Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Great Debate

What you may ask, could be the great debate?  In this instant it is the debate of whether or not to breastfeed.  Breastfeeding has always held some form of controversy, some say do it, some say if you do it should be in private and you have those who advocate for strictly formula feeding.  However, anyone who has seen CNN news last week may have heard about Jamie Lynne Grumet.  She is the mom who is choosing to breastfeed her son who is almost 4 years of age (no, I did not make a typo, I do mean 4 years of age).  The photo of her on the cover of the Times magazine with her son standing on a chair while breastfeeding has led to a maelstrom of emotions from people worldwide.

I think breastfeeding is a personal decision and one I chose because I thought it was best for my baby. I don't, however, think it is everybody's business or preference and so in public I chose to give my baby expressed milk from a bottle or find a private spot.  I had initially planned on breastfeeding for only 3 months until I got back to work, however, I did it exclusively for 5 months and have just now decided (since last Thursday) to wean him (he's now 8 months).  I found that it was a comfort for him but he was using me as a pacifier and I was becoming more exhausted as he wanted more and I was producing less.  Also, he started biting (a very big part of my decision to wean - he has 4 teeth).  My decision have not been easy as he still wants the breast and gets extra cranky around bedtime, but I have chosen to stick to it and know he will be okay. 

I have found that many people have very specific ideas of what I should do as a parent, some are impressed that I chose to breastfeed and do it so long, others are appalled (they say you're crazy and I would never do that) - I tell them both, it's not for everyone but it's my decision and mine only.  I have also found people to be equally vocal about the weaning process - people actually think I am making a bad decision to wean and not allow my baby to decide when he wants to wean (gimme a break, should I also let him decide if he should take a bath or when is an appropriate bed-time) - the last time I checked, I am the parent in the relationship.  I have made my decision and it is what is best for my little family, popular or not.  For mothers who chose not to breastfeed, I may not agree but that's their decision to make.  For mothers like Alanis Morissette who has been going 16 months strong, more power to her.  Finally, for mothers like  Jamie going well over 2 years, hell no (but that's just my personal opinion).

As with everything in life, we all choose different paths for different reasons and individual decisions should be respected even when not understood or agreed.  Decisions/opinions are personnal and individual, however, respect should be universal.  Until next time, keep doing what you do ;)

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