Tired of the "bonding" argument - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 67 Old 11-28-2006, 07:26 PM
 
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What if instead of the bonding ‘argument’ you couched it in terms of how special it feels to look at your baby and know that you and you alone are responsible for their growth?

What about putting it in terms of empowerment as a mother? Because although I believe in the bond I have with my boys, I feel that my failure to bf did instill a certain lack of belief in my capability to mother. I really think I’d like to see the empowerment argument used a lot more. I think that is more clear cut. You can bond while you bottle feed, but there is nothing particularly empowering about it (unless of course you are EP’ing, in which case I think you deserve empowerment to the nth degree.)
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#62 of 67 Old 11-29-2006, 02:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ccohenou
I think it would be unfortunate to collapse our discussion of the benefits of breastfeeding down to the benefits of breast*milk* only. There's so much more.

I do think one has to consider the audience, though, as you said in your original post. As a general point of information, or part of persuading people who have not yet decided to breastfeed, or part of strengthening the commitment of people who have decided to breastfeed, I think the social/emotional aspects of breastfeeding are important and valid to discuss. How else do we understand a baby/child who nurses 'dry' through a pregnancy, a mother who produces little or no milk but feeds at the breast via supplementer, a 3 or 4-year-old who nurses a few times a week?
Thank you for bringing this up. As a mom who is making virtually no milk (less than 4 oz/day) and feeding with a lact-aid, bf'ing for me is ALL about the bond. That's the entire reason I'm doing it. Now, I know that my dd does get some physical benefits, even from the tiny amount I produce. But honestly, that was not even a factor in my decision to nurse her. It was all about the bond. (She is adopted, btw--I knew going into it that I would likely make very little milk.)

Interestingly, I'm not sure bf'ing has really been that instrumental in my bonding to my dd--it's too stressful right now for my emotions to be able to completely take over and for me to totally relax while nursing. I keep wondering where's that oxytocin everyone talks about. I think it will be instrumental in the long-term, but right now I am too tired from lack-of sleep and constant lact-aid nursing sessions to really feel the effects. But it has had a definite impact on my dd's bond with me already. I see the comfort that she derives from nursing, and it is a very satisfying thing as a mother to experience her love of nursing. It is a really neat thing to see her wanting me--wanting what only I can give. It has been humbling to realize that bf'ing is really not about me--it's about her.

With that said, I don't think that nursing is the only way to successfully bond. My ds was bottlefed after months of arduous effort to nurse, and he is just about as attached as a child can be (especially physically--he's a very "high touch" kid). I have a deep and connected relationship with him, too, and I can't imagine it being any better if I'd nursed him through toddlerhood instead of just 4 months.

I think bf'ing is just one tool, a very powerful tool, but not the only tool in the box. I think bonding is more about motivation than anything else. I think when we sacrifice for our kids, our love for them grows deeper. I think when tbey experience us meeting their needs, both physical and emotional, they feel more bonded to us.

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Originally Posted by Learnintolaugh View Post
What if instead of the bonding ‘argument’ you couched it in terms of how special it feels to look at your baby and know that you and you alone are responsible for their growth?
But even that is a separate issue from the bonding, or feelings of closeness from bf'ing. I will probably never be able to look at my baby and feel responsible for her growth. In fact, it is the opposite--I feel sad that my baby is getting virtually nothing from me as far as physical sustenance. Every time I nurse I am reminded of my lacking...but I continue because the emotional factors are so important to me and, I feel, to her.
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#63 of 67 Old 11-29-2006, 08:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jay'smom View Post
Please know that many, many bottle feeding moms are wonderful parents and would never prop a bottle.
I don't question that there are wonderful parents even though they do prop a bottle. The bottle or lack thereof doesn't define anyone as a good/bad parent. However, I don't think bottle proppers are likely to be AP.

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Originally Posted by Jay'smom View Post
My inabily to breastfeed does not make me a non-AP parent.
I suspect that if I saw you feeding your child in one way or another it would be apparent that you are AP, just by the way you interact with your child. It's that interaction and responsiveness that makes you AP not the bottle or lack of a bottle.
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#64 of 67 Old 11-29-2006, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What about putting it in terms of empowerment as a mother?
Yes, this is what I do, especially when someone is having troubles and I'm giving advice - I mention how great it felt to be able to work through the problems and succeed.
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#65 of 67 Old 11-29-2006, 10:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jay'smom View Post
Where are all of these bottle propping moms? I've personally never seen one.
Before I'd started nursing, I never saw a woman NIP either...mainly because I wasn't looking for it.

As far as propping, most of the FF moms I know don't regularly prop (except one mom of multiples who props for every feeding), but almost all of them would admit to doing it at least once, usually at home when they're trying to get something else done.

Have I asked? Yes. :
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#66 of 67 Old 11-29-2006, 10:42 PM
 
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It's also important for everyone to keep in mind that bonding is really about affecting people at the extremes. On one end, you have women who would bond with a rock. On the other, you have people who are incapable of bonding at all. In between, you have varying degrees of innate ability to bond along with circumstances that either enhance or hurt their bonding potential.

Breastfeeding helps. It is not the case that BF = automatic perfect bonding for everyone, or if you don't BF you can't bond at all. It helps. That's all. Some people (particularly women who did have a rough transition into motherhood) need all the help they can get and breastfeeding can provide that little help they need. For most of us though, it's just another tool in the arsenal. Most women who do not BF find other ways to bond, and that's OK too.

I agree with the OP that you have to be real careful with this one as a benefit of BF. Heck, if the gang on MDC can't agree on BF benefits, who can?
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#67 of 67 Old 12-02-2006, 11:28 PM
 
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I've been thinking about this a little lately, and I think the reason it is so hard to use bonding as a benefit to breastfeeding is because it is subjective and cannot really be measured. There is a distinct element to breastfeeding that enhances bonding with your child. Talk to anyone who did not bf their first baby but did bf their subsequent babies. They will most likely tell you that they love their first child and are definitely bonded to that child, but the bond they share with their bf child is simply different.

My first dc was born via c/s under general anesthesia. My subsequent babies were an unmedicated VBAC in a hospital and most recently an HBAC (homebirth after cesarean). I have memories of the births of my daughters that just do not exist with my ds. Am I bonded to him? Sure, without a doubt. But when I look at him I do not have fond memories of his birth. I have zero from the actual birth and about 3 hours of time missing. I have a very cloudy memory of the first two days. And you know what my starkest memories are? Of pain. I look at my dd's and I remember labor. I remember pushing. I remember feeling them emerge from my body. I remember being the first to hold them. The euphoria of birth. I remember breastfeeding them immediately.

These memories that I have with my dd's enhance our bonding. It creates a different bond because the memories are different. I love my ds, nursed him until he was 37 months old. We are bonded, but I don't have beautiful memories of his birth in the same way I do with my dd's. I am sad that I don't have that. I will always regret missing out on the first few hours of his life, and our bond is different because of the birth experience.

I think it is similar with breastfeeding, based on my experiences talking with other mothers who have experienced different ways of feeding their children. The experience is different, but we don't know how different until we've experienced what we do not know.
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