I’ve been pumping at work, twice a day, and it has been going very well.  I am able to pump enough milk for Catherine during the day while I’m gone on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  And work has been very accommodating.  So it just hasn’t been a problem for me.  But it does have me thinking.  How long will I keep pumping at work?

Here’s why I am wondering.  Because I don’t plan on “switching” Catherine to cow’s milk.  Why would I purposefully wean her only to switch her to milk that comes from a different species?  That’s not what Nature, or God intended when they created us human, lactating mammals.  I plan to continue giving her breastmilk as long as I possibly can, whether from my breast or a bottle or a sippy cup or a regular cup.  If she still needs milk after the age of 1 or 2 (which she either does, as the dairy industry would absolutely have us believe, or she doesn’t – I’m not sure of the answer), why does it need to come from a cow and not her mother?  That seems very backwards to me.  If she still needed milk, wouldn’t nature have intended mothers to breastfeed as long as babies need to drink milk?  Or perhaps Nature said, “I’m going to make this cow so humans can drink its milk”  (yeah, don’t think so).

This isn’t a judgment on formula, by the way.  It’s a wonderful thing.  Not only is it an excellent source of nutrition, formulated to meet babies’ needs, but it’s a lifesaver.  It’s there for babies who have no mothers, or whose mothers can’t or don’t want to breastfeed.  It gives us much more flexibility, allowing moms to go to work if they need/want to and can’t or don’t want to pump.  We’re lucky to have it available.  For that matter, this isn’t me saying I’m against drinking cow’s milk, either.  It’s more of the question, “Why does society, generally speaking, expect mothers to wean their babies so early only to switch them to large quantities of cow’s milk?”

Think about it.  You have to admit it’s strange, if you can let your mind go outside the way you might be accustomed to thinking.  I didn’t always think this way.  In fact, I used to think people who didn’t eat/drink dairy were strange.  That’s because I was used to what I was used to, and had never bothered to think about it from any other angle.

The fact is, breastfeeding has me thinking a lot about “breastfeeding.”  And I’m much more sensitive to the fact that, astonishingly, it is a controversial issue today.  It’s truly baffling!

Luckily, I’ve never encountered anything but encouraging, supportive smiles from people who’ve seen me breastfeeding.  So I think it’s one of those “squeaky wheel” things where the annoying people are sometimes louder.  I do wonder what people will think at work if I’m still pumping when Catherine is 2 years old.  They’ll probably think it’s really weird.  And I might feel embarrassed.  But why???  Why is it weird I’d want to continue giving her human milk instead of cow’s milk?  I just don’t get it.  What am I missing here?

I often think about Jamie Lynne Grumet – you know, the mom breastfeeding her 3-year-old son on the cover of Time – and the controversy it created.  The thing is, when I saw that photo I didn’t thing “eww.”  I thought “supermom.”  I really did!

I saw a beautiful, youthful, fit mom who somehow managed to be what ALL MOMS DREAM OF BEING – beautiful, sexy, and dedicated to their children.  I saw a mom who was challenging society’s perverse views on breastfeeding.  And I was shocked at the overwhelming backlash she received.  I feel sorry for her because the country (notice I said country, not world) was truly against her in that moment.  And I know she was proud of herself as a woman and a mom, and then to face that intense ridicule and criticism…

Yeah, sure, I also thought her son was “getting on up there” in age for breastfeeding simply because you never see a sight like that.  I also questioned her decision to put her son in that position on the cover of Time for the world to see, subjecting him to scrutiny, knowing how very judgmental society can be towards late-breastfeeding moms.  But the photo didn’t shock me and those weren’t the thoughts that immediately popped into my head; they were secondary.

Here’s the thing.  I’ve heard everyone call Jamie Lynne selfish and say that her son is going to be “screwed up” because he’s still breastfeeding at age 3.  But I know one thing for sure.  If he’s screwed up later in life, it will not be because of his mother, and it will not be because he was still breastfed at age 3.  If he faces issues later in life over breastfeeding, it will be because of us.  Because we inflict our own perverse views on him, and make him feel ashamed for something that is natural.

And that is what I have been thinking about.

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