Do Not Call Me a â€śSanctimommyâ€ť: How Modified Attachment Parenting and Exclusive Breastfeeding Works for My Family
According to the definition on Wikipedia; Sanctimommy is a portmanteau of two words, sanctimonious and mommy. The word is a colloquialism used to refer to a person, usually a female, who has very opinionated views on child rearing and presents them upfront without any sense of humility. I am definitely a â€śsanctimommy.â€ť I just find this word incredibly offensive and demeaning.
When I speak about breastfeeding I do so with the intention of disseminating information that could potentially help someone to try breastfeeding, continue breastfeeding, or feel comfortable nursing in public (in whatever way is most comfortable for her and baby). With so many â€śboobie trapsâ€ť I feel that it is even more important to stand up and shout the falsehoods down, and while I wonâ€™t be doing any shouting anytime soon I do try my best to correct misinformation as best as possible. Does this mean that I think that people who use formula are bad people? Not at all! My issue has never been with the feeding method, but with the claims that motherâ€™s who advocate for breastfeeding are â€śbreastfeeding Nazisâ€ť (a hated term by the breastfeeding community), â€ślactivists,â€ť and according to one doctor/blogger â€ślacto-fascists.â€ť I admit that there are those that go too far, but the same can be said regarding a society that says that â€śbreast is bestâ€ť in one breath while demonizing a nursing mother for feeding her child in public.
Breastfeeding, for my family and myself is one of the best decisions that I could have made. Not only am I giving my daughter the food that I was designed to give her, but I am providing her closeness, a sense of security, and a lessened risk for many diseases and disorders. I am also lessening my risk for diseases, particularly breast cancer. This is particularly important as my grandmother on my fatherâ€™s side had breast cancer and thus I am at increased risk. I have also chosen to breastfeed because it makes financial sense. My husband and I do not qualify for the nutrition program WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) and we have decided that unless formula is absolutely necessary we would prefer to use the monies instead on paying off debts. Although I have bought a high end Medela Pump this will not come close to what I would have spent over the course of her first year. Another reason for my breastfeeding is that even though I am married I am essentially the primary care provider. My husband, often working 12+ hours a day and requring uninteruppted sleep due to the demands of his job, is only able to care for baby in the evenings and on the weekends (when he finally comes home from deployment). It makes no sense for me to use formula and bottles when I make exactly what she needs (though I have been pumping in order to create an emergency/â€ťdate nightâ€ť stash) without adding to the plethora of things that I already need to clean and organize. That is not to say that Iâ€™ve had an easy time breastfeeding. I have had issues with infant jaundice, dehydration (did some supplementing with formula at that point), and a supply that took nearly two weeks of incredible perseverence to coax in. I plan on writing about that in another post.
In no way do I feel that I am better than another mother just because I breastfeed, and I find the idea that I would somewhat insulting. I think that all moms deserve respect for doing the best that they can with the resources and information that they have. My only goal is to help correct the myths and do my part to normalize breastfeeding as feeding option that is respected.
On another matter the recent Time magazine article has brought national attention to a parenting style called â€śAttachment Parentingâ€ť(AP) and its promoter, Dr. Bill Sears. As a mother of an almost 2 month old who is seen at his San Juan Capistrano practice and someone that considers herself an â€śattachment parentâ€ť I have to say that this parenting style is severely misunderstood, and it is often thought that advocating for AP is essentially expecting too much from the mother. While this can be true one of my favorite Bâ€™s of Dr Searsâ€™ â€ś7 Bâ€™s of Attachment Parentingâ€ť is â€śbalance.â€ť I practice some of the Bâ€™s more than others. I breastfeed and bed with the baby, but I donâ€™t wear her as often as other AP parents, and I didnâ€™t get a lot of â€śbirth bondingâ€ť in after my C-Section. During one of my daughterâ€™s weigh-ins I was told by her peditrician that it is perfectly okay to let her sleep in her swing so that I can eat and get things done. I am able to baby wear on occassion, but having been the only care provider for her these past 8 weeks, I have times where I need my body to myself. This is, for me, is where the â€śbalanceâ€ť comes into play. I respond to her needs and my own. As I get used to baby wearing and less awkward about it, I may start doing it more. In terms of how it fits into the family dynamics I can not completely say as it is currently just her and I for the time being. As of right now I find that our form of attachment parenting works very well. Her needs get met, and I am able to get a lot done while she naps (I have been lucky to have a child that as of the typing of this artice sleeps through the night waking after about 6 hours of sleep, and takes at least one 2-4 hours nap--often two--a day). Some days she is more needy than others. I chalk this up to growth spurts and the fact that she is a baby. As she grows older I see my husband and I using what works for us and modifying or discarding those practices that do not work for us.
In terms of the â€śsanctimommyâ€ť label I feel that just as it is wrong to demonize motherâ€™s that choose to use formula, it is just as wrong to make a woman feel badly for only trying to help a woman succeed and who is trying her best to erradicate bad information.
I have trouble explaining myself and not going off onto 400 different tangents. I have so much to say and often feel the need to say everything at the same time. I know I missed a lot in this article and was tired by the end of it. I wish I were as good as many of the women (Sarah, I'm looking at you :) ) on this board. If someone could go through and give me pointers regarding this article for the next one that would be appreciated. Thanks! I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I feel that this is just not very good writing-wise.
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