I’m embarrassed to admit I breastfeed. That might sound a bit suspect as if you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I’m a huge advocate of breastfeeding and have written about my experiences many times.
Like most new Mums I started out with cautious anticipation, I hoped to be able to breastfeed Luisa. I didn’t know how long it would work out for but I was playing things by ear. As time went on we really had no problems, despite her low birthweight and emergency delivery she took to it like a pro. I wouldn’t say I’m #blessed but I do think we were both very fortunate not to have come up against many of the physical obstacles you hear about.
I can honestly say in two years I have had one negative reaction to feeding Luisa in public. I’ve had a few awkward moments along the way, sure, but those were more about me and I how I was feeling than anyone else.
So where are we now and why am I feeling embarrassed?
Well, I’m still breastfeeding a two year old. She is an intelligent, stubborn and vocal little girl. She will ask to for ‘Meemy nummy nums’ if she’s hungry, tired or upset. If I explain it’s not a good time sometimes she accepts that but sometimes she’ll throw a tantrum and tug at my clothes until I relent. It can be embarassing, yeah but that’s not the real problem.
The reason I’m embarrassed to admit I breastfeed is because, lately, I have been exposed to a rather dark side of the internet. There are countless amazing online networks and groups offering support to Mums on their breastfeeding journey. But as usual with the internet, things get out of hand.
I’m going to have to use some words here which I never thought i’d write as they are not complimentary but I need to make sure we’re on the same page.
Breastapo. Bressure. Lactavists. Breastfeeding Nazis.
Are you with me now? Lately I have seen women within these (generally fantastic) Facebook groups seek out and target mothers, companies and organisations online with the sole purpose of attacking them verbally. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for speaking up. If a supermarket has an illegal formula promotion running or a public figure makes a deragotory comment about breastfeeding – by all means, call them out. What I cannot stand is when keyboard warriors come in droves to belittle and accuse other parents of being ‘wrong’ ‘stupid’ ‘duped’ ‘selfish’ etc.
I mean what the actual?! Who on earth thinks that it’s okay to bully people for the way the choose to feed their children?
So this is my issue, I’m embarrassed to identify with this community because a small but very vocal minority are hell bent on tearing others down online at any cost. I used to love these suportive communities, it was a joy to give and receive advice. But now?
Well now i’m breastfeeding a toddler. And with that comes an assumption that I am also one of those cruel people whos mission is to guilt other mothers at every opportunity. That isn’t my bag.
Yes i’m happy with my own choices but all I want for you is knowledge to inform yourself with, support to make the best decision for you and the confidence to know you’ve done the right thing.
So, please don’t tar me with the same brush. I’m not about to go off on a rant on your Instagram photo or send you a bitchy text. But if you ever do want to talk about breastfeeding – how to start, problems, techniques, expressing, clothes to wear, how to stop – I am here and I would love to chat to you.
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