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MC sent me this link, as a follow up to my post “Breastfeeding Reduces Anxiety in Children“. Apparently, breastfeeding creates anxiety in some mothers, thus they have chosen to feed their infants exclusively pumped breastmilk. Actually, I know of two women who have done this, and I applaud their commitment to giving their infants the best possible nutrition from the start.
One such mother, that has chosen to exclusively pump for her daughter, is Carrie Mehi, a lawyer from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Carrie explains her psychological struggle with breastfeeeding:
This is a part of my body that’s always been reserved for sexual activity, and I sort of assumed my brain would make whatever necessary adjustments it had to do to make [breastfeeding] not a completely creepy experience for me. I really don’t think we tried breastfeeding after the first day we left the hospital. I was not interested in having my sweet baby crying at my breast for one more minute. I just wanted her fed. [Breastfeeding] was an unpleasant sensation to me, and I thought, you know what, if I’m flinching, I might as well flinch to a machine instead of to my girl.
Dr. Ruth Lawrence, a professor of pediatrics and expert on breastfeeding at the University of Rochester explains the psychological struggle some women face when breastfeeding:
Some women do it because they can’t envision the baby suckling at their breast. I suspect it has to do with our whole modern attitude about the breast. It’s become such a sex object.
Personally, I have more of a psychological issue with being hooked up to a breast pump than allowing my babe to suckle at the breast. When I had to pump because my son had had open-heart surgery, I felt like a milk cow.
Why are so many women choosing to pump exclusively? Dr. Lawrence thinks women are not getting the support they need when they set out to nurse. This has been the experience of my sister and step sister-in-law, both of whom were discouraged by so-called “lactation experts”. A lactation nurse asked my sister if she had a plan if her new baby didn’t latch on, when my sister was pumping due to my niece’s hospitalization for jaundice. The baby was only three days old, and the nurse was telling my sister to give up. Thankfully, she did not. My step sister-in-law was told that she could not make enough milk by a lactation consultant before she ever left the hospital. She was only making colostrum at the time, and her milk had yet to come in. Thank goodness for the support of my midwives when my heartsick son had trouble taking to the breast!
Whatever choice a woman makes for delivering breastmilk to her child, the choice to breastfeed is important! It is not for me to judge the choices women make between the breast or the bottle; however, I do believe that the breast is better for the environment. Pumping involves using electricity for the pump, as well as for breastmilk storage and reheating. A majority of plastic baby bottles contain BPA.
If feeding from the breast is important to a new mother, my advice is to find the support you need, if you feel at all discouraged. Support is out there, you may just have to seek it. A local midwife or the La Leche League can help!