A Memo to Angelina Jolie About Breastfeeding.

TO: ANGIE JOLIE

 

 

RE: YOUR BREASTS

 

Hey again Angie. I swear I’m not stalking you. Seriously, it’s just that after I wrote you that last letter responding to the whole “twins situation” I kind of thought we were on the same page about how difficult it is. But then, I find out that you posed for a big fancy magazine breast feeding your babies and looking all serene and mother-earthy. Like breast feeding twins was just the most nature thing in the whole entire world. I couldn’t help but feel it was sort of a slap in the face. Admittedly, I haven’t actually seen the pictures so maybe you were wearing nipple shields and they got air brushed out and maybe there was a Boppy involved, or frozen cabbage, at the very least some damn soothing Lanolin but I doubt it. Well, kudos to you on your success, Angie. Fine, I’m probably a bit jealous.

 

I could tell you a whole long story about my failed yet drawn out attempt to breast feed my first daughter and how I smelled like Fenugreek for at least a year which is forty-eight weeks longer than I actually breastfed, but you don’t have time for that. Not with all that breast feeding you’re doing. But, I did quickly want to share with you that I was all cool in my decision not to even try and breast feed when I found out I was having twins. If one was hard two would be hell, right? I mean, sure, I knew I’d have to get an unlisted number so that the La Leche League couldn’t call and lecture me, or picket outside my house, but I was okay with that. But then I found out much later on that my twins would be born prematurely and all my resolve flew out the window. Those preemies, they need the breast milk. I knew I’d have to give it and them my best.

 

You probably don’t know this but two preemie babies plus two milk challenged boobs equals frantic pumping. Hang on, I have to go have a glass of wine just thinking about this. Okay, I’m back . Maybe you should just give me your number so I could call you…if anyone could breast feed twins and talk on the phone at the same time it would be you…anyhoo, the very day Sadie and Mattie were removed from my stomach, the nurses wheeled in this huge hospital grade pump with tubing and funnels and a motor so big it could start a car. It looked like some sort of medieval torture device. The thing sat next to my bed about three days untouched. I know I was on a lot of pain medication but I swear through the haze I heard it taunting me. But I couldn’t let it intimidate me.

 

spearso
01.04.09

And the point of this article and comments is? To scare future moms away from breastfeeding b/c it is so darn horrific? No wonder the US breastfeeding rates are so terribly low. Bunch of complainers. Seriously. Yes, it's hard to get going, but if you stick with it MOST of you will succeed... This bullshit about 'not being able to do it, despite how terribly hard you tried' is absolute crap, so just get over it. Seriously. No point to this lame article, and the mostly lame comments that follow. Gah!

Writermom
12.18.08

Dear Nathan's Mom, if you love your little guys so much (in that you equate love with how long and how much you suffered to breast feed him) why didn't you do it for a year which is what's recommended to get the best benefits. Were you too vain to live with disproportionate breasts? Also, I'm fairly sure the author was being tongue and cheek in being jealous of Angelina not telling women not to breast feed. And one more thing: I wasn't even aware that JLo was out promoting that women should stop breastfeeding. Wait, was she saying it's not right for her? Or that all women should follow in her footsteps and stop. It's a teeny tiny difference but I'd love to know.

Nathans_Mom
12.12.08

Obviously breastfeeding does not work for everyone, and I am so sorry to those who worked hard at it and struggled and had to deal with disappointment. However, I am quite certain that Angelina's goal in doing this shot is not to make you feel crappy about it; rather, it is an extremely positive example and message to new moms to give it a try, as breastmilk truly is best for baby (you'd all agree, or else you wouldn't have tried so hard to breastfeed). When JLo is out there advertising that breastfeeding isn't right for her babies when really she is too vain to deal with the physical toll it takes on one's breasts, I think it's great that Angie is promoting the positives. And YES, it is challenging -- I was one of those who had so much milk I donated a ton of it to a mom who couldn't nurse, until I got a clogged duct and mastitis and my left breast shut down operation. I was one-breasted (and grossly disproportionate) for 4 months until I gave it up at the 10-month mark (pumping at work several times a day) -- that's how much I love my little guy. Totally worth it! I will suffer the ups and downs of breastfeeding again (hopefully longer) with my next one, due early July.

annie3119
11.04.08

I never post comments on the internet but I couldn't resist... With my first boy I dripped as I walked. And I tried and tried to feed him and he shrieked and struggled to get away from me. Well, I gave up after weeks of tears and pain, mostly mine... With my second boy everything was more or less a struggle until he grew teeth and drew blood one day... As far as I'm concerned breastfeeding is for the birds.... I refused to feel guilty about stopping it and I don't recommend it to anyone... If God had wanted me to be Supermom then he would have given me Superpowers...

trantortwinmom
10.23.08

I had the same thing happen; Had preemie twins, couldn't BF due to meds and, well, having preemie twins. Managed to get a few weeks out of it, but I refuse to feel guilty - did the best I could. Isn't it wonderful for her, though. Blech.

carmensitaaaa
10.23.08

I agree with ginnylou that like childbirth, breastfeeding is natural, but doesn't mean it's easy! And I think Stephanie's article made that point crystal clear. However, I wonder if it's beneficial to harp on Angelina Jolie's photo shoot just because some of us find it difficult. I think in the most practical sense, she's just doing her job as a celebrity, and whether she's flaunting her double bliss - that's up to individual interpretation more so than a public criticism. I think our culture somehow gets on this emotional communism - because there are some have-nots, nobody can talk or rave about something they experienced as wonderful. And because some are the breastfeeding "have-nots," any commendation of the benefits or wonder of breastfeeding has to be meted out of the press. What I came away from this article is that because some have miserable experiences with breastfeeding, therefore nobody can say anything positive about it - which only adds yet another negative topic to the devisive mommy wars.

itssarawithnoh
10.22.08

What bothers me more than the breastfeeding of twins is the "sexualization" of it. The headline "Brad Pitt's Private Photos" leads one to believe there's some sexy stash inside and a picture of her breastfeeding appears with that headline?! Anyone who has ever even tried to breastfeed knows there's nothing sexy about it - it's about caring for and feeding a baby. It's two steps forward and one step back.

ginnylou
10.22.08

Haha! I feel your pain (yes, literal pain that everyone tells you is "rare", ha!). I breastfed for the longest 6 months of my life! Once I went back to work, I'd pump while sitting on the floor of the stock room, surrounded by cardboard boxes. And still got walked in on twice by male coworkers. And NEVER let anyone tell you it's easy, or you didn't try hard enough, or "it's the most natural thing in the world". Childbirth is natural too, but no one tells you THAT's easy! Great post, I love your stuff!

freshchestermama
10.22.08

BF'ing is personal, it's hard, and some women don't produce. I wrote a letter to the NY Times after that bucking bronco gov't "you must breastfeed" ad came out a few years ago berating those who don't understand how some people have horrible difficulty chastising those who do everything and just CAN'T. There is nothing worse than pumping, taking every supplement under the sun, trying every contraption that your personal lactation consultant sells, and knowing full well that child is just not getting all they need from you. You did your best. You earned the big girl panties, and don't let anyone tell you differently.

meandertail
10.21.08

Oh god, that was hilarious. This is giving me flashbacks to my own pumping days. Everything I ate tasted like maple syrup, and I was chugging that Mother's Milk tea three times a day. And still I couldn't get the job done. I felt like the biggest failure when I switched to formula (at about 8 months - I mean, I should have been psyched about making it that long, right?). I hate it when you've really tried and you still get crap from the BF nuts - I got it too! Way to be encouraging, ladies!