My It’s-Not-All-Be-All Breastfeeding Mantra

“Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (February). For this month, we focus on back to basics. Participants will share advices – either the best breastfeeding advice they received OR/AND the best breastfeeding advice they can give to new moms. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”

This may sound like an anti-breastfeeding slogan, but truth be told, this has become my breastfeeding mantra: “Breastfeeding is not the end all, be all of motherhood.”

I have nursed LC for 2 years, 2 months and counting. It wasn’t a great start. We spent only two and a half days in the hospital since I labored. Hubby and I were all on our own with a newborn from then on. We don’t have a yaya, a helper, a nurse, a relative or anyone else with us. No one came over to help us with anything. Not one soul. Not even once. Breastfeeding newborn LC, who turned out to be a comfort nurser and a snacker, was then a gargantuan challenge for me. An undertaking which I have to struggle and cry buckets over with my fresh caesarean stitch, house chores and the monstrous post-partum blues. But thank God we were able to get through! We’ve been exclusively breastfeeding from two months onwards.

Such was the triumph I felt that I believed moms who were not able to exclusively breastfeed, or not at all, simply did not try hard enough. I was, at that point, one of those snotty and insensitive breastfeeding “advocates.” If I learned that a friend and fellow mom is mixed-feeding or having a hard time breastfeeding, I’d gun her down in my mind and barrage her with insistence to make more effort and to nurse directly as often as she could.

Then I came to an out-pouring from those moms. I was opened to the reality on how they fought and why they were not able to

breastfeed.  I learned how some of them continue to be frustrated at the failure, and how hurt some of them were when judged and belittled of their efforts. I also learned some of them were turned off on how they were treated by supposedly advocates. It was truly an eye-opener.

I realized it wasn’t simply because they did not give their best or they were not prepared enough. Most, if not all, actually tried their hardest and prepared so much. But it was because the environment or the people around them – family, friends, peers and medical professionals alike, or the situation or the condition they were in, was a complication in itself.

It was also then I realized how fortunate I was. I am successful at breastfeeding because I have Hubby, our Super Dad. He is my breastfeeding cheerleader, co-researcher, and most of all, he supported me in the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I also have 24/7 access to online information and an online support group. Had one of them been none existent in my breastfeeding journey, and if I did not live in the bubble I was in, I’d probably be one of the moms I once labeled as “failures.”

However, what really threw me off my pedestal was when someone said, “Breastfeeding is not the end all, be all of motherhood.”

I may have successfully breastfed LC, but that alone does not make me a better mom. Alternatively, some moms were not able to breastfeed their child, but in no way it hindered them from being the best moms in the world.

There are other things, an abundance of equal or greater magnitude, all parents have to address with rearing a child. Disciplining for one is an undertaking a parent will forever deal with. With that, I am humbled with what some moms – breastfeeding or not – have extensively done or sacrificed to give the best for their child.

In this whole different light I viewed breastfeeding anew. I no longer gloat in the triumph I once highly treasured. I’m no longer the imposing and self-glorified “advocate.” I found myself more sensitive and understanding to other moms who have and are struggling with breastfeeding.

Whenever a friend asks for advice, I now try hard to be objective and factual, and even harder in choosing the right words. What I say might be harshly received by what may already be a beaten mom. In case it did, I step back and pray she’ll find someone else to guide her correctly. If she doesn’t, well, maybe the mom would do better in other things.

Learning about the feelings of mothers who were not able to breastfeed, stressed with the thought I came to attach it to – that breastfeeding is not everything, made me a better breastfeeding advocate.

And most importantly, it made me value more the blessing to breastfeed LC and made me appreciate more Hubby for supporting us. Whenever frustration or annoyance creeps in with our extended breastfeeding, I say the end all be all quote. Surprisingly, I at peace for I am reminded of the great privilege of breastfeeding LC and I share without too much issues up to this day.

The Articulate Pen’s Breastfeeding needs Patience
Diapers and Stethoscope’s Back to Basic
My Mommyology’s What I’ve Learned About Breastfeeding
Ms. Masungit’s From One Mom To Another
The Odyssey of Dinna’s Breastfeeding Words of Wisdom
Mrs. Bry126’s We’re All in this Together
I Am Clarice’s Paying it Forward
My Mommy Kwentos’ Sharing My Favorite Breastfeeding Advice
Planet Marsy’s Better Than None
Mommy {T} Coach’s Saved by the Nursing Mommas
Mama Drama’s Patience and Breast-friends
Adventures on Planet Mom’s Stubborn Me! Sure Glad I didn’t give up
Nanaystrip’s Eat Malunggay, Say “I Have Milk” and Love your Baby
Starting at Twenty-Five’s My Husband’s Best Breastfeeding Advice
Nanay *Loves* Purple’s Why Attend Breastfeeding Class/Seminars
Truly Rich Mom’s My Top 5 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Legally Mama’s Take it from the non-expert!
Mommy Mama Rat’s My Breastfeeding Mantra
Mr. Jacob’s Mom’s Breastfeeding Tips from a Non-Breastfed Mommy
Hybrid Rasta Mama’s Breastfeeding Lists, Advice, Links and More
Apples and Dumplings’ One Word of Breastfeeding Advice
Touring Kitty’s Just Do It
EthanMama’s Only the Best for My Baby
the canDIshhh tales’ My Breastfeeding Advice
Mec as Mom’s Enough is Enough
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom’s ;On Breastfeeding Number Two – Redux


20 thoughts on “My It’s-Not-All-Be-All Breastfeeding Mantra

  1. I’m so glad you said that. While I’ve been fortunate to be able to breastfeed my girls too (not without our own challenges as well), I’ve always felt and respected the decision of moms I’ve known who haven’t been able to or didn’t exclusively breastfeed for whatever reason. In the end breastfeeding is also still a choice and sometimes it’s not the ideal one for great moms and they have to adjust accordingly. I think as moms, we really just have to do what we have to do. For as long as the decisions have your child’s best interests at heart, then I think that it’s the right one. 🙂

    • ditto! the staunch diehard stubborn advocates are the ones that turn off moms completely. i say choose your “battles” and sometimes you can actually leave a more profound message by not saying anything.

  2. What a wonderful transformation story – from judging to accepting to supporting… I too started rough and you know even if people didn’t physically judge me, in my head there were the imaginary staunch breastfeeding (albeit judgmental) advocates which didn’t help the decision-making process. We’re all mothers who go through similar difficulties and we don’t need other mothers to judge us… at the end of the day we do want what is best for our families and do whatever it takes to give that. Hopefully more mothers will see the light like you did 🙂 I know I weathered the initial breastfeeding storm because of the support (not judgment) of other nursing mommas!

  3. Yes we (successful breastfeeding moms!) shouldn’t be too quick to judge why some moms didn’t pursue breastfeeding. Although, I admit that I get sad at times when the reason why they did not breastfeed is “wala akong gatas”.
    I’ve observed that behind a successful breastfeeding mom, is a loving and supportive husband and a doting father 🙂

  4. Wow Rache. Thank you for this. I was one of those who failed miserably at breastfeeding and was haunted by that failure for the longest time. But I have moved on. I have not however given up in advocating breastfeeding. I’ve turned my failure into something that could be beneficial for my soon-to-be mommy friends. I think because of that I’ve become more sensitive and was in fact able to inspire my mommy friends to try their hardest at breastfeeding. ^_^

  5. I’m overwhelmed with the response to this post! :O

    Thanks for dropping by and reading my post everyone! Special thanks to MyMommyology, Jenny, Maria, Mrs. T, Chesca, Emily, Tina, Faye and Maqui who validated my realization.

    Next to being able to nurse our son, realizing that it is not a be-all-end-all of motherhood is the next great blessing in my breastfeeding journey. I’m definitely more at peace in the advocacy now. Even though at times I still couldn’t think how much of a snob I was before. Nakakahiya! =| Oh well… On to judgement-free breastfeeding And parenting. 😉

    Happy motherhood to all of us! 🙂

  6. By far, one of the best advice I have ever heard from the Carnival Entries! =) You’re right, the hardship that we encounter in breastfeeding sometimes takes the best of us and turn us into this snotty and insensitive breastfeeding “advocates.” The road leading to that kind of advocate is really so tempting, especially for a first time mother like me who attempted and succeeded to breastfed. But let this post be a constant reminder to me that breastfeeding is indeed not the end all and be all of motherhood.

    Very well said! =)

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