Last week I saw sadly as the comments grew and spilled over from an online news site’s Facebook post asking for breastfeeding stories. The question was asked with no judgement and didn’t care how long, how successfully, or how you did it.
They wanted to hear anyone’s story.
Soon, back and forth through the thread attacks began and women commented a wide variety of sentiments.
Some were positive about breastfeeding. Some were small anecdotes about their own experience.
Some were coments about why everyone should breastfeed.
And the last kind, the comments that felt the saddest to me were women attacking because WHY would they ask for breastfeeding stories and how dare they talk about breastfeeding and not support formula feeding.
Yesterday began World Breastfeeding Week, organized by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action. It works to promote support for nursing mothers in their communities.
When I had Wonder Boy, there was a big push to breastfeed- very different than when I was born and was formula fed from day one.
I was always a healthy bright kid, so obviously formula cannot fail kids as much as they were saying, right? But I was determined, not just because of all the health benefits that were repeated over and over and over to me, but because, well, that’s what my body was made to do, so why not use it?
I felt so much stress and guilt- I had an unplanned cesarean and ended up supplementing in the hospital, although by the time I went home we were doing better and Wonder Boy started gaining weight. The supplementing went on and off as growth spurts frustrated me and birth control killed my supply. I cried a lot of tears and Mr. Wonder felt helpless watching me struggle.
Even though I found good support, the little messages- how it takes a baby a month to get back to optimum digestion levels after supplementing with formula, on and on and on… I still felt bad every time I shook a bottle those early months. I ended up formula feeding that last couple of months and felt bad I had to stop, though I’d made it almost 10 months.
With Lil’ Wonder, my milk came in even as I left the hospital a day early and has been successful ever since.
Mr. Wonder, who tossed and turned in his sleep for weeks before Lil’ Wonder’s birth worrying about how this time would go, is much more relaxed this time and we’re both happy to see Lil’ Wonder flourish like his brother did.
#ISupportYou is a movement put together by bloggers who want to support every mother regardless of her feeding choices. (Check out Mama By The Bay’s post here for more info)
We needed this a long time ago. We needed this just four years ago, when I was the one defending a friend’s choice to not nurse and told her to have a nurse call me if they pushed her to do it, even as I was researching breast pumps and going to breastfeeding class.
I was the one who consoled more than one friend as they struggled, pumping, trying everything they could to get nursing working and hearing more and more advice as to what else they could do to make it work. Because, supposedly, ‘everyone can nurse’ ‘you were made to nurse’ and if you fail, it is your fault for not doing some random thing that messed you up. nevermind the external factors, birth story, outside stress factors and amount of support you could get that are also variables in this modern day world.
I was the one who was first to say, “It’s OK if you don’t breastfeed”. because I am a thriving example.
If you try and it doesn’t work out for you, it’s not your fault. You are not a failure.
You aren’t failing if your baby is fed, happy, growing, sleeping and smiling after meals.
You are succeeding.
Every 2 a.m. feeding is you succeeding.
Every bottle or boob you whip out in a parked car of a store chair during a run of errands – you are succeeding.