Tree Of What Now???

Have you seen those tree of life pictures doing the rounds on social media? They are basically arty pictures of babies with a boob in their mouth. Others are a Tate Modern mix of breast and bottle. The idea behind them started off to normalise breastfeeding yaddah yaddah yaddah. At least I think so. I imagine the original concept behind it has been completely lost in the online furore that has followed.

I don’t really have a problem with the picture itself – if you want to immortalise your child in contemporary art then so be it. I actually don’t care.

What I am not ok with is the breast v bottle bandwagon that has since been resurrected and jumped all over. Debates are once again raging left, right and centre on social media about how breastfeeding is amazing (true), how bottle feeding mums are being made to feel bad (also true) and everything in between. I can only imagine how excited the Mumsnet forums are getting.

But the one and only question that has come into my head and made me jump up onto my own soap box (like I need an excuse) is:

WHY are we still talking about this??? Seriously.

Feeding your baby is mandatory. Read up on the research and then do it in whichever way you see fit. Do it in private. Do it with your boobs out in public. Do it upside down for all I care. Support your family members and friends in their own decision but for the love of God can we please STOP talking about it all over social media?!

I’m not even going to share with you on here the many ways in which I’ve fed my children (chicken nuggets count right?!) and the choices that led me to those decisions. My kids are quite obviously alive, well and fed in one way or other. If they weren’t then social service would have intervened by now.

I’m a big advocate for the “fed is best” mantra you will no doubt have heard. I’m also a big fan of the “this is boring” mantra I’m about to start.

Feeding your baby bonds you with them and can undoubtedly make up some of the loveliest moments of that first year or so of your baby’s life. But it’s your moment and it doesn’t need to be shared with the world or justified or celebrated.

How you feed your baby is such a non-conversation these days and just another excuse for women to drag each other down and make parenting a big fat competition.

There are actual issues going on in the world. Trump being President (I still haven’t gotten over this debacle), Nutella being made using child labour, thousands of children being homeless right under our own noses here in the UK and of course the fact that Toblerone has conned us all this Christmas (I feel so used). Whether you whip out your boob or you mix up some formula is not a real life issue. Just make a choice and get on with it.

So just feed your kids. Love them. Cuddle them. Keep them alive. But please stop harping on about the rights and wrongs of it and move on people. Because it’s really getting on my tits.

 

 

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37 Comments

  1. December 19, 2016 / 5:20 pm

    I love this post Fi! So very true! Just feed them and get on with it! Off she goes to try and find something in the cupboards to feed the toddler…

  2. December 19, 2016 / 5:28 pm

    So that’s what those arty photos were about!! I had no clue… I just thought people were just a bit OTT about bf haha

    I completely understand your point but at the same time I think as a mum we all have kind of joined in on it at one point. I firmly believe in fed is best but I am sure I am also guilty of having a “breast is best” photo a long time ago.. eek! I guess some people are VERY passionate about the debate Lol

    PS yes chicken nuggets count 100%!!

  3. Julia
    December 19, 2016 / 5:29 pm

    Well said As I write this, news just came in that Russian ambassador to Turkey has just been assassinated by another Islamic fanatic while visiting a photo gallery in the capital Ankara…. Could be a more important event than which method of baby feeding we prefer …

    • December 19, 2016 / 6:41 pm

      Lol Becci! A stiff gin is always a good idea round these parts. Thanks though x
      Fi recently posted…Tree Of What Now???My Profile

  4. December 19, 2016 / 6:27 pm

    I’ve been meaning to write something similar. I know many friends who have seen these images and it has played on their mental well-being.

  5. December 19, 2016 / 7:16 pm

    I completely agree with you on this one. The constant debate drives me nuts. Fed is Fed. When I had my eldest 17 years ago, there really was no debate about it. You were encouraged to try breastfeeding, and if you didn’t want to/couldn’t/wanted to do both etc., you were given advise on bottle feeding, end of. Women and professionals didn’t beat each other down about it. But nowadays the whole subject is a landmine, it’s ridiculous. Fed is best, end of xx
    Claire Bayliss recently posted…Elf on the Shelf Antics : Day 19My Profile

  6. December 19, 2016 / 7:44 pm

    100% agree. Boobs, bottles, everyone has their reasons for doing whatever they did/do. We all know that at this stage.

  7. December 19, 2016 / 7:57 pm

    SPOT ON! Who gives a crap as long as your not feeding you baby raw steak through a cage!

  8. December 19, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    This is you at your best Fi – love yiur shooting from the hip posts – like you said this ‘debate’ is all very boring now. Xx

  9. December 19, 2016 / 9:18 pm

    Ahhh absolutely spot on!!!!!!

  10. December 19, 2016 / 9:20 pm

    This I have a very similar post sitting in drafts but wasn’t sure on the backlash I’d get!!
    Amy recently posted…Baby You Are Three Months OldMy Profile

  11. December 19, 2016 / 9:26 pm

    I have literally just written exactly the same thing. I have done a tree of life pic and I have posted it on social media – I think they’re pretty cool! But does it need to cause ANOTHER debate about how I’m feeding my child? No! I’m just feeding him, keeping him alive and happen to have taken a photo of it (I take photos of EVERYTHING!) Rant away!

  12. December 19, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    It just makes me feel dead sad people can’t tollerate different opinions and views. For me breastfeeding was very hard, so is a real achievement for me, but it doesn’t mean I’d judge someone else’s decision. I saw the pictures as a celebration and saw some with dads, with the tree coming from their heart, which I thought was lovely.
    Natalie recently posted…What helped us reach eight months breastfeeding?My Profile

  13. December 19, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    Great post. All so true. Why is it anyone else’s business how you feed your baby and why really does anyone else care? I’m definitely not one for putting the guilt-trip on others. This job is a hard one and we all feel guilty enough without anyone else making it worse. I’m also upset about Nutella being made using slave labour, heartbroken actually! The world is a cruel place and how people feed their babies should really not be something people get so hung up on. Well said!

  14. December 19, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    As if your post on UK parent bloggers didn’t make me laugh enough with the ‘runs in’ and ‘runs out’ ….THIS! I fist pumped the air. Because I have never ever ever EVER understood why how we feed our kids in even an issue. Fed is best. PML. Give the girl a medal. And them views girl 2500? Blimey Sheila.
    absolutely prabulous recently posted…I Have Some Exciting News to Share With YouMy Profile

  15. December 19, 2016 / 10:31 pm

    Interesting post! I have a tree of life pic and have posted on my blog about how fabulous i think they are. However I was also thinking last night about how ridiculous it is that they’ve started another breast v bottle war. I’m not interested in judging or guilt-shaming others for their choices – each to their own- but likewise, I see no problem in celebrating them either.
    Lucy’s Locket recently posted…Breastfeeding art goes viral #TreeOfLife #NormaliseBreastfeedingMy Profile

  16. December 19, 2016 / 11:52 pm

    Well said. You go and provoke a storm girl! Love this rant x

  17. December 20, 2016 / 12:09 am

    N was bottle fed because breastfeeding didn’t work for us. I’d planned to breastfeed, but it didn’t bother me that it didn’t work. In fact it worked out much better/more practical for me and N has thrived, getting ill less frequently and more mildly (touch wood) than all his NCT baby friends who were pretty much all breast fed. I don’t feel guilty and apart from the conversation of breast vs bottle always popping up, the conversations don’t bother me too much. I guess ifi t gets people thinking about and making informed choices about their method of feeding then that is good.

    I’m not a fan of the actual photos though – seeing them all over IG is creeping me out a little.
    Emma T recently posted…Living Arrows 2016 week 51 – hazel eyesMy Profile

  18. December 20, 2016 / 7:19 am

    Love it! I’m pro-breastfeeding but that is totes my choice. I was bottle fed and I am quite frankly amazeballs (I am also a sleep-deprived tit head today!)

    We’ll said, huzzah for mums who actually support other mums

  19. December 20, 2016 / 8:59 am

    LOVE THIS! You’ve ruined Nutella for me (WHAAAAT?!) but this post is so true! I couldn’t care less how someone feeds their kid as long as that child is happy, healthy and growing – that’s what matters; but you’d be surprised how many people judged me for bottle feeding, including making openly abusive comments!

  20. December 20, 2016 / 10:27 am

    I must be the only person who breastfed who doesn’t have a picture of baby on boob! Having really struggled at first with feeding I can imagine the huge amount of stress and guilt that comes with wanting to feed and then not being able to for whatever reason. That being said I’m pro breast (not in a blab it all on Facebook kind of way) just because I’ve read a lot of research about our really low rates in this country. Whilst the debate has become more about competition and shaming etc I still think it’s good for women to have facts. But absolutely agree the fed and loved is best no matter what. As for this tree of life thing I have to say I rolled my eyes when I saw a few uber breastfeeding Facebook friends post their images! I’m bored of it too!! Xx

  21. December 20, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    Ha! Quite right – it’s an entirely personal decision but sadly one on which most people have a view. I for one am far more concerned about Syria, Brexit, Trump and the refugee crisis and I agree we should spend more time concentrating on the real issues in the world and less on worrying about everyone else’s breasts / bottles! #KCACOLS

  22. December 20, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    I have chosen to share a picture as I believe the original sentiment – that we need to normalise breastfeeding – still stands. However, in the caption I pointed out that Piglet has been tube, bottle and breast fed. He has had expressed milk and formula. There is no right or wrong way to feed your child.

    It frustrates me that it has opened up this stupid argument again!

    hanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday
    OddHogg recently posted…Meal Plan Monday – 19th December 2016My Profile

  23. December 20, 2016 / 10:08 pm

    My way of normalising breastfeeding is feeding my little one wherever she needs feeding rather than sharing photos but I don’t object to people sharing pictures should they choose to. As the biological norm I personally believe breastfeeding is best for baby but having beaten myself up after failing to breastfeed my first past 8 weeks I am acutely aware of what a negative effect all the pro breastfeeding posts on social media can have. Just the other day I made the mistake of saying I was a firm believer in “Happy Mum, Happy Baby” on a breastfeeding forum. I meant that sometimes breastfeeding does not make a happy Mum, it can make a sleep deprived, in pain and literally drained human being that can barely take care of herself let alone a small person. (Again speaking from my own experiences!) So although I am pro breastfeeding, I realise that sometimes it is not best for anyone! #KCACOLS

  24. December 21, 2016 / 8:33 am

    I am doing you a one person Mexican wave right now from my own kitchen. Absolutely right! “Fed” is best. I’m all for support being available for new mums in whatever method they choose and I believe that a lot of real and honest support can be offered through people sharing their experiences on social media and blogs etc, but I don’t see the need to share our method of feeding like a glory badge. As you say – it just adds fuel to the whole “Breast vs bottle” debate which really doesn’t deserve to be an issue of any description , let alone debate. Very well said! Thanks for linking this to #DreamTeam x

  25. December 27, 2016 / 6:18 pm

    Such a great post! You’re so right -issues are issues because people make a big deal of it and this it what people choose to discuss. The media have a lot to answer for as they push themes they know will get people going. #dreamteam

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