Sunday, December 31, 2006

 

Smelly girls wax poetic about breastfeeding

Don't worry, we only smell when overwhelmed by the chemical combination of dish soap and wet cat. We also itch, but now, what does that have to do with the nature of breastfeeding?

So, in finding a nearby pediatrician that appreciates holistic medicine and non-vaccinating, we run the risk of 1. finding someone who ignores our midnight pleas to just call us in some penicillin and more importantly, 2. lectures us about breastfeeding. Or the lack thereof. Mel got a referral card from the midwife's office, and with several exhausting and virtually useless well visits ahead of us, we may check it out and get suckered in to the docs that aren't an hour away. However, breastfeeding is always an issue.

I have yet to find someone who thinks a fabulous response to this question is a lengthy analysis of the social construction of the "naturalness" of breastfeeding.

And I SO want to find that doctor.

Because I read all the studies. Today. Not about the health benefits of breastfeeding, but about the family dynamic of lesbian families who do or don't breastfeed. Most do. This perplexes me, but I suppose it all makes sense in the grand historical sccheme of feminist "empowerment" through motherhood....in that radical way of celebrating all things once downtrodden. And enjoying mothering. And embracing it.

I have never, ever, repeat, never, wanted a small child near my boobs. Boobs are fun, not food, as I see it. I'm sure you can go ahead and diagnose a number of culturally constructed psychological problems from which I suffer for my intense desire to never breastfeed, so go ahead. I'm not so interested, having little desire to think about breastfeeding.

Well, lots of lesbians think about it and most try it. According to *the literature*, a few even quit for relationship issues (leaving out the *co*parent, calling the coparent a coparent, reinforcing that biology = mommyhood, reinforcing the naturalness of parenthood and thus behaving antithetically to all my queer impulses...or maybe that's just my take.

And since Mel has 5% more desire to breastfeed than I do (i.e. not so much desire), we're devised some excuses for the doctor that will certainly lecture us about immunities and nutrients and wholly ignore 1. sex 2. bonding with the kid for all parents 3. intense desire to enjoy pills again. Feel free to vote on your favorite:

Mel wants to go on antidepressants (runs the risk of having notes on "family dynamic" in child's records

Mel was sexually abused as a child and therefore cannot breastfeed (which shuts down further questioning, sadly, hard to lie about with a straight face. Yes, we're bad people.

Mel grew up on a hog farm (I made this one up myself) where multiple family members have had serious health problems from exposure to pesticides, therefore we're using organic formula instead

Mel was sexually abused by a hog (what we'll end up saying under duress).

??

Comments:
Truly, I don't understand you. I don't see why you think you cannot bond with a baby without breastfeeding. Yes, most lesbian families breastfeed. I know very very few who have formula fed, and when you guys said you were FF feeding I was shocked. It doesn't "fit" with the rest of it. But, it's your thing. If you (or mel) don't want to BF, don't. But don't rule it out completely because you think that only one parent can then bond with the baby. I am plenty bonded with Charlie! I didn't start nursing him regularly (there were a few stray instances) until he was close to a year old. Now I do, regularly, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. But it hasn't changed the family dynamic in the least.
And it's none of the doctor's business. She *might* refuse to write the WIC referral if she knows you're FF out of preference (and I have to admit I would support her, shoot me now), but she's got no place to lecture you on that. Tell her to fuck off and your boobs are none of her business. Besides, it either of you are BFing, how are you supposed to leave the baby with us for days on end while you take a cruise? Certainly a bad idea all around.

But I don't think the hog rape one will work. Now, mama hog dying and Mel's dad forcing her to breastfeed the baby hogs so they didn't lose that year's hog income might work. Use that one.
 
I don't think that breastfeeding innately makes a bond with baby, let alone one single bond. But you know my shpiel about the social construction of naturalness... Or maybe you choose to ignore said ramblings. Only 2 (academic, 30-something) women have ever totally gotten us on the breastfeeding issue, and it's not about feeling left out. More about the social construction of left-outedness that makes women feel bonded because they breastfeed and others get represented (whether or not they feel it) as less-than-moms.

And doncha think we bonded with Alice all right?
 
Sure. I think you bonded with Alice fine. Because like I said, breastfeeding is not the end all be all of bonding. I don't think it really affects it much at all. We didn't do it for any bonding, or social expectation, or need to be validated as mothers. AJ did it because she (and we) couldn't justify doing something less healthy for our child. And we're cheap. And I am of the opinion that breast feeding may very well have saved his life, by alerting us to all of his allergies when he was getting it "diluted" versus him being nine months old and us scrambling an egg for dinner and ending up with an anaphylactic baby.
I heard your ramblings. I "get" them, but you see BFing in a far far different way than I ever have. It's got nothing to do with society for ME, where it obviously does for you.

But I still think you should use my story out suckling hog babies.
 
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