The Stir: Rife with BF-FF fodder!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
The Stir: Rife with BF-FF fodder!
Wed, 08-14-2013 - 1:07pm

On Tandem Nursing by Jeanne Sager

Moms, how many kids would you be willing tobreastfeed at once? One? Two? How aboutbreastfeeding three children? That's what mom Samantha Williams proudly announced to the world the other day. Now for the really big news: only one of those kids is a baby.

That's right. Samantha is nursing her 7-month-old. Her 3-year-old. AND her 5-year-old.

At once. Well, sort of.

Despite her unusual breastfeeding routine, Samantha is just like regular gals: she only has two breasts. So while she is doing what's called "tandem nursing" of her baby and two older kids, only two can latch on at any one time. Still, she's trading off two boobs among three children, and they're not triplets.

Is this woman a saint? Or is she nuts? Maybe a little bit of both?

I'm not here to piss in the cornflakes of breastfeeding moms. This is NOT about breastfeeding. At least not about why women choose to nurse at the outset.

But Samantha has put herself out there as an example of what a woman can do with her kids, and I can't help but be a little horrified. Women who extended nurse say they do so for the best of their kids, but her 3- and 5-year-olds aren't the only kids this mom has to consider.

What about her baby? What about what's best for 7-month-old Ethan?

Is it really to have a mother whose body is working overtime for three kids in every way -- not just running after them, but in producing milk? Is it really to have to share this special mom to baby bonding time that the breastfeeding proponents crow about with his siblings? Is it really to have a mom who never gets to just shut off?

That's the part that really gets me. What about her?

Because breastfeeding one kid takes a lot out of you. Breastfeeding three? That's ... a lot of pressure, especially for the mother of an infant.

I'm sure Samantha Williams is a good mom. She's obviously trying. And the photos show happy, healthy kids. But my response to her story wasn't "oh, how cool." It was, good God, that poor woman.

She's breastfeeding three children. THREE! That's a lot of work for a mom, a mom who has an infant at home who needs his mother to have as much energy for him as she can muster.

Adding more kids to your family can be a wonderful thing, but you need to remember not to spread yourself too thin -- because that's not good for anyone, and it's not fair to your new baby.

As always the comments are the best part.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 08-14-2013 - 1:11pm

Touchy Formula Feeders Overreact by Sasha Brown-Worsham

Let's just get this off our chests (pun intended) for a moment: Breastfeeding is the healthiest, most natural way to feed a baby. Countless studies have been done proving this over and over again. If possible, breastfeeding is the best way that a child can be fed. This is just a fact. So why are doctors actually feeling afraid to say this?

Dr. Claire McCarthy is a columnist known as "MD Mama" and her posts are always very helpful in terms of navigating life's sticky situations with children. This week she discussed breastfeeding, but she did so with a massive disclaimer explaining that originally she'd wanted to write about a new study (yet another one) showing the benefits of breastfeeding, but that she was afraid to say it was best for fear of igniting the "mommy wars." She's right to be afraid.

The reality is, breastfeeding is a very touchy subject for many, many people. And yet, who can argue with the reality of the matter? Breastfeeding IS the ideal way to feed a child. Formula is fine. But breast, if possible, is better. Why is that so hard to say?

It has become a heated topic largely because those women who are unable to do it for whatever reason feel insecure about their decision. And it's no wonder they do. For many women (like those who might take photos of themselves nursing in front of formula booths), breastfeeding is a badge of honor, something that makes them a superior mom.

This makes me laugh. I nursed my children for years and that was largely because it was easy. I was lucky. But you know what? My kids are almost 7 and 5 now and the fact that I nursed means basically nothing. It may mean the world when you have a baby, but things change.

I don't blame moms who didn't or couldn't nurse for being sensitive, but the truth is, they need to stop being so. We are an oversensitive lot. We all have our sore points and hearing that something we struggled with doesn't exist (say, trouble nursing or picky eating) makes us feel worse and, in turn, makes us unable to hear even the basic facts about nursing without flipping out.

Is breastfeeding ideal? Yes. It is. Study after study after study says that breastfeeding is better for children.

But formula is fine.

Babies need to eat and formula is the next best thing to breast milk. If we could all lose the over-sensitivity and the superiority, we could actually deal with facts. It's such a shame that we women are so predictable and easily ignited. If we can't even discuss breastfeeding in a dignified manner, what can we discuss?

How many new derogatory terms for breastfeeding can the commenters create?