Hi Beauty! (Oh yes, I’m talking to you, lady sitting across the playground from me feeding her baby with a bottle)
You look so happy sitting on that park bench providing your baby nourishment while you watch your older daughter play with the other kids. Your smile is so genuine. The exchange of love as you and your infant gaze into eachother’s eyes filled my heart with warmth and joy when I noticed you from afar. I know that gaze. There’s nothing in this world like it. Instant mom-heart mush.
Suddenly something happened that averted your gaze, disrupting your bond. My almost-3-year old let out a shriek. Tears began streaming down his face. As he stumbled clumsily, holding out his hands to show me his scrapes, while simultaneously trying to peek at the scrapes on his knees, I knew what was to come. I don’t think you did. I cleaned him up, wiped his tears, and lifted him to my lap anticipating his request. “Momma, I’m crying. I need boo-boos. Please?” Without giving it any thought, I offered him my breast for comfort. I looked up expecting the usual looks of disgust. Instead, I saw you, your smile had faded. Your loving gaze disappeared. Your eyes became sullen and you looked down toward your baby with sadness in your eyes. My heart sank. I felt as though you thought that me nursing a toddler meant that I was judging you for bottle-feeding. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I want you to know that I am not judging you. I want you to know that I think you are a wonderful mother! I see the love you have for your children. I know that you love yours as much as I love mine. I am not in your position and I don’t know why you bottle feed. Maybe you wanted to breastfeed but didn’t have the support you needed. Maybe you have a medical condition that requires you to be on medication that deems it unsafe for you to breastfeed. Maybe you are unable to produce milk. Maybe you are one of two mothers this baby has and you do not lactate. Maybe you adopted this baby. Maybe you don’t want to breastfeed at all but this lady across the playground nursing her toddler has suddenly stirred up some feelings that you don’t understand. None of that even matters.
All the possibilities I can think of shouldn’t matter to me or anyone else. You are doing what is best for you, your baby, and your family.
I hope that if I ever see you at the park again and you have questions about babies or feeding babies, that you reach out to me. I kinda know people. I’m sort of a wealth of resources 😉 Don’t be alarmed if I sit by you the next time I see you and strike up a conversation. Don’t be surprised when I tell you what a wonderful job you’re doing.
All of that to say, YOU ROCK, MOMMA! #fedisbest
Need help with newborn care or feeding?
Contact me to schedule a consultation or to request information on professionals in the Houston area who can help.
Click here to read about how I supported my client, LaKendra, who no family support when she planned to breastfeed her first baby.