When I gave birth to my son, Golden, he had a hard time latching onto my breasts. This ended up with 90 minute feeding sessions and both of us frustrated and tired. After a week or so, the doctors saw that he wasn't thriving and I wasn't sleeping. I slept 1-2 hours a night because of the nursing. The lactation specialist taught me how to tape tubes to my breasts and attach them to a bottle of formula clipped onto my baseball cap. It was quite a contraption! It worked. My baby felt more satisfied and I was able to produce more milk with more sleep and success in feeding.
The people I saw in La Leche League, however, treated me like I was a bad mother for "not doing it right, the way your body is supposed to work." They encouraged me to give it more time to let the milk come in and if I was not going to breastfeed only, my child would suffer with allergies and flu more easily. The other pro-breastfeeding moms I met (outside of La Leche League) thought my child wouldn't be as bright as other children who were breastfed exclusively. None of that mattered in the end. My child is 16 now, has a 4.3 GPA, and is graduating this year. He is healthy and intelligent, taking AP college courses and on his way to a full University scholarship.
My classmate at City College said she felt the same way with her 2 babies. The online community shamed her and said awful things when she went online for breastfeeding support. She was not producing enough milk and was already struggling with post partum depression. Add to that the struggles of no sleep and little to no milk, she turned to Facebook breastfeeding support groups. Rather than finding loving encouragement and tips and tricks, they shamed her and made her self esteem go even lower as a new mom. She and I spoke about the end result being the most important thing as a mom: Baby is happy, healthy, and bright. Mom is recovering from birthing, dealing with life changes, and learning how to manage time, chores, and rest in a new manner that works for the whole family.
i got all riled up after our conversation and had to share this with you all today. Please, please, please do not shame women for not being able to breastfeed. Every momma is different and individual needs and medical conditions breed different methods of nourishing her child. There's no place for judgement over others' bodies.
While Im at it, please do not shame women (or men) for being different than you are. Different shapes, sizes, and physical fitness levels are individual. Just because I workout 5-7 days a week doesn't mean you should too. Just because I got heavy or lost weight doesn't mean you should follow suit. Eating like I do may not fix your inherited medical sufferings or strengths. You may be allergic or sensitive to foods I am not. You may be more flexible or have more rhythm than I do and therefore may excel at activities that I lack talent or desire to participate in. If it irks you that someone isn't adhering to the principles you believe in, you have the right never to speak to them again! Stop the shaming and judgment over or differences! Let us celebrate our diversity in choices and in who we are and what we look like. Nobody's perfect. Everybody's beautiful. We are all just doing the best we can in this life.
Please reach out to me if you want to comment.