When Kasey was a newborn, I used to breastfeed her to sleep. I was promptly told: No, you can’t do that! What will you do when she’s 4? Are you going to breastfeed forever? I did it anyway. She was particularly colicky and clingy and no one would get any sleep unless I did that. I did what worked for us, to give us that little ounce of sanity we needed.
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My bub weaned off on her own gradually and by 6 months, I stopped breastfeeding. Now, she was on the dummy. And the nurses and experts and even friends would go: But you can’t do that. When are you going to wean her off? You’re not going to let her be one of those talking 3 year olds still on the dummy, are you?
We weaned her off before she turned 2.
I think mums can all agree that when it comes to our children, there is always pressure coming from everywhere. Multiple external sources and internally from ourselves. The stress is never-ending, the expectations are stifling even though it is usually out of goodwill and concern for the well-being of our kids.
I recently met up with a friend who is a first-time mum with a 13 month old who doesn’t sleep through the night. Her husband is also working away so she has to cope with first time motherhood on her own most of the time.
She confided that she stopped going to playgroups because it just got harder and harder dealing with unnecessary comparisons between children or well-meaning advice/pressure from other mums about her parenting. If her child wasn’t sleeping through the night, she must be doing something wrong as a mum. In fact, when she was talking to me about her routine with her child, she kept putting herself down with “Oh I’m just not good with this” and “It’s my fault, I know.”
It made me very sad that instead of feeling well supported, she felt weak and lacked confidence in her own efforts as a mum. Solely because people were constantly telling her she was doing things wrong.
I’m a firm believer in the view of “whatever works for you”. No two people are the same, no two kids are the same and no two situations are the same.
I don’t believe in pushing personal opinions down another’s throat because what might work in one situation, might not work in another. I don’t believe in putting people down, intentionally or otherwise.
At the end of our little playdate, my friend said to me that she felt like she should have met up with me a lot earlier because it was refreshing that someone was not blasting her every action and practices!
Motherhood is hard enough as it is. I just wished there was more support all around, especially for mums who already have it hard (eg. first time mums with partners who work away and have no family, friends with them, mums with special needs children etc.) and really need that confidence boost instead of another talking down.
Have you been on the receiving end of a ton of often well-meaning but stressful pressure about your parenting?
*Linking up with Essentially Jess