Let me make one thing perfectly clear- I do believe that breast feeding is nutritionally better for your child, and I absolutely support it. I think it's wonderful that there is so much information available these days; even just fourteen years ago, when I was a new mom, there wasn't anywhere near the volume of information readily available like there is today.
That being said, I'm a little dismayed at the attitude of several women out there regarding formula feeding. I understand that they feel so totally passionate about breastfeeding, and they want to share their wealth of information and experiences with others; they want to change the outlook of rest of America about breastfeeding moms; it's absolutely natural and beautiful and an experience to be celebrated and cherished and supported. However, the trend I'm seeing is that several of these same women who have felt so persecuted by others are now turning the tables. Now, they're so vocal about their views and expressing them that other moms who, for whatever reason, formula feed, are almost afraid to tell their breastfeeding friends for fear of... being ostracized. Of disappointing. Of being thought less of a mother by their friends.
There are lots of reasons women don't breast feed, and go with formula instead. Maybe they really can't supply enough to meet the demand. Maybe they have no support and have found it too difficult to continue. Maybe they hate it. Maybe they work and can't pump and supply. Maybe they find it repulsive or gross. Maybe it just hurts a lot and they can't play through the pain. Maybe they take medication that might have an adverse effect on their baby. Maybe they have more than one baby, or two babies, or even three babies, and breastfeeding is too demanding. Maybe there is a medical reason for either mom or baby that makes breastfeeding an impossibility. Or maybe they just really don't want to. There are dozens of reasons why women don't do it, from the most mundane of reasons to the most extreme and heartbreaking, but every reason, I believe, is still a valid one. And not one to be ashamed of.
I hate that there are women on this site, the site that was created for mothers to support others, where they feel they have to hide their parenting choices, even as basic as how you choose to feed your babies. I agree that every mother should do at least some research and I agree that the majority of mothers who can should maybe at least try to breastfeed (because maybe you might be able to, or might really like it after all, and ultimately, I think it is the healthiest option), but do I believe that because you choose to go with an alternative you're less of a mother than someone who breastfeeds exclusively? No. A thousand times, no. For whatever your reason.
I find it sad and disheartening that there are so many women who feel they have to explain or apologize for formula feeding their babies, lest they are somehow found wanting in the eyes of others. I say, you don't have to explain, let alone apologize or defend, your reasons for not going with breast feeding. It's an extremely personal choice. It's your body. They're your boobs. That's your child. How you choose to nourish that child is entirely up to you and does not, in any way, have an impact on anyone else on this site. And if someone thinks it does....? Well, they have some issues that have nothing to do with you, I think.
The reason I'm writing this is because I have seen several incidents of very good mothers keeping it a secret that they are not breast feeding their babies. Because I'm dismayed at the attitude that somehow formula feeding moms don't care about their babies as much as breast feeding mothers. That it's somehow dirty or shameful or bad. It's not. And I'm sick of the implication that it is. Funny how breastfeeding moms have used those same words to describe how they felt too, huh?
I feel bad for those moms who feel like they have to hide it or feel like they're somehow a failure if they tried and couldn't or wound up not wanting to. I feel that if you're feeding your baby, and your baby is healthy and thriving, then that is good enough and anyone else who thinks otherwise can stuff it.
We're all moms. We all love our babies and want the best for them. We all want the same things, but maybe we have to or want to take a different path to get there. Guess what? That's okay!
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