How I Allowed Myself to be Shamed At The Dentist For Breastfeeding My 2 Year Old.
As a child growing up I loved going to the dentist. Honestly I don’t know why, but I was always excited to go, while the rest of my family dreaded the appointment.
As I grew up I knew that was the field I wanted to go into. So when the time came to go to college, I happily signed up at the local community college to become a dental assistant. My plan was to get my feet wet, and make sure this was the field I wanted to get into. If it was then I could invest more of my time into becoming a dental hygienist or a dentist.
Well I worked as a dental assistant for 6+ years. However after those year I decided that this wasn’t the right career for me. I was burnt out. So I let my license go and opened my own daycare. I’ve never looked back.
Fast forward to last week. It had been a while since my last cleaning. Yikes! I was due. Now throughout my whole pregnancy and while breastfeeding my gums have been very sensitive and bleed easily, due to hormone changes.
I was chatting with my hygienist about the conditions of my gums and she asked me, “How old is this baby you’re breastfeeding?
Oh no… The load question.
“He’s two and a half. ” I answered.
“Ohhhhh…. well.” I could see in her eyes she was judging me. ” I could not image breastfeeding a child with teeth.” she said with an almost disgusted tone.
“Well his pediatrician says the new guidelines are to encourage mom’s to breastfeed till 2.” I replied.
“Well that must be new.” She replied. “My son is 3 and I never heard such a thing.”
This is where I’m disappointed in myself. I started making excuses as to why I was still breastfeeding.
“Well, he’s allergic to milk, so its just easier this way.” I told her. When in reality I don’t believe cows milk is not the optimal food for our children. But I didn’t want to get into that with her. I just wanted this conversation to end.
“Well have you tried soy milk? she answered back.
“Well he doesn’t drink coconut milk or almond milk. However he loves water and raw smoothies. I don’t want to feed him soy milk because I read that its not great for little boys.”
“Really? I’ll have to look into that.” She said. It seemed like this was something she was willing to believe. “My Sister in Law is a immunologist and she said after a year there is no more benefits to breastfeeding.”
“Well it certainly can’t hurt. ” I answered back, with a slightly insulted tone in my voice.
“Oh no no!” she quickly answered “I’m sure it doesn’t.”
She continued my cleaning and after a few minutes of only the sound of the ultrasonic scaler she said. “I breastfed only till my son was 6 months, but then I dried up.”
I spit my extra saliva into the saliva ejector and then said. “That is awesome. You put your best effort into it and I’m sure your son got lots out of it.”
And then there was no more breastfeeding talk.
I can’t help but wonder if the reason she was so judgemental at first about extended breastfeeding, was because she was insecure about how long she breastfed for.
A mother who breastfeeds for 1 year is not better than one that only breastfed for 1 month or did not breastfeed at all.
I’m disappointed in how I allowed myself to feel shamed and started making excuses. But at the end of the conversation I am happy I was able to praise her on her breastfeeding experiences. Hopefully that will help her see I did not think I was better than her.
One thing I wish for 2015 is this. I hope that these Mommy Wars can stop. Breast vs formula. Cloth Vs Disposables and so on. Yes it is one thing to get the information out there. But there is no need to shame people who do something different than you. Nor should anyone allow themselves to feel ashamed if someone doesn’t agree with you.
I know this is a long shot. But a girl can wish….