Sunday, June 7, 2009

Attack of the Breastfeeding Nazis

So the title of this blog is a *little* dramatic. I'll give you that. But, breastfeeding is a VERY DRAMATIC topic in case ya didn't know! It all started back in the summer of 2008 when I found out I was pregnant...there were so many things to decide and plan for in terms of raising my child. One of the major issues I had to think about was breastfeeding and whether or not I was going to do it. Little did I know that it wasn't always a choice one could simply make.

Everything I read and heard touted the benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfed babies are supposed to have higher I.Q.s than babies that are raised on "swill," i.e., formula. "Breast is best!" the associated propaganda clearly states. So being a Type-A woman and determined to provide the BEST for my child, I decided I would breastfeed and ONLY breastfeed. No formula, no pumping, etc. That was my plan and I was sticking to it come hell or high water!

To prepare for this joyous, selfless and MANDATORY experience, husby and I signed up for breastfeeding classes. The instructor showed a couple of videos that featured happy moms and their babies breastfeeding blissfully (try to say that 20 times fast!). My preparation made me so excited to be a breastfeeding mother. I just knew in my heart this was the ONLY way we could go!

REALITY CHECK: I ended up having a C-section. This experience was devastating. Don't get me wrong, the doctors and nurses at my hospital were all great. I was treated quite well. What was devastating was that I was in utter pain and could barely sit up out of bed for a few days. The day I had to get up and walk on my own was THE MOST PAINFUL EXPERIENCE I have ever felt.

But of course, I WAS GOING TO BREASTFEED...I MUST NOT DEVIATE FROM THE PLAN! My crazy ass was trying to breastfeed within 24 hours of my MAJOR SURGERY. Needless to say, I was in mind-crushing pain and still put breastfeeding ahead of my own well-being. To top it off, my poor baby was crying before, during and after feedings and we didn't know why. I was still determined to breastfeed because BREAST IS BEST, dontcha know?! Two of the four nights I was in the hospital I slept only ONE hour because I was trying my hardest to breastfeed like a "good" mom should. Don't get me wrong...I know parenting is not about getting sleep. But, after major surgery (did I tell you I had a C-section??) you need some rest to recuperate properly.

Finally, one night husby convinced me to feed the baby formula. We had a huge fight, but he won, because his point was that the baby needed to eat and eat comfortably, not while crying and screaming while I was bawling and in pain. I finally gave in and the baby ate peacefully and was content.

One of the saner lactation nurses at the hospital discovered why poor baby wasn't able to breastfeed properly...his frenulum was too short. So, the whole time I was trying and trying, baby simply wasn't getting enough. I mean I even had one two-hour breastfeeding session before I found this out! This nurse told me that the baby could get this frenulum problem fixed. Some doctors even snipped it right in their offices! Convenient and so in line with the breastfeeding Nazi agenda, right?

My OB told me to pump breastmilk to supplement the formula and call it a day. Sounds like great advice, right? WRONG! One especially insane lactation Nazi got a crazy look in her eye when I told her I was going to pump. She sounded devasted that I was going to pump. Like I killed her fucking puppy dog or something.

Apparently pumping isn't "real" breastfeeding. Okay, so lemme get this straight. The purpose of breastfeeding is to feed babies breastmilk. When one pumps, one produces breastmilk. WHAT IS THE FUCKING PROBLEM?!?! I ignored her (see, by this time, the confident me was starting to creep back in to my brain and mind) and proceeded to feed my baby formula and expressed breastmilk.

After we arrived home from the hospital, husby went out and rented a pump for me. We decided on a month-to-month rental, but in my mind I told myself I would pump until the baby's frenulum was snipped. About a month after the baby was born, we took him to a oral surgeon for a consultation. He told us he could do the procedure. Great! But, the baby would have to be completely put under. NOT GOOD. The doctor never outright said NOT to do it, but he did tell us that our baby was thriving extremely well on expressed milk and formula and that he rarely ever puts patients under six months old completely under. Well, that was all husby and I had to hear. Our boy was growing and happy. Without "real" breastfeeding...imagine that! Fuck putting him under! If you would do that just to breastfeed, you are motherfucking crazy. There, I said it. You are a crazy, breastfeeding Nazi.

Now, don't get me wrong. I know plenty of breastfeeding moms that are awesome people. They breastfeed and don't judge anyone for not doing it (my dear friends in Langhorne, PA and Yardville, NJ are great examples). They did and do what is best for them and their babies. Those moms are NOT what this entry is about. I'm talking about the rude-ass breastfeeding Nazi bitches that insist on knowing whether or not you breastfeed and then judge you negatively. Like we women don't have enough to worry about!

I do digress. Anyways, so I'm pumping along, feeding the baby. All seems to be going well. And it should be, because when I first got home from the hospital, my wonderful mother stayed and helped out for almost a month post-partum (she came out from Vegas a week before my delivery). Dear husby took time off work, too. So all I had to do was pump and change some diapers and do some bottlefeedings, in between trying to relax so I could heal. Not too hard, right?

WRONG. After my mom left and husby had to go back to work, I was home alone trying to pump, watch the baby, feed the baby, diaper the baby, clean the house, recuperate (C-section, remember?), make meals for myself, etc. I began to HATE pumping. I spent every spare minute I had pumping. It was humiliating to do it. Any woman that says they don't mind pumping are motherfucking lying! YOU ARE LIKE A COW BEING MILKED...IT IS GROSS AND BEYOND TIMECONSUMING. I was supposed to be taking care of a baby AND resting (you know, to recuperate after my C-section) but I never, ever got to rest. Even when my husby would take over some night feedings I had to get up to pump. Then each time I pumped I had to clean all of the pump parts.

Wow, what a "horrible" mother I am. How dare I not love pumping. I mean, BREAST IS BEST...for the love of God, GIVE IT A FUCKING REST. Husby brought the pump back to the rental company after one month. In total, my baby drank breastmilk for about a month and a half, counting the time I pumped in the hospital. I was proud that I was able to give my baby breastmilk for the time I did, so I laid the topic to rest and got over my guilt. The baby and I both put our best foot (or breast in my case) forward and we don't owe anyone any explanations.

Cut to the present time. My baby is now almost three months old. He is thriving...boy, is he thriving! A big, happy baby that sleeps well (day and night), giggles a lot and simply enjoys life. His pediatrician calls him "solid" and I see the baby growing physically and mentally every day. You could put him next to a breastfeeding baby and no one would be able to tell he was drinking that filthy formula stuff. In fact, most people say, wow, healthy baby, he looks very happy! Why, thank you, he is! Biggups to husby and I for that. And I guess the formula must be working quite well, too. Hey, it's not breastmilk and it's not the BEST, but just from looking at him anyone can see how well he is flourishing.

In spite of the baby's apparently healthiness and positive disposition, the first question most women ask me is "ARE YOU BREASTFEEDING?????????????????????????????????????"
No, I say, I did pump for almost two months. Then they get that look on their face like they feel sorry for me and the baby. They also look at me like I am selfish and lazy. Oh yea, you got me girl. I'm just lazy. I don't wanna pump because I wanna go clubbing and dancing. I also wanna attend "How to be a Horrible Mother by Formula Feeding Your Baby" classes in my spare time instead of pumping.

Yesterday, I had a get together where I invited a bunch of my friends and their babies to bbq and chill. I couldn't wait to see one of my friend's babies. She delivered five days before me, so I never got to chance to see her baby girl yet. Now, she had I had talked about breastfeeding before and we both ended up doing the same thing. Breastfeeding, then pumping and formula, then 100% formula. I felt comfortable talking with her about breastfeeding and feeding in general because she genuinely cares for me and my family. Also, she did not judge me and nor I her. She's definitely not a breastfeeding Nazi. I know what kind of moms she and I are...I know we both tried our asses off to breastfeed and/or pump. We are FAR from lazy, I can tell you that!

So at this event, I was feeling great. I was hanging out with friends, enjoying the beautiful weather and even drinking some of those fruity alcoholic drinks. Life is good...until BREASTFEEDING NAZI came and rained on my parade. This is what happened. One of my other close girlfriends asked if I was breastfeeding and I did not mind answering her because she was my girl. Seconds after I answered "no, but I pumped for about a month and a half" the Bf Nazi rolls her eyes and scoffs "ONLY a month and a half? I breastfed for six months." Okaaaayyyy....and so what??? I was LIVID, PISSED OFF, on the verge of MURDA, because I KNEW how hard the baby and I tried. We tried to make it work, but what is best for our situation (I say our, because it wasn't just me involved) is formula.

Where was this bitch when I was moaning in post-op pain, trying desperately to breastfeed my newborn? Was SHE helping me clean my house and fold my laundry when I was home? Was SHE cleaning my pump accessories? HELL TO THE NO.

I remained classy and didn't snap back. I wanted to crack her neck and kick her right in the bandonkadonk. What a classless and ignorant comment.

I came home and vented to my husby. I was so angry, that I restarted this Hatewatchers blog that you are reading right now. I just had to get this incident off my chest! I want to speak up for myself and all other mothers out there that are formula feeding and/or "only" pumping. We have rights, too!

Moral: The next time you wanna ask a women if she's breastfeeding, think twice. Unless she is a close friend (even then, who cares) or has similar experiences, just leave it be. Why not just ask the mom how she and her partner (if there is one) are doing? Why not just hold the baby and enjoy that time?

Ladies, let's act like ladies and leave our intrusive, possibly-offensive questions and comments at the door.

Note: Please excuse the use of "Nazi" in this blog entry. I did not intend to offend anyone. If I have offended you, I hope you accept my deepest apologies. I am just very, very, very angry at these non-supportive, spiteful women that are so proud of the fact that they breastfeed AND can't wait to rub our poor formula-buying noses in it.


  1. Phoebe,

    You read my mind -- I was thinking of writing my own blog on this topic. Anyone who thinks breastfeeding (even if you don't pump) is easy, has no idea what they are talking about. Now I'm doing about half formula, 1/4 breastfeeding, 1/4 pumping and am about to give up the pumping because it SUCKS. You are a fab mom and don't let anyone ever rain on your parade.

    Love, your newish sister, Shobha

  2. Rock on wit ya bad self Phoebe! Shai is a beautiful, happy baby who is adored by his awesome parents.

    Thanks for this post.


  3. Ohhhh Phoebe!!! I HATE pumping!!! It is horribly uncomfortable!!! You def. do feel like a cow being milked! Scott even walks by sometimes and says 'mooooo' lol. I have to do it every nite so that I can mix it with Belle's solids now...I envy everyone that can just go right up to bed and go to sleep!!! Now...I don't want to rush Belle along AT ALL as I am trying to enjoy every moment with her at this age because I know it goes way too quickly and she will be talking back to me in no time, BUT I cannot wait for the year mark in the way that she can have cows milk in her cereals and I won't have to pump for it anymore!!

    Oh wait!! And did I mention that Belle is a biter? Yeah...that's not least once during EVERY breastfeeding session...Nicolas did it maybe only twice the whole time I breast fed him. UGGGhhhhh!!!

    You know that I support you in everything you do and Shai is so lucky to have you and Shawn as parents!!!

    All my love,

  4. I also wanna attend "How to be a Horrible Mother by Formula Feeding Your Baby" classes in my spare time instead of pumping.... that is f%^&ing awesome. I think I saw you at the last Wednesday meeting?

  5. I am glad you got your chance to vent and call me a breast feeding nazi bitch! The sad part was I wasn't trying to be vengeful or judgemental, because I actually went through a similar situation of unplanned c-section and painful recovery and a baby that wouldn't latch on for a month so I know exactly how hard it is to breastfeed and pump. So once again sorry for ruining your event and being insensitive and God knows my heart when I tell you I wasn't trying to take away from your experience of enjoying your child and doing whatever worked for you.

  6. I know I don't know much about this topic, but to all the Breastfeeding Nazis out there - my cousin is an amazing mom with a BEAUTIFUL HEALTHY child. She will give you your opinion when she wants it. Have a nice day ladies :)

  7. Such a well written, heated blog entry! You are so right -- and you have such an amazing attitude about it. Just for the record, though, I always choose clubbing and dancing over pumping.

  8. Phoebe,

    You had me rolling with this entry! You are a witty, funny writer and I am looking forward to more blog entries of the "Horrible Mother Who Formula Feeds Her Baby" :P

    Don't let anyone else ruin your mood, gurrrl. There is no rulebook set in stone for all mothers to follow. You are only accountable to God and your baby. As long as Shai is growing up healthy, happy and strong that's all that matters.

    My mother raised all of us on formula and we are all perfectly fine, SO THERE!! :)


  9. Phoebe,

    I meant to post my comment on this a while ago. First of all, you are a great mom and don't let anyone tell you otherwise or bring you down. There will be people who will never be happy for you and it took me some time to learn to ignore those people. I know it makes you angry, as I think we have that in common, but you must ignore them and enjoy your beautiful baby boy!

    As you already know, I had a similar BFing experience as you and spent many of my first weeks as a mom depressed because BFing wasn't working for my baby and me. I would end up in tears and frustrate my baby. After trying for a while and pumping, I decided I needed to do what's best for both myself and my baby and gave her formula. I was a formula-fed baby myself, and I turned out just fine. Now, while I was pregnant, I had always planned on BFing (we spoke about this too) and bought all the things I needed (BFing bras, tanks, pads, etc). And everyone will tell you that you MUST BF and there's no other way. Well, only one friend of mine told me the truth - she said if it works out and I CAN BF, then great but it's OK if it doesn't work and not to beat myself up about it. My mom and sister also said this to me after I kept trying and it wasn't working. But there are those people who just want you to feel horrible and will continue to bring it up EVERY time they see you just because they know that you are not BFing. In the beginning, I really stressed myself out when this happened but I learned to ignore these type of comments.

    To end my rant on this hot topic, I want to say that I started to feel better about my formula-feeding after finding out that many of the moms I knew didn't BF! It was such a relief to me and didn't make me feel as though I was a horrible mom (as those BFing nazis want you to feel). I know that I'm a great mom and will always try to be a better mom. My baby girl is happy and healthy and that's all I could ask for. For those people who cannot be happy for me then they should keep their mouths shut. I'm now enjoying my baby and my family and couldn't be happier! So I hope you do the same! ;)

  10. Great post, my wife and I are going thru this right now. Her milk isn't really coming in and the baby is screaming all the time, making us both miserable..

    We visited the lactation nurse today and it really only made things worse. I really don't see a problem with supplimenting breast milk with additional formula. Eventually mom will come into her own and make a good supply of milk, but you can't ALWAYS count on it being there. But the nurse will try to make you feel like a failure if you don't breastfeed, and lay on the guilt trip.

    Thanks for telling it like it is.

  11. Hi Anonymous, apologies for not approving your comment sooner. Thank you for reading the blog and providing your insights. You sound like a very supportive husband and father, which is wonderful. Believe it or not, a lot of men are very old fashioned when it comes to breastfeeding. I hope that what I wrote helped you and your wife feel better. Please know that you have my full support. Us sane parents gotta stick together! :)

  12. Make a choice. Own it. No one TELLS you how to feel. You want a medal for breastfeeding? For formula feeding? You won't get one for either CHOICE. On, and by the way, Nazis killed millions of people. Breastfeeding advocates are trying to save lives. Name calling really undermines your argument. You fucking idiot.

  13. Yes, Anonymous (most recent), I agree that no one tells you *how* to feel, but if I feel something and am angry, I can choose to react how I want to. I chose to write about it. I'm very happy for you that you can let everything slide off your back, but fucking idiots like me can't. Additionally, I am well aware that Nazis killed millions of Jews. I chose "breastfeeding" Nazi because these people that were shoving breastfeeding down my throat were so maniacally fervent and negative in their approach, that it felt extremely cultish and smacked of misdirected passion. It's sarcasm on my part. A writer uses various types of literary vehicles to get his or her point across. Thanks for your feedback.

  14. P.S. Wait, I don't get a medal? (Sarcasm again.)

  15. Hey Anonymous,

    If name calling really undermines The Hatewatcher's argument, then I guess we shouldn't be taking you too seriously either, huh? "fucking idiot"-- really? That sure is an intelligent way to show this blogger the "error of her views". LOL... nice.

    Stay classy!

  16. Hey anonymous, you're a fucking idiot.

    A breastfeeding mother of 2.

  17. Anon,

    "Breastfeeding advocates are trying to save lives." Uhh what about The Hatewatcher's baby who would have starved if she continued trying to breastfeed? Are they trying to save his life? In what way?

  18. I needed this post sooo badly! I labored unmedicated with pitocin for 24 hours before a c-section. Then I was seperated from my baby for hours. Of course we had latch issues and my supply didn't come in fully for a week. So we pumped and supplemented when needed. When I tried seeing a lactation consultant in person I was told it would be 55 dollars for the consultation plus 50 dollars an hour on top of that. I was looking at 105 dollars just to be seen! Then the other consultants were over the phone only...worthless.

    They put forth this culture of being for the womanly art of breastfeeding, but when it comes down to it, no one is there to support or help. Trust me, I called every single support group in my city and either didn't get a return call or I was told the same rote information that was not helping, or that support group had been shut down.

    So, yes, I pump and occasionally feed formula. I am a bad mom because the baby will not have a formed jaw from the bottles, and I've destroyed the ph level of her intestines from the formula...blah blah blah. Dammit, I have a healthy 2 week old little girl and they all can go to hell. Pumping is breastfeeding, you pompous boob pushers!

    Thanks for the great blog and keep up being the incredible Mama that you are!

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