This crazy life we call motherhood is a common bond that we all share, right? Yet I can’t help but look at social media and see the division, the judgment, and the horrible “Mommy Wars” that go on every day.
I’ve seen some pretty mean things said to moms on either side of an argument, and ladies, this needs to stop!
Once a mother has made a choice for her baby/family, it should be respected as just that: HER choice. There’s a difference between educating mothers and arming them with resources for success and seeing a mother who has made a choice and attacking her for it.
This post is probably going to seem sort of one-sided. However, I do not mean to criticize the breastfeeding mother because I was twice a breastfeeding mother and totally believe in the benefits of it. I received encouragement and praise when I was breastfeeding my children, but no one ever said a word to me about it when I was feeding my children formula.
I breastfed and pumped breast milk for both of my children for six months. After suffering severe Postpartum Depression with my first child and switching medication after my second, my husband and I came to the conclusion that the risks definitely outweighed the benefits of continuing. So we made the switch to formula. I’ve read the studies, and I know all about the science behind it. Yet, whether anyone wants to believe or admit it, the mental health and well-being of the mother is a crucial factor in the success of breastfeeding.
Instead of making a judgment on mothers who formula feed, let’s give them a turn to be praised and encouraged because they deserve it, too!
To the Mother who feeds her baby formula,
I understand that your decision to feed your baby this way was not an easy one to be made. There’s the constant “Breast is Best” advocacy posts; the “Great Latch-on” events; people telling you you’re feeding your baby poison; and the judgy mothers telling you there’s scientific studies out there proving that if you formula feed your baby, he will surely end up obese, autistic, or even addicted to drugs (Yep. I’ve heard that one.). These things are so incredibly hurtful and certainly not helpful. You already made the choice. Why do you need to hear it over and over again?
Hearing these things can’t be doing much for your mental well-being.
When you tell someone that breastfeeding just didn’t work out for you, you should not have to hear the following:
It’s not for the weak, that’s for sure!
So you’re saying formula feeding mothers are considered weak? No. Not at all! They’re actually quite strong for making this choice in the face of judgment and scrutiny.
You have to really want it to happen.
This is very ignorant and painful. People who say this do not know your journey, and they don’t know anything about what led up to you making the choice to use formula.
You shouldn’t do formula. You should try donor breast milk.
This is a completely personal choice, and if you go this route, than that is totally amazing! However, I know that if I choose to breastfeed, I want my children to have my milk – as they are who it is specifically catered toward. But why can’t formula be acceptable?? It is, mamas. It is.
Mothers just want to be respected for the choice they make without having all that stuff shoved down their throats. For me, it was a painful choice, but you know what? My family continued to thrive because of the choice I made. Why can’t that count for something in the eyes of the judgmental mother?
Countless women have told me they are ashamed of telling people they feed their babies formula. When I pumped breast milk I got a lot of stares because *gasp* I gave my baby a bottle! One woman asked if what I was giving the baby was formula or breast milk, to which I replied that it was breast milk and she responded, “good.”
Whatever happened to minding your own business?! It’s like nothing is ever good enough – even though the kid is not even their child.
I’m here to be a source of encouragement for you, the formula-feeding mom.
Please DO: Educate yourself and do lots of reading on the benefits of both breast and bottle feeding. DO: Take time and consideration when making your choice. DO: Make your choice with intent with the best interest of YOUR PARTICULAR CHILD and family in your heart and mind. If you do all of these, you’re doing the right thing.
You are worthy of praise and encouragement and you should be free of judgment. You are doing enough. You ARE enough for your baby.
Now go out there and be an inspiration to another mother who might be in need of encouragement!
A breastfeeding, pumping, formula-feeding AWESOME mom