*This post originally appeared on my personal blog and I have since decided it is better suited on this one*
Breast Feeding is not the ultimate sign of Motherhood. It does not make you a better mom and it won't hurt your child if you choose not too.
There I said it, the hardest part is done. For over three months I have wanted to say it, wanted to write this blog but I couldn't. There are too many wonderful moms, who love their babies dearly that are going to take offense to this. It is too hot of a topic for it not to be. As much as I love controversy and writing about those hot topics this one is different. It is sensitive and so many moms take this topic personally, like base their level of Super Mominess on this topic. Before you take offense, before you think I have no right on this topic due to my lack of children, see my heart. I love moms! So many of my closest friends are moms - moms that breast feed (hopefully they won't all unfriend me after reading this). Many of these breast feeding moms 1) feed in front of me 2) I look up to, want to emulate someday and 3) have given me a chance to hang out with their kids, their most precious possession - not something I take lightly.
For some reason this topic, this issue of Breast is Best (BIB) is something that I (a non-mother, nanny of 2, friends of dozens of BIB moms) can't take lightly either. So while my two beautiful nanny-boys are sleeping I have to write; there have already been too many nights that this blog and topic have kept me up into the wee morning hours. Why? Why do I care? I am not a mom, I don't have kids, so why should I care? The reason I care is this topic has caused a lot of emotional pain to many moms.
Sounds silly right, how can you telling another person that Breast Is Beast cause someone else pain? Since I am no psychologist the answer is simple - it just does. Women often find their value as a person by how successful their relationships are, not saying this is right but it is often true. One of the most precious and precarious relationships is that of Mother and Child. You get that, most of you still reading at this point are moms, so I don't have to explain how much you want to do right by your child. Moms want to protect, love, nourish, and raise their child to the best of their abilities. The whole idea of childbearing comes naturally to our bodies, the body has been made to be able care for a child all on it's own.
Pretty much every woman knows this, that their body can naturally feed their baby with the best ingredients possible. It is ingrained in moms nature to do the best thing for her child, she has a hard decision to make...breast-feed, formula feed, or both. Honestly the push of which to pick depends on where you live. When I was in NY more of my mommy friends bottle fed, out here in WA I see the dis-approving gazes when I pull out Bug's bottle (literally had a friendly happy lady frown at me when I pulled it out at the museum today). I am not his mom and still I sometimes feel guilty because of the looks I get. Often I have to restrain myself from not responding with a "What are you looking at?"
So here you are a new mom trying to do what is best for your child and as you know EVERYONE has an opinion. New mom's are already struggling with so many emotions, the last thing they need is guilt put on them by other women. Other moms who should know the struggle and pain they are going through, who should be encouraging and edifying to their fellow mommies to do what is best for their families.
New moms, here is the thing, others are not living your life. They don't know your work schedule, your finances, your desires. They don't know that you spent three weeks in agonizing physical and emotional pain to try and get your daughter to latch. People don't know about the 5 lactation specialist's you spent hundreds of dollars to see but still couldn't produce milk. Your families financial and life situation may depend on you the mommy working 80 hours a week, while your hubby stays home, and when you get home the last thing you have time for is pumping. You may have to decide between spending time pumping or spending time putting your other 2 children to bed. Here is the thing, moms have a lot of decisions in life to make! There is a lot of great Mommas who have the life situation to breast feed and there are many that don't.
The bottom line is all moms know Breast Is Best. They just do. So when a mom knows that and for what ever reason is not able to or chooses not to breastfeed she struggles with that decision. Trust me, there have been dozens of conversations with dozens of moms - they struggle and go back and forth if they are doing the best thing for their child. They are torn. The Breast Is Best parade that comes across their facebook newsfeed doesn't help. The LLLI representative asking the 100th question on why mom is not breastfeeding is hurtful. That is why I care. Too many moms have told me their story of feeling like a lesser mom, a bad mom for choosing to use formula. NOT because it doesn't have the nutrients, NOT because it caused extra gas or constipation, NOT because of anything to do with the contents of the formula, but because Breast Is Best. Because their friends, their support system wasn't supporting them. The support system around these hurting mommas just told stories of how to overcome, produce milk, or get a better latch. Not sure about you, but after just having pushed an 8lb out of me, not getting any sleep from a newborn crying all hours of the night, and now having to care for a new child who is 100% my responsibility the last I would want to be reminded of my "failure" of not being able to breastfeed. If this is you, hear this:
"It's okay to bottle feed, formula feed, or breastfeed. Whether you tried or not, it's okay. In the grand scheme of life your child needs your love, your support, and your strength more than they need your breasts. Your child will have no clue how you fed them as an infant. What they will remember is the time you spend with them, the words you feed into their life, and the love you give. Do what best fits your family's situation"
***Bloggers Note: I am totally for breastfeeding, one day I hope to be able to with my own children. This is just a topic that has been on my heart for so long it had to get shared. For the main purpose of seeing the other side, that maybe BIBers will see another point of view.***
CECONNER © 1.30.2014