It’s probably an unpopular view (when has that ever stopped anything online) but… I rarely think about how I fed my babies anymore. They are 6 and 10, and have not been near my boobs for 5years and 10 months and 9 years and 6 months respectively. In fact this is the only time I’ve sat down and worked out the maths.
And it’s not so much that I don’t think about it, it’s also that frankly, no one else gives a shit. They honestly don’t. My mum has never questioned my life choices (not that one anyway), no medical professional has ever snooted at me, and the only people that ever ask are friends with small babies. And only occaisionally. Because they have so much of their own things to deal with that they are not that preoccupied with the productivity of my boobs.
When my children were really small, I can remember the hours of wasted worry about whether to breast feed or bottle feed. The news reports and media posts online were constantly going on about the abuse breastfeeders get, and once I started bottle feeding the overwhelming anger some women had against those of us that subcontracted our baby’s nutrition elsewhere was personally, even worse. Meanwhile, troops came out of Afghanistan, the USA changed Presidents and the world outside of my bra kept on turning.
My kids have only occasionally asked. This was more out of a scientific curiosity as to how my nipples could produce milk, were other beverages an option and what modifications could be made to dispense jam (we are that kind of family). In fact, now that they are 10 and 6, jam delivery could save me a bloody fortune. It was on one such entrepreneurial occasion that one of them realised that the dog had 6 nipples, and looked thoughtful. I hurriedly put the dog out of harm’s way and suggested toast. With jar jam.
I don’t need to justify why I decided to bottle feed my babies any more that you need to care about how much cheese they eat a week (a lot) or whether my youngest can wind spaghetti one handed on an adult sized fork. But in the midst of sleep deprivation and the overwhelming enormity of being responsible for a tiny creature it seems like the most important debate in the world.
I think this is one of those hindsight moments where actually, worrying about checking my boobs regularly for the 96% of my life when they are not for the sole purpose of food production will probably serve me and my family better. So I promise never to ask any mother again, how they are feeding their baby, or how long for. It’s got chuff all to do with me or my boobs. I’ve got other important things to be doing with them.