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.