There’s an epidemic of parental shaming these days. From parents everywhere judging other parents for how they choose to give birth. Is it natural, non-medicated, hospital, birthing center, or home birth? Disposable diapers vs. cloth diapers, pacifier vs. no pacifier. Cry it out vs. don’t cry it out. Do you choose breastfeeding, pumping, bottle feeding, or (gasp!) formula for your baby? You get the point.
More and more I hear all across social media from parents of all walks of life saying, “What happened to our village?” We’ve all been taught it takes a village to raise well-rounded, independent, loving, successful children…but sadly we aren’t supportive of these efforts. Instead we judge, point the finger and make parents feel awful for their parental decisions and we don’t offer one another help and…grace.
Can we give a little bit of grace?
There’s something on my heart today that I’ve pondered for months now that I’d like to share. I guess I should say…it’s less of a sharing and more of a request. Can I chat with the mommas for now? The breastfeeding mommas.
Mom to mom. Breastfeeding mom to breastfeeding mom. Can you please do myself and a large majority of us breastfeeding moms a favor?
Please stop saying this one phrase that not only alienates and frustrates other moms but it solidifies what society expects of breastfeeding, postpartum mothers everywhere. That we should “look” a certain way shortly after having a baby. That we should be back in our pre-pregnancy clothes by our 6 week check up and training for the next marathon.
This one phrase is the thing that makes me want to simultaneously cry and whack you upside your head!
Please stop saying, “When I breastfeed the weight just falls right off of me.”
Hear that? You just crushed other mother’s hearts, self-esteem, and faith in sisterhood.
Now, I don’t think for most women who have spoken those words that it’s ill-intended or malicious. I think that it was said as a benefit to breastfeeding.
Believe me, it certainly would be a benefit to breastfeeding, if it were true for many. But the fact is, it isn’t.
Most of us don’t have bodies that shed weight easily because of breastfeeding. Most of us have bodies that not only struggle to breastfeed but also need to hold on to our fat and calories IN ORDER TO breastfeed.
Like most women, my body sheds the initial weight of the baby and fluids after giving birth and that’s it. I don’t lose my pregnancy weight completely until I’m done breastfeeding. That is because my body holds onto the fat in order to produce enough milk for me to feed my growing baby.
I have tried to workout while breastfeeding and it sabotages my milk supply. I’ve tried to eat a low-carb diet while breastfeeding and it sabotages my milk supply. I’ve tried to workout, drink extra water and eat a high protein diet in order to make sure I had enough calories and water intake but also so I could try to lose my pregnancy weight…all while breastfeeding and guess what happens? I don’t lose a single pound and my milk supply still suffers and my mental and emotional state does too.
So, I’ve decided, it’s not worth it. The single most important thing and gift that I’ve been given during this time, is to breastfeed my baby and as soon as that time is up, then I’ll get back to working out, if that’s what I so desire to do.
All I am asking of other breastfeeding moms is to be aware that while you too are gifted this incredible ability to breastfeed your baby, it isn’t so easy for other moms. And it certainly isn’t something that comes with the benefit of losing weight while breastfeeding for most of us.
Thanks for reading and becoming more aware of what other moms are going through and how a simple statement could unknowingly break her spirit. Here’s to building up and supporting “the village.”
Do you struggle with losing weight while breastfeeding or after? Do you struggle with milk supply? Leave comments below, I’d love to hear from you!