This blog is small glimpses into my heart and soul - attempts to be transparent with friends, and sometimes, to myself. This is my safe place, where I can come and be purely Ness.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Keeping My Mouth Shut

How do you know when to say something? I keep running into mothers and hearing or seeing things that make me want to speak up. I mentioned, on an earlier post, one mom I know who was sure her baby was not getting any breast milk, because he cried every time she tried to nurse him, and pumping was producing next to nothing. I'm far from an expert, but I've read enough articles to know that there was a good chance that lack of milk wasn't her problem, but - her boy is now four and she stated she won't be having any more kids, so what would be the point of letting her know she may have been wrong? I didn't know her that well, and as mothers, nursing our babies usually ends up being a very sensitive subject.
A few days ago I met a mom with a cute little five month old. Somehow the subject came around to breastfeeding, and she shared that she had quit nursing at two weeks, because he had "sucked her dry." She continued explaining that she ended up with one breast producing extremely little and one producing gushes. I wanted to tell her that likely she had just been nursing too much on the full side, and needed to work on switching it around so that the emptier side knew that it needed to start producing more. A fairly simple fix, although it would take some patience. But, I didn't know this mom at all. It was too late for her to go back, so do I say something and make her feel bad that she "didn't try hard enough?" Or do I risk it, so that she might have more info for next time, if there was to be a next time?
This morning I went to a program at our local library. As it was breaking up, I watched a mom buckle her tiny daughter into a car seat. I noticed afterwards that the straps seemed loose, but it was hard to tell without actually checking them. I wanted to say something to her, but what? How do you tell a mom that her baby isn't properly buckled in without insinuating that she is being a careless mother? I really wish that I had figured out what to say, but once again I didn't know this mom at all. The group is new and I'm really hoping to make some friends there, and I'm sure I'm already singled out as the freak who comes in barefoot and breast-feeds her two year old. Plus, I'm always waay too nervous about offending or upsetting people. So, I chickened out. I've thought about it a lot today, and I still can't figure out how to approach something like that.
Occasionally, I will approach topics like this with friends, but even then I feel like it's a guessing game on how they will respond. There are these things that I think are so important, and a lot of the time people just don't have good information. I want to share what I have, but I don't want to damage relationships at the same time. Any topic involving how we mother has the potential to become completely unintentionally, hurtful. Ugh, how do we know when to share, how to share, and when to just be quiet?


  1. I feel the same... Especially when I see every Sunday at church a lot of newborns and babies being kept in car seats - which is something I did too before I knew about the dangers and of a better way (babywearing). I wish that someone had told me, though.

  2. Have you figured out any way to approach those Mamas?

  3. You ask a great question, Vanessa. I find myself in your shoes all the time. Mostly about carseat safety, but often about other things, too.

    I wonder how I'd feel if another mom gave me unsolicited advice, albeit kind and compassionate (as I'd hope to come across). Would I feel differently if I knew her? If I was friends with her? Would it change our relationship? I don't really know, to tell the truth.

    What I do know is that if we can prevent injury, shouldn't we? If all it takes is a short conversation/demonstration about strapping a kid in correctly, isn't that our responsibility as fellow human beings? If only we were more concerned with each other's well-being... In the US, at least, it seems that most people just have blinders on - we go about our days trying to have as little interaction with strangers as possible. But why not stop and help each out when we see someone in need? I don't know... I wish I knew. I'm trying to be different in this respect.