Welcome to 2016. It’s a time in history where social media is booming and the offended (aka everyone) are not afraid to speak their minds. I, like most of us, have strong convictions and opinions about the decisions I make, especially in regards to parenting, even if I’m not always verbal about them.
Sadly, despite trying to ignore all of the varying opinions that are thrown in our faces, our decisions are affected. We might not always change our minds, but doubt is planted. We waver.
You can say you don’t care what everyone else thinks. You can be confident in your decisions. But if you’re like me, deep down, you wonder: am I going to be judged? This, of course, applies to any parenting decision you make. SOME ONE won’t agree with your decisions.
So the answer to the question is: Yes. You will be judged. And guess what? You’ll be okay.
I recently made a decision I didn’t expect to make in what seems to be a hot topic category this past year. Breastfeeding.
When I was pregnant with Ellavie, I decided to breastfeed for no less than six months, with the goal of a year, assuming there were no major complications. Why? Because that was the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommendation. And it made logical sense to me.
I changed my mind about a lot of things once Ellavie was born. Strict schedule? On demand was so much more natural for us. Fancy diapers? Up and Up brand, all the way. But breastfeeding: boy was I determined.
Luckily for me, it came fairly naturally. Don’t get me wrong, we had our latch and supply struggles, but we figured it out together. Six months came and went and our breastfeeding journey became easier.
That is, until my twelve month ending point approached. Much to my surprise, I didn’t feel ready to be done. Ellavie didn’t seem ready, either. But how could I continue? Anything beyond twelve months would make me, dare I say it… An extended breastfeeder. (Why is there a negative connotation with that term to begin with?)
Ahhhh the labels. I hate them. Labels create an unnecessary hesitation where a mother’s instincts should not be questioned.
I stressed. I vented to friends and my husband about how I didn’t feed ready, but had begun the weaning process regardless, because that was the plan. It was emotionally painful as I dropped one feeding at a time.
One feeding remained. Ellavie’s first birthday came and went. I decided, after days of hesitation, not to drop the last feeding. She is now 13 months old, and we are still going strong.
I don’t know how long we will keep that last feeding; either she’ll quit, or I will decide it’s time. The point is, we’ll do what’s right for us, regardless of labels.
Deciding not to put a definitive end date on our breastfeeding journey has been so freeing. I let go of my fear of the label, and found peace in my decision.
Extended breastfeeder: you’re a great mom.
Formula feeder: you’re a great mom.
Cloth diaperer: you’re a great mom.
Value pack diaperer: you’re a great mom.
Homemade organic solid food mom: you’re a great mom.
I buy whatever baby food is on sale mom: you’re a great mom.
And every other “type” of mom in between.
Let’s drop the labels ladies; but more importantly- let’s drop the fear of labels and support the decisions and instincts of our fellow mothers.