First I want to say outright that this is not meant to be a rant or bash on breast feeding. My friends and family will tell you I support mothers who want to breastfeed and I do think that almost all the time it is what is best for baby and mom.
But, isn’t there always a but, a mother on a board I visit often posted that her 4 month old was suddenly losing weight, was always hungry and crying for food and that she was only getting 2oz at a feeding. She’d tried just about every medical and housewife remedy for her low milk production. She was frustrated and sad but said “I feel that I’ll be a bad mother if I don’t breastfeed my daughter.”
At what point do we women stop judging other women and our mothering choices. Oh sure there are points where we need to draw the line. Not putting a baby in a car seat, smoking around small babies and children. Hell even stepping up to the plate and stating Pepsi in the bottle is probably not the best of ideas. There just seems to be this feeling that we must judge other mothers for our choices. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding, co sleeping vs. putting baby in the crib, attachment parenting vs letting grandma take the Peanut over night. These are choices. Doing one verses the other will not put the baby in danger.
Babies, as I’m fond of saying, are like people because they are people. Each has their own likes and dislikes as well as mom and dad. I’ve never been fond of locking myself into one position or another when it comes to parenting. Oh, I knew what I did or didn’t want to do but you have to adjust. I did not want Kyle to sleep in our room, but guess where his bassinet is? At the foot of the bed. He just flat out sleeps better if he can sense me around, why make us all miserable?
Believe it or not some baby’s hate being swaddled and cuddled. Even at the tender age of weeks they know they are independent and do not want to be bound up. Why fight that? Because a book told you it was ‘best’? Or because all the other mommies make you feel as if you have grown a second head and that head is smoking an unfiltered Marb while discussing the latest recipe for cat?
Guess what? Books don’t have all the answers. They have a lot of great ideas and advice but they aren’t some sort of bible that if we deviate from the prescribed path of baby salvation we’ll damn our offspring to hell. You can make choices.
And breastfeeding is just that, a choice. It’s a choice you should lean heavily to choosing of course but every mom must consider at some point it’s not the best one for everyone. And other mothers need to put their little ones paci’s in their mouths when the bubble up that urge to tisk and tell her what a bad choice she’s made.
And trust me, in this day and age not breastfeeding is quickly becoming the harder of the two choices. Between looks from strangers on the street to your doctor’s sigh when you announce your decision to bottle feed it’s a brave women who says “I’ve weighed the options and I know this won’t work for us.”
It’s also brave to say that you will commit to breast feeding your child knowing that there is a good deal of pain at the start, that daddy won’t be able to take on any of the night feeds when you feel like if you don’t sleep right that moment you’ll die. Actually that’s a braver choice than deciding on an un medicated birth.
And it’s a good mom who makes her choice and lives with it. It’s a great mom to bend to the needs of her small child to ensure that they thrive not that mom doesn’t have to deal with other mother’s who need to feel better about their own choices by demeaning hers.