When a Twitter Question Goes Wrong

You can forget Google and baby books in the days of social media. When I have a question about my daughter’s poop color, or consistency, or if I’m wondering what I could do to up my breast milk supply, I don’t call my mom or read Dr. Sears, I turn to Twitter first.

It started because it was easiest at 2am when I was up breastfeeding and asking random questions that would pop into my mind. I can pick up my iPhone, open my Twitter app, and type in a question all with one hand. Within minutes I get several responses.

It’s a great resource for a new mom–I think. So long as you’re not looking for a professional opinion, just opinions from other moms like you. Things get ugly when opinions get out of hand and judgments arise. A simple question can turn into hour-long twitter arguments followed by passive aggressive bashing, unfollows, blocking and choosing teams. It all has a very close resemblance to high school really.

Now I’ll admit I’m no saint. My attitude can really annoy people because I won’t just agree with what anyone says. Often this puts me right smack dab in the middle of what I call “Twitter Drama.”

Take today for example. The topic… Baby schedules.

I don’t have my daughter on a feeding schedule right now. We feed on demand. So basically, when she cries I’ll try bouncing her, check her diaper, and move around with her. If she’s still crying/whining I know she’s hungry (or at least that’s what I assume) and I’ll feed her.

This works for us. I don’t mind feeding her often, and usually when we’re at home (we’ve been traveling a lot) I find she gets into her own routine of eating, playing then napping. Since I’ve been in and out of town with family the last month things have gotten a little out of wack for us both. I’ve had a few people mention to me why scheduled feedings worked better for them.

My sister (who is younger and doesn’t have a baby but has witnessed, and fed our younger siblings as I have) said something to me when I was feeding Little J for the second time in two hours.

“No wonder she doesn’t cry that much, you just feed her when she cries.”But in a tone that was saying ‘you’re feeding her again?’

We were waiting in the car for our 5-year-old sister to finish her cheerleading game and there wasn’t really anything I could do to keep her from crying except feed her. She doesn’t really like pacifiers, I had just changed her, and it was too hot for me to go outside and walk around. It was just easier for me to nurse her.

Easier. Easier for me that is. I didn’t want to listen to her cry when I knew it would be so simple for me to pop her on the boob and feed her. Problem solved.

But IS that the right thing to do? It works for me now, but I haven’t really tried anything else. Does scheduling maybe work better for some? Could it perhaps work better for me? The fact that a few of my family members (my sister not included) whom I love and respect, and who have raised children of their own suggest scheduling, makes me want to know how it works for people. Plus, feeding on demand does get hard for me when she wants to eat every hour. Maybe some sort of schedule could work better for us… MAY-BE. So, naturally I take it to Twitter. A Mecca for Moms just waiting to share their experiences.

Let me point out other than what I’ve stated above, I don’t have an opinion already formed (positive or negative) about scheduling. Which is why I ask: I asked this because I wanted to know if the people who put their babies on schedules were breastfeeding moms like myself. It’s possible it could be easier for formula-fed babies to wait longer to eat since formula takes longer to digest.

First of all let’s note who I’m addressing the question to–People who have their babies on a schedule.

Who would have guessed 90% of the people who replied to me DIDN’T have their babies on a schedule and took the approach of telling me why doing that was WRONG.

The other 9% were nice, they told me why feeding on demand was good for my baby, and not unusual. A few, and I mean like 2 or 3 people who actually DO/DID use a scheduling system replied to me. I think others may have been afraid because of the backlash I was getting for just questioning it.

I’ll admit I have a problem. When I ask a question and get a judgmental response, I feel like I need to defend the other side. It’s not exactly playing devils advocate because I don’t see the other side as the devil.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a journalist. When someone tells me it’s their way or the highway it confuses me… Why can’t they see another side of things. Can they really think they are right? Always? With everything? It would seem as though some do.

I try to filter through the negative remarks and people telling me what to do, and search for someone who maybe actually tried a schedule, and see how it worked for them. But even I felt a little insulted when someone told me putting babies on a schedule was sickening and disgusting.

Really? Ok. Maybe I’m missing something here. My baby isn’t on a schedule but I didn’t think scheduling was THAT bad. We all have differing opinions and it’s obvious there are many sides to things… Women who think scheduling is the way to go and feeding on demand is not letting you have more freedom throughout the day. Some may even think you’re overfeeding your baby, or that you’re letting your baby snack throughout the day when they should be able to wait longer between meals. Then there are women who say things like this… Scheduling is disgusting, sickening. And I’m sure there are dozens of opinions in between.

Another mom told me my daughter didn’t want or need a schedule. It irked me a little that she assumed not one baby in the entire would could work on a schedule–Surely not mine. But I sorta let that one go. So to that and the woman who commented before her calling it disgusting I say:

Everyone thinks they’re right. That’s the problem. And I stand by that statement now. But that’s when things went from ugly to nasty.

And I quote from the woman calling it disgusting: “some people will also argue that sexually abusing their kids was good for them. its all about common sense.”

She did clarify her point after I said I didn’t think scheduling feedings and sexual abuse is anywhere in the same realm by saying: “um obviously. my point is there are sick people that will argue that anything was good for their kids.”

True. But that’s implying people who schedule their baby’s feedings are sick, actually its not implying, since that’s what she said earlier.

It’s not common sense to me… Maybe it should be. But if it was I wouldn’t be asking about it in the first place. She went on to say that in her opinion people who force infants into feeding schedules are “evil.”

So here’s when my vice comes in. To me, when someone makes a general statement like that you’re calling a lot of people I love evil. And why? Because they have a differing opinion than you?

I should really let things like that go, it’s something I need to work on. But it’s a pet peeve of mine, and I can’t help but stick up for “the other side.” People I know who AREN’T sick and disgusting, who AREN’T evil but simply have a different life.

The problem is, when I stick up for that side I end up looking like I’m asking advice just so I can argue with people–When in fact I’m on THEIR side–The people who I’m arguing with. The people I wasn’t even addressing the original question to. I just want to scream “WHY ARE WE EVEN ARGUING?” … But it’s my fault. I can admit that. I should be the bigger person and just let rude judgmental comments go, so the drama could stop there. But I feel like letting it go seems like I AGREE with them, when I don’t. Letting something like that go somehow just doesn’t seem right.

It happened once before when I was asking when to introduce a bottle. It started out with warnings me not to do it before 4 weeks. It continued on to arguments about bottles causing “nipple confusion” and even further on to the argument that it can lead to formula feeding–Which is “evil.”

Again where a simple question about bottles leads to me trying to defend people who used formula.–When I don’t even use it!

I know I shouldn’t even argue with comments like that… It’s my fault for engaging, and in a way, I’m asking for it. So be it. But is it so wrong to wish people could be more open minded?

If the only argument people have for why they do something is by bashing the opposing side, I don’t really see that as a good debate.

New moms–Or at least people like me, prefer getting advice about the positive side of things. If you prefer feeding on demand, tell me why you think that’s cool. Or if you tried it and hated, you can tell me why it sucked for you. But totally dogging on something you’ve never tried and calling people who do it names is a cop out, and in my opinion, it’s wrong.

I breastfeed, but I’d never say people who use formula are bad people. Generalizing things isn’t getting us anywhere.

Why can’t we help and support women who have differing ideas than us? Differing opinions are beautiful.

If it wasn’t for women who had differing views than I on birth I would have never researched as much as I did, and I wouldn’t think things like home births are cool.

If it weren’t for people who act as breastfeeding cheerleaders, I may not have stuck with it as long as I have.

If it weren’t for women who love cloth diapering I may not have considered trying it (still haven’t done it but I have diapers and I’m considering trying it).

If it weren’t for moms who told me about baby carriers I wouldn’t have gotten one and fell in love with wearing my baby.

If it weren’t for people who had different opinions from what I thought was “normal,” my eyes would have never been opened to these other ideas.

Under no circumstances will I bash you for choosing what you choose. But I may call you out for being a little ridiculous about your opposing side. We don’t need scare tactics.

We all have different opinions and things that work for us. I’m still learning what works for me, but I know that what I choose for us may not work for you.

I just wish we all understood that.

Being a mother is a learning experience. People always say to “go with your gut” but think how much easier it is to make a gut decision when you’ve looked at different sides of things.

Well, it’s easier for me.

But since I got distracted on twitter lets take it back to my original question. Did you try a schedule with you baby? Did it work?

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