Celebrating "However You Feed Your Baby is Awesome Week" Every Week

feedingtwins Bottle feeding Bo and Revi, 2012

I'm at that point in my blogging career where I feel like I have written about absolutely everything sixteen times at least. Because I have. And when Hal and I talk about work I always say the same thing about wanting to write about X but feeling like I can't write about X because I already wrote about X.

And then Hal's like, "Uh... that was four years ago. You can totally write about X again. And again. And again."

And then we argue about what is appropriate to write about because we are both writers except in his work you can tell the same story 7877289791827 times in 78791872891723 different ways and people will keep coming back because that's kind of the point. 

That said, this week on Mom.me I wrote about National Nourishing Your Baby is Awesome Week and how it should be EVERY WEEK and that there should be absolutely no shame in nourishing your baby, whether by breast, bottle or both. 

And this isn't the first time I've written about breastfeeding or formula feeding or breastfeeding or formula.

Every loving parent deserves a support group. Even the ones who do it differently. NO ONE, man or woman, should feel shamed feeding his/her baby on a park bench on a Sunday afternoon—whether by bottle, breast or both.

Location has a lot to do with the stigmas on both sides but here in LA, formula is the F word, and when I was nursing Fable in public, I never felt anything other than applauded. Meanwhile, when the formula came out the comments almost immediately followed. 

So, in my experience, and the experience of many of you, feeding formula is something we feel ashamed of. And that sucks. Please don't feel that way. YOU ARE AWESOME. 

I didn't write about my personal breastfeeding experience in the post because I was hoping to hear from you guys but then I realized after it was pub'd that I should have shared my experiences (for those who are fairly new here and haven't been following along since the beginning) and/or, because, in Hal's words, "You can write about the same topics over and over when they are still topical."

So, here are my breastfeeding stories:

I had two breast reductions--my first at 18 and second at 20.  (Apparently I wasn't finished developing yet.)  So I...

- Pumped with Archer at first/tried to nurse/failed to nurse/ couldn't get a latch, had very little milk supply and after supplementing and feeding him pumped breast milk for six weeks, gave up and fed him formula. (Young moms in big cities feeding their babies formula = judgement city.)

- Nursed Fable for thirteen months while also supplementing with formula, suffering several bouts of mastitis. I worked my ass off to feed her as much breast milk as I could muster, took herbs, did the whole nine. I also co-slept with her that entire time so when she woke up to nurse, I could stick my boob in her mouth and we would all fall back asleep. 

- Pumped for two weeks while Bo and Revi were in the NICU and after they came home, threw in the towel because the time it took to pump vs the % of breastmilk they were actually receiving from those sessions (about one ounce each) was not worth it in my opinion. (I also put them to sleep on their bellies and not for one moment felt I was doing anything unnatural and/or dangerous.) 

There is so much information out there. 

But there is even more inside of YOUR head and YOUR heart and YOUR instincts as a mother. I don't have any advice to give anyone who is navigating new parenthood except for ONE THING and it has been the ONLY THING that has been my constant these last ten years:


And I am so grateful that I GET to make that choice. And that YOU get to make your choice and that we all feel differently about the choices we must make for ourselves and our families. There is nothing I respect more in this world than CHOICE.

I tell my children EVERY DAY to ASK THEMSELVES what they think and how they feel before I tell them anything... because looking to themselves first is what it means to lead. Even if they are the only ones who follow.

Ten summers ago, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. I chose. And then my son was born and I chose again and I chose this and I chose that and I chose this and that and this. (With Hal's help, obviously. We have always been in this together, even before we were actually together.) 

I chose to let myself NOT get hung up on certain things and every day I choose to do the same thing -- to make choices that work for me and my family. And because of that, parenthood has been profoundly empowering for me. 

And THAT has made me the pro-choiciest pro choice-er that exists. 

Because KNOWING that I made THIS CHOICE to be a mother when I did has been the most empowering experience for me. THAT RIGHT TO CHOOSE has influenced my every parenting choice since. 

And now I will choose to end this post. 

In other words, every single one of us has a story and a reason and a love for their child that cannot be quantified and should NEVER FOR ANY REASON be compared. 

Let's choose to respect each other's stories. If, for no other reason than to set an example for our kids to do the same. 
Nursing Fable, 2008

You can read the rest of the column, here and as always feel free to comment/email for more topics you would like to discuss.