Abby Theuring -- “the Badass Breastfeeder” -- started her blog two and a half years ago, when she was struggling to wade through Internet chatter about breastfeeding her then-6-month-old son.
Today, her website draws 200,000 visitors each month.
“I struggled so much with my first son and I shared all of that,” Theuring said, explaining that a lactation consultant eventually helped her with breastfeeding. “I started writing about that, and people started saying ‘Oh, wow. We’re going through the same thing.’”
Soon, she decided that her values veered toward “attachment parenting,” so she wrote about that, too.
And through it all, she’s heard from readers along the way. Here are three things she’s learned since becoming “The Badass Breastfeeder”:
|1. Women shouldn’t be afraid to make their own decisions when it comes to parenting.|
Though Theuring said she felt pressured to introduce formula when she was in the hospital, she said she’s learned she didn’t have to if she didn’t want to. “People need to decide for themselves what they want to do,” she said. “It’s about making an informed decision.
On the flipside, women who prefer to give their babies formula shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
“You can tell people think about doing something just because they feel like they have to,” she said. “You can’t be miserable and stressed out all the time because then you’re not going to be the best mom. If this is what works for you, then just leave it at that.”
|2.Most of the time, no one will bother you if you breastfeed in public.|
“There’s so much taboo around the breast,” she said. “What’ I’ve found is there does seem to be this air of women getting nervous about going out.” Sure, she said people leave nasty comments about breastfeeding in public online, but that’s not how people behave in the real world.
“It’s very, very unlikely that anyone will ever say anything to you,” she said. “I’ve been breastfeeding for three years and never had anyone say anything to me.”
No one has said anything in person, that is. She said she’s been called “sick” or “disgusting” online by people who don’t think she should breastfeed her 3-year-old, but no one has said a word to her in person.
“We generally don’t say things like that to each other in real life, face-to-face,” she said. “Women should just breastfeed how they feel comfortable.”
|3. Spouses or other family members might not agree with your parenting choices, and that’s OK.|
Though Theuring’s family has been supportive, other people she’s heard from aren’t so lucky, she said.
“What I’ve always said to people is to first try to take a moment to see where they’re coming from,” she said.
A spouse’s criticism for something like breastfeeding in public usually comes from a place of concern more than anything else, she said.
“Try to figure out where they’re coming from and start a conversation,” she said. “For the woman to say ‘This is really important for me, and I really want you to hear me out.’”