Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I don't CARE how you fed your baby!

So as I might have mentioned, I am a serial commenter. I simply cannot leave a newspaper comment box alone; consequently I find myself in some pretty heated "debates" about guns, civil liberties, global warming - all the stuff that I don't normally subject my blog readers to.

One topic that I don't typically get involved in is parenting - especially when it's one group trying to convince the other group that they're loser mothers etc. Really? So tiresome.

However, I wrote a comment on Huffington Post the other day that has received a surprising number of  "likes" and "faves" and things; I would post it here if I could guarantee my own anonymity. (I don't put it past some of my detractors to lob a brick through my window.) The gist of it was however, that most people who denounce stay-at-home mothers, non-breast-feeders or people who didn't do baby-led weaning (whatever that is) are basically just trying to validate their own decisions. They're obviously not on a mission to convert the rest of the world, (Ok, some are), they're just trying to prove to themselves that they made the right choices. I ended by asking why we couldn't all just educate ourselves on the issues, pick a path that feels right, and then have the confidence to stand by that decision without having to demonize people who went in a different direction.

So here's what I think, in a nutshell - I don't bloody well care if you breast fed or bottle fed, and if so for how long. I'm sure it was a very important decision for you, as it should have been. Whether you're a stay-at-home mother or work all the hours god sends in an office fifty miles from home is of no consequence to me, nor will I be impressed if you had a drug-free delivery and grow your own baby food. I'm not even going to tell you what I did in any of those categories. I don't care what you think of my decisions and you shouldn't care what I think of yours.

Do what makes you happy and stop trying to get others to validate your choices.

(I think I'll stay away from commenting about parenting in future. I might offend someone.)

13 comments:

  1. If only every one else followed that advice, the world would be a much calmer (and less bxtchy) place...

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  2. I'm glad you can keep out of these sorts of petty arguments. Re baby led weaning... I couldn't stop laughing when a woman I know told me she was still breast feeding her six year old and I said, "why? we don't live in the third world." And she said, "oh Daisy hasn't asked to stop yet." I wonder if she's still doing it lol

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  3. How funny - when I was working in journalism in London my editor told me: never write about breastfeeding - you'll get poop through the mail. And I never did. Though I might now - just for fun!

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  4. I'm slightly dreading the serial debating that will go on over every single little decision that Will and Kate make about their baby. Perhaps we just won't know about most of it. I hope so. But I doubt they'll be able to keep it completely behind closed doors.

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  5. Oh lord - I hadn't even thought of that. Poor woman. KNowing her luck she won't be able to breast feed and she'll be forever criticised as a deadbeat mother.
    Although she's irritating on a lot of levels, Sarah Ferguson was criticised for leaving her oldest daughter when she was 6 weeks old and going off somewhere with Prince Andrew. It turned out the Queen for some reason, had said she couldn't take the baby. Ditto when Diana missed William's first birthday because she was in Australia.

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  6. Well said. So much of the bluster and judgmental behavior has more to do with people wanting reassurance that they've made the right choice. After all, no one's going to know for years and years anyway. This is the best part of having older kids - all of this eventually stops being a Thing. I do wonder sometimes if all the pressure society puts on women to be super-moms leads them to believe that things like breastfeeding and attachment parenting are the difference between life and death, and maybe that explains why they're so damn militant about their choices in child bearing and rearing. I breastfed and did the organic thing and spoke a second language with #1, and he seems to be a nice, well-adjusted, smart, successful kid. But I'm pretty sure that he would have turned out that way even if I'd bottle-fed him, raised him on Cocoa Puffs and McNuggets and used only English. By the time your children are in their mid-to-late teens, you're a lot humbler, I think, because you realize it's not all about you, and your kid will ultimately do what (s)he is going to do. But you don't know that when you start off. Maybe it's less frightening if you think you can control it all.

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  7. I've come to the conclusion that only those who are currently in the situation are the ones who care (i.e., need to validate their choices). Once your child has grown up and is healthy and well-adjusted, then who the hell cares whether or not you breast/bottle-fed him/her? By then, it is patently obvious that you made the right choice for you and your baby.

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  8. I must admit that in the public health community, the business of conferring maternal immunity is considered a good idea. I do wonder, though, if this is more applicable to an earlier time when general health wasn't as robust as it is now. I can't claim any special insight. I know I wasn't breast fed and I figure I've been as healthy as most folks. But for those who really like to fight for their opinions, I've never known facts to stand in their way.

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  9. It's best to be a well adjusted, sensible, mature parent with a big sense of humor and to not take yourself too seriously. Raising children is not a competition to see who does it best. It already felt that way when I did it 30 odd years ago, so it has nothing to do with modern times. You would not believe the pressure we were all under.

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  10. Yes, it is interesting that I care less now that I'm nowhere near those phases of motherhood, but I was never one for forcing my practices down other people's throats.
    Even when people say they are "just trying to get the message out" or they are "correcting misinformation", I still think they're trying to change minds. Unless it's life and death, people should let other people make their own minds up.

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  11. I am firmly in the camp of "judge ye not". Obviously I make certain parenting decisions, as do we all, but I would hope that people would not assume that by my having taken one path and not the other (dummy vs no dummy, baby-led vs spoon led) that I'm judging the other as not right. I'm just choosing what feels right for ME specifically! I've had many conversations with family and friends, who gently or not-so-gently try to steer me towards their preference, and I find it frankly baffling. To each their own.
    Congrats on being nominated for the BiBs, btw, we are in the same category!

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. I have to admit that when I was breastfeeding I was passionate about it but that's because life was fairly sh**. I was exhausted. For 13 months no-one else could give him milk except for me. It broke me. I was completely single minded about the whole thing and hearing OTT reports from others kept me going. If I'd heard more pragmatism maybe I would have gone for mixed feeding and got a bit of my life back sooner.

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