Dear Breastfeeding Bully,
Dear breastfeeding bully,
You are a pretty bad ass mother aren’t you?! Give your boobies a quick pat on the cleavage for a job well done! You kept a human alive from your own body- that’s pretty damn fantastic.
It’s no secret around here that I am a proud breastfeeding mama too. Hell- it’s my blog banner! I have proudly breastfed my child for her whole 19 months and we’re still going. I have wet nursed seven other babies for other mamas, I helped organize and participated in a naked breastfeeding photo shoot and I am even the facilitator for a breastfeeding advocacy network in my town. It’s safe to say, boobies are a huge part of my life right now.
I used to be just like you! And like you, when I came across a mother who didn’t breastfeed her child, for whatever reason – I judged her silently. We know breast is best- why doesn’t she?! Didn’t produce enough milk? She must be uneducated. Didn’t try hard enough? She must be selfish. Didn’t want to? She must have no support. She mentally couldn’t handle it? She should have gotten milk donations or tried harder. Basically, if that mother didn’t breastfeed- she is less of a mother than we are.
Now, I didn’t come into motherhood with this thought process, having been a formula fed baby myself! But it’s people like you who made this my very thought process for an embarrassingly long time.
Us breastfeeding bullies love to ‘educate’ non breastfeeding mamas in Facebook groups or blogs. We don’t see it as shaming, judging, or bullying. We are simply educating! Know better, do better right?! That’s our favorite motto. Because the social media world NEEDS to know you are so up and up with breastfeeding. You may as well change you name to Dr. Jack Newman you know so much about boobs.
When we see a formula feeding mother post in a Facebook group- we pounce. Those formula feeding mamas better put their sunglasses on because here comes the shade! Those formula feeding mothers are going to have us holier than thou mothers rolling our eyes so hard our eye balls might fall out!
Perhaps my hormones made me extra mushy one day because I went soft and saw the other side of the spectrum. I watched a breastfeeding bully re-posting and tearing a formula feeding mother apart like a lion eating a zebra in a Savannah. I instantly seethed. Who was she to judge? Why was she being so harsh? Then it dawned on me – I was a lion too. Not in the ‘I’m a strong mama lion’ kind of way but in the asshole kinda way.
I closed my laptop and looked down at my boobs. Why do these saggy skin covered bags of milk make me feel like a better mother? I wondered why the other mother hadn’t chosen to breastfeed? Maybe she just plain ol’ didn’t want to. Did that make her a bad mother? No. Did that make her any less selfless as a mother? No. Do I have the right to tell her what to do with her body? Of course not.
Now, I’m not even going to hop on the ‘let’s stop mommy wars’ train because it’s a really dead horse and with social media being so prevalent- it’s never going to happen. But maybe one person will read this and it will change how they think. How about us breastfeeding mothers stop forcing, judging and shaming mothers into breastfeeding? My mother didn’t breastfeed. You know why? Because she simply didn’t want to. It was the 90’s and no one batted an eyelash if you didn’t want to breastfeed. It was simply YOUR CHOICE to make with your own body- what a crazy notion right?
I guess the lack of social media helped because no one could sit behind a computer all big and brave with their judge-y pants on and make you feel like shit. And before you even say it, I grew up with no lack of bond with my mother, I was healthy and I would say pretty intelligent. My mother supports me 110% breastfeeding- even into toddler hood.
Sometimes, dare I even say it, I envy formula feeding mothers. Having your body completely back to you after almost 10 months of sharing it -seems so luxurious. Never having to worry about things like pumping, mastitis, supply issues or latch issues is the stuff dreams are made of. Never being the level of touched out I am today seems like far off wishful thinking. I’m not trying to downplay how hard other types of feeding are, just different.
So next time you see a formula feeding mother post asking for help or posting formula, take a step back and remember she’s a selfless mother just like you are. She loves her babies just as much as you do. She’s feeding her child which is what is really what’s best. Remember the amazing traits; compassion and humility. Next time don’t be an asshole.
A former bosom buddy bully
PS: And before I get called out for it… I am in no way discouraging breastfeeding. because you know, someone is of course gunna go there.
If you want to visit a very cool site, check out Jenny’s site Mommy Wears Heels:
Jenny spends her time ranting on her site over at mommywearsheels.com. She is a wanna-be crunchy mama, chow chow mama & witty housewife.
If you know a teen struggling with anxiety, give them the only self-help book teens are likely to read: