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Moms Who Choose Breastfeeding Are Thinking About Themselves

Posted by on May. 23, 2013 at 8:29 AM
  • 7 Replies

Moms Who Choose Breastfeeding Are Thinking About Themselves

by Adriana Velez

baby bottleWhat does the way you feed your baby say about what kind of mother you think you are? A whole lot. A new study shows that when first-time moms buy anything related to feeding their babies -- whether it's breast pumps or formula -- they're basing those decisions at least partly on their image of themselves as mothers. So for most moms, it's not just about feeding your baby the best food you can. It's also about feeding your baby in a way that shows what kind of mother you are (or want to be, anyway).

So women who buy nipple shields to help them breastfeed, even when it's excruciatingly difficult, do so partly because they see themselves as "natural" moms. Moms who formula feed may buy organic formula because that helps them see themselves as nutrition-minded, and compensates for not breastfeeding. It's not just about what moms think is the best for their babies.

In a way, I think we already know this. A lot of us, before our babies were even born, had a pretty clear idea of what kind of mom we wanted to be. We had an ideal in our minds, and that ideal came with a whole set of values and philosophies and choices.

I think this is why it's especially painful when a mom who strongly identifies with attachment parenting has trouble breastfeeding. It's not just about wanting to nurse because you believe breast milk is best and that it enables bonding. It's also because that IS what attachment parents do. And if you can't breastfeed, you're going to struggle and feel defensive partly because you won't be seen as a real natural mama.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to conform to these ideals, I think. Obviously we want to get parenting right. And it's helpful and important to have an ideal image of motherhood in mind. But if we're a little more flexible with ourselves, we'll be a lot less stressed. And we may end up buying things we don't need just out of social pressure.

Do you think much about what kind of mother you are, or are trying to be?

by on May. 23, 2013 at 8:29 AM
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by on May. 23, 2013 at 8:42 AM
Before my first child, I didn't even think about what kind of mother I wanted to be cause I didn't want children. When I got pregnant, I knew I wanted to bottle feed no ifs ands or buts about it. But as my pregnancy progressed and I learned about breastfeeding through others and through my doctors, and I realized it was the best choice for my baby, and only then did I decide to breastfeed. But noone told me it was excrusiatingly painful. I only breastfed for five months cause I couldn't handle the pain.
I did breastfeed my second daughter for 2 years. I decided to get pain medicine for it and it helped. I didn't get pain meds with my first even though my doctor offered because I was too scared to hurt her. I was more relaxed with my second and jumped on the offer
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by on May. 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM

I'm not sure what I'm classified as, I pumped and fed the milk via bottle to the baby. Bot were premature and weren't strong enough to breastfeed for months. Honestly that worked best for me even after they were strong enough, my husband could help and they were getting all the benefits of breastfeeding.

by on May. 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Of course I do. While I was pregnant with my son, I heard fairly frequently that I would be a terrible mother, that giving him up for adoption would be so much better, that he wouldn't have a good life with me, or a future. When he was born, I was determined to be the best possible mother for him, and make the best life for him that I could. Every choice I made, I researched, thought about, asked my mother's opinion, and my nurse's and doctor's. I relaxed with that as I got older and went more by instinct, what felt right, what my parents had done that had felt right or gotten the desired result. And yes,  I breastfed, for 14 months. 

by on May. 23, 2013 at 11:43 AM

i think about it all the time am i doing a good job is there something more i should be doing for them ect but breastfeeding or not really didnt have anything to do with  what kind of mom i wanted to be with my son he was 2 1/2 months preemie so breast milk was an obvious choice but when i got an infection in my c-section i had no supply so i had to put him on formula until i could get my supply back. with dd i gave formula/pumped until she decided at 3 months she wanted to nurse so now im breastfeeding her and giving her formula in her cereal and when we are traveling i cant nurse in public she refuses to nurse in public

by on May. 24, 2013 at 12:40 AM

 I nursed all 4 of my babies.

by on May. 24, 2013 at 1:29 AM
1 mom liked this
I used to put a lot of pressure on myself when DS was a baby, and it's definitely added stress! I was also never good enough for myself, especially when I could no longer bf when he was about 9 months old. Over the past couple years, I've calmed down. Now, I do my own thing, never read parenting books and only take advice I've asked for. He'll be 4 in a couple of weeks, and I am very pleased with the boy he's becoming, so I must be doing something right, lol. I realize now that social standards or parenting trends will never be as good as my own instincts.
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by on May. 24, 2013 at 8:45 AM

I do and did think about what kind of mother I am before I had dd. I wanted to breastfeed but had major issues with lack of supply and my milk not coming in fast enough. And I agree, it did really affect me in terms of what kind of parent I was because aside from that I mostly fit the Attachment Parent type. I do think there are a lot of moms who also really want to breastfeed though because they know that it is best for their baby.

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