Are you breastfeeding?

There are two instances when it is ok to ask a woman this question: you’re medical professional, or you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and want advice/to vent. Otherwise it’s not really any of your buisness.

Recently a waitress was taking drink orders, I was sitting with my son strapped to my chest in his carrier, and she asked me this question. I said nothing but my thoughts went something like this: 1. That’s none of your buisness 2. Yes I am 3. I just pumped so I can have a drink now because it’ll be out of my system in three hours when I pump again 4. F*** you for making me feel guilty about wanting a glass of wine with dinner

I’m breastfeeding, but you’ll never see my baby actually nurse at my breast. My son has a tongue tie, a little genetic quirk he gets from me that means his tongue is “tied” to the bottom of his mouth. Because of this he can’t latch and nurse properly. Which means I have been exclusively pumping since week one.

Exclusively pumping is not easier than breastfeeding, in many ways I’d say it’s more difficult. It’s like breastfeeding and formula feeding combined, because you must pump and then bottle feed the breast milk to your baby. In addition I don’t produce enough to feed my little guy,  so I have to supplement at least one full formula bottle a day. (Actually it’s an ounce or two at every feeding, but it adds up to one full feeding.) 

Believe you me I feel guilty every day for not being able to nurse my baby like “normal”, and it’s not even my fault. He physically can’t because of his own little tongue, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling bad. I feel anxious when I have a low pumping session. I obsess over how much I’m producing and take supplements and eat the lactation foods to make sure my supply doesn’t dwindle. It’s hard, and it’s hard for every mom every day. So sometimes, sometimes you need a (well-timed and carefully planned for) glass of wine. Or a cup of coffee. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Motherhood is difficult, every mom will tell you that, but they’ll also tell you worth it it is. It’s all true, being a mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but when my little man smiles at me I forget that it’s 3 am and all I want to do is sleep.

So when that waitress came back I looked her dead in the eye and ordered a glass of wine. Which I drank with glee, and ate dinner with my husband. Then three hours later I pumped and used one of my handy dandy test strips to prove it was ok and 100% alcohol free. (Which if course it was, I had one glass three hours ago)

Don’t ask women if they’re breastfeeding, or why theur baby is drinking formula. You don’t know her struggle, you don’t know why she made that decision or even if it was a choice.

Raising a happy, healthy baby is key and you can do that with breastmilk or formula.

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