Sunday, August 7, 2016
Of Formula, New Moms and Why We Should Mind Our Own Business.
A few weeks ago I was out with Hunter and he was hungry so I went to a quiet spot and fed him. Another mom was also there directly breastfeeding her baby. Now I have nothing against this and I actually even gave her an encouraging smile. The problem started when she looked over at me, saw me feeding my baby with a bottle and felt the need to lecture me on the benefits of breastfeeding (which i already knew). At first I smiled politely and explained that what's inside the bottle was breastmilk. That shut her up for a bit but then she started questioning my choice to exclusively pump. Never mind that I have donated almost 4000 ounces to other babies in need or that both my children have been fed breastmilk. Never mind that she doesnt personally know me. This woman was judging me because the choice I made didn't coincide with hers.
I almost forgot about that incident until the other day when Jim and I were out with the kids. We were lining up at a restaurant when this woman in front of us kept looking at Hunter. She smiled at me and then asked if he was breastfed. I said yes. She sighed then started telling me her story. She's a young mom of twins and she has been trying really hard to produce enough breastmilk for both of them. She had tried almost everything to increase her milk supply but according to her it's still not enough. She had to supplement with formula and i could see that she felt so guilty about it.
Now heaven forbid Mom 1 meets Mom 2 then decides to preach and give her unsolicited advice. That might just push Mom 2 into Post Partum Depression. There are new moms out there who are struggling with breastfeeding daily and i know of several who are suffering from depression because of breastfeeding issues. Most of them on the verge of losing their sanity because they feel that they are not doing enough for their baby.
Yes I know that this is a complex issue but i have had it with this "breastfeeding is best" business. It's just so frustrating! Of course it is. We all know that. But we also have to realize that without the invention of formula, BABIES WOULD DIE. That is a fact. I remember when Hunter had a very alarming case of breastfeeding jaundice and i had to stop breastfeeding him. For those three days when I couldn't give him breastmilk, I was thankful that there was formula. So yes, breastmilk is good but a healthy baby is so much better.
Also, what I don't understand is why some breastfeeding mothers feel the need to shame moms who feed their children formula. I mean, it doesn't make you any better or worse of a mother either way. (Unless of course you just want to brag and let the whole world know what an awesome mother you are. In which case, congratulations! *clap clap clap*) What matters is that your baby is fed, healthy, happy and loved. Making other moms feel like crap, judging them and having them endure so much undue stress just because their way doesn't fit your outrageous notion that there is only one way to feed a baby makes you (in my opinion) a shitty person. It really does.
If we cant be supportive then how about we just all focus on our own babies instead? Giving birth and raising a child is hard. Let's not make it any harder. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you feed your child breastmilk or formula. Do what you think is best for your baby, your body and your sanity.
Ugh i just hate these Mommy Wars.