By Jinny Koh
As if breastfeeding isn’t tough enough, now, thanks to social media, it is easy to feel stressed when you see perfect babies milking their perfect mommies on blogs and Instagram. To help you navigate this complicated territory, here are ten types of moms—the good, the bad, and the ugly—you should look out for so that you won’t be caught off guard when you meet them online, or off:
1. The Cow: Every circle has one. The leader of the pack, she is the object of admiration and envy, often posting photos of her pump sessions—four to five bottles of milk at one go—exclaiming, “You can do it too!” Throngs of Moms ask her for advice to increase their milk supply, and everyone wants to be her friend including you (although secretly, you wonder if those bottles are filled with cow’s milk).
2. The Hoarder: You were feeling pretty good about your milk supply until you meet this Mom who has her freezer packed to the brim with neatly slotted packets of breast milk. You try not to think about your one spare bottle sitting alone in the refrigerator as she bemoans the need to donate her stash to free up space. (Note: The Hoarder and The Coware often fast friends.)
3. The Non-Certified Doctor: Can you take acetaminophen while breastfeeding? Will eating broccoli give your baby gas? Does breast milk cause diaper rash? Whatever question you may have, this pro-breastfeeding Mom has the answer. Even if your baby is not gaining enough weight on breast milk alone, she’ll tell you to ignore your pediatrician’s advice to introduce formula. “Some doctors don’t know anything,” she quips. “Just keep on latching and the milk will come.” Who needs doctors when you have a network of experienced Moms telling you what to do, right? Right?
4. The Critic: Always the first to point out flaws in other Moms “to help them achieve their breastfeeding goals,” The Critic polices your every move. This means telling you to quit being lazy and get up in the middle of the night to pump, or don’t be vain to think about dieting while breastfeeding. Breast milk is king and you, as a Mom, should sacrifice everything in order to provide for your baby. Now off to breastfeeding boot camp, you lazy toad.
5. The Trophy Mom: Unlike most Moms who battle dark eye rings, spit-up stains and unwashed hair, she’s able to maintain her svelte figure, perfectly curled tresses and thick make-up while breastfeeding in the middle of the night. And she makes sure you, and the rest of the Internet, know it, by posting pictures of her latching her baby on the bus, at the shopping mall, at the park, and any other spot she can find.
6. The Businesswoman: This shrewd Mom can work a catalog even better than Kim Kardashian herself. Using her blog to promote her success with certain breast pumps and bottles, she is so persuasive that she can sell milk to cows. (Note: The Trophy Mom is often her spokesperson, I mean, friend).
7. The Statistician: Numbers is her game and she can shoot off facts and figures faster than you can ask questions. She loves to gather information from other Moms on the number of times a day they latch their baby, their pump output, their babies’ weight gain, just to prove that breast is best.
8. The Paranoid: Constantly needing validation from other Moms (especially from The Non-Certified Doctor), she often posts questions about anything and everything: Is my baby drinking enough? Is milk that has been refrigerated for more than 48 hours safe? My pump valve has milk residue—will it poison my baby? You try not to be affected by her fears, but even as you wash your baby’s bottles, you find yourself scrubbing each rim thrice to make sure every trace of milk is gone.
9. The Bragger: Armed with an arsenal of photos to show off her baby’s chubby cheeks and rolls of fat, this Mom loves to say, “This is what breast milk does and I’m so happy I stuck to it!” To prove her point, she declares that a recent visit to the pediatrician showed that her baby had jumped the charts, weighing at an impressive 90thpercentile (a piece of information immediately documented by The Statistician for future reference).
10. The Melancholic: Often the one to garner the most comments and encouragement from others, this Mom is plagued by a host of breastfeeding problems: blocked ducts, mastitis, unsupportive husband, invasive in-laws, fussy baby. As much as your heart goes out to her, you can’t help but feel like a million bucks after listening to her. At least you are doing something right.
Jinny Koh is a full-time mother and part-time entertainer to baby Ariel. When she is not busy changing nappies, she can be found writing. Her work has appeared in The Conium Review, Role Reboot, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and FORTH Magazine, among others.