Okay Mamas, I have a bone to pick.
And it's a breastfeeding bone, so I know that is already a touchy subject, but bear with me.
You see, I want to speak up for those that are hoping and praying to breastfeed soon. Those that were once like me and you; those who are currently expecting and who have their noses buried deep in every breastfeeding book they can find.
The bone I have to pick is definitely a touchy one, so again, bear with me.
Mamas, we have to stop creating a negative image about breastfeeding based on our problems. There, I said it.
We have to stop putting our breastfeeding struggles and negative feelings about our struggles so blatantly out there. For instance, I recently read a comment on a thread where the mother said
"I hated breastfeeding. It was torture..."
Those lines stung me. Seeing someone so boldly say that breastfeeding was torture for them was a little much for me. Granted, I know breastfeeding is hard and I have
idea the struggle they went through. I sympathize with every mother who struggles because I couldn't imagine the heartache if I were not able to breastfeed my babies. But don't get me wrong - I have struggled too. I have had all the clogged ducts, the oversupply issues that create many, many problems, the inverted nipple, the baby that can't handle dairy, the overactive letdown, the baby with silent reflux...I've experienced a lot. My journey, like many, has been rough in the beginning. It has and can be exhausting, painful and hard no doubt. But I have never, ever put it out there in a negative light.
So why is this such a bone to pick?
Because I was once that expecting mama who was buried in the breastfeeding books and who literally prayed each night to be able to breastfeed my baby. I was the mama who knew NO ONE (well except one person) that successfully breastfed for longer than six weeks. I heard the cries of the mothers who struggled and wished things were differently with their baby. I heard the comments from the mothers who themselves thought breastfeeding was pretty hopeless and I almost lost hope that I myself could ever breastfeed. I became lost in all of the comments that I read and heard that I began to think breastfeeding wasn't as natural as it seemed and that breastfeeding for a long duration was nearly impossible. I started to think that a goal of a year was crazy when everyone else I knew struggled so much.
Boy was I ever wrong.
What we have to remember is that our comments whether it is about breastfeeding, infant sleep, diapering, parenting methods and so on, can sometimes frighten a new mother. What if we speak so negative about something that the newly expecting mama decides not to do it? What if we scare a mother into thinking that she shouldn't even attempt breastfeeding because we thought
"it was such torture?"
It would be awful to think that our comments, while completely unintentional, could keep a new mother from trying the most natural way of feeding her baby. We should cheer a mother on, give them advice and wish them the best; not shoot their hopes down with our sorrows.
We all have our own story to tell. Whether it is about breastfeeding or motherhood in general, we all have our struggles. They are real and they should be respected and sympathized with. We just have to remember to think about what we say, because what we say can have a big impact.
So whether you breastfed for a year, six weeks or six days, be proud of what you did accomplish. Acknowledge that it isn't easy and just say that
"it wasn't for you"
"we ran into some problems and thought it was best to switch to formula,
" but please, let's not just put it out there that
"breastfeeding is torture"
or anything like that.
Because while it may have not have seemed like it at the moment, I can assure you that your baby thought it was anything but torture. You did what was best with what you had, and for that, your baby thanks you.