One of the biggest lessons I’ve found since becoming a Mum is that suddenly everyone is an expert and so keen to criticise your parenting choices! This saddens me more than you know.
I am a bottle-feeder, I haven’t fed on demand, I put my two boys into their own cots in their own rooms from day one, I don’t attend Baby Massage and I weaned my eldest at 3.5months (& it wasn’t baby-led weaning either!). I decided to go back to work full-time (therefore abandoning my child), but changed my mind and stayed at home instead (avoiding the opportunity to instil a firm work ethic into my child).
We were told that we may not ever be able to conceive after a diagnosis of PCOS but we don’t like being told what we can or can’t do. Early in 2005 we fell pregnant but it wasn’t to be. We were devastated to say the least. When I fell pregnant again later that year I daren’t breathe for the first 4 months but after that we settled into thinking about motherhood and how we wanted to raise our child/ren. We decided that we wanted to bottle feed. I wanted Roy (the long-suffering husband) to have as much to do with the feeding process as possible, the idea of expressing horrified me (if anyone even glanced at my chest during pregnancy the “girls” started to throb), and to be honest, it just didn’t appeal to me. Perhaps it’s the control freak in me but I like knowing how many ounces have been taken.
Well… I would have got a less fierce/shocked/disappointed response to “I’m a heroin addict and sell myself at the weekend to fund my habit” than the reaction to “I’ve decided to bottle-feed” from some quarters! And some of these people were “friends”! Don’t I know breast is best? Of course I do, and don’t get me wrong I think breastfeeding is the most beautiful and nurturing thing going – it just wasn’t for me.
Putting the boys into their own rooms… when Kieran was born, this was more of a room issue than anything else but as we were adjoining and in a bungalow, it was never an issue as he was only a few feet away. When Taylor was born, we had moved but the room is still next door – and again, he has settled fantastically from day one. In fact both boys slept through from an early age, Kieran at 3.5wks and Taylor at 7wks (and no, this was not why I chose to bottle-fed etc, I have found myself explaining again and again).
Both boys are thriving. The Health Visitor told me at 5 months that Kieran was perfect, “absolutely thriving” were her words, and asked if I’d thought about weaning yet. When I explained this started at 3.5months she chuckled and said “Well, I can’t say a thing to that can I? He was clearly ready!” And he was. Taylor, is (gulp) nearly 16 weeks and nowhere near ready for weaning, each to their own.
Throughout Kieran’s early days I got plenty of comments about my choices, and would back away, find myself making excuses or mumbling but those days have passed. I have two happy & healthy boys. I am confident that the choices I have made have been the right ones for us, and I won’t apologise for them. Most Mums have been subjected to criticism at some point or other (for those of you with babies only – just wait until your toddler has their first meltdown in Tescos! EVERYONE has a comment for you then lol) and I don’t think that will ever change really. My message to you all is to stick to your guns (assuming your parenting style does not involve ritual beatings) and don’t get caught up in it all. Celebrate your family and enjoy every minute of them, they grow so quickly!
**I wrote this post originally for Emma over at TheRealSupermum & to be honest was overwhelmed by the fantastic response from her readers (please do pop over and have a read!) and Emma was more than happy for me to repost it here so I could share it with you good people!