V. >> Why do strangers often start a conversation by asking if I breastfeed ? I mean, you’d think that these conversations would be limited to moms… but no. Ever since I’ve given birth, the most random people have been asking me how I feed my child, and I’m always awkwardly surprised by their questions!
I’m not saying that it isn’t a good idea to talk about breastfeeding. I think it’s great that people are going back to this beautiful way of feeding their kids. But it’s also such a personal and controversial subject, and it does involve my boobs. And so, whenever a male co-worker of my boyfriend’s, or a friend of a friend that I see maybe once every two years asks me how I chose to feed my child, this uncomfortable feeling creeps into me, and I never know how to answer.
I personally don’t breastfeed, but I do pump and give the milk to my daughter with bottles. For my very own reasons, breastfeeding didn’t work. Maybe one day I’ll write about it, but right now, that’s beside the point. However, I do have to admit that, because I was never exposed to breastfeeding before being well into my 20s, and although I greatly respect women who breastfeed in public, it was a concept that made me very uncomfortable. I didn’t like the idea that people would stare at me while my boob was out (covered with a blanket or not). I still needed to get used to the idea that this was natural, and beautiful, and that it was more than okay to breastfeed in public.
I personally believe that the way you choose to feed your child is a personal decision that each mother needs to make according to her lifestyle, her circumstances and her physical condition. It’s not my business to know why or how a perfect stranger chooses to feed her child.
But at the end of the day, I hate it when people ask me “do you breastfeed?” First of all, I feel obliged to tell the truth. I have to explain that I pump my breastmilk. And then I always get the feeling that they imagine me plugged into my machine, looking like a cow in a factory. Ugh…Then they ask me why I chose this, and it’s such a long story, and I hate getting into it.
You’ve got the people who think it’s really cool that I do this. And you’ve got the people who judge me because they think that I didn’t give breastfeeding a good enough try. Then you’ve got the formula-feeding moms that feel uncomfortable because they didn’t go out of their way to do what I do. Maybe they think that I will judge them? But really, I don’t care, whichever way you choose to feed your daughter. People do the best that they can do, according to their own resources.
At the end of the day, does it really matter that much?
I think of the women who don’t breastfeed, for whichever reason. And I feel compassion for them at this time, because they might sometimes have to face judgement, and that’s not fair. Especially coming from strangers!
I figure that some people, when faced with new moms, want to show interest, want to have a conversation about my new life, and that’s really cool! Perhaps they don’t know what to say and the topic of breastfeeding is the first thing that comes to mind? But please people, stop asking me about it. It’s just uncomfortable. I really