A friend of mine recently did a poll on instagram asking if we had ever been mom shamed. Me, being the bold women that I am always thought that this would never be something that I would let myself experience... So I thought. That same night, I experienced mom shaming and it left such a bitter taste in my mouth that I immediately grabbed my phone to share my story with my friend. Turns out, what was supposed to be a simple reply in her DM turned into a whole post that you are about to read right now.
2 days ago, I started this journey of increasing my milk supply and slowly transitioning from mixing breastmilk and soy formula to 90% breastmilk and using the soy formula JUST IN CASE. So yesterday I gave myself the challenge to exclusively breastfeed. It was challenging ! Especially that my body has never done a full day of breastfeeding only before so at some moments of the day , baby was getting irritated while sucking . A little scared that I would be starving my baby If I made her suck on an empty breast , I called my doula and told her what I was doing. She said that I was doing great and that I should indeed let baby suck so that my body could get the signal to producers milk. She also mentioned that it was probably not that baby wasn’t getting milk , but only that the flow of the new milk was slower than usual because my body had just started being asked to produce more. Indeed, even though baby was irritated , when I pressed my boob , I saw milk coming out ! So it was the reassurance to me that she was getting milk. I just needed to let her suck more so the milk would come in larger quantity.
As challenging as that day was ( having her at the boob almost all the time, remaining calm when it seemed like she wasn’t getting enough, having to eat even faster before she started crying for milk etc ) I did it ! I did have to give her 2 oz of soy formula because I had to shower and I really needed her to get fuller fast so I could get a break but that was still a MAJOR accomplishment ! And the best part ? That night my boobs got full with milk . Each time I would wake up to feed her , I felt my breast full. And she didn’t get fussy on the breast. This was so rewarding and a proof that what I was doing was right.
The next day , I decided to do the same thing. All was going well until family members, from where I am staying while in the states, came home from work. When my baby started crying because she was hungry, they kept pressuring me to give the soy formula so she could get enough. Even tough I had explained what I was doing , and said that even though she gets hungry way more often now because breastmilk is so easily digested and that my body was still adjusting to getting the flow to increase, that with patience she was getting enough even if she had to ask for it more. They started making “jokes” about how I was putting my baby on a diet. And while it might have seemed innocent to them, it made me not only uncomfortable but I also felt pressured. For the rest of that evening , I felt like I needed to quickly shush my baby when she was crying so that nobody would think “here we go again , she is starving the poor baby” .
What had been such a good experience of bonding and patience the day before and even that day until the evening , became such a stressful procedure. I even found myself giving her a little bit of formula at some point just to shush the crying quickly so I could resume the breastfeeding quietly. And while doing all this , I realized “WHAT THE F***...” I realized how much of mental toll this had taken on me and that I should not sacrifice what I know is right for me and my baby just to make others comfortable ! Even if those “others” are family members who do love me despite their indiscretions. I quickly realized how easy it is to mom Shame and how easy it is to fall under the pressure.
I promised myself that day to never allow myself to feed on that energy again. I will never again make a decision for my baby based on other people’s judgement. I will keep doing what I know is best even when I can hear criticism in the background. Because honestly , if you can’t push my baby for me during labor , then I honestly think you have no business telling me what to do. Yes advice can be great , but when that “advice” makes you feel less of a mother , it’s no longer advice , it’s toxic . Most people don’t know how to use their words and it’s not your job to teach them. Your job is to set boundaries and teach people how to respect them. Yes I will still give my baby formula sometimes. But the times I do, it’ll be because I decide to , not because I felt pressured to.
So to all my moms out there, know that your voice matters and you know what is best for your and your family. Don’t feel bad for standing firm on your decisions. Take advice when it makes sense for you and reject whatever doesn’t serve you. You got this !
Oh! and in case you had no idea... my daughter is here! Watch my birth and delivery vlog here!