So this has been an interesting few days in regards to people having opinions on my mothering practices. This has caused me to raise my eyebrows ever so high, and also to chuckle at their ignorance. Deeper down, though, I find myself annoyed and irritated with them, but generally I've been bold enough to tell them to clear off.
Cases in point:
1) On a popular parenting forum I frequent (see right-hand button linking to Mumsnet) I have locked horns with many people over the years and I have enjoyed it! Most recently has been a poster (poster B) who innocently posted ill-informed ideas about why another poster's baby (poster A) was feeding so much. Basically Poster A had a days-old newborn and as such this baby was attached almost constantly to his mothers breast. THIS IS NORMAL. Repeat: THIS IS NORMAL.
Poster A was unsure if all breastfed babies did this and was seeking advice. Poster B, who claims to only have formula fed her babies, states that this is unusual and there must be something wrong with the quality of the Poster A's milk and that the baby would not thrive.
In the most polite way possible I told Poster B to check her facts and butt out, only to be labeled a 'breastfeeding militant' and 'zealous'. Fair enough, and I admit I am a bit of a lactivist, but poor advice like that spoils peoples good intentions to breastfeed and turns more people over to spending £££ on formula their baby would be better without.
So in case either poster is reading this - although I doubt it - and for all you lot who are interested I will explain a few things:-
- A study in Peru found that little babies who were allowed unrestricted access to their mother's breasts fed every 29 minutes. Even if it was just a little drink for thirst, or a longer drink for hunger, the point is these children wanted fed and also the comfort from their mums very often.
- Newborn humans are not a million miles away from other baby mammals, and as such they have tiny bellies which need filled often. If you saw a litter of pups with their mother feeding and scrabbling about for her nipples you wouldn't chastise them and tell them they needed to be taught to wait, you'd just say "awww"and see it as natural. Why is it that humans are put off this idea by other humans?
- Breastfeeding is a comfort and bonding between both the mother-child and the child-mother. Frequent feeding builds supply and builds emotional bonds. That is why anyone who tells me it's weird for my newborn to be attached to my breast whenever he/she needs it will be told to clear off and to keep walking far away from wherever I am.
2) On the aforementioned forum I got into a slight bunfight with a poster when I told her that dummies where 'un-natural'. She told me I had a 'superior attitude' and was bringing the tone of the debate down. Ok lady, fair enough. To clarify, I actually don't have an issue with babies being given dummies and I did buy some for Adam when he was a few months old and going through that period of teething and never sleeping. He didn't ever want a dummy and used to scream at the mere sight of it. In hindsight I'm really glad he didn't take one and I'm not sure if I'd even offer it to this child I'm carrying now.
What I meant by calling dummies un-natural was this: a dummy is a fake nipple which is shoved into a babies mouth to provide comfort and to keep it quiet. Argue with me all you like, but that is the long and short of it. A nipple is a natural part of the body and provides comfort to a suckling baby. On the other hand, the dummy is a man-made version of this to provide comfort but no food. No hugs, skin-to-skin required when giving a dummy, whereas to breastfeed means only the mummy will do and she needs to be there most of the time. It seems that some people have an issue with a mother being at home or around her baby for too long and are constantly pressuring them to lose weight and get back to work. The media is part of it, but it's a wider Western culture too if you think about it.
3) And this really took the biscuit, it happened today and I am kicking myself for not speaking up at the time. I sort of sat there dumbfounded and only managed to tell them that I wouldn't be back for many a month if that was their protocol.
A international parenting group (which I shall not name) is held in a local church hall and I have attended with Adam for around a year. This is a Christian organisation, but I think that is by the by and not relevant to the argument. He loves going there to play with other toddlers and I have enjoyed being in a separate room with other mums to chat and drink tea.
I asked what will happen when my 2nd child is born re breastfeeding as I noticed that all children irrespective of age are looked after by leaders in another room. I had assumed that breastfed babies would be allowed to stay with their mothers, but, oh no, I was wrong.
Allegedly in the past this has offended some formula feeding mums (yes, you read that right) so the protocol is that all children are to stay in the children's rooms and if a child needs fed the mother must either go to the children's play room to feed, or take them elsewhere as mums aren't allowed to breast or bottle feed in the main mothers room. Seriously.
This this offensive to mothers whether or not they breast or bottle feed, but it does set breastfeeding mothers apart for further alienation. Anyone can bottle feed a baby and as the chemicals in formula fill up their stomachs for longer they likely wouldn't need a feed during the hours the club was on.
I pointed out that newborns feed a lot and how I didn't think it was right for a lactating mum to be apart from a baby that young, but I was told that was the practice and that was how it is.
I could be getting het up about a small matter in terms of global issues, but I am a bit peed off being told this by other women, other mothers, some of whom I know have breastfed their children and must have just fallen in line with this.