We the people just love to argue, don't we? Doesn't matter what it is, we have to be nasty about it. Half of us are right. Half are wrong. Which half is correct?
We fight about gay marriage. We fight about gun rights. Pro-choice or pro-life? Upping the minimum wage...the death penalty. The joys of arguing health care are never-ending as well. But every once in a while a dark horse is in the running. It sneaks in there and boy, do people have significant opinions on it.
I laughed as I typed that, because it seems so ridiculous that mothers are willing to cut each other over this specific topic. But, boy, are they.
I'd better fess up now and say I was a nursing mom. Big time. I could have nursed the Russian army. It wasn't easy at the beginning, and it took me a good six weeks before I was truly in the swing of it, but I nursed non-stop from kid to kid, in fact I nursed the last until she was 3. GASP. I can hear you gasping, non-nursers. Let me really blow your mind: I nursed an infant and a toddler at the same time. Let that one sink in. It worked for me. I didn't give up on it, and I truly appreciated those quiet, snuggly moments.
I nursed everywhere. Restaurants, Disney World, birthday parties, swimming pools. Not ONE TIME was I ever exposed publicly. Not one time did my nursing bother a stranger. I will admit once at an airport a Brit approached me and asked for some breast milk. Before I could toss the kid and attack the poor foreigner, he explained breast milk can cure eye infections. (Poor Bob Costas, he could have used some in Sochi.) It was an interesting nursing moment, but he didn't get any. Never did I flash a boob. Just a discreet nursing, and then we were done.
So, I suppose you'd say I'm pro-nursing, right?
I'm not. I'm pro-mothering sanity. If you want to nurse, great, nurse. In fact, if you want tips and tricks, holler, I know them all. I could pump a full bottle and nurse a baby at the same time. I knew the correct way for a baby to latch on, and I know how to get that milk supply up. But my holier-than-thou nursing friends, come down off the high horse for just a sec. Some moms don't want to nurse. Some can't. Some know they are returning to work quickly and want to make that transition as easily as possible. Fine by me; whatever works for those families is great. Frankly, it's none of my business (or yours) how anyone chooses to feed their infant, I just hope whatever they do works best for them. But breast feeding is the healthiest thing you can give your baby, right? While I do agree it is very healthy, I had two kids with severe allergies, adenoids removed, tonsils out, ear infections, and one with cancer. (He is well. That is a column for a different time.) So, let's quit throwing that little dagger at our non-nursing compatriots.
Now, non-nursers, it's your turn to listen up. When you say "it's gross," you look ignorant. This is not a bodily function. You created a life in that body, and you can feed that life with your body. It's pretty brilliant when you think about it. It's the least gross thing my body has ever done. When you say to nurse in a restroom, even if the nurser is doing so discreetly, I'd like to hand you your next meal while you are sitting on a toilet. Your ridiculously uncomfortable attitude seems slightly off-kilter to me. If a baby nursing discreetly from its mother gives you nervous fits, see a shrink. This isn't a subject that should fall under a "prude" category. And remember this, anti-nursing militants: you are the product of a massive marketing campaign dating back nearly 100 years. It's been very successful – and not completely factual.
So, who wins the best mom award? The nurser or the formula feeder?
The mother who stays sane. Who loves her baby through sleepless nights, illnesses, post-partum depressions, while she's learning to be a mama, or juggling several kids... she wins the prize.
I think it's time we lighten up here. Nursers, be discreet. Non, don't be rude. We are all mothers, and this job is hard. I'm not a bit sorry that I was a nursing mom, in fact, I'm very proud. I'm also very proud that I potty trained them and taught them to use a knife and fork. Every day is an accomplishment with infants and toddlers. Be nice to each other, mothers. You share the same trenches. Let's stick to judging one another on important things, like baby names.