Sunday, November 21, 2010

Judgement and the Nursing Mom

As a nursing mom, or especially a NON nursing mom, you may have noticed that sometimes...occasionally...every once in a while...some of those in the breastfeeding community can be a tad...ahem... judgmental. What? you say. No! Never! <<sarcasm>> You were unable to breastfeed and gave formula? You gave up on breastfeeding and gave formula? You CHOSE (gasp, sputter, choke) not to breastfeed and gave formula??? I'm not going to lie. I've judged people for using formula. Even though I had to use it with my first. Oh yes. If I see someone with a bottle you better believe I think, "Why isn't she breastfeeding?" I'll come right out and say it. I kick myself each time for saying it though because I had to exclusively bottle Olivia until she was 6 months old and even once she started breastfeeding, I worked full time and was a part time student.

Believe it or not, this post is not just about judging based on formula or breast milk. It's just judgement in general among moms for our decisions. Recently, I was judged harshly by some people I knew. I was told I was "unclassy" for posting up my breastfeeding pictures, I was told I wasn't protecting my children and that my pictures were a "pedophiles dream". I was angry. Very angry about the "not protecting my children" comment. But most of all, I was deeply hurt. I didn't want to admit that, but here I am, on our blog that we share with everyone admitting that when I was judged like that, I was deeply hurt. I'm not writing this blog post to lash out at those people, or to even talk in great lengths about that particular discussion on my facebook wall but to just talk about judgement and moms. We see it SO often, especially with breastfeeding and formula. Our choices on how we feed our children, when we feed them, if we choose to cover or not, what type of bottles we use..the formula we use...the  way in which we.....................

The list could go on and on. I judge. And I'm not saying I won't continue to do so because I'm human. But you know what? It effing HURTS and quite frankly, people need to GET OVER IT. If another mom chooses to do something you don't agree with, who cares? How is it your business to judge her? Now, I just want to clarify that I'm not talking about sharing information in a caring way. After all, that's what this blog is all about. This blog is about sharing our experiences, our feelings etc and trying to normalize and educate about breastfeeding in a positive, caring way. Absolutely, people should share their convictions with parenting (and whatever else). But to me, that's totally different then throwing stones and being cruel to people, calling them names, however it's gone's just unnecessary.

Like I said, I see people and I judge them. I wish I didn't but there it is. And I'm not going to say that I'll never think to myself "what the crap?!!?" when I see a mother bottle feeding (or whatever else I judge on) but I'm making an effort to try and not be such a @#%$&. The way moms act towards each other these days is horrendous. We are regressing into middle school girls and what we need to be doing is support one another. So next time you feel word vomit bubbling in your throat and you want to puke your judgments all over another mama, why don't you sit there and think about how you'd feel if/when someone did that to you? I know I will!

Talk to me about judgments you've faced? Or how you've judged others in their parenting decisions?


  1. I don't think your first question, "Why isn't she breast feeding?" is a judgement. I think we start judging when we find out she chose to formula feed for stupid reasons, like saggy-boob-phobia. I know for sure I judge (even though I'd like not to) when I see a woman smoking while pushing a stroller with baby and a propped up bottle. Then I remind myself that some people don't know how to access information... bad excuse but it is valid. Maybe she just doesn't know any better.
    Then there is the woman who walked up to my midwife and I (I was very obviously pregnant) and said to my MW that she had been meaning to call her about BF, her baby was over a week old and her milk hadn't come in. She was smoking. Around a MW, a pregnant woman and a very little brand new baby.
    Then there is one of my dear friends who couldn't breast feed for 6 weeks because during her 4 month old DDs heart surgery the doctor nicked a lymph node and the poor bub couldn't process fat. But her Momma pumped religiously the whole time and now they are back.
    So my point is, I don't think the judgment starts until after we find out the answer to the question. Drunk driving is a stupid decision, so is not BF because of vanity or because you don't want to quit smoking...
    sorry about the length!

  2. To Ballerina Baller, regarding you're "maybe she just doesn't know any better," remark. The best thing I ever heard, and it was from my therapist, was "just because we know better, doesn't mean we do better." I'm very guilty of judging when I see bottle feeding, because 9 times out of 10...the reason is "stupid." Bad support is a stupid reason to stop breastfeeding, or rather, it's a sad one. I don't judge the bottles, I judge the reasons, like you said. Smoking mothers DO know better, they all know better. We all know breast is best, and it's NORMAL. We all know that eating a giant slice of cake isn't good for us, we do it anyway. We all know that smoking is bad, but millions of mothers smoke. I did, and I DEFINITELY knew better!

  3. I have worked hard to become more open to many choices. I am curious why or how women choose certain ways of birthing and feeding infants. I want to know how they have ended up on a certain path and I like to make sure it was not becasue of lies told or other 'booby traps'. In the present the mother (and father!) deserve love and acceptance and assistance if that what they need. Judgement may make 'YOU' feel better at the time but it does not help the child or the mother...or society as a whole.

  4. Before having my son I was very Pro breast feeding, gathering all the information I could, going to all the classes ect. But after giving birth I found the support promised at the hospital was not there, and my son was given formula, becuase he was "obviously hungry" when my milk still had not come in at 3 days.
    At 3 weeks my son started to refuse the breast. I was told that it was not possible by non experts. Than I met some lovely lactation consultants who worked with me. Who encouraged me not to give up, but to get myself a hospital grade pump and express. It turned out I had a majour supply issue and a baby with server reflux who associated feeding with pain.
    I think I was more judged for expressing around the clock than topping up with formula. Becuase to others it just seemed like too much hard work. To me it was about giving the best I could to my son.

  5. I am so blow away by the self assessment and wisdom that has been shared here today! It is so much easier to judge and go on about your business, but to stop and realize what we are actually doing when we make snap judgements is mature and in my experience very humbling! What a delightful breath of fresh air this morning! :>)