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Not to offend but support

January 7, 2012

There has been a surge of breastfeeding in the news lately, most recently with the Target nurse-in, the new workplace guidelines, nursing flash mobs, even my own mayor has set up a Breastfeeding Commission to make breastfeeding more accessable to the women of our city. And yet, there is still a line of us and them. Nursers and formula feeders. Even between those that exclusively breastfeed – public and private nursers. and it’s not really helping anyone.

I feel like every time I write a post about what I did or what I believe, I have to put up a disclaimer:

“Breastfeeding is hard. There are many women who try to or want to and just cannot do it (for a variety of reasons). Those women should not be judged or shamed.”

I truly believe that statement. But I also have a lot of strong opinions, not just about breastfeeding but about birth in general. I try to keep those opinions to myself, because I know what it feels like to be scared to nurse in public, to be uncomfortable with it and feel ashamed when talking to those that do it so easily. I know it’s not easy. I know it’s not really fun. I also know it’s so convenient and actually not a big deal and now look at people with my,” What? I’m nursing. Suck it!” (no pun intended) look. I also know how much it hurts, how hard and stressful it is when you’re just starting and you can’t tell if she’s getting enough or any so you supplement with pedialyte to make sure she’s hydrated.

And because of all this, I also believe that a lot of women give up too easily. A lot of new moms don’t adjust to the lack of sleep (or honestly don’t want to). A lot of moms quit because it hurts. A lot of moms just find that mixing the formula is way easier than sitting for hours and pumping and freezing and storing breast milk. A lot of moms have been taught it’s no big deal, formula is fine. Heck, even hospitals send you home with free samples so it must be ok (thank goodness there are some getting away from that, let’s hope more follow). But I may be being judged myself, because although I exclusively breastfed, I went to work. So she got a bottle. She wasnt always at the breast. I think some may argue that’s not exclusively breastfeeding?

I think about the other moms who breastfeed and went through all of the hard stuff and kept on trucking. Those moms that got mastitis repeatedly, to the point of making themselves extremely ill, those moms who took fenugreek and mother’s milk teas daily to up their supply. Those moms who gritted their teeth and curled their toes as baby latched. Those moms who pumped and pumped to get their milk to their babies. Or those moms (and dads) who searched for donated milk so their baby could get breast milk, even if not her own.

In honesty, it’s the moms that don’t even try that make me want to scream. That didn’t educate themselves on the benefits (so many benefits!!). The benefits of breast milk have been and continue to be researched and promoted. Breast IS best for babies. Fact.  To me, it is selfish to formula feed if you have two perfectly good working breasts and don’t even attempt to use them.

Breastfeeding  is HARD. And not everyone is able to do it. Again, I’m not making judgements on moms who truly cannot do it. I don’t mean to offend anyone else. Your choice is your choice. And if you truly believe that, you shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks.

This pledge has a wonderful message. Sign it. Belive it.

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