I write for the Omaha World Herald that prints my pieces in the actual newspaper every other weekend. I’ve gotten a few “Letters to the Editor” addressed to me and I usually don’t feel compelled to respond. One of my favorites was a lady named Barbara who sent in a hand written letter reprimanding me for using the word boobs. “What will your daughters think of you when they get older?!”

It was a classic that I now have framed in my office.

Just last week I wrote a positive breastfeeding article and was notified that I received a letter to the editor that my positive breastfeeding article wasn’t … positive? Honestly, I’m still confused.

But, the paper decided to publish it, so I couldn’t resist responding.

To my sisters with babies – keep that head up. It’s both precious and exhausting and you will survive it and like a weirdo – you’ll miss it.

 

Read my original article here.

Read Nancy’s original letter to the editor here

 

Dearest Negative Nancy,

May I call you Negative Nancy?

I was just notified by the editor that you were nonplussed by my positive breastfeeding piece – because, I guess it wasn’t … positive … enough?

First, let me applaud your enthusiasm to take the time to write a letter to the editor. Honestly, it’s a lost art – like book reading and shopping in actual stores. I’m so lazy, I get my tampons shipped to my door through Amazon Prime, so truly I’m impressed.

I have to say, your letter was deeply confusing. Can we go through this line by line together?

Dear Omaha World Herald,

The recent column by Anna Lind Thomas on breastfeeding was especially, particularly, discouraging. Her attempts at humor fell far short in this instance.

Honestly, my humor falls short quite a bit. Moving on –

Stultifying might be an appropriate description.

Had to Google stultifying – easy on the big words Nancy! (Let me save some of you time – it means “cause to lose enthusiasm.”)

I would put breastfeeding 3 children into the category of one of the most satisfying, enjoyable, and fulfilling life experiences ever – the icing on the bonding cake.

I agree – said as much in my article. Go on …

Of course it isn’t the end of life as we know it to be unable to nurse your infant, you can bond over a bottle.

Well, I mean – that’s a relief. Thank you for that.

My kids now in their 20’s don’t remember that wonderful feeling of closeness but I wouldn’t give up those memories for anything.

Totally agree – remember the part in my column where I write – and I quote – “Yet despite the difficult moments, most of all I simply remember the peace that overwhelmed me. Rocking and nursing in a lightly lit room, quietly watching “The Great British Bake Off” on Netflix or the “Harry Potter” movie series while it snowed outside. The comfort of having a newborn and knowing there was nothing more important than feeding, cuddling, kissing and loving one another sustained me —”

Wait, Nancy – did you even read the article?

There are easy remedies for the maladies Anna lists and for the record the only real problem I remember was a sleepy little boy who kept having to be jiggled awake so he could nurse long enough to fill himself up.

Well, Nancy – I must admit I feel foolish. If breastfeeding was easy for you, then it must have been easy for me! If I had only known!

But let me speak up for the ladies in the back – the remedies are not always easy. If your child has a bad latch or a tongue tie it can take weeks or even months to get a good rhythm. Some women have to supplement their low supply with pumping. It took two weeks for my cracked, raw nipples to heal so I have to disagree that painful breastfeeding is not a crazy conspiracy theory. Now whether Jay-Z and Beyonce are in the Illuminati on the other hand …

As a healthcare worker I am aware of how many new moms miss out on this rewarding experience by deciding not to even TRY breastfeeding because they have heard it is difficult, messy, and inconvenient. Breastfeeding saves a ton of money and it’s way more convenient than fixing a bottle and if you do need to fix a bottle sometimes then by all means do so. Dad needs a turn, Mommy needs some me time, you are a mother not a milk cow.

Tell that to a woman who has to pump all day. Milk cow is exactly how I would describe it …

It is disappointing to see Momaha.com endorse this sad piece of journalism.

Nancy D.

Here’s the deal – it’s not people like me who tell the truth that detour women from breastfeeding, it’s the women who romanticize it, tell them how easy it is and then judge women when they have a difficult go.

Some women have a very easy time breastfeeding, others don’t have enough supply, crack, bleed, get blisters and, like me, have to chomp down on a rag and cry through the pain. Most of the time it’s temporary which is why I encourage women to not give up.

And in the end, 99% of women who suffer through this, will say, as I did – that it was worth it.

Listen, I love a good fantasy. I would sell my kidney on the black market to have a metabolism like a scrawny twelve year old boy. But if you give women a fantasy that breastfeeding is pure bliss every single time for every single woman, then those who have a difficult time will experience frustration and shame – many will eventually quit. In my humble opinion, it’s when we tell the truth with honesty, good humor and encouragement that better prepares, encourages and empowers women to stay the course.

And of course, those who have an easy go will simply be pleasantly surprised.

All the best to you Nancy – and all the mom warriors covered in Lanolin.

xx,

Anna