Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Common Mother and Breast Envy

I read this article today and am dumbfounded by the authors projecting of her mother guilt onto breastfeeding women and supporters and her breast envy.
Here is my response to the article.

I am not some holier than thou Madonna mother goddess simply because I breastfeed.
I don’t have some rare talent; some heavenly gift bestowed upon me.
I am in fact quite common in the grand scheme of things.
Through out the history of humanity women who bore children fed those children with their breasts.
Simply put we are designed to breastfeed.
I am doing what women generations before me have done and doing what I as a mother am designed to do.
I am providing the milk that is produced by my body, for my child who was born to receive it.
What is so hard to grasp about that?
Why is that so damning?
I am tired of women making excuses and blaming me for their maternal guilt simply because I am a common mother.
So what it’s not easy?
It passes.
Pregnancy wasn’t easy.
I puked the whole way though, had aches and pains, and in the end achieved a desired result.
It passes
Same with breastfeeding, I had a baby with this teeny mouth who couldn’t latch on right away like a pro and I suffered blisters and bleeding.
It felt like razor blades where splicing my nipples every time she latched on.
She was latching on around the clock, like human babies are supposed to do.
I was crying, stomping my foot in pain, guess what?
It passes.
Just like pregnancy.
Now 20 months later she is nursing like a champ.
We, my nursling and I, are common in the grand scheme of things even though we are a dinosaur breed of people on the brink of extinction now, at this point in time.
You would not be here if it were not for the thousand of generations of women before us that have nursed humanity at their breasts.
If you chose to formula feed then own it.
Don’t hold me or any other common breastfeeding mom accountable for your guilt.
You should ask yourself why you have this guilt in the first place.
Make peace with your decision and move on.
No one makes the perfect choice every time but every one can choose to learn from mistakes and move forward.
You can arm yourself with knowledge and make a different choice next time, if there is a next time.
A breastfeeding mother is just common.


  1. fantastic but what about the other way round? Those mums who really want and try to breastfeed but are unable and who are made to feel like they are not looking after their little one's properly?

  2. The whole thing is messed up. If doctors would do their jobs, and educate women on why breast is best, and teach them from the start that should it medically be necessary, formula is an option. As it is, breastfeeding supporters have to push so hard to get through the veil of crap dealt out by formula companies and doctors that it does make women feel like crap in some cases. But it all comes down to doctors and health care workers. If they did their job right, women who can't breastfeed for valid reasons would NOT feel badly for it because they would know they were doing what was best for their babies. (For the record, I did formula feed my first just because I had surgery at four weeks and my milk dried up due to hospital stupidity.)

  3. You are a little "holier than thou" in attitude. I mean, a Facebook group entitled "Suck On This?!~~Infant Formula Exposed"? You push the idea that formula is "poison" and you think that it isn't offensive to people, especially those who don't have a choice. Awesome.

    At least the person above me stuck up for those who don't have the choice to breastfeed.

    Frankly, you come off as a breastfeeding nazi.

  4. to the second anonymous, yes doctors should give breastfeeding mothers the right info, but first, they actually need to be taught it.
    breastfeeding in their training is a tiny tiny subject and is hardly looked at. they have no idea, they are not the experts and should not have the right to give out info unless they are taught it.

    to the third anonymous, formula basically is poison. it's chemicals dried up and powdered and then fed directly into your babies stomach.
    sure there are very rare cases where mothers cannot breastfeed or baby cannot breast feed [keep in mind that most cases are not genuine, it is actually extremely rare that a mothers milk will just 'dry up', it's usually a case of a doctor incorecctly giving out diagnoses or incorect information] but formula should not be the next option after the mothers breastmilk.
    if the mother cannot breastfeed, she should be expressing and giving her breastmilk to the baby via bottle, cup, spoon or express line. [i think it's called express line?]
    if she is genuinely having problems expressing as well, and cannot get any milk from herself, another mothers breastmilk is the next best thing. it is also very very very easily sourced!! there are many breastfeeding mums around able to express and store for other mums/babys.

    very rarely, a baby will suffer from a condition where he/she cannot physically take his mothers or any other breastmilk, due to allergies etc.
    and in these cases there are very specific and specially formulated formula's tailor made for the baby's needs. and THIS is what formula should be there for.
    when the mother/father has exhausted all other options.
    not as a fall back plan.
    not for mothers who say 'breastfeeding is too hard, at least i can just use formula'. and not for all the mothers given incorrect information about breastfeeding.
    and of course, these mothers who have no other option but to use the specialty formula will not feel bad or 'attacked by those holier than thou' because the formula has been made specifically for their baby, and with out that formula, their baby would most likely die or be very sick.

  5. Uh, "rare"? There are over 15 million HIV-positive women worldwide.