Thursday, August 14, 2008

Losing Support for Breastfeeding

They say that success in breastfeeding depends largely on the support for breastfeeding a woman has around her. While I had that support early on, it’s currently eroding.

During a family visit, my mother voiced her opinion that I should not breastfeed any longer than a year. She even seemed uncomfortable that I’d breastfeed on an airplane now, given that River is so big (as if larger 8-month olds should be less worthy of receiving breastmilk than smaller ones just because of their size).

When I got home, my husband also voiced his support for weaning, saying he thinks I should start reducing my feedings to only one per day and that at a year, River should no longer be receiving breastmilk. When I said that I wanted to continue it because I find it helpful with bonding, he said I should find other ways of bonding because the breastfeeding is taking over my life.

I was surprised during a lunchdate with a friend in MN to have her comment “You’re so European,” when I began to breastfeed River at the table. I hadn’t even thought of asking her if she minded. Given that she was a female of my age, I just assumed she’d understand. She told me that none of her friends would breastfeed so openly. I told her all of mine would.

They are the only left who are supportive of breastfeeding – my new-mother friends I met in prenatal yoga.

Given my declining support network, we’ll see what impact that has on my breastfeeding. I’m pretty committed to continuing until at least a year, especially after I picked up a can of formula I inherited and saw the first ingredient listed “corn syrup solids.” I have a job interview tomorrow though. If I’m offered the job and I take it, I think the demands of work and the potential travel involved are most likely to put an early end to breastfeeding.


Lainey Wright said...

oh dear! -i wish i were there to cheer you on in your endeavors and give you an encouraging hug! -i would breastfeed at the table with a female friend and not think twice - and i hope my friends are understanding enough not to make ridiculous, discouraging comments! i hope you can find a way to make it work, despite all the naysaying -especially if it is something that is important to you.

Beth said...

Breastfeeding is so convenient for a baby/mama on the go - which you are. It is a nutritious, healthy, free meal or snack no matter where you happen to find yourself. People do not stare when they see young children eating McDonalds - which should be a crime. So, consider the source.

I breastfed my daughter till she was 2 and a half. And yes there were those that stared. No matter what you do SOMEONE will be telling you how wrong you are. To which I would respond, "you may raise YOUR children any way you like - and I will choose how to raise mine."