Over the weekend, I heard that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants hospitals to “voluntarily” stop offering formula to moms of newborns, and lecture them on the necessity of breast feeding to increase more breastfed babies in NYC as part of his “health initiative.”
What I find so interesting is that this initiative already exists in hospitals across the country.
When my wife and I gave birth to both of our children, who are three years apart, we were consulted by a lactation specialist each time. Both specialists instructed us on how to breastfeed and why it was so important for our little ones to reap the rewards of mother’s milk.
We were on board – as a matter of fact, even though I wasn’t the biological mom of our children, I had gone through the arduous task of producing milk without ever having been pregnant. Yes, it’s possible! Adoptive moms do it sometimes for bonding purposes.
Anyway, our lactation specialist gave me the herbal and pumping protocol, and four months later I had milk! I did this out of love, to bond with our children, and have this “romantic” experience breast feeding my son and daughter, all while glowing!
The truth behind what went down was painful. There was no romance. What I learned was that sometimes breast feeding was very difficult. When our son didn’t latch on, he would cry endlessly. We even had the lactation specialist come to our house to help. Still, no such luck. I resigned that I would be his snack and my wife, his biological mom, would be his breakfast, lunch and dinner, but even that didn’t work. Turns out, our son was allergic to dairy and soy. We were actually poisoning our poor baby. It was a huge disappointment. We then had to move him over to a special formula that cost $60 bucks a can.
Big sigh! All that work to create milk and our son couldn’t eat from the four breasts offered to him at the drop of a dime. However, the fact remained, it was our CHOICE to breast feed and no one else’s.
Our daughter was a different story.
She breast fed like a champ every HOUR of the day! Yes, you read that right, every hour for five months. It was painful to watch my wife go through her days in a fog. I felt helpless. We knew that our baby girl was getting all the nutrients she needed, but boy, what we wouldn’t give for baby G to take a bottle of formula!
After my wife was diagnosed with severe post partum depression and severe sleep deprivation, we decided it was time to get baby G off the boob and transfered to formula. It took two agonizing months of endless crying and sleepless night for the whole family, but it finally happened! We celebrated.
Would we do this again? Yes and no. With hind sight 20/20, we would definitely change things up. Not every child is the same and not every mom produces the same amount of milk. Breast feeding is not for everyone, so it should not be forced. No one should be adding more pressure to new moms who have it beautifully hard to begin with.
Is breast feeding best? Not always but it’s preferred. Should hospitals bully moms to breastfeed? No, it’s a moms prerogative! I think if a mom can breast feed her child, she should, but Bloomberg, just because a mom says she wants formula doesn’t make her less of a mom than the other moms who choose breast only.
My choice words to our Mayor? Get off the proverbial “boob” box and worry about more important issues in NYC like the drive-by in Brooklyn that took the lives of innocent children. Your new initiative creates bitterness and prejudice against the mommy community and its deeply unfortunate.
I’m tired of the whole ‘I’m better than you because I breast fed all four of my children and went back to work in six weeks’ mentality.
What do I say to those moms? Good for you. Now, where’s your gold medal?
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