Earth Mama Celebrates The Leaky Boob and My Story Matters.
Was breastfeeding a piece of cake for you? Or were you a mama who struggled every day? Was your time so short you don’t think you have a story, or so long you’re reluctant to mention it? Did you have the support of everyone, or were you discouraged from your choices? Every story is important, and every story matters: every time a breastfeeding mama tells her story it helps others see themselves and find courage and support. There is not ONE model for breastfeeding, and it doesn’t matter what your story is, we all need to commit to supporting each other.
In honor of The Leaky Boob’s Fifth Anniversary and My Story Matters, Earth Mama is renewing the Support With Integrity Pledge. The Leaky Boob’s open, supportive, non-judgmental environment is a perfect example of criticism-free breastfeeding help, with acknowledgment that there are as many ways to get your baby fed as there are types of nursing pillows. The Leaky Boob encourages “acceptance no matter if you use a pillow from the bed or one that’s branded – if one kind of pump works better for you then hallelujah! Nobody lives this life exactly the same way. That includes different breastfeeding “methods”. If the mama is happy and the baby is healthy that’s perfect. And we can encourage a community of people who are there to support, not criticize or judge.” Sing it, Leaky!
The Support with Integrity Pledge gives props to women who choose to lift each other up, and not tear each other down. There are so many opinions and choices when it comes to breastfeeding: whether or not you should even be using a nursing pillow, which brand, how often, on a schedule not on a schedule, a nipple shield or not, and don’t get us started on position! Football, side laying, upside down yoga baby… there is so much overwhelming information, and everyone has a different experience.
Instead of judging choices that are different from ours, let’s choose to be each other’s cheerleaders. Let’s choose to acknowledge that breastfeeding can be hard, or easy, or both, and it can be different for different children of the same mama. Let’s stand down from judgment, and jump toward supporting every mama’s personal decision. Let’s strengthen and unite the efforts of breastfeeding supporters, who focus on getting the baby fed, and not take sides about how it’s done, or being right.
So often when you find an exhausted mama, a crying baby, and frustration at trying to make this breastfeeding thing work, you also find people wanting to help. And help is wonderful, of course, but sometimes it comes with an edge. Some who are very invested in a certain way of doing things can sometimes forget to, first and most important, be kind and supportive. Maybe you’ve been the mama, maybe you’ve been the supportive friend, maybe you’ve even been the one pushing an agenda a little too hard. We’ve all been there, and we all mean well.
Need some help trying to figure out what’s helpful and what’s not? Here are some ways to support mamas who may not be making the same choices as you:
- “You are doing great, mama.” This little phrase can mean so much, especially when a mama is feeling confused and exhausted.
- Suggest she find a support site or Facebook page similar to HER values, not yours. The Leaky Boob is a welcoming breastfeeding community that offers judgment-free support and helpful resources.
- “How can I help? I will keep my opinions to myself and do whatever you need!” And then button your lip and do it!
- Help defuse aggressive questioning or pointed comments with a, “I’m so glad your nursing choices have been beneficial to you and your baby, but my friend has chosen a different way and she could really use our support!”
- Piles of research on the “right” way to breastfeed – we can find all sorts of conflicting information on the Internet. Respect that your friend has chosen a way that works for her, even if you disagree with it.
- Scary stories information about other people’s bad experiences.
- “It was easy for you before, why can’t you do it this time?” Remember, different babies have different breastfeeding experiences.
- Any unsolicited opinion about method, equipment, position, or schedule – you don’t know the whole story, and if the baby’s being fed, just smile and admire that there are lots of ways to get the job done!
And now, go take the pledge! “I agree to hold hands and help mamas get what they need to make breastfeeding work for them, no matter how they choose to do it. If a mama and baby are making it work, I’ll stand and cheer them on from the sidelines.”
Sign on now here!
Share with us what you find to be helpful and respectful support and what you have found not to be helpful nor respectful support in the comments below.