Did we have it all and lose it?

mtbrown at geocities.com mtbrown at geocities.com
Mon Aug 24 23:37:34 EST 1998

In article <199808241345.GAA15315 at swan.prod.itd.earthlink.net>,
  ravena at cco.caltech.edu (Karen Lona Allendoerfer) wrote:

(Some shipping)
> Unfortunately, women
> themselves seem to be the worst enemies of other women in this regard, at
> times.  I noticed it when those guidelines came out earlier in the year
> about breast-feeding.  Now suddenly you're supposed to breast-feed a baby
> exclusively, without any outside supplement, for a year after it's born!
> When I read that, I admit I was horrified.  I don't have kids, or immediate
> plans to have kids, but the thought of exclusive breast-feeding for a year
> just does not appeal, at all.  Almost completely for career reasons.
> Breast-feeding in the lab?
>         I admit I hadn't given a great deal of thought to the issue, but
> when I had, I had thought I would do it for some amount of time, like 3
> months, and use a pump during the day and accumulate bottles in the fridge
> so that my hubby could be involved in the feeding process too.  But
> apparently, according the "latest medical advice," that's not acceptable.
> And it's not really the doctors, so much, who are pushing it, but some
> mothers and groups like La Leche league.  I had an overall positive
> impression of La Leche league before, but after I read some of their
> letters to the editor in women's magazines and newspapers after the
> articles describing the recommendations came out, the term "nipple nazis"
> actually didn't seem so inaccurate.

>         I think the only solution is to find supportive people on your side
> to help you,...

Once you have kids, you will find that the breastfeeding debate is not the
only controversial issue with passionate devotees lined up on each side.
There's the whole circumcision debate, which gets even more vitriolic, the
debate about staying at home vs. working, whether to feed store-bought baby
food or make your own, how to discipline your kids, whether your kids should
call you by your first name or "Mom" and "Dad", whether your kids should
learn to read before they start school, the list is endless. You can find
breastfeeding support from less dogmatic sources than La Leche. As a mom who
has successfully nursed two daughters (the first for 3 1/2 years, the second
for 10 months), it does not have to be a hassle or difficult or interfere
with your career (but for some women, there are problems, such as not enough
milk). Of the women I have known who breastfed (a limited sample, I know),
there were none who wanted to wean at only 3 months. It was far more common
to wait until at least 6 months. I am lucky to work at an institution that
recognizes the needs of nursing mothers. Here at FHCRC they have a special
room and industrial strength pump (=very efficient and fast) for nursing
moms. You sign up in advance for your time(s) each day and bop on down to the
room for 10 minutes or so, and that's that. Then your babysitter can use your
milk to feed your baby in your absence. During the evening, it saves time,
because you can just nurse without having to take the trouble to make up
bottles, mix formula, etc. It really is not that bad! Don't let those La
Leche folks scare you off or tell you how to be a parent. You will do fine,
whether you nurse for only 3 months or a year.

Megan Brown
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

home page with information on science careers:

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