Shamed for Stopping Breastfeeding

As a blogger, a mommy blogger, I get shamed for many things.

Most is to be expected. And very, very little surprises me these days.

For example, I know if I share a photo of my kids eating off a paper plate I am going to get an earful because I am personally destroying the earth.

I know to never share a photo of my kids in car seats. And if I do share a photo of them in the car, I know I will get yelled at for driving while taking a photo, that their seatbelts aren’t on correctly, etc.

I know I need to share an equal number of photos of each of my children so it’s obvious that I love them all same.

I need to think twice before sharing photos of them eating treats or candy.

And I should always remove any electronic devices from their hands before taking a photo that I am going to post. Because you know, I am rotting their brains and taking the lazy route by letting them watch an iPad.

And then there is the autism component.

I know if I mention ABA Therapy I am asking for drama.

Or if I mention medications, diets, supplements, say nonverbal instead of preverbal, call my son severe, say autistic son versus son with autism, I am going to have at least one person tell me how terrible I am.

That is all just par for the course.

But, last night, I was shamed for something that actually caught me off guard. I woke up to an earful.

I shared a photo of me breastfeeding my baby for the last time. He will be 1 on October 9.

The caption read:

‘I just nursed my baby for the last time. I don’t know how that is even possible. Part of me feels like he was just born. I’ll never forget the bloody nipples, visits to the lactation consultant and feeling like a failure for supplementing those first 2 weeks. I mean he was my third…it should have been a breeze. And 12 months later I am done. I’m so sad. It went so fast this time. He’s almost walking, waving, playing ‘so big’, clapping and obsessed with his brothers. The doctor tonight called him an old soul after knowing him for 30 seconds. Minutes later he saw two kids and begged to be put down and crawled over immediately. I want time to stop this time.’

I shared this photo because I am so proud of our journey. It was hard in the beginning. Which surprised me because he was my third. But no matter what I did those first two weeks he was always hungry. And I was so stressed.

So, I supplemented. And I felt like a huge failure. I cried many, many tears.

Then, after two weeks, it was fine. I nursed him exclusively for 12 months. I loved every minute of it. We would snuggle in the chair together and he would nurse for hours while I watched way too much tv. But I knew my days were numbered.

A month or so ago my baby weaned himself. He had no time to lie down with mama and snuggle. He wanted to sit up, run around, do jumping jacks and play.

I wasn’t surprised. Sawyer weaned at 10 months. I got two extra months with Harbor.

Not that I should have to say it, but I nursed and pumped for a long time. I am damn proud of myself.

I work, run a website, care for 3 children and dogs and a husband and run a household. I serve on boards, volunteer and travel for work. And breastfeeding takes times. It’s as simple as that. I don’t have a lot of time.

But I did it. I even got up at night to pump for 6 months while he slept.

I worked through thrush and mastitis. I nursed through the stomach flu and running to the bathroom.

I brought my pump on multiple work trips. I pumped in closets, bathrooms and airports. I nursed in hockey rinks and at t-ball games.

Oh the hours I spent attached to my baby or a pump. Seems like hundreds.

I did it because I wanted too.

And now I’m done. And I’m sad. Harbor is most likely my last baby. It’s hard to be done. But I am also so relieved and excited to have my boobs and life back. I am going to start exercising and dieting and I can’t wait.

I thought my post would get kudos. 12 months! That’s a long time.

I thought I would hear from other moms who were sad to be done as well. It’s an emotional time.

And yes, I got some of that. Sweet comments from kind moms who understood.

But I also got a whole lotta shame.

‘You may be done, but is your baby done?’

‘I am still nursing my 18 month old. I will let him decide. But I know it’s difficult sometimes. I wanted to end earlier but baby doesn’t. I’ll let him decide.’

‘Why not let him wean on his own?’

As I read the comments I felt terrible. Was I doing something wrong? Was I hurting my baby? Am I a bad mom?

Here is what I have to say after taking a few deep breaths.

No. I am not a bad mom.

Unless you are putting Mountain Dew in your child’s bottle, I do not care how you feed your newborn, infant or toddler. You will not get shame from me.

You do not have to hide your formula container from me. Not ever.

We need to support fellow moms, regardless of whether they are breast, bottle or formula feeding and not shame other moms for their very personal decisions.

We need to emphasize that feeding our child is most important, and for God’s sake trust that moms are making the best decisions for them and their families.

I refuse to feel bad for this. Nope. Not today shamers.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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