Thursday, September 20, 2012

You Don't Owe Me An Explanation

At least once a week I get asked if I breastfeed my baby. And the answer is yes. Usually that's the end of the conversation, but if its another mom with young kids there are more things to be said. War stories are shared about previous nursing experiences, hers and mine. Everyone has a story, and they're all unique and similar at the same time, same as birth stories. We all go through the same fundamental things, but in slightly different ways.

When another mother shares their stories of nursing, and I share mine, we aren't looking to justify ourselves. Breastfeeding is a personal choice. I do it, but sometimes think bottle feeding would be easier. Of course there are pros and cons to both ways, but the reasons I do it aren't just because of health benefits. They're because it is less work for me. I never have to pack formula or wash bottles, my milk is far more portable. And best of all, its free. That will always be a big factor for me, price. I hate paying money for diapers, there is no way I'm buying formula too.

No matter what my choice is and no matter what other mothers do, its our own decision. When women ask me if I nurse my baby, or get out a bottle to feed their baby when I am nursing mine, sometimes I feel like they feel a little guilty. Women are always giving me excuses and long stories about what led them to bottlefeed. Pretty standard stuff that I'm not questioning, like not enough milk. It is almost like some women feel like they have to explain themselves to me because I breastfeed and they don't, but the truth is I'm not judging them. Don't get me wrong, I probably judge people on dumb stuff all the time. But on the subject of How you feed your baby its really up to you. You don't have to explain yourself to me. I might even be a little jealous sometimes of women with bottlefed babies, because every once in awhile someone else can feed their kid. When you breastfeed there are no substitutions, its just me.

I'm not gonna judge anyone for not nursing, and I don't want to be judged either. You had a natural drug free childbirth? Great. I got an epidural and it wasn't because I'm weak. It's because I wanted one. You don't believe in ever co-sleeping under any circumstances? I'm so happy that you can get your kid to sleep in their own bed, but I'm okay with mine laying with me for a few hours every night. Plus, I fall asleep sitting up and nursing if I'm even a little bit sleep deprived, so I'm holding my baby while he sleeps anyway.

No one should have to explain themselves for their parenting decisions. If you don't breastfeed then that is between you and your baby, you don't need to list your reasons to me in an attempt to avoid judgment. It's your baby, feed it want you feel is best. Unless you're like one of those parents on Maury Povich with the 100lb 2 year old who has a nipple on a liter of Dr. Pepper. Then you should seek outside advice.


Theresa said...

Ahhh!!! I could'nt agree with you more. Finally, someone said exactly what I was thinking! Thank you! And btw, your children are adorable & I love all of their names. :)

Jennifer said...

Thanks! After I wrote this I realized a benefit I didn't add, mastitis! It would be so nice to never have to worry about that.


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