I have issues with the modern day stance on breast feeding and I feel it sets mother’s up to feel like failures from the moment their wee one(s) comes into the world.
I have two adorable great nephews and eventually I’ll get a picture of Caiden and his mommy and daddy’s permission to share with all of you. Pretty sure that he’s going to be a red head too. For different reasons neither mommy was able to breast feed. And both discussed it with embarrassment and humiliation because they are nearly the same age and the slogan breast is best has probably been beaten into their brains.
However, is shaming and humiliating a month old mommy because of something their body refuses to do, really the way to start their parenting journey?
Immediately they perceive themselves as a failure. A mommy who can’t.
In talking to my own mother, she said when I was born there was no pressure to breast feed it was 1980. It was recommended, but the option to do breast milk or formula was given on day 1 in the hospital and I was an eater, my mom couldn’t produce fast enough for me. By two months old, I had been moved from formula to formula with cereal in it to try and get me full and keep me that way for more than an hour.
See, not every time a mother chooses formula over breast milk it’s because of her, sometimes it’s the baby that’s the problem, like me. But the mother is the one that feels the pressure, she’s the one that has to internalize the feelings of failure. Is it her diet? Is that why she can’t produce more? Is that why her baby isn’t staying full?
I can’t help but think this internalization of failure plays some part in later issues parents have with children. Not because the child wasn’t breast fed, but because mommy felt like a failure from the moment of launch into parenthood, because society tells her that she isn’t doing what is best for her baby.
In my opinion, in the grand scheme of parenthood, breast feeding or not breast feeding seems like a trivial issue, but I’m not a mommy. I am not internalizing the failure that for whatever reason I have to put my baby on formula a week after it’s been born.
And holy Hell the stigma. People were constantly offering Jude’s mommy advice on why she should be breast feeding him. It didn’t matter why she wasn’t. They just judged and offered their advice and opinions as she fixed a bottle with formula in it for him.
Does a mommy who felt like a failure at the birth of their child later indulge the child a little more than she should trying to compensate for her inability to breast feed? Does she later internalize more failures that aren’t actually her fault? For instance, I read an article in Modern Psychology recently about time-outs only working on children with certain personality types, meaning they aren’t universally effective for children. If her child doesn’t have the personality type that time-outs actually curb their behavior, is that then also her failure?
I think this question bugs me a great deal because I am a novice researcher of sociopathic and psychopathic behavior and do not have children of my own for a reason… All children, are basically sociopaths.