I recently took a self portrait. I wanted to give a back story to this image as it represents so much more than a tender moment. This picture is a picture of myself breastfeeding my third child. She has been my only exclusively breastfed baby. Circumstances and life events (and a baby being born with tooth!) prevented me from breastfeeding my older two. They were bottle fed babies and are quite fine health wise– despite the back and forths of deciding which form of feeding babies is the best- they are healthy, they thrived and are very energetic. I really dislike the belittling of moms who for many reasons did not breastfeed their babies. I was a mother who after two kids could not make it work. And there were always people who asked if I breastfed and after I replied “No.” they would always respond in a disappointed, “Oh.”
What people don’t always understand is that we as mothers make the decisions that are best for our children but more importantly best for ourselves. And so if we decide that we can’t deal with the excessive screaming of our kids because their tummies are so upset by the breastmilk they are given or if we couldn’t receive the right support for breastfeeding or if it just simply did not work- praise them for giving it a go and trying their hardest– because they really did. And as a mom who did give a good go at it- I always felt a pang of regret thinking maybe I didn’t try hard enough. But looking back, I know I made the right decisions and seeing my two older kids you would never be able to pick whether they were breastfed or not and really you will never be able to tell which kid is breastfed or not!
With my third I was able to breastfeed her. We were in a place where I we were not moving out of a country, I had way less stress, I had a home that I am putting roots into, and I had a great teacher, thanks Judith! And because of these circumstances, it worked- it wasn’t without struggles those first few weeks, but we made it. And I am grateful. I am grateful for the time that I have been able to spend with our daughter this way. But not anymore grateful than for the time that I was able to feed my other two by bottle. Because when you are feeding you are still looking into the beautiful eyes of your baby. This is what they will remember that you nurtured them- not just with physical food but with love. And this is the heart of this post- I fed my children in love- and it really shouldn’t matter in which manner they were fed, it’s that they were loved and fed.