In my experience, your mom will love to pass on her sage wisdom once you've become a mother yourself. I mean, she raised you and you turned out alright, so what's the harm? The thing is, sometimes that well-meaning advice is a gross over-step. Things like sleep training and scheduling shouldn't be anyone else's business (even your mom), but what about something more personal? There are definitely more than a few times you shouldn't listen to your mother when it comes to breastfeeding, because it's your baby, your body, and you've got it handled. Your mom should trust in that, and in you.
When I set out on my own motherhood journey, I expected advice and comments from other women — particularly moms — but didn't realize how much of it would affect my own decisions. This is especially true with breastfeeding. Before I had my daughter, I had every good intention to be a breastfeeding pro. I bought all the supplies I was told I needed (from nipple pads and creams, to a pump), but none of those things helped. And while I know a lot of moms have difficulty breastfeeding (my own mom included) and decide to stick with it and go on to do exactly as they set out to do, sans formula, I couldn't. Thanks to my intense postpartum depression and anxiety, along with lack of milk supply and latching problems, breastfeeding just wasn't for me. In fact, nursing prevented me from being the mother I needed to be.
Once I made the decision to pump, then eventually go to formula, I heard opinions on all sides. Sometimes it's difficult to drown out your own mother's thoughts and feelings, to be sure, but here are some times you really shouldn't listen to your mom when it comes to your breastfeeding journey:
When She Tells You To Keep Going, Because She Did
Again, seasoned moms means well. They've been through it and think, by sharing their tales of woes and successes, you'll be inspired to follow in the same footsteps. My mom had a lot of issues breastfeeding, just like I did, but she continued because there weren't as many choices back then. Why should my baby and I stay miserable, if we can find a better solution that works?
When She Blames Breastfeeding Complications On You
Maybe you've had a hard time because you didn't practice latching enough, or you didn't take your doctor's supplement advice. Perhaps breastfeeding isn't working because you aren't concentrating hard enough for the milk to come out.
Come on now. I did all the things I was supposed to (and then some) and it just wasn't meant to be. It's OK to block out the noise that suggests otherwise if you know you're doing what's best for you and your baby, too.
When She Questions Every Decision
Did you cleanse first? Are you positioned correctly? Did you eat the right foods and avoid alcohol before feeding? I mean, what's with the inquisition? It's really damn hard to trust in your ability to care for your newborn if someone (your mom) is constantly hovering, pointing out all the things you might be doing wrong with breastfeeding before you ever begin.
When She Encourages You To Quit
For a few weeks, I was really determined to carry on with breastfeeding, despite it obviously not working. For so long, it was set in my mind I'd do it and I wanted to follow through. However, explaining my difficulties to my mom meant her over-protective nature kicked into high gear. She panicked over how much pain I might be in, how I could get an infection, and how it might not benefit the baby after all. It's hard to ignore the voices when I really wanted to continue at that point.
When Your Pain Is Unbearable For Her
Moms don't love when their kids are in pain. Now that I have two children of my own, I understand and I'd do anything to switch places with either of them when they're hurting. During breastfeeding, when I cried through my final sessions before giving up, my mom meant well, but sometimes she took my pain as her own and the focus shifted from how to help me to how to comfort her.
When She Compares You To Others
Moms like to compare. It's a thing. I know I wasn't good at breastfeeding when a good friend of mine ruled at it. I also know I did all I could to get as far as I did before moving to pumping and formula. So really, I don't need to play the comparison game.
When She Agonizes Over Formula
If you do decide to make the switch to formula, and you've survived the judgement that comes in all forms from that, next comes all the opinions your mom probably has about what formula you've chosen. Ugh. It honestly never ends.
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