To Nurse or Not to Nurse




Read all blog posts by Natalie

Noah signed his first sign today, opening and closing his little hand asking for mommy milk.  Incidentally, breastfeeding is quite the topic these days with the recent article published by The Atlantic titled “The Case Against Breastfeeding”.  The article was poorly supported by facts and carried a tone that made me think the author regretted having children in the first place.  If you haven’t read it, click here.

Nursing, for me, has provided the most amazing opportunity to bond with Noah.  I can’t imagine my motherhood experience without it.  I’m not about to say it’s all been a rosy experience.  I went through my fair share of Mastitis, sore nipples, and consequently weeks of being topless because it hurt too much to wear a shirt…but most “difficulties” have actually been opportunities, in my opinion.

Yes, breastfeeding involves time, and it may feel frustrating to be less “productive”, but it’s sad to know our society values checking things off to do lists over spending time with our babies.  Not to mention slings and carriers allow you to nurse while you’re out and about which means you don’t have to live on your sofa.

All this said, I give kudos to working women who pump and have a caregiver bottle feed their baby.  It’s sad they have to miss out on the mother-baby intimacy of breastfeeding, but I understand sometimes it’s not all possible.  At least baby benefits from the nutritional aspects of mother’s milk.  And yeah, it’s totally worth the extra nutrition.

Formula making companies are still unraveling all the components in breast milk.  Every few years, a new key ingredient is marketed as an added bonus for baby’s nutrition when in fact it’s always been in human breast milk to begin with. 

To top it off, formula will never contain live antibodies, and the cow milk based formula will always contain proteins that are hard for babies to digest.  And yes, making healthy milk and maintaining good milk flow involves effort and work…whereas formula is, well, pre-made.  Home cooked meal vs. canned food. To me, it’s an easy choice.

All this said, I do agree with the author that our society does not foster an environment that facilitates breastfeeding.  From a legal standpoint, things are changing as states pass laws that protect women’s rights to nurse in public.  However we we are still far away from accepting and encouraging breastfeeding on a social level.

I think that the things that make formula feeding convenient are actually doing us a disfavor.  Bottle feeding allows others to feed baby, but chips away opportunities to establish and enhance the mother-baby bond that is so essential.  Measuring food intake takes away from trusting our bodies to feed our babies, and for babies to regulate their own consumption.  I could go on and on.  I haven’t even touched on gender roles, weaning, economic implications, stigmas, nursing in public…  Like I said, I could go on and on, but I know if you’re days are anything like mine, a long blog post is pretty much un-readable!

At any rate, if you’re still craving food for thought, I much prefer this other article written for The New Yorker.  It explores the progression, trends and practice of breast feeding from a social standpoint.  I promise this one will be more worthwhile. Click here to read it.


About Natalie

My name is Natalie; I am originally from Mexico and my husband from Vietnam, but we make our home in Austin, TX. When we got married, the plan was to take one big, international trip per year for six years before starting a family. Four years and absolutely no stamps in our passports later, along came Noah. Enter my adventures of full time mommyhood, and a new spin to our usual family life of rock climbing, camping and traveling.