Please Stop Shaming Breastfeeding Mums

Posted by Daisy Burton on


It feels like there has always been a mummy war of words between breastfeeding mums and formula feeding mums and with the rise of social media and the trend for breastfeeding selfies the battle ground has become even more active. It seems like every time a breastfeeding selfie is posted online it is followed by war cries from a tribe of formula feeding mums. Surely, we should be united by the simple fact that we are all doing a fantastic job in raising our babies, which, let’s face it, is a damn hard job. 

It appears that if you breastfeed, you are offending someone. If you formula feed, you are judged. No matter what you do, in someone's eyes, you are wrong. 

But does that mean that if I am proud of breastfeeding and I post on my Facebook account that I am proud of having breastfed for x amount of months that I am somehow shaming a mum who doesn't breastfeed? That rather than simply being proud I am instead smug and arrogant, whilst gloating at those, who for one reason or another chose not to breastfeed? I think not, but not everyone agrees.

Some seem to think that in posting breastfeeding photos and memes, etc. that are pro-breastfeeding, you are shaming mums who cannot or chose not to breastfeed (or alternatively, that you are some crazy earth mum but that is a subject for a different post).

I would liken it to this: why is it ok to call someone slim, 'skinny' but it is not deemed acceptable to call someone overweight 'fat'. Why is it ok to shame breastfeeding mums but not to make comment to a formula feeding mum about her choice of feeding her baby?  (For the record, I think neither are acceptable, as long as the baby is being fed and is happy then all is good).

A friend and I were discussing this topic the other day and she likened it to running a marathon. She asked me whether I would (hypothetically) shoot down a Facebook post where a friend had uploaded pictures of themselves completing a marathon, if I had attempted the marathon the previous year but gave up due to injury or fatigue. My response: of course I wouldn't. I would be full of praise and I would feel happy that this person had achieved their goals.

Breastfeeding is very much like running which is why I liked this analogy so much. It is painful in the early days, extremely exhausting but it does get easier and therefore an achievement to be proud of. 

We all need to stop taking things so personally. Just because I'm proud of breastfeeding doesn't mean I'm shaming anyone in any way and I'm almost certain the same applies to every other nursing mum.

Again, we really ought to stand united on the fact that we are all doing an amazing job in raising our babies, however they are fed. We need to stop judging one another and taking things personally, and finally we need to put down any weapons of war, because at the end of the day this really isn't a war worth fighting. We are all just mums trying to do our best, and that should be cause for celebration, not bickering and debate.  

Until next time

Daisy, x

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