Don’t judge me, I won’t judge you

Dont judge me2 I do it. You do it. We all do it.

As we listen and we watch… we judge.

Let’s stop.

There are no two mums the same. Even me and my sister who were raised by the same two parents and had children just a month apart take an entirely different approach to parenting. None of us know what’s best, we all do what we think is best for our child and for us. Some mums make decisions based on what’s right for their baby, and some make decisions based on what’s right for them. Some of us co-sleep while others put the baby in their own room at a few days old. Some mums breastfeed while others turn to the bottle (milk bottle). There are so many differences, in fact I even parent my second baby slightly differently to my first because I have changed so much in two years. I am not the same as I was two years ago, I am not the same as you.

We all have a different approach based on our upbringing, our personalities, our families, our personal preference, our experiences as people and as mums.

I read blogs that are written with humour, attacked by readers for appearing to be ungrateful parents. I read Twitter debates about Breastfeeding, peoples opinions being slated, a mum photographing another for doing something ‘wrong’.

It’s sad… and pretty pointless don’t you think?

Lets stop.

We all do what’s best for us, for our families and for our babies. We don’t know what another mum has gone through in her life, what she’s going through now. So how can we judge? We must simply accept that we are doing it differently.

I recently told someone of my decision not to breastfeed. She looked at me as though I had told her that I feed my kids chicken feet for breakfast. She probably did so without thinking, reacted without regard for how I might feel. And I realise I probably do the same thing too: react, judge, make another woman feel ‘less than’ when she’s doing what she feels is best. That’s why I’m writing this post. To remind us mums that what we think and feel, we show, and what we show, often hurts. We need to remember that our differences do not make any of us wrong, they make us unique. They gives us the opportunity to learn.

Let’s stop judging those who do things differently from us, let’s not silently criticise. Instead let’s accept each others decisions, learn from one another, let’s observe, let’s support.

So if you see me carrying a smelly baby in one hand and a crying toddler in the other, don’t judge me. If you see me making up my formula bottle, don’t judge me. If you see me in a stare, looking like I’m on (or wishing I was on) another planet, don’t judge me. Because when I see you doing something that’s different to me, when I see you having a bad day, I won’t judge you.

Deal?

 

Breast is best – is that what matters most?

Eden feedingBreast feeding always brings up such debate and almost drives a wedge between those that do and those that don’t.

I chose not to. “What?! You mean you can and you didn’t?!” Yep. I was poorly after I had Florence. I expressed the colostrum for about 4 days but that’s it. I wasn’t in a good place physically or mentally so Ben and I decided formula was best.

With Eden it was a slightly different story. Great labour and I was much stronger emotionally, however I still stopped after two weeks. Why? It wasn’t right for us as a family. I was in tears whilst doing it through physical pain and stress, and I saw this made me completely unavailable to Ben and Florence for as long as I chose to do it.

Sure I’ve felt some guilt – and that was the killer. I know mums who absolutely love breastfeeding so why would they not do it as long as they could? But I’ve also known mums who do it in spite of pain, in spite of not enjoying it. Why? Obligation, social pressure, fear, a strive for perfection and more. All too often mum’s sacrifice their own happiness and do ‘the right thing’, and I’m not saying they’re wrong. I’m simply saying that we don’t need to conform to people’s judgement or scientific evidence, it’s way better to do what makes you happy and just love ’em. That’s what’s more important than anything. Feeding our babies is taking care of their basic needs, and vital for their survival for sure. But love is what makes our babies grow into healthy, happy adults.

So how do you love a baby? Work on eliminating your fear and guilt as much as possible because it’s impossible to be afraid and be loving at the same time. Relax about breastfeeding. Forget about what people might think. Remember always that you are going to do the best you’re capable of and right now that’s enough. We’ll all make mistakes with our kids that are far greater than giving them a bottle of formula. When we do make a mistake with them, we need to tell someone who can love us and let it go.

Breast feeding might boost your baby’s immune systems and even their IQ’s but does it make for happier people? Is it such a big deal that it should divide mums, create martyrs or mum’s riddled with feelings of guilt and inadequacy?

For the 50 or so years that you’ll be a parent, choosing to focus on what we feed our babies in the first 12 months seems a weird thing to focus on. Surely we should be asking: “How do I keep my cool and remain loving when I’m at my wits end?” “How do I raise happy, responsible children?” “How do I make my partner a priority when I give so much to my kids?” And a million other questions.

As I said, breast milk is amazing, this isn’t news. But how about creating happy and loving families? Now there’s something worth talking about.