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May 11, 2012

Extended Breastfeeding: Mom Enough?

I had a different post scheduled for today, but I need to jump in on the new Time magazine discussion. I'm sure by now there are very few of you that haven't seen this cover.

It's meant to be sensational, for sure. But I for one find it beautiful and amazing. (I also happen to read this woman's blog, which you can find here.) But I know many in our overly sexual society have a problem with it. "Oh dear God, a woman breastfeeding in public...a toddler. ::clutches pears and faints::"

Henry and I have had a perfectly amazing and easy breastfeeding journey. At an hour old, he was latching and nursing like a champ. Those first few moments are something I will never forget. As Henry got older, we never had issues. I never had an infection, any real soreness, no latch problems, no supply worries. It has literally been the closest thing to the perfect breastfeeding experience that I can imagine.

Today, at almost 14 months old, Henry is still nursing four times a day. I have no real intention to wean him anytime soon. There I said it. I guess that makes me "an extended breastfeeder" too.

We have weaned some. I forced Henry to drop a few feedings, just enough for me to start ovulating again. This way Morgan and I have the option to grow our family. But beyond this, I see no reason to stop. The health benefits are undeniable. And the cost is right.

The part that I take issue with the Time article is in the tag line "Are you Mom enough?" What does that mean?

Are mom's that can't, don't, or won't breastfeed into toddlerhood not good moms? Heck no! Breastfeeding is hard work. Physically and mentally draining...even in the best cases. I don't blame them.

Plus, add this to the fact that the United States is one of only four, that's right FOUR, countries in the WORLD  (the other countries are Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland - certainly not company the United States should be proud to keep) to not offer paid maternity leave, forcing many woman to return to work well before breastfeed relationships are established.

Excuse the "hot-mess-ness" of these pictures, but it probably more accurately shows what breastfeeding a toddler looks like.
Then we are going to turn around and judge a woman for not breastfeeding for "long" enough? Its insane. Totally insane.

What if I had to completely stop breastfeeding for ovulation to return...would that have made me "not Mom enough?" Should I not stop, ever?

I'll be honest, I haven't yet read the article. I'm interested to know what it says. I really hope it doesn't judge the way the cover seems to imply. Those moms who struggle night after night to get their newborns to latch, those moms who can never build a supply, those moms who just stop nursing for whatever reason...they are good moms too.

And it makes me sick to see this judging. There is no hierarchy among Moms. We all love our babies. We all have long sleepless nights. And we've all been pooped on.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there. You're all "Mom enough" for me.

What are your thoughts on the Time cover?

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Katie said…
I personally don't see myself breastfeeding past a year, but I don't see anything wrong with people who do. It depends on the mother and the child, really.
kjw said…
The "Are You Mom Enough?" headline kind of pisses me off. As a working mom I worked my butt off pumping at work to get us to a year of BFing. Once I stopped pumping my supply pretty much tanked, but we are still able to BF in the morning first thing. My munchkin is 13 months and I'm sure we'll continue for a while longer, but there is no way I could see us still doing this in a year.

We aren't really into the whole attachment parenting thing - no extended baby wearing and definitely no co-sleeping/bedsharing. I don't think that makes me less of a mom. We do what works for us. To each their own.
Lindsay said…
The "Are You Mom Enough?" headline really turned me off from the entire article. I honestly never thought I'd have to formula feed. I knew nothing about formula, just that it existed for moms who didn't know that breastmilk was best. My hospital bag was packed with nipple creams, nursing bras, nursing nightgowns -- of course I would be a nursing mother, because I was going to be a good mother. Then life happened and I'll never forget the feeling of never seeing my son until he was already over a day old and having to be on medications to stay alive. Medications that made it so I wouldn't breastfeed. I'll never forget sitting in that parking lot of the pharmacy, sobbing my eyes out that I was a terrible mother, a failure. I spent the first two months of my son's life so depressed, locked in the room crying, worrying my entire family that I had PPD. All because of things I'd read and things people said to me...that breastfeeding was best, that formula feeding mothers were uninformed, that I couldn't ever reach top-tier mothering status now. I regret those two months. I regret thinking I was an inferior mother. Now, I know I'm an amazing mother with a healthy little boy. Now I know there was nothing to be depressed over. Of course, I do hope to breastfeed any future children I may have, but I'll know I'm not doomed if I can't. I'll know I'm still able to be an amazing mother and raise amazing, healthy children. Mostly, when I read that headline now, my heart broke for those mothers who still haven't realized their worth. The ones who still feel like they're "not mom enough" or who are struggling to fend off depression enough to realize they're still incredible. I don't have any negative thoughts on the subject matter at all, mainly just the presentation. Honestly? If I hadn't gone through what I went through, I probably wouldn't have noticed or been so sensitive to it. But I did and so I am. I know that I'm MOM ENOUGH, and so are plenty of moms who have had to formula feed (or who chose).

LOL, sorry for the novel.
Sarah said…
I agree that the headline is misleading but after listening to the interview on the Today Show, I am more irriated that they are saying that breastfeeding is "Attachment Parenting". Since when has this been considered this? Breastfeeding is not some new fad and it makes me sad that this article is saying that. I also hate how it implies that mothers who do not breastfeed either because they cannot or do not want to are not "Mom enough". Ugh... so many issues with this article.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, the title is enough to make me not read it. Talk about a great article before mother's that hits a nerve at just about every mother out there. Either you have to defend yourself for breastfeeding or you feel the guilt for not breastfeeding. Damn, it sucks to be a mom sometimes :P That said, I was one of those moms who fought very hard to breastfeed my son before being too exhausted by 8 months to keep up the fight. Nicole, you were there through those awful early days. Ha, we even laughed at our ironic lack of supply and your overabundance. I guess it comes down to being the best mom you can be with what God has given you; we've all got our cross to bear. I'll never be a perfect mom and if I was, please send me to the drug rehab clinic hosted by Dr. Drew ;P Jessie L.
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