The Scales of Parenting

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Old mechanical Toledo scale still works - despite many years of neglect and vandalism to the face. Abandoned Barber-Colman factory in Rockford, Illinois
source: slworking2

For me, breastfeeding has always been weighed on a scale.

On one side, there are the great perks: so healthy. Recommended by the AAP for a year and the WHO for two years. FREE. I enjoy the snuggling nursing time with my babies. The poops don’t smell as bad. I don’t have to wash many bottles. I’ve had a period about 8 times in the last five years.

But honestly? There have been times I’m not so sure the good outweighs the bad. A lot of times, breastfeeding hurts for me.

I have recurring clogged ducts and extremely painful milk blisters that don’t ever want to go away. Recently I was almost in tears trying to nurse Joshua on one side because of the blisters. I’ve had mastitis twice three times! I managed it get it again between writing this and publishing it! I don’t like having to get up every time he wants to eat; maybe if my kids were formula-fed, my husband and I would take turns with feedings. It would be more convenient.

I am blessed that I can usually make it through the first few months without problems. With Joshua, they’ve come on a little earlier than they did with David. I press on, because I know I can. I nursed David to 20 months. I am a freaking EXPERT at nursing, right?

But my number one rule of parenting is that you should do what makes you sane. I could write practically these same paragraphs about so many things: being a stay-at-home mom, having kids closer together, choosing to put kids in MDO or preschool, what we feed our children, cloth diapering.

Parenting is not a contest. And the fact that some days I would be perfectly happy to go to bottle-feeding except I don’t want to pay for formula keeps me from judging those who do.

Moms, dads, do what you have to do to stay sane and keep with your convictions. Ignore the crowd. (Maybe even ignore the pediatrician a little if you have to.) Because the things your kids need most is a sane, happy parent.

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