One common lament among mothers is the constant fighting in the “mommy-war.” It seems like no matter what you do, or don’t do, you just aren’t good enough in the eyes of some people.
A familiar battle in the mommy war is the breast vs. bottle-feeding issue. No matter what side you fall on, we have no right to make the other side feel inadquate as a mother. But you know what? It still happens.
When mamas talk about breastfeeding, there are usually a few that will chime in with their own stories of being ostrasized because either they chose not to breastfeed, work obligations got in the way of breastfeeding or, for reasons that don’t need to be shared, their nursing relationship ended early.
And it makes them feel like they are less than mothers or, at worse, like crap.
What can we do, those of us in this sisterhood of mothering?
1. Support each other, no matter what. If your sister nursed her baby for 12 hours, acknowledge and support it. If your sister chose to forgo breastfeeding totally, acknowledge and support it.
2. Share your story. Some of our sisters do not have breastfeeding role models and therefore have no idea what to expect. If breastfeeding clicked for you, share that story. If you ran into struggles, share those as well. Give her a realistic idea of what to expect from breastfeeding.
2. Help her to find help. If a friend is struggling with breastfeeding, offer to help her find some help and accept her answer. Some mothers are not aware of peer support groups. If you know of a group, share it. Keep in mind that she may have decided to stop breastfeeding. It is not your job to make her keep going.
3. Accept her decision without judgement. You are not in her home day-to-day. You are not walking in her shoes. She should not have to justify to you or to anyone else her parenting choices. If she asks your opinion, give it. If not, tickle the baby.
I acknowledge that I have unfairly judged mothers who have chosen to bottlefeed, and to what gain? Was I doing it to make myself feel better? Was I doing it because I felt superior to them? Was I doing it because I can just be a wench? Maybe a little of all of the above, but here’s the deal: my job as a parent is not decided by the other parents around me. It is decided by the health and (relative) happiness of my children.
Once I learned that… I laid down my battlesword in the mommy-war.
I hope you enjoyed this WBW series. I am *technically* on vacation, so I’ll be running a few oldies but goodies over the next 12 days, but I will try to pop in with some original content as well.
- WBW12: Modesty Monday- Breastfeeding… With Discretion?
- Thursday List: 10 uses for Avon Skin-So-Soft (other than what the bottle says)
- WBW ’12: The Health Care Law and breastfeeding
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