I love breastfeeding. While I try to keep an open mind about the many different opinions regarding the matter, I get highly discouraged when I hear someone being negative about breastfeeding. I always knew I would breastfeed. I had a great experience with my first child. I did research, I learned the laws in different states, I mentally prepared myself to defend my position on breastfeeding knowing not everyone felt the way I did about the matter. I nursed my first baby for 17 months, until I had complications with my second pregnancy. Who knows how long I would have nursed him if I didn't have to stop.
Luckily, in those 17 months I never had to defend my position on my choice of nutrition for my child. (Though I did have one horrible, degrading, infuriating, instance during jury duty when the judge and everyone in the courtroom laughed at me when I asked if the breaks would be sufficient enough for me to pump for my 3 1/2 month old....but, that's a whole other story!)
My second child is just under 13 months old and while I have had the mental preparation to defend breastfeeding for the last 3 years, I began to think I would probably not have to do so. How wrong I was!
About a week ago I came down with a nasty little cold, which turned into a sinus infection. I tried several things at home to kick it, but the pain was becoming unbearable. I don't have time to take a day off work to make an appointment at a doctor, so I decided to go to a quick care after work one day. During the appointment the doctor walks in the room, does his very quick look over and sits down to write the prescription.
Typing on his notepad, the doctor asks if any antibiotics are not good for me.
I respond by saying, "No, as long as they are safe while nursing."
He stops typing, says, "Oh," pauses for a moment and then asks how old my baby is.
"He's one. Well, close to 13 months, so one."
"How often does he nurse?"
"Well, it really depends on his mood...."
Cutting me off he says, "It's time to stop."
Taken aback I slowly say, "No...it's not."
The doctor says pointedly, without looking at me, "He is one. It's time to stop."
Now, I hate confrontation....like HATE with a capital H.A.T.E! But, I was shocked at this! A DOCTOR is telling me I should NOT breastfeed longer than one year? What right does he have? Out of anyone, a doctor should know the benefits of breastfeeding. Obviously not this one!
My stomach started twisting as I fervently said, "NO! It's NOT!"
He stops typing again, looks at me with a look that seems to say, "is she seriously talking back to me?" while he asks, "It's not?"
Here it is...the moment I have been prepared for for the last 3 years..."No. I enjoy it, he enjoys it, and it is still nutritionally healthy for him." Pause to keep my composure. "Besides, the World Health Organization recommends until 2. And the world average is 4."
I stopped right there, but oh how there were so many other things I could have put out there. It was so hard to bite my tongue.
Under his breath I can hear him mumble, "Really."
As though I'm making these random statistics up! He then asks how many children I have. I tell him two. I held my tongue because I wanted so badly to tell him off! I wanted to tell him how long I nursed my first son and how that wasn't even long enough. How I plan to nurse this little one for longer than the first. I wanted to say so much more, but I didn't.
I suppose it's good I stopped when I did, because as it was, I really ticked him off. He didn't look at me for the rest of the very short appointment. When he was finished typing out the prescriptions he said, still without looking at me, "I'll be back with your prescriptions." A moment later, he walks back in, hands me two pieces of paper, says, "Here they are," and walks out. No "hope you feel better," "thanks for coming in," "take care".....nothing! How rude.
I walked out of the office, baffled by what had just happened, and called my best friend. Who was just as shocked and angry as I was. Before heading over to the pharmacy, I mentioned I thought I should talk to the pharmacist just to make sure all of the prescriptions were safe. And, it's a darn good thing I did. Because, here's the kicker to it all.....the doctor gave me a prescription that is in a class not recommended for breastfeeding mothers. Oh, but wait for it....the medicine was for something I didn't even need! I have a SINUS INFECTION! You know, nasty, thick, yellow, mucus with intense pressure in all sinus cavities that gets no relief? Sure enough, the prescription I didn't need was for allergies. Which, let me remind you, I am NOT suffering from during this fall season. Can someone with a doctorate degree really be so.... [trying to pick a nicer word] idiotic?
You know, even through the anger I was feeling, I'm almost glad this happened. It made me feel stronger, a little taller, and in a way, accomplished. I can stand up for what I believe.
I felt proud, too. Not just that I could stand up to someone with differing opinions than my own, but that I was making the best choice for my child. I felt proud to know I was a part of this amazing group of women who choose breastfeeding. I felt proud to know that there were a huge group of women out there that would back me up. I felt proud to know there were women who would probably be just as angry, or even more so, than I in this situation. And it felt really good to know there were places I could go to get support and backup on my position on breastfeeding.
Probably, nothing will ever come of this experience for that doctor. But, I hope he does a little more research on breastfeeding and realizes he was wrong. I hope he never puts another woman in the position he put me in. We should never have to defend our breastfeeding to anyone, but especial never to a doctor. Yet, even though we shouldn't ever have to, we do. And I suppose, that's why I felt I had to prepare myself with a defense three years ago when I first started breastfeeding, and why I'll do my best to be prepared to do it again. Because, if I have to, I will. Because, for me and my children, I have decided that regardless of what anyone else has to say, breast IS best.
~Cami 27, mom to CJ 3 and Caed 13mo