When Self Weaning Becomes Self-righteous

Peanut tandem nursing her pocket monsters.

The other night when I was lying with the girls in bed as they fell asleep, I decided to check Facebook on my phone. This is pretty normal for me. Another common activity is answering questions on Facebook. Other bloggers often re-post questions they’ve been asked on their wall. It’s like an online La Leche League meeting and it’s lovely.

So this is what I did that night. A breastfeeding blogger who I used to love reading, but has since quit blogging (and I was very sad to see her go!), still keeps her Facebook page active. She frequently re-posts questions and this night, had re-posted this:

From the wall: Best way to wean a 1-year old.. Please help?

I clicked on it thinking I might find some answers that I can apply to our weaning situation. Sadly, some of the responses were pretty judgmental and not helpful at all. Multiple mamas responded something along the lines to “I don’t know because I do child-led weaning.”  No advice, links, references, or anything else that could help her. Just a holier-than-thou attitude.

They don’t know this mother’s situation. Maybe she is agonizing over weaning. Maybe she’s about to start chemo or has another medical reason. Maybe she’s pregnant and can’t stand it anymore. Maybe she just doesn’t want to nurse anymore. That’s okay. Both sides need to be happy in the relationship. Why does this have to become another dividing issue? Why is a mother not good enough for nudging weaning along? Why must mothering be all about self-sacrifice and never taking your own feelings into consideration?

If that mother doesn’t want to wean, but feels pressure from her family and friends, address that. If she thinks she has to wean because of a medicine she needs when there’s a breastfeeding-friendly alternative, inform her. If she’s weaning because of the problems she’s having with nursing, help her. But don’t give her more guilt to deal with. Don’t force your opinions on her. Don’t try to show her how much of a better mother you are than her because you’ll nurse until the end of eternity.

All mothers should know that it’s an option to let their child wean on their own. It’s a wonderful option at that. In our society, where so many lies about breastfeeding are circulating around posing as truths, mothers may not know. It’s okay to inform her. If she decides not to though, respect her choice. Don’t guilt her into breastfeeding longer. Don’t try to show that you’re a better mom than her. Just let her make the decision that is the best for her family.

Leave the self-righteous attitude at the door and learn to help your fellow mom.


9 thoughts on “When Self Weaning Becomes Self-righteous

  1. In my mom’s group every week, before we get started we all take an oath that goes a bit like this ” to listen with open, respectful, and NONJUDGEMENTAL ears. We each know what is. Estfor our babies, and while itmight not be the best for someone else’s situation, it is the best for YOUR situation.feel free to offer suggestions if others wish advice but remember, respect and NONJUDGEMENTAL,”

    Sometimes I wish that in order to comment in someone’s post in the multi media world (blogs, fb, twitter, etc) we ALL had to take that same oath.

  2. The other funny thing is that weaning itself can mean a variety of things… One actually starts weaning when introducing foods other than breast milk to the infant. So she could also have been asking how to do that fairly daunting and exciting step. Again, not someone responding for a plea of advice should self righteous about!

  3. Fabulous post. So true that we don’t know the exact situation that anyone else is in.

  4. Ironic, I just posted about how I’m having the same issues with my 19 month old. I’ve heard “just quit” so often that I don’t mention it to anyone, even if sometimes all I want to do is talk.

  5. Well said! I, too, dislike the great divide between mums everywhere. Cry-it-out or not? BLW or not? There is no right and wrong as long as you raise your children in a loving, caring and respectful way. Life for all (new) mums would be so much easier if we would support each other rather than judge and compete. I no longer tell anyone that I still nurse my 22 month old, I am fed up with defending my parenting choices. Let’s stick together ladies! Being a mum is hard enough sometimes without also feeling that it’s one great big competition that you can never win.

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