Overcoming Judgement While Breastfeeding
Hi, guys! Here is the final guest post while we have been moving and getting settled into our new home. I hope you have enjoyed reading from my fellow bloggers. I appreciate their help in keeping my blog active while I've been away. The last post is from Amanda and touches on breastfeeding...one of my most passionate subjects in life.
Hi there! My name is Amanda from Moming About, where I blog about motherhood, including my experiences as a breastfeeding and exclusively pumping mom, food, and finding ways to make my life easier. I am a full time student, work outside the home, and have three children. You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I'm so thankful to be sharing this post on A Fulfilled Mommy, after recently experiencing some back lash for my own breastfeeding related decisions, and especially to my breastfeeding photos post to social media.Pretty much everyone agrees that breast is best. The boasted benefits of breastfeeding range from help with weight loss postpartum for mom to immune system support for baby. While some people still argue technicalities on certain advertised breastfeeding benefits, one thing everyone seems to agree on is that breastfeeding is best. So, it comes as a shock to the breastfeeding mom when people express negativity about her decision to breastfeed. After all, if breast is best, then why is everyone getting in such a tizzy over it? Breastfeeding moms often face judgement from friends, family, and/or complete strangers. In my experience, those closest to you feel more comfortable expressing their opinions about your choice than a complete stranger does. Therefore, it's more likely that someone you care about is going to make you feel uncomfortable or shamed than that you'll be approached and rebuked by a stranger. What things can a breastfeeding mom anticipate being judged about?
- Nursing in public
- Nursing uncovered
- Starting solids
- Extended breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding a child with teeth
- Breastfeeding a child who can talk
- Not supplementing
Obviously, every mom's situation is different. Some moms may experience little negativity. Maybe there are even moms out there who have no experience with opinionated, judgmental or negative friends, family, or strangers. However, many breastfeeding mothers have experienced some form of negativity related to this list.
What do you do?
So how do we handle this earth shattering realization? As a new (and especially first time) mom, this negativity can greatly rattle and discourage us. Some moms find themselves feeling attacked, isolated, and even depressed. Something that seemed like the absolute best decision during pregnancy is suddenly not feeling so great anymore.
It's easier to give up when everyone around you seems to be championing for your failure or, at the very least, unimpressed with your victories.
Find Support. Find Others Like You.
I think what's most important is to find your support network, something Farrah points out in her post 8 Breastfeeding Tips from Experienced Moms. When it feels like everyone is pulling you down, find anyone who will support you.
There are Facebook pages and groups. Many local hospitals have breastfeeding support groups. Start your own group! There are other moms like you out there. Sometimes it might not seem like it and sometimes they might not live right next door, but having someone to talk to, vent to, and understand what you're going through is important! Find the people that are one your side, that are behind you 100%.
Know Your Worth & Stand Your Ground
Second, be proud of what you do for your baby! If you don't recognize that what you're doing is great, then how can you expect someone else to?
Be dedicated. Know you are doing what's best for your baby and that it's what you want to do. Be committed 100%. Being half in, half out is only going to lead to more struggling, self-doubt, second guessing.
Stay educated. Don't let people push you around. Don't let people shame you. Don't let people tell you, you can't do it. Know your rights and the laws protecting you and your right to nurse in public. Stand up for yourself and your baby.
You don't have to fight with people who disagree with your choices. However, don't let them make you feel inadequate. Remove yourself from toxic situations and/or remove the person from your life (temporarily or permanently). Your choice to breastfeed has nothing to do with them and everything to do with your baby.
It's important to know that not everyone will support you decisions. Encourage acceptance from the people you care about. Encourage them to get informed. Get informed yourself. Remember, though, that even if you're the nicest, most informed person on the planet... Some people are too stubborn and will never accept it. Sometimes you just simply have to accept that and move on.