Monday, 14 March 2016

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.


Being judged is something that we all experience at one point or another - this can happen at any age;  from being judged for playing with the "wrong" gender toys when you're a child, to not going to the "cool" clubs at 18.

There's no doubt in my mind that I have been judged at some point, and I am ashamed to say that I have judged others. However, I truly believed that this was something that was non-existent between mothers - we are all in the same boat and support each other, surely?

As it turns out, I was very wrong - I have never felt more judged than what I do now. From the moment I announced my pregnancy there were raised eyebrows - "But you've only been together just over a year", "Clearly it wasn't planned", "You're only 25"  and so the list goes on. It eventually got boring having to tell people it was a planned pregnancy, which again resulted in raised eyebrows.
When my daughter was born, again I was judged. Mainly by strangers for not having a ring on my finger, for being "young" (baby face problems) and for buying formula.

One incident made me stop and think. I was minding my own business in the Tesco baby aisle, stocking up on formula. At this point, a woman turned and spoke about how I wasn't doing what was best for my daughter by feeding her formula. At the time I laughed it off, but later that day I got angry and upset. Unfortunately I was unable to breast feed my daughter - does that make me a bad mum? I always knew there was a chance I wouldn't be able to and when I couldn't I moved on and accepted it. Fortunately my reason wasn't down to anything sinister, but for all that woman knew it could have been. 

Many women are unable to breastfeed for many reasons, including mastectomies and illnesses/infections. In my case, I was one of the 1-5%* of women who are unable to produce enough milk - any milk in my case. This didn't happen until around 3-4 weeks after her birth and by that point she was settled on the bottle. 

After the "breast is best" debate, it comes down to weaning - baby led or purée? As far as I am concerned, as long as my baby is happy and fed then surely that's all that matters? I was a self confessed wimp with baby led weaning, so I opted for purée. My daughter is now a food lover and purée did her no harm at all.

Other debates include sling or pram, dummy or no dummy, co sleeping or cot, jabs or no jabs, the list goes on.

For me, my daughter was formula fed, weaning started at 16 weeks, she has a dummy that she barely uses now, we have a pram, mix co sleeping with cot sleeping and she has her jabs. And do you know what? She's perfectly happy and healthy. She's following the 91st centile and health visitors have commented on how advanced she is for her age.

Mothers need to stop harping on about how their way is the "right way" - provided that the baby is safe, then you do what is best for your baby and also respect other mothers choices, even if you don't agree with it.


* breastfeedingbasics.com

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