10 January 2018

Advice, opinions, judgement!

Why does becoming a Mum make a woman so opinionated? I don’t mean in the friendly, I’m your friend and I’ll give you advice so you can make an informed decision kind of way. I mean the type that makes you feel undermined or like you’re not doing a good enough job or the ‘right’ thing by your child.
Photo of mother and child

I became a Mum for the first time towards the end of 2016. I always knew there’d be people dishing out advice, and I assumed a lot of them would be people that had their babies years ago. Like everything in life, things change. New research comes to light and we are advised new things all the time to keep our babies healthy and safe.

But one my biggest bug bears over the past 14 months has been the number of women who are also first time Mums or not even Mums at all, dishing out advice or having a totally irrelevant opinion. None of which is based on fact!

I’m passionate about breastfeeding, and where possible I believe every Mum should try it, even if it’s for a short period of time. In order to succeed you need the right support - midwives, nurses, partner, family, friends, other breastfeeding Mums health visitor and feeding support workers. I wouldn’t have succeeded without any of them. Add a dash of determination and stubbornness, and voila... hopefully you have successful journey. 

I’m by no means bashing formula. My daughter was 6 weeks early, and for the first 18 days of her life she either had all formula or a mixture of breastmilk and formula via a tube. 

Anyways, I’m not writing this to turn this into a breastfeeding V formula debate. I’m writing this to say that I basically couldn’t care less how another Mum feeds her baby. I don’t sit here and judge them. I made my decision to do what I wanted and they have made theirs. But it’s annoying, disappointing and sad that at 14 months, I am judged for still breastfeeding.

Why does how I feed my child bother others so much? It’s not their boobs feeding my daughter, so what’s the big deal? I love her with every inch of my life. She’s an independent, secure, carefree, curious little girl. I get asked when I might stop... my answer is when she wants to, or when I’ve had enough. It’s sad that so much of society aren’t aware of the health benefits for both Mum and baby of breastfeeding beyond 12 months. We all do things for comfort, but feeding isn’t always one of them.

Feeding aside, there’s plenty of other things I’ve been judged on. How I didn’t introduce a bottle, how I didn’t introduce a dummy, how I have a finger sucker, how I hold my baby too much, how my baby isn’t walking yet, what pram we have, what nappies we buy...

Honestly, I could be here all day! 

I believe in advising people and providing them with information and support so that they make an informed decision. If you want to introduce food at 12 weeks, that’s your call. But it would be wrong of me to sit back and say it’s fine, when guidelines and research say otherwise. We have access to new information all the time, information we didn’t have 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago. What might have ok then, probably isn’t now. Some of our adult health issues may be down to introducing things too early.

Anyways, I’m going off on a tangent now and probably sounding opinionated and judgemental, but I’m honestly not. I really couldn’t give two hoots, but I do give two hoots about making sure you have ALL the information, facts, guidelines in front of you before you make decision about the health and safety of your baby. 

Bina Ghelani - @lil_bins


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