Sorry, Did I Offend You By Listening To My Own Voice?

Photography: Victoria Gloria Photography

By Sofie Thomson

As a breastfeeding mother I have had endless amount of advice. Not advice I’ve asked for but advice I’ve been given out of the blue – sometimes when breastfeeding, sometimes when I was quietly minding my own business and sometimes when I just needed a shoulder to cry on.

The advice was pretty much the same but offered in different forms of breastfeeding contempt:

  • “A little formula will help him sleep”, and “If daddy could give him a bottle it would help them bond.”
  • “Don’t you want to be able to leave him for a bit/overnight?”
  • “He isn’t putting on enough weight, he needs some formula.”
  • “Your milk isn’t enough, he is constantly hungry.”
  • “Is it not time to move on to cow’s milk now?”
  • And my all time favourite: “You know boys that are breastfed for more than two years get psychological issues as adults.”

And so it continued…..

Every time someone asked me a question, my polite reply (such as, “She feeds every two hours now”) was followed by advice based on the assumption that because I had made choices different from theirs, I needed help, advice to guide me along the bumpy roads of motherhood.

This was the opposite of what I needed.

I needed people to respect my choice to breastfeed, even when that choice was to continue to breastfeed until my son self-weaned.

I had been a formula-feeding mother whom spent every hour of her new baby’s life trying to express milk or make up bottles – and I dealt with the challenges that came with that, alongside the maternal guilt I felt daily for failing in the basic ability of feeding my child.

Compared to that, breastfeeding felt like a breeze.

No, I didn’t need to add in bottles because my baby was displaying normal cluster feeding behaviour – I needed some good box sets to keep me entertained for hours on end.

I didn’t need to give him formula to make him sleep, I needed to be spared the unrealistic ideas and comments regarding infant sleep.

And no, I didn’t need to stop when I got mastitis, cracked nipples or blebs – I needed advice on breastfeeding positioning.

I needed people to respect my choice to breastfeed, even when that choice was to continue to breastfeed until my son self-weaned.

Funny thing is, as a formula-feeding mother I never got this type of advice, no one ever told me to introduce breastfeeding to my daughter to settle her.

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