Don’t breastfeed.

After reading through yesterday’s questions, I’ve decided to assume that the women who take offense to the “Are You Nursing” question are the ones who don’t nurse. This makes me sad, but I don’t blame them.

I may have nursed all of my kids for right around a miserable year, but I have a number of close friends and family members who either didn’t nurse for long, or opted for the bottle from go, and personally, I’m all for that. Hey, have you ever tried to nurse a third child while potty training the second? It’s like giving yourself an enema then trying to sit through Avatar without making any bathroom runs. Misery.

I know there are women out there who consider breastfeeding a religion, but I’m not one of them. Personally, my own dear mama was no dairy cow and only nursed me for a few months. Hey, look how happy I turned out. Scored high (enough) on the ACT, got a hot husband, I can do basic math and balance a check book–the lasting effects really haven’t been too terrible.

If mom’s who choose not to nurse, or who can’t nurse, feel like they’re going to be judged by women who can and do, then we’re not doing our job as fellow mothers. Who are we to throw stones, or try to convert someone who isn’t a good nursing fit? We’re not all dairy cows, people, no matter what the books say. I know plenty of Red Angus that made amazing mothers, despite a low milk supply.

Personally, I’m looking ahead to #4 and I can tell you right now, I’ve seriously considered the pro’s and con’s of giving the girls a rest on this one. June was miserable to nurse, I made it ten months and felt like I deserved some kind of golden brazier as a trophy.

(Of course, Dave Ramsey says formula is expensive, and it does seem like a waste of perfectly good homegrown cream. And I hate dishes and I’m lazy. I also like the calorie sucking bonus.  If I end up  nursing or not, it will be for purely selfish reasons either way. So shoot me)

Let’s all support each other. This decision isn’t easy, and being a new mom is hard enough without feeling inadequate because of a few milk glands.  So I’ve decided that they’re right, it’s nobody’s business to ask, and it’s nobody’s business to judge why or why not a woman chooses to nurse.

And in the future, I will only ask about breastfeeding if a woman pulls out her breasts. (Hopefully the answer will be yes.)


  1. Oh my gosh. I just watched that segment. Amanda Dickson smiled WAY TOO MUCH. Like enough that I want to knock my head against the wall.

  2. If I would have known what nursing would have done to my ladies, I might have considered dropping some cold hard cash towards the formula. But look on the bright side, they’re flat and long enough to be used as ping pong paddles, hence saving me money when I buy a ping pong table. Momma will use her own paddles, thank you very much. How does Mr Ramsey like that?

  3. ann cannon says:

    GREAT summary, Annie. I love the idea that women can support each other’s choices, even when they disagree.

    It’s true what your readers say, too. You were the hottest of the three with excellent hair AND heels.


  4. My mom couldn’t nurse and her dr. told her “Hooray for the cow!” And when my dudes had a hard time nursing, she said the same thing to me. Either way, you’re right. New mommies don’t need the added pressure of people judging them for nursing/not nursing. We all do our best, right?

  5. Oh I don’t think people need to get as worked up as they do.
    I think it is funny that the ones who don’t nurse get offended. But like you said, who are we to judge.
    I was nursed for 6 weeks and I am pretty smart. I think. We all worry about what the baby will be missing out on blah blah blah, but I think a bigger issue is how we raise them. Not everyone can breastfeed, but we all can turn off the TV and play with our kids.

  6. Amen. I nursed all 4 of my kiddos up until they were ready to be weaned off to solid food & a sippy cup (about 12 months.) I so do NOT judge my friends who couldn’t / wouldn’t do the same. And I definitely know people who had happier healthier babies AFTER they made the switch to the bottle. Nursing really isn’t for everyone. I judge feel sorry for the gals buying formula because Dave ramsey’s right… EXPENSIVE! Of course… my trips to the Dr. for mastitis & prescriptions for antibiotics probably added up too.

  7. OMG… I did not mean to type “judge feel sorry”. JUST feel sorry… Sheesh- wasn’t I just saying I don’t judge?

  8. Yes! I completely agree. And adore you, as you know.

  9. I was adopted at birth so, obviously, I was not breastfed. I didn’t even think of it as an optimal way to do things, actually, because of that. Just cheaper. I didn’t nurse for even a day and my kids are all smart, healthy, and allergy-free. Go figure.

  10. Haven’t stopped by here in a while. Just want to say, you’ve mastered the “writing” world (and talking of course). I really think you ought to try giving Dr. Phil or Dr. Laura some competition. Your topics really get people thinking. Just saying….

  11. Finally… a voice of reason.
    This is GREAT!
    Thanks for writing it.

  12. It would take a golden brazier to hold up my ladies after nursing. I always did it until I felt ready to stop (between 3 and 11 months) for various reasons. I don’t think anyone should be judged according to if and how long they nurse, but I don’t think it’s absurd to ask about it. I mean, we ask each other if our babies were born vaginally – if we can talk about THAT topic, then boobs and what we do with them shouldn’t be an issue.

  13. I loved breastfeeding, especially when my mom had BBQ chicken for dinner.

  14. I’m a little shocked that so many women can justify not breastfeeding with “my kid is still smart and healthy”. I, personally, don’t think that is responsible. Worrying about what your breasts will look like or not wanting to be a “dairy cow” does show a lack of responsibility to your family and to your divine role as a mother. Especially a disrespect to the bodies that God has designed for our use and benefit.

    I know formula can save lives when it is truly necessary. But, a true necessity and a lack of desire to breastfeed on the part of the mother are NOT the same.

    As far as offense, only you are responsible for whether or not you are offended. If someone asks if you are nursing, and you aren’t, what are the reasons you aren’t? Are they justified? If yes, then you shouldn’t be offended. If not, then maybe that offense is there to teach you something. I think that some women need to be asked, and need help offered to them, because they don’t get enough support. I know, I’ve been there. I’m still there, nursing my twenty month old. We can’t tell which women need our support and which will choose to be offended.

    (Annie, when I say “you” I’m not aiming this at you, but at those who think we shouldn’t ask about breastfeeding. And I know this is controversial and I hope I don’t start a big argument on your blog, I just really felt like it needed to be said. You can send all the haters to my blog if you want, I can take it!)

  15. Hey Melissa….YOU have a very good point!!

  16. Mallory I can see your point. My only issue with your point was the “you choose to be offended”. I feel it’s getting to be an excuse for people to stop being tactful and stop being aware of other peoples feelings. We can have an open dialog with love without reverting to the “here’s my thought and if I have offended you, it’s your own fault”. That kind of closes the discussion for me.

  17. Camille, yes, I absolutely understand that just because we can choose whether or not we are offended by something doesn’t mean people can then be outwardly seeking to offend. But, I think when you ask a woman “Are you breastfeeding?”, the intent is rarely to offend. People can’t just assume that normal curiosity is meant to make others feel bad.

    I do think it is ok for me to share my opinion in this topic, because I think a lot of people misunderstand breastfeeding. Women think that it causes their breasts to sag. It doesn’t. Gravity, time, pregnancy changes and genetics cause that. A lot of women think that formula is “just as good…because my kid is healthy and smart without having breastfed”. Which, that isn’t always true. Science has shown that formula is NOT as good as breast milk and probably never will be. Just because moms think their kids are healthy from being raised on formula…it may not be so (allergies? behavioral issues?) I really think women are ignoring the importance of nursing and making up excuses. And some women just don’t know. When they pop a bottle into their baby’s mouth, they honestly have no idea that there is something better.

  18. Mallory, I totally agree with you that “breast is best” for the baby. But I don’t agree that every person can breastfeed and that its the best fit for everyone. I breastfed all my kids, by the time I had my third, it was just too hard. I still breastfed him but not as long or as much as I did the other two. Maybe that makes me selfish, but its my choice to make without being called irresponsible.

    There was a woman I knew that decided she wanted a home birth. There were some complications and that baby died. If she had been in a hospital the baby would’ve been fine. Do I think she put her needs of wanting a home birth over the safety of a hospital? Yeah, I do. But its not my place to make that decision and whether or not I think its the responsible thing to do or not, doesn’t really matter.

    What we CAN do for each other, is stop judging and be a friend. (I’m not saying that if someone is interested in breastfeeding you shouldn’t talk about it. Or even if someone is misinformed that you can’t share an opinion. Its just the whole looking down at someone like they’re a bad person for not nursing even if they have no good excuse. It doesn’t matter. They’re responsible for their child, and they have to deal with the consequences of their decisions.)

    I think its one of Satan’s greatest tools to pit women against each other, because we can do SO MUCH GOOD when we’re happy and helping. And honestly when women are judgmental and mean, they can tear people apart so badly. What would the world be like if we stopped worrying about what the lady down the street was doing and just helped one another out?

    (And Annie, you know I loved this post obviously based off my comment the other day! Sorry to go on and on about the subject!)

    • annie valentine says:

      Mel, love the comment. Experienced moms should speak out. I love women who breast feed, and I love women who don’t. Frankly, it’s not my place to talk anyone into doing something that could bring them emotional harm, because a sad and depressed mommy is bad for everyone, and I’ve seen too many women hit depression because of the boob hormones.

      That said, for me, breast is best because it’s the easiest. Again, I’m selfish, but sometimes mommy’s have to be a little selfish if they want to hang on to their sanity. With #4 staring me down the face, I’m going to do what’s the best for me so I can be the best for them.

  19. Annie, you keep talking about #4, I know you WANT a #4, but you kind of sound like you already have a #4 cooking away. Email me…

  20. Holy Cow! I was going to weigh in, but now I won’t. I have no boobs left anyway.

  21. I think the comment wars just further enforce your point, Annie. I hated the question, and I guess I “Chose” to be offended because when I said “No, I’m not breastfeeding” a few times, women jumped down my throat about it, without even giving me the chance to explain why. Totally unfair. And I’m not totally ignorant, I know breast is best. Tell that to my milk glands. And sometimes when they did give me the chance to explain (defend) myself, I got all done and thought, “why is my medical history any of their da#@!*# business anyway?!?”
    That’s my 2-cents worth. I’ve been there, and it’s no one else’s business anyway. I don’t go around telling people they shouldn’t let their 5 year old drink soda pop. I assume their mother knows it’s not good for them, but that’s her decision, not mine.

  22. It’s funny because I was made to feel like a crappy mom because I chose to breastfeed. I didn’t have the support I needed and only ended up nursing for 3 months with my first child (that and the doctor had her on formula every other feeding from minute one…another story for another time). I was a lot more successful with my second and made it almost a year before my milk decided to dry up on its own…and I plan to breastfeed any future children I might have. I think each person is entitled to do what is best for that person and their baby. A reason that is stupid to you for not breastfeeding might be extremely important to me or vice versa. No one ever knows someone’s situation. Breastfeeding has a different meaning to one mother than it does to another. I choose to breastfeed for the health benefits of the baby (and the quick weight loss doesn’t suck either!) but that is the ONLY reason. I don’t feel any closer to my second who I exclusively breastfed for almost a year than I do to my first who was only breastfed for 3 months and not even exclusively. The pros to you (you, meaning anyone, not Annie) are sometimes cons to me. Don’t judge.

  23. Breastfeeding is hard work, but wonderful if it works. I wish that someone had told me how hard it was going to be before I had my fist so I could have been prepared. I would have rather given birth multiple times then go through what I went through with my son. But after 4 months of pumping and supplementing we worked it out. I think that each of us are designed differently and have different experiences with all that we do in life. I was so thankful to all the gals in my life that were open and honest about breastfeeding, it was what helped me get through 4 very trying months.