Calling Time (Magazine) on the breastfeeding war of words

time-magazine-breastfeeding-cover Jamie Lynne

Ah, the big Time Magazine Breastfeed Mom / Mum cover debate rages on! Surely, when it comes down to it, the most important thing any mother can do is to love her child and show that child love?

Each and every one of us is different, that’s part of the joy of being a human. So, it stands to reason that we will all parent in different ways. I breastfed my daughter until she was 14 months (I also gave her a bottle at times, oh the scandal!). I have friends who solely bottle-fed and I have friends who solely breastfed. I have friends who breastfed for several weeks and friends who breastfed or are breastfeeding small children. And of course, feeding a child is just part of the parenting equation.

Isn’t the reality that each of our children will turn out in his or her own way too? Because no one parent can get it all right. And there's that nature / nurture thing to consider. So, there's likely to be children of mothers who breastfeed them until they go to school who will go on to be emotionally healthy, successful pillars of the community and there will also be children of these mothers who lead less emotionally happy and successful lives. The same will happen for bottle-fed babies, babies who were combination fed, babies who were breastfed for a year and for all the other parenting variables, ad infinitum.

I do worry that it is too easy to get caught up in the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of parenting. And for some to then get caught up in pointing the finger at parents they feel are getting it wrong, by way of reassuring themselves that they are getting it right! Or worse still, for so-called experts to start shouting the odds!

What really is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ anyway? Parenting styles go in and out of vogue. A friend commented recently how she had rarely put her now seven year old in a sling, because it wasn’t really on her radar when he was born. But with her latest baby, she has her constantly in a sling. Does this mean that her two children will grow up radically different, solely because of this? I'm not so sure.

There are things I seem to be getting right as a parent and things I am sure I am getting wrong as a parent. That’s life. I do my best and most importantly, my daughter knows she is the most precious person in the whole wide world to me.

I can’t possibly agree with every other mother’s every parenting choice and I can’t expect every other mother to agree with all of mine. Of course I have my opinions, who doesn't. But what I can do though is acknowledge that it takes all sorts to make this world and stave off pointing the finger and making harsh judgments of someone who is doing things differently to me. Hopefully there are many other mums out there who feel like this too?

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