Tuesday 8 February 2011

Do you breastfeed?

Italians are very open, sometimes so much so that if you are not used to it, you will find them offensive or intrusive. Ever since having the baby people ask me if I am breastfeeding. I am no prude, but I think this is a rather personal, private thing. Furthermore when I say people have been asking me, I mean everyone has literally asked me - men as well as women, people who I don't even know, people I have never even met! Not one visitor has passed who has not asked me this question. People phone day and night to enquire after the baby, and this is a lovely gesture, but when they are people whom I have never, ever met and they ask me this question then it really annoys me.

You can imagine then, that I was getting a little miffed to say the least. My mum and dad flew home this morning, but they also thought it very odd and a little rude that everyone asks me this question. This is my first baby, so I am not sure the way things go in Australia, but I am sure every Tom, Dick and Harry didn't ask my twin if she was breastfeeding.

And for the record, no, I am not breastfeeding. I had just been discharged from the hospital, and after having been inside for 10 days was not feeling the best. We had to buy formula before the chemists all closed for the lunch break. I stopped at a chemist near our village and went inside with my mum. I asked the woman behind the counter, the pharmacist she was, if they had X or Y brand. They had neither she said. I asked her if she had any formula and she said no. I asked when they would be getting formula in, and she said she didn't know, but really I should be breastfeeding.

Excuse me? Did I hear right? Did she honestly just tell me that I should be breastfeeding when I was wanting to buy formula?

I was tired, sore, I had not seen daylight for 10 days, I hadn't washed my hair for even longer, I wanted to go home and I was anxious as I needed formula to feed the baby. So I told this pharmacist fool in a not so polite voice that I had just had a C-section, that
I had no milk so it was physically impossible for me to breastfeed.

Unfortunately I cannot be rude when I reply to bel fidanzato's friends and family. It is only the old people that ask me, friends our age have not asked, but the old people....well there's no holding back with them. They don't listen either. When I tell them that I have no milk, they still like to tell me that really though, breastfeeding is best. Are you deaf - I feel like yelling, but I don't. Why don't you mind your own business? Why are you bothering me? Why don't you go and harass some other tired, new mum with a 15 day old baby. Why don't you go and get a life? I don't yell these things at them, but maybe I should...it would make me feel a lot better!


Anonymous said...

Hun don't let anyone make you feel bad, you are doing the best you can for your baby and really they should mind their own business! Just enjoy your baby don't let them get to you.
You look wonderful and Anthony is beautiful and healthy- enjoy your family and life, just try and ignore them :)

I just booked my trip to Italy for July 30 - for a 9 day tour then we are staying for a week to visit family - can't wait to see you the baby and Giuseppe.

Lots of Love,
Laura Gallo

Carolina said...

Not that misery loves company, but...I'm feeling your pain, frustration, anger while loving your new bundle of joy and making changes in all your lives :)! Both my boys were Csections at the Madonnina right at the entrance to Cosenza but I gotta say your experience was a bit different than mine- had to have general anesthesia/no epidurals- felt like the middle ages when i asked for one! waking up in a room full of my husband's family was not the greatest way to welcome my first one! The same deal about breast feeding happened- are you? why not? oh poverina- povero figlio... !!! etc etc. Should I dare preview for you what may await you when you start weaning off milk and going to food?! And it's amazing how soon those fold will start asking you when you'll be having another one!
So, I DO understand what happens in that village we both love so dearly but gets under our skin at times. The best part of all is when you are in your home with your child creating your new lives as a family. That is where the magic occurs and your reality exsists!
Hang in there, breathe deeply and remind yourself of the BIG picture of your new family. Thinking of you and sending strength, love and hugs to you. (You may not even need the strength, but just in case!)

LaLa said...

Sometimes wish you could mute people like on that movie Click. :)This is an exciting and trying time all at once. I know your mum wanted to smack that pharmacist upside the head!!! You and bel fidanzato are doing the best thing possible for lil man...giving him love and affection. All the best, forget the rest (they're all nutters anyway)!!

Camomile said...

As the mother of 2, now grown daughters, my only advice to you is do what you have to do and what is right for your family. The child is your son, and even though you probably feel unsure of yourself (which is completely natural), you are doing the best you know.
People try to be helpful and don't realise they are being rude or obnoxious...trust me, they are just as bad here!!
Good luck...Remember, you are doing the RIGHT thing!

Saretta said...

Welcome to life in Italy with a baby. Everyone will forever be telling you what to do and when and how to do it. Smile politely and ignore them!
And congratulations!

Susan said...

That's the way it is in a big family or a little village. Enjoying you always and congrats, a little late on the lovely baby. I suggest you use an app to shae on Facebook. Consider it?

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Laura,
Can't wait to meet you in July/August! See you then.

Hi Carolina,
I cannot believe you woke up in a room full of people!!! How horrible and awkward would that be. God, I am happy that things have changed since then. Who knows...maybe one day in Italy they will let partners enter the operating rooms whilst a C-section is being performed.

Hi Lala,
I have not returned to that chemist and will not go back there!

Hi Camomile,

You are right, people are trying to be helpful but they really are not helpful at all but annoying!!!

Hi Saretta,
Love the advice!!!

Hi Susan,
This is how it is in a small village You're right.

Lisa Chiodo said...

Wow Leanne how wonderful, congratulations to you both on your gorgeous little boy!

I had all three of our children in Australia, we lost our first little boy Aaron at one day old. If you think people say stupid insensitive things about breastfeeding they don't get any better when your child dies.

With the birth of our daughter Carina, I chose to have a C- Section. I was terrified of loosing her. Sam was able to come in and do all those things you mentioned. He even took photos. I can't imagine how frightening it must have been, yet you got through it and now you have a family of 3!

I couldn't breastfeed her, everytime I put her to the breast I would be distraught with grief for Aaron. It was super painful and yes I got lots of comments when we switched to formula. She is now 8 and there is no sign on her forehead saying "bottle fed" It really doesn't matter in the long run, what matters is you have a gorgeous son. Bottle or Boob, could you really look at anyone and be able to tell?? REALLY!

I got the best advice from a wise friend and mother who said "listen to what they say, then say "thanks for sharing" and then do exactly as you like"

with lots of love and NO OPINION on your use of bottle of boob!!!

ciao Lisa