Struggling with how to be honest without offending. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-07-2010, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok so today for some out of my mind reason I went ahead and read through one of those all to familiar online "fights" about breastfeeding. You know the kind, where someone says that breast milk is best and then a gaggle of people come out and start getting hurt/angry that someone said that formula is a less healthy choice so on and so forth. So as I am reading through it I find myself reflecting on the many breastfeeding conversations I have had with mothers in my own life. I learned early on to only talk about breastfeeding after going through a standard disclaimer that "sometimes women can not breastfeed and formula is of course the next best thing" before I can even say a word about it or I inevitably end up with a very angry mom or two on my hands.

So I started thinking about that today... why do we have to do that??? Should we even do that???

As an example organic fruits and vegetables as well as non-hormone pasture fed dairy and meat and eggs ARE BETTER for my children. Period. I do not however buy this for my family because I honestly can not afford it. Before the huge economic down turn and my husband lost his higher paying job I did buy these things because the choice seemed obvious. I do not now because I can not. Me not being able to provide those foods for my family doesn't suddenly make them somehow less it only means that for now because of my situation I can not use them. Why is breast milk viewed any different? Can we not just acknowledge that breast milk really and truly is better without offering up a million sub text disclaimers?

When my twins are born I have full intentions of exclusively breastfeeding them, as I have my other children. But I also know that there may be very legitimate obstacles in my way. If they have to stay in the NICU what do I do then? I have a history of not being able to get hardly anything from pumping. What if I have a c-section, or for that matter an emergency c-section that I end up getting knocked out for it? That could majorly interfere with the early breastfeeding process. True I will try my ultimate best to breastfeed my twins but if something happens and I end up not being able to? I am not suddenly going to stop believing that breast milk is, in truth, better but only know that I wanted to and could NOT. Why is it consider so offensive and bad to say this?

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
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#2 of 6 Old 08-07-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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Sasha, I must have seen your post, LOL! Except the one I saw had fewer kids.

Honestly, it's just a no-win.

Like, you can't say, "Avoid cosmetic surgery," without someone bringing up the fact that they had to have their boobs reduced for the sake of their back, which is of course NOT cosmetic, it's health-related, and so on.

it is just hard because people are SO sensitive about having to FF when they tried to BF. I don't blame them!

Maybe reverse-phrasing? "It's great that they have refined the substitutes for mother's milk nowadays so even babies of the small percentage of women that can't physically breastfeed their babies, now have a relatively safe option that has some of the benefits breastmilk does. I know a number of children of moms that couldn't BF whose lives were saved this way. If only they could make the same advances in making breastfeeding a more realistic option!"

I posted something like that on FB recently. Sigh. Or maybe that's too passive-aggressive?

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#3 of 6 Old 08-09-2010, 08:46 AM
 
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Well, one thing is that I think many people tend to take things personally - even not using organic foods! You might be less sensitive about this than most - which is a good thing IMO.

But also, as a person who is more like yourself, I did find breastfeeding to be more personal than I expected, especially right at the beginning when I had some trouble. It was so closely identified with my body. It was a bit weird for me actually, since that isn't how I usually think about things. So maybe that is affecting how they are reacting to comments about breastfeeding.

 I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt.
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#4 of 6 Old 08-09-2010, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you both are probably right and appreciate your responses.

I just worry that sometimes we get so wrapped up in making sure not to hurt anyone that the message just gets watered down to such a point that some moms honestly just dont think there is a difference between the two. I receive WIC and I have noticed those sort of conversations over and over again in the waiting room and have to be super super careful if I get involved in the conversation because it can go sour so fast. But basically the conversation will consist of a mom or two or three talking about how they couldn't breastfeed but that everyone said that it was fine because of all the "breakthroughs" they have made with formula it is pretty much the same thing and that it doesnt really make a difference anymore...

It just makes me sad and a little worried that is all. I dont want to hurt anyone but I dont want to water things down to the point were a mom I have spoken with walks away thinking that "Well breastfeeding is nice and all, but in the long run it just doesn't really matter."

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
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#5 of 6 Old 08-10-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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I recently had a conversation with a former student right before she gave birth. I told her that from a biological point of view there is absolutely nothing better than breastmilk. It is good for the baby and it is good for the mother. I listed off a dozen or so general points showing why I said that. Then I told her, "But parenting is about more than just biology. If breastfeeding is making your life a terrible, horrible place to be and you hate your child... nursing is not best for your family. If you cannot maintain your psychological equilibrium while nursing... it is not best for your family. Only you can judge what is truly best for your entire family. A mother who feels connected and loving towards her child is the MOST important thing."

And I believe it. I encourage breastfeeding pretty hard, I talk it up constantly. I'm very focused on it being absolutely the best biological/health decision, but biology is not the be-all-end-all of everything.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#6 of 6 Old 08-10-2010, 01:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
"But parenting is about more than just biology. If breastfeeding is making your life a terrible, horrible place to be and you hate your child... nursing is not best for your family. If you cannot maintain your psychological equilibrium while nursing... it is not best for your family. Only you can judge what is truly best for your entire family. A mother who feels connected and loving towards her child is the MOST important thing."
Excellent point and one I sometimes forget about, thank you for the reminder.

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
and yes, I blog. thumb.gif
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