Here come the “Sanctimonious Mums”

Photography:Victoire Moulene Photography

By Sofie Eriksson

Today, I read an article. It was an article about a mother who had tried to breastfeed, but had been unable to. It didn’t explain why the mother and baby had issues, just what responses she had received after posting on a “mummy page” that she was turning to formula. The responses where in line of  “Is there anything you need? Can I help in anyway? Have you seen an IBCLC? Did you try a new diet? Did you do lots of skin to skin? Have you tried nipple shields or pumping?” 

Is there something wrong with these questions?  

The article states that asking these kind of questions is judging the mother. That these questions are somehow telling the mother that she isn’t good enough and that she hasn’t done enough.

WHAT?  

I was unable to breastfeed my first. The lack of support combined with inverted nipples made it impossible for us. We went through hell. I was determined to breastfeed. I expressed and I used an SNS system. By the time I heard about nipple shields my daughter had developed a bottle preference and as I’d never heard that I could feed her with a cup, I did what I thought I had to and fed her with a bottle.

My heart is  broken as a result of not being able to breastfeed my daughter and she is now almost 7 years old. The pain has never gone away.

I wish that someone had asked me if I’d seen an IBCLC. I wish that someone had told me about nipple shields, and I wish that I had known that there are things you can do to increase milk supply.

I WISH SOMEONE HAD ASKED ME THESE QUESTIONS.  

If a mother tells me she is  struggling, I ask similar questions to those mentioned above. I do not ask them as part of some plan to degrade her and make her feel useless. I ask out of concern and a wish to support. I would ask these questions knowing that maybe, just maybe, if someone had asked me these things, I would have had other alternatives and things to try- maybe I would have been able to breastfeed my child. To pass concern and care over as “judgement” is upsetting to say the least and it is to me, so confusing.

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