We are riding this wave of a breast feeding craze lately. We have become obsessed and consumed with the idea that breast feeding is the only way to feed the newborn baby. It is also one wonderful way to drive the mother nuts. I will rise to podium and state very eloquently, ‘Well, breast feeding is great and there are alternative options that are great.’ I used formula from day one. I did both, because my baby was in the NICU and the nurse and I wanted her out ASAP. She simply did not belong there, the doctors made a mistake. The nurse and I knew this, but do doctors listen to the hormonal postpartum mother or a cute blond nurse? Do I sound bitter? I apologize.
Breast Feeding Anxiety
Breast feeding and anxiety. Do we become anxious and then our milk stops? Or does our milk production stop and then we become anxious? …This question is making me anxious.
I remember walking down the streets of Brooklyn after a baby party with my dear hyper intelligent friend who kept crying because her breasts were not producing enough milk. She was convinced this pronounced her as inadequate on some level. I handed her my favorite article about breast feeding. This quote by the author of the article summarizes it best.
So overall, yes, breast is probably best. But not so much better that formula deserves the label of “public health menace,” alongside smoking. Given what we know so far, it seems reasonable to put breast-feeding’s health benefits on the plus side of the ledger and other things—modesty, independence, career, sanity—on the minus side, and then tally them up and make a decision.
Another portrait of the aftermath of a mother breast feeding with anxiety is a freezer full of breast milk, enough to feed a small army of babies. Was she anxious during her maternity leave? She quietly shares that yes she was absolutely suffering severe anxiety and had no idea who to share this with. My theory with anxiety and breast feeding, I would rather see you have lots of rest and good medicine than a baby full with breast milk. Why is it so difficult to breast feed while anxious? From my understanding, many times the body is signaling to the breasts to stop producing milk during a bout of anxiety, because your body believes you are in danger and this is no time to be sitting around breast feeding.
Please, do not tear yourself down if you are not breast feeding and want to. (Please do not tear yourself down about tearing yourself down.) Bottom line: If you need to step off the breast feeding train, it is important to absolutely feel that wave of sadness and frustration and then celebrate, because once you stop breast feeding (or if you are unable to start), you finally own your body again. It is no longer an incubator or a milk production machine, it is yours.
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. Groucho Marx