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Is breast milk really that magical?

Leviathan's note: The topic of breastfeeding has remained hot for decades, and we can find many reasons. The so-called baby-raising is what an adult individual with the right to choose does for another human individual who does not yet have self-awareness. In many cases, we are unable to make choices based on our own or the baby's preferences, habits, or even will, so that we can turn to modern scientific conclusions and the public opinion orientation that sway modern scientific conclusions. Is breastfeeding really good? In fact, no one knows-even if modern science has always recognized the benefits of breastfeeding, modern science has never been the ultimate science-not to mention breastfeeding is far from being recognized enough by modern science. But in the environment of public opinion, what we value most does not seem to be objective truth. After all, the so-called public opinion is what some people want/do not want other people/or themselves to do, and everyone can only see what they want to see.

Last summer, one afternoon soon after my third child was born, I made a mistake.

I chatted about breastfeeding with a group of novice mothers I just met on the playground. I said: I was thinking about weaning the third child in about a month. After hearing these words, the friendship we had established on the Internet dissipated, and became cold and polite. The two mothers quickly walked away and took the little Emma and Liam to the slide.

In the next few weeks, I did this several times. Everyone's reaction was the same: I was isolated from their circle and became a mother who might feed my baby McNuggets in a critical juncture.

In my circle of friends in amusement parks, urban moms are wearing skinny jeans and oversized sunglasses. They use various labels to check each other: whether baby snacks are organic, whether baby strollers are novel in style, and there are many exquisite wooden toys. Still more plastic toys. But breastfeeding is the real ticket.

They like to tell each other stories about smuggling frozen breast milk through aviation security checks in the past (now it is legal), or to condemn the "barbarians" who do not approve of breastfeeding in public. In order to keep her status as a "mother-to-be" in the United States, Angelina Jolie appeared on the cover of "W" magazine and nursed one of the twins. Alternative rock singer Pete Wentz recently admitted to tasting his wife's breast milk ("sour, a little weird") after boasting that he and his wife Ashlee Simpson had frequent sex. In his view, these two things must be a sign of a good family life.

From the moment a new mother enters the waiting room of an obstetrician, she will be influenced by the slogan of upper-class parents-"Breast milk is the best". The parenting magazine provides "23 super breastfeeding tips" to warn mothers of possible "difficulties in breastfeeding", and also provides advice on how to find a local breastfeeding consultant (Please note for friends without children: yes, this is a real career , And it's booming). Many magazines have given advice from the parenting guru, Dr. William Sears. Sears is a celebrity in the childcare industry and has a list on his website that comprehensively lists the benefits of breast milk.

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At the top of the list is the "smarter brain": "IQ scores are on average 7 to 10 points higher!" (Sears knows his audience well). Then, this list goes on to introduce the role of breast milk in preventing diseases from infancy: reducing ear infections, allergies, and stomach diseases; reducing the incidence of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. In addition, it added that, in short, baby feces have a "buttermilk-like smell" and a "good-looking appearance", and the benefits are "far more than researchers imagined."

In 2005, "Babytalk" magazine won the National Magazine Award for publishing an article called "You Can Breastfeed" (You Can Breastfeed). In view of the prestige of the award, I hoped that this article would give people a respite from the overwhelming wonderful parenting skills of parenting magazines, and let mothers understand the real problems of breastfeeding.

Indeed, it is hopeful that the article opens with a realist episode, showing such a scene: a virtual "you" collapses under the pressure of breastfeeding day and night, enduring the "unending crying" of the baby While cursing your husband. But don't be afraid. The root of the problem does not lie in the fact that you suddenly realize that your ideal equal marriage, that is, the husband and wife take turns working happily and taking children in turn, now seems to be a farce.

But then, the article gave a simple explanation: you just haven't found the right way. This article suggests that you try "C hug" and then "move your arm quickly." Finally, the article even mentioned Dr. Sears. He gave a suggestion: “When breastfeeding, the newborn’s mouth should be shaped like a fish lip.”

After the birth of my first child, I welcome this kind of practical advice. I remember the midwife came to my hospital bed, moved my arm here, moved the baby's head there, everything was in order.

But after I had three children and breastfeeding for 28 months (still increasing), this continuous encouragement started to irritate. Buttermilk-like smell? It now appears that Dr. Sears is too harsh on me. Maybe I spend less time as a parent than him, but I do have my own opinions.

When I looked around my daughter’s second grade class, I didn’t seem to find any child who was unlucky. No one would say, “Oh, poor Sophie, her mother can’t breastfeed. How bleak her eyes are, she What a pale face and acne!"

Following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I dutifully fed each of the first two children breast milk for a whole year. I have experienced the "maternal nirvana" (maternal nirvana) brought about by breastfeeding in the article "Babytalk". But this time, Nirvana cannot be used to describe my state of mind. I want to start a new website and take care of two other children. I also want to chat with my husband occasionally. When he went to work, I was trapped at home to breastfeed the baby, which made me always angry at him and everyone for no reason.

In the era of Betty Friedan (one of the representative figures of American feminism in the 20th century), feminists felt bound by heavy housework. They had to do endless cleaning, shopping, and pushing Hoover cards. The vacuum cleaner runs around. At that time, such a vacuum cleaner was an essential prop for the "Happy Housewife Heroine" (Friedan sarcastically said).

On the cover of Sears's "Breastfeeding Book" (The Breastfeeding Book), there is a picture of a woman lying down, smiling at the child who is still sleeping in her dressing gown, even though it has been three poles a day. Looking at this photo, I suddenly realized: Now it is no longer the vacuum cleaner that binds me and my sisters in the 21st century, but another kind of sucking sound—baby sucking our milk.

However, even though I am a weird person on the social playground for postpartum mothers, I still cannot stop myself from breastfeeding. I have followed Sears’ parenting theory for so many years, and there are too many eyes staring at me on the playground. Therefore, like many women before me, I feel trapped in the cage of middle-class mothers, and vaguely dissatisfied: I am grumpy, but because I am in the middle class, I am not worthy of mercy.

We breastfeed with one hand and answer the phone with the other, clamoring for the older children to drink organic 100% pure juice. Friedan described the parenting problem as a "problem without a name" at the time. Today, for modern almighty mothers, this is nothing more than a change of soup.

If it weren't for a chance, I would stay in this cage and take care of my baby. One day, when I was breastfeeding my baby in the pediatrician's office, I found that a 2001 issue of the American Medical Association had just opened an article about breastfeeding.

It reads: "The conclusion is: There is no causal relationship between breastfeeding and duration, and overweight in young children." No causation? I was there at the time, sitting half naked and breastfeeding in public. That was the tenth time I did this that day, the 100th time that month, and the millionth time in my life. But these associations are inconsistent? This question planted the seeds in my heart.

That night, I did what any mother with a sleep deprived, slightly paranoid newborn would do. I called my doctor friend and asked for her password for her online medical library, and then sat up and read dozens of research reports that studied the relationship between breastfeeding and a series of events, such as allergies, obesity, Leukemia, mother-child attachment, intelligence, and all the benefits of breastfeeding that Dr. Sears emphasized.

The name of this association, La Leche, is taken from the Shrine of the Virgin Mary named Nuestra Señora de La Leche y Buen Parto near Jacksonville, Florida. The main idea is "Our benevolent lady with plenty of breast milk." Edwina Froehlich, the co-founder of the association, said it’s inappropriate for the name to be too explicit and straightforward: “Unless you’re talking about Jean Harlow (Hollywood in the 1930s) Sexy actress), otherwise the breasts would not be mentioned in the newspaper."

In the photos of the International Breastfeeding Association, the female members are all wearing practical pumps and high-necked housewife costumes with buttons all the way to the top. Another co-founder, Mary Ann Cahill (Mary Ann Cahill) said they consider themselves a group of women with "a bit crazy ideas." "Everything we do is radical."

The mothers of the Breast Milk Alliance objected to letting mothers become experimental props to prepare milk powder for their children, as if the children were samples. Instead, their goal is to "get the mother and baby together again." In the illustration in the second edition of the book, a woman named Eve (looks a lot like Jean Harlow) is topless and caressing her child without a doctor watching.

Over time, this group gradually absorbed the feminist color. A 1972 publication called on mothers to "have confidence in themselves and their sisters, instead of passively following the advice of professional licensees." As a woman wrote in another league publication, "Yes, I want liberation! I want freedom! I want the freedom to be a woman!"

In 1971, the Boston Women's Health Book Collective (Boston Women's Health Book Collective, a non-profit organization later renamed Our Bodies Ourselves-Translator's Note) published the book "Our Bodies, Ourselves" , Launched a branch of the feminist movement called the women's-health movement. The authors of this book are more fashionable than the mothers of the Breastfeeding Alliance: they wear loose jeans, clogs, and tie their waist-long hair with a headscarf.

But the two have something in common; the book also feels "disappointed and angry" with "superior, paternalistic, critical, and non-constructive" medical institutions. The book also states that teaching women to understand their bodies will make them "more confident, more autonomous, and stronger." Breasts are not something for men to whistle and wink their eyes. They are born for women to breastfeed their babies. This kind of feeding "can bring people a sense of enjoyment and a sense of satisfaction." The book also pointed out in passing that breastfeeding can "enhance the baby's ability to resist infection and disease." This is an omen. Soon, the entire United States will treat breast milk as a liquid vaccine.

Since the end of the 19th century, pediatricians have been carefully studying breast milk. But it wasn't until the "killer bottle" caused an international scandal in the 1970s that the public began to pay more attention to this matter. Studies in South America and Africa have shown that infants fed with formula milk are more likely to die than breast-fed infants. Facts have proved that these mothers are using contaminated water, or limited supply of formula milk powder, because milk powder is too expensive. In any case, in the United States, the whole thing turned breastfeeding advocates and formula milk producers into opposing factions, and triggered a ruthless turf war between them that continues to this day.

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Some magical ideas about breastfeeding stem from a common misunderstanding. Sydney Spiesel, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine, said that even many doctors believe that breast milk is full of various antibodies from the mother, which will be absorbed by the baby into the blood. This is true of most mammals.

But in the human body, this process is not so magical and not so powerful. Human babies have absorbed antibodies from the placenta at birth. Breast milk instills another layer of antibodies, mainly secretory immunoglobulin A (secretory IgA, also called slgA), directly into the baby's gastrointestinal tract. When the baby is breastfeeding, these antibodies will provide some extra protection against infection, but they will never enter the bloodstream.

Since the discovery of sIgA in 1961, the laboratory has been looking for other miracles. Can oligosaccharides in breast milk prevent diarrhea? Can fatty acids promote brain development? In the past few decades, scientists have discovered many promising clues, hypotheses and theories, all of which imply that breastfeeding has many benefits, and it is very beautiful, but they have never been confirmed in the laboratory.

Instead, most of these claims are based on research conducted outside the laboratory: comparing a group of breastfed babies with another group of babies who breastfed little or no breastfeeding at all. Thousands of such studies have been published, suggesting that there is a link between breastfeeding and healthier, happier, and smarter children. But they all have an obvious flaw.

Ideally, the study should randomly divide a group of mothers into two groups, tell one group to breastfeed and the other group not to breastfeed, and then measure the results. However, for ethical reasons, researchers cannot interfere with the way mothers feed their babies. As a result, they had to do only "observational" research, that is, only observing the gap between breastfed infants and non-breastfed infants. The problem is that these two types of babies grow up in completely different environments.

In the United States, breastfeeding is on the rise: 69% of mothers start breastfeeding in the hospital, and 17% of mothers exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months. But among educated older white women, this number is much higher. For example, women who have attended college are about twice as likely to breastfeed for 6 months as women who have never attended college. Researchers tried to exclude all these "confounding variables" that may affect infant health and development. But they are still not sure whether they missed some key factors.

A well-respected researcher at McGill University, Michael Kramer, said: "Research on the benefits of breastfeeding is very difficult and complicated because these two groups of people are inherently complicated." Claiming that breast milk can prevent everything, cancer, diabetes... A rational person will treat every new amazing discovery with caution."

The study on breastfeeding and obesity in young children that I saw in the pediatrician’s office that morning is a good example. It illustrates the complexity of breastfeeding research and the flaws it contains. Some studies have found a link between breastfeeding and more normal-weight children, but they have not proven that the two are causal.

The study surveyed 2,685 children between the ages of 3 and 5. After adjusting for race, parental education, mother's smoking, and all other factors that are thought to affect children's obesity, the study found that the correlation between breastfeeding and weight is small. On the contrary, the weight of the mother is the best predictor of the weight of the child. Obese mothers are more likely to have obese children whether they breastfeed or use formula milk. Breastfeeding advocates believe that a certain substance in breast milk has changed people’s appetites in some way. The possibility of this idea is still very small.

In the past decade, researchers have come up with more and more complex methods to clarify the truth. A 2005 paper studied 523 pairs of siblings who grew up with different feeding methods. The results put a big question mark on all previous studies. Economists Eirik Evenhouse and Siobhan Reilly compared the incidence of diabetes, asthma and allergies, childhood weight, various measures of mother-child attachment, and Intelligence level. The statistical results prove that almost all of these differences are not significant. They wrote that in most cases, "the long-term effects of breastfeeding have been exaggerated."

Almost all the researchers I have spoken to recommend to me a series of studies designed by Kramer, which have been published since 2001. Kramer conducted a follow-up survey of 17,000 babies born in Belarus, covering their entire childhood. He came up with a clever way to randomize his research without violating morals, at least to some extent. Electric Breast Pump

His research subjects were all mothers who had already started breastfeeding, and then intervened half of them, strongly recommending that they only breastfeed in the next few months. This intervention worked: as a result, many women extended their breastfeeding time. Extending breastfeeding time can indeed reduce the risk of gastrointestinal infections by 40%. This result seems to be consistent with the conclusion that sIgA provides protection; in real life, 4 out of every 100 babies will experience one less diarrhea or vomiting. Kramer also pointed out that infant rashes have also been reduced. In addition, his research rarely found significant differences: for example, weight, blood pressure, ear infections, or allergies, and other related benefits that are most frequently cited in the literature, did not make any difference.

Kramer's research and the above-mentioned research on siblings have found an interesting conclusion: the "cognitive ability" of breastfed children has improved. But intelligence is difficult to measure because it is subjective and affected by many factors. Other recent studies, especially those that exclude the mother’s IQ factor, have found that there is no difference in intelligence between breastfed infants and formula-fed infants.

In Kramer's study, the average scores of various clinics vary greatly, which is mysterious. In addition, he told me that his findings about intelligence "may not be surprising," because "breastfeeding mothers interact more with their babies, not because of what is contained in breast milk."

IQ research has touched on the core problem of breastfeeding research: it is impossible to separate the mother’s decision and all the things that result from that decision from breastfeeding itself. Even sibling studies cannot avoid this problem.

For example, the mother may be extra careful about her first child, not let the dirty child of the neighbor’s house approach, and send away the nurse who distributes free milk powder samples. By the third child, she may stop breastfeeding. Although researchers can get the experimental reference group they want, many other things may have changed. Maybe now she uses daycare services to expose her baby to more germs. She must have not noticed the second child holding the baby's pacifier in her mouth, or the cat sleeping in the crib (trust me). She would not look at the baby's eyes lovingly all day long, sing songs, and read baby books to the baby one after another, because she wanted to ensure that the other two children would not drown each other in the bathtub. In theory, these three brothers and sisters are equal, but their experiences are completely different.

What does all this evidence show?

We have clear evidence that breastfeeding helps prevent some children from having additional gastrointestinal diseases, such as diarrhea or vomiting, which can make children uncomfortable for a few days, but in developed countries, they are not considered life-threatening. Serious illness. The link between breastfeeding and a range of long-term effects is not obvious.

The evidence on IQ is very attractive, but not so convincing. At best, it can only show a weak advantage, perhaps only a five-point improvement. However, different tests, or tests on different days, each child's IQ scores are very different.

If a child is disadvantaged in other areas, the increase in intelligence may have an impact. But for the children I saw on the playground, their mothers were obsessed with breastfeeding, and the intellectual differences were quickly offset by a bunch of talented children’s videos, piano lessons and other tutoring.

In any case, if a breastfeeding mother (in fact, many women do) is suffering, stressed, and lonely because of breastfeeding, if her marriage is under tremendous pressure and breastfeeding makes things worse, then these are certain It can affect a child's future more than a weak IQ advantage.

So in general, yes, breast milk may be the best. But this does not make formula milk powder be labeled as a "public health threat" like smoking. Given what we currently know, the reasonable approach seems to be to put the health benefits of breastfeeding on the plus item, and put other things, such as the dignity, independence, career, and sanity that the mother wants to maintain, on the minus item, and then Take the sum and make a decision. But in this age of risk-averse parenting, we are not doing this.

In the early 1990s, a group of researchers got together and revised the American Academy of Pediatrics' policy statement on breastfeeding. Their generation has experienced the battle of formula milk powder, and also experienced the days when the obstetric department automatically injects hormones into women to prevent the outflow of breast milk. For a long time, the society has encouraged mothers to "make every effort" to nurture their newborns, but researchers believe that medical evidence proves a stronger statement.

This new policy recommendation issued in 1997 requires exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and partial breastfeeding for the next 6 months, supplemented with other foods. The National Organization for Women complained that this would increase the burden of working mothers, but it would not help.

Lawrence Gartner, a pediatrician and neonatologist at the University of Chicago, recalled: “The authoritative American pediatric group took a clear stand, which changed everything.” Gartner was the head of the committee. The committee initiated this change. "Since then, every major organization has changed, and the mass media has also undergone fundamental changes."

In 2004, the Ministry of Health and Human Services launched a national breastfeeding awareness campaign. When my second child was born, the advertisement came out. These advertisements are so annoying that I almost weaned my baby on the spot. There is a TV commercial showing that two large pregnant women are engaged in a water bollard competition, and the audience is cheering for them. The subtitle read: "Before the baby is born, you will not take risks. Why do you take risks after the baby is born?" Then a few big words flashed on the screen: "6 months of exclusive breastfeeding".

The second commercial shows a pregnant woman (this time an African American) riding a mechanical bull in a bar while struggling to hold her belly. As a result, she fell off the bull and the crowd complained.

In order to spread the idea that non-breastfeeding is harmful to the health of infants, print advertisements put ordinary items like breasts: two dandelions (implying respiratory diseases), two spoons of ice cream with cherries on them (implying obesity), and two otoscopes (implying obesity). Ear infection). They originally planned to make another advertisement, placing a rubber nipple on the top of the insulin syringe (implying that bottle feeding can cause diabetes), but then someone changed his mind.

The whole movement is so deliberate, so full of sexual suggestion and superior posture, it can’t help but remind people of an episode in "Mad Men", Don Draper and the boys drink up at the end of the day. To celebrate another victory over women with whiskey.

The most amazing thing is that 50 years after the establishment of the International Breast Milk Association, the critical and absolute statement of "enlightenment from the laboratory" has once again won. The seventh edition of "The Womanly Art" (The Womanly Art), published in 2004, has grown to more than 400 pages and replaced the original hand-painted pictures with photos. But the most striking thing is the change in attitude.

Each issue of the book has new expert arguments, saying that breast milk is a "arms arsenal against disease." The author made a big statement: "Human milk gives babies the ability to resist diseases that can't be replicated in any other way." Reading the 1958 edition is like chatting with a bossy but attractive neighbor. She has some suggestions on how to be a mother to share. . Reading the latest version is like being trapped in a doctor's office, and the doctor is chattering about your decision.

When Joan Wolf, a professor of women's studies at Texas A&M University, criticized the public information campaign, he attributed these overzealous advertisements to a new ethics of "motherhood."

She wrote that today's mothers are expected to "optimize all aspects of their children's lives." When there is a conflict between the mother’s personal desires and the baby’s needs, the mother needs to make a choice. Wolf gave an example. He quoted the section "Best Chance Diet" in the book What to Expect When You're Expecting. I remember clearly: "Mother eats Every bite is important. You only have nine months to give your child the best start in life through diet... Before you eat every bite, think about it, "What I eat now is Is it best for your baby?’ If it’s good for your baby, then chew it. If it’s just to satisfy your desire for sweets, or to satisfy your appetite, then put down your fork.”

In this regard, any self-respecting pregnant woman will answer: "I weighed 35 pounds and my ankle was swollen as big as a life raft. Now I want to eat some coconut cream pie. Then you should always know what you can do with this damn fork. NS."

About seven years ago, I met a lady from Montreal. She was the sister-in-law of a friend of mine. She was young and healthy. She was normal in all aspects, but refused to breastfeed her child. She had no job at the time. She just felt that breastfeeding would create an unequal relationship in her marriage. In this relationship, the mother is fully responsible for the baby's food, and naturally also responsible for everything else in the baby.

At the time, I only had one child, so I thought she was a weird Canadian, and very selfish and irresponsible. But of course now I know she was right. A few months ago, at three o'clock in the morning, that was the second time that I sat up and nursed my new-born baby that night (note that it was "mine"). At this time, I remembered her, full of sisters’ love. Love.

My husband hummed that he knew the little waves in the calm night, but that was all. But why should he do anything else? It won’t help if both of us are tired the next morning and become useless. Nevertheless, it is hard not to be angry.

"The Bitch in The House" published in 2002 is a reconstruction of "The Feminine Mystique", which tells the mystery of our generation of mothers. We have believed from an early age that raising children together is an achievable goal for both spouses. But we are deceiving ourselves. Even in the most happy marriage, the family burden will gradually shift to women, and most of them happen unknowingly. Breastfeeding plays a central role in this transition. exist

In the playground where I live, no husband will tell his wife directly that it is her responsibility as a woman to stay at home and take care of the children. Instead, the husband and wife weighed together and then made a rational and consensus decision that she should take care of the children at home.

Then, following this logic, other decisions followed: because she feeds the child alone, she naturally knows how to coax the child better, so she can choose a better school for her child, and can take care of her child when she is sick. . Recently, my husband and I noticed that by our age, our friends in high school and college already have a certain social status. But when we looked at the list from top to bottom, we found that women's names were rarely found. Where are our female friends? Why didn't they hear from them after they gave birth to a child?

The debate about breastfeeding does not involve its actual situation in women's lives. Exclusive breastfeeding is different from taking vitamins before childbirth. It needs to be carried out according to a strict schedule. In this way, your work will hardly be effective. Assuming that a baby has to be fed seven times during the day and two more times at night, the total is nine times, and each time is about half an hour, which adds up to more than half a working day. Do this every day for at least six months.

This is why whenever someone says that breastfeeding "does not cost", I want to slap it. Only when a woman's time is worthless, it has no cost.

This leads to the problem of breast pumping. You have to explain to your boss that when you are not with your child, according to the breastfeeding promotion materials, “you need to leave several times in a day to suck milk.” You need a “clean, quiet place” to suck. Then there must be a place to store breast milk. It needs to be clean and quiet, just like a place for a spa, but if you are a waitress or a bus driver, you won’t be able to consider this absurd suggestion.

Suppose you are a newspaper reporter, just like I was before. The deadline is coming soon. Your choices are: (a) leave the manuscript in your hand and go to the dirty mother and baby room to suck milk; (b) let your body continue to operate happily like a milk factory, even though Today is not a good day for milk production, and the milking pump is about to explode. At the same time, you become more and more panicked and sweaty. Then one day, the inevitable happened. While you are talking to a male colleague, you say to yourself: "Don't think about the child, please don't think about the child anymore." At this moment, the milking pump exploded and you rushed into the women's toilet, the milk stains running down the shirt.

This year I have two friends who cannot breastfeed for one reason or another, so most of the time they can only suck it out with a breast pump. They are all new mothers, and they have imagined that their parenting life should be a hot bath, and then spend a few hours breastfeeding their babies intimately. When all this is broken, they are afraid that their babies will not be able to drink the sacred milk.

One day, one of them was sitting on my sofa, wearing a huge breastfeeding bra, a tube and a breast pump. It looks like some kind of fetish advertisement, or Josef Mengele (known as the "Angel of Death", German Nazi SS officer and "Physician" in Auschwitz)-Translator's Note ) Footnotes of the times. She didn't look like Eve in a natural feminine state at all.

In a study on breastfeeding and cognitive development, Kramer mentioned a study on the long-term effects of mother rats licking and grooming their pups. He wrote that perhaps "physical and mental communication during breastfeeding" can bring benefits to the baby. He is inclined to this theory because "this is something formula companies cannot replicate." Kramer looked like a good person, and I didn't mean to offend him, but what he said really made me unhappy.

If researchers just want us to lick and groom young children, why not just say it? We will naturally find a way to do it. In fact, they insist that breast milk is a kind of vaccine, and we rarely realize that this is a kind of loving maternal behavior when breastfeeding. And relax.” On the contrary, we will even think that this is dispensing medicine for the child.

Sometimes, I still breastfeed my newborn son, but I don't do it blindly. When I go out to work during the day or go out with friends at night, he can get all the formula he wants, and I don't think about it anymore. I don't know why I was not completely weaned. I know it has nothing to do with science; I have no unrealistic illusions that my breast milk can make him slim, healthy, and smart. Of course, parenting is not purely joyful. I often stomped my feet impatiently, waiting for him to finish drinking.

I do this partly because I can take time to breastfeed. I work at home and don’t need to check in, but most women can’t. If I spend more time in the office, I will breastfeed during maternity leave, and then give him only formula milk without guilt.

I guess, this is something I can't say clearly. Breastfeeding is different from facts and hard numbers. It is too intimate and natural. It contains all my awe of my motherhood and my ambivalence. Now, even breastfeeding occasionally is very stressful. But I also know that this may be the last time I use my skin to feel the baby's warm skin, and I will miss this feeling someday.

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