"The saying 'a Mother's place is in the wrong' didn't come from nowhere."
We're pretty certain the worst thing about parenting these days is the judgement. If we're not being judged for the way we birth our babies, we're attracting disapproving looks for the way we feed them. There's always someone readily available to tell us we shouldn't be giving our babies a dummy, we should or shouldn't allow them to settle themselves, or whether to start solids at four or six months.
It doesn't stop when they wean or start walking either. Parenthood is basically one big period of your life when you can expect to be judged while strangers dole out unsolicited parenting advice as if you're a clueless imbecile who would be lucky enough to figure out how they fell pregnant in the first place.
One mum has demonstrated just how bad it can get for new mums with a post she shared on parenting forum Mumsnet .
'Baby Brain' is totally real
'Baby Brain' is totally real
"He won't achieve anything in his life"
"So today I was mum shamed for bottle feeding my DS [darling son]," the woman wrote in her post.
She said she was sitting on a bench outside her local supermarket when an elderly lady sat down next to her and began chatting about the baby.
Limit digital media for your youngest family members. Avoid digital media for toddlers younger than 18 to 24 months other than video chatting. For children 18 to 24 months, watch digital media with them because they learn from watching and talking with you. Limit screen use for preschool children, ages 2 to 5, to just 1 hour a day of high-quality programing. Co-viewing is best when possible and for young children. They learn best when they are re-taught in the real world what they just learned through a screen. So, if Ernie just taught the letter D, you can reiterate this later when you are having dinner or spending time with your child. See Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers.
"We were having polite chit-chat, how old your baby is ... yada yada ...," the mum continued.
"What she just blurted out something along the lines of 'if you bottle feed him, it'll damage his brain and he won't achieve anything in his life'."
"I didn't know what to say to this lady. I just nodded in stunned silence."
Not that anyone should ever have to explain themselves at all, but the mum said she appreciates that breastfeeding is best, but her son had latching issues making breastfeeding "nearly impossible".
The Science of "Mom Brain"
So the amazing mum has been expressing her breast milk and feeding her son from a bottle.
Now anyone who has ever expressed before will know that it is no easy feat. In fact, she should be hailed for her persistence, not made to feel terrible by a complete stranger - a fellow woman, who should have known better.
"I don't know what I really wanted from this thread apart from venting as it's been circling in my head since this morning," said the mum in her post, before asking if others have also been shamed for "completely absurd" things?
Trust your mommy gut. No one knows your child better than you. Follow your instincts when it comes to his health and well-being. If you think something's wrong, chances are you're right.
Like buying groceries isn't hard enough already! Image: iStock.
"Pregnancy is not an illness"
Others shared similar experiences which probably won't surprise experienced mums.
"It started before motherhood though," wrote one woman.
"From pregnancy FIL watched what I ate, commented on it and, when I told him morning sickness was affecting my diet, informed me pregnancy is not an illness.
"This was followed by telling me his grandchild would be more intelligent if I ate more vegetables during pregnancy as he’d seen a program on it apparently."
Another added that people comment on everything when you're a parent: "I did BF [breastfeed] DD [darling daughter], so I got 'when are you going to stop?', 'you'll have to stop when she gets teeth', 'surely you're not still breastfeeding', etc."
When you stop and think about it, these mums are sleep deprived. They are vulnerable already, and we don't know the paths they have travelled to come sitting in front of a supermarket feeding her baby.
So don't speak. Smile sweetly and wish her a nice day if you have to say anything at all.
Tackle fears with common sense. If she's scared of dogs, don't hustle her across the street when one is coming. Demystify the fear. ("Oh, a puppy! Let's ask the owner if we can feel how soft his fur is.") In tense moments—shots come to mind—be sympathetic but not too emotional, says Atlanta-area pediatrician Roy Benaroch. Say, "It will be OK. It will be over in a few minutes," not, "I know—it hurts! It hurts!"
Or like one mum pointed out, "The saying 'a Mother's place is in the wrong' didn't come from nowhere."