Sydney Mum finding motherhood is totes hectic
Only Tina Fey could mine the excellent comedy that is bottle vs breast. .. enjoy
Breastfeeding v formula
Invented in the mid-19th century as a last-ditch option for orphans and underweight babies, packaged infant formula has since been perfected to be a complete and reliable source of stress and shame for mothers. Anyone who reads a pregnancy book knows that breast milk provides nutrition, immunities and invaluable bonding time. The breast is best.
When I was pregnant for the first time I asked my mother for advice. “Don’t even try it,” she said. This is a generational difference. This is the same woman who told me to request “twilight sleep” during delivery. (Twilight sleep is the memory-erasing pain medication that doctors gave women in the 1950s whenever they had to take a baby out or put a body snatcher in.)
As a member of Generation X, I was more informed, more empowered, and I knew that when it came to breast-feeding I had an obligation to my baby to pretend to try.
There are a lot of different opinions as to how long one should breastfeed. The World Health Organisation says six months. The American Association of Paediatrics says one year is ideal. Mothering magazine suggests you nurse the child until just before his wedding rehearsal. I say you must find what works for you. For my little angel and me the magic number was about 72 hours.
We tried the football hold, the cross-cradle hold, and one I like to call the Bret Michaels, where you kind of lie over the baby and stick your breast in its mouth to wake it up. We didn’t succeed, so that first night the nurses gave my little one some formula without asking. I tried to be appalled, but I was pretty tired. Once we got home, we tried again. I abandoned all vanity, as one must, and parked it shirtless on the couch. Here we experienced another generational difference.
Gen X wanted to succeed at this so she could tell people she did it, and little Gen Z wanted me to hand over that goddamn formula, and she was willing to scream until she got it.
One of my 500 nicknames for my daughter is Midge, which is short for Midget, because she was a very small baby. She was born a week early and a little underweight at 5lb 7oz. My obstetrician suggested the next day at her bedside visit that perhaps I hadn’t rested enough during my pregnancy and that was why she was so small. “What a cunt,” I thought to myself in what was either a flash of postpartum hormones or an accurate assessment of my doctor’s personality.
So we started supplementing Midge regularly with formula. She was small and I didn’t want her to get any smaller while I mastered the ancient art of breastfeeding to prove how incredible and impressive I am. Of course, I still provided her with breast milk. You must, must, must provide them with breast milk. You owe it to your baby to get them that breast milk. Here’s how it works.
If you choose to not love your baby enough to breastfeed, you can pump your milk using a breast pump. I chose to pump every two hours while watching episodes of the HBO series Entourage. Over the whir of the milking machine, I could almost hear my baby being lovingly cared for in the other room while Turtle yelled across an SUV, “Yo E, you ever fuck a girl while she has her period?” I was able to do this for almost seven weeks before running out of Entourage episodes and sinking into a deep depression.
Shortly thereafter, we made the switch to an all-formula diet. If you’ve ever opened a can of infant formula mix, then you know it smells like someone soaked old vitamins in a bucket of wet leaves, then dried them in a hot car.
Also, formula is like $40 a can. They keep it locked up behind the counter with the batteries and meth ingredients. That’s how bad people want this stuff!
However, the baby was thriving. I was no longer feeling trapped, spending 30 out of every 90 minutes attached to a Williams-Sonoma Tit Juicer. But I still had an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. I had failed at something that was supposed to be natural.
I was defensive and grouchy whenever the topic came up. At a party with a friend who was successfully nursing her little boy, I watched her husband produce a bottle of pumped breast milk that was the size of a Big Gulp. It was more milk than I had produced in my whole seven weeks – I blame Entourage. As my friend’s husband fed the baby, he said offhandedly, “This stuff is liquid gold. You know it actually makes them smarter?” “Let’s set a date!” I screamed. “IQ test. Five years from today. My formula baby will crush your baby!” Thankfully, my mouth was so full of cake they could not understand me.
From Tina Fey’s new book ‘Bossypants’