I feel like I’ve come a long way since I started blogging a few years ago. I was young and probably quite dumb then. I can remember saying things along the lines of “I secretly love mildly offending people” - like WTF, who enjoys mildly offending people?! I wrote a blog post on breast feeding because in my motherhood journey that has by far been the hardest. Harder than terrible twos, and even pushing a baby out - breast feeding was hands down the hardest thing I have gone through. I was one of the LUCKY ones, I put lucky in capitals for a reason. I was lucky because I had support. I had an amazing partner who held my hand when I cried and fed my baby through gritted teeth, I had a mum who was there every step of the way telling me it will get better and suggesting I stick my nipples in the sun for a bit to toughen them up (better than the wire brush option she was given as a young breast feeding mother) I was constantly SUPPORTED and up-lifted by those around me on my breastfeeding journey. I was LUCKY because I didn’t have inverted nipples, I was LUCKY because I never had crippling mastitis, I was LUCKY because my baby thrived on my breast milk, I was LUCKY because my child wasn’t allergic to my own milk I produced for that child, I was LUCKY because I had a great milk supply without having to supplement myself with anything (though I did love a good lactation cookie), I was LUCKY that I didn’t have an illness that stopped me breastfeeding, I was LUCKY that I didn’t have to go back to work and keep up with pumping. Sometimes it does come down to luck.
I remember when I put so much work into getting Rocky to sleep and people would say oh you’re so lucky he’s such a content little baby and I would be all “I worked damn hard to have a content baby luck has nothing to do with it.” I am now older and wiser and I know that luck does have something to do with it because I now have friends who have tried it all and their kid just doesn’t sleep, shit, they did the mahi but still didn’t get the treats.
This isn’t one size fits all.
World breastfeeding week is amazing, I breastfed both babies with ease (after the initial month of a total shit storm.) I loved breastfeeding and will always support and advocate breastfeeding but to me world breastfeeding week is about support, it’s about showing support to mothers on their breastfeeding journey and having a conversation about education and how we can better educate mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding, prolonged breastfeeding and the realities of breast feeding. No two breastfeeding journeys are the same, I struggled initially but then was fine, my best friend never struggled, my other friend breastfed until her babe was beyond two, my other friend mix fed, another friend used donor milk for her prem babe and my other friend chose to not go through the struggle of trying to breastfeed when she had struggled emotionally, mentally and physically to breastfeed her first two children.
We need to use world breast feeding week to support and educate. I tell people how hard breast feeding is, I would have stopped within weeks if I didn’t have my support network and some mums don’t have that network. They stop because they have no one, they have no one saying it will get better, they aren’t quitting because they’re lazy or over it, they are quitting because of the emotional toll, the physical toll and the lack of support. Did they try their best? Oh 100%! Did they feel like they failed as a parent because they didn’t do what is best for their baby (remember breast is best guys). What we don’t need to do is use World breast feeding week to say if you aren’t breast feeding you obviously haven’t tried everything, today I read a comment in response to a pro breast is best post that literally made my blood boil it went like this “if people were getting offended by it, it’s because they feel bad for not doing the best they could. Because if they did the best they could and then had to formula feed then they wouldn’t feel bad”. What the actual fuck? Is this a joke? Are you joking me?
We fucking know breast is best, the whole world knows breast is best.
Do we need to have this conversation? It is 2017! Are we aware of what is happening in the world? Can we not start better conversations that don’t involve offending other mothers and creating shame in a world that is already hard enough for mums? The internet is fucked and I am so proud of what I have done. I am so proud that I try to uplift women and one of the reasons I started meet a mum who (it’s super neglected I know) was because we all have stories, we all have different opinions and we all need to support one an another and if I can’t give you that support then I am going to find you someone who has been through it and can.
My breasts are mine to do as I please, my children are mine to nourish and raise as I please, my uterus is mine to have or not have babies when I please, my body is mine to do as I please and no one has the right to say otherwise. Is it any of your business how I choose to feed my children? 100% not. Does it affect you personally if I give my child formula? We have some shocking statistics here in NZ suicide, child abuse, domestic violence, now fuck me sideways they would be great conversations to have, they would be great posts to write but instead we are writing posts pitting women against women, mothers against mothers by asking them to decide what is best Breast or Fed. My children are healthy, happy, loved and a couple of bloody cool kids - does it matter how I fed them? Is it any of anyone else’s business how I fed them?
We put people on the moon, us humans are pretty bloody clever shit we build robots and cure diseases and we also make formula. Do you not think that if breast isn’t working out we can choose a formula that has been made as close to breast milk as possible? You are not harming your kid by giving them formula, you do not have to pump if you can’t, shit you don’t even have to pump if you don’t want to. I pumped with Rocky, he never touched formula until he was 11 months old but I could not pump to save myself for Ruby, not because I physically couldn’t but I did not have time, I had a toddler and I was tired and I decided not to pump, I chose not to pump - maybe that’s why she doesn’t talk!
Can we please just all take a step back and think about how our comments and opinions may cause other people to feel? I am the first to admit I have been wrong but I feel so strongly on this, my heart breaks for the mums that have been left feeling all kinds of feels from reading things online, you do you, you decide what is best for your family and you bloody own it. Do not let anyone make you feel less because you are nothing but a fucking boss and I have got your back, I would hate to think the emotional weight added to peoples’ shoulders when they are hearing someone tell them they should have found a wet nurse, it’s not the 1920’s. Or that they should have tried a donor bank before heading to formula. Are these mum’s not under enough pressure at such a stressful time in their lives, can we not just support all the baby mama’s and get on with life. Worry about yourself and keep your harmful opinions to yourself because unless my child is in danger it is none of your fucking business.
One last thing, where do you find a wet nurse? I did a google and found zilch? Oh and donor banks lets save the milk for the babies that really need the nutrients of breast milk we all know its best so let’s give it to the babes that really really need it because as far as I’m aware healthy babes do fine on formula.
Here’s a new hashtag for you all