This morning blog rant is inspired by an article I saw posted on the Today Show’s Facebook page. It was a story about how hard breastfeeding is for a mother. It wasn’t really the story that inspired my thoughts but rather the comment section of the article. Sometimes I like to peruse the comment section to see other mother’s stories other times I like to read them to see how asinine people are, and there is always an asshole in the crowd if not a few. The amount of mom shaming that exists absolutely astounds me. It further astounds me that most of it comes from other mothers that think they are better than everyone else. I really wonder if people think they are better than someone or just like to think they are in order to make themselves feel better. Irregardless they still like to assert their opinions by making others feel better about themselves. My husband always says that someone can’t control your emotions and they can’t make you feel bad about yourself. But the truth is people’s words pang at your worst fears. Your worst fears of being a bad mother. Any how the article was about the toll of breastfeeding had a new mother. People in the comment sections offered support. They had tried breastfeeding and the baby wouldn’t latch or they were 24/7 clusterfeeding, etc. Then there were other women who said breastfeeding is worth it and that’s the only way your babies will be healthy.
I personally don’t like the old argument of it just being breastfeeding or formula feeding. People make it seem like it is either black or white without a gray area, as with most things in life. But the truth is, in most instances there is a gray area and there certainly is in this scenario. I am the gray area. I don’t prescribe to the norm with most things in life and I don’t with this situation either. I have twins. I had planned on returning back to work so I thought that breastfeeding just would not be feasible. And I’ve said it before in one of my blogs I never had the desire to have the babies latched on. It scared me and one of my babies was in the NICU for a few days in the beginning. I could come up with several different reasons why I chose to pump instead of actually breastfeed but the truth is it was my decision and that is all there is to it. I do not get why people think it is either one way or the other. It’s either the baby is latched to your breast or fed from a bottle. My babies get their milk from the bottle. In the article, the woman stressed about is the baby getting too much hindmilk or foremilk, plugged ducts, mastitis, etc. All legitimate concerns. I will say that one of the nice things about pumping is I pump until my breast is drained as much as possible, which should be getting the foremilk and hindmilk. It then goes into a storage container until it is swished around and a bottle is made. I should be getting the right consistency in theory. Also, because I am draining my breast I have only had a plugged duct a handful of times and it’s under my control not at the mercy of a temperamental baby. I can sit here and justify pumping for a really long time because I feel very proud at the fact that I have pumped for six straight months and been able to provide my babies with milk. But at the end of the day I’ve done this not only because I wanted to give my babies milk but it saves us a lot of money and affords us the chance for me to stay home and take care of them.
At the end of the day though, all it really matters is that the babies are fed. People and even mothers with multiple children still feel the need to shame others. It’s ridiculous. As women we should be supporting and lifting each other up. There is not a doubt in my mind that if I had formula fed Noah and Gabriel I would have been happier and less stressed throughout this whole process. It would be so much easier to just make a damn formula bottle and be done with it. On the other end, I have had people say (mostly people who are not mothers) wouldn’t it be easier to just plop a baby up and give them your breast? So, in other words people are always going to have their opinions.
Reading through the comments section of that article many mothers said that their babies just would not latch on or they did not produce milk and they felt so horribly guilty about not being able to breastfeed. Every mother wants that bond with their baby but in all honesty I think it’s sweet to be able to give my baby a bottle and every time they look me in the eyes and you can see how trusting these little creatures are. They don’t have to be latched to have that bond, but I understand what they are talking about. I think the only way people should feel guilty is if they are letting their babies starve, but these mothers care so much that they are struck by guilt because their babies didn’t latch on or their milk never came in. There were a few rude people who responded that these mothers didn’t try hard enough to have their baby nurse. That to me is just the most ignorant, uneducated and assumptive statement someone could make. I have read many posts or blogs about mothers that would cry and cry for weeks, frustrated because their babies wouldn’t latch on. Do you know what that would do to a new mother? That would have sent me right over the edge. Postpartum depression would have consumed my being if I had tried that. Many mothers in the comment section of that article this morning said that as soon as they let go and gave in to doing formula their postpartum depression ceased within a week. I wholeheartedly think that if the mother is happy the baby’s demeanor will follow.
There is nothing wrong with formula. In fact it has been around for so long and is made to fit all your babies needs that there are no worries if they are getting everything they need. Many main formula lines are also coming out with formulas that most mimic mother’s milk and I have read rave reviews about how much they have decreased babies spit-up and reflux. How wonderful is that? Nobody can argue the benefits of breastmilk. It’s been proven a thousand times over. My point is just that it doesn’t have to be one way or the other and it certainly does not have to be looked down upon on how you feed your baby as long as you are feeding your baby. My babies are six months old. Noah was born at 5 lbs 10 oz and Gabriel was born at 5 lbs 5 oz. By the time they left the hospital Gabriel was down to 5 lbs. At their six month check-up Noah weighted 17 lbs 10 oz and Gabe was 17 lbs 8 oz. They tripled their birth weight in six short months. Most babies only double their birth weight, granted they had some catching up to do. I attribute that to the fact that for six months I have fervoursly made sure that they have eaten every three hours up until a month ago and now they eat every four hours and to my breastmilk. Who cares in the matter in which they acquired that breastmilk.
This may have seemed like a blog to defend how I fed my babies but in reality I can only speak on how I did things. It’s my opinion. Women have so many other things in life to worry about than defending how they feed or raise their babies. Any mother that gets up everyday and takes care of their baby to the best of their abilities and loves their babies is doing a damn good job and shouldn’t be made to feel any other way. So, if you get a moment today tell another mother you know that you see what they are doing and they are doing a damn great job. Before you look down on someone think twice. And before you want to be a keyboard warrior and say something nasty to someone over the internet think about how you would feel if someone said that to you.