Perception: BFing guilt even among FFing mom?

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Perception: BFing guilt even among FFing mom?
10
Sun, 07-10-2011 - 6:35pm

I went to a coupon get-together today, and the topic of free formula and coupons invariably came up. There was a mom with a 4m old baby, who she was FFing. Several moms talked about the formula they used in the past with older children, or were currently using with a new baby. Different kinds of formula were discussed, different problems that caused them to keep switching. Hints and tips about how to get more free formula and coupons and how they had signed up their friends to get more.

Not one word about BFing. Nope, I did not say a word.

Then one mom starts talking about how expensive the soy formula she used with her son was, and how there were never any coupons. Then, with a guilty look around, she protested that she DID BF for the first six months before switching to soy formula, trailing off...

Now it's possible that the others saw it as boasting about being able to BF, or critizing them about FFing, I have no idea. It would have been great to get some feedback on how they percieved her.

What I saw was a woman who felt guilty about stopping BFing, angry at the cost she brought on herself as a single parent on assistance, and thinking that we were all critizing her choice to use formula - despite the fact that no-one else there had admitted to having BF for any length of time - not even tried.

So what is the debate? Hmm... perhaps do you think that my eyes are coloured by my own perception? Do you think that some women feel guilty about chosing to FF, even when nothing has been said?

Avatar for pterodactyl
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2003
Sun, 07-10-2011 - 9:04pm

The way I read it, she was embarrassed to mention that she had breastfed, thinking the FF moms would think she was boasting.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Sun, 07-10-2011 - 9:15pm

It's only my perception, of course - but it seemed to me that she was putting emphasis on the fact that she DID BF - as if someone had questioned or challenged her. She did not appear to be embarrassed to have BF, more of a "I did try" response...

I don't know though, my thoughts and feelings about BFing and this debate may have coloured my perception - I would have loved to delve into it more, asked her thoughts and feelings - but it wasn't the time or place.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2004
Mon, 07-11-2011 - 12:42pm
witch_power wrote:

It's only my perception, of course - but it seemed to me that she was putting emphasis on the fact that she DID BF - as if someone had questioned or challenged her. She did not appear to be embarrassed to have BF, more of a "I did try" response...


I would say this is actually the most common conversation I encounter IRL on this subject. Everyone always seems to clamor for the opportunity to put in that they did "try" to BF without even being asked. I've had conversations with women on topics completely unrelated to infant feeding and had them tell me they tried to BF, seemingly apropos of nothing, as far as I was concerned.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Mon, 07-11-2011 - 2:15pm
thistlemchays wrote:
I would say this is actually the most common conversation I encounter IRL on this subject. Everyone always seems to clamor for the opportunity to put in that they did "try" to BF without even being asked. I've had conversations with women on topics completely unrelated to infant feeding and had them tell me they tried to BF, seemingly apropos of nothing, as far as I was concerned.

I think many mothers see having at least tried to BF (or claiming to have even if you FF'd from the start by choice) is seen as more acdeptable then just going with formula by choice without even trying to BF. So they are quick to say they at least tried to BF (or falsely claime they tried some cases) becuase they want to head off any accusations of being selfish or whatnot. Of course in some cases their idea of "I tried" is "switched to formula at the first sign of pain" or "the baby seemed fussy all the time so I switched to formula without seeking any help what so ever.". I think some mothers expect the subject of breastfeeding to arrise at some point and wil try and head of any critism by blurting out how they tried even when the coversation is on soemthing unrelated. It's sort of like saying "Before you start critisising me about not breastfeeding, I want you to know I did try BF'ing.".

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Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Mon, 07-11-2011 - 2:49pm
charleen2008 wrote:
It's sort of like saying "Before you start criticizing me about not breastfeeding, I want you to know I did try BF'ing.".


That's what it sounded like to me when she made her comment.

So are moms expecting criticisms even from other FFing moms?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Mon, 07-11-2011 - 10:01pm
witch_power wrote:

So are moms expecting criticisms even from other FFing moms?


I suspect that some worry that their are other FF'ing mom who think that not even trying to BF is wrong and who would criticize them for not having tried to BF (i..e it's better to have tried and failed to BF then not tried at all). Thus they are being proactive against these FF'rs that view themselves as better for having at least tried to BF then those FF'rs who never even tried to BF.

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Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Mon, 07-11-2011 - 10:20pm
charleen2008 wrote:
I suspect that some worry that their are other FF'ing mom who think that not even trying to BF is wrong and who would criticize them for not having tried to BF (i..e it's better to have tried and failed to BF then not tried at all). Thus they are being proactive against these FF'rs that view themselves as better for having at least tried to BF then those FF'rs who never even tried to BF.

And yet not one person there admitted to trying BFing for even one day. Not before she spoke, not after. She was the only one to mention BFing.

So while it does seem odd (to me) that was what she was doing, it did seem that she was feeling judged by them (us), and trying to raise herself in their eyes by letting everyone know that she did try.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Tue, 07-12-2011 - 7:13am

Perhaps she had preceived judgement, real or imagined, on some other occasion. So she decided to get in early, before anything was said.

I wonder if she is feeling a bit defensive, possibly not having BF for as long as she may have liked to? or had regrets about not BF longer?

Teresa

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Wed, 07-13-2011 - 1:20am
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I agree that it could very well be that she had received judgement before and was wrongly presuming she might on this particular forum or that she was reading into something that had been said there.

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I hadn't thought about it from that angle but it does make sense that maybe she has issues with how long she breastfeed and thus freely shares that she at least did try BF'ing for a period of time as that makes her feel better about herself. I have seen FF'ing mothers who couldn't BF or just quit BF'ing early for whatever reason who sometimes seem to feel the need to blurt out on an internet forum that they at least BF'd for some period of time so as to separate them from those who didn't even try. It's not that anyone on the forum has actually criticized under the assumption of they FF'd by choice or that anyone on the forum will do so in the future but rather simply that publicly putting themselves squarely in the group of mothers who at least tried BF'ing is better then being in the group who didn't even try at all from a guilt prospective even if no one has or will directly address them for FF'ing.

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Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Wed, 07-13-2011 - 9:37am
charleen2008 wrote:
was wrongly presuming she might on this particular forum or that she was reading into something that had been said there.

This reminds me of when a BFer has posted that she was minding her own business, perhaps nursing her baby in public or not any mention that she was a BFing mom at all, and a FFIng mom has started explaining why she could not BF.

It has been said that the BFing mom must have done or said something, must have been her body language or look that she gave the FFing mom to make her feel guilty and in need of explaining herself.

Perhaps it has nothing at all to do with the BFIng mom, but the internal guilt the FFIng mom is feeling?

Or did this woman in my OP just know by looking at me that I was a BFer and sitting there in judgement of them all? LOL