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Understanding Why Non-Breastfeeders Are Mad

December 17, 2009

Author’s Note: This post explores and answers the question recently asked “Why don’t moms cheer each other on when a breastfeeding mom reaches 6 months  or some other milestone.” I am NOT saying all non-breastfeeding moms are mad or should be. I’m simply exploring the question based on a recent experience I had.

I recently had a breastfeeding preparedness article published in a baby magazine and the president of the multiples group I’m in sent an email to the group congratulating me and telling them about the full page article (click on the right side of page to read full article). In just a few minutes a multiples mom sent an email to the group about how tired she was for being judged that she couldn’t breastfeed and she was going to write her own article stating it’s okay if you didn’t breastfeed. First of all, I’m supportive to anyone who wants to write and I am certainly supportive of all moms and their decisions for what’s best for their family. This reaction to the email about me made me feel like I had been slapped in the face. This mom was definitely still struggling with her issues and how she felt about stopping breastfeeding. Her email and how she is still struggling made me strengthen my resolve even more about helping expecting moms prepare for breastfeeding. I don’t know the exact issues she faced. Many of my friends had babies with digestive issues and their pediatrician told them it must be their breastmilk only to find when the mothers stopped breastfeeding the issues only worsened. A few others did not understand about the first and “hind” milk and when pumping might help them or how proper latch would make breastfeeding not painful and on and on and on. Listing these challenges makes breastfeeding seem very difficult to master. Indeed in the beginning WE NEED SUPPORT and advice and tips and maybe a trip to our house from a licensed doula (I had to have that).

When we run a marathon or get a great, new job we have tons of support and well wishes because those other moms, friends, etc., haven’t tried a marathon and weren’t up for that same great, new job. They feel no competition or measurement against those things in any way thus giving themselves permission to be proud for the other person. But in the case of breastfeeding, statistics show most moms want to breastfeed and try to breastfeed but lack of support from knowledgeable family members, pediatricians and other well-meaning persons just adds to the stress, the unknown and the pressure. They then choose to give up for their own sanity and the sanity of their household but when they hear others that have gotten help and made it 6 months or a year those emotional feelings of regret rise back up to the surface. I pray with my classes, my book coming out, my volunteering at the local hospitals I can make some tiny difference in the breastfeeding success of new moms.

This includes educating expectant moms and their families of the amazing nutritional, disease prevention and immunity properties of breastmilk to help encourage them not to give up. So, to everyone who tries to breastfeed, way to go! And to those who are struggling, don’t give up! Get help or contact me and I’ll help steer you to the proper help. And to those who struggled and made the decision (or were forced to stop) – way to go to you for trying! And, release yourself of that heavy burden of guilt. We as moms are our own worst enemies! My mother has always told me “be your own best friend” trying to get me to rest more or eat better or take my vitamins, etc. So I pass this on from my precious mother – Be your own best friend! Forgive yourself, cheer for yourself, brag on yourself and make sure to brag on others as well. You might have the piece of wisdom or information that helps another mom be successful. I am one of the lucky ones and to everyone out there making decisions about breastfeeding I am cheering for you!

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