Last night I was watching an old episode of Law & Order from 2000, named Mother's Milk. They addressed the concepts of inexperienced motherhood, breastfeeding, lactation consultants and the dreaded "failure to thrive". I found it very interesting that almost 15 years later some of the same concepts are today affecting mothers we speak to about breastfeeding.
I knew I wanted to breastfeed and I intended to not give my children formula. We received lots of free samples of canned formula and powdered formula in the mail and I initially stored them in my pantry - just in case I wasn't successful breastfeeding. Powerful marketing by the formula companies made me doubt my ability to breastfeed.
My midwives were encouraging, and my lactation consultants were supportive. Some mothers had told me to stay away from La Leche League - because "they'd be too pushy" and pressure me to breastfeed no matter what. My Bradley instructor cautioned me to have an open mind but to have faith that my instincts would guide me and that offering formula would not be the end of the world. The hospital pediatricians scared me each time that my babies were not eating enough and that their sugar levels were not adequate. Each time they asked me to offer sugar water to avoid the babies having a bad experience. I began to feel like I had the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other - constantly making me question my ideas of how I wanted to mother my children.
A dear friend recently had a baby and while I know her initial intentions were to breastfeed exclusively - she had decided to supplement with formula because she worried her baby would not be adequately nourished. I wanted to offer encouragement and support - but I was concerned she'd consider me to be a "pushy" breastfeeding advocate. She, too, was being bombarded with varying pieces of guidance and advice. I offered support, made suggestions and then shared the best advisement I have ever received: "No one knows your baby better than you. You are your baby's mom and as long as your trust your instincts - you will ultimately know what was best for him or her."
How about you? Did you feel other people tried to tell you they knew your baby better? How did you handle that?