Monday, November 7, 2011

It's easy to judge


I know a mom who did everything she could within her limits to breastfeed. She was failed by everyone around her though. The doctors, nurses, peds, specialists, lactation consultants. She had a community of women who did everything to help her. She did everything she could to make it work...and yet, it didn't. Baby is on formula after months of trying. I personally watched her go through this struggle and I, with my knowledge and passion, can't think of ANYTHING this amazing mama could have done differently. She truly did it all.

Watching this all has made me take a really good look at myself. Externally, I always say I try not to judge but if I'm out in public, before I can catch myself, I judge. I see a bottle with what I know is formula and I think, UGH! Luckily, I KNOW that so many women are failed by the medical system and that's a large, overwhelming reason why they are not able to successfully breastfeed. I have been in that position...I know what it's like. But that doesn't mean that my first reaction is sadness and irritation at all the bottles I see propped in babies mouths.

It's easy to judge. It's easy to sit there, with my beautiful baby at my breast who went through so much to live and breastfeed and make a quick judgement. With Ella, it was TOUGH. I went through A LOT to get her to breastfeed. I'm not looking for a pat on the back, it was really, really hard and if I hadn't had the support I did, I don't know if I would have made it through it. Maybe I would have, I don't know. But I *did* make it. I did, and here I am, breastfeeding with no issues, happy as can be. It's easy for me to sit on my pedestal of breastmilk and look at the artificial nipples in babies mouths with slight disdain.

Now, I admit, I'm being very melodramatic here. I don't actually look at all these bottle feeding mamas with disgust or disdain, I just have a brief flash of diasppointment, some judgement and then I talk myself through it. I remind myself of my first daughter...of this friend who did everything she possibly could, but still wasn't able to breastfeed. While it's easy to judge, we have to remember that it's not helping to judge these mamas. Educate gently. Support. And be a shoulder to cry on for those mamas who just couldn't do it. Whether it was because they weren't educated about breastfeeding, they had no support or they literally did everything they *possibly* could to make it work but it just didn't. All we can do as breastfeeding advocates is educate and support.

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for saying this! Just the other day I blogged about breastfeeding and where we're going wrong: that moms NEED support and education from everyone!! (www.katemcp11.wordpress.com) I've been happy to see from other blogs, especially this past week, to be putting the call out for support of other moms and to not judge. THANK YOU

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ok but why does the picture have to look like that? Why is the breastfeeding mom in a robe and no wedding ring and the bottle feeding mom look more put together and have a wedding ring? I am exclusive and I get dressed everyday and I pump at work and I wear my wedding ring. It makes breastfeeding moms look like we are poor and unwed! I don't like that stereotype!

    ReplyDelete
  3. She doesn't look poor to me.... looks well groomed and put together

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. See, I don't see the breastfeeding mom as poor, unmarried or not put together. I think seh looks relaxed, poised. I can't see enough of her left hand to TELL if she has a wedding ring on. it could be a simple band.

    Actually, the breastfeeding side almost looks angellic with all the white. Serene...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yeah I definitely didn't look at that picture and think one of them was better then the other. I looked at that picture and thought both moms looked like they loved their babies more then life itself. I really think too much is being read into it...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't think that just poor, unwed mothers breast feed. There are many educated, employed, married mothers who breast feed as well. In turn, there are many poor, unwed mothers who formula fed, as well as their richer, married counterparts. The essence of this article is a reminder not to judge those based on any circumstance, whether poor, married, educated, working, nursing or formula feeding. I have a college degree, working on my second, am poor, and breast feeding. I could easily go to WIC and get vouchers for formula, but I choose to breast feed my son. I really think too much analysis is being put into these pictures. The blog is well written, thoughtful, and a great reminder not to judge anyone for how they chose to mother their child when it comes to feeding.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I feel like women look for any arbitrary thing to make themselves feel better/worse. I didn't breastfeed but I had a natural birth. Should I look down at everyone that has had an epidural or c-section? I could give you 1000 statistics why natural birth is better, but ultimately who am I to judge? Whatever it is, birth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, plastic toys or utensils, give it a break.

    Also, while I did almost exclusively formula feed, I NEVER propped the bottle in my daughter's mouth while I took a leisurely stroll through the mall. I held her and her bottle till she was past 1 year old. It was just my way to show her love and connect with her while she had her milk.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really liked this post. It is so easy to judge sometimes, but it is true we always don't know the whole story. My daughter had a dysfunctional suck and was never able to breastfeed correctly even with therapy. After 5 1/2 months of my daughter not gaining weight well and nursing for 45min, then pumping for 20min, then supplementing with my pumped milk I decided to switch to exclusively pumping. I have pumped but have never been able to make enough no matter how long I pump, how many times, and with the help of goat's rue, domperidone, reglan, or fenugreek. I did everything. I saw 3 lactation consultants and a speech therapist. Thank goodness for donor milk. I have a wonderful mom who donates to me and even though I don't make enough am able to give her all breastmilk because of my donor mom!! I wish more people knew about milk sharing. Anyways I try not to judge anyone else because I know it is not always easy. Our job is to give them the information to help then make an informed decision and give them all the support we can.

    ReplyDelete