Stefania Girladi is a 44-year-old mother of two and a blogger at Mama's Word. Like most moms who are a combination of anxious, joyful, exhausted and often frustrated, she also documents her journey on Facebook—and last week, she struck a chord.
After witnessing a conversation about women in their 40s being "too old to breastfeed,” she decided to expose the truth, literally.
Girladi, who gave birth to her second child when she was 41, said she was sitting in the waiting room at her doctor's office when she overheard two other women talking about breastfeeding.
"I thought no comments could ever shock me anymore on the topic," she wrote on Facebook. "And yet someone managed to do just that, shock me with some uneducated opinion about a breastfeeding mother."
"[T]wo ladies were going on about how a woman they knew, who is 42 years old, was, in their opinion, too old to breastfeed!! And how her milk is probably not good enough because of her age, to the disadvantage of the baby," Girladi wrote. "A baby who they thought would have been better off formula fed instead."
As if to drive the issue home to the women, Girladi's 3-year-old daughter inadvertently joined the conversation.
"I kid you not, a few minutes later my daughter climbs on my lap wanting the boob (talk about right timing), and needless to say, I granted her wish immediately. Now, I am not one that looks for confrontations or arguments, but I couldn't resist: Obviously, the ladies noticed I was breastfeeding (wasn't hiding). I turn to them and I tell them: 'By the way, I am 44 years old, 45 next June and my milk is perfect!'"
The looks on their faces, she wrote, were priceless.
Girladi told Mom.me that she's received a lot of support since posting the message, adding, “Mothers question themselves every single day for a thousand reasons. They shouldn't also deal with uneducated comments."
She said she had her first baby at 37 and was relieved to find she could still breastfeed after suffering severe complications due to medical negligence.
"Those days I questioned myself a lot," she said. "Imagine if—on top of all that—I would have gotten this information that my milk could not be good enough due to age!"
Girladi says that ageism is an important topic that mothers must be educated about.
"My belief is that no woman that is able to and wants to breastfeed should ever fail because of lack of or wrong information," she said. "Education is the key to debunking some ridiculous breastfeeding myths and to give moms the real support they need."