Tonight my friend/cousin, Amber, posted a link to an article called “Breastfeeding and the Agony of Baby’s First Bottle.” Now, she and I have discussed our thoughts on this subject as both of us have experienced that “agony of baby’s first bottle.” She nursed her oldest son, and was unable to with her 2nd. She suffered great guilt and feelings of failure when she began formula feeding. I had a somewhat simliar experience with Porter, I had trouble breastfeeding Porter and as a first time mom of course I felt like a failure to switch him to formula.
I wholeheartedly chose formula for Hudson and will again for this baby. I have no desire to breastfeed. It isn’t because I can’t, or am unable to, or don’t produce enough milk. No, those are not factors in my decision.
I simply do not want to. I like having my body to myself. I like being able to eat and drink what I want without worrying if it will upset the baby’s tummy. I like being able to pass off night feedings to Ryan. I don’t want to deal with sore, cracked nipples, possible infections, clogged ducts etc. I like being able to leave my babies at home and have a “ME” day without worrying about when and where I’ll pump or will the baby take a bottle and what if they don’t. Selfish? Lazy? Uneducated? To some it might seem.
A few weeks ago I came across Crystal Butler’s blog post while looking at baby sewing tutorials. Her post couldn’t have been said any better in my own words:
“I’m the odd one out in my demographic, I know. And I am entirely supportive of my breastfeeding friends who brave some really tough stuff in order to give that gift to their child. But the gift I desperately wanted to give my children this time around was a sane, healthy mom. I resented the idea that everyone who chooses to bottle-fed is somehow making a lazy, uneducated choice. I stand steadfast in my decision, having looked at all of my options and weighing the possible risks (including another expensive outpatient stint in intensive therapy), and I choose sleep. I choose the ability to run errands, to enlist the help of my husband in feeding, and a certain freedom to just stare at my guy during feeding and breathe him in without wincing in pain, checking his latch, and crossing my fingers that he got enough.”
Will my children suffer a life of sickness and stupidity because I didn’t/don’t/won’t breastfeed them? HELL NO. The guilt I felt when I switched to formula with Porter has been erased by the knowledge that my children are thriving, happy, healthy, intelligent children.
Back to the article that Amber posted on Facebook. A few things I so loved from it….
One commenter quoted: “The other day, March of Dimes tweeted the AAP’s position on breast feeding which included the line breast feeding “promotes a […] emotional connection between mother and baby.” Emotional connections happen irregardless of feeding type! When the powers that promote breast feeding try to use love and the mother-baby bond in their war against the bottle, that is where I draw the line. It’s stupid and WRONG and only serves to guilt bottle-feeding moms and dads.”
And, I L-O-V-E this quote by Lisa from Bottle Babies: “Bottle Babies motto is that ‘How you fill your babies tummy is not as important as how you fill their heart, mind and spirit’. Your baby will not remember how you gave birth to them or how you fed them or even what nappies you wrapped their bottom in. But they will remember the nights that you snuggled in bed with them and read a book or sang a song or just cuddled them close while they breathed in your familiar smell, listened to the rhythm of your heart beat and they way you make them feel safe and secure. Those are the things that are important.”
I have always thought that with all the push for breastfeeding… all the worry and concern and media spent trying to encourage moms to breastfeed because “their kids will be smarter, and healthier and they will bond more with them”… what about spending all that effort encouraging parents to read to their children, to spend time with them, to take everyday moments and use them as learning experiences? THAT would make children smarter… and bonds stronger. I’m sorry, I can’t buy into the fact that a child sucking on my body is going to make me bond any more with them that if they are eating from a bottle in my arms. Furthermore, I firmly believe that a childs’ intelligence and health has nothing to do with what they are fed that first year of life.
Yes, breastmilk is more natural… its what is made specifically for babies. And of course, if you’re willing, sure- breastfeed! I’m all for the AAP encouraging breastfeeding, but isn’t the point to encourage and not make them feel guilty for any opposing decision? My thoughts on it….. of course breastmilk is the most natural choice for babies. It really is. But… so is growing every bit of your own food in your backyard and harvesting it from the ground to feed your family. Do many of us choose that nowadays? Nope. Are we criticized for buying our food at the store? Nope.
A few weeks ago I was browsing one of the message boards on BabyCenter and came across a post by a first time mom. She posted about how she was feeling pressured from her family to breastfeed when she had no desire to. She finally pushed the guilt away and decided she was going to formula feed. And she was just simply writing that she wanted to let others know that if they don’t want to choose to breastfeed that they should go with their heart and not be guilted or made to feel bad. You should have read the masses of criticism from Pro Breastfeeders/Anti-Formula Feeders. The poor girl was crucified for her decision and just for trying to ease other moms fears who might be feeling guilted one way or another. So sad.
WHEW. Okay I’m sure I’m opening a huge can of worms but I could spew on and on. To me, it doesn’t matter whether you nurse, pump, supplement, or formula feed.
Parenting is hard enough without being ridiculed for how or what you feed your child. We’re all moms, we’re all trying to do our best and every mom who feeds and loves her baby should be celebrated the same way and not made to feel guilty of their own personal decisions. We, as moms, have the same ultimate outcome in mind: happy, healthy, well adjusted children. There is a lot more that goes into creating that outcome than what you decide to feed your baby.
And… a few articles that either made me laugh or nod my head yes, yes…People I want to punch in the throat
Bad Parent: Straight to the Bottle
Fearless Formula Feeder (a blog)