Moms beat themselves up and then take it out on each other for choices that should be made by each individual personally. Do I know that the American Academy of Pediatrics says breast is best? Yes, I may have read that a million times or so but you know what? It doesn’t always go that way. There are moms who can’t, moms who adopt, and fathers who are the primary parents.
There are breastfeeding mamas and then there are others that have to go with an alternative method.
Is there ever going to be a day when we just smile and cheer each other on no matter how we feed our babies?
Remembering back when I was pregnant with my first baby, I had decided I would not breast feed. I made the mistake of sharing this with quite a few people. You would have thought the world was ending according to some family members reactions. They were not the only ones who had an opinion. I learned that people right then and there decided what kind of mom I was going to be. I was doing a disservice to my baby by feeding him “rocket fuel”. It hurt. My mom didn’t breastfeed me or my brother. We turned out okay. It was my personal choice at the time.
When my son was born, I decided in the hospital that I would at least give it a try. I had been feeling guilty about not even considering it. My son must have sensed my anxiety because he was an angry baby when it came to this and would not latch. A lactation consultant came to see me and was awful. She couldn’t get him to latch either and hurried out a short time later. She was not encouraging at all and kept rushing and would get frustrated right there with me. Later, the nurse would squeeze and manipulate my boob until I felt like it was play doh in her hands to try and get him to take it. It still didn’t work. Thankfully, another consultant came to see me. Her advice was to try and if I didn’t feel like this was something for me, I had other options. The bottom line was I had to be happy. She helped me to pump my breast milk out. We decided to use formula and I could dump any milk I produced into the bottle. This way, my baby could get some of the nutrients.
We went home and I started to pump. I would sit for a very long time and barely produce anything. It made me frustrated and miserable. I tried the latching again. Four years later and I can still hear the sounds of me and my son crying together.
After that, we exclusively fed him formula. My husband helped with the bottle feedings. It was what was right for our family and we were happier for it.
I didn’t feel any guilt although I did have to explain quite a few times that no, I don’t breast feed and get the blank stares back.
I cheered on my friends who were breastfeeding their own infants. I could see how demanding it was and how breastfeeding was something that mattered to them. I thought these people were incredible moms. It still amazes me to this day because I know so many did not give up and found ways to do it.
Their experiences even encouraged me to try breastfeeding with my second child when she was born. Guess what? My daughter latched but I couldn’t produce milk. My husband told the nurse to get the formula. Later, we would find out that medically, I am not capable of producing any significant amount and sometimes none at all.
I don’t sit around and think about my choice except when I read articles or hear comments that some others do feel bad or guilty.
There are so many more important things that we as a community should be doing.
Support others as you grow as moms together.
Be a good listener when someone is frustrated about baby feeding or anything else.
Do not offer your opinion in a judgmental way. Better yet, do not offer it at all.
Tell someone that you are amazed by what they do as parents each day.
Be the person you wish you had around when someone was making you feel bad.
Celebrate your little one. Give thanks that you can feed your baby. Enjoy every moment .They go far too fast whether they are on the boob or the bottle.
If someone tells you otherwise, be strong. Tell them to mind their own business.
I wish I did.
Previously published at 40 Wishes and Counting.
Stacey Waltzer turned 40 last year and rather than join the over the hill club, she chose to start a blog about crazy adventures in parenting and life. Mom to kids ages 4 and 2 plus a traveling husband means there is always a secret stash of chocolate in the house to go with the mommy juice. Her work has appeared at some amazing sites including In the Power Room, BLUNTmoms, Sammiches & Psych Meds, Mom Babble, and The Good Mother Project. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog.