How I Birthed and Fed My Babies, Judge Me NOT

I’ve read MANY posts on this topic or ones related to it since I’ve been blogging.

But I don’t think I’ve ever put mine out there.

Lately I’ve felt like I’ve been “judged” by the way I brought my children into this world and the way I’ve nourished their bodies. Not necessarily here but in other facets of my life.

So I’m just going to put this out there… here are my stats:

3 babies

1 Vaginal birth after induction and with an epidural

2 C-sections

1 baby nursed until 15 months

2 babies pumped for until 2-4 months and then fed exclusively formula.

So what do YOU think?

How did I do?

Well, by today’s standards and things I read here on the internet, and from other mothers around me?

Not so good.

I should have had all my babies naturally (totally fine for anyone who wants to or has done so, but that’s just not how I did it).

I should have nursed them all until they were at least 2 (totally fine for anyone who does so or even beyond that, but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way for me).

And, I probably should have them all potty-trained by now. Including the 9-month old (not gonna happen here but if YOU can make it happen, more power to you).

So here’s the thing.

What I don’t understand is WHY.

WHY do we always have to be judging each other? Can’t we all just understand that many people have different ways of doing things and even though they may not be OUR way, they are fine? That’s the beauty of it all is that we have options and can make our own choices. I wish ALL of us mothers could just be FOR each other no matter what, instead of what seems to be AGAINST each other, if we didn’t do it the way that others think we should have.

And on the subject of breastfeeding specifically, I just want to put this out there.

I TRIED. I CRIED. I WEPT. Because my first and third babies WOULD NOT LATCH. I tried everything in my power to make it work and it DID NOT. I had to stop trying for emotional and physical reasons. I am blessed and happy to say that it did work with one of my babies. But PLEASE don’t judge me because I gave my other babies formula so they could SURVIVE. Is it the “best” thing? Probably not, but I pumped for each of them and gave them the best start I could. And then I was done.

And would I have birthed my babies in a different way?

Perhaps. Perhaps if I’d had a different doctor or read different things or had them at a different time. Who knows. But the fact is I had a HARD birth with my first and I didn’t want to go through the same physical things that I did that time so I opted to have subsequent C-Sections. And my c-section babies and me? Well, all three of us are healthy and fine.

Do I wish I’d gone into labor at least once? Sure, but I did not and that’s okay. It has to be.

So there you have it. Those are my stories in a nutshell.

All I ask is that you don’t judge me.

And I promise not to do the same to you…

And now,

I feel better. :)

*For whatever reason most of the comments on this post are not showing up. But please continue to leave them because they are coming to my email and they are GOOD! I’m so sorry this is happening and I do NOT know how to fix it. Apparently it’s an issue with Blogger…

elaine

Comments

  1. Oh girl, once again, I feel like I could have written this post. My stats are a little different but my sentiment is EXACTLY the same. I don’t get why we can’t just encourage and help each other as Moms…Lord knows we could all use it! As long as our babies are loved, what else matters? When they are adults, will it matter that we gave them formula or breastfed? Will it matter that they were born via C-section? Will it matter even one little bit what age they potty trained? NO. Will it matter that they knew that they had a Mama that loved them unconditionally? ABSOLUTELY. Whew. My rant is now over. HUGS!

  2. Amen sister! I’m with ya!

  3. Oh Elaine.
    It kills me to know that you’ve been judged. How sad. How terrible. But I know it happens All.The.Time.
    And I was just thinking about this and how even though I had two home births and breastfed/feed my kids, I also sleep train and have done CIO and did both cloth and disposable diapers and I did what I did because it worked for me. It worked for us. And I love my kids and they love me.
    You see, people will ALWAYS find a reason to judge. And those people? Well, they can just suck it.
    :)
    I think you’re great. I think your kids are ADORABLE and anyone who KNOWS you (even if it’s just through your blog), would see and know that you LOVE your kids and your kids love you. And that…THAT, is worth more than breastmilk or natural births.

  4. My daughter never got an ounce of breastmilk and she is just great. I only pumped for my son for 11 months before I was ordered to stop for medical reasons and he never had formula until then. To each their own. I mainly tried it with my second because it was cheaper. To each their own :-) I think you did great.

  5. Testing.

  6. Thanks for your comment on my breastfeeding post :) Well, I failed too – I had an induction with an epidural. I had gestational diabetes so I had to be induced 2 weeks early.

    Like I said in my post, BFing was HARD! But I never judge if someone TRIES. Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

    Oh, to make it even better, I didn’t even get pregnant naturally – we had to go to a specialist and have an IUI.

    But at the end of the day, we have beautiful healthy kids that know that we’re the best parents we can be.

  7. Whew! That was a mouthful. No judgement from me, friend, just love and hugs. I know how hard any and all of those things can be. You did what was best for you and who cares what everyone else thinks!

  8. Excellent! You said that all very well! :) Good for you mama!

  9. So glad you feel better! We do judge and we should not.

    End of story.

    My story is similar to yours. Breastfeed until they are two…wasn’t gonna happen here and I was loathe to force them to. And birthing? No two women have the same delivery. Hence, no two women should be expected to have the same delivery.

    Period.

    Love this! Someone needed to say it!

  10. Check this out. I stumbled upon this by accident tonight. I wasn’t even searching for it. Coincidence? I think not!

    The latest post almost made me cry- so similar to what I went through with my daughter!

    A blog supporting formula feeding mothers:

    http://fearlessformulafeeder.blogspot.com/

  11. *applause*
    I think the one that blows my mind the most is the judgment on what kind of birth you had.
    The babies are here, safe and healthy, so why on earth does anyone care? It’s your body.
    By the way, 3 c-sections here, 3 valiant attempts at breastfeeding with only one being moderately successful.
    And all 3 of my birth kids are healthy, smart, and pretty awesome. (the stepson is too but I can’t take credit for his birth! LOL)

  12. We should all support each other more.

    The judgments over each others choices can really get ridiculous.

    And really, each mother knows what best for her family deep down…an outsiders opinion has no importance to how you are raising your family.

    Thank you for writing this, being honest and proud of your decisions, and for pointing out that we should all try to raise each other up and glorify this thing that is motherhood.

    I think everyone would be a lot happier if that happened.

    P.S. I think you’re an awesome Mom! : )

  13. Why aren’t your comments showing up?

  14. Those that judge are just hiding their own secrets and have nothing else better to do than tell you what THEY think is right. Don’t for one second think that you did something wrong. Your children are happy, healthy and filled with LOVE and that’s all that matters. Nobody is perfect and those that act like supermoms probably have more skeletons in their closets that could fill up and entire room.

    you’re doing great and don’t for one second think that another mom/blogger is better than you. Ahhh.. I feel better now that I said that. :)

    Have a great day!!

  15. I think I forgot when we met to introduce myself as the Should Police. :) Hate the word. Strike it from your vocabulary. You do what’s best for you and your family and that’s all you can ever do.

  16. Really, the people who judge need to go move to some remote island called ‘haters’. SERIOUSLY? I think we are entitled to do what we see best for OUR children! MY GOD. It does NOT matter if you breastfeed or formula feed. I did both. Same as you. YAY US. 2 c-sections? Great. 1 vaginal birth? Awesome. Were all 3 of you children born healthy and were they all loved equally? YUP. So really? What is the issue here?
    I had really easy labour and quick labours.
    My sister, who has a 1 week old baby girl, her very first baby, well, she was in labour for 27 hours. Her baby was born in distress and needed oxygen when she was born. The baby was rushed out of the room and everything. Scary as all hell. Had the doctor suggested a c-section, I don’t think that would have happened. Anyway. My point is, people who judge are mean and stupid. Because it doesn’t matter if our babies drink from the bottle or our boobs, or if can out of our tummy’s or naturally. IT DOES NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE AT ALL. I hate people who judge! So you, Elaine, keep your head held high. You are doing everything RIGHT.

  17. I think you did great! I say whatever works for one may not work for another…no judging allowed. I was judged huge with my first, he had so many issues…he would not breastfeed so I pumped for 6 months, with the twins my milk dried up at 3 months, i never even tried to nurse them and people looked at me funny ..as though I should have 2 babies on my breasts!!!
    In then end the main thing is that mommy and babies are OK, whether bottle , formula, breast fed. c-section, vaginal., drugs, no drugs ..whatever, babies are miracles and we are lucky to even have them!

  18. 1. I would never judge.
    2. my comments are not showing up either. stupid blogger.
    3. thanks for being real.

    xoxo
    emily

  19. sucks doesn’t it :(

    if not for her c-section, my sister probably wouldn’t have survived her first pregnancy and was brave enough to try it again. if anyone wants to judge her they have me to deal with.

  20. Are your children happy and thriving? If the answer is yes. That’s all that matters.

    I struggled with breastfeeding with my firstborn and I felt such guilt for stopping. I will always remember another mom at playgroup who asked if my baby was eating and was healthy despite not breastfeeding. The answer was ‘yes’. She said that’s what matters. That comment always stayed with me. We all have different ways of doing things.

  21. I too am so sorry you have felt judged. I think as mothers we just do what we feel is best for us and our children and what ever is best for another and thier children may be diffrent but diffrent is not wrong. Its just diffrent. We all are diffrent. Hugs to you~

  22. Amen and Amen!!! Coming from a c-sectioned, non-breastfeeding mama of a very healthy little one year old boy. I agree, there is way too much judgementalness out there on the areas of birthing and breastfeeding. I love what you said about having options too. Great post – way to put yourself out there and stand your ground! (o:

  23. Personally, I think you did GREAT! Good post too. :)

  24. Elaine,

    You are not alone here.

    I had an ELECTIVE C-section with my twins. Even if they hadn’t been twins, I likely would have still wanted a C-section for a variety of reasons, the main one being that I am married to a surgeon and he advised it. The second being I did not want to tear vaginally or have an episiotomy (sp?), and lastly I didn’t want to make my little friends on my backside worse (TMI? sorry!) with all the pushing required for a vaginal. But the reality is that none of us needs to justify to anyone else what our reasons are. We don’t need to judge anyone else. We are all moms and we’re different and we do what we can. We should support one another.

    Breastfeeding didn’t work out for me either as you know, and I pumped for 3 months and gave up. I wasn’t making nearly enough for both of them and it was so hard to pump with at least 1 and often 2 babies crying in my lap….oy.

    BIG HUGS TO ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING MOMS I’VE NEVER MET (but hope to someday!)!!!!!! xoxoxooxoxoxo

  25. I’m having the same issue with my comments from yesterday’s post – I can read them in email, but not publish them. Anyway, thank you for sharing this. I have been induced for both of my children and had epidurals. I am very interested in other options, but turned off when I go to learn more and the writers imply that there is only one good way to give birth, etc. I wish we could more easily share our positive experiences and support each other as moms, accepting that there are many great ways to parent.

  26. As my dh would say, Screw ‘em and feed ‘em beans….only he wouldn’t say screw. I had a drug free birth with my 1st, he was 6 lbs and nursed for a year. My daughter was 8 lbs, hurt like hell and I still didn’t have an epidural, just a little demerol. (it was 1987) I only nursed her for 6 mths, she was big and hungry. When my grandsons were born, I was there and wished that I would have had an epidural just to watch. The 1st wouldn’t latch on, my daughter was ready to try again with #2 until she heard he was 10 lbs and she said just give him formula. They are both happy and thriving. YOU are the expert for your own kids and for anyone who disagrees, refer them to the 1st sentence up there LOL

  27. The judging is astonishing, isn’t it? You do what works for you and your kids…end of story, right?

    I wanted to have a natural birth..and then over a day later and no progress..I couldn’t do it.

    I wanted to nurse for at least a year, my second wouldn’t do it anymore.

    It sure would be a heck of a lot easier and nicer is moms supported each other more and criticized a lot less.

  28. I say, as long as your babies are healthy and happy and loved, it doesn’t matter. It simply doesn’t matter. All 3 of my babies were born vaginally, the last 2 without the use of any drugs. While my 1st was formula fed, my last 2 (again) were, and in one case still are, breastfed. Does that make me any better? Any worse? Any anything? Not at all.

  29. Anymore I think the people who judge are just the people who are desperate for attention. It’s the grown-up version of arguing just to get mommy to notice you. *sigh*

  30. i’m sorry you are feeling judged. it’s a crummy feeling. my mom means well but she thinks it’s time i quit breastfeeding so i can get my figure back. WHAT? first of all i really don’t care about that and why on earth would you say that to me?

    i just had to laugh it off!

  31. Well, I had no c-sections by my choice and I did not nurse any of my babies.

    Why, oh why do we have to judge each other. What works for one person doesn’t work for another. We all need to remember that.

  32. If you look at my 3 boys–ages 24, 26, and 28–can you tell if they were breastfed? I didn’t think so!! How dare anyone judge how you are raising your beautiful family!! You and Tim are excellent parents, and your 3 children are perfectly amazing!! Love you much.

  33. I tortured myself when I had my first baby regarding breastfeeding. I know now that if I had been more prepared to be a mom and had been more determined I probably could have made it work, but that’s not where I was. Knowing I had to go back to work in 3 months certainly didn’t help my motivation. My husband has said that I didn’t feel like the Nicole he knew until I quit b’feeding and went to the bottle. I never had success pumping either. So I was all guilt-ridden and stressed about how I didn’t like doing it and it was hard. I think I lost ten pounds mentally when I made the decision for the bottle.

    It wasn’t until kid #4 that I nursed for a year. I still don’t “love” it, but I like it and I like the convenience. Overall, I’m blessed with a fairly healthy self-image and sense of worth, so the judging aspect of motherhood doesn’t get to me too much, usually.

    You are right though–as long as we are not directly and intentionally harming our children, why can’t we just be supportive? I’ve been blessed with a good group of girlfriends to keep me in a good place.

  34. You go, girl! It needed to be said, and you said it very well.

    Every mom and every kid are different…therefore, every mom and every kid should do things a little bit differently! We don’t all make chocolate chip cookies the same way, so why should we parent identically??

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the most judgmental people are those that feel regret the choices they’ve made and feel they have to prove to themselves that they’re okay. So….they attack others.

    My birth with Nadia didn’t go as planned. My hopes for breastfeeding her didn’t go as planned. Do I regret it? sure, I do! But mostly because I shouldn’t have given myself such a hard time over BFing. I insisted on making it work even tho it put a ridiculous amount of stress on up. We both ended up loving it, but we could have loved formula too – without that stressful start. It seemed SO important at the time, but now that I’m a few years down the road I realize that it’s really not that important to the big picture.

    But also? What time your kids go to bed, and what is in their lunch box, and what the tag in the back of their shirt says – those little competitions are just as stupid. We’re all in this together, let’s work together instead of against each other!

    p.s. I’m having the same blogger/comments issue.

  35. p.s. wow. I just wrote a novel! :oP

  36. When I think of you as a mom, I do not think of c-sections, breastfeeding, or formula. When your kids are off at college, I don’t think anyone is going to ask about those things.

    When I think of you, I think of the mouse-themed party. (I’m still impressed with that one…can’t get past it!) I think of love. I think of faith. Those are the things that shine through on your blog. Those are the things that will be remembered.

    You are an amazing mother!

  37. I can’t stand judgemental commenters. If you don’t have anything nice to say go read someone else’s blog. I’ve been slammed on posts regarding sleep issues and pacifiers with my girls….rarely do I blog about anything that will get the judegemental parent police popping out of the woodwork anymore. And honestly, I can’t believe people gave you grief about c-sections and breastfeeding. Well, I guess I can but they can shove it right? :)

  38. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!! I’m truly in tears right now b/c I feel that you were in my head. My daughter is almost 10 and I still deal w/ emotional guilt that I didn’t birth her correctly, didn’t nurse long enough, wasn’t a SAHM long enough, etc. And only b/c of how I feel other moms are judging me. I agree with you, we need to support each other and respect the decisions/options that we all choose. Wonderful post.

  39. Oh how I love this post. Maybe because I could’ve written it myself? Struggles with breastfeeding, c-section with baby #2, etc. None of this matters truly yet we beat ourselves up over it. Why? Because other moms make us feel less than adequate. Your children are loved and happy. As are mine. This is all that matters. HUGS!

  40. I have to admit, when I was a new Mom (read very naive) I was one of those who judged. And then I had a c-section. And then life and death came crashing through my door and I grew up.
    I do not judge you. Everyone has to do what they feel is best for their family and that is that.
    I don’t judge, I just am sad for those who don’t have the opportunity to become educated on birth and breastfeeding. You tried. You did what was best for YOU and your kids. You love them and that is all that matters really.
    xoxoxo

  41. As I admire your beautiful children in the two posts above this one, I have a few words for people who judge…

    get a life.

    There, I feel better :-) Hope you do too!!

    (after telling the story of Youngest and his PKU diagnosis and the nightmare that followed to a few curious preschool moms, the one health nut pipes up – “so you couldn’t breast feed!?!”

    Some people will never understand.)

  42. I just came across your blog and have thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the pictures of your incredibly adorable children. Then I came to this post and couldn’t agree with you more. Motherhood is a journey, an intensely private, intimate journey. How our children come into this world and how they are nourished is, I think, less important than how they are parented. For example, do your children feel loved and cared for? Do they get to be kids, play, get dirty and just enjoy exploring their world? How they are birthed and fed is a very short part of their life. Parenting lasts their lifetime. And, as women we are generally hard enough on ourselves that we really don’t need anyone else telling us what we are doing is wrong. What works for one family may not work for another. And, neither is wrong. Anyone who has ever breastfed before knows just how hard and tiring it is, and should be the last one to criticize another mother for not being able to, or simply choosing not to. As mothers we all want to do what is best, in every area, for our children…its just not always physically possible. Our choices are nobody else’s business. It’s sad that other moms are the most critical, especially when we know how hard it is. I wish we all supported one another on this journey.

    Love your blog by the way!

  43. The best way to have your babies is the way you dream about. The second best way, is the way that keeps everyone safest and healthiest and is as close to the first way as possible.

    I am a doula. I am continually grateful to live in a time when medical science saves the lives of babies who might have died a generation or two ago.

    As to nourishment…Can you stand on the elementary school playground and distinguish who was breast fed from who was formula fed? I can’t.

    I love this post.

  44. Amen!

    I’ve had two c-sections and I tried nursing my first and gave up after two weeks and he had all formula after that. With my second, I nursed him until the week he turned 1 year…and it was HARD. And I hated it.

    You have to do what’s best for you and your baby(ies)…and only you knows what that is.

  45. Oh Gawd yes do what is right for you and your babies. I had 3 c-sections and only one was planned. I soooo wish I could have had a vaginal delivery, but it wasn’t in the cards for me.

    I nursed all my babies until they were 15 months old. The actual nursing was easy (one nurse told me I had perfect nursing equipment:) ) the logistics were sometimes challenging, but it really worked for our family. Yes it worked for our family, doesn’t mean it had to work for your family.