Often times, you hear about how mothers are not supported for their decision to feed their babies formula, however, I find that I’m not supported enough as a breastfeeding mother.
As a nursing mother, I usually hear the following:
“Are you sure you’re producing enough?”
“He’s crying because he’s still hungry, you should give him formula,”
“Are you still breastfeeding?”
“Don’t tell me you breastfeed in public!” and
“You don’t eat enough, so I don’t think your baby is getting enough nutrients.”
I typically respond by saying:
“Yes, I know I’m producing enough”
“He’s not crying because he’s hungry, he’s crying because he’s teething”
“Yes, I’m still breastfeeding, and I plan to for as long as I can”
“I do breastfeed when I go out, but I use a nursing cover or use a mom’s room for nursing,” and
“I try my best to eat a balanced meal on a daily basis.”
My baby is now 11 months old, and although this is my fourth child, this is the longest I have nursed any of my children; for I really want to breastfeed my baby for at least a year. I knew that nursing would be a challenge, as it was so with my previous children, but I did not expect all of the negative comments that would come with this journey.
Just as I was starting to feel proud of the fact that I got this breastfeeding thing down, I felt discouraged to keep going after hearing the above comments. However, despite the negativity, I kept going- and I’m glad I did!
This is not to say that I didn’t have any support at all- because I did have some encouragement from others, but overall, I felt that the negativity really got to me. There was a point where I actually did feel like a bad mother because I was breastfeeding, where I actually thought my baby was always crying because of my breast milk, even though the doctors had told me he was gaining weight and was a very healthy baby. At that point, I started to supplement with formula, but it just made things worse- my baby became constipated and actually started to cry more! After that, I transitioned him back to breast milk and he was his old self again!
The big message here is that we, as mothers, need to remind ourselves that it’s not about how we choose to feed our babies, but rather that our babies are fed is what matters most. The last thing any mother needs to hear is negative statements, nor does she need to be judged for her decisions; but what every mother does need is to be around individuals that will provide support and love! After all, motherhood is difficult as it is, so let’s not make it harder!