So, I stumbled upon a Twitter thread from Chrissy Teigen this evening that got me fired up. I’m going to share screenshots below, just to make life a little easier for all of us:
I didn’t realize what a hot topic breastfeeding was until I became pregnant with my son. By then, a few of my friends had also had children, so breastfeeding—and feeding babies, in general—did come up in conversation, but it hadn’t occurred to me that they may have felt pressure to feed their children in any particular way.
One of my friends was pretty upset that she wasn’t able to breastfeed her baby. While I talked to her about her feelings and tired to understand, my pre-baby self just chalked it up to her new mom feels, and tried to reassure her as best I could that as long as her baby was being fed, it shouldn’t matter how she did it. I would later come to understand her A LOT better when my time came.
Something about my birth story that I don’t talk about often is that Miles went nearly a whole day without eating anything. Ultimately, this is inconsequential, because if you know me personally, or follow me on social media, then you are aware that my little chunko is doing JUUUST FINE in the food intake/growth department. However, to this day, when I think about it, I still feel the sting of guilt I did when the nurse told me that I wasn’t actually producing any milk yet—so all that breastfeeding I thought I was doing was essentially practice.
So many people casually asked me if I was going to breastfeed when I was pregnant. To be fair, I have always tried to be an open book about my entire pregnancy, so I answered honestly, and without giving it much thought. However, I feel like all the questions planted the seed in my mind that I should breastfeed, or that I needed to.
I had always hoped to breastfeed. But to be honest, it wasn’t because I wanted to bond with my baby, or because I thought it would be the best for him. I just figured it would save us a bunch of money, and who am I to turn away free food?
When we were at the hospital, hearing that I hadn’t produced anything yet (which was totally normal), gave me so much anxiety. Suddenly I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed like I’d hoped, but now the money-saving aspect was irrelevant. I just felt like a bad mom who was failing her baby. But why?!
Fed is best. Period. So why are we all so concerned about how people choose to feed their babies? I want to say that more often than not, asking about whether someone is/plans to breastfeed isn’t coming from a judgmental place. But can we maybe leave it out of the conversation unless it’s brought up by the expectant parents? And maybe yeah, let’s not judge people for feeding their babies with a bottle (whilst assuming it’s formula), but then also judge them if they’re out in public breastfeeding their baby.
I think that if you want to be concerned about someone, it should be your pregnant pal and how she plans on feeding herself once the baby comes. Parents will always find a way to feed their babies. What we may not always do though, is take care of ourselves, because our primary focus has become our child. If it wasn’t for a combination of takeout, pre-cooked meals I made before I gave birth, and A LOT of food delivered to us by our friends and family in those first few weeks, Kane and I might have starved. Miles however, was doing great and eating like a champ!
Look, we’re all just trying our best. Miles is primarily breastfed, but those first few days when I was waiting for my milk to come in, and he was exclusively on formula, were so so so stressful. I felt like my body was failing me, and that I was failing my baby. If I wasn’t so worked up about it, my milk might have come in sooner—a wild guess I’m going to make, considering stress is supposed to be the number one culprit for lowering milk supply.
So like Chrissy Teigen said, “you are doing it right if your baby is fed, mama.” And the rest of us can just mind our business.
End rant. If you made it this far, thanks for sticking around! Be nice to your friends with kids—it’s tough out here in these streets!