D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Feeding the Baby

Just when I think I am over thinking about stuff like breastfeeding, and everything that happened in that regards, I find myself feeling a sharp pang of sadness over that experience lost. The baby is coming up on 17 months now, so wild and free and terrifyingly opinionated, but this sadness still hits me.


So I have been ecstatic to find a couple of resources, or spaces really, for other new moms who are maybe not having the most idyllic of experiences.

First is my new favorite podcast The Longest Shortest Time. Hilary does a blog too, and it is probably only interesting to people who have had babies. The premise itself is genius: this first two years of any baby's life feels like the longest, shortest time. The blog and podcast are a testimony to the struggles (and triumphs!) of making it through. I can't recommend this highly enough, especially to new moms.

Secondly is a new Tumblr site simply called Feeding the Baby. It is a judgement free little site that posts different stories of how people fed their babies. While most of us (at least here in Portland) have grand visions of being an awesome super natural breast-feeding hero woman, that doesn't always happen. The stories are wonderful, especially for those of us who find ourselves not living out the "perfect" experience.

My story just got published there today. It was a tiny little 5 minute exactly-how-I-was-feeling rememberence, and it was startling that the first thing that would pop into my head was the weird guilt I felt about how since poor mom's couldn't give their baby formula, how could I? Grief is so weird. Plus, I think my brain didn't work properly for the first 8 months of babydom. I couldn't hold a single coherent thought in my head.

Feeding the Baby was born after a single author wrote a blog called "Breastfeeding isn't free". In it, the author describes the enormous amounts of time (6-8 hours, conservatively) and energy and sometimes pain and frustration that go into breastfeeding. I thought it had a lot of interesting points, but more importantly it led to the creation of a space where people finally felt like they could be honest about living in the real world, a world where it sometimes doesn't all work out.

One of the biggest questions to come out of my sudden re-immersion of this discussion is this: why don't people tell us how hard it can be? Why does all the breastfeeding literature make it seem so easy, natural, and (dare I say) like it is God's will?

My own body tried to kill me and my baby. So that kinda skews my whole opinion on "the body knows what's best".

I think only good can come from us being more honest about this discussion. What do you think?

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