Breastfeeding: Threat or Menace?

Lisa had a bassinet from home. She slept in it when she was a baby, as did her brother, some other family members, and I believe some family friends as well. It was the town whore of bassinets. It was right next to our bed, so she could easily get to the baby. And that would have worked great, except our son, Robert, absolutely hated it.

The only thing that seemed to keep him calm was sleeping on one of our chests. We’d get him to sleep, put him in the bassinet, and then he’d wake up and start crying again. Before the baby was born, I had always derided the idea of co-sleeping as a bunch of hippie nonsense, but it was starting to sound like a good idea. Re-watching Lost and giving money to Nigerian princes also sounded like good ideas at this point as well. Eventually he wore himself out, and we were all able to get a little bit of sleep.

The Rock n’ Play worked a lot better. If you’re not familiar with it, a Rock n’ Play is like a little massage chair for babies. You may feel stupid buying a massage chair for a baby when people in Finland have their babies sleep in cardboard boxes in the snow, but they work. My son slept in it, so that was really all that mattered. The slutty bassinet became a place for Lisa to store her laptop. The moral of the story is that family heirlooms are dumb.

Both of us getting up every time the baby woke up wasn’t working either. All it did was make everyone tired all the time. We decided it would make more sense if we split duties. I would stay awake during the day while Lisa took naps, and then she would get up at night while I slept, as she was breastfeeding.

At least, she was trying to breastfeed. I know it’s supposed to be some sort of beautiful bonding experience between mother and baby, but I thought the whole thing was stupid and overrated. If you had a recipe that called for butter, you’d just go to the store and get some butter, right? You wouldn’t go out and buy a butter churn and spend four hours making butter and then also refer to butter from the store as rat poison. Well, that’s what it’s like with breastfeeding.

I didn’t even think my wife wanted to breastfeed. She used to work in a NICU and she was always adamant that there was no difference between formula and breastmilk and that it was no big deal if a mother didn’t want to breastfeed. No sooner does the baby arrive, and she started trying to breastfeed. She even went to a lactation consultant, which I guess is someone who shows you how to do something that is simultaneously easy and natural but also difficult and time consuming. I found it all very confusing, especially since the hospital just gave us a bunch of formula, but I wanted to be supportive of whatever she wanted to do.

I know, there’s a lot of pressure to breastfeed, but I have to assume most of that pressure is coming from other women.  Until I had a child, I never once worried what someone might be feeding their baby. Milk, formula, the blue liquid barbers keep combs in – it just didn’t matter to me. I had more important things to worry about, like watching John Carpenter’s The Thing for the 47th time. Maybe there’s a man out there who has angrily dissuaded his friends from talking about their fantasy football league because he wanted to discuss how has wife wanted to feed the baby, but I’m skeptical

My wife was never able to produce enough breastmilk. She really tried everything she could to increase her supply, but it was making her miserable. I was ready for her to stop after about three days into parenthood. Nevertheless, she persisted. Not that it did any good, because we still had to use formula from the day he was born. She tried breastfeeding exclusively for a day, which our son hated. I also remember getting angry at her because I wasn’t able to give the baby a bottle. To make matters worse, our son would sometimes just puke up the breastmilk, which in no way made my wife feel like she wanted to jump off a building.

She used a breast pump for a while, which I believe is a device to make women feel less guilty about going back to work by making their boobs feel like they’re being eaten by Johnny 5. She put herself through hell for several months trying to make it work. She finally decided she’d had enough shortly after her maternity leave was over. All three of us were a lot happier once she stopped, and we switched exclusively to formula.

If you are spewing milk everywhere, and you want to feed your baby with it, go for it. But if you’re really struggling with breastfeeding, just give the kid Enfamil and be done with it. The baby stuff goes by so fast, and you’re going to miss it if you’re too busy worrying about clogged milk ducts. Also, you can also cut cocaine with powdered formula, so it can really come in handy if you’re parent who also deals drugs.

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