I've been meaning to post about this, and with the recent brouhaha, it seems especially timely.
I loved nursing. Absolutely loved it. Pi was great at it from day one, and we had a great postpartum nurse, Laura, who stayed with us for over an hour while he fed and made sure our mechanics were right. Even though I worried incessantly (of course) about my supply, his latch, his weight gain, the length of time he spent on each boob, etc, etc, etc, deep down I knew it was the only thing that was going according to plan. I loved the time that it gave us together, I loved that my body was able to nourish a little human - it was a wonderful experience.
If you're getting a sense of how much I loved nursing, amplify that sense by about 86 bazillion, and reverse it into pure, unadulterated hate. That's how I felt about pumping. Even though I knew it was for a good cause, and I had it so easy with the 100% support of my employer, it was a godawful chore and I hated it. I was never really able to pump enough to sustain Pi on a boob-juice-only diet. He had a couple of bottles of formula a week from about 7 months on, and about one a day when I went back to traveling for work. In March, I was away for five nights, and even though I flagellated myself with that confounded medieval torture device the whole time, my supply never recovered. Our last nursing session was the morning before his first birthday, and then we weaned cold turkey. We didn't wean because he was ready, we weaned because I just didn't feel like I could keep it going. To his credit and true to his easygoing style, Pi took it like a champ. He was mainly a nutrition nurser, and rarely nursed for comfort alone, so I don't think it affected our bond or made him feel unsteady. I just wish he could have rejected me outright in his own time.
Ah, well, I can "woulda coulda shoulda" myself into a rubber room, but the fact is that my boy loves his cow's milk, is healthy and thriving, and seems none the worse for wear in the absence of nip. I wanted to breastfeed, I was lucky enough to have a relatively easy time of it, and I did what I could for almost a year. I'm sure there are a million things that'll haunt me about my parenting decisions with Pi, I'm going to try not to let this be one of them.
This whole kerfuffle about the magazine cover, though - gah! I never thought twice about nursing in public, and no one said boo to me or even threw a dirty look my way. The only issue I had was when my father-in-law and his wife (Smitty's stepmother) came to visit while we were still in the hospital, during Pi's first crucial days of learning to latch. He definitely got an eyeful, but I wasn't going to compromise my kid's mealtimes just because someone might witness a nip-slip. I thought nothing of it until Smitty's stepmother covered me during a session. Luckily, I didn't allow myself to dwell too heavily on it and kept focusing on Pi.
Whenever I think we've come a long way as a society, something like this magazine craziness happens and I'm abruptly reminded that there are still many miles to go.