breastfeeding

We Need To Deromanticize Breastfeeding, But Preferably Not Quite This Much

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woman breastfeeding in meadow with flowersBreastfeeding needs to be de-romanticized. That’s been said before, by smarter people than me: we need to stop pitching it as the only real option for ‘good mothers’, or making it sound like a magically easy, hassle-free, painless (ha) alternative to bottle-feeding. That said, there are some levels of de-romanticization that no one needs to be subjected to. And now I’m going to subject you all to one of them. You’re welcome!

Author Kathleen Founds writes for Salon about her take on the ups and downs of breastfeeding, and I found her take on it to be mostly ups. As in, up-chucks. I’m glad that Founds is working to demystify breastfeeding and trying to show that it’s not as wonderful and glamorous as it’s often made out to be, but still, may I suggest that we don’t need to take off quite so much of the shine? I’ll be going on a year of nursing the twins soon here, and I still just about decided to wean cold turkey when I read this:

It was Violet’s face that got the worst of it. She would pop of the breast to grin at me, then bat her eyes, bewildered, as the spray hit her face. Milk soaked into the crevices of her abundant neck rolls. When she went two days without a bath, she smelled like yogurt. When she went three days without a bath, she smelled like cheese.

Breastfeeding tip #1: if your baby smells like cheese, it might be a good idea to bathe her more than once every three days.

Breastfeeding tip #2: if bathing your baby more frequently is not an option, please at least wipe her down with a baby wipe or a wet washcloth before she cultures a new strain of yogurt bacteria under her chin.

Founds also displays an impressively blasé attitude toward showering everyone and everything in her immediate vicinity with breast milk:

When I attempted a discreet feeding at a sushi restaurant, milk sprayed the decorative Shoji screen. When my father-in-law detailed the interior of our car, he was mystified by the dry white flecks on the glove-box, the dashboard, and the passenger seat window. When my sister sat too close, she suffered a shower of droplets on her wine glass. “Eww!” she said, laughing.

“Deal with it,” I said. “You sat in the splash zone.”

Breastfeeding tip #3: Wiping your bodily fluids off of other people’s property is not optional.

Breastfeeding tip #4: If you’re not going to adhere to tip #3, please provide a list of public venues where you have nursed or plan to nurse your baby, so that the rest of us can eat our sushi without having to bring an umbrella into the restaurant.

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