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Friday, March 18, 2011

Please think before you comment

Welcome to the first Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (March). To celebrate National Women's Month, our participants share how breastfeeding has changed them as a woman. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.

Naima is now 38 months and still nursing. The weaning has not been quite successful and because we are going on a long-haul three-week trip this summer, I don't want to be without my magical defense against hunger, boo-boos etc. - and thus, active weaning is temporarily on hold. After the challenges we faced in our early breastfeeding relationship, I never realized that we would still be nursing beyond 2 years old!

In the early days, I remember walking about topless - to air out my sore nipples and allow Naima easy and frequent access to milk. I didn't think what my relations thought (I lived with my aunt and her family back then). As Mi'Ann of Babymama shared, breasts became like feet - purely functional and, in my case, visible to everyone at home.

And as we reach the toddler nursing stage, I'm again faced with new challenges, such as how to be nice when answering statements as - "she's still nursing?!" or "you still have milk?" accompanied with an arched eyebrow and incredulous voice. Comments such as these started when Naima turned two and I get them everywhere - from my relatives, officemates, strangers, etc. etc. And I find it strange that I have to hear these comments when I see 4, 5, 6 year olds still being bottle-fed!

I had long been planning to share my thoughts on this matter and found the perfect opportunity when Mec suggested the topic for this month's carnival - how breastfeeding has changed me as a woman. Let me start by saying that when I was single, I probably had the same reaction as the people around me. I probably would have encouraged nursing moms to use their breastfeeding cover or lactation rooms in the mall. But all these changed when I had Naima.

So has breastfeeding changed me as a woman? Yes, I say but I'd like to add that breastfeeding has changed me also as a person and has opened my mind to the choices made by each individual. I've learned that some moms may say that they want to breastfeed but do not truly believe in it while others really tried their best but failed at it. I'd like to think that I've learned to keep my mouth shut in front of formula feeding moms and be more circumspect in my comments.

As much as I hate people coming up to me with that "she's still nursing?!" statement, I know that formula feeding moms or mixed feeding moms also feel upset when they hear comments about exclusive breastfeeding, etc. I try to keep my comments to a minimum, unless I am posting in this blog or on my Facebook page or attending a breastfeeding event. I believe that if you are on my blog FB page or at the breastfeeding event, then you are interested in breastfeeding and would be open to comments.

Whether or not you are a breastfeeding mom, this statement applies to you: "please think before you comment": When you talk to a nursing mom, don't ask her if her milk is enough or why her baby at age xx is still nursing. When you talk to a non-breastfeeding mom, don't ask her why she didn't breastfeed or go on about how breastfed babies are better, healthier than formula fed babies.

A lot of breastfeeding advocates may disagree with me but I still believe that breastfeeding is a choice. Rather than disparaging her choice not to breastfeed, let us educate the woman in making the choice. Like me, she may most likely not have been educated about breastfeeding or exposed to the formula-feeding culture. Again, before you comment about that breastfeeding picture or that nursing toddler or that formula feeding mom, think before you open your mouth. And if you've got nothing nice to say, then don't say anything.

Happy International Women's Month, everyone!

Do check out the posts of other Milk Mama Diaries Carnival Participants:

Breastfeeding Changed Me at Apples & Dumplings

The Choice to be More Than a Woman at Mec as Mom [@delisyus and Facebook]

Breastfeeding made me a better and stronger mom...and woman at Ethanmama: The Working Mom...Finding Balance [@ethanmama and Facebook]

Feeling Fab at 40 at I'm Perfectly Created

Supercow Isn't Sexy at Rainy Days and Mom Days [Facebook]

Of Nursing and Self-Awareness at Changing Nappies in High Heels [@Lilly_pad and Facebook]

Same Old Brand New Me at the odyssey of dinna

Juggling Mommy Act: Fully Breastfeeding while Caring for "ME" at Handy Mommy

Breastfeeding and my self-image at Topaz Mommy [@FrancesASales and Facebook]

My Breastfeeding Story at Manila Fashion Observer [@cd_mfo]

Breastfeeding and My Career at Soprano Mom Writes [@touringkitty]

Joining the milkwagon at domestication of dotty b

A Love Story at Misis Teapot [@stellapastores]

Breastfeeding Has Made Me a Better Woman at Truly Rich Mom [@tinasrodriguez and Facebook]

Please think before you comment at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom [@MamaBabyLove and Facebook]


Mec said...

haha sis... ako din with Yakee, nursing was my magical defense. Not quite with Yamee though, hindi cure-all and be-all sa kanya ang boobs ko


applesanddumplings said...

I think when Y gets older and I still nurse her, I'd get the same reaction from the people around me. ;)

And I learned not to give unsolicited advice regarding breastfeeding!

Yenyen King Chan said...

I loved this: "I still believe that breastfeeding is a choice. Rather than disparaging her choice not to breastfeed, let us educate the woman in making the choice."

And also, we need to make it easier for a mother to make that choice. I think society's on the right track naman especially with blogs like yours. :-)

Pittipat said...

Love that comment about breasts being like feet - purely functional and visible to everyone in the home. That applies for me too! Hahaha :)

Jenny said...

actually, it was mi'ann of babymama who made that comment. pero diba, parang no more scandalous concerns? haha

Jenny said...

wow thanks yen!! wala lang.. kase parang daming mommy wars.. kaya shut up na lang ako minsan para walang gulo! ;)

Topaz Mommy said...

Jenny, in answer to your question that you posted on my blog, I think women don't breastfeed more because of lack of information. Why aren't my breasts huge? I've given birth, why don't I have milk? Why am I expressing a few ounces? Am I feeding my baby enough? Why does it hurt? Will it always hurt? Do I really have to breastfeed till my baby's 2 years old? Is an expensive pump the only way to express milk? Etc etc.

Faced with such questions, a new mommy will turn to the "easier" option: formula. I faced those same questions and it was only because I was determined to give Vito full protection from asthma and diabetes. I'm happy that my determination spurred me on through the pain and the sleepless nights! Now, breastfeeding is LOVE!

Handymommy said...

Jenny, I am thinking before commenting! Yes, I agree with you that breastfeeding is a choice. Been to many awkward situations too to question other new moms giving in to formula. Now, I am one with you in being polite to those who ask in surprise why Im still breastfeeding my toddler! No sign of weaning too. Thanks for this post!

Tina Santiago Rodriguez said...

I totally agree with your post Jenny! :-) I have also learned to "think before I comment" and keep my mouth shut too when it comes to formula-feeding moms. I still get the occasional "What? She still breastfeeds?" and other comments and looks whenever Rysse nurses or wants to nurse.

Also, because she has turned out to be not as tall or "chubby" as Tim was at her age now, some people are saying that maybe breastfeeding her is not such a good idea anymore, and I should try formula feeding na. Believe me, I would be lying if I said that there were no times that I was tempted! But joining this Carnival has made me realize again that I should just let go of all my apprehensions about Rysse (is she gaining enough weight? is she tall enough for her age? etc etc) and just enjoy our breastfeeding journey together!

Thanks again to you and Mec for coming up with this. Anyone offered to host the next carnival yet? :-)

dee(denis) fr n@w said...

hi jenny. i envy you. as early as reich and manuel turned 1yo i started getting arched eyebrows and incredulous looks when ppl hear i planned/plan to bf more. and now i want to aim for 2yo for manuel (i only gave bmilk to reich till 15months) and i feel i have to explain myself every single time. sometimes i even get that vibe that it's the lazy way, that's why i've chosen this. of all the choices i've made as a mom, bf is the last thing a lazy mom would choose. -dee (of denis) fr n@w

Kim rodriguez said...

Thanks for this post Jenny! I get those comments too now that my baby turned 1 and still breastfeeding him. I want to be defensive at times. I admit that I also get affected by those comments. I even tried giving my baby formula na. Good thing that he doesn't like it.

Mac-mac Chica said...

I can totally relate!!! I hate the thought of being asked with raised eyerbrows especially from mothers as well. I still can remember and will never forget when I went with my then 25month old baby (now 28M) to Australia for a vacation and we were having (an all girls only) a High Tea, when I popped my breast in front of them, my sister in law, in a very irritating and annoying tone asked me to stop what I'm doing and I was so ashamed because everyone was looking at me!! I so hate her! Good thing, the other girls told me that what I'm doing is a good thing since I was bringing a breastfeeding cover and that made my SIL stopped annoying me and she was, I think, embrassed as well. And to think of, she is a Doctor.

Tin said...

Great post Jenny! We are also in the toddler nursing stage and Berry & I get teased good naturedly about how Berry is too big to be breastfeeding na. But we choose to continue until we are ready to wean. It's true what you said, breastfeeding is a choice, the same way formula feeding is. It's respecting each others decisions and the best we can do is share our experiences with other moms and soon to be moms, in the hopes that our stories will encourage them to do the same. Thanks to you and Mec for this! =)

next9 said...

I totally agree with "bfg is a choice". And as a bfg counselor, I'm hoping that I can convince people who talk to me that bfg is the RIGHT choice. Hahahaha!

And I will be the last to comment. Mine breastfed till 4 (I know of some kids who have bfd longer) and still gropes. Hahahaha!

Good luck with weaning!

Nathalie Velasco said...

Miss Jen! This is one of your best entries :) Ang galing! Is it still ok to join the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival for next month? I have a private blog but I plan to start one that I can share publicly :)

Jenny said...

thanks nats! yes please do, actually if you want to submit even outside the carnival, most welcome. you can guest post on my blog :D

Manilamommy said...

i love this post! and yes we should end the us vs them mentality between moms who exclusively breastfeed vs those who can't or those who chose not to. motherhood is difficult as it is and we moms need to band together so that we can give whatever is best for our kids. great work jenny :) super mom ka talaga :D

Caroline Gothong-Ong said...

Hi Jenny, i salute you =) youre an awesome Momma =) love your article as well! =)

lovingmomentsofbf said...

Yes fellow breastfeeding mothers! Let's educate the bottle believers into doing what's right; my three children love the mothers true milk, and always have. It's an emotional and wonderful time when my 9 month old, 7 year old, and 10 year old children come to mommy for that special time where ever we are. It let's me know, as a mother, I've done right throughout the years. Keep up the work!

Julia Mangan said...

I really like what you've said here. I completely agree that feeding is a choice and that education is what is so important.

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