Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When people don't like you breastfeeding (or whatever it is you do)

When you have family members or acquaintences who do not agree with your parenting choices it can be difficult. Choose to go the higher route. Try not to get angry, like I generally do. I have a relative whom I am not close to (except in age). After a recent post (which goes into my facebook feed), this person's status updated to:
" I'm disgusted by news stories about attached parenting and extended breastfeeding. These women need to get a fkn REAL job and quit damaging their child's emotional and social development. Breastfeeding until 4-5 years old should be considered abuse. In no way is it 'helping' the child. If your kid can say and spell milk- they should be drinking it from a cup. Ew. Let your kid grow up and cut the cord already!"

We cannot control another person's opinion

But one would hope that a nurse (that's the relative's profession) would understand that breastfeeding is important and has health benefits. But, I'd love to know (from another nurse perhaps) what sort of nutrition topics are covered in their schooling. Apparently it doesn't include things such breastfeeding benefits:
- breastfeeding is legal through out the US
- children are born with an immature immune system, that doesn't fully develop until around age 6. Breastmilk helps the system complete and makes up for that immaturity (and well, breastmilk contains stem cells as well! imagine that!!)
- another woman's breastfeeding is none of her business.

I have to remember that someone else's issues with breastfeeding and attachment parenting have nothing to do with me. Instead, if she has an issue, it has something to do with her. When I have an issue with someone glorifying spanking, I know it is because I wish it wasn't something that crossed my mind at times. I don't like spanking and it may seem in the immediate term SO EASY, but long-term I know it isn't a good option.

At the short term, for many parents not breastfeeding works well, but I choose to because I know that long-term I'm doing great for my children.

In the long run, I can choose to not react. I can choose to attempt to educate through awareness. But in the long run, what we want is to "judge not lest thee be judged." I don't care what your religious beliefs are - if you can get through the day and not think my parenting choices are okay but still see me as a mom trying to do her best, I'll be okay with what you choose to do as well.

So to those who worry about whether my kids need a nursing break at school... they don't. She went to preschool at three and did not get sent home to breastfeed.

(Note, I was teetering on whether or not to include her actual post, and decide that I should. It doesn't say her name, but it shows that yes, awareness is needed on this topic. Not just the idea that moms breastfeed for longer than the minimum WHO recommendation (of two years), but that we should show more support for each other, even if we don't always agree.) This relative couldn't have been talking to me because besides being a mom, I do have a second real job AND my 4 year old can't spell milk :) But soon she could be! EEK!

Peace to all the moms out there. It is tough enough without the craziness.


Amy said...

Hi Amanda,

First, I love your blog. You are a fabulous writer, and your posts are intelligent, informed, and wonderful to read.

Second, this post makes me think of my favorite quote by Wayne Dyer, who I believe is one of the many great spiritual teachers of our time. He says,

"The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don't know anything about."

It is so true, and it resonates deeply within my bones.

I used to be ignorant to the wonders of extended breastfeeding. I hate to admit it, but it's true.

However, after extensive research, and 14 years of mama-experience, I now realize that it is the way nature intended it to be.

I am saddened by the over-sexualization of breasts in our country. Sad for the babies who are deprived from all of the benefits based on ignorance, my two older children included. Luckily for my third-born, I educated myself, and he continues to nurse as he sees fit at the young age of 31 months.

Lots of love to you and your beautiful family, and keep posting!!! :)

Jamie said...

Well said, Amanda! When someone attacks you like that, all you can hope is that by talking to them about it, they take it to heart and at least don't attack the next person in line. I would have told her just how I felt ;). Whoever wrote that post to you must not understand that worldwide, in this day and age, that is well within the average/acceptable age limit for nursing, except maybe here in the US, where we are all so "smart". Historically speaking, it's right no target with how society has been for thousands of years. You aren't doing anything abnormal or "abusive" and calling it that is just ignorant and sick. I'm sorry you had to deal with "family" like that, though I'd say anyone who treats you like that really isn't family at all.