Collectively, I have breastfed for 6 years and 1 month over the space of 2 kids and over that period of time I have come across a lot of amazing people and a lot of dicks. I’ve had people tell me how amazing it is that I’ve managed to battle through the struggles I have, I’ve had people look at me as though I was bare ass naked having a shit in the street when I was feeding my first baby in the car, I’ve had health professionals praise me, I’ve had a doctor say that when they get teeth it’s time to stop (that one still makes me laugh). Hell, I’ve had someone inbox my bloody boyfriend saying they were offended about me posting anything about breastfeeding online and then later on proceeded to say they even found my tweets about how proud I was to have managed to reach another milestone/etc (because breastfeeding is fucking hard!) offensive too.
So here is my list of 5 things I hate about being a breastfeeder. I could have thought of WAY more but lets keep this one short and sweet shall we:
1. The judging. Oh GOD, the judging. I am literally so sick to death of seeing people calling breast feeders disgusting, child abusers, being told to leave restaurants, shops, cafes. No, no, no and no. Why is it that everyone loves a pair of tits until they’re being used for what nature intended?
Also the presumption that breastfeeding past a certain age is “for the mother”, let me just clear that one up on behalf of all mothers who are currently breastfeeding an older baby/child: HELL NO IT ISN’T. It’s exhausting, time consuming and as anyone who has ever breastfed a toddler or older child will know, it’s mostly having your nipples ripped off as they spin their heads round at the Peppa Pig theme tune and being kicked in the face while having your eyeballs pulled about.
Most Mums don’t set out to breastfeed a child of 2, 3 or 4+ it just sort of happens. Breastfeeding does have health benefits for Mum, yes, but the actual act of breastfeeding a child is for the child. To comfort, soothe and nourish the child. The immunity benefits of breast milk don’t just stop at a certain age, just as broccoli doesn’t stop being healthy as soon as a kid reaches 3 years old. Breast milk is forever changing, altering itself to custom fit that individual child. Also, milk teeth are called milk teeth for a reason, once a child loses a tooth most will also lose their ability to latch onto the breast.
2. The name calling. Breastfeeding Brigade, Breastfeeding Nazi, Breastfeeding Police, Nipple Nazi…OH F*CK OFF. Comparing Nazis, who are guilty of genocide, to people feeding their kid is tasteless at best. It’s offensive and abusive and when, and only when, breastfeeding mothers start mass murdering people who don’t breastfeed or drop bombs on the formula aisle will it become acceptable to use such terms.
3. The assumption that we think formula is the devils piss. Definitely not. Formula is awesome, it saves lives. Bloody expensive, but awesome and just because someone supports and is passionate about breastfeeding, does not, in any way, shape or form, mean they are anti formula. Or Nazis. Or whatever else. There will always be the high horse dwellers but they will be dicks whatever path they choose.
4. When people say I’m lucky to be able to breastfeed. I’m not lucky. My boobs work, woo!, but “lucky” implies that it’s a walk in the park and it is so not a walk in the park. I work bloody hard at fighting breastfeeding aversion, D-MER and pain (still! Although only normally for a week around my period) and “lucky” kind of shits on the sleepless nights, the skin crawling, the bleeding nipples, the mastitis, the blocked ducts, tongue and lip tie issues. The nipple blanching, the vasospasms, the food sensitivities, the ulcerated nipples, the sleepless nights and toddler nursing gymnastics. Even without any problems it’s still bloody hard. “Lucky” just doesn’t give any justice to the sheer, exhausting determination it takes to even attempt to breastfeed a child.
5. The assumption that because we are breastfeeding that we think we are better than those who don’t. Let me just say this on behalf of 99% of breastfeeding women: We are not better than anyone, we don’t think we are better than anyone, we don’t want anyone to feel guilty we just wanna feed our babies.
Trust me, if you are reading this and feel judged for not breastfeeding then please don’t. Why you didn’t, doesn’t matter, you don’t need to validate your reason for choosing not to and no one thinks any less of you, I promise. It makes me so sad whenever someone explains to me why they couldn’t breastfeed like they need to prove that they have a legit reason. Any reason that meant you weren’t happy with your decision is a legit reason. Don’t beat yourself up, breastfeeding or not you’re still f**king badass <3