Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thank You.

I just wanted to say thank you for such an outstandingly positive response to my post/novel on The Importance of Breastfeeding

So there is absolutely no confusion on surrogacy or adoption which a handful of you mentioned, my mother carried a child for her sister, so I have experienced surrogacy and all it entails. That is why I began the post by saying that there are always circumstances that will prevent women from breastfeeding. 

To those who disagreed with me, it was very informative to hear your experiences as well. Thank you for sharing, particularly those who had the courage to put their name with their post and not hide behind Anonymous. It is very hard to stand up for what you believe in, especially when you know others have a differing view. 

Aside from the one bit where I was very frank with my opinion and openly acknowledged I was not going to sugar coat it, my goal was to share the knowledge I have learned, my personal experiences, challenges and guilt, and how I am continually adjusting what I do as a mother based on this, as well as to encourage those choosing not to breastfeed - those that have the choice - to look at a their decision in a different light. I appreciate those who recognized that; the vast majority of you did. 

To hear that you felt it was encouraging, refreshing, well-written, informative, admirable, brave, that you loved seeing new facts and information, reading about the diet/breastfeeding connection - wow. Thank you, truly. I feel like one commenter, Kay, really hit the nail on the head:

"It seems that some of the more agitated commenters missed your own humble admission, which, for me, was the center of your essay --- specifically, that your lifestyle choices (a limited diet/exercise routine with baby one; and a job opportunity with baby two) are sources of guilt for you, and that you wish you had reached your own goals of breastfeeding each little one for a solid year. I think too many of us read your entry too quickly -- and perhaps the passionate tone and scholarly bent of your essay somewhat eclipsed the personal experiences that you shared...which spoke, w/transparency, of disappointment and self-judgment..."

Thank you, Kay, for really taking in every word. 

The word judgmental is used very loosely these days. I do not agree with parents who feed their children junk food all the time. That is their choice, and I do not have to support it. That is not being judgmental, and in all honesty if they feel judged by someone disagreeing, so be it. No one can MAKE YOU feel a certain way - that gives others way too much power over you. Too many people are afraid to share their views these days, particularly on so-called "hot topics," for fear of what others may think. This goes for social issues such as breastfeeding, how we eat, vaccinations, and into deeper areas such as religion and politics. In my opinion, silencing your voice rather than speaking out for what you believe in is the saddest fate of all, and to tell you the truth, I would rather be called judgmental any day than be mute. 

Until the next hot topic...


  1. I just finished reading your breastfeeding post and I didn't think it was judgy at all! People get so sensitive about decisions regarding parenting... and I think that most of us try to do the best with what we know. When you know better you do better, and I bet your post will inspire someone to at least do the research and put some serious thought into this topic. Also love how you said that people cant MAKE YOU feel a certain way. Well said, girl!

  2. So beyond the obvi reason why we are soul sisters destined for a life of hair braiding and moo moo's....

    I say the same thing ALL THE TIME.

    Um the Duck might leave me barefoot and homeless if I tell him one more time" I CANT MAKE YOU FEEL ANYTHING, YOU MAKE YOU FEEL THE WAY YOU FEEL"

    hahaha aahhh true love indeed.

  3. I am scared to post this, and I am going to do it as me bc I am not going to hide. But what if you know it all, the research is there, and you just don't want to breastfeed? It's not for physical reasons. I really don't know why. I am not trying to get pregnant now, but I don't feel any connection towards breast feeding. Does that mean I shouldn't be a mom? It seems to me everyone is breast feeding these days and I am scared to say I might (okay not might, I don't.) want to.... Maybe it will change when I actually have a little human inside me... Until then I don't know...

  4. What a completely loving, lovely, warm and eclektic blog you have. I am moving in!

  5. Sheridan, I have to agree with Carissa. I was touched by your honesty and vulnerability regarding your own decisions, and am surprised how many people missed the heart of your post. Your struggles are the struggles of so many women, and our society should do so much more to support motherhood. It's sad when "Stay-at-home mom" is a title that inspires derision rather than admiration. I ultimately gave up my career, and the extras in life, to take care of my baby, and it's the best decision I ever made.

    My little 6 mth old girl was born in one of the top women's hospitals in the US, and one of the first pics I have is me giving her a bottle of formula. I had a C section due to baby girl being full breech, and was having a hard time getting a latch while laying reclined after surgery. My saving grace was my night nurse, an eastern european woman who stayed with me for over an hour and taught me how to properly latch, and came back repeatedly to see that baby and I were getting the hang of it. I am ever grateful to her, and wish that the medical community as a whole showed such dedication to breast feeding.

    The research speaks for itself; there is no substitute for mother's milk. Formula isn't even a close second. We ignore our biology and try to make it fit into social norms, and suffer as a whole for it. Society does need a wake-up call, and that can only be done by bringing the subject to the table. I hope your post inspires more women to do their own research, choose what's best for their child, and speak up for motherhood out in society and in the workplace.

  6. Emily - your comment really touched me. Just because you might not have come around to nursing at this point in your life does not mean you shouldn't be a mother! I don't think you will physically WANT to breastfeed before you have children. I knew it was something I was going to do, but I did not have an actual connection to it or desire until they were born. Then the maternal instinct kicks in and it's as natural as can be. This is jumping the gun, but you might want to set a minimum goal of six weeks, and then reevaluate. At least your baby gets an amazing foundation from your milk - better than nothing.

    Given that you were so honest, the least I can do is be honest in return. My post was aimed at changing people's minds that actively chose not to breastfeed - which is the category you are saying you may potentially fall in. I hope that through all of the words, facts and information I laid out, even if you don't want to, you see that it is without question best for your child....and that you make the decision to do so.

    One of my favorite comments was a woman that said breastfeeding is a privilege. It really, really is. Aside from the proven benefits, it is a miracle of life. How fortunate that we as women get to experience that connection with our children.

    At the end of the day it all comes down to wanting to do what is best for your child, or actively choosing not to. As mothers, I believe it should not only be our desire but our responsibility to do what is in their best interests, whether we want to or not...but how could you not want to??

    I would give my LIFE for my children, let alone my breasts.

  7. I missed your original post, but I went back and read it. I read a couple of comments and stopped after the "bullying" response. Nothing about what you wrote was out of line, bullying, judgemental... It was really important info and I applaud you for taking the time to inform women about something that is sooo important, something that doctors don't inform their patients about.

    I chose to breastfeed and I made the decision before or while I was pregnant. I don't think it's something you can wait and decide after you give birth, only because if complications arise, it's too easy to decide not to. And, also, you have to educate yourself about it and that takes time.

    There were complications with the birth of my daughter and after many, many (many) hours of labor, I had a C-section. I nursed anyway.

    It was so painful in the beginning. I remember being so sore that when she latched on I cringed. I would have a plugged duct, regularly, on one side and I'd have to get up in the middle of the night to soak in a hot tub.

    And then, several months after she was born, I discovered that I had a goiter and that I was severely hypothyroid. The doctor had no clue how I had been able to nurse through it (my milk production should have decreased), but I had, and my daughter was thriving.

    I continuted to nurse until she was 18 months old, a shorter amount of time than I'd planned, but that's a whole other story.

    So, her birth and the following year were difficult for me, but the best decision I ever made was to breastfeed. I wish I could articulate what an amazing, bonding, loving experience it was. Even with the difficulties, I wouldn't have traded it for the world.

    I think doctors need to step up and inform their patients, women need to educate themselves about diet, nutrition and what's best for their children (not easiest - although, I thought it was a lot easier than doing bottles). And, why are women who nurse banished to the restroom to do so, where as women who bottlefeed can do it anywhere. That fact alone is quite telling.

    Sorry for the long comment - believe me, I could say more.....

    Great post, thank you!

  8. Of course I have to chime in...I'm one of those people. Your post had a big heart behind it and, of course, truth in regards to what is best for babies. I breastfed and loved every second. I don't know where you live but here there is BEYOND major push for breastfeeding so I'm shocked to hear somewhere that has fallen by the wayside.

    Anyway, I think the point of disagreeable commenters was this: the amount of guilt that Mothers feel, and are made to feel (whether self-inflicted or otherwise) about every tiny last detail of their lives once they've given birth, it is very difficult to face yet another choice to feel guilty over. Women cannot win, we can't. Imagine, even a comment about alienating husbands if you choose to breastfeed!! We. can't. win. and the guilt can be beyond overwhelming.

  9. We moved South weeks after having our fifth child . My new pediatrician was shocked ( his words) that I was breast feeding. He said most of his moms are not breastfeeding or only doing for a week or two and then giving up. He made a point to ask me every visit if I was STILL nursing? I have to admit it made me uncomfortable and I switched practices.He was never supportive or encouraging, just oddly intrigued . I got the sense that I was part of some kind of office pool and he was out long ago. I can truly testify to my own family's health, behavior and academic performance; I would not change a thing. Thank you ,Sheridan:)

  10. Sheridan,

    You post was not judgmental in the slightest. You are so wise beyond your years and the way in which you speak is so very respectful and kind. I wish more people could bring up "touchy" topics in a manner that is equally kind and respectful.

    I truly applaud you for speaking your mind on a topic in which you feel important. You presented facts and were very encouraging. In no way shape or form did I feel you were condemning anyone at all. Not for one little second.

    Anyone that has a problem with your post, has a problem with themselves. Smart, mature adults can always find a way to agree to disagree in an intelligent manner. You are so correct when you say, no one can make you feel any way but yourself. For someone that is 26, wow -- you learned that early! Sadly, some people never learn that. It is the only way you will get along in this world.

    I nursed my son for 2wks and then formula fed for many reasons. Am I mad at nursing moms? No. Am I mad at FF moms? No. Am I mad at myself? No. He is loved more than anything in this world, he is secure and I will always be there for him. This is what is going to make him a strong human being. Not how he was fed as an infant.

    At the end of the day, we all do what we think is best for our child and our situation and instead of hurting others or being judgmental -- as women, we would all serve one another better to be helpful, kind and compassionate.

    All of those qualities - you exude. Your children are so very lucky to have a wonderful mother that thinks so hard about the choices she makes and loves them so dearly. I know you would have liked to nurse them for longer - but truthfully, the love you give them and the healthy foods they get now -- they are going to be fabulous little people.

    I truly enjoy your blog, your clever and bubbly writing and your fabulous sense of style.

    I most enjoy your sense of being grounded. You have opportunity for every material thing in this world, yet, the things you value are the immaterial. This is so refreshing in this world of more, more, more that we live in. When you do touch on material things, you have an artful and wonderful appreciation for them -- something that many people never get as they are just busy collecting things.

    I know your husband (he and my ex have worked together) and he is one lucky guy to have such a wonderful wife and mother to your children.

    You are truly a kind soul with a passion for life and I hope your joy continues to spread.

  11. Sheridan, after reading your posts, I had to add that I think it's also important for mothers to know that breastfeeding does not have to be an all or nothing thing. Any little bit of BM helps (whether its 6 weeks or 6 mths or whatever!) My baby girl is 7 months now, and we started supplementing with formula from the very beginning. The first few weeks she would get 1 bottle a day just when I was too tired or worn out to breastfeed, and then when I went back to work we would alternate with pumped milk and formula bottles. Now, I'm about 50/50...the morning session is still a joy and I hope to keep that up until a year+ and then she gets 3 formula bottles at school. I think it is very important for new moms to know that formula is there for you when you need it. Breastfeeding is very demanding, and while I love it and am keeping it up for the health of my baby, we all need a break once in a while, and giving a baby a bottle of formula should not be yet another thing that we need to worry about or feel guilty about. With that said, good job on educating people about the topic- it was very interesting to read all the different views on the subject.

  12. I adored your comment that no one an MAKE you feel something- only you can do that. No truer words have been written:) So glad you are standing by your words! I agree- there are plenty of circumstances when nursing may not work. But- I also believe those circumstances are in the minority. MOST women can breast feed. It may take work, meetings with latch consultants, diet changes, herbal supplements, etc... but they are totally capable of nursing.... many just aren't willing to put forth the effort. I'm sure I will upset some who read this- but I do feel it is extremely selfish not to nurse to preserve your figure, or because you don't want to. When you become a mom your most important job (only job!) is to ensure the well being of your child. Even if it is hard. Even if you feel drained. Even if it is sore. Even if you want to sleep. Moms do what it takes. Breasts aren't there to fill out bikini tops... they are there for ONE reason- to feed and nourish our babies.

  13. Would REALLY love to see a post on avoiding ppd. That has bitten me with both of my deliveries. It has been tough. Thank you.

  14. The Importance of Breastfeeding post was by far my favorite post! You definitely changed my views on birth plan/diet/breastfeeding. Awesome job! THANK YOU!!!

  15. I nursed my daughter, however I have friends who founds themselves absolutely miserable weeks and weeks and weeks in with nursing. Sometimes you can't explain why something does not work for you, and there's no rationalizing it, no matter how many statistics you have. While breastfeeding is of course the best nutrition and should certainly be advised to every mother, I think a happy formula feeding mommy does a lot more for a child and a nursing miserable one. Not trying to be fiesty, I realize your intention with your post and it's a pure one, I just can't help but empathize with my friends who couldn't do it, and not because they are selfish. There is a vast middle ground between judgemental and mute.

    I don't have a blog so I'm not sure how else to sign this than with my name, trying not to be "anonymous" but not sure how to avoid it.

  16. I totally agree with you about breastfeeding. My son is 22 months and I'm still nursing him. I wanted to give him two solid years. Right now he has the sniffles for the first time since birth. One thing we don't agree on is your love for Lard as I eat a vegan diet but it's your choice and I don't judge. We all have our own life's journey. Go Fort Worth!

  17. Hi Sheridan,

    Coming back to an old post here, but I have some questions for you on formula:

    -on paleo, you are not supposed to have dairy in your diet because lactose affects our digestive system right? But human milk contains loctose as does raw milk, so if you want to raise a paleo baby how does this work?
    - I also wanted to ask about any dangers of raw milk. They say it is better, but is it safe? What about pasteurization?
    - If it is impossible to find raw milk in your region, what other healthy alternatives are there to feeding your baby commercial formula milk?

    A lot of questions i know, but I'm really keen to hear your opinions and I really hope that you do a step-by-step guide on your homemade baby formula soon as id like to know what methods you use.

    thank you

  18. Hey Sherry!

    A lot of that will be answered in detail in a post I will do soon (hopefully ;) about the milk based formula. Human milk is made specifically for our infants - it has different properties than cow milk, goat milk, etc. that can negatively affect our systems. Breast milk is as Paleo as you can get when it comes to feeding kiddos! Also, when we are intolerant to cow milk - 90% of humans are - those people that have lactose intolerances are NOT intolerant to raw milk, only pasteurized. Raw milk and pasteurized milk are two TOTALLY different foods; pasteurization so dramatically changes the food and essentially kills it - it is not live, it is a totally dead food.

    Research the raw milk argument about safe vs. not. Any raw milk must be purchased from a certified farm that tests their cattle. I would never drink raw milk from a feed lot cow, for example, as they are teaming with disease and, hence, why their milk absolutely must be pasteurized. More people get sick from pasteurized milk than raw milk! There is raw milk in EVERY region of our country as well so no need to worry about not finding it! Check out for farms near you. If for some reason you cannot get to a farm, unfortunately I do not think there is a good, nutritious viable alternative. Baby formula is sugar with some vitamins added in - not so hot.




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