of motherhood.
In the article, "Sorry, but I HATED breastfeeding," Tess Stimson relates her personal experience with breastfeeding. While in the hospital, she was still having trouble getting her baby to latch on after twenty-four hours. The nurse spoke harshly to her and by her description of the situation, was most unhelpful. Later, when her child was ten days old, the health visitor accused her of dieting since the baby had not gained weight. Stimson also complained of becoming cracked and sore which certainly qualifies as an unpleasant experience, to say the least.
I am sorry that she had such a hard time with breastfeeding. Some women do, struggling with pain and infections and what not. Usually those things will clear up if one sticks with it. However, I have had friends and acquaintances that couldn't make it work for various reasons. Thank goodness that there are alternatives in such cases.
That said, it does sound as though part of her problem revolved around a bit of self-absorption and some real hang-ups about her body and a distain for infant care.
And breastfeeding is not wonderful and fulfilling, but painful, difficult, boring and humiliating."I'm not sure what she was expecting when she had a baby, but it doesn't seem she was viewing motherhood realistically. Babies are W-O-R-K, an endless cycle of feeding, burping, and changing. But how long does it last? They don't stay that way forever. After a couple months, the nursing is spaced out more and their little bladders can hold more, making diaper changes less frequent also. A couple more months and they start on solids and need mom's milk even less. By a year at the latest, they don't need anything from mom's body at all, and by that time they're only nursing once or twice a day anyway.
If I were a proper mother, I'd be happy and radiant like the (admittedly slightly bovine) women in all the breastfeeding leaflets the health visitor kept shoving at me, instead of feeling scared, angry, raw and above all trapped.
I'd never realised how boring breastfeeding was. No one can give you a break so you can wash your hair or make a cup of tea. I was tethered to the sofa for hours at a time, unable to do anything but watch housewife TV. Some days I didn't have a chance to get dressed until mid-afternoon.
I obsessed over all the things I could be, and should be, doing.
But I couldn't even make a brief phone call without the baby wanting to feed from me. I felt suffocated by his neediness, as if the sea of Motherhood was closing over my head.
What a shame that she was bored. Whatever else life may be, let it never be boring! We adults, after all, are entitled to entertainment 24/7. OK, so I'm sorry you were bored, lady. But, nursing and caring for a baby are exhausting work. It runs a body down. Having to stop everything to nurse is Nature's way of ensuring that a woman rests and doesn't run herself completely ragged. It's also an incredible bonding period for mother and child. It's like falling in love, which is a crucial emotion for a young mother toward her child. If young lovers can sit and do nothing, just gazing at one another, just basking in each other's presence, then why shouldn't a mother feel the same for her child? Nursing seems a small price to pay for giving the gift of health to one's child and giving a baby the emotional closeness he needs to become secure within himself, trusting that he is loved and loveable, provided mom can do it while maintaining good health for herself. Even if one has no choice but to bottle feed, she should still take the time to hold the baby close, as if she were nursing, so baby can absorb the warmth of his mother's love. Bottle feeding is not an excuse to prop the baby up and go do your own thing.
Also in the article, Stimson also objected to the government beginning a campaign to encourage more breastfeeding in Great Britain.
Imagine how I felt last week, then, to read that the Government now wants to encourage mothers to breast-feed as much as possible in the hope of saving the Health Service £1 million a year. New guidelines aim to raise the number of women breastfeeding their babies for the first six months by at least 50 per cent.Well, just because some women do have difficulties with breastfeeding is no reason to avoid encouraging more women to try. After all, it's not about the adults. It's about encouraging a healthier start for babies.
Britain has one of the poorest records in Europe - with just 22 per cent of mothers still breastfeeding at six months.
The idea is that because there is evidence that breastfeeding protects babies from infections, raising the proportion of mothers who do it to about a third would lead to big savings for the NHS because fewer babies would need hospital care.
One last thing that I didn't know what to make of---her complaint that women are forced to feed their babies in public toilets to avoid causing offense. Are they really? What is up with that? So England can have their Page 3 Girls, the West can be saturated with pornography, women can wear revealing clothes in the West unlike in some other nations, but it's offensive to breastfeed in public? You've got to be kidding. If it is as she says, well, talk about prudery! Breastfeeding can be done incredibly discreetly. How is that offensive? That's how babies have been eating since time began. I don't think there should be any shame in it. That's my take on it, anyway.
Most emphases throughout are mine.
H/t: Ace of Spades