This article, entitled The Great Gatsby inspired guide to addressing the breast vs. bottle debate comes from Nicole Knepper, writer of Moms Who Drink and Swear © on chicagonow.com.
I’m begging you to just let me rant a bit about this social media trend.
The other day, I came across an article about breastfeeding and it immediately set off my “Oh no, a bunch of people are going to post this on various social media outlets and use it to support their argument before even reading the whole article alarm,” and I just hate that alarm. It’s like being woken up at 3am with a baseball bat slamming into your gut, the scent of Axe body spray burning your nostrils and the sound of a thousand girls screaming at a One Direction concert ringing in your ears.
Not good. Feels bad. BAD.
Once I finished the article, I knew I had to settle down and not respond to the comments posted with the piece, raging on both sides of the issue, judging those who don't share their beliefs, so I curled up with my copy of The Great Gatsby, which I am re-reading because I have forgotten so much of the story, and I want to hit the movie and be able to sound really hoity toity by saying, “Oh my GOD the book was so much better than the movie. Harrumph!” Anyway...
At the beginning of the story, the narrator, Nick Carraway says this:
“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in the world haven’t had the advantages that you have had.”
Whoa – that's some ocean deep thinking. And spot on if you ask me (which you did not, but this IS my blog). Now I do believe that narrator, Nick, is talking more about wealth and access to formal education with this particular statement, but he also states that for him, “Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.” True that, Nick! I’m so glad I jumped from Huffington Post piece to ole F. Scott Fitzgerald, because I was really stewing about it. Not the piece itself, no! That was well written and it addressed my concerns specifically in the article - But still I was feeling very, very bad and I’ll tell you why.
Cliffs Notes version of the article – Sometimes people don’t keep up breastfeeding because it's really hard and moms worry half to death about their babies getting enough nutrition and the article cites important studies indicating that in SOME cases, the use of formula at the very beginning can actually improve outcomes, which is a good thing. There are so many women who desperately want to breastfeed and due to a plethora of reasons, specific to the individual, but standard across the board, especially for first time moms, these women end up using formula, and this makes them very unhappy.
But hey, there are just as many women who don’t want to breastfeed and never do at all, yet they are just as frustrated during feeding time with a newborn for a plethora of reasons, specific to the individual, but standard across the board, especially for first time moms. Are you detecting a pattern here? If you are reading carefully, you should. And I'm now ready to make my point.
I am not advocating for breast or bottle-feeding. I don’t care what a momma chooses as long as she's happy and the baby is being fed. The most important thing for a brand new mom is to be surrounded by supportive and loving people, armed with information and necessary supplies, who will make it their business to help them successfully feed their baby in the way they choose to do so, without judgment.
I will link the Huffington Post article at the end of this post so that you can read it yourself. I'm curious to know what kind of alarms it sounded for you? Did you feel a stirring of your belief system with regard to infant feeding pot? I know I did, but it wasn't because I felt the urge to share my opinion about the subject. I told you why it set me bells a ringing, and my alarm is almost always right.
So what's the point? And what does The Great Gatsby have to do with it? The point is that it can be hard us human beings to sort out information when we are in an emotional state. When we feel passionate about a subject and want so desperately for others to see our point of view, it’s not uncommon to be too quick to judgment of others and their choices. As Abraham Maslow said,” If you only have a hammer, you see every problem as a nail.”
And so I’d like to add some tools to your toolbox today. Tools that I think are mandatory for every human, but in this case, I am singling out moms - all moms, but especially experienced and opinionated moms (you know who you are) to do as Nick the narrator suggests in the book and reserve judgment, as it really is a matter of infinite hope! The mom toolbox requires some special tools and one of those tools that a mom must have is patience. If we are patient, and we can carefully examine each situation where we are inclined to erupt into a raging rant, fueled by emotion, anger and opinions, well, we aren’t really being part of the wonderful village of women who can and should support each other in this daunting, demanding and difficult task of helping a sister transition into motherhood.
IF you are not seeking out information from valid and reliable sources and carefully reading and comprehending this information, being patient with the process and making sure that you have your facts straight - you might hurt someone!
You might hurt a new mother.
And a new mother is among the most vulnerable of creatures. She is frazzled and overwhelmed and needs to hang on to hope to get her through the blur of life with a newborn. She needs HOPE. In the blink of an eye, a new momma can sink to the depths of despair and this is where we, as mothers ourselves, can be of great help - or great harm.
So humor me. Really, please humor me. Let me do the one thing I am good at here and that thing is to read and comprehend and then gather and present information to you in a fair and easy to understand format. I am asking you to do what Nick the narrator said to do – Reserve judgment and be hopeful!
"Reserving judgment is a matter of infinite hope." Put that in your mom pipe and smoke it, or in your toolbox and fix something with it! Inhale it so that it permeates your entire mom being. Pound it into something in order to create a better you so that you can be a beacon of hope for a new mom struggling with the bottle vs. breast debate.
I was recently asked if I think the market for parenting books is saturated. Did I think there was any new information out there -any original ideas left? Do people really need all these parenting blogs, magazines and books?
My answer was a resounding YES!
YES – YES- YES! This raising of humans thing is tricky and challenging! The more help we can all get, the safer we feel and that increases the odds for good outcomes!
Every minute of every day, a new mother is born. She is hopeful, scared, ecstatic, overwhelmed, sore, exhausted and desperate to do right by her beloved new baby. So I ask you to reserve judgment. To offer that mom infinite hope, to love her no matter what choice she makes when it comes to feeding her child, and to make sure that you are not the person that sucks out her hope by not letting your own opinions, fears and beliefs get in the way of her joyful hope.
A new mom doesn’t have time to re-read the classics. She often doesn’t have time to take a shower, use the toilet or feed herself - let alone the focus to carefully read and research articles she reads on the Internet (sometimes her only connection to the outside world for weeks on end) - in order to make sure that the information she has is accurate, fair minded and reliable. She is skimming everything between feeding and diapering her baby and trying to remember her own name. She is all emotion, all the time and she is afraid.
So your job is simple. Your job is to carefully read and research articles before posting biased and inaccurate information all over your social media sites where she will read it and immediately quiver with fear and doubt, not realizing that most of what she sees is merely a matter or opinion and usually a brief piece that calls for further examination and research. So do that! If you don't have time to do that, then don’t be that guy and wait to share the information when you do have the time. Untwist your panties long enough to get your facts straight and after you’ve done that, you still have a great responsibility with regard to helping this newbie learn the ropes and hold on to hope, and that responsibility is to reserve judgment.
Be patient. Be fair, Be supportive. Listen. Be generous. Be smart. Be kind. Be hopeful.
To me, there is nothing more hopeful than new life. A soft and fragile little human being that has a future full of possibility, regardless of whether or not he or she is breast of bottle-fed. And that, my friends, is a fact you can feel confident splattering all over the Internet. Gatsby and I raise our glasses to all you moms kicking it hope style! Keep it up.