Sunday, July 05, 2009

Tata Trouble

Okay, for the record, this is TOO MUCH INFORMATION.
You have officially been warned.

I'm having a couple problems with this whole breastfeeding thing.

Before you jump on me about how breast is best etc, let me clear up right here and now that despite cracked nipples, latch issues, all kinds of soreness, a plugged duct in the beginning, and countless times wincing so badly at the pain of latching on that I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to continue with it, I'm not even thinking about giving up. These aren't those kinds of problems.

These are "other" problems.
Like how my breastfeeding Snapdragon affects "others" and alters the ways in which I interract.

1. Yes, that's my boob you just saw. Quite possibly my nipple.
I am, in fact, going to feed my child. Wherever we are that he is hungry. I understand that it might bother you, but watching you chew sometimes bothers me too.
At least, these are things I want to say, but in fact, it bothers me, and it hurts me that people who were my friends five minutes prior suddenly act like they not only can't SEE me, but also that they can't HEAR me either when I'm nursing Snapdragon.
Why is it, and HOW is it that people, women even, can be so thoroughly incapable of coping with the act of feeding an infant that they have to completely tune out my existence while I feed him?
I just don't get it, and it hurts. It hurts when family pretends I'm no longer there, and when suddenly I don't get to voice opinions just because I'm feeding a baby. Maybe it'd make more sense to me if I was the only woman in my peer group who has procreated, but I'm not, and this alienation hurts not only me, but every other woman who sees it and subconsciously learns that breastfeeding is anathema.

2. Please don't kiss my while I'm nursing. My brain can't handle it.
I know I don't want to be ignored, but Spouse, my brain can't do two things at once with the same parts, so don't try to turn me on while I'm feeding the baby. That's ten kinds of creepy feeling for me. K? Thanks. As a matter of fact, don't kiss me. Let me decide when I want to kiss you and I'll let you know one way or another. That's what gods gave us text messaging for.

3. No, I'm not going to stay home to do this, nor am I going to wear a burka.
See? I am feeding a baby. Not doing a strip tease. There is no reason to panic. If it's going to turn on one of your creepy friends, that's not my problem. I'm feeding an infant, and there is no heavenly reason why I shouldn't be able to do it in any of the myriad places I need to be over the course of the day. Dear? Get over it. If you tell me to be more discrete when you're showing more chest than I am one more time, we might need legal counsel.
Seriously though, it hurts that my spouse still continues to treat breastfeeding like something to be hidden away in a corner. Why should a woman be taught to feel ashamed of doing the single most healthy thing she can do for her child? Worse still, what is Mongoosine learning every time he says something unsupportive? i'd hate to think that she's internallizing his views of nursing in public, because one day I'd like to think that if she has children, she'll do everything she can do for them to make sure that they're healthy and have ever developmental opportunity possible.

4. I don't want your germs on the tatas, that's for Snapdragon!
Allrighty then, you've already established you can't dissociate the sexual function from the nonsexual function of the tatas, so let me help you. NOT FOR PLAY. Not for foreplay either.
I admit it, I am having a hell of a time trying to switch on and off the whole sexual/nonsexual function thing in my head, and frankly, I have this constant fear of contaminating them. Did I mention this is TMI? Well, I do. And it's a problem because it leaves me feeling like I have to constantly be on the defensive whenever there's any bit of groove back-getting. I know this is mostly a me problem, but nonetheless, it's a problem.

5. No, he's not spoiled, and if you say that again you're gonna get a bloody nose.
The biggest problem. I am sick and tired of all the CIO fanatics and Spouse telling me that he's spoiled. It's called on-demand feeding. Get over it. I'm doing it because he knows his needs better than a schedule does. I'm doing it because leaving a baby to be miserable and frightened and hungry in the other room because I want to not gross someone out by, gods forbid, feeding a baby, is wrong. Yes, I'll let him cry while I run to the bathroom or if I'm doing something that needs to be done that I can not safely do while holding or feeding him, such as tending the stove, but I am NOT going to just sit there and let him cry! Got that? And having your needs met isn't being spoiled. It's being respected as a human being.
The worst part about this perspective, this false idea that I can "spoil" my infant, is that other women hear these comments. They hear mother's being told to let their babies cry and only feed them on a schedule. They hear the unsupportive dad's scoff that it doesn't really physically hurt to listen to your baby cry in the other room, and they think it's true and grow up expecting that if you meet the needs of your child that they'll grow up broken and spoiled. And that's a problem.

So yeah, I admit it. I'm having some tata trouble. Not entirely sure how to handle it, but I'm working on it. If nothing else, by the time Snapdragon is fully weaned, I should have managed to readjust some of these issues to the point that they aren't problems. Then my problem will be something like convincing Snapdragon that the tatas aren't for him anymore...

9 reflections:

Desiree Fawn said...

I could feel your anger rising as I read on and on and damnit if I'm not 100% WITH YOU.

"having your needs met isn't being spoiled. It's being respected as a human being."

This is so incredibly true and something I've recited nearly word for word. A baby's WANTS ARE ITS NEEDS! Why does the rest of the weird ass world not GET IT?


And I totally hear you about boobs and sexy time -- not fun, and they've been taken out of the equation for me. I keep the bra on and I hope we don't end up in a lake of milk at the end.

Maybe I've now crossed the TMI line, but I feel that as mothers, we LIVE on the other side of that line.

I hope the people around you can kick their bad attitudes and get supportive -- and if not -- you've got us (and I speak for the collective of blogging ladies out there!)]


Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

100 "Blogger Points" (I just made those up) to you for this post!!! You've got my total support!

Elly said...

I'm not a mother, and have never breastfed, but I have to say that you have every right to breastfeed your babe without having to justify, hide or have to worry about what someone else thinks. Feeding your child is a completely natural thing to do, so why should you be ridiculed for it?

Also, I tend to think that as a mother you have to find out what works for you and your babe, and run with it. If what works for someone else (ie, schedules) doesn't work for you, why should you do it?

I'm sorry that the people around you aren't as supportive as they could be, you're a rock star for sticking it out and doing what you think is best despite their attitudes. Go you, hey. :)

Annie @ PhD in Parenting said...

Two years...that is how long it took until I was comfortable having my breasts become multi-functional again. I'm with you on that for sure!

Anonymous said...

I could have written this myself! You and I share feelings on the ta-tas. I actually had the 'don't cat-call or try to be sexy while I'm feeding the baby' talk. He'd make some comment like 'yeah, I love those boobies' and it's like NO. This is a ham sandwich as far as you're concerned buddy! I feel so unsexy right now that I would prefer it if he didn't touch me at all but that's not going to happen. I was a wife first!

Hippie Witch said...

as with most topics of this nature, I am a happy medium kind of girl. I like a schedule, but it's more of an outline of events, not a ridgid plan. I like to try to to things in the same rough order at generally the same time of day as far as the kids, but if that does not happen, oh well. I might try to 'hold off' Mojo for nursing for a few minutes by distracting her if I need to do something for my older child or go to the bathroom, but would not let her CIO because the clock said it is 10 minutes till next feeding. a schedule is a good thing, as long as the baby has power of veto on it. You cannot spoil an infant

Krista said...

I could have written this post! Are you sure we aren't married to the same man? ;) I'm 15 months into it and while it has gotten a little bit better it's still not the acceptance and as happy as I am about breastfeeding.

The spoiling thing I reply like this - you can only spoil a child by telling them no, they throw a fit and THEN you give in.

Responding to their cries - I say how would you like it if you had the worst day ever and were very upset and wanted a hug from me? Then I just turned around an walked away. It is no different than doing that to a baby when they are crying.

I really understand where you are coming from though and it is hard not to become resentful of your husband's lack of understanding/acceptance. Try to remind yourself daily of WHY you love him - I try, doesn't always help but it does take the focus off the negative feelings a little.

Keep following your heart and your instincts - you're doing the right things for your baby.

Laurie Sanders said...

I LOVED THIS! I feel exactly the same way, thank goodness you wrote this- I was beginning to think I was going mad! Why are we frowned on for tending to our babies needs quickly? If one more person says "she needs to learn to settle herself" I will would they feel if they were left on their own in a room (unable to leave!) when they were at their most upset?! Ditto, on everything you have written. :)

Anonymous said...

Breastfeeding is definately the best thing you can do for your baby, good for you for sticking it out through all the trouble you've had. I find it really sad however the lack of respect you have for your husband by airing your troubles here for the world to read. You should work them out privately, and if you can't do it on your own, talk with a trusted friend, counselor, church leader, etc. Hope you remember to "spoil" your husband occassionally as well!