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Mothering and Life in General

If I Can’t Say…

If I can’t say – “When are you going to stop giving that child formula and start re-lactating?”, “You are just lazy, you could have made it work.”,”What do you mean you did not make enough?”. Then why is it ok for things people say about me breastfeeding my child?*

I know some are mad now. They are getting ready to tweet how much of a disgusting person I am. Others are thinking “Oh, no she didn’t”. Others have closed this fuming and continued on with their blog reading. If you are still here, thank you for keeping an open mind and wondering where this is going.

I have over the years gotten edgier. I am known as “Breastfeeding Nazi“, “Extremist“, and “Breastfeeding Know-it-all” just for starters. I often wonder where it all started?

I used to be a to-each-their-own type of girl. I always tried to listen and learn about another views and feelings. I might not have done what they did, but I can always try to understand. I was open-minded, and as long as I felt like I was doing great justice to my family, then why should I care about others. I was blind and naïve. I did not live in the ‘real’ world and was soon going to experience it!

I give credit to my in-laws (along with the NICU), that I started getting a tougher skin. Although to this day we tolerate each other (for the most part). We have and will never see eye to eye. It was the myths of breastfeeding  and parenting that they believed, and would not hear about anything from a ‘first time mom’. I was less of a mother for having one child oppose to having more.

Of course their beliefs and misconceptions started while I was pregnant, but it really got worse after K2 was born and I chose and was adamant to breastfeed and to parent the way I do. To me there was no other option. So here is when the in-laws decided to start talking to DH (or at least that is what he said). Saying that all of K2’s illnesses was because I breastfeed her, and that she was not getting enough because she is always nursing, that I was starving her. The most baffling was the ‘fact’ that breast milk turns to water after 6 months. I can’t forget the-whole-you-smoke thing too! Ugg!

I went through hell and back, I still do, just to give K2 her born right to breastfeed if she chooses. It was hard, it still is. All in all I am the person I am today because of it. It would have been nice to have had the natural option and support to breastfeed. Or even have the choice of a mother to choose what is right for their child and their lives.

Never had I felt so maimed as much as I felt from friends, family and people just because I did not feed my child the way they did. I remember crying sometimes, I felt disconnected from the people I truly cared about and that I needed at that time. Most of all I felt betrayed. I was fine enough to carry the child, but when it comes to raising, I have no clue! I was now ‘out of the group’.

The worst was that everyone was so fake and nice to my face, but they could not wait until I turned around to stab me in the back. Yet, they all where ready and willing to talk to DH and discuss why my beliefs and opinions for K2 was wrong. They pretty much played us against each other. Never mind the fact they never asked me questions or even walked into our home.

Still to this day we don’t talk about nursing. It’s done freely and openly in the house, but we both know that it’s not going to end just because others have issues with it and that includes DH. DH will make comments about K2 not ‘needing’ the Boobea (boob-e-ah) and I will freak on him. It’s important that she wean on her own. She never had the chance to wean from the womb. She’s a smart girl, she knows when it’s time, just like the pacifier, crib, crawling, sleep and diapers.

Some may ask well since K2 is his child as well, does he not get the choice? Well I agree he should, again there are other factors that come to play. One main one is the fact that I was the primary caregiver from birth. I had to make choices on the spot without him being around. Of course he was working, but when things got hard with GERD, DH was not exactly home much. That was his choice.

In all this and more, are the reasons I am the way I am today. I have low tolerance for people who walks on and bullies a mother who chooses to breastfeed. My blood boils when I am given dirty looks because I ‘expose’ myself to nurse my child. I get annoyed that us breastfeeding mothers have to ‘pass the bean dip’ or play it nice. So our focus does not get lost, and if I hear one more breastfeeding myth I think my head is going to explode!

Yes you catch more flies with hunny, but how much honey can one person serve up before they blow? I am so tired of the double standard. I am told that breastfeeding is the norm, and good for a human up to and beyond the age of 2. To do it is another thing.

I feel like we live in a world of words that have no meaning. I am angry at the feeling of defense I have for something so natural as breastfeeding. Does a mother who bottle feeds gets sent away into another room or a bathroom to feed their child? Does the man in the table beside us have to cover his head, because I find it offensive that he chews with his mouth open like a cow? Don’t get me started with this guy who blames marital issues and other things on breastfeeding!

So in my thinking I remember a quote “Life is what you make it” and here is where the names people call me come from. I want a future where a mother can decide how to feed a child and the administrate it without guilt. I want to have our daughter be able to hold their heads high while nursing their children in public. I want a world of acceptance for both bottle AND breast.

In order to live in that world I have to make it. So for starters, since bottle is normal to see, I think breastfeeding should be norm too. To accept is to see, to see is to be norm. So in my quest to make my face to be linked to the mother who breastfeeds proudly. People have tried to defeat me by calling me some hurtful things.

So on my way to making the life I want I will correct someone when they provide incorrect information about both formula and breast milk. I will prove endless resources that has helped me through my journey. I have lots of it, I love reading about biology and about matters of the mind.

I would like people to remember:

If I can’t say – “When are you going to stop giving that child formula and start re-lactating?”, “You are just lazy, you could have made it work.”,”What do you mean you did not make enough?”.*

Then why is it ok for you to say – “She is old enough for real milk”, “If she is old enough to ask, she’s old enough not to nurse”, “Maybe you are not making enough”, “Are you sure you should be taking that?”, “Why are you feeding the baby again?”, “You have not weaned yet?”, “Are you really still breastfeeding?”, “When are you going to let the child just grow up?”, “There is no nutritional value to Breast milk after (insert age)”, “I was formula feed and I am alright!”

* These are examples only and not the actual thought of the author. These are provided for the reader to understand and be sympathetic about the myths and common comments that are made to a breastfeeding mother.


2 responses to “If I Can’t Say…

  1. DrD January 25, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Great post. I am not sure what country you are in, but here in Australia, public breastfeeding is quite well accepted. I still remember when I started breastfeeding feeling so self conscious about it, but that wore off after a few weeks and now I breastfeed anywhere I please! Parks, benches, posh restaurants, pubs, the beach… If anyone dared to say anything to me, I’d have something to say!

    But when I went to the UK recently, I didn’t see anyone breastfeeding, and my mum told me that breastfeeding in the UK is not generally done in public (not that she minded). Pretty shocking attitude really, especially when we are all encouraged by the hospitals/WHO to exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months.

    I will personally wean my daughter when she is about 12 months, but I completely respect your choice and right to breastfeed for as long as you and your child are happy with it. Good for you 🙂

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