Don't Hate, Advocate

I suppose this is sort of a follow up to my last post, though I never really intended to follow up on it. Yet again, I am unpleasantly surprised by people. 

Everyone has an opinion about something, and these days everyone has an opinion about everyone else. When it comes to parenting? We have extra opinions. I suppose it's because we think that what we're doing is the best thing ever, for everyone. While whatever decision you're passionate about may be the best thing for your family it may be the worst decision for someone else's family. Or heck, it may not even be possible at all. 

Yesterday, a good blogger friend of mine posted about her recent experience with a breastfeeding group. Ya'll, I was blown away. I still am, in fact. (If you want to take a moment and click over, I'll understand.)  

I'm going to admit something that will probably make some people upset: I have a knee-jerk reaction to bottle feeders, too. There is a small part of me that cringes every time I see a baby with a bottle in his/her mouth. Mostly it's because I don't understand why on earth someone wouldn't want to breastfeed their baby. I'll spare you the inner-monologue I have every time, because it's not really worth it. Because in the end I know that there are many factors that go into a mom's - a family's - decision to not breastfeed. Maybe she couldn't nurse and pumps instead, maybe she couldn't produce milk at all, maybe the baby is adopted, maybe she was on necessary medication that would harm the baby if she were to breastfeed, or maybe she had DMER and the very thought of nursing again made her ill. There are any number of reasons. Unless we know the person, we'll never know the reasons. And all of this just made me wonder....what's the point?

By somehow taking offense at the fact that some people feed their kids with bottles, what are we hoping to gain? By bashing women - moms - who bottle feed, what exactly is our goal? To make them feel bad? To educate? To make them want to breastfeed? How is this helping?

If you've been following me anytime during the last 3 years you know I'm nothing if not an advocate for breastfeeding. I think breastfeeding is awesome and you'll never convince me otherwise. I think it's the best food for baby (because, hello, it was designed to be!) and I think the health benefits for moms are awesome, too. Is it hard? Heck yeah. It takes a lot of time and effort in the beginning, and sometimes a lot of pain, too. But more often than not, it's totally worth it and for many, many reasons. That's why I think waiting until you're past the newborn stage to call it quits on breastfeeding, but again, that's my personal opinion.

Before I had babies - like way before - I was pretty determined to not breastfeed. I thought it was weird, and why the heck would I want to share my body after I'd just grown a person for 9 months?! I'd also never been exposed to breastfeeding...ever. My brother and I were bottle-fed, the babies I watched were bottle-fed, my mom's friends bottle-fed their babies, and the list continues. Of course I thought it was weird!

Thankfully, some friends and my SIL were there later on to share the benefits of breastfeeding with me and my whole view changed. Now, I find it important to try and bring some sort of education to people about breastfeeding -- why it isn't weird or gross, why it's beneficial for moms and babies, etc. But here's the thing: 

If we look down our noses at women/families 
who choose to bottle-feed, we'll never succeed 
in our goal to make breastfeeding normal.

Who will want to breastfeed when they think that all women who do so are just a bunch of snobby, rude know-it-alls? Who will want to breastfeed when they know that if they turn to a bottle for any reason, the nursing mama masses will crucify them? Who will stand beside the nursing moms when someone calls us out for nursing in public without a cover?

We can't make a difference in normalizing breastfeeding, or breastfeeding education with this 'anti-bottle' mentality. We just can't. You can't reach people with that kind of nastiness. When it comes to parenting, we need to just leave each other alone. You don't live in that person's house; you don't know what their life is like. You can't judge their motives from the outside.

So moms, let's just stop. Just say 'NO' to the temptation of bashing, name-calling, hate-mongering, fear-mongering, or whatever. It's not helping you, and it's most certainly not helping anyone else. You think breastfeeding is awesome? That's great. Tell them how awesome you think it is, and why. You think bottle feeding is the best thing since sliced bread? Fantastic! Tell them why it's great for you. Then proceed to trade epic blow-out stories, or share in the woes of sleepless nights. 

We're all just doing the best we can for our babes. 
It's time we recognize that in the faces of others, too.


You're Doing it Wrong

Thus sayeth the so-called Mommy Wars. 

Do something that the attachment parenting know-it-alls think is wrong, and they'll crucify you...online. Hiding behind veils of perceived anonymity and nasty words, they'll tell you that you're - for all intents and purposes - torturing your child. 

Proclaim that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for babies, and bottle-feeders will be ready to decry that you're judging them for making a personal decision. Never mind that you yourself once considered it...and were also bottle-fed as an infant. Those facts don't matter. You're clearly judging them because you disagree with their choice. 

Things like this make me want to throw my computer across the room and never pick it up again. 

Last week, I responded to a mom's post in a group I'm in on FB. She had asked some questions about Babywise and I replied with my experiences. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it certainly did not warrant the responses I received.

Babywise is ABUSE and TORTURE. Period.

Babywise is the one book the FDA warns against...

...babies starve in silence...

...a baby who is always content is worrisome.

Sorry, guys, but YOU do not know MY kids. Why are they so content as babies? (With the exception of colic...whew.) Because I make sure they get plenty of rest and nurse enough. That's it, plain and simple. Isn't that what everyone else does? I thought it was.... Apparently I was wrong.

A few days ago I commented on someone's status... I felt like it was baiting a little, but I commented anyway. Rookie mistake. The woman said something like "I'm going to write a post about bottle feeding. I could barely stand to breast feed my babies for 2 months and HAD to switch to formula. It was the best thing for both of us." {I hope it's obvious I'm paraphrasing here.} So I commented. 

I wanted to let her know that the first 2 months of breastfeeding is hard for everyone. Either your nipples hurt so badly you wish they'd just fall off already, or your baby is attached to you 24/7 and you feel like a cow. (At least those were my experiences.) But if you push through those parts, it can really be awesome! It was breastfeeding and having those sweet moments with Millie that kept me sane because that was the only time she wasn't screaming. Since we have the option these days, I get that how you choose to feed your child is super-personal. Even so, no one will be able to convince me that formula is healthier than mama milk. 

Cue the bottle-feeding judgy mamas. 

Great for you, but don't judge me for choosing a safe option.

I can still bond with my child while bottle feeding!
I still love my child.

The "breast is best" thing is great if you can manage it, but don't
bully or shame me for giving up!

My comment eventually got deleted because I didn't 100% agree with the author's point of view. How's THAT for acceptance for everyone's decision?! There were other, far more heated comments, but that's not the point. Obviously I should have known enough to not comment on a post like this, but sometimes I can't help myself. I'm sure that's happened to any number of you.

My point is this: in this day and age where we have options - and many of them - there is no right choice. Make one comment, one post, one observation and the masses who think or choose differently will be right there to make sure you know you're wrong. Because if you don't do it their way, you are clearly wrong and stupid. You're hurting your child, don't you know it!? 

To them...

A crib = baby jail
Letting your child cry in bed for 5-20 mins = child abuse
Bottle-feeding = giving your child poison
Breastfeeding in public = flashing your boobs to the masses
Scheduling your baby's naps and feedings = torture

Here's what I think:

You make choices for you and your baby and I'll make choices for mine. 
You're awesome. 
I'm awesome. 
Our kids are the most perfect human beings ever.
We rock. 

Being a mom is hard enough without having the entire world scrutinize and judge your every decision.

P.S. Don't forget to check out my giveaway for some great kids' books! Ends on Wednesday!


Usborne Books & More: A Giveaway!

Hey, friends!

I'm super excited to share this giveaway with you today! My best friend, Melissa, is a consultant with Usborne so I've been able to see first hand just how awesome their books are. They have books for babies all the way up to Young Adult titles. They have books on learning how to draw, coloring books (even for adults! ;)), wipe-clean books that are perfect for tracing letters and numbers (and many other things), and some of the best quality (and cute!) board books I've ever seen. 

We have probably a handful of Usborne books in the house, mostly because of Melissa. ;-) I've seen my kiddos fight over the That's Not My Fox book and Touchy-Feely book quite a few times. 

Around Christmas I talked my mom into buying the Nutracker book (with music) for the kids...mostly because I love the Nutcracker so much! Charlotte loves the music, too, and I love the fact that the pages are durable enough to withstand these two crazies. I also gave my niece and nephew two of the sticker books for Christmas, because, what kid doesn't love stickers?!

So anyway, today I'm sharing with you a giveaway for a Brain Bag! 

If you would like to create your own bag, you can select one of each of these categories:

  • A set of Activity Cards or an Activity Book
  • A Coloring or Drawing Book
  • A Sticker or Wipe-Clean Book (LOVE these!)
  • A Chapter, Non-Fiction, or Phonics Book

Honestly, I kind want one of these for my girls!! They would be great for the never-ending road trips (either to see family or for when we move...again...), plane rides, long doctor appointments, when you need a little bit of quiet time (*wink*), etc. 

So. Go forth and ENTER! Giveaway will be open for 1 week, starting NOW. Winner will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter, will be contacted via email, and then announced here on the blog no later than Friday of next week. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway