It was so interesting to compare different cultures and how they do things differently or the same. I have 3 reflections to share today.
1. Moms in the Netherlands compare themselves to each other, just like moms in the US.
I had an interesting conversation with my host in The Netherlands about raising kids. (I'll call my host N and her daughter F for their privacy). N mentioned that it can be really tough to be a mom in her area because people are always comparing each other about different ways to do things. There's a lot of judgment about the best way to do it. (Sound familiar?)
She said some moms in her community are really protective, but N likes to let her daughter (who is 10 years old) ride her bike to school because it gives it gives F confidence!
What area do you feel like you’re comparing yourself to others? And what areas do you feel like others are judging you?
2. Breastfeeding seems to be a little more accepted in the Netherlands than the US.
About breastfeeding, N mentioned that it's common to see people nursing in public in her community. "What's the big deal if you see a nipple for a second. They're feeding a baby!"
I would love for breastfeeding to be more normal to see as people in our Indianapolis community. Often moms feel like they need to pump and give a baby a bottle when they’re out or go into a separate room. What would it be like if people could just feed their babies without worry or shame?
3. Breastfeeding vs formula feeding can be a touchy subject in the Netherlands, just like in the U.S.
N decided to give her daughter formula when she was a few days old because F was losing too much weight in the early days. She didn’t want to stop breastfeeding completely because she wanted her daughter to experience different flavors from her milk, rather than just the same flavor all the time that formula has. But for her, the right choice was both breastfeeding and formula feeding. Even though her daughter is now 10 years old, you can tell that it still bothered her a little.
I think this is a good point, that I see in the U.S. too. I am an advocate for making breastfeeding easier, but I don't want to judge anyone who uses formula.
I think it's hard to balance being positive towards breastfeeding without being negative towards moms and families who use formula to feed their babies.
It is a balance I will continue to strive towards. If you have any thoughts about how we, as a culture and a community in Indianapolis, can do this better, please comment. I would love to hear your thoughts!
That's my first round of reflections from the Netherlands. Stay tuned for more reflections as well as lighter topics like fun products that I ran into along the way (European strollers, high chairs, toys, etc).