“Mumpty Mumpty sat on the wall,
Mumpty Mumpty had a great fall…
All the Queen’s buddies and all the Queen’s men,
Couldn’t put Mumpty together again.”
Mammies face a wall.
And boy it’s a big wall.
It’s huge. It’s long. It’s terrifying to sit atop because it’s so high. It’s divided Mammies for years and a much as we campaign and try to promote awareness about the wall, it only seems to be getting higher. The Mammies on each side of this wall think they’re better than the Mammies on the other side. And the Mammies still sitting on top of the wall are generally terrified because not only do they not know which side to jump off, but most of them know that regardless of which side they choose, they’ll be judged.
And the worst thing about this wall which divides Mammies?
We built it ourselves.
And we continue to add bricks to it, every single day.
It’s The Feeding Wall.
And you must choose a side: Breast or Bottle.
It’s the one wall that EVERY Mum must climb up onto, choose a side and jump off. It’s unavoidable. Once baby arrives, you must jump. For many it’s an easy decision. For others, it isn’t so easy. For some, for many reasons, the decision is made for them. Some Mammies choose a side, but then realise that it’s not for them and so they climb right over that wall and do what they must.
And most of us don’t give a damn which side other Mums choose. We don’t particularly care about how other Mammies are feeding their babies. We don’t feel the need to tell them that they SHOULD be bottle-feeding, or that they MUST breastfeed. We accept that every Mammy and indeed, every couple, are solely responsible for raising their own children and how they decide to feed and nurture their babies is THEIR BUSINESS alone.
It’s certainly none of mine.
Nor is it any of yours.
Some Mammies are decisive and don’t care about the opinion of others. Others feel the need to try to convince you that if you’re NOT doing it the way they do it, then you’re doing it wrong. You’re misinformed. You’re a bad Mammy even.
They don’t understand HOW you can be bothered with the sometimes difficult journey of Breastfeeding. They don’t understand HOW you can NOT give your child “the best” start in life. They don’t understand HOW you could possibly breastfeed in public. They don’t understand HOW you can ignore the scientific research that shows Breastfeeding to be “best”.
They don’t understand HOW you don’t think the same as them.
And you know what?
They don’t HAVE to understand, because IT’S NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!
The Wall is getting higher. It’s ridiculous. It shouldn’t even exist. It should simply be a tiny little gate and you should chose which side you want to walk through. It shouldn’t be high. It shouldn’t be frightening.
And until we all get off our sanctimonious high horses and stop adding bricks to it, it’s going to get higher.
Ironically, the “Warriors” who fight each day to promote one feeding method or the other, don’t realise that they often add bricks to the wall. If you automatically get defensive about your chosen feeding method, and the main way you promote it is by dismissing and demeaning the alternative, you’re simply judging… bitching even.
And when the information leaflets and campaigns use “Vs” in their copy, what hope do we have? Even the language is suggesting that there is competition, conflict, sides.
A few weeks ago, I read a post on a national forum from a Mammy of 2, who is pregnant again. Her youngest is 6 and she simply asked where was the best place to buy formula nowadays and which nappies people found best.
Now, bear in mind, this Ladybelle is ALREADY a Supermum to 2 children. She has ALREADY sat on that bloody Feeding Wall TWICE and has obviously made educated and personal choices for herself and her family already. She wasn’t asking people their opinions on Breast feeding or bottle feeding. She was asking a housekeeping question. Where could she save money and which nappy brand is now kicking ass in the world of Mammies.
The answers were generally simply answers, but IMMEDIATELY there were comments such as “Why not do the best thing for your baby and breast feed?” or “Breastfeed and use cloth nappies. Better for baby and Mammy.” And my favourite,“Breast is best.” etc. The thread turned into a debate between Mums about how she should be feeding. It got nasty. It got scientific. It got offensive and it got deleted.
Had this Mammy been asking for advice on breastfeeding, would anyone on the forum have DARED to suggest “Just bottle feed! It’s far better.”
Probably not. They’d have been be lynched. Although Mammies who breast feed often get comments passed too. “How do you know she’s getting enough?” “Would you not just top him up with a wee bobo?” “How can you be bothered?”
I can already hear the thoughts of some Mammies as they read this. I can predict some of the comments that will appear. And each one them will simply prove my point. Our opinions are simply that… OUR OPINIONS. They hold no weight in the lives of others. Nor should they.
If you get sooooo upset by the Beautiful Mammy feeding her baby formula from a bottle, ask yourself why?
If you get soooooo offended by the beautiful Mammy breastfeeding her baby in the cafe, ask yourself why?
Does it hurt you? Are you drinking it? Is it your breast?
So get over it.
Yes, we should live in a society where Mammies are able to, and feel comfortable enough to, breastfeed their babies in public, without sexualisation of the breast, without others feeling uncomfortable. Of course we should. The cities have a wonderful attitude to breastfeeding. And thankfully it’s improving here too. And rightly so. But we must also change our attitudes to feeding in general.
Because we should ALSO live in a society where a Mammy is able to feed her little baby HOWSOEVER she wishes WITHOUT being categorised or judged or having to take a side. Why can we not all get on with it? Why is it such a bone of contention? Why do we take it all so personally?
Each negative comment on online forums.
Each judgemental look or comment in hospitals.
Each eyebrow raised at a raised nursing top is another brick in the wall.
And we’re building it ourselves.
Mumpty Mumpty should not have to jump off the wall. She should not be pushed off one side or the other. She should not be judged because of her choice. She should be offered a helping hand, given a leg up, from ALL Mammies and she should be applauded when she lands, regardless of which side she lands on.
Because unless she jumps directly onto your head and knocks you out, her choice doesn’t really affect you either way, does it?
Which “side” of the wall am I on? Well that doesn’t really matter, but I’ll happily tell you. I bottle fed. Twice. Why? Well that’s really none of anyone’s business is it?
Do I care how you feed your baby?
Absolutely not. Just keep them fed. That’s all that matters.
“Mumpty Mumpty sat on the wall.
Then all the other Mumpty Mumpties helped her down and told her she was doing a great job and then they all raised their own babies and they all lived happily ever after.
I am Simply Feeding my Baby Mum.