Here is the thing that is starting to really infuriate me and confuse me at the same time.
Breastfeeding mothers feel judged by formula feeding mothers. The “breastapo” “or sanctimonious” are common insults thrown at breastfeeding mums who are eager to help other mums breastfeed.
Formula feeding mothers feel judged by breastfeeding mothers, many argue that “fed is best” and want to support those who are struggling with guilt over bottle feeding.
But neither of these groups have ever felt the judgment that come down on someone who breastfeeds a baby past his first year of life. When we pass two years we are reaching the milestone for what many consider “disgusting“. At the age of three, breastfeeding is “unnatural and wrong“, and at the age of four it’s “abuse and sick”. Breastfeed past this and society deems you a pervert!
So many are quick to condemn breastfeeding, yet no one condemns the abuse of mothers who are breastfeeding until natural term.
I was a formula feeding mother and I never passed judgement on a breastfeeding mother.
I was a breastfeeding mother and not once did I criticise or attack a formula feeding mother.
Now I am a natural term, breastfeeding mother and I have to tolerate judgement from both communities? Suddenly you get told “this is why I bottle fed” or “I breastfed for a year but that’s just wrong“.
Here’s the thing – feeling judged over decisions we believe to be the absolute best choices for our children is awful and the only way we can step away from this horrid circle of criticism is by deciding to accept that everyone is different and that we all lead different lives with different challenges.
We make decisions which suit us and as long as we make sure these decisions are well informed then they are justified.
Tonight I will go to sleep anxious that I’ve shared this. Anxious that I will receive more abuse. Yet I feel pride that I’ve spoken up for my son and his needs.
Should something that is so natural really have to be hidden? Who am I hurting by breastfeeding my young child?
My children are my world, unfortunately this cruel world does not deserve them.
The only way to stop this ongoing abuse towards each other is by taking a step back and choosing to accept that we are not all the same and we do not make the same choices but as long as the choices we make are informed, no one else has a right to complain.
Lead with empathy, and treat others with respect. After reaching rock bottom it can only get better!
Sofie Thomson is a writer, breastfeeding advocate and (breastfeeding) peer supporter from Sweden, now living in the Scottish Highlands with her husband and children. Since completing her degree in Child and Youth Studies, she has focused on encouraging parents to follow biological norms and trust their natural parenting instincts via her blog – The Gentle Mum. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.