Friday, June 30, 2006

Breasts and Bottles

I remember when I was pregnant feeling like my body had become community property. I had wild cravings for junk food. People had a lot to say about this. Everyone from co-workers, friends to people I didn’t even know wanted to tell me about what I should be eating or not eating. I finally came up with a rule that I used in response, I told people that the non-pregnant were not allowed to tell the pregnant what to do. It was surprisingly effective. And then I had the baby, and once again, everybody in the world has an opinion.

Of course, I am not complaining about people who offer to share their experience if you ever need it. Those gracious people are life savers. My sister-in-law is like this. She has plenty to say when asked, but never butts in. But there is a whole army of others who want to tell you all about the best sleeping arrangements, baby carriers, toys, television shows, you name it.

I have been thinking about this because I am thinking about weaning my six month old son off the breast. Truthfully, we have been moving in that direction for a while. I have had repeated problems with thrush, which made feeding painful for me, and eating painful for him. Now, he is beginning to teethed and has been gnawing on my breast. Do you know what it is like to put your nipple someplace knowing it is going to be bitten? It’s a little nerve wrecking.

I have mixed feelings about this because I don’t know if I will have another biological child, so this may be the only breastfeeding I ever do. Despite all of the problems, I do think it helped me bond with my son. He is so cute when I feed him too. He looks up at me and smiles, and it just kills me.

I am also not looking forward to the Breastfeeding Nazis either. These women really have their scorn down to a science. Half the time, they don’t even have to say anything. They just give you a look, and you know they disapprove. But like I use to say when I protested in front of abortion clinics, it’s my body, my choice. I wish people would have a little more respect for women’s bodies. Even with a child inside or outside of them, these arms, legs and boobies are private property.

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