A friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday that she felt guilty about stopping nursing at eight months. Please note the fact that her little boy is healthy, happy and developing perfectly well. She felt awful about her decision to try another method for feeding. I felt compelled to reply to her post…
CrazyMomK: I felt guilt after 3 months. I know people who felt guilt after a year. Moral of the story: GUILT means you’re a mom. You will feel guilty and nervous about every decision you make for the rest of your life because you want the best for your kids. Nurse or not? Work or not? Preschool or not? Public or private school? Just know that you’re giving the best that you can and that’s how you know you’re a good mom. Baby L knows he has a momma and daddy who love him- and that’s all that’s important.
As moms, we will ALWAYS question our decisions. We will ALWAYS wonder if we did the right thing. At the end of the day, we just want the approval that we’re good moms. I have two kids. With my first, I was terribly nervous about breastfeeding. No one in my family had breastfed and I didn’t know what to expect. People made it sound all wonderful and like a bonding experience. Truth be told, one week after Bones was born, I went to the pediatrician for her checkup, and I had a total breakdown. Nursing was the hardest thing I’d ever done. I thought it was so much harder than birthing a baby, and I was sure that my poor girl was starving.
I saw a wonderful lactation consultant, who helped some, but we both struggled. I learned that it was just as much the baby who needed to learn, but I didn’t feel that super special bond between mom and baby. So I pumped. A lot. I felt like the fattest dairy cow known to man as I hooked those bottles up every day. I kept diligent about my supply. When I went back to work as a teacher, I realized that maintaining my pumping schedule would be extremely hard, so I decided to wean Bones after 3 months. I remember the guilt. She’s such a tiny baby, maybe she needs the extra nutrients. She won’t be okay without her mommy’s milk. All of my other friends who are staying at home are nursing, I should do the same thing too. What I didn’t know, was how much I needed to get my head out of the toilet.
With my second, I was pretty much sure I didn’t want to breastfeed because my experience with the first was less than magical. So, I told my doctor I didn’t want to, especially if I was going back to work so soon (7 weeks). I did always have that thought in the back of my head that if I REALLY wanted to, I would try. As it turned out- Skin was born and had a genetic disorder that doesn’t allow him to process galactose. Galactose is in cow’s milk and breast milk. He was in that VERY small percentage of kids who can’t drink their own mother’s milk. I think it was God’s way of telling me not to have a nervous breakdown about dropping the breast milk issue. Of course, now he’s huge, fat, and happy. I’ve finally realized that as long as you’re doing something, you’re usually doing something right.
(image taken from Time.com)
So, to my middle school bestie, and all of the other moms who struggle… just face it: You’re going to be guilty for the rest of your life. It’s normal. It means that you’re a mom.