Let me start this off with my history of breastfeeding, as brief as it has been. In the three months time since I have had my son, never once did I question why it was women switch to bottle feeding. I didn’t have some miraculous story of him latching on after birth and us never looking back. I’ve dealt with having too much milk and not having enough, I’ve dealt with my let down being too strong and not strong enough, I’ve had thrush and mastitis twice. I’ve changed my whole diet to accommodate for my sons needs, even when his lip and tongue tie made my nipples crack and bleed. I have forced myself to hold him to my chest through the pain just so he could comfort nurse and spit out all the milk my body was working so hard to produce. I have had many nights where I woke up every 45 minutes to feed him. Through literal blood, sweat and tears I have thrown my hands up in the air and given him a bottle of the only 2 oz of breast milk I had that took weeks to pump.
Was it all worth it? Absolutely. The cuddles we get to share, knowing that I know exactly what I am putting in his body. Knowing that I myself can provide all the food that his body needs. Seeing him top the scales and having people tell me “look at that big healthy boy” and knowing I did that! That is all me! And I know none of it would not have been possible without the overwhelming support of family, friends and even strangers on the internet who share the same passion as me. The passion to help women achieve their goals in breastfeeding, to strive for healthier babies and mothers, to encourage bonding and most of all to allow women to feel this empowerment that I have been so lucky to feel.
So now I come to the reason I am writing this. I recently came across this. And while I can agree with some of the messages given in this article I couldn’t help but feel so… angry. I felt right pissed off as I read these words. I almost couldn’t even finish the whole article. I felt attacked, I felt judged and ridiculed so I asked myself why that was.
I can imagine that people see me, posting pictures of me breastfeeding, cheering mothers on, sharing facts abut breastfeeding and breast milk as bragging, maybe. Don’t mistake by sharing of these things as bragging, I am not. I am proud. I am proud of the struggle I’ve been through and I am proud of what I am able to do. I am proud, as anyone who has accomplished a goal of theirs would be. You would not ridicule a runner for being proud of running a marathon just because you may not be able to, would you?
Me asking fellow moms how breastfeeding is going for them, what challenges they are facing, or if they are supplementing is not my way of comparing my dick size to theirs. Believe it or not, it is my way of offering support and help if it is needed – god forbid. If I didn’t have people encouraging me to keep going, chances are, I will wouldn’t have. I don’t want someone, who is truly set on doing all they can to breastfeed to be discouraged by this bullshit expectation society has put on us women about out breasts being secretive. Don’t mistake my encouragement as demanding. I do not force anyone to breastfeed, I have offered as much support to a mother who found herself needing to start supplementation as I have to mothers who where exclusively breastfeeding. I don’t exclude anyone from my idea of a “good parent” because of the way they choose to feed their child, I would not stop offering my help and support to a other just because she realized that breastfeeding was not for her.
Let me give you some insight, something alot of people are unable to grasp. When us “dick measuring” mothers talk about the dangers of formula, it isn’t us insulting formula feeding moms. I don’t not think you are lazy, I do not think you are stupid, I do not think you are selfish. When we speak about the dangers of formula, we are doing so to raise awareness so we all can hold formula companies accountable. Hold them accountable for giving hospitals and doctors money to push formula on to breastfeeding mother. Hold them accountable for glass and metal shards in their formula. Hold them accountable for knowingly putting unsafe ingredients in their products. Hold them accountable for not doing the best they can because babies deserve better.
Breastfeeding IS a source of deep female compassion, feeding your child at all is a source of deep female compassion, being a mother is a source of deep female compassion. We all have a common goal, to raise happy, healthy, smart babies. Let’s move on with this common goal and put being offended by menial comments behind us. (And yes, that includes me feeling attacked by this article originally) Offense can never be given, only taken.