So…today was interesting.
I posted something on my Facebook page today.
Here is the post I wrote…
After getting over 100 comments (the vast majority positive) I ended up having to ban three people from my page and then had to delete the post all together! They were angry and upset and had no interest in seeing the research that was included in that article. They saw it as a personal attack on them and the fact that they were, or had previously formula fed their babies. You see, people assume that by sharing information I am then automatically judging or bashing them for formula feeding. This could not be further from the truth.
One man was getting quite upset at me. Even after I showed him the links to long lists of published research articles (which he refused to read), it became clear that it did not matter what I said. He was going to be cruel. I blocked him from my page and thought that would be the end of it. Then I received this text message…
So to the man who sent me this text message, I actually am not an advocate for “breastfeeding” or a martyr. I’m not whiny, judgmental or a cow (although I do have quite a few similarities to a dairy cow). I am actually a pretty accepting, non-judgmental person who cares about women, babies and families as a whole. I care about supporting women to each reach their own individual breastfeeding goals and I care about putting out evidence based research so women can make informed decisions. It’s apart of my ethical obligations as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant to share this evidence based information. If I did not do this then I would not be doing my job.
Often times people see me as an “advocate” or someone who loves breastfeeding. And yes, it’s true that I do love breastfeeding my children. But what I also love is helping women make an informed decision on what SHE sees as being the best choice for her and her baby. I love giving women the most recent, evidence based information so she can make the best decision for her and her baby. This might be breastfeeding, it might be formula feeding. It’s actually not about what I see as best though, or what I think she should do. My own opinion is irrelevant and I’m there to help women reach their own personal, individual goals. Not my own ideas as to what I think she should or should not do.
I do not know what it feels like to not make enough milk…but I will always be here for women looking for ways to increase her supply, who need information on donor milk, or information on supplementing with formula.
I do not know what it feels like to have a premature baby who cannot attach…but I will always be here for women looking for help with pumping and supplementing.
I do not know what it feels like to have a baby who is being supplemented with formula…but I will always be here for women who are seeking support in increasing her supply and weaning off the supplements.
I do not know what it feels like having to make up a bottle of formula in the middle of the night for a baby who is in need of more milk than her mother is able to supply…but I will always be here for women who need information on how to go about doing this safely.
I do not know what it feels like to not be able to reach my breastfeeding goals…but I will always be there with open ears and an open heart to listen to a woman who needs to talk through what happened and why they were not able to reach that goal.
I am not here as an advocate for breastfeeding. I’m here as an advocate for mothers to make informed decisions on how to best go about feeding their own babies. I can give the information, the research and the support but it’s always up to the woman on what she feels is best for her and her family and what she can manage doing. You can call me whatever names you would like but I will continue to share research and will continue to support mothers in reaching their own, individual breastfeeding goals.
Meg Nagle, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant