Alicia - posted on 08/12/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )
I am not posting this in anyway to be controversial, just voicing some thoughts I have had lately. I am just looking for some friendly discussion and thoughts...
I find in the "breastfeeding camp" there are many people who shout their opinions from the rooftops. There are usually two sides--people who think people should exclusively breastfeed and should do it until the child shows signs of weaning, and there are people who think it is good, but once a child is able to "ask" for it, it is inappropriate, or even after just a few months it is inappropriate. BUT then there are a whole slew of us in the "middle"--I think it is a wonderful thing to breastfeed, I understand the medical and emotional benefits, I am thrilled I did it with my son and hope to do it with all my children. I am committed to it, but I also hope never to judge anyone else's situation. I offer my opinions when asked, but try to be sensitive. If some one wants to nurse well into the toddler years, I applaud that fully; if someone just can't nurse (for whatever reason), I do not make them feel guilty but offer advice and support. I know many people who gave it their all but could not do it. I know people who never tried. I know people who do it for years with great success. I know people who started and then stopped for "personal" reasons. I also know that sometimes, despite those reasons, they may still have been able to nurse but chose not to. The saddest situation are the people who just do not even try because the "vibe" they get from the "breastfeeding world" is not a positive one, but overwhelming and judgmental. I guess I just wish there was a more welcoming feeling overall to those who are unsure, uninformed/misinformed, afraid, hesitant for what ever reason, and I think it starts with those of us who do breastfeed. How do we offer advice, spread knowledge, break the stereotypes--and do it all compassionately and sensitively without making people feel badly? Even within our "circle" there are times when someone asks a question and instead of getting an answer to the question, she is lectured, bombarded with info, and, intentionally or not, judged. We do not always know each other's motivations for stopping "too soon" or weaning "too early," etc, but we are not here to judge--we are here to support and encourage.