As part of my preparation for starting this blog, as a model for research-based writing that is also personal and warm, I read Suzanne Barston’s Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood. And I was inspired. Really inspired. Not just because her story and her conclusions about the research about breastfeeding were similar to mine. But because she wrote a book about personal experience that is exhaustively researched and started an inspiring blog with a lively Facebook page where mothers can go to share their stories as well as read about the newest science and perspectives on motherhood.
She inspired me enough to write my own story about why I was not successful at breastfeeding for less than a couple months. Here’s my guest post.
I felt guilt that originated from all directions — other mothers, the media, and, most of all, myself. And I think Suzanne has a lot of powerful things to say about how breastfeeding has come to represent something very powerful and guilt-inducing in motherhood today. Yes, it’s best for babies in general and we should do everything to support mothers to try breastfeeding, but it’s not always best for every mom, every baby, and every situation.
I hope that no matter where the cultural and scientific conversation turns about breastfeeding, mothers step back and start to realize how easy it is to induce guilt in another mom. An innocent question to a mom who is bottle feeding her infant. A small comment here about putting formula on a baby shower registry. An unsolicited piece of advice to a stranger with a crying baby.
I’ve heard from some of you about your experiences with breastfeeding. Did you experience guilt, no matter what your choices? Did you have a friend who struggled with breastfeeding, and how did you support her?