Wednesday, April 23, 2008


  • Sunshine? check
  • Warmer temperatures? check
  • Birds singing? check
  • Allergens and pollen running rampantly through the air, up into my nostrils and drilling little bits of pain into my brain? check, check, double check!

I realize that it's just part of the punishment package of living in the "country" ... allergy season comes earlier. But what sucks the big one is that I can't take any allergy stuff to soothe my sniffling, itchy nasal passages. Because allergy medication is based on drying stuff up. Which means that my milk would get all dried up as well. Dammit...

I've actually been suffering allergies all winter (from the cats), but haven't wanted to whine about it all that much ... especially so as to not give any more ammunition to those people in my life that are less than supportive of my choice to breastfeed. Or 'breastemies' as I like to think of them!

It's actually quite shocking just how involved anyone and everyone can be in your life, the minute you have a child. They have opinions on EVERYTHING. How much she should be sleeping. How often she should be sleeping. When she should start solids. What types of solids she should be eating. How often we go out during the week. What activities we should be doing together. How often I should be taking her outside. What she should be wearing when we go outside. What she should be wearing on an everyday basis. And lastly (and my personal fave) whether she should be breastfeeding and especially, how long she should be breastfeeding.

Originally, my goal was to breastfeed until 6 months. I thought that was a good goal - and if I didn't make it that far, oh well, I did my best. Instead it has been a much more enjoyable experience than I anticipated, and at 6.5 months we're still going strong with no end in sight. Some people have commented to me, " you're lucky it's been so easy". I bite my tongue to those comments because you're never going to convince someone that at times it has been incredibly hard, painful and nerve-racking. Because they would just retort - but you didn't quit. So in their mind it hasn't been that hard and I've been lucky. Okay. Whatever. I've gone through cracked, bleeding nipples, milk blisters, blocked ducts and one hell of a nursing strike. You're right - I've been lucky.

Some of my favourite comments are about the lack of freedom I have while still breastfeeding. Yes, while we are breastfeeding, that does mean that she and I won't be apart for an extended period of time. I don't mind her taking a couple of bottles while I'm out for an afternoon or an evening, but I'm not going to risk my supply getting screwed up for a weekend away. Even if I wasn't breastfeeding, I wouldn't want to spend a weekend away from her right now. Roll your eyes if you will, but I'm not going to apologize for that.

In fact, I think breastfeeding gives me a lot more freedom. I can be out running errands and not have to worry about whether I brought enough bottles, getting the bottles heated up or rushing home because I've been out longer than expected. If we're out longer than expected and she gets hungry, I grab my blanket, find a chair and feed her. We're going to Ireland for a week - I don't have to worry about whether I'm bringing enough formula or how I'm going to feed her on the plane.

Then there's those who comment about how they can't believe I'm still breastfeeding. Or that I must be planning to give it up when she gets her first tooth. Or (and this one I love) make a disgusted face directly at me when I say that I may continue to breastfeed beyond a year.

I feel like telling them, that for the record, breastfeeding is encouraged until the baby is 2 years old (and beyond) by the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. That's the organization that sets guidelines that, oh you know, Health Canada, our doctors and nurses abide by. So I'm not wrong. Or gross. Or doing something unnatural. It's the best option for nutrition. It's very natural. And it's created an amazing bond between Maddie and I.

Sorry for the out-of-the-blue soap box rant - but a conversation I had today had me listing all the pros of breastfeeding to someone - and I'm tired of feeling like I have to explain myself. So the rant has built up for a while ... and during my sneeze attack this afternoon, this post was born...



Deb said...

Rant away...I fully support you! That was one of my biggest frustrations when I was breastfeeding Austin, and I'm sure will be again now that I'm breastfeeding Alex. It drove me crazy that some people criticized my choice to breastfeed, especially as he got older. When he was five months old, I actually had someone tell me it was terrible that I was still breastfeeding and I should wean him as soon as possible!

The Valliers said...

Thanks Deb! :)

It is fairly shocking how random people, close friends/family and even strangers feel like they can criticize you about something that is such a personal choice.

As an ex-smoker, you'd think I'd be used to people giving me their two cents unasked (and unwelcomed), but I guess after 6.5 months it's starting to wear thin!

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that you've gotten comments like that. Coming from the other end of the spectrum (I couldn't breastfeed for a number of physical reasons), I've often felt that people are looking at me like I'm abusing my children because I'm formula feeding. Breastfeeding is natural, and the best first option -- no argument there! -- but if you can't (like me), you shouldn't be made to feel like you're somehow failing your child. All you have to do is pick up a parenting magazine to read opinion pieces like that -- how breastfed children are smarter, healthier, etc., than forumla-fed babies (although you can't convince me of that after seeing my healthy, happy, incredibly smart little girl and boy). However, hearing about the reactions you've gotten so far, that gives me a new perspective on why those articles are out there...thanks for sharing :)

The Valliers said...

Thanks for your perspective Jenn - I guess someone will always have something to say about the choices we make in raising our kids. However, unless the baby is losing weight, I just don't think it's anyone's business what you're feeding him/her. Bottle, breast ... who cares as long as they're thriving!

Anonymous said...

I think that breastfeeding had been very good for Maddie she is healthy and such a happy baby, grama says, keepup the great job mommy!!!!

Melissa said...

I can't believe people give you flack for breastfeeding!!! As if!