Oh breastfeeding…what a crazy thing. I knew, from the jump, I wanted to nurse when I had my baby. What I didn’t know was how hard this would be! I assumed you plop the baby on your boob and that’s it. (literally laughing as I type that) Luckily, in the hospital, he latched very well. When I got home though…oh my Lord. I didn’t know nipples could bleed like that. Yes, this is going to get TMI but I feel I need to speak out on this. Breastfeeding is an incredible thing that brings so many emotions. It’s beautiful to be able to continue giving your baby life after they’ve exited the womb. When they lock eyes with you while you’re nursing…oh take my breath away. That bond is incredible.
Breastfeeding can also be mental warfare when it doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. I cried every single day for a month because I had so many problems trying to breastfeed. But I didn’t want to give up. I tried the nipple shield, I had mastitis, and then thrush TWICE. I saw a lactation consultant and spoke to her MANY times (thank you Ashley.) It was EXTREMELY painful for me and difficult for Mico. I felt like I spent most of my day trying to master something that seemed to be impossible.
And here’s where it got even more difficult…there are lots of groups on Facebook, and in the area, you can join. These groups are supposed to be uplifting and give you support, however, that’s not always the case. I’ve never seen such judgement coming from a community that’s supposed to help you through, seriously, the hardest thing you may ever do. I have seen women coming down on other women who decide against breastfeeding. I have seen women coming down on other women for supplementing and not sticking to strictly breastfeeding. I have seen women come down on other women for “not trying hard enough.” This is a CRUCIAL moment in a new mom’s life where emotions are running high, exhaustion is taking over, and the need to care for your baby is the top priority. The last thing this woman needs is the bashing from another mom on how to feed their baby. FED IS BEST!!!! Whether it’s breast or formula. In the early days, babies DIED if a woman wasn’t able to produce enough milk, until formula was invented. So why wouldn’t a woman use formula?? Here’s the thing…to those of you who throw that side eye at a mom feeding their baby with a bottle, You have no idea what the situation is. Maybe that mom can’t produce enough and is already beating herself up for it. Maybe that mom doesn’t have the support you have and has to go back to work right away so she HAS to formula feed. Maybe that mom couldn’t get the baby to latch so she has to formula feed. Maybe that baby was adopted so she has to formula feed. Whatever the reason, it’s NOT YOUR BUSINESS. Why can’t we just support each other? I never expected the cliqueiness of breastfeeding women. I just thought we’d all be able to talk to each other and help each other out.
So please, in the future, when you see a woman struggling to nurse in public or bottle feeding their baby…don’t throw shade. Don’t immediately go “ewe I can’t believe she’s doing that here.” Don’t judge! That baby is being fed and it’s the most beautiful thing…breast or bottle.
Now, excuse me while I go pump at work