Sunday, August 23, 2009

40+1 Weeks: Judgement Approaches

This time last year I was 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant. Cave Baby waited around another eight days before deciding to make her entrance so we are looking forward to her birthday.

But in another way, the first birthday is a bit of a scary point. Everyone has an idea of what a one year old should be like. It should be cutting down on the breastfeeds, sleeping through the night and starting to walk. And whilst the other ages and stages all melt into a blurry mess when viewed through the kaleidoscope of memory, everyone can remember what their own children were doing at age one. That means one thing: judgement.

I have already been told "She can't be having those breastfeeds for ever", and asked "Is she still going to be sleeping with you when she's five?". Aargh. I can ignore anything from strangers but I find it much harder to confront or brush off comments from family. We have relationships to maintain, and any questioning of their beliefs can too easily be taken as criticism of how they brought up their own children.

So, at this time I think it is even more important that I remember why it is good to keep breastfeeding until age two and beyond, why it is good to still sleep with my baby beside me and why I still tote her round in a backpack. It will all be worth it!

Don't you wish that people would occasionally look at your happy, healthy baby and just say "Well done" instead of passing judgement?


Mel said...

Oh dear....that would be lovely, wouldn't it?

My youngest will be five in two weeks and I just recently weathered an inquisition on shouldn't I be getting him some *help* with his quirky behaviour (we call it quirky, other people would like to slap a battery of labels on him)...


Stay the course, my friend, you are doing right by your baby and sometimes you just have to hang on to that as you nod and smile...:)

cartside said...

I got those comments from my father from when my daughter was just over 4 months old. Every single time he saw me breastfeed her he had to comment. Funny thing was that he himself was breastfed until age two. I just responded calmly time and time again, yes I am. Until he got bored of this exchange (admittedly, that took a while!). As to co-sleeping? Most parents around me did it, so never had to defend it. And now that she stopped it by herself, I sometimes miss it. So enjoy!

Lisa - edenwild said...

Mine turned one less than two months ago. He didn't start walking until past 13 months. I was so happy the other day when my mom said "He's walking so well considering you carried him all the time for most of his life." Exactly. Holding babies is good for them!

I told everyone right off the bat that I planned to bf for at least two years, so no comments about that so far. But one of my family members asked how my husband and I "get together" with a baby in our bed!

I just stay positive and tell them how much I enjoy being close to my baby, and that I know it is good for him. I should think that they would be jealous that I enjoy my happy little baby so much?? :)

Joe said...

Wow, you are really hitting home with this post. I am in this situation of judgements by family members with relationship to maintain and too easily taken of a critic of their own child-rearing myself, and although I'm hitching to write a long bloggy rant about all of it, I know I can't...

Don't you hate that?

Keep up the good work, in the end, it's YOUR child, and YOUR call. We just need to remember that in the middle of a family reunion, and how to *try and* pass the bean dip.

It would be lovely indeed to get a "good job"!

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

P.S. It's also hard when, say, I got to a family baptism yesterday, and DD was a basket case. So I put her in the sling so she could calm down with some close mommy contact. For the 30 min she was in there, I got at least 10 "put her down" - 5 of which probably were from the same person.

I try not to justify, to just say "No, she's good, but thanks!", but when the person keeps on coming back and nagging, how's one to keep her temper! (that was a mini rant LOL)

Crystal Gold said...

I love your last sentence and it is so true! So, GOOD JOB to you!!

Cave Mother said...

Crystal Gold - THANK YOU!

carol b said...

Well done indeed! It seems that all those who judge have their eyes closed to the fact that you are doing what you believe is right and your happy child is testament to your good choices.
My mother in law constantly told me stories of 'those freakish people' who breastfed their children until they were five years old, as if telling the tale often enough would persuade me away from our choice.
As it was our girl chose to give up the breast at about 22 months. And Oh I miss it! my MIL's relief was palpable.
She breastfed her three for about 4 weeks each, I wonder how much of the judgement stemmed from a sense of lost opportunity on her behalf.
Enjoy your choices, the only voice you need to heed is your own instinct.

Jessica said...

I hear you. Since my son walked at exactly 13 mos old and his left leg sorta turned out a little. My mom kept pressuring me to get it checked out, it's not normal, what if something's wrong with his pelvis?? OMG, she was relentless. But he was developing just fine, all the motor skills, the balance, the confidence, so I figured if he was going to have one little duck foot, that was fine with me. And guess what? It points straight ahead now.

Basically, if we go with our gut and follow our kid's lead we really can't go wrong. That means bed sharing for as long as you both want, breast feeding, choosing to worry about what you want to worry about etc.

Just wait till language becomes a topic of conversation with people (ugh). Everyone compares and judges your kid to kids they know or their own. I'm asked all the time if my son knows the alphabet yet (he's not even 2!)

We all need parenting armor.

Amanda said...

My wonderfully supportive and breastfeeding-gung-ho husband has begun passing down some gentle judgement about the "ba-ba's." As Rowan nears his third birthday, he is still nursing occassionaly. It's kind of feels a little like being betrayed as he was always my biggest cheerleader and a true breastfeeding partner (if that makes any sense!).

Earthenwitch said...

I get this too. My mother-in-law thinks the witchling should sleep through every night, and 'she looks too old to still be feeding'. I don't care - I carry her in a mei tai or wrap, she feeds probably five or six times a day (inc. night feeds) and sometimes more, and you know what? Sod 'em all - if it works for you, don't listen. I'm just delighted that feeding is working so well for us, and I relish it.

Oh, and the witchling is nearly fifteen months now, so if you're doing things wrong, we must be criminally insane. ;)

Cave Mother said...

Jessica, Amanda and Earthenwitch - thanks for the support! Sometimes I just have a crisis of confidence, and it is so helpful to get a little boost.

Amanda, I am sorry about your hubby. I can just imagine how unsettling that is. My partner is uber-supportive at the moment and if he started getting fed up of the bfing I would find it very difficult to cope with. And anyway, what business is it of his? They are your breasts, surely if you don't mind giving the odd breastfeed then there is no problem? As I always try to remind myself, all babies get there in the end. You don't see teenagers nursing, do you. If only it was as easy to trust our own common sense as it is to hand out advice to others!

Laura McIntyre said...

Yes the judgement, i don't get why people feel the need to say anything when its none of there business.

The one i get the most is about baby wearing (my boy is 11 months and around 23lbs now) . One lady at my eldest daughters nursery makes negative comments all the time. I have no idea what is to do with her ? .
I wear him as it makes me life easier , why can't people just but out .