Breastfeeding - The Life and Times of Imbrium Veltstra

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After 7 months, mommy still breastfeeds in between my regular meals. People around us seem surprised. That in turn, surprises us. Here's why.

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Even before I got born, we got told mommy should breastfeed. The midwife, the people in the hospital, and everyone else mommy and daddy talked to, claimed there was no better food than breastmilk. Since mommy was able to breastfeed, she did.

In the hospital, nurses tried to put me on a 2-hour schedule: feed for 20 minutes on one breast, then for 10 on the other, and repeat 2 hours later, switching which breast comes first. And don't allow me to suckle for comfort. (Because you too love to be put in the corner with a stuffed animal when you want some comfort.) The nurses would even wake me up for getting fed. Pediatrician, midwife, general physician, at-home birth care, they all agreed that this was the right way to eat. That time in the hospital was the time mommy was most fragile mentally, recovering from the surgery that pulled me into this world, and my mommy basically got told I would die if she didn't put me on the 2-hour schedule.

I did not like it. I refused to sleep, refused to eat at those intervals, refused to wake up to eat, and it looked like I didn't eat enough. Well at least the nurses told me so. They said I had lost too much weight... I don't think 3 ounces is too much.

The nurses also told my mommy that she didn't produce enough milk. They looked at the amount the vacuum pump pulled out. They compared that to my weight increase after eating. That, they said, fell short. So they added bottle milk, a.k.a. 'formula', to my diet.

Before trying the schedule, mommy read an article like this. It discusses breastfeeding on demand. After another week of failing at the 2-hour schedule, mommy and daddy decided to switch. They started feeding me when I asked to be fed. They no longer woke me up from sleeping, just to feed me. That did the trick. Thank you! Now I'm eating plenty, mommy's producing plenty of milk, and according to the child rearing agency, I'm growing and developing faster than most children.

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But now I'm 8 months old, and when mommy and daddy tell other people I still feed from the breast, we get the weirdest of looks. Whenever my mommy feeds me, uncles and boy cousins run away, younger girl cousins avert their eyes, while older cousins and aunts openly ask how mommy can keep it up. No, they couldn't do that. No, they stopped after a month or so, and switched to bottle milk. Even though "breastfeeding until the bare minimum age of 2 years is the norm and anything less brings about detrimental consequences".

Now drinking bottle milk is OK. If mommy hadn't been able to breastfeed, she too would have fed me formula. A good parent makes sure their child gets fed. But stopping with the breastfeeding because the 2-hour schedule isn't working for you is just silly. Several people told us they stopped because their baby wasn't getting enough of the good stuff. And no, they didn't try feeding on demand, like my mommy and daddy did. No, they simply gave up and switched to bottle milk. Even though, high and low, everyone agrees that breastmilk is the best.

Some of that can be explained medically: some mommies simply don't produce enough. Some can be explained economically: some parents don't have the time to feed on demand. (Why they chose to have children then, still confuses me.)

Most of it though, can be explained socially. Mommies who feed on demand, get frowned upon by people who are convinced that a 2-hour feeding schedule is the only way to go. And there's loads of them. And if you're already convinced, and everybody around you continues to imbue it upon you, you aren't going to try something else.

Thus, even though every expert and everyone else we know says breastfeeding is the best, they also make mommies give up quickly, after their rather arbitrary 2-hour schedule fails.

Luckily for me, my mommy looked at research and statistics, rather than hear-say. Mommy will continue to breastfeed untill I self-wean, which may start in a year, or untill my teeth start coming in and I start chewing. Ouchie.
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