There is an old lady that lives close to us that likes to ask me nearly every time I pass by, "Are you still nursing?" I'm not sure what her deal is and why it is any of her concern, but my answer is always, "Yes." She'll reply, "You really need to give her some formula." Usually I just say, "Oh, she's okay," and walk off. It's not as if I know this woman all that well, so I don't even know why she asks me the question in the first place. Today was not much different. As I was leaving to take Lily to Toddler Time at the library, the lady was sitting outside. Our conversation went like this:
Old Lady: Kristi! Is Lily gaining weight? (Mind you, no "Hello! How are you?")
Me: She sure is.
Old Lady: Are you still nursing her?
Me: She's mostly on solids now, but we still nurse a little.
Old Lady: You need to give her formula. (pronounced formular)
Me: Aw, she's getting plenty to eat.
Old Lady: You'll get on with it.
Um, what? Why would I want to give my 13 month old a breast milk substitute when we are in the weaning process already? We've already started giving her cow's milk and she eats solids all the time. She eats what we eat at every meal and she eats until she is full. Lily still loves ninnie sometimes, but it's not really out of hunger. She just loves ninnie because she loves ninnie! Why in the world do I need to give her formula? My body works! Truly. Read it again. MY. BODY. WORKS.
Let's all agree on something for once, m'kay? Whether it's about birth or breastfeeding or even exercise or eating or whatever it is that you want your body to do. Let's go into this thing with the assumption that our bodies work. You're having a baby? Let's treat your pregnancy and your birth like your body is going to do what it's designed to do, first. Let's leave the process alone. Let's not interfere with anything. Then, if there's a problem, let's do something about it.
Or how about this. Let's just assume that our bodies will make milk. If you honestly have no medical conditions that would keep you from breastfeeding, let's just assume that you can breastfeed. Your body works. It really does. Let's also prepare the mind to encounter difficulties. Breastfeeding is hard sometimes! Birth is hard sometimes. But your body works! You can do it. If you have trouble breastfeeding, call in some reinforcement. Call family who successfully breastfed, call LLL leaders, call lactation consultants or call WIC breastfeeding counselors. Call your doula if you had one! There are people who can help you. Be hardheaded about succeeding dadgummit! Be stubborn! YOUR BODY WORKS!!! GRRRR!!!!
I understand that breastfeeding is not for everyone. If it's not for you, GREAT. Don't do it. If you tried really really hard and it still didn't work out and you're happy with your decision to use other methods of feeding your baby, GREAT! I am happy for you. My concern is for those women who are having a difficult time with breastfeeding, who really really really want to, but who lack support. It is for those women who are being told, "Well, maybe you just can't breastfeed," when they encounter difficulty or discouragement. No! No! No! Your body works! You CAN do it!
If you're one of those people who like to plant seeds of doubt, please stop. Instead, try this on for size. Go ahead, repeat after me.
"I believe in you." Go ahead, say it. Out loud. LOUDER!
"I know you'll get through this!" Like you mean it.
"Let's see if we can find someone who can help." I think you're getting the hang of it.
"You can do it!" I know you can do it. I know you can stop the doubt spreading. I know you can help someone in need. You can stop planting seeds of doubt and instead plant seeds of faith.