Her Bad Mother

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

They Shoot Wet Nurses, Don't They?

Her name was Laura, and I nursed her baby.

We had met, initially, at breakfast and immediately hit it off. We sat down with our coffees and immediately got swept up in a conversation that ran the gamut from the advantages of Twitter over Facebook to the challenges of leaving one's baby for a night. Which is precisely what I had done: I had left my baby to attend a symposium on parenting. And it was, as I told Laura over coffee, in some ways profoundly liberating, and in others completely terrifying. Also, my boobs hurt. Badly. I had forgotten my breast pump and an hour of hand-expressing in the shower that morning hadn't helped much. I didn't mention that part, though. I just said, I miss my baby.

She said, I know. Her own baby - a dark-haired sprite, just one year old - bounced happily on her knee. I would find it hard to leave her.

Yeah.

I liked her. I offered to help her sort out her Twitter/Facebook conundrum, and introduce her to some New York area bloggers. She invited me to a parenting event in Albany later in the month. We chatted throughout the day. The chirps and coos of her baby reminded me of my own chirping, cooing baby, who had accompanied me in the previous month to two conferences, who I was unaccustomed to being without, especially in this environment. My heart hurt, and my breasts ached. They ached. I kept my arms pressed against my chest for most of the morning.

At lunch I fled to my room and tried, unsuccessfully, to hand-express. I returned to the symposium, and sat down near Laura, and another woman that I had met that day. We were supposed to have a conversation about our parenting successes, or something like that. I said, you'll have to count me out. I'm in a lot of pain and don't know what to do. I huddled on the chair, squeezing the rock-hard contours of my chest as tightly as I could without screaming. I explained about the missing breast-pump, the terrible ache of my engorged breasts, the hours remaining before I would see my son. The other woman asked, is there a store nearby? I shook my head - the concierge had told me that there were no pharmacies in the immediate area. Laura cocked her head thoughtfully, and looked at her daughter, who was beginning to fuss. Would you consider, maybe... I know it sounds sorta weird, but... I have no problem with it, and she's hungry... She looked at me, and waited.

Really?

Really.

I paused. My head spun, a little. Would I do this, really? Would it be weird? And then I thought, no. There's nothing weird here. Boobs are boobs. Breastmilk is breastmilk, in all of its liquid gold glory. I bond with my son when we nurse, but it is not because he is latched to my breast. It is because I have him in my arms, and because I love him. Our intimacy derives from that love, and that love would be just as forceful if I fed him with a bottle. So would it be weird if someone else fed him from a bottle? No, of course not. These are only acts of nurture, whether they involve the bottle or the breast. And this is what the breast is made for.

I nodded, and reassured Laura that as a nursing mom I did not take any substances or medications that might compromise my milk.

And so. I took Laura's daughter in my arms and she smiled at me and I lifted my shirt and she happily bent her head and drank her fill.

(Was it weird? No. It was different. Describing the thoughts and emotions that accompany nursing another woman's child requires more space than I have here. It was intimate, but not inappropriately so - no more inappropriately intimate than someone holding your baby and cooing in his ear, whispering sweet baby nothings. If anything, it brought me to a deeper, more visceral understanding of my body as a miracle of biology, as a work of nature that is built to do certain things, one of those thing being - in my case; this is not necessarily true for every woman, and no woman is lesser for not being able to do it - nursing babies. My breasts are not sacred or magical objects, they are not quivers full of milk-arrows that can and must only be directed to blood-offspring. They provide milk. They nourish. They are both utterly mundane and terrifically awe-inspiring for that fact.)

I was grateful - so, so grateful - for Laura and her child; their generosity and open-mindedness and open-heartedness saved me a great deal of pain. At the end of the day, a mother was released from some considerable discomfort, and a child was nourished. Wonderful, no?

Well, as it happens: no. Not for everybody. Someone was watching, and someone did not like what they saw. Someone was watching and decided that what I had done was deviant. Irresponsible. Disgusting. Eww. So she wrote a post describing, in entirely misleading terms (we were total strangers! we had no discussion about it! a lady just blithely and irresponsibly passed her baby to a total stranger without a word! and that stranger - me, if you're keeping track - might have been diseased!) (she has since admitted to me that her representation of what happened was misleading), what she saw and explaining why she thought it was wrong. And it was wrong, from her point of view. Unsanitary. Dangerous. Wrong. Her commenters went even further: why, I might have AIDS! Be homeless! A drug user! Sexually loose! In fact, was what I'd done really any different from wandering into a bar and asking some strange man to grope my titties? Really? Also: AIDS! Or some other horrible virus. That, and my boobs - this helpfully noted by the author - were probably unsanitary, to boot. Also, I'd probably been drinking.

I can't even begin to describe how hurtful it was to read these things. This was me they were talking about. And Laura, who was as lovely a woman as I had ever met. Laura and I had just met, sure, but I think that we both hoped that we were becoming friends. And we share a belief - a healthy, woman-affirming, baby-adoring belief - that we mothers are all in this together, that we're all served and enriched when we trust each other and help each other. She had a hungry baby; I had excruciatingly painful breasts that needed to be released of their milk. We came together with our needs. You're welcome to say that you couldn't see yourself doing this; you are welcome, even, to cringe and shudder a bit in distaste. Whatever. We all have our issues. Just don't flaunt your disgust. And certainly don't use it to publicly shame mothers who make choices that you might not make. What I do with my boobs - what any mother does to ensure that her baby gets fed - is none of your business. And your public expression of disgust and alarm hurts. It hurts me, it hurts all of us. It reinforces the idea that breasts and breastfeeding hover on the very razor's edge of shamefulness, that these things on our chests are somehow, in some way, dirty and icky and bad, unless we operate them under the very strictest rules of propriety (only if they're covered up! only if it's your own baby! only if it doesn't make us uncomfortable! only if WE SAY IT'S OKAY!)

Memo to everybody: these? Are not your boobies. They are mine. And my babies? Also mine. I will nurture and nourish them as I see fit, and I will champion any other mother to do the same. Your disgust, your judgment threatens to undermine us, weaken us, take away some of our power as mothers who demand to make their own way and their own rules. Which, fuck that.

This is MY motherhood. These are MY boobs.

Hands off.

Memo to everybody: in case you missed what I said above - "You're welcome to say that you couldn't see yourself doing this; you are welcome, even, to cringe and shudder a bit in distaste" - I'll say it again (it seems that I need to): you are welcome to disagree with I did, and/or with what Laura did. You are welcome to say that you would not do this. You are welcome to voice a contrary opinion. I encourage it. I'm fascinated by so many elements of this discussion (not least, something that one commenter brought up - trust and community. Under what circumstances do we choose to trust or not trust each other, to take each others' words, or not do? Laura trusted me when I said that I was healthy and not taking anything that might compromise my milk. Perhaps this had everything to do with my appearance, or with the fact that I was obviously a nursing mother, or perhaps just with the fact that she had decided that I was simply worth trusting. I was moved by this. We need more of this kind of generosity of spirit in daily life) and I enjoy hearing different opinions. What I don't like: inappropriately expressed judgment or shaming. That's the whole point of the latter part if this post: shaming hurts everybody. If you're here to express an opinion, respectfully - great. I'll support and defend that. But if you're here to call names or point fingers or say anything that you wouldn't say to someone you loved, then maybe just turn back now.

Let's be kind.

Which means, too - and forgive me if it seems hoity for me to take this on - that everybody is very welcome to NOT direct opprobrium at the blogger mentioned here. This has no doubt been hard on her, and although I remain hurt and (yes, am juvenile) angry, I do not want her to be put through any more of a ringer than she already has. Please. Both she and I deserve some peace around this.

Comments on this post are now closed. I'm happy to read other posts on the subject - yes, even they disagree with milksharing - so if you write about it, please do let me know.

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520 Comments:

1 – 200 of 520 Newer› Newest»
Blogger Rachel B said...

I am so proud of you!

12:13 PM  
Blogger geenalyn said...

I think its awesome that Laura let you nurse her child and that you were good with doing it as well. Anyone that finds that icky or disgusting obviously has problems

12:17 PM  
Anonymous carmen said...

Bravo, Catherine. Bravo.

I am proud to know you. This post is yet another reason I adore you.

Hands off the boobies, indeed.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Wow. That's an amazing story.
Well, the first part of it anyway.
What a jerk of a woman for blogging about something she had no idea about. What a sicko.
Good for you!

12:18 PM  
OpenID bessieviola said...

I love this. Thanks for talking about it rather than staying quiet. There is NOTHING shameful about nursing. I am so tired of this stupid culture.

12:19 PM  
Blogger kwr221 said...

You GO GIRL!

And Laura, too!

12:20 PM  
Blogger Marinka said...

This is a really interesting post and topic because, for me, at least, it brings up all sorts of issues. I know for a fact that I would not let another woman nurse my child, but not having been able to nurse my own daughter, I realize that I have emotional issues around the subject that may not be universal.

I didn't read the post that this is in response to, and I would like to discuss the issue further, but I have to ask if "brava!" is the only acceptable response.

For what it's worth, I have absolutely no issue with any woman breastfeeding or formula feeding her child. Her body, her choice.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Ariel said...

I could HAPPILY have been a wet nurse- I made lots of milk, I liked breastfeeding and I was good at it.
There is nothing wrong with nourishing a hungry child. NOTHING.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

It's hard to believe that people can be so judgmental. I'm choosing not to breastfeed for various reasons, mostly because I'm just not comfortable with it and I'm always shocked at how people react. Some have treated me as if I don't love my baby enough and that hurts. I hope you know that for every "hater" there are lots of people who love and admire you!

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Angella said...

I've been waiting to hear the full story after seeing Twitter.

My StepMom and her sisters (and sometimes her FRIENDS) would nurse each others' babies if they were watching them for each other and the babies got fussy.

NO BIG DEAL.

When I saw your original Tweet about nursing the baby, all I could think was, "AWESOME. You're not in pain anymore."

(Please tell me you're going to email me the link of the asshat who wrote about you.)

12:23 PM  
Blogger califmom said...

A. Fucking. Men.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

"She invited me to a parenting event in Albany later in the month."

You already know my opinion on the important stuff even though I was kinda drunk when I wrote it. But the above is the important part. Please come. PLEASE! I'm so lonely here, I could cry.

Oh yeah, and I'm an Albany area blogger. I always forget that part.

Please come.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never told anyone this before. (And being that I am doing so anonymously now makes it kind of a weak confession...but here goes.)

My son is 3 months older than my nephew. And one day, when my nephew was about 3 months old, my sister left him with me (and my baby) in a hotel room (we were all on a family vacation) - and she got stuck in traffic, and both the babies got HUNGRY, and I nursed my baby and her baby CRIED and CRIED and CRIED. And then I nursed him too.

And I never told her. Because I it seemed awkward and strange and I did it because I needed to make the baby stop crying. (And if I hadn't been 100% sure that I was HIV negative (because there was a needle stick during a repair surgery I had after my son was born, and the hospital did a test) - I might not have done it. But I did. And the baby stopped crying and he's nine years old now and certainly none the worse for wear.)

I'm sorry people attacked you for doing something that was natural for you.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Etolane said...

Great Post! I think there are absolutly no shame in that. Au contraire more Pride and gratefullness is needed! After all when there was no concentrated baby milk, women with trouble nursing were certainly very grateful those who shared their breasts to feed their hungry baby! I even think that in the old days it was a normal pratice...

12:24 PM  
Blogger Our Crooked Tree said...

I feel sorry for the troll; she must be a miserable woman. As women we should lift each other up not tear each other down. Good for you for doign what you feel is best for you.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Shame, shame, shame on that woman for judging you. I would have done the same thing as you did, or as Laura. Engorged boobs are about the most miserable thing EVER and any woman who wouldn't have sympathy on another in that situation is heartless, indeed.

Interestingly, I had a similar experience at BlogHer 07, when my portable breast pump broke at the very beginning of the trip. If it hadn't been for Liz Gumbinner and Joy Palmer both letting me use their breast pumps during the weekend, I would have been beside myself with pain. Breast pump loan, baby loan, what's the diff? :)

12:26 PM  
Blogger Redstocking Grandma said...

I feel privileged to read your blog. I nursed my niece a few times when I was babysitting and she absolutely refused to take a bottle. Amusingly she would only nurse if I took her into a darkened bedroom and nursed her on the bed, becoming an anonymous boob in the dark. My primary emotion was great relief I could comfort her.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Black Eyed Gurl said...

Think of it this way: Salma Hayek did this in Africa and people called her a humanitarian (granted some people called her a creepy freak, but those people are creepy freaks). You are a humanitarian!
You were generous, and giving to a child who needed it. Sure the kid probably wouldn't of gone hungry without you, but that the other mother understood your pain, and offered to let you release your pain and help her own child, well to me, thats a beautiful thing. Women spend too much time tearing each other down (cos really, that's what life's all about right? Putting yourself on a high and "moral" pedestal to judge others? Wait. It's not?), and not enough helping each other. I say Brava to you and Laura for showing that women can help each other and be better for it!

12:27 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

I love you and your boobs.

And I love you for being strong in the face of people saying horrible, hurtful things, and I love you for writing this with such a level-head, and without reciprocating the animosity that was flung at you in the first place.

You are loveable and beautiful and compassionate and human. And anyone who can't see that is missing out.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous crunchy said...

and really..a 100 years ago..this would not be a story...HELPING another mom would just be second nature...

Our world has become far too solitary and far too squeamish

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree at all with that...but I have the right to think that right??? ANd come here and tell you that right?!?!? It's just very sad that thinking something is wrong of the other blogger, by posting something against her now......an eye for an eye right!??! that's good for our children right?!?!?! hmmmmmm, this is just taken way to far.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

I have often wondered why most people seem to find it strange, if not VERY WRONG AND BAD for someone to nurse another person's baby. Maybe it's just that some find it to be so intimate that they don't like the idea of their child sharing that with someone other than them or vice versa? But it seems to me that if both you and Laura agreed and trusted each other and the baby was cooperating I don't see the harm. Especially since she offered and was not coerced.

I'm sorry people said hurtful things about you. It sounds like it was a unique and thoughtful encounter. (shannon@livinginthegray.com)

12:27 PM  
Blogger Lesha said...

Hats off to you and to your friend Laura. There have been a few times when breast pump parts had been forgotten and I would have done the same thing if I had a friend like you did.

And to all those who had only a smidge of the facts and felt it necessary to degrade and belittle, shame on them. I'd like to just shake my head and then go about my business, but they continue to perpetuate the idea that breast feeding is some how bad, and that is just wrong of them.

Thanks for posting about this. Thanks for making this normal.

12:28 PM  
Blogger ScientistMother said...

Laura - If you are reading this, wow. What an amazing, wonderful person you are. Open minded, knowledgeable about the true risk, and loving. yeah to you.

To HBM and Laura. I am sorry that you are subject to such stupid judgement. Hugs to both

12:28 PM  
Blogger Turbonerd said...

Good for you!

You have run headlong into the great paradox of free speech: anyone can express their opinion on any subject, no matter how poorly informed that person may be.

Educate 'em.

12:28 PM  
Blogger zchamu said...

Congratulations on having the restraint to not name and shame the blogger who presumed to know exactly what was going on and misjudged it so badly.

This is yet another battle moms shouldn't *have* to fight. And yet here it is. Sigh.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous TSM Oregon said...

If it's good enough for Salma Hayek...well, it should be good enough for anyone, no?

I've felt the pain to which you are referring, and I would hug that lovely woman who offered you relief. Sweet, ever-lovin' relief.

No stones to throw here.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Sarah Lena said...

I have a friend who often jokes that she could provide breastmilk to any third world country because, no lie, she can put out, like, twelve ounces in a thirty minute sitting.

I could not breastfeed my child.

I had always wished that I had just asked. I don't think she would've cared, and I know my kid wouldn't have.

I don't think your boobs are dirty, if it helps.

12:29 PM  
Blogger EliandMe said...

Can you post a link to the offensive blog so we can tell the judgemental ignorant so and so exactly how wrong she is.

I have never been in a situation where nursing a baby other than my own has come up, but I have donated expressed milk to the prem babies ward. And I don't remember a single question being raised about my suitability as a human being, nor did anyone accuse me of having cooties.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Isa said...

Granted I am the child of hippies, but I was nursed by other mothers in the community where I was born. I'll admit to being a little weirded out by it when my mom first told me, but as a mother who exclusively breastfed my son, I can see now why they did it. Shared immunities, community parenting...remember, it "takes a village."

12:30 PM  
Blogger Another Suburban Mom said...

I commend you for what you and your friend did, and wish a virulent case of crotch crickets on the woman who gave you a hard time.

Wet-nursing was a common practice in this country until the widespread use of formula. If both the mom and baby are healthy why not.

In the future though, just in case you don't have an extra baby around, you might want to keep a hand held breast pump in the gigunda mommy purse that all mommies have.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous fidget said...

I'm starting to think the whole fishfulthinking campaign is tainted. I havent heard one positive thing about it yet!

your boobs, your decision.

It was kind of Laura to help you out like that.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Goddess in Progress said...

Well done, you. Could I see myself doing the same thing? Maybe not. But that's my own issue and my own body. Yours is yours. Clearly it was a mutual and comfortable agreement between all the relevant parties, and that's all that matters.

Go, you.

And I, too, am impressed at the restraint in not linking to the jerk-face who wrote about you. Shame on her.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Nichole said...

I like to think I could have done the same thing as either you or Laura. I didn't read the other post either, but clearly from your telling she was mistaken at what she saw and realizes that now. It wasn't random and short of a full background check/blood test the two of you made a choice that ultimately helps two people.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Marinka - 'brava' is the generous response. Two women acted in a way that met each others' - and a baby's needs - if you have judgments about that, recognize them as your own. As I said, I don't care if people disagree, or wouldn't do it themselves - but there's no reason to shame people for it, which is what the other blogger did (and misrepresented what happened), and every reason NOT TO.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

Damn fucking straight.

I *love* you.

Your adorable baby reminded me so completely of my own adorable baby a few weeks ago in Houston, when I was suffering from my own engorgement pain. I, however, was not nearly as brave as you were.

Again, I *love* you, my courageous and level-headed and loving friend.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Angella (and all) - the other blogger took her post down.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Mommy Melee said...

I think you're amazing. And so is Laura. Judgy McJudgerpants should be ashamed for flaunting her issues in a hateful way.

12:31 PM  
Blogger MadWoman said...

Shameful. Digusting. Dirty. Unthinkable.




All things I could NEVER connect to this event.

I have also nursed another woman's baby, and I was also shamed. Whispers flew around the room, gossip travelled around town about me.

And you know what? I was just as hurt as you, just as upset.....and just as "fuck you buddy, these are MY boobs!"

Good for you for nursing that child. Good for Laura for allowing you that connection with her child.

I'm with you........who gives a shit really??

Hmm...you've sparked something in my brain. I might have to blog now.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

I agree with Crunchy. Society needs to grow the hell up!

Knowing the pain of engorgement - I'm so glad you had such a great solution - and I'm so sorry you had that backlash - you're absolutely right - it's nobody else's business!

12:33 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

I am so glad you kept a level head in your response. It shows true class.

12:33 PM  
Blogger imogen howson said...

In some hospitals, women donate expressed breastmilk especially for ill or premature babies whose own mothers aren't able to do it, because it's so much better for them than formula.

If that (done for the sake of the babies and via tubes) is acceptable then I don't see why what you and Laura did (mostly for your sake, and via nipple) is somehow worth freaking out over.

I know how much it hurts when the baby isn't there to feed.

Also, even if someone's visceral response is "ugh", it's completely vicious to blog publically about it like that.

There are lots of things I would personally rather not do (breastfeed someone else's child, let someone breastfeed mine, keep my placenta in the freezer, have my parents present while I give birth, eat frogs' legs or live oysters, go potholing...) but moral judgments have no place in such decisions. And attacking someone else for doing any of them is stupid, uncompassionate and rude.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Average Jane said...

I don't even have kids, yet I can't imagine why anyone would presume to pass judgment for that completely natural and harmless interaction.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Bellamomma said...

I'm a "new" nursing momma ~ but pumping (or nursing) for more than 3 hours has me in so much pain that I could cry and I hope that another mom would take pity & help me out ... I hope that I would take pity on another mother & help her out in return ... and I would hope that any bystanders would keep their traps shut & their opinions to themselves. It was Laura's decision to help another woman in need. I can't imagine ANY woman at Fishful Thinking was unclean, homeless or hygenically revolting. I can't imagine any responsible woman who nurses her child would willingly ingest substances that could hurt their child. Why was it Nosey's business to open your decision to ridicule and judgement??

My first thought was that I would have handed you my breastpump in a heartbeat!!

12:34 PM  
Blogger K@ndi said...

Wooo hooo!

12:34 PM  
Blogger Jaden Paige said...

What an idiot for criticizing you both. I think you did exactly what was right, for you and for Laura and her baby. And that's what matters. As you said above, it's seriously NONE of that other blogger's business.

I was invigorated when I read the story- it's great to see two mothers coming together, reaching out to each other and in the end, everyone won.

I'd like to give that other lady a piece of my MIND!

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Judith Shakespeare said...

I think that this is a prime example of why our society spends most of its time in the crapper.

You and Laura? My heroes.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

I can't even imagine a world in which the comments made about you are acceptable. (Fishful thinking lady, that is. The cheers are aweswome!)

Bodies are messy and breastfeeding doesn't fit into the box of feeding that formula companies have tried to sell us - measuring food by ounces, sterilized and corporatized. And even with that, every study says that it's the optimal feeding option for a baby. Who would have thought? Science and technology can't always replace what messy bodies can do.

(This is NOT a judgment at all of folks who don't breastfeed - there are lots of difference choices that people make, and I support those choices. Not even a question.)

I applaud your and Laura's decision to figure out a solution that works for your needs, and her generosity is awe-inspiring. I can only hope I would be so attuned to others' needs in the same situation.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Motherhood Uncensored said...

Ur just jellus that yew didn't git to be one of thems fishful thanking marms, huh?

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Tara@Sticky fingers said...

Really fascinating post.
I don't know if I would have while I was breastfeeding. I'd like to think I would, but I just don't know.
What I do know is that I would not deride anyone for doing it, nor make them feel like they had done something wrong.
Shame on that woman.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

Wow - I'm not sure if I could have done what you did, but then again, I wasn't in your shoes. I breastfed both of my girls for several months each, and I know the NEED for needed to express after several hours, much less a day.

Your boobs - do with them what you will. I admire Laura for feeling comfortable enough w/ you to allow her daughter to feed from you, and you for feeling comfortable enough to let her.

Brava

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was this a post to get your posse together to make you feel better??!?!? I hope it worked, because now they are doing to her what you thought was wrong to do to you! Explain all you want...it is what it is now.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

When I first responded to your tweet that you had left the pump at home (before you were even at the meeting), I think I said something like "find a baby!"...finding a baby to nurse was my first instinctive thought! The idea that it was nasty or dirty never even crossed my mind as a possibility, and the aftermath of your choice (YOUR choice) stuns me! And really, this is between you and Laura. No one else...I'm so sorry you had to deal with this pain on top of boob pain!

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read that in some cultures, the advanced ones I tend to think, new mothers are taught to nurse with an older baby belonging to another woman, who in turn helps the new baby learn to nurse on experienced boobs. It makes so much sense.

I nursed my nephew once when my sister was exhausted and had no milk, and I had full boobs and an older baby who was not hungry. It was the perfect solution to a simple supply and demand problem. We haven't ever mentioned that to my nephew, however, who is now 19 and obsessed with breasts :).

12:39 PM  
Blogger Poppy Buxom said...

I guess nobody has read this Guy de Maupassant short story.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

I'm so glad you posted your story!!

Shame on that woman for her disrespectful post and encouraging others to jump on her bandwagon.

I am not going to go read her post.
From what you've said it isn't something I could not comment on and I don't think it deserves the time it would take to read it or the time it would take to comment on.

I think all breastfeeding mothers -- whether they would have made the same decision or not -- can understand your position.
I can remember when my friend was struggling to breastfeed her newborn baby and he was painfully hungry.
I never offered to breastfeed for her, but I thought about it and now I wish I would have.
I was afraid it would be weird. She would think it was gross. That she would be offended.

I think that having the courage to do that makes you an amazing woman.
Don't let all those haters bring you down.

Stay strong mama!

12:40 PM  
Anonymous The Izzinatrix said...

I think you already know that support you and your choices fully. But I had to ring in that I'm shocked that somene would be so harsh about something so natural. Breasts make milk. Babies drink breastmilk. I fail to see the problem. Go on with your bad self and to hell with the haters.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Barb @ getupandplay said...

I find this story so amazing for so many reasons. First, that the solution to your problem came from a near-stranger- Laura's sensitivity and compassion touched me. Second, the "duh" moment that came to me- of course that would be the solution!! Third, I am absolutely horrified that an outside observer would attack you both in that way. The meanness of that act is beyond me, not to mention her chosen subject matter is the most natural thing in the world. Some people!!

12:41 PM  
Blogger The Panic Room said...

I would love to comment but all I can think of are long winded rants about what a B that lady was that slammed you and let her readers get all "witch hunt" about you.

You do what you want with those boobs and try and ignore the ding dongs leaving uninformed comments.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

I will be honest Catherine, when I saw your tweet the other day, it gave me pause for a moment. Mostly because I don't breastfeed, so I had to think about it for a bit, wondering if I had an issue with it in some way, or if it was just something we aren't used to hearing about. My conclusion was sort of what you said: I would not feel uncomfortable with someone feeding my son a bottle, so how could I see this as any different. In the end it's not. A baby is a baby and a hungry one needs to be fed, no matter what. I think Laura helping you in that way is absolutely sweet. There's not a thing wrong with it. Mother's need to help each other, not judge each other for every choice.

I hope people leave you alone on this. But I know you will attract the haters, even more than you already have. But I've got your back. :)

12:42 PM  
Blogger CrookedPigtails said...

Hungry baby + hurting mamma = perfect match. The math is simple; unfortunatly, so are some minds.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

When I had my son (almost 5 years ago) I had a friend ask me if I wanted to trade off babysitting - and part of the deal was we'd nurse each other's kids.
I never did it.
I felt uncomfortable with it, and honestly if I was asked to do it now with my daughter I'd still say no.
I don't think it's creepy or gross though. Just not my thing.
When I read your story I just thought that Laura was pretty remarkable for offering her daughter. I wouldn't have.
But, I also wouldn't have judged. Or blogged about it.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Lala said...

I think it's a beautiful story, regardless of how much I enjoy you as a blogger and the circumstances around someone's disdain. I'm sorry the internet hurt you.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Jane @ What About Mom? said...

(I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, now that I've read your powerful post, but)

After your tweets last night I wrote a post about breastfeeding my friend's baby.

I googled "Fishfulthinking" last night and when the Goldfish crackers site came up, it didn't even occur to me that that could be what you were talking about.

How dare they?

Never buying Goldfish again ...

12:43 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

I think what you did was both LOGICAL and BRAVE. I am very proud of you Catherine.

12:43 PM  
Blogger kateypie35 said...

I guess I will be in the minority here, so I hope I don't get flamed too much. I probably should stay out of the drama, but breastfeeding is a topic I am passionate about.

I am a nursing mother, currently nursing a 13 month old.
I would never ever let a stranger nurse my child. Ever. I am sorry if that makes you feel that I am calling you disgusting or dirty - but, um, you are a stranger to me. I have no idea what you do in your spare time, I have no idea what meds you might take. I understand you told the Mom that you are taking care of yourself and not on any suspicious meds - but, to me, I am not chancing my child's health on the word of a total stranger. Even if that total stranger has a lovely personality and seems sweet and someone I would be friends with. It is still someone I JUST met, and my child is more important. Surely you can understand someone feeling that way, can't you?

I mean, I have met perfectly delightful nursing mothers who also smoke, drink, toke doobies, drink 20 diet cokes a day...all while nursing. Yep, I really have. It is sad, but this is not a world where everyone is clean just cause they say they are, you know?

I saw your original tweet when you nursed the baby. You broadcasted it for the internet to see, therefore you must expect that some will frown upon it and disagree. Yes, the blog poster was um...harsh in her wording, and could have been gentler...sure. But its her OPINION, and she has a right to state that opinion on her own blog. She is not a troll, she is also a woman and a mother.

But that is not even what bothers me. If you and the Mom are ok with it, hey great!
What really saddens me the most is that now - through bullying from people who follow you and take your side - she removed her post. That is not fair. It is not fair that just because someone does not like you, or even finds you gross, that now they have to self censor to avoid being slammed, flamed, cursed, and bullied. Its like pack mentality, and it scares me.

I read your blog and think you are an excellent writer. But something I don't get about you is that you take things so terribly personally when someone makes a bad comment to a post, or criticizes you on their blog. It keeps you up at night, and clearly causes you so much anguish. If it bothers you so much, why do you continue to put yourself out there? When you put yourself out there, your business becomes fodder for scrutiny - and don't you have to kind of just accept that and choose to ignore?
I don't know.
I'll shut up now.
ps - I don't actually think you are dirty, and you have a nice tummy.

12:46 PM  
Blogger tracy said...

Bloody awful you were criticised like this. It's a lovely story, not at all yucky.
Seriously people need to think a bit more logically before they type, it's fine to give babies milk from other animals....but not from another human?
If more of us were open to wet nursing it would do womankind (and babies) alot of good imo

12:46 PM  
Blogger thetypicalquirk said...

I am not a mother, but I totally understand what you did and why and am very proud of you. I follow you on twitter and I think you are awesome!

12:46 PM  
Blogger MoMMY said...

You, Laura and your boobs ROCK!

12:46 PM  
Blogger brenna said...

I wouldn't mind nursing someone else's baby, I'd probably be grateful, in fact, if I was in your situation. But I'm not sure I'd be as open to letting someone else nurse my baby, in the same situation. Something I'll be thinking about, for sure.

As for this other blogger, my first thought on reading her post was 'I didn't know it was possible to be a troll on your own blog'. So distasteful, so judgmental, so misleading.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Pgoodness said...

Laura offered. It's not like you begged her on the street as a random stranger to let you nurse her kid!

People are too uptight. The baby got fed, you felt relief and made a new friend. Not sure what of that is up for debate amongst those McJudgersons on the internet, but whatever. I say good for you.

Just a question...if you had carried a bottle in your bag and gave that to another baby, would that have even warranted a second glance? Why is this different?

12:47 PM  
Blogger EmmaK said...

Catherine, I think it is great what you did. It's all the same milk, so why not?

12:47 PM  
Blogger Magpie said...

I'm really glad you posted this, and I'm sorry that you were slammed by someone who thought it was wrong.

For what it's worth, my child drank my sister's breast milk - pumped milk, but pumped for the same reason that you needed to nurse.

12:47 PM  
Blogger @sweetbabboo said...

Good for you. I'm not sure I'd be able to do this (though I haven't been faced with such an engorged situation, so who knows...), but I don't think it is anyone else's business to judge you.

Breastmilk can be donated (which I have considered) and I wonder if she would have a problem with that. Is her issue with the method of transfer or the item transferred?

Thank you for writing about this so the other side could be given a voice.

-Abby
@sweetbabboo

12:49 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I'm so glad you posted about this. I kept reading your "twitters" and was wondering what the hell happened.

I'm proud of you for standing up for yourself. And you are NOT a DIRTY, GROSS, INFECTED scary woman who stole some kid just so you could "infect" them.

Bravo for you. I see no problem with your situation and people should keep their effing mouths SHUT when flinging nasty comments all over the internet.

I can't wait to read all your comments....should be interesting! :)

12:51 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Katiepie, with all due respect, no one asked her to take her post down. No one flamed her no one threatened her and no one attacked her. I read that entire thread until 2am.

There was no gang mentality from the opposition any more than there was a gang mentality from that blogger's original commenters.

We should all own our words. The post is gone but the hurt remains.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Good for you! Anyone that has experienced engorgement (and mastitis, like me) can understand completely why this was a wonderful thing for Laura to do. And in the process, her baby was fed the most nutritious food available. Everything about your story (minus the pain, of course) is amazing.

I'm glad the other blogger removed her post. I hope she realized how judgmental and ignorant her statements were.

My favorite line when someone complains about breastfeeding? "I make milk. What's your superpower?" :)

12:52 PM  
Blogger Ella said...

i think it was amazing that laura offered and wonderful that all three of you benefited from this. it's hard to say what one would do differently, if at all, if ever faced with the same situation. i have the same thoughts of "oh what if she [insert horrible circumstance here]" - but the reality is it was laura's decision - not the other blogger's. as a (formerly) breastfeeding mother, i'm deeply moved by laura's offer and your response. kudos to you.

12:52 PM  
Blogger the new girl said...

It's just amazing how far we've all come (gone?) in just one generation. When my father was young, wet nursing was COMMON. It happened all the time.

It's just...odd to me, the perceptions and judgements.

FWIW, I also thought your post was level headed and honest and well put.

I hope putting it out there allows you to get some sleep now.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for all you commentors that didnt read the original blog, she wasnt called infected or having aids, or anything!!! IT WAS ALL WHAT IF QUESTIONS....SOMETHING THAT ANY MOTHER WOULD QUESTION WHEN IT CAME TO THEIR CHILDREN RIGHT!??!?!? BASH BASH BASH, THAT'S ALL I HEAR! BASH SOMEONE TO SHOW THAT BASHING SOMEONE IS WRONG RIGHT!>!>!?!?!??! ALL OF THIS IS DISGUSTING.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Emily Carlton said...

There are so many cultures globally that embrace the nursing of other peoples children - I think it is a complete disservice to North American women that we are so close-minded to this concept.

Good for you for doing what was natural and biologically NORMAL! You needed to nurse, and so did the baby, what a great solution for all.

I think if everyone involved was comfortable with it, then everyone else should just mind their own business!

You are an inspiration - glad to see such wonderful parenting going on in the world in these times.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Brooke said...

How disgusting and gross.

Just kidding, but maybe that will get me some traffic too, eh?

I applaud your open-mindedness. And Laura's as well. I am surrounded by many people that are horrified by the "ickiness" of breastfeeding and think that I was/am nutty for being so adamant to at least try it for as long as my body will let me. Frustrating. But none of that matters - the babies matter. And engorgment hurts like a bitch.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Lucie @ Unconventional Origins said...

Good for you, for writing this and for nursing a hungry baby. That unnamed commenter a few back is wrong, you are defending yourself after a cruel and uncalled for attack, not attacking someone else for their choices. And who cares, anyways, if you wanted some support after being personally attacked? I don't think that's why you wrote this post, but I would certainly understand wanting to hear from people who love and respect you when there are people on the internet who dedicate their blogging to tearing you down.

And let's be honest, she probably only took it down because it made all the goldfish stuff look bad, not because it was the right thing to do.

Would I have done it? Yes, but that doesn't matter. And if I felt comfortably reassured that another woman's milk was safe and healthy, I would do the same as Laura.

In the words of Joe dirt, keep on keeping on.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Karen Sugarpants said...

Excuse my French, C, but that? Is fucking beautiful.

You never cease to amaze me and I'm proud to call you my friend. Go on with your badself!

xoxo

1:00 PM  
Blogger tutugirl1345 said...

Having never been a mother, I have no idea how I'd feeling being in your shoes or Laura's. That being said, the internet is not a place to flame people. You don't agree with what someone does? You discuss it in an evenhanded manner and ask others to do the same with their input.

1:00 PM  
Blogger kateypie35 said...

I appreciate you not flaming me Mom101 - its hard to post a differing opinion and not be anon! I appreciate you being respectful.

I guess it is true - no one outright said TAKE DOWN YOUR POST OR DIE, no - but I read many many tweets and comments that were quite frightening and mean. I followed all evening as well, and I am sure she felt threatened. I sure as hell would.

I just wish blogland in general was more accepting of differing opinions. In my experience (which is admittedly limited) anytime someone dares go against the more popular bloggers - all hell breaks loose in internet land. Maybe I am the one too sensitive to be part of it.

1:02 PM  
Blogger K.Line said...

Wow, what a great post. Like Marinka, I couldn't breastfeed. Nonetheless, I don't think I would have nursed the baby of a woman I didn't know extremely well - but that's just me. The situation worked perfectly for the two of you and it was brilliantly efficient. So glad you both had minds open enough to find a solution to a problem that might have got quite bad for you (mastitis, for ex). I let my sister nurse my baby a couple of times because I wanted her to benefit from some of the antibodies (and I knew my sister was healthy etc.) My kid didn't much go for it, but we did give it a try.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I think you're AWESOME and totally agree with the commenter who said "100 yrs ago this wouldn't have been a story" ... breastfeeding (period) is natural, beautiful and a personal choice for the mother. I would've done the same thing. I also would've let my baby nurse someone else. What's the big flippin' deal?! Amen and Keep your mind and crappy attitude off my bewbs!

You ROCK Cat!

1:02 PM  
Blogger zchamu said...

@anonymous - actually, she did say all of those things. And Catherine has every right to respond. The blogger observed a scenario, jumped to a HUGE conclusion then told the story on her blog completely incorrectly, getting validation of zero facts, asking no clarification from the people who were involved. Not cool in any situation, boobs or no boobs.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Anon 12:54, I was on that thread and you were leading the charge of commenters, m'dear. You were the one who said WHAT WOULD SHE JUST GO TO SOME DRUNK MAN IN THE BAR AND SAY HERE HAVE A SUCKY SUCKY??!!!

That's pretty much verbatim.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Kelli said...

What and wonderful and beatiful experience it must have been for you to give nourishment to another's baby and releive your pain! Laura sounds like a special woman.

I remember you from Blissdom09 though I don't think that we met. I stayed away from the babies since my ovaries were hurting from all the beautiful babies in the room and I was afraid you guys wouldn't get them back (joke people). I lost my son a couple of years ago but I would have been honored for you to provide nourishment and love for him.

1:06 PM  
Blogger PunkyBean said...

My friend's mom was a wet nurse and pumped for money. The hospital would come pick up her milk every morning...

Weird that the woman even thought she knew enough about the situation to judge.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

I would nurse another woman's baby in a heartbeat. I have waaayyy too much milk for one baby. :) would i let another woman nurse MY baby... hmmm. I don't know. I'm kind of possessive of my baby I guess.

I'm glad you shared your story... Mothers need to speak up, it's the only way society will stop frowning on nursing mama's.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ZCHAMU....NO SHE DIDNT SAY THAT HERBADMOTHER WAS ALL OF THOSE THINGS....SHE ASKED A QUESTION OF "WHAT IF"? YES SHE CAN RESPOND, BUT SHE'S CRYING ABOUT BEING BASHED, WHEN SHE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT WOULD HAPPEN WHEN SHE WROTE BACK ABOUT IT....DON'T BE SILLY.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

It was the right thing to do if you both thought it was the right thing to do. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

There are too many ignorant and nosy people in this world. It's none of their business!

I hate how breastfeeding gets compared to fondling in a bar... breasts are for feeding babies - the two are not even comparable!

1:08 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

KateyPie - what was offensive about the post was that it was intentionally misleading. She's entitled to her opinion - she's free to say that she doesn't like the idea of shared nursing. But she framed it in the context of two TOTAL strangers, who didn't even discuss things, who just passed off a baby like an object. And when her commenters got hateful (raising spectre of AIDS and drugs and homelessness and sexual immorality) she didn't step in and correct anything.

She spun the story to make it sound more edgy than it was, at not once did she say that she *didn't* know whether Laura and I had gotten to know each other, or whether we had had any discussion about health (which, can I say? before raising alarms about health risks, everybody should be sure of their research about what does and does not get passed through milk). She fomented the hateful comments that followed by spinning it as disgusting, and then had to deal with the anger of people who resented that she'd done so.

I didn't ask her to take it down - she couldn't take criticism of her own actions. So, I'm supposed to ignore people implying that I could have AIDS, but she's too delicate to take criticism for shame women who do or have done what I did? Bull.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Jeannie said...

When my sister's baby was born 10 weeks early, frail and tiny, and she didn't have enough breastmilk for him, I offered her mine as I was still nursing my nine month old son. I never thought anything of it.

And so I think -- good for you for doing it, nourshing a hungry child, and good for Laura for helping you out of a painful predicament. There is nothing wrong with feeding a child. You are healthy, she is healthy -- there is no problem.

Our culture is virulently anti-breastfeeding, not to mention completely xenophobic. If you haven't known someone since birth, they might be a stranger and you never can tell if they might be a weirdo! It's very very sad.

Me, I am tremendously heartened by your story -- that someone would nourish another's child, that another woman would do something amazingly personal to help another woman, and that in this crazy world two woeman can meet and immediately have a connection as friends.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MOM 101, NO YOU LEFT OUT THE PART ABOUT A MAN OR A WOMAN...DON'T GET IT WRONG!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous EarnestGirl said...

First: that you opened this up for comments? BRAVE. For opening up not only your story, and your hurt, but also to allow for the possibility of even one more judgmental thing? SO FREAKING BRAVE.

As for the rest, well, yes. Of course you did, and how amazing and natural and generous that she did, and it is just not anyone else's business to blog about. I like to believe - just wrote these very words - that we are all in this thing together, this huge complicated important thing called Motherhood. Your decision was just such a moment: private, companionable, between two mothers who shared a personal moment of sympathy and understanding.

But we are not in Utopian Motherhood, we are here where breastfeeding is fraught with cultural baggage and we are not all going to agree. We are all however, diminished by judgment and the spreading of ugliness. Bravo for your courage and your honesty. Bravo for your boobies. And good for her for taking down the nastiness.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Jozet at Halushki said...

What amazes me is that what women allow babies to do to their boobs isn't half as "weird" as what they allow men to do.

I don't get it - boobs are mostly a bunch of fat all in one place on the body, and people get all sorts of hard-ons over them.

No one ever stares lasciviously or otherwise at my muffin top or that hunk of fat at the back of my armpit. Or at the back of my knee.

And good lord, you want to see "gross" exchanges of bodily fluids, try being a cashier for a day.

I don't get it. However, I know people have hang-ups for all sorts of reasons and some of them beyond their own help, so I'll keep them in my prayers at night and think good thoughts. I'll blog about the others.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous ck said...

As a postpartum RN I think you're a-ok. And as others have said, we had wet nurses for a long time in this country!! c'mon people!

I do have a crazy "feeding someone's else's baby" story though. While in the hospital, my patient was having her friend nurse her day-old baby, I asked, "oh are you nursing your own baby at home?". Really, it's not a good idea for a new mom NOT to provide stimulation to her breasts because as you know the milk will then not come in. "NO, she said, "I just have had something leaking from my breasts for a while". "WHAT!?" Now THAT is weird. We put a stop to that as that leaking could have been something bad indeed!

You go girl!!

1:12 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Well, my goodness. A situation like this does bring out us lurkers, doesn't it?

All I can say is that she was a gracious woman (the one who lent you her baby) and I am sure you were grateful, eh?

A mommy of a little girl in my son's preschool class had a baby three months before I did. I knew I was going to have some supply problems, and she had extra frozen breastmilk. She offered, I accepted. I don't think the situation was any different.

Not everyone would have made the choice that you two did, but not everyone would have made the choice that my friend and I did.

Think I might link to this since I have nothing else in my mind to blog about.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I think it's wonderful that you and Laura were able to help one another out. In all honesty, I would probably not be able to do the same (especially letting another woman nurse my baby) but I think you both are just more evolved emotionally than I am. I also produce a lot of milk so if I let another woman feed the baby then I would be in the hurting position in an hour or so.

I really don't see the point of judging another mother's actions. If it was agreeable to those involved, and no one was being hurt, then YAY!

1:13 PM  
Blogger Procrastamom said...

This was such a wonderful story. An anecdote, I thought, about a unique experience you'd had. Then OOOOF, I get to the part about the other poster and I literally feel like I've been kicked. Why does it always feel like that when I read about other mothers passing judgement? It felt like all of those times I've read a piece or a comment that puts people like me down for NOT breastfeeding or not cosleeping or not parenting the exact. same. fucking. way. that. Mrs. Opinionated. does.

I guess I wonder why I'm surprised by that feeling every damned time. Sigh.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

What I am finding interesting is that the woman has now taken down her post. Commenters have said on here, that you somehow did that. I don't agree. She posted her opinion and if she really felt so strongly about it, she should have left it up. We all write things that can get us flamed by strangers.

"Posse" or not, you've put your words, feelings and heart into this post and you're letting people speak freely, whether they agree or not. It's the easy way out to take down a post and that's what she's done, which makes me wonder if she really thought about it before she hit post.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

For the first year after birthing my first daughter, my wife pumped a few extra ounces each day, froze it, and then once a week I drove it to the Mother's Milk Bank in Austin, Texas. It was an incredible effort on her part, breast milk equaling gold as you know, and the milk went to premature infants whose own mothers' milk had not come in yet.

And every time I dropped off that small igloo cooler of milk, that small cooler that represented a rather significant sacrifice of time, effort, and yes, milk, a small cooler that may have given a newer-than-new infant a chance that they wouldn't have had before, I said "Here you go! Here's your stock of frozen disease and unsanitary filth."

Because I'm a judgmental moron.

;)

1:15 PM  
Blogger Marsha N said...

I am new to your blog, but loved this post, for it's openness and because, in my opinion, you are just *right.* Ha. I also nursed, for 2 years, and traveled and hated that pump. If there had been someone else around who I'd bonded with (yes, it's a real relationship folks, and you don't need to fill out health forms before trusting your bonding) and needed some honest to goodness warm yummy milk, I would have so been there.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous wyndsong said...

When will people learn that breastfeeding is a beautiful, natural, wonderful thing.. it's not gross, disgusting, or dirty in any way shape or form! Good for you both for not letting the fact that you weren't the mother of the child to stop you from breastfeeding! You needed it.. I remember how horrible the pain of not being able to feed was. **shudder** My mother breastfed my cousin when she was a baby because her mom was ill at the time. Le Leche League USED to have donated mother's milk for women who needed help for whatever reason. They stopped doing that by the time I was born, which was when my mom REALLY needed it because she had to have breast surgery and I was alergic to everything. So because there was no one to help her out with breastfeeding, she had to postpone her much needed surgery until she had saved enough milk for me on her own. Postponed the surgery for 3 months before she had enough milk saved. I'm sorry you had to be hurt by the hate mongerers, but I"m glad you wrote about it! Thank you for sharing!

1:17 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I have nothing else to offer here except my admiration to both you and Laura. No one was harmed, no one was going to be harmed. There was the exchange of nutrients and relief and needs were met on all sides... And that is a wonderful thing.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Tricia said...

I say the only opinions that matter on this subject are yours and Laura's. Your boobs, her baby, end of story.

Tell the rest of 'em to mind their own damn business.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Vic said...

Problem + solution = happy HBM & baby.
Many mothers wouldn't have offered their child to ease your pain, Laura did so trusting you, and yes she was lucky you weren't some psycho, but that was her judgement to make. These people attacking you should butt right out (to put it politely) and let you get on with it. You both did a brave thing, and an even braver in both blogging about it.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Mary G said...

Way to go, you. Also, way to go Katie for putting her name on a differing opinion. (If it is written by Anonymous, I don't read it.)
I just read a post where a woman was grossed out by the idea of showering in a locker room and by women who did being naked when they dressed (and BENDING OVER to put their socks on). Perhaps the woman who was grossed out by the baby exchange was someone with similar phobic tendencies.
Poor things.

1:20 PM  
Blogger kateypie35 said...

HerBadMother- well that is true - it works both ways - if we expect you to take criticism then that other Blogger should too.

I really really wish she had left that post up - even though you feel it was damning. Cause now I am the only one publicly admitting I don't agree. Hey, fun!

1:21 PM  
Blogger MJMILLS said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous TSM Oregon said...

I have to come back and chime in about the "eye for an eye" thing.

If I go post that Dave from Blogography has a serious chocolate pudding addiction, and that I think it's detestable and perverted, and hit "publish", I would do so fully expecting his lovely fan base to come after me.

Any post I make that is critical of something or someone has the potential to pull down a rain of fire from those with opposing views. Thus is the nature of a BLOG.

Do I have sympathy for the writer who dissed you? No. She didn't have to hit publish.

Regarding your tweets about the act itself? Clearly if you felt there was something shameful about it you would not have tweeted. So I do not agree that "you knew when you posted on Twitter that some would frown on it and disagree". There was no reason to think anyone would. That's why this is such a big deal. What should have been a heartwarming thank you turned out to be a witch hunt. Crazy.

Also? Anonymous postings lose their credibility. If you really stand behind something, you put your name on it.

1:23 PM  
Blogger kateypie35 said...

Also, I feel the need to say - I would gratefully and whole-heartedly accept milk from a milk bank if my baby needed it - but milk banks are extremely cautious about screening and testing donating mothers. Its not really the same thing we are talking about here.
Also, I would gladly nurse a baby in real need if I had to. So, I hope people don't think its some weird booby hangups that make me in the minority. Nope!

1:24 PM  
Blogger Susan Getgood said...

Catherine, what a gracious and articulate post. And kudos to Laura from the symposium for her generous and sympathetic act.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Amo said...

I am so saddened by this turn of events. Why must we as mothers judge others? We've all had our 'mommy fail' moments and yet we still presume to know what is best for another family.

Good for you for being the bigger person here. You didn't link to the blogger; you didn't slam that woman. She made a bad decision in judging another and shame on her for sharing it with the world.

I'm sorry for the ridicule you have experienced, but this 'mommy blogger' is very proud of both of you.

1:26 PM  
Blogger TZT said...

As a person who fell asleep early last night and didn't catch a whisper of the controversy on Twitter until today, I don't think the heart of this post is anger at all. (The comments seem to imply otherwise.)
It's the beautiful and remarkable story of two moms and a healthy experience that took a swipe at a needless social taboo. Yay HBM, yay Laura!

1:26 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

I agree with Katiepie35 on her points except I don't think the blogger was forced to take her post down. Why she chose to do so, I don't know. That's her decision though, just as it was her decision to make her opinions on this matter public.

I read her post. I don't feel she was calling you out or trying to shame you. Just venting her opinion. Not an opinion I necessarily agree with in its entirety, but it's her right to air it. Just as you aired the entire saga on twitter. Damn it, you had to know you would get a response.

I've thought this through and considered not saying anything, thinking it's not my business. But it ALL was put out there, and I've seen lots of ugliness from it on both sides. I don't want to sit back without voicing my opinion, even though it may not be popular opinion. Even though there may be repercussions in the internet world for me. I realized I would never want my daughter to stay quiet based on fear of social repercussions.

I was annoyed by the hateful words from commenters on her blog, but I was also annoyed by tweets from your supporters last night. Words laced with implied threats, reminding me so much of adolescent group mentality.

I'm not sure what my reaction would be if someone wrote an entire negative blog post about me, but I don't think I'd take it as personally as you have. I would not want it to get to the proportions it has.

1:27 PM  
Blogger momranoutscreaming said...

OMG! Do women really forget how it feels to have engorged breasts? I would have kissed that woman while I was feeding her baby! I may be hesitant, however to let someone I didn't know very well to feed my child but she was comfortable with it so it's all good right? Everyone has a right to their own opinion and I think these discussions are good and give people something to think about. That's the only way things are going to change for the better. I don't understand why it used to be fine to have a wet nurse if you were well off but it's not fine now? Freaking formula companies and doctors!

1:27 PM  
Blogger zchamu said...

Having now figured out who this all was... I think what bothers me the most is that the person keeps saying "I didn't name names! Why is anyone getting insulted?"

She took a scenario with two individuals and blogged about it. It doesn't matter if there were "names". The individuals involved knew exactly who they were, and I don't quite get how they weren't supposed to take it personally? When she says such judgmental things as "I guess it doesn't matter if you don't care what goes in to your child"?

I think this is yet another case of someone saying something without understanding the full ramifications, without realizing that those words were now OUT THERE and would gather a life of their own, that those words would hurt someone and would come across incredibly badly.

I am trying to keep my criticism to what she said in this instance and to not judge her as a person, but it's hard, because she judged someone else so harshly.

1:27 PM  
Blogger JP said...

It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful women can be to one another...and then how completely hateful women can be to one another.

It is truly unfortunate.

Could I have made the same choice? I honestly don't know and really? It doesn't matter. It was your choice (and Laura's) to make, and I respect that. I'm sorry that people made this out to be so 'icky'.

1:28 PM  
Blogger R said...

having only been a mom for two months now (well, nine weeks today to be exact) and having already experienced this pain you mentioned, and also having JUST become comfortable with others seeing me nursing - I don't know that I could have done what you did, but I see nothing wrong with it - and I applaud both you & Laura for helping each other out in a time of need/want. Good for you both for doing what you felt was best. Again, I don't know that I would be able to do it, but good for you for being able to Catherine!! Those people who say spiteful things about you, Laura, and the whole situation should really just shut up. That is all.

{HUGS}

1:28 PM  
Anonymous red pen mama said...

having had engorged boobies on occasion, I think you and Laura did each other a great favor. Go, you. I would not have been so brave, I don't think.



As to the rest of it: I am standing up applauding you (and getting very strange looks from my co-workers). yes, hands off indeed.

ciao,
rpm

1:28 PM  
Blogger kgirl said...

Can you say f*ck her?

Seriously.

You didn't do anything wrong, and in fact, it sounded totally smart.

God, people need a whole lot of re-educating, don't they?

1:29 PM  
OpenID wherewiller said...

Yeah, I just don't get why this had to be an issue. It was something that both of you decided to do for mutual benefit, the end.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

MJ, you may think public breastfeeding is gross, but it's protected by law. Perhaps you ought to stay home.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous EarnestGirl said...

Brian, you are an EXCELLENT moron.

What he said.

And settle down everyone.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Yazmena said...

Amen!

1:33 PM  
Blogger Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh Catherine, I have no idea what I would have done in your or Laura's situation, but wow. This has moved me to tears.

What a wonderful act Laura did- I want to meet her! And hug her! And I hope she is not hurting from any negativity because of this beautiful thing she did for you. I had no idea the other person was part of the symposium, too. This makes me hurt for you even more. So upsetting, such odd circumstances that someone jumped on for their own selfish and hurtful reasons.

I think this experience is amazing and something that will be talked about, from now on, only in a positive light. And I hope ultimately that is how you'll always remember it, too.

Steph

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Y said...

What are these threats or "implied threats" that people keep mentioning. I read the post and all of the comments and didn't see any threats. I just hate when people throw stuff out there like that "She was threatened!" but have no specific examples to point to. Maybe I missed it, but really, I don't think I did.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

I didn't read the other post. I see from a comment above that it was taken down. So, I'll just make two (brief) points and leave it at that.

1. One problem I think the world of blogging suffers from is the issue of people feeling "safe" enough to make all kinds of comments (in a post or in the comment forum) that they would not make to someone else's face. This is not limited to the mommy blogging sphere, either. In my mind, those writers or commenters do such incredible damage to others, whatever their "motives".

2. North Americans can be so uptight and judgmental at times. As grandma said, point one finger at someone else, and three more will come back to point at you.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Marinka said...

Why are anonymous comments always in all caps?

This is such an interesting discussion, and I can't look away.

I really appreciate Katie's thoughts.
I'm sorry that the original post was so hurtful. I really think that this is a tough topic and that "100 years ago it wouldn't have been an issue" is a huge oversimplification.

1:35 PM  
Blogger KayleighJeanne said...

This is another reason I am glad that my boobs hang down to my toes. I could probably nurse off of them myself. Just imagine what kind of reaction that would have gotten.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Well, no more goldfish crackers over here now, I guess.

Sigh.

Engorged boobs are really painful, really really painful. And being around a baby when you have engorged boobs? Wow, you must've really liked Laura to even consent to be near her and her girl in that state--for me, having other kids around always made the engorgement more painful.

Laura did you a kindness. Hats off to her. And you did something your body was aching for: get the damn milk out!

The whole situation is a triumph of human kindness and understanding, generosity of spirit, and an acknowledgement of the power and the needs of the body.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

So as usual I'm late to the "party." I wish I had been able to read the original post so I could feel I was commenting on the whole story.

It sounds to me like the situation worked out perfectly for you, Laura, and her baby. I wouldn't hesitate to nurse another baby. To be honest though, I'm really not sure how I would feel about another woman nursing my baby. It's an interesting issue to consider.

That being said, I completely agreed with what Kateypie35 said in her comments. Since I wasn't able to read the other side I don't feel I can say much more.

I just wish we could all be kinder to each other in general.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

You are wonderful and so is Laura.

Period.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Ms. Thomas said...

I think what you did is fine -- admittedly a little unconventional, but definitely not disgusting or shameful. If Laura's baby had a dirty diaper and Laura was busy giving a lecture, should you not change the diaper because, GASP!, you will have to touch another baby's private parts? The baby doesn't care who takes care of it -- sure, she may have a preference, but more than anything she prefers to be fed, have a clean butt, etc. The kid doesn't have a problem with it, so shouldn't adults know better than to contaminate something natural? We so badly want to pretend we're not animals...

1:38 PM  
Blogger MJMILLS said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I will admit that I've been in a store where a mom is pushing a crying baby around in a stroller and it's caused a letdown. And I've been tempted to nurse THAT crying baby, just to make it stop. So I get the need to nurse, and how it doesn't extend only to my own babies.

That said, I'm not sure I would be comfortable with another mom nursing my baby. I think it's great that Laura was, and lucky for you. But I would have sort of a hard time. Not because I would worry about diseases or anything, but because I'm kind of possessive and this would just be an extension of that possessiveness.

1:40 PM  
Blogger MJMILLS said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:41 PM  
OpenID pandorican said...

PEOPLE WHO POST COMMENTS IN ALL CAPS are stupid. People who do so anonymously are even stupider.

Look. I'm being randomly judgmental, based on seeing one thing about you.
Just like that poster apparently was. She deserves the fallout from this, posse or not. Judging other mothers for their choices is counterproductive and divisive. Whether they are choices we would have made ourselves or not.
Also- breastfeeding (publicly, upside down, twelve random orphans at a time, whatever) is not a crime... wet nursing was common practice for more years that it wasn't. And it's a non issue, because it was HBM and Laura's body/child and more importantly: CHOICE.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous B said...

Did I miss something? Who is Cheryl?

1:42 PM  
Blogger Mariah said...

I love boobs and breastfeeding...
I think that Laura wasawesome for passing her baby to you and you were awesome to accept that hungry baby. I find it so annoying how judgemental people are. Especially in/ on Blogs

1:43 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I actually forgot to say what I originally intended, before I read all the other comments.

I was going to say that I was actually a little surprised that the other baby would nurse from you. I was under the impression, and I really have no idea why, that babies wouldn't nurse from another woman because they were so used to the smell and taste of their own mother.

From reading the other comments though I see that I was wrong. Such an interesting topic.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Mary - it was hurtful to me for two reasons. 1) It was misleading. She spun the story in such a way as to make it seem that Laura and I were total strangers, and, further, that we had no discussion about the nursing other than 'wanna?' and 'kay!'. The author admitted to me in an e-mail that it was 'maybe' misleading, the way that she portrayed the story. And 2) she allowed her commenters to get vicious, and to feed off of the misinformation she provided. She knows who I am. She knows enough about me to know that I am not homeless, and that it is extremely unlikely that I have a drug addiction or AIDS or an inclination, as one commenter surmised, to wander up to strange men in bars and go SUCKY SUCKY!

So the post felt hostile, and her refusal to ask her commenters to dial back the meanness (never mind correct their wild assumptions) just underscored that air of hostility.

It was a vulnerable thing for me to do. I did it publicly, I spoke about it publicly. She shamed me for it.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Parent Club said...

You are right. You are right.

a mother should never throw stones at another mother 'cause we all live in friggin' glass houses.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Glennia said...

I'm not sure what I would have done in your situation, but I'm not you. You did what you thought was best, gave yourself some relief and gave a sweet baby a snack (with mom's permission). Doesn't seem like a big deal to me.

Poppy Buxom, I read that Maupassant story and now wonder if Steinbeck didn't steal that for the ending of The Grapes of Wrath.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Veronica Mitchell said...

Clearly the world would be better off if more people minded their own business.

Breastfeeding aside, I am a little concerned about the tone in the post and comments about AIDS. Since HIV can be carried without symptoms and can be contracted without self-destructive behavior, is it wise to be offended at the suggestion that anyone might have it? I offered to pump breast milk for a friend's adopted baby, and at the same time offered to have an HIV test to assure him I did not have it. Although I engage in no risky behavior, it seemed a sensible and compassionate thing to do.

The tone of the post and comments seems to be that only "dirty" people have HIV, and that notion is much more disturbing to me than anything said about breastfeeding.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Adventures In Babywearing said...

P.S. I totally just remembered something. Two weekends ago I was stuck trying to get back to a hungry Ivy and twittered about it. I got a DM from a friend who lives nearby and she offered to nurse Ivy if I needed her to. I THINK she said it jokingly but I really do think that if I needed her to, she would have, and I would have been so grateful. I would GLADLY do the same for someone else.

But I never would have expected the negative reaction that you got, especially not from another Mom.

I *personally* would rather Ivy have someone else's breastmilk than formula.

I know this is not the same situation, but why should that matter?

Steph

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Must Be Motherhood said...

I actually do think your boobs are magical and that you and Laura's baby had a brief, temporal bonding moment. But so what? It's a pleasure of being a lactating woman, and both you and she were relieved of your physical discomfort. Rock on.

What confuses me, though, is why there was a baby there at all. I thought the whole Fishfullthinking Twitter deal, including Mothergoosemouse, involved babies not being welcome at the symposium? Or am I just sleep-deprived and confusing this with something else?

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Sundry said...

Nothing but support for you and the situation, which sounds win-win all around.

I didn't see the post in question, but I'll be honest and say that if I were to discuss my own feelings on letting another woman breastfeed my child, concern about HIV would definitely come into play for me. This isn't because HIV is a "dirty" disease or because it implies a promiscuous lifestyle, by the way. I would have no judgements about the woman in question, simply the question of whether or not she had been tested.

My point -- again, without having read the post, so I don't know the tone of the discussion at all -- is only not to take the subject of potential infection personally. HIV should have no social stigma, and if anyone's throwing around terms like "AIDS = UNSANITARY" they need to get educated.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

All of this could have been avoided if I had just got to New York.

Cuz I'd have totally helped. Suckle.

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Damn airplanes and their mechanical problems.

And I read the entire thread and post before it was yanked down. No one threatened anyone and most of the criticism lay in the blogger's tone of the article and not policing her commenters. By allowing such shrill and crazy accusations it was construed as tacit agreement by the blog author.

It's unfortunate that such an interesting platform was started off in such a negative fashion.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous jess said...

I wish that i could say i am surprised by the reactions to this event, but i'm not. Women still feel more comfortable nursing their babies in public washrooms than quietly on a bench or in a restaurant. Women are asked not to nurse on airplanes. Women are made to feel shame for taking care of their babies. Sometimes women cause other women shame because of fear. It is a sad thing.

I have nursed other babies and i have had other women nurse mine.

I am not part of a posse, i am a mother.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Sigh...sometimes our Western culture is a little uptight and Puritanical, isn't it? And it isn't helped by germophobes urging everyone to sterilize everything and live in a bubble that never touches another human being's bubble to prevent contamination.

What you & Laura did? Brilliant. A perfect solution to a problem, and in many cultures a solution that wouldn't have been given a second thought.

I'd like to think I'd do the same if I was in either of your situations. Hell, I've even offered to loan out my uterus to friends who can't conceive a baby on their own. Does that make me a freak, or someone who just wants to help?

It's a shame that breastmilk is treated like a biohazard by so many. Have you seen the CDC's list of how breastmilk is affected by various diseases? http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/disease/index.htm (most of the links on that page say it's safe to breastfeed for those conditions)

The list of diseases that can be transmitted via breastmilk is extremely small, and even that list points out that the chances of transmission are slim. Only a small number of medications are dangerous to pass through breastmilk, too.

Our bodies are designed to protect our babies, even if we're sick, and even if we're feeding someone who may not be our own child.

1:55 PM  
Blogger ClumberKim said...

I once wrote that I would nurse a baby that was not my own if circumstances warranted. Why the hell not? As my favorite lactation consultant told me frequently, "Feed the baby."

On a related tangent, when my dog was born, her mom had a litter of seven and her grandma had a litter of seven on the same day. Grandma would regularly walk up to the whelping box, survey the scene, and climb in whichever side of the box had the hungriest looking pups. Didn't matter if they were her's or not. It was just the natural thing to do. Feed the hungry. I didn't realize how amazing that was at the time as I didn't have children then. Now, I see.

It's sad that people have to judge, usually to get people to vindicate their own choice. Let her walk a mile in your shoes, or in this case, your bra. Then she can judge.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous christine said...

What an eloquent response Catherine. So proud of you.

I shared my frozen breast milk with a friend of mine. She was never able to breastfeed and I had a ton of milk that was going to expire -- She happily accepted my milk.

No shame!

And also, can someone tell MJMILLS where the caps lock button is on their computer? Jesus...

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi... oh hi. Please some attention here, whether you are 'taking a side' with one woman or another, as I wish to dispel that notion - immediately.

1) I am not one of this blogger's posse. I don't know her -- on the internet or in real life, but my god, what she said is perfectly acceptable!
2) I don't think the internet should be one of those "they said/ she said' playground battles, particularly if it is pitting one woman (one mother!) against another.
3) I have not found or read or wanted to find and read the original post.

Because of the 3rd point, I don't feel I can (or will) comment on the original post. I don't really want to ever comment on it. (From the sounds of it, I disagree with her way of thinking, but yeah, so what? It's her space too.)

But I really want to get across (beyond all the mudslinging) is that this (herbadmother's) post is well-said and important and necessary. So deeply necessary, especially as a rebuttal to the attitudes of the first post. Especially because we (seem to) have a messed-up attitude on the virtues and simplicity of breastfeeding! And we have forgotten that it IS personal, that our boobs are our own and not for public disdain or dismissal.

If you actively dislike what occurred, so be it.
But christ, let's not slag off this well-written, lovely insightful post.


To Catherine personally: I am deeply sorry that you felt shamed. PLease don't. I really appreciate what you wrote. Kind regards, an anonymous reader.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous looneyjen said...

who's this Cheryl that MJMILLS (or whatever) keeps referring to?

I had a stash of frozen breast milk after my first was born and had a friend use some for awhile to put into her daughter's eye over a weekend to cure her pinkeye. (the doc's weren't open and her girl was miserable) it worked.

chew on that.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Momo Fali said...

Humans drink cows milk, and THAT'S okay? We don't know where those cows have been! Maybe at a bar, letting strangers stroke their udders. Or possibly a baby cow has, at some point, had his slobbery lips around the same cow's teet which provided the milk I let my children drink.

I am not saying that woman wasn't entitled to her opinion, because she most definitely was. If she took issue with it, that's one thing, I would not judge her for it. But, plain and simply, name calling is not right.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Domestic Extraordinaire said...

When Giggles was still BF'ing I was very good friends with a woman whose daughter was 2 weeks older than Giggles. Both girls were exclusively breastfed-we would trade off sitting for each other every now and again and if the child needed nursing we did it. I never thought much of it. Would I have done the same thing when The Chicken was younger-probably so-it just never came up.

What really irks me about all of this is that someone else thought it was their business to tell the world about it and judge. If she had a problem with it she should have come directly to you or to Laura and not turn to the internet. I think that this general rule is a big chunk of what is wrong with society now a days. People don't ask questions when something is bothering them, they don't try to get clarification-they just judge.

many hugs to you, Catherine. you rock!!

1:59 PM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

MBM, that was Camp Baby where I was unable to attend due to nursing baby/JnJ policy.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I did not get to see the other post, and truthfully I have no clue whether or not I would nurse another womans baby or let her nurse mine. I have never been in a situation to make that choice.

What I do know is that the decision to do so, rested completely between you and Laura and what you two were comfortable with.

I think you are an incredible woman. And I think that the fact that the woman who posted the other post had to resort to name calling and insults, speaks volumes about the difference in character between the two of you.

Power to the boobies!

2:00 PM  
Blogger Sadie said...

What a beautiful story. My sister was breastfed in a pinch by my mom's best friend and my own daughter has eaten pureed apples mixed with my sister-in-laws expressed milk.

I never thought anything of it and would gladly offer my girls to any needy babes...if I had much extra to share. If need be, I wouldn't hesitate to let another mother do the same for mine. I understand the health concerns but all that aside, what the heck else are they for???

2:01 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

@MJMILLS Two things: 1. The caps are annoying. Using all caps is like shouting, which is infuriating. It's also the trademark of trolls. If you want to be taken seriously in the blog world, take the cap lock off.

2. Mothergoosemouse is right. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world. Formula was invented in the last 70 years. How do you suppose we all lived this long? By breastfeeding. I don't do it, for reasons that are personal, but I find it the most natural, beautiful thing in the world. There is nothing shameful about it, which is what you were suggesting.

@HBM I'm sensing that a new button needs to be made. I'd do it, but I don't have the skills. A HBM's posse? A Bad Mother Posse button? Anyone?

2:01 PM  
Blogger Avonlea said...

Utterly mundane and terrifically awe-inspiring, indeed!

I'm sorry that the other blogger decided it was ok to mislead in her post and allow her comments to veer off into attack and disgust. That pisses me off. Stop shaming!

2:03 PM  
Anonymous phenomenalmama said...

I think it's such a sad commentary on our society today that someone feels the need to express such an opinion on something that has NO effect on them whatsoever.

What you and Laura chose to do (feed her baby, ease your pain) was between the two of you, period.

For the record, it think it's amazing. And BTW - did you see the video of Salma Hayek nursing a hungry baby boy while she was visiting Africa?

2:05 PM  
Blogger CheekySweetie said...

MJMILLS, Maybe you should get back to work. You are not furthering your cause here. You appear abusive and hateful and even a little ignorant and I doubt the poster in question (ohmygosh, YOU spoke her name, maybe her wrath will fall upon YOU next! *gasp*) wants her stance defended by someone who appears to be an anti-breastfeeding zealot. (whether you are or not is not my point. My point is that your comments make you appear that way.)

And yes, we do pay attention to all caps. It's the way you treat people when you speak to them-even when you disagree-that speaks louder than even your words. Typing in all caps is the internet equivalent of screaming in someone's face. It's rude, and abusive, and ignorant, and...oh, maybe that's why I think you are behaving that way, huh?

It was all fun and games on that other post when you were all up her butt agreeing with her and saying mean things about Catherine. It's fine for her to post a misinformed opinion about something she had NOTHING to do with, but it's not okay for the person actually involved to address the matter? If she had a right, then how can you imply Catherine does not? You guys sure don't play fair.

And, that poster was encouraged by her OWN friends to pull the post. Which I think is a chickenshit thing to do. She made a post with "Controversy" in the title, made an uninformed portrayal of something she was not involved in, stated she was leaving comments unmodd'ed so readers could "yell at her all they wanted," rolled around in the mud her own little band of followers slung, and then cowered like a poor little victim who was so abused and terrorized when dissenters spoke their minds. She said she wanted a discussion, but she caved in like a popped balloon when the discussion didn't end the way it began-with all the minions praising her for her statement.

I didn't see anyone who defended Catherine saying anything more hurtful about that poster than her little posse said about Catherine, but that's okay, right, because you guys can talk shit about anyone, but if they do it back, they are just a bunch of bullies! Right! Right?

Grow up.

The bottom line is: You wouldn't make that choice. Clap, clap, hooray, hooray for you. No one gives a shit.

And you shouldn't give a shit that *someone else* made a different decision with *their* boobs or *their baby.*

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Erin @queenofspain said...

I JUST WANTED TO SAY I LOVE CATHERINE IN ALL CAPS

2:05 PM  
Blogger sylvia said...

It hurts me, it hurts all of us. It reinforces the idea that breasts and breastfeeding hover on the very razor's edge of shamefulness, that these things on our chests are somehow, in some way, dirty and icky and bad, unless we operate them under the very strictest rules of propriety (only if they're covered up! only if it's your own baby! only if it doesn't make us uncomfortable! only if WE SAY IT'S OKAY!)

I think you need to keep saying this, loud and clear.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Don't tell anyone but the other day I let my kid drink milk. FROM A MOTHERF'ING COW. And I didn't even *know* the cow. It was a stranger cow. God, I'm so embarrassed. Also this morning I ate raw honey straight from the hive and I'm pretty sure the bees had their asses and feet in it all day. Then I ate an egg and I was all "This was made in a lab right?" and the lady at the deli was all "Uh...no. It came from a chicken". And I was all "FROM A CHICKEN'S VAGINA?!" THEY SERVED ME SOMETHING FROM A CHICKEN VAGINA, CATHERINE. Honestly, I wish you stop over-reacting about this breastmilk thing. You had milk. Baby needed milk. Big whoop. I HAD TO EAT SOMETHING THAT CAME OUT OF A VAGINA. Who's the real victim here?

2:06 PM  
Blogger MJMILLS said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:06 PM  
Blogger paperfairies said...

Wow. I have NO issues whatsoever with breastfeeding, in fact, when my best friend's baby girl was in NICU her milk hadn't come in and I pumped for her. (the hospital screened it) It was AWESOME to be able to nourish someone I so love. You are obviously free to do what you want but the other blogger had a point. (even though she expressed it horribly) You got a tattoo a couple weeks ago, many babies are allergic to Lorazepam. (Ativan) God forbid it please, may it never happen but one doesn't know what husbands are doing every single second. There are variables, particularly when dealing with someone you just met.

She trusted you, BEAUTIFUL, but making it seem like there were absolutely no risks involved is kinda irresponsible I think.

I love you. Know that.

2:07 PM  
Blogger MJMILLS said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:08 PM  
Blogger J said...

I think what you did was a great thing and I find it REALLY hard to believe that someone who was in your exact situation wouldn't do the same thing. Would I offer my child in this situation? I'm not sure but that doesn't mean that someone is wrong for doing so.

I didn't read the other post but like most it was likely written to do one of two things. Vent or get a reaction and this person had no reason to vent since they were not involved. She got that reaction.

2:09 PM  
Blogger heels said...

It's the origin of the phrase "Bosom Buddies," I believe. I have a few friends who nursed each others children so that they could all go back to work. They worked opposite shifts and it was to everyone's benefit. They saved on childcare, bottles, pumps, formula, and the babies got boob-juice- what could be better? Like breastfeeding in general, co-breastfeeding is a personal decision. I think Laura made an awesome decision to help you out in that way, and I think it was wonderful that you took advantage of it. I applaud you both. Also, what instantly came to mind were the stories of the (I believe) Chinese policewoman who breastfed starving babies when they couldn't find their mothers, and of Salma Hayek breastfeeding that beautiful African child when its mother couldn't. Are those disgusting cases too? I think not.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Naomi said...

I've never nursed another woman's child nor have my kids nursed from another mommy but I have been engorged without a pump in sight, trying to get it out in the shower and if there had been a hungry baby around, I definitely would have considered it. It hurt so much, I probably would have considered nursing puppies or kittens, too. Wolf cubs even. No, not really.

I just don't see the judgmental attitude being helpful. Obviously you don't offer your boobs to anyone walking down the street!

2:10 PM  
Blogger BaltimoreGal said...

I will never understand why anyone thought this was (A) wrong in any sense or (B) their business, especially without knowing the facts.
I am not a mother, hopefully I will be. My mom breastfed, although I doubt her mom did- things change, right?. I grew up seeing women breastfeed their children. It was normal to me. My friend w/babies breastfeeds and I've seen it. BIG DEAL. It's a kid eating. Who cares from what or where as long as it is good for the kid? Maybe the poster in question is older and can't relate to seeing it outside her own little box. Different is not wrong, it is just different.

I also feel bad for Laura. To have her responsibility and motherhood questioned like that by an uninformed stranger? It's ridiculous. Especially when children are being abused and killed by their own parents in our backyards. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/01/14/ST2009011402052.html?sid=ST2009011402052

2:11 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

It sickens me that what you and Laura chose to do should be anything more than a mundane, nurturing moment-in-mothering choice. Moreover, it was Laura's and your choice. So folks should lay off the judging, whether or not they agree or would do the same. I applaud you for posting your story - both to open people's eyes to what is possible, and to expose the anti-nursing attitudes that still abound. I'm sorry that you were on the receiving end of some pretty hateful messages.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Miss Grace said...

Skipping all previous comments in the interest of not getting any angrier than I was reading that post last night, Catherine, you've done the best job of defending yourself. All that matters is that you're comfortable with yourself and your own choices.
Bravo.

2:12 PM  
Blogger T. said...

In my real life, I wear a hat that has all these L's on it...makes me a leader or something. I can't spell it out due to insurance reasons.

And their "official" position would be don't do it. For safety, yada yada.

BUT I say, you rock. I love that you did this, love that you wrote about it. Catherine, you are amazing. What makes you amazing is that you think you are not amazing.

T@SendChocolate

2:13 PM  
Blogger Lesha said...

It's not terribly surprising though that one mother could easily berate another mother for her choice to allow someone else to nurse her child. When we berate other mothers for their choice of stroller or daycare or if they co-sleep (or don't) or babywear (or don't). It's not just this one choice that ends up being thrown around as "less than". For every choice a mom makes there seems to be another mom ready to pounce and put that decision down as wrong or shameful or sub-par parenting.

We as moms need to just stop with the judgements. Yes, it's the internet, we can put out there whatever we want, but why are we when it's hurtful? What do we have to gain except for a few more blog followers or a boost to our self esteem. What's the point?

I'm not trying to make this into a bigger discussion, but it really is part of a whole larger issue we as moms seem to have.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous sassymonkey said...

Catherine you rock. And if Laura is reading this, she rocks too.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

People disgust me. I recently wrote a post that was inspired in part by comments I heard about Salma Hayak breastfeeding a baby not her own. I am sick to death of tanned, oiled boobs being shoved in my face by the media 24/7 and yet when they are used for what they are intended people lose their shit.

I think what you and Laura did was awesome, and totally normal.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Isabel Kallman said...

What saddens me most about this whole situation is that I have yet to meet one mom who has never doubted at least one parenting decision she has made. I truly believe the majority of us beat ourselves up every single day for perfectly sensible decisions.

How can we ever learn to trust our own instincts when there are so many mothers out there waiting to criticize us and make us doubt ourselves?

2:15 PM  
Blogger Deb on the Rocks said...

Wow.

I'm speechless after reading this comment thread. But I'm glad women speak their minds. Viva la blog.

You (and Salma) put the Wet in Wet Nurse. Rock on. How much are the Her Bad Mother's Milk Bar /Happy Hour When Engourged! t-shirts? Want, XXL please.

(But no wonder marketers are a bit confused by "digital women," right?)

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

I have 2 preemies, a 26 and 31 weeker. My milk supply did not come in as I had hoped. I was only able to provide breastmilk to them for about 3 months. The stuff is liquid gold especially for preemies. I would have gladly handed them over to you for the much needed nourishment that I was unable to provide.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Rosemarie said...

Long time lurker - first time poster - I felt compelled to comment on this post - I find the other poster quite childish - if she had a problem with what you were doing she should have said something to your face - not hide behind a blog post to criticize you. I (although not a breast feeder when my son was born) find absolutely nothing wrong with you sharing with another mothers child - you both did a good thing - the criticizer should be the one who is ashamed.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't read all the comments so I apologize if this has already been said, but the BOTTOM LINE HERE is that this was a decision between YOU and LAURA and nobody else's business. Period. You both agreed to an arrangement that benefitted everyone involved and BRAVO to you both for being such smart, generous, caring, thoughtful women. Now, wouldn't it be nice if everyone could be that way??? I really fail to see what the big deal is here. And I definitely fail to understand why that blogger thought it was any of her business to go off on you for what YOU choose to do with YOUR boobs and what Laura chose to do with letting you nurse her hungry baby. I mean, really, WTF? Sigh. Frustrating.... Just know that you (and Laura) are supported by many, many people.
Pascale

2:21 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I am even more resolved in my f-bomb laden comment on your facebook page. This was just such a natural thing. I think in the scheme of things, when we look at all that gets done and passed off as acceptable in the world, that this, this act was what has motivated someone to step forward and scream, "Not ok!" well, it just really makes me worry about the way people are gauging rights and wrongs.

Pop in a baby bottle. Smoking on a playground. No seatbelts. Infidelity. Stealing. Slander. I mean there are just so many, many things and yet it was this thing that should not have even been on their radar that did this.

Gack!

And, what Heather said. I am just north of Albany. Come. Please. Stay. Kids can play. Whatever. Do come. And do disregard these foolish, foolish people.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I am even more resolved in my f-bomb laden comment on your facebook page. This was just such a natural thing. I think in the scheme of things, when we look at all that gets done and passed off as acceptable in the world, that this, this act was what has motivated someone to step forward and scream, "Not ok!" well, it just really makes me worry about the way people are gauging rights and wrongs.

Pop in a baby bottle. Smoking on a playground. No seatbelts. Infidelity. Stealing. Slander. I mean there are just so many, many things and yet it was this thing that should not have even been on their radar that did this.

Gack!

And, what Heather said. I am just north of Albany. Come. Please. Stay. Kids can play. Whatever. Do come. And do disregard these foolish, foolish people.

2:21 PM  
Blogger kateypie35 said...

paperfairies worded it better than me.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Lesha said...

The more I think about this situation, the more I think that Laura is the ultimate in rock. I could easily see myself in your shoes and I could easily see myself nursing someone else's child. I have a much harder time seeing myself letting someone else nurse my child. Plus I think how OLD my baby is would play a part. Infant, baby, easier to see me being fine with it. At that stage the nursing is primarily a hungry=get food response. Later one, towards a year or older when I nursed my son it was more for comfort. HE probably wouldn't have been as open to another person nursing him either, because the bewbs=mommycomfort, not just comfort.

Excellent food for thought HBM, pun definitely intended.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Nenette AM said...

You = awesome
Love ya for doing that... and kudos to Laura too.

Good for you, girl!
xoxo

2:23 PM  
Anonymous katelin@m80im.com said...

seriously catherine you are awesome. and laura is just as awesome and for anyone to comment and make sure horrible remarks without knowing either of you is just wrong. i'm glad you wrote this.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Jana said...

My mother did not breastfeed me, but once during my babyhood she allowed me to nurse at the breast of an engorged friend of hers. My mom never thought a second thought about it, and it didn't seem strange at all to her circle of friends.

Seriously, when are people going to get over the boobs?

2:28 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

When I first saw your first tweet about having nursed someone else's baby, I was on the phone with my best friend. Is hared it with her, and got one of the most negative reactions I have ever heard. I had told her, because I thought it was the best thing I had heard, that someone was nice enough to take you out of your misery.

Had I been there, you could have borrowed my daughter. Heck, if you let me take a nap while you nursed her, I'd be your friend for life. :)

2:28 PM  
Blogger Mama Smurf said...

I was wondering what all the twitter drama was about...I missed it all in real time.

*cue standing ovation and loud/obnoxious applause*

2:29 PM  
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