Bug is just 8 days old and already I have been initiated into the club of women who just are not sure they’re doing enough. For me, it started with latch problems. When we saw the pediatrician and she recommended supplementing with formula I was so relieved: this would help my daughter gain weight; this would give us the space needed to figure out breastfeeding. The next night I made the mistake of googling “supplementing with formula”. Suddenly I was immersed in a sea of frightening phrases… “nipple confusion”… “slippery slope”… “last resort”…

My husband found me in tears, wondering if we had been too hasty to go to formula, worrying that this one decision would ruin our chances at breastfeeding successfully. He called the midwives with whom I delivered and the midwife on call was able to talk me down: Sometimes babies need a little help; we could still learn the skills to breastfeed successfully.

Since then we have met with a lactation consultant and have made considerable strides. She gave me a set of nipple shields to help give Bug a little something to latch onto during those moments when she can’t focus enough to draw my nipples out on her own. And today I made the mistake of googling “nipple shields” to see if there were any tips on using them most effectively. What I found instead was fear-mothering and judgement, leaving my head spinning.

What is the deal? Why are so many people so quick and willing to put down the parenting choices of others? There is even a name for it: the Mommy Wars. It covers everything from diapering and sleeping to feeding and play-time. And yes, whether or not nipple shields should be used.

As parents we all want the best for our children. We want them to be healthy, strong, intelligent. We want to see them be successful in the world. But parenting is so much more than our stances on a few big (or little) issues. It’s complicated and messy. It’s confusing. There is no map. It is scary and overwhelming and the only people who really “get it” do so because they’ve been in the trenches, too. We should be offering support and wisdom, AA style, instead of tearing apart those whose decisions seem different from our own.

That’s it; that’s my little soapbox. I’m going to have to stop googling things or risk adding to my considerable mommy guilt.

Hello. My name is MissRain. I have been a mom for 8 days and I feel guilty that breastfeeding has been so difficult for me and my daughter.

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