This subject keeps coming up time and again, and I guess it always will, as it has since time began.
Who knows best? Who has the right to comment or intervene in or pass judgment on a mother and child’s relationship?
Certainly, if a mom is an abusive, neglectful, or downright dangerous mom then, comments, judgment, and intervention are not only appropriate but also necessary.
As parents we are faced with endless decisions and choices we must make on behalf of our children. Vaccinations. Organic food. Holistic medicine. Unprocessed foods (i.e. unpasteurized goats milk.) Fast food. Formula. Breastfeeding. Sugar. Fat. All hot button topics, but none more so than breastfeeding vs formula feeding.
The same formula company that made the “mommy wars” commercial has done it again, only this time they interview moms who talk first with the interviewer, then with each other, about being judged. Judged for a feeding formula.
The people who weigh in on the subject of breastfeeding obviously care enough to comment about it. They want all babies and moms to reap the benefits of breastfeeding, as do I.
But it’s not that simple. Breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone. Judge not!
Some women are not able to breastfeed due to various physical limitations, one being insufficient breast tissue (not common but it happens) Infertility, hormonal imbalances, and so on. For some women, there are psychological or emotional barriers that can’t be overcome. Some women are able to breastfeed or provide breast milk to their babies, but also have to supplement with formula.
And then there are women who absolutely could breastfeed but choose not to. Does that disappoint me? Yes, it does. Just as by failing to exercise regularly I disappoint those who do exercise on a regular basis. I know I should do it, and I have for months on end sometimes, only to stop for a variety of reasons. Just like breastfeeding, I know that exercising is one of the best things for good health. Do I think women who don’t breastfeed are bad moms? No, I truly don’t. Is she selfish for choosing not to breastfeed? Perhaps. But then again, we are all selfish to a degree. If we weren’t we couldn’t survive. Mom has to be happy in order for the baby to be happy.
All I can do, all anyone who is an advocate of breastfeeding can do, is to provide information, education, and support, then take a step back. Think about “the golden rule.” To paraphrase an interpretation of the golden rule that I recently read, it is not necessarily about telling us how to act. The golden rule may be meant to nudge us into realizing that we are self-absorbed and don’t think about how our behavior impacts other people. We all judge each other because we all have opinions about right and wrong. However, we should do each other the courtesy of keeping our opinions to ourselves! Judge not!
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“Normally we interpret the golden rule as telling us how to act. But in practice its greater role may be psychological, alerting us to everyday self-absorption, and the failure to consider our impacts on others. The rule reminds us also that we are peers to others who deserve comparable consideration. It suggests a general orientation toward others, an outlook for seeing our relations with them. At the least, we should not impact others negatively, treating their interests as secondary.” ~ Bill Puka