I’ve made no secret of the fact that because my journey to motherhood was somewhat different and a little unique, I’m often left feeling either excluded or not quite a mom by other mom’s in mommyhood.
My biggest bone of contention and the topic that causes me the most guilt, the most feelings of exclusion and the most feelings of being “not quite a mother” in the eyes of other mom’s is the whole breast feeding movement. Or rather should I say, not so much the breast feeding movement but more the breast feeding Nazi’s and believe me there are many. I’m sure all the Earth Mother’s out there would be horrified if they knew that while they consider themselves all earthy and “natural” mom’s they come across as judgmental and absolute Nazi’s to the rest of us.
And then I stumbled across this article yesterday and I loved it! Because while I totally get that it’s ok to be pro breast feeding, like anything in life, there are right and wrong ways of going about it. There are ways that are encouraging and then there are ways that leave many of us feeling judged and just not good enough and really, that’s not ok. I’ve highlighted the ones that particularly spoke to me.
One of the main reasons breastfeeding advocates are negatively judged by the mainstream media is their attack on formula feeding mothers as part of their defense. This really angers me, because I feel that some breastfeeding mothers are aiding in the attack and judgment of my family (a family that practices extended breastfeeding) through their malicious statements directed at formula feeding mothers.
- Breastfeeding is a choice. — No, it’s not, actually. It only is to women who are able to lactate enough to exclusively feed their babies.
- Formula is poison. — We have not engineered a product that completely mimics true breast milk. However, as each year goes by the quality of formula is improving. Calling it poison is ridiculous. Have babies had serious reactions to formula? Yes. The fact is that the chance of any allergy from mother’s milk is virtually non-existent (only in very rare conditions), but that still doesn’t justify calling formula poison. Formula saves lives in many circumstances around the world. I think that we need to be cautious of formula companies and how they are regulating their product. Just like a breastfeeding mother regulates what goes into her body when she is lactating.
- Breast is best. — Breast is biologically normal. There are many situations when it actually is not best for mother or baby.
- Formula feeding moms didn’t try hard enough. — Really? I’m assuming the people who say this were able to breastfeed, or don’t have children. There is a reason that wet-nursing is still widely used in African villages (and developing countries around the world). Some human beings produce little or no milk to feed their infants.
- I only judge moms who have never tried to breastfeed. — How about don’t judge at all? There are some people who can’t breastfeed for a number or reasons: Women with double mastectomies, women who have adopted (yes, I clearly know this is a possibility, but it doesn’t mean everyone can or should try this), or women who are on medication for severe PPD. Then there are just some women and families where breastfeeding is never going to be a good option for them. And that is okay, too!
- I am just stating the truth, they make themselves feel guilty, that isn’t my fault. — With that logic it is no wonder breastfeeding has little support for the general public. Words hurt, you aren’t going to be winning any hearts by making someone feel like they have failed their child.
- If they cared more about their children they would try harder. — No, if they cared about their children they are going to be making the right choice to keep the entire family (including mom) happy and healthy. That sometimes means taking breastfeeding out of the equation — whether they produced milk or tirelessly tried and finally laid it to rest without results.
- Domperidome is all you need if you *really* aren’t producing milk. —No, it definitely can increase supply, but it doesn’t mean it will work for your biology. Plus, some women aren’t comfortable taking this prescription. Trust your instincts.
- I just think formula feeding moms are lazy. — And I just think you’re an asshole.
- Breastfed babies are smarter. First off, there are many extremely intelligent people I personally know that were formula fed. More importantly, the studies that have been done on this are still not totally conclusive. There has been a link to an “extended” duration of breastfeeding an significantly higher test scores. However, the mothers of these children all were of an older age and came from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. I think the studies are important and valid, but I also think this isn’t something that would be healthy to mention to a mother that formula feeds her child.