Nearly 24 hours into motherhood I was unknowingly and inevitably thrown into the Mommy Wars.
I understand breast is best but it’s not what was best for my kids. My body never produced milk. Does that mean God wanted my kids to starve? Absolutely not.
It meant I needed to do what was best for my kid. So, I popped a bottle in his mouth and watched him go. He moaned and grunted at the feeling of food in his empty belly. For the first time in his 2 day-long life, he did what newborns do- he ate, burped and slept.
Bottlefeeding wasn’t part of my plan. I had a business card in my purse with the law stating I could breastfeed my child anywhere anybody else was allowed to eat. I was ready for the breastfeeding war, I just wasn’t ready to be on this side of it.
At my sons first pediatrician appointment I was frowned on for not “sticking with it.” At his first WIC (Women, Infants and Children) appointment I was scolded for not trying harder. They even lowered the amount of formula I was allotted in hopes of “encouraging the breast.”
It wasn’t my son’s fault and it wasn’t my fault. He latched on and sucked like a trooper but there wasn’t anything coming out. I could pump for 30 minutes and not one drop of milk would be produced.
I reached out to breastfeeding forums but that was the worst idea ever. They met my “help me” attitude the same way his pediatrician and WIC doctors did; I was lazy. I wasn’t trying hard enough. That particular forum was a virtual, new age stoning.
One lady sent me a private message with a sure way to prompt lactation; I needed to wait for a full moon, fry up 1 pound of bacon, go outside naked, howl at the moon three times, return inside and rub hot bacon grease on my nipples. (Because that’s what prompts lactation?) I don’t know if she was serious or not but I do know I never wrote back to find out. That isn’t the kind of support I needed.
My OBGYN understood nothing was working for my body, nothing was helping my milk come in. I broke down in her office one day. She rubbed my back and consoled me. She reminded me that nothing ever goes according to the plan. This is the first of many things that may not go my way but I needed to remember to do what’s best for the baby.
She said, “as long as every decision you make is made with love, they aren’t really decisions.”
I have often thought back to the words she spoke 7 years ago. They have helped me more than she may realize, in a lot of situations.
As parents we need to stop worrying about the parenting world around us. What one parent is doing in their home, has nothing to do with what is going on in your home. We must remember no 2 children are alike because no 2 parents are alike. If we were all raised with the same belief system this world would lack the diversity it needs to thrive.
In our home there’s no one right way to do any given task. I show my children how I do something and then allow them to modify my way to better fit themselves or come up with their own method.
As parents we need to stop trying to raise our children to fit a specific mold we have preconceived in our own minds. We need to worry more about our family and raising children with self awareness and the know how to make viable decisions with the best outcome based on their lives.
When I see a mother breastfeeding my heart smiles because her body cooperated. I can’t wait for the day to experience the visual with my daughter, who thinks all babies are fed with a bottle. I look forward to teaching her the lesson of how other Mothers feed their children. I look forward to sharing my story with her.
I especially look forward to witnessing the decisions she makes as a mother. All I can do is show her the many ways of the world and know the choices she makes are what’s best for her family. I just hope when it’s her turn to make parenting decisions, the Mommy War is dead and gone.
That’s why I signed the
You can find the face behind the movement to end Mommy Wars
If we won’t stop for ourselves, we need to stop for our daughters. Do we want our daughters to feel lost and worthless in a community where they could seek refuge and guidance?
First and foremost we are all mothers and that is enough for me. I value everyone’s beliefs, we learn through diversity. This isn’t about pushing your thoughts onto someone else, this is about embracing all beliefs while staying true to your own.