Dear women I know who have or may in the future have children

After some ridiculous BS, I posted this on my personal Facebook page this morning:

If you think for one minute that our breastfeeding journey has been all bubblegum and rainbows then please allow me to clear up the confusion. Our journey has been a struggle at times, a battle even.

  • Babe had pretty bad jaundice at 2 days and did not want to do anything other than sleep.
  • Babe was a tiny baby and my breasts were literally too big for her to easily nurse from.
  • We did not have a good latch so I had some damage and was crying out in pain every time she nursed before we finally figured out what we were doing.
  • I had emergency surgery when she was two weeks old and she had to be bottle-fed (donor milk) and then coaxed back onto the breast after four days of easy bottle-feeding.
  • Babe had trouble gaining weight and I was instructed to pump after every single feeding to help increase my supply. Instead, I focused on getting every ounce of milk directly into her. I sat at home with her latched on nearly nonstop for weeks. She ate, slept, ate while sleeping, and never left my lap. While Michael was at work I only got up to use the bathroom or grab food and occasionally meet with my Mommy groups for support.
  • My breasts are still inconveniently large so feeding my daughter in public and around people that complain about me nursing uncovered is particularly stressful as it is very difficult to be discreet while I am trying to latch her on.
  • Oh and, of course, we’ve had to deal with the stress of mine and Husbands so-called friends complaining about how we choose to feed our daughter.

Breastfeeding is hard work and I do not mean to imply otherwise. Nor do I mean to imply that I am some superhero saint Mom because I soldiered on through all of the above. Before Babe was born my goal was to nurse her until she decided to stop – no matter how long that was. When she was a week old my goal each day was to just get through one more day and not worry about anything else. When she was two months old and not gaining fast enough I begged myself not to give up before she hit six months. Now we’ve finally hit our stride and our only obstacles are my cumbersome breasts and our so-called friends so I am hopeful that I’ll be able to meet my original goal.

I have gotten the impression that some of you were unable to nurse your child(ren) as long as you had hoped and for this I am truly sorry. Not that it’s any of my business but I do not judge you for choosing to use formula at any point in time. Every parent has a responsibility to do what they feels is best for their child. Why some of you seem to resent me for doing what I think is best for my child, I do not understand. Maybe if the medical industry hadn’t lied to you or if your doctor and community had offered the appropriate support, you would have met your goals. Maybe you should be upset with them instead of me.

When I nurse in public, check-in to Facebook with the status “Nursing,” and post pictures of me nursing in public, I am not doing it to shame or guilt you. I am doing it to help re-normalize breastfeeding. People don’t get glares when they whip out a bottle at a restaurant and the same should be true for breastfeeding. If Babe becomes a Mother one day, I hope she will be free to make her parenting decisions without her so-called friends or strangers giving her crap about her parenting decisions. The more we Mothers work to re-normalize breastfeeding, the sooner change will come.

When I post about the risks of formula and the reasons that people usually shouldn’t supplement, it is not to shame or guilt you. I post because there is an unfortunate lack of awareness about the risks. The formula industry works hard to promote the lie that formula is “as good as” breast milk. It is not. There are risks. I believe it is shameful that the formula industry distributes this misinformation and the medical community enables them. I do my part to increase awareness so the women I know that are yet to make that decision will have all the information. If a parent makes an educated decision to use formula knowing those risks then that is 100% none of my business. I just want to help ensure that people are able to make that decision with all the available information.

Here’s what it boils down to: I have had Mothers tell me they decided to try to make it to six months because I shared that a Mother is less likely to develop breast cancer if she’s nurses for six months. I have had Mothers tell me that they started nursing in public because they saw me do it and it helped them feel more confident about their decision. I have had Mothers say they wished they had known me before they stopped nursing their child and they’re hopeful that next will be different now that they have support. People keep clicking “Like” on my posts and I’m certainly not holding anyone at gunpoint when they do it.

If you’re offended by something someone posts on Facebook, it’s your responsibility to hide the post, block, or de-friend that person. It’s not their responsibility to anticipate who’s going to get upset by what. So please, by all means, hide, block, or de-friend me. But let me make one thing clear to all of my Facebook “friends,” coming to my page to make vulgar, rude, and disrespectful comments will not be tolerated.

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15 comments on “Dear women I know who have or may in the future have children

  1. I understand your frustrations with other people venting their opinions, and I think it’s great that you want more people to understand the benefits of breastfeeding.

    With my first baby, I was only able to breastfeed for three months before my supply dried up, despite all efforts to continue. With my second baby, I was unable to breastfeed due to complications, but I did pump for six solid weeks. Both were fed formula then, and turned out to be such healthy babies. With my third baby I have been able to breastfeed for 8 months now, and will continue to do so until he no longer wants to.

    While it’s none of our business how other moms choose to feed their babies, you’re right in saying that as long as they make an educated decision not to breastfeed, all will be well for them. Of course there may be some risks, but I never encountered any risks with the formula I used and my babies were healthy. To each their own, but let’s all be nice to each other when expressing how we feel about feeding our babies!
    Marissa recently posted…Enter to Win $5,000 Every Week for Life!My Profile

    • Marissa, I’m sorry to hear about those complications but I’m so very glad that your formula fed babies, like most formula fed babies I’ve met, had no adverse reactions to formula. Thanks for sharing! Now that you have 8 months under your belt with baby #3, how do the experiences compare? Have your friends and family been supportive of all your choices?

      • Oh, it’s definitely a different experience! It does take up so much more time to feed the baby and now that he has teeth it’s not fun, but it’s very rewarding to know that for at least one of my babies I was able to breastfeed. My friends and family have always been very supportive of my feeding choices, thank goodness!
        Marissa recently posted…Enter to Win $5,000 Every Week for Life!My Profile

        • A supportive group of friends and family makes such a big difference doesn’t it!

          Does it take more time to feed him? I always thought it would take longer to measure out the formula – not to mention washing all those bottles! Babe will be 7 months in a few days so we’re pretty close to your 8 months but she’s a snacker so maybe she eats differently than your baby. (No two are exactly the same, are they?) 🙂 She pops on for five minutes or so, then wants to play, and then she’ll pop back on an hour later. Lol! She only has big “meals” a few times a day.

          • For me, it does take longer. When I was making formula, I would make a big batch of it (enough to last for a full day) and just fill bottles as needed, which took 5 minutes. Since it was easier for the babies to eat, it only took at max 10 minutes. Washing the bottles didn’t take too much time since I rinsed them then put them in the dishwasher. With my baby now, it takes upwards of 30 minutes for him to breastfeed, especially since he’s so nosy and wants to see what his older sibs are doing. He has about 5 of these ‘meals’ a day, and on top of that gets his solid foods as well! 🙂
            Marissa recently posted…How to Help Kids Focus On School {Guest Post}My Profile

  2. Wow! Sounds like ridiculous drama! You’re right; if they have a problem with it, they can hid it/delete you/etc.

    I sympathize with the nursing struggles. Sure, for some women nursing comes easily (for maybe 2 women I know), but for most of us it’s a struggle. My supply was fine, but my son used me as a pacifier in addition to nursing every 2 hours for the first 6 months. In the beginning, I would muffle my scream of complete agony when my son would latch. Half my nipple on one side fell off. It sucked. Sometimes I did feel like a supermom, because I did continue in spite of the pain/exhaustion/etc. But I knew the facts about bfding, and I knew that the best thing for both my health and my son’s was to continue until at least a year. So I did.

    That knowledge helped me to keep going. So I applaud you for continuing to share it!
    Elisebet F recently posted…Review: PURE glass bottleMy Profile

  3. I know all about the struggles of breastfeeding. My first born I only nursed for 3 months. She had jaundice and the doctors pushed formula and pumping on me to help clear up her jaundice. Not to mention I was the first of my friends to have a baby and breastfeeding was just weird to them. I had no support except for my husband. Now with my son on the other hand, I nursed him until he was almost 3 year old. The biggest challenges I faced with him was him wanting to nurse all the time and not being shy about asking for it. I was a much more confident mom nursing the second time around and if anyone had problems with me I either didn’t notice or didn’t care. Thank you for sharing your story to help normalize breastfeeding!
    Cyndi recently posted… Thanksgiving SaleMy Profile

    • Good for you for nursing your daughter for three months with all that going on! And kudos for giving it another try with your son – I’m glad that worked out so much better.

      It sounds like a lot of people had this issue, the baby wanting to suck all the time. I think I feel another post coming on… 😀

    • Stressful is an excellent way to describe the situation when people are being negative while a new Mom is, basically, learning to be a Mom! I’m glad you didn’t give up! Hopefully you’ll be a positive influence in a new Moms life one day.

  4. I nursed three kids for a total of 5 years. The first two weeks with each was torture between their need for sleep and tiny mouths, but after that, it was pretty smooth sailing. The only person I ever had comment about me nursing was my favorite aunt. Yup, it definitely changed our relationship. She chose to e-mail me a diatribe and to make up lies to support her claims…and she was the only woman in my family before me to nurse. Go figure. Keep up the good fight. It is worth it. You will never regret it.
    Charity recently posted…Exhaustion: the Perpetual State of ParenthoodMy Profile

  5. Great post! As an admin of a breastfeeding group, we constantly have to encourage and build-up women that are hearing mixed messages, being frowned upon by family and friends, or simply need a pat on the back and confirmation that what they’re experiencing is normal or not.

    In my mind, breastmilk is “normal,” not the best. 😉 Kudos to you – great work.
    Liza | @aMusingFoodie recently posted…Remove Self-Doubt as a New Blogger #SpillYourGutsyMy Profile

  6. I just wanted to comment to support you on your nursing journey. I was lucky, I had a lot of support. My MIL had nursed all three of her kids and was more loving about my struggles than my own family. (Example, my dad asked me if I had to nurse my daughter “right there” in my own living room.

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