So recently I was working at an event and since I breastfeed I told the other women working with me ahead of time that about every 4 hours I need to go pump. This of course sparked discussion about their own children and their choice to breastfeed, how they felt about it, how much work it is, etc. The discussion ends and we start to go about the rest of the day and I casually sip my Mountain Dew. All of a sudden one of the women looks at me and goes, “And you’re pumping?! Shame on you! You shouldn’t be drinking that!” And proceeded to tell me all about how it made me a horrible mother.
Alright firstly, I gave up a ton of things I enjoy during my pregnancy including but not limited to; deli meats, unprocessed cheeses, rare meat, shellfish, alcohol, coffee, sprouted grains… you get the picture. Most of those things I primarily lived off of up until that point (the shellfish and the cheese, mostly) so I literally changed my whole diet for 9 months. And you think it’s appropriate to continue to tell a mother what she should and should not do with her body and that going against whatever your personal opinion is makes me a bad mother?
Sweetheart, that’s just not how it works. I’m not saying that I’m right or wrong for drinking caffeine in the fourth trimester. To be honest there is a lot of conflicting research out there, so moms are split pretty 50/50 on the issue.
I’m going to venture out and say that there is not a single person you will agree with on every issue, 100%. That’s just how it is. We all are different; we’re raised differently, come from different cultures and backgrounds, have different beliefs. Just because you don’t necessarily agree with someone doesn’t make them a bad mom. We’re all out here doing the best we can to make the best decisions for ourselves and our babies and while some moms choose to completely give up caffeine while breastfeeding (some infants are intolerant of it, thankfully not mine) I only choose to limit it.
I’m not here to complain about my experience, I’m just here to say, stop freaking mom-shaming each other for being different. What works for my child may not work for yours, and vis versa. We’re all out here trying to do what’s best for our children. I respect your right to make your decisions on what’s best for yours. But can we please build each other up instead of breaking each other down and making each other feel worse? Moms are extremely hard on themselves, that’s no secret. I’m constantly second guessing myself with every decision I make. I don’t need someone else in my ear, thank you. Chances are if you’re bringing up your concern, I too have questioned it several times, done my research, talked to my doctor as well as my lactation consultant, and then come to a decision. I know I’m not alone on that.
I recently read a comment thread on Facebook where it was basically a Formula feeders vs. breastfeeders debate and it truly saddened me. The malicious comments made by both sides were hurtful, and I really had a hard time believing that these were full grown adults that are going through the same thing (parenthood), yet choosing to attack each other.
What’s good for you may not be good for your neighbor. There is no right answer in parenting.
What if instead of arguing we just supported each other? How amazing would that be? What if we respected the decisions other moms made for their kids instead of lecturing them?
This whole parenting thing is hard work and we’re all in it together. Be kind, build each other up, and work together. We can do this!