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Sunday, December 26, 2010

More MDC vitriol: nursing while pregnant

I tandem nursed my boys -through pregnancy and for a year and a half afterward.

And in retrospect, nursing during pregnancy is NOT NATURAL. Is it harmful and yicky and whatever? Meh, jury is still out. But it is definitely not natural.

My evidence?
1.  there are seriously strong taboos throughout the world against nursing while pregnant.

2. From my personal experience and from the experience of most woman I know who nursed during pregnancy, it HURTS. The milk dries up, the milk changes in flavor, and the nipples are sensitive and it is just blergh....

3. A number of women (but not all) also felt revulsion towards the nursling. My revulsion towards my older child was so strong that it was entirely a cognitive exercise to keep nursing. I did it - more because my older child had such strong anxiety that I knew weaning him would be harder/more painful than continuing but I would never do it again.

Now, here is the thing - on MDC, when you feel something strongly that agrees with their agenda, the advice is
"honor your body" or "listen to your mama instincts?" But if your feelings do not align with the agenda, such as with nursing while pregnant? the advice is to buck up and suck up or you will be labeled  a" bad mother" (or selfish or lazy or any number of nasty terms that = bad).



  1. I agree entirely! My first child was 10 months old when I got pregnant again, and I wanted to breastfeed until at least 2. My OB was supportive, but reminded me that I would need about 700 extra calories in my diet: 200 for the pregnancy and 500 for breastfeeding a toddler. Too bad pregnancy made all food completely repellant. I kept losing and losing weight, and what exhausted all the time, and my baby was fussy and no longer enjoyed breastfeeding as I got further and further along in my pregnancy.

    I weaned her at 15 months, and she never raised a peep. Many people had told me not to be surprised if she was curious when the baby was born and wanted to BF again, but she never showed any interest. She didn't even try to copy me and breastfeed her toys. I think that her memories of the last few months of breastfeeding, while not unhappy, also weren't terribly pleasant. That makes me very sad, as I enjoyed it.

    As soon as I weaned, I felt so much better. I had energy again, and became a much better mother to my daughter.

    I felt awful, and like I had failed my daughter by not breastfeeding for the full 2 years. In retrospect, I feel like I failed my son by not providing him with the resources he needed to develop. It's probably unrelated, but he had a few very minor developmental issues (nothing that affect the quality of his life: just things like holes in the enamel of his front teeth) and I wonder if they could have been avoided if I had been preserving my resources for him.

    I wish MDC wouldn't present tandem nursing as the norm. In doing more research since my experience, I don't think that it's practiced in any pre-industrial society. For most of human history, calories were very scarce, and it requires A LOT of calories to tandem nurse. That just wouldn't have been feasible.

  2. Many cultures look down on tandem nursing because you're not supposed to get pregnant right after having a baby! Three year spacing between children is the norm. In some African tribes, a closer spacing is an abomination.