If you have ever been pregnant, you know the bump prompts bizarre and rather intimate questions from many a stranger. From, "When are you due?" to, "Are you going to have them cut or tear?" the pregnant woman must be prepared for a variety of queries. When you start getting into the topics of birthing and raising a child, there are so many different opinions and theories, I simply plan to do as much research as possible, then draw my own theory from what works best for our family. However, other people (people I am not friends with, and who I don't care to be considered as my acquaintances) have my birthing and child rearing techniques figured out for me in advance.
The other day someone asked me if I planned to breastfeed. I gave my usual answer when this question comes up, "Yes, I'm going to try. Neither my mom nor sister were able to, so I won't be too surprised if it doesn't work out." The normal person would nod and move on to the next topic, but...we'll call her Sandy...decided to take the conversation to the next level. "Well, you know that feeding your son formula could lead to childhood obesity."
Hmmm...this is something I have not heard. I was a formula baby back in the 80's, a time when formula was not nearly as nutritional as it is today. Does that mean I was a fat child? I'm pretty sure I was one of the skinniest kids in my class until I hit puberty, so maybe I was one of the lucky ones? My nieces (also formula fed) are tiny as well. Oh Sandy, do you know what you're talking about? Because I'm pretty sure childhood obesity is caused by parents who are under educated about nutrition. Not to mention the fact that it is cheaper to buy junk food than it is to buy fresh produce, whole grain, and organic products; and State benefits like WIC just happen to cover formula for low income families, who in general fall through the cracks when it comes to nutritional education. I could be wrong, but I think it is a bigger issue than formula Sandy.
Her lecture, lasting about 10 minutes, also included this fun statement: "You know, breastfeeding is really hard. Maybe your mom and sister just didn't try hard enough." Maybe she's right, but I always consider my mom and sister to be fairly strong women when it comes to parenting. My sister has even expressed to me that she had intense guilt and sadness when she switched to formula. And do you know why she felt this way Sandy? Because of people like you! And what about parents whose children have severe reflux, and suck (literally) the life out of their mothers? I know one person who had this experience, and she told me, "I had my shirt off all day because he would feed, then throw up, then want to feed more. My body couldn't handle it. I had to switch to formula."
I ventured to change the subject before I yelled at her: "So Sandy, you must have kids then." And guess what...she does NOT! But she is considering having kids sometime, but hopefully not soon. Then she went into a very awkward monologue about why she doesn't want to have kids yet. I think she deduced that my having discovered her lack in parenting meant I did not value or appreciate her feedback, because the next topic of conversation was about the game Monopoly.
This experience has made me very cautious when people ask personal questions about my pregnancy. The other day, while having dinner with a good friend she asked, "Are you going to get an epidural?" I tiptoed around the topic for a few seconds before she recognized my embarrassment and followed up with, "Not because I want to judge you, but because I was just curious." Phew!
I want everyone out there to know that any decision I make in the birthing and parenting of my baby will be centered around what is best for us. If I need a Caesarean section, I am fine with the procedure as long as it is what is best for Baby. If I let Baby cry in the process of teaching how to self-soothe himself to sleep, it is because a sleeping baby makes a happy family. I will attempt to breastfeed, and who knows, maybe I will like it so much and be so good at it that I will do it until he's 7. Hopefully not, but you never know.
In conclusion, I think my go-to answer for breastfeeding questions in the future will be: Breastfeeding is SO bourgeois!